- RIP Gloria Stuart. She passed away today at the age of 100. I now have a reason to break out the kleenex and watch Titanic. (via Deadline)
- Gleeks are you ready for Gwyneth Paltrow’s close-up this season? Looks like the film actress will be stepping into the classrooms of William McKinley High as a step teacher and may catch the eye of a certain glee coach. (via US)
- The cast of the Sound of Music is having a reunion- on Oprah. Is there nothing this woman can not do? Fans that ep is coming Oct. 29th.
Filed under: TV Replay
Hip-hop artist LL Cool J has performed and recorded with a lot of talented people, but working with Michael Jackson ranks as “the most amazing” experience, he shared on ‘Lopez Tonight’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on TBS).
The two artists did “quite a few songs” together, but they were never released. One evening in the studio, sitting at a baby grand piano, LL asked MJ, “In the ‘Smooth Criminal’ — how’d you lean forward like that?”
MJ, sitting cross-legged atop the piano, replied: “We had a Swami come in … He did a ritual and he leaned forward, and we all leaned forward together.” LL told George Lopez, “I was like, ‘Really?’ He was like, ‘No, silly!’”
The ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ star then divulged a story he’d never told before — about farting in front of the King of Pop.
Filed under: TV Replay
Jon Stewart appeared on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ last week, so Stewart responded in kind, inviting Bill O’Reilly to ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM). They discussed Stewart’s visit to the Fox News offices and engaged in some rather (pleasantly surprising) genial banter.
Stewart joked that Fox News was “the bunker, the Temple of Doom,” but said, “You were kind enough to have me, and I always enjoy being on your program because you really are — especially over there — the fairest person, I think honestly, by a mile. It really is a looney bin.”
“The fairest person in the Temple of Doom? OK. I outta put that on my resume,” joked O’Reilly of the backhanded compliment. The political commentator then said of Stewart’s reputation among his Fox News colleagues: “Everybody hates you over in the Temple of Doom, and I’m surprised you got out of there alive.” But Stewart strongly disagreed and had an anecdote to prove it.
['Hawaii Five-0'' - 'Ohana']
When you’ve got a huge budget and a feature film director, it’s often easy to make a pilot episode that’s not representative of the episodes that follow. In the case of ‘Hawaii Five-0,’ the follow-up edition, entitled ‘Ohana,’ traded some of the flash for a smaller, but in many ways better, episode. This show will never reinvent the wheel. Rather, its success lies entirely on how smoothly that wheel spins. For the second straight week, it spun in an energetic manner.
“Really? Is that gonna be a thing now?” With those words, this reboot sought to stake its claim in the ground. “Book ‘em, Danno!” is part of the old version of this show, not the new one. Having this iteration of Danny Williams cut off that line of dialogue was a small but important step in trying to establish its own voice and rhythms. ‘Ohana’ essentially ignored the overarching story of corruption within the Hawaii Police Department in favor of getting its strike force fully assembled.
We here at TV Squad know that our opinions aren’t the only ones that matter. In fact, you only need to glance at the comments on our recaps to know that, sometimes, fans just don’t agree.
Enter Skype Second Opinions, our new short and succinct video recap series that attempts to open up the TV debates by offering you another point of view from friends of the site.
So let’s talk ‘Chuck’ with someone who really enjoys the show: Dan Fienberg of HitFix.com. You can read all his TV musings and analysis on The Fien Print, and watch his Skype Second Opinion on ‘Chuck Versus the Suitcase’ here all season long. This week, he talks about a catwalk catfight, the return of Jeffster and more.
['Chuck' - 'Chuck Versus the Suitcase']
When ‘Chuck‘ clicks on all cylinders, it mixes the spy world with an intimate yet odd cast of characters that bond beyond the ties of blood. Its theoretical scope is global, but its focus is often on the interpersonal relationships between its characters. The push and pull between the two is the source of a majority of the show’s drama.
But sometimes, the show presents conflict on a personal level that simply exists for conflict’s sake. At the core of ‘Chuck Versus the Suitcase’ was an example of such an arbitrary conflict. It didn’t overwhelm the episode, but it did provide a hollow note in an otherwise melodious outing.
‘Chuck’ loves using its soundtracks to augment and/or comment upon the story at hand. So when the show used two songs back-to-back that feature the name “Frankenstein,” one should probably pay attention. While Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein” ironically heralded the return of Jeffster and Co. to the Buy More ranks, Jeremy Messersmith’s “A Guy, a Girl, and a Graveyard” showed just how much of a stitched life Sarah Walker leads. The central tension of the episode — will she finally unpack her suitcase — helped showed just how much settling down is foreign to her. (Call it Kate Austen Syndrome, ‘Lost’ fans.) But did that problem really have to threaten the stability of the Chuck/Sarah dynamic so much?
['The Event' - 'To Keep Us Safe']
Everyone remembers the famous exchange from ‘A Few Good Men,’ in which Jack Nicholson less-than-calmly informed Tom Cruise that he couldn’t handle the truth. (This was long before Destiny’s Child informed all of us that we weren’t ready for this jelly.)
This second episode of NBC’s ‘The Event‘ seemed to reformulate the famous exchange, with the audience screaming, “We want the truth!” and the show replying, “Fine, here’s a huge download of answers. Are you not entertained?” (Whoops. ‘The Event’ slid out from ‘A Few Good Men’ and straight into ‘Gladiator.’ In its defense, it’s working really hard to please the masses.)
In some ways, one has to applaud the show for not pulling a weekly bait-and-switch, promising a chunk of tasty mythological download and only yielding a crumb by episode’s end. But there was also a lot of flop sweat onscreen in the show’s eagerness to prove it knows the story that it’s telling. Former ‘Lost’ fans were no doubt confused when a scene of a plane crash was followed a huge laundry list of answers. It was almost as if The Others found Jack Shephard ten minutes after Oceanic 815 landed on the island and told them about a frozen donkey wheel a few miles away. Just utterly jarring. Getting all this info upfront is not unappreciated, but it’ll take a bit of getting used to.
Filed under: TV Replay
Remember that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano that brought Europe’s air traffic to a grinding, lengthy halt? The ‘Top Gear’ (Mon., 9PM ET on BBC America) gang, specifically James May, drove a Toyota Hilux pickup dangerously close to the active volcano’s mouth barely a week before it erupted. Of course they couldn’t just test the off-road vehicle in the desert or something, and they’d already been to the North Pole. So after reconfiguring the truck’s tires for both Arctic and volcanic conditions, May hit the
“It does look quite angry,” he said simply on the approach. “There’s raining red-hot lumps. God, that’s hot.” A few new, fiery red volcanic rocks soared from the volcano’s mouth, and landed frighteningly (yet conveniently) close to the vehicle. With his “lava scoop,” May retrieved one (still glowing) as a souvenir.
But the vehicle had stayed in one place too long. Gazing back at a rear tire, May said, “We’re on fire.” Though he cursed, he was still pretty calm about the whole thing. Just another day on the job…
Speaking of souvenirs, TV Squad has teamed up with BBC America to give away a ‘Top Gear’ Boot of Loot prize bundle that includes various Stig-related fare and season DVDs. Check it out!
Filed under: TV Replay
Okay, we’ll admit it. Sometimes, we wish that late night hosts would have slightly more unusual guests for their interviews. There are just so many shows with actors promoting their latest movie; singers promoting their latest album … But then, we get to hear about washed-up 80s rapper Vanilla Ice losing his pet kangaroo — and suddenly, it all becomes so much better.
And yes, this what actually happens on ‘The Tonight Show’ (weeknights, 11:35PM ET on NBC). Rapper Robert Matthew Van Winkle — that’s “Mr. Ice” to you — talks with host Jay Leno about misplacing his beloved pet kangaroo. Yup, it’s just another standard incident in the bizarre life of Vanilla Ice. Why, we haven’t been this excited to hear from him since ‘Ice Ice Baby’ (the greatest song ever) was first released.
‘No Ordinary Family‘ debuts on ABC and CTV tonight, and I will be watching it. I’m not sure I would have bothered, but of all the new fall shows it is the only one to have captured the attention of he-who-shares-my-couch. I’m not bitterly opposed to it — after all, it features two of my favorite TV actors in the leads: Julie Benz, fresh from her dramatic exit from ‘Dexter,’ and Michael Chiklis of ‘The Shield’ (and of giant head). In case you’ve missed the previews, here’s the log line: An average — nay, “ordinary” — family go on a trip to South America, where a plane crash gives them a dip in a strange river. They survive the crash and return home to find they all have new super powers — super speed, super strength, super smarts and the ability to read minds among them.
Sound familiar? Boy, does it ever. Call it a live-action version of ‘The Incredibles’ or a family-oriented ‘Heroes,’ but whatever you call it, ‘original’ probably isn’t on the list of adjectives. But this description is just the beginning. From the moment this family discovers its powers, there are really a million ways it could go. But of course, they do exactly what we would expect them to — they keep it a secret, and use their powers for good — from fighting crime to spending more time together as a family.