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This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll (10/10/11)

Nice to have you back Nucky.

1. Modern Family (Last Week: 1)

2. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 4)
Finally. After a couple of weeks of watching Nucky stagger around the ring waiting for someone to just knock him out, he finally seems to have found his footing. Bolstered by Margaret coming to his side as a more legitimately recognized partner (in crime), Nucky finally seems willing to stave off his empire from collapsing around him.

It started with the “thanks for nothing” conversation he had with Harry Daughtery (aka Shooter McGavin) as he was unable to collect on his favor of burying the news of President Harding’s love child. But his return to the old Nucky was made official when he made his way over to the Commodore’s table to put him and Jimmy in their respective places. The only thing better than the “I will ruin you….ALL of you!” declaration (yes, Jimmy, that means you too), was the “He never even asked her name… he just pointed to the one he wanted” line he dished as he left the table.

So, Jimmy, here’s what Nucky would like you to take away from that little exchange. A.) He’s going to ruin you, B.) Your mom’s a whore, C.) Your dad (who’s sitting right there) knew she was a whore, and D.) He actually chose to be with her BECAUSE she was a whore. I almost got up and cheered. Almost. I mean to actually get up would have required a physical effort of some sort and that pretty much defeats the purpose of watching 25 TV shows at once.

3. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 3)

4. Homeland (Last Week: 5)
Still my pick for best new show this year. I do not regret the top 5 debut at all.

5. Dexter (Last Week: 2)

6. Jersey Shore (Last Week: 6)

7. The X Factor (Last Week: 11)
I am now officially looking forward to seeing what happens next on this show.

8. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 8 ) 

9. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 9)

10. Parenthood (Last Week: 10)
There are some actresses who drive me nuts by doing the same thing over and over again in every role they take (see the Maya Rudolph rant a couple of lines below). Yet for some reason I always seem to like Lauren Graham. She continues to play that 30-something who is equal parts mom and friend to her children all the while partaking in run-on banter that somehow seems very real and very contrived all at once (says the guy who just rattled off a 5-line sentence). She did it for years in Gilmore Girls and it seems like she’s found that very same groove again, especially when she shares scenes with Mae Whitman (her daughter Amber). And for whatever reason, I’m good with that. For me, the way she has portrayed her character’s relationships with the rest of the family is largely responsible for the genuine likability of the Braverman clan.

11. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Last Week: 12)

12. Up All Night (Last Week: 14)
I have come to the conclusion that it is literally impossible to have too much Will Arnett in a show. This show lags a bit when he is not on the screen, and it actively suffers when they focus too much on Maya Rudolph playing the exact same character we’ve seen her play in every SNL skit she’s ever been as well as that train wreck of a movie some of you call Bridesmaids. So, for those of you scoring at home, I don’t like Maya Rudolph all too much.

13. Pan Am (Last Week: 13)

14. The League (Last Week: 15)

15. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 16)

16. The Office (Last Week: 18)

17. Happy Endings (Last Week: 21)

18. Fringe (Last Week: 22)

19. Gossip Girl  (Last Week: 19)

20. House (Last Week: 20)

21. Hung (Last Week: 23)

22. Whitney (Last Week: NR)
And cue the angry posts in the comments section. All I can say is that I watched the third episode. It wasn’t as good as the first, and it wasn’t as bad as the second. The inclusion of this show into the Top 25 is all in the numbers. This is the TVpocalypse Top 25. Not the Top 24, and certainly not the Top 23. With the Housewives departing and Jersey Shore not too far behind, I need inventory people.

23. The Walking Dead (Last Week: 25)
Big The Walking Dead rally coming this weekend. I’ll be knocking out the entire first season before the season 2 premiere on Sunday night.

24. American Horror Story (Last Week: NR)
I had relatively high hopes for this show…and then it aired. I have theories (shocking, I know), but I’m going to hold back on the full-on 1000 diatribe until I get a second viewing.

25. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior  (Last Week: 24)

Buh-bye: The Playboy Club (sniffle, sniffle), The Real Housewives of NJ
Other’s to Watch: Person of Interest (Jersey Shore ends soon, and beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, the entire season is still sitting piled up on my DVR)

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This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll (10/3/11)

Hey! Look! House is in prison!

1. Modern Family (Last Week: 1)

2. Dexter (Last Week: 4)
Dexter is back…and it came out flying. Colin Hanks’ character was utterly creepy from second he walked on screen, and the dueling faith/religion storylines seem like a really interesting place for this show to play this season. And from what was shown in the original crime scene (not to mention from the crime scenes shown in the season’s upcoming scenes), the depraved/warped factor of Travis Marhsall’s (Colin Hanks) MO is off the charts. Which is a good thing in my book (not really sure what that says about me).

3. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 3)

4. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)
This. Show. Has. Been. (Pause). A. (Pause). Little. Bit. Slow. (Pause). (Pause). Thus. (Pause). What was I saying? Oh yeah…Far.

5. Homeland (Last Week: NR)
You will see throughout the course of these new rankings that the Whitney effect has wreaked havoc with my ability to trust my judgment. With that being said, this show was SO good that, unlike some of the other promising shows I’ve only seen one episode of, I’m all in on this one. Amazing cast. An ingenious story line. And a collection of flawed, yet compelling characters. Throw in a Band of Brothers connection….and you have a recipe for a top 5 show. The episode alone had it’s hooks in me from the word go, but when I saw the scenes from the upcoming season…it was borderline unfair. Besides, when have I been wrong about a show after watching just one episode? Don’t answer that.

6. Jersey Shore (Last Week: 5)

7. Real Housewives of New Jersey (Last Week: 6)
I still have On Display rattling through my head. I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

8. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 8 )

9. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 7)

10. Parenthood (Last Week: 10)

11. The X Factor (Last Week: 9)
Let me reiterate, four hours of almost any show in one week is a bit much. But with that being said, I’m withholding a final verdict until this show gets beyond the auditions. Up until this point, this has essentially been an Idol knockoff. Apparently though, the format of the show gets much different once we get to the Idol equivalent of Hollywood week. We’ll see…

12. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Last Week: 11)

13. Pan Am (Last Week: 15)
Due to the now infamous Whitney episode, I’m trying not to get excited by one episode these days, but this was pretty f’n good. The whole CIA/MI5 storyline was completely unexpected. Nothing in any of the previews gave even a hint of this show being anything more than some romanticized period show that was a borderline Mad Men knockoff. But it seems like this might actually be more than that. Might.

14. Up All Night (Last Week: 12)

15. The League (Last Week: 13)

16. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 14)

17. The Playboy Club (Last Week: 21)
Textbook guilty pleasure. It’s a modern day Melrose Place….and I mean that in the best possible way.

18. The Office (Last Week: 17)
I’m thinking that last season set the bar so low for this show that I’m not fully aware of this season’s mediocrity.

19. Gossip Girl  (Last Week: 18)

20. House (Last Week: 17)
The season premiere is airing tonight, but I’ve decided to go ahead and drop this show a few spots based on the success of some other shows that are already airing, as well as the sheer travesty they seem to be propagating every time they air another one of those ridiculous prison-themed spots for this season. Why do I have the funny feeling that if John Hein hadn’t already invented Jump the Shark, we would be talking about shows that House Went to Prison’ed?

21. Happy Endings (Last Week: 22)
I finally watched an episode of this show. I liked it. Of course, I also liked the first episode of a certain show about certain comedienne that I watched, and I think we all know how that turned out. I’ll be coming back, but I’ve learned my lesson for sure. We’re in a probationary period still.

22. Fringe (Last Week: 24)
Just because it didn’t die this week, doesn’t mean I’m all the way back on board. They better get Peter out of that mirror or I’m going to start get pissy again.

23. Hung (Last Week: 20)
This week’s premiere episode is still sitting unwatched on my bedroom DVR (the back-up DVR). I realize it’s only Monday and there’s a Yankee game on right now, but I’m just saying.

24. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior  (Last Week: 19)
How many times can one man watch almost the identical bike build out on a weekly basis? The Teutel’s either need to throw down in a steel cage match or end this show.

25. The Walking Dead (Last Week: NR)
Thanks to last week’s poll, I have officially downloaded season 1 of this show so that I may properly ramp up for this coming season. THANK GOD! I was beginning to get worried that I didn’t have enough things to watch.

Buh-bye: Harry’s Law, Person of Interest
Other’s to Watch: American Horror Story

The TVpocalypse Queue Poll

Texas forever...or at least until they move on to their next show.

The readers have spoken….or written I guess. And now, as promised, here is the first edition of the TVpocalypse Queue Poll, (there is an actual poll at the bottom of this post…I promise), where the community will decide what shows will rise up and replace those shows that will inevitably fall off the TVpocalypse Top 25.

The response was better than expected and we actually have 12 shows in the running. And while I have a feeling there will be a few spots opening up soon for a myriad of reasons (e.g. seasons ending, network cancellations, general suckyness), there sure won’t be 12 spots opening…and so we vote.

And while I have used this blog to pour my TV heart and soul out into the abyss that is the blogosphere, I understand that a lot of you might not have a complete grasp on my TV viewing sensibility just yet. So with that in mind, I figured I would offer a quick snippet with my first impression of each of the nominees (or as quick as my stream of consciousness, run-on sentence writing will allow).

American Horror Story (FX)
I was already ALL over this one. Three good things here. First, FX has a near flawless track record for great shows. Second, a horror TV show is an anomaly…you have to think this could be really, really original. And third, Tammy Taylor. For those of you who don’t know, Tammy Taylor was the mother character on one of the greatest shows ever, Friday Night Lights (if you have not seen it, go now…you can come back later, I’ll still be here). FNL is one of those pantheon shows for me, where if any of the major players go on to another show I feel obligated to at least give it a try. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

Grimm (NBC)
I have to be honest, I don’t know that this is in my wheelhouse. This is based on books and I don’t read. And when I say I don’t read books, I mean I REALLY don’t read books. At all. It’s pretty safe to say that I have not read a book in AT LEAST 4 years…and that’s conservative. To my defense, I watch 25+ TV shows and there’s only so much time in the day.

Homeland (SHO)
Another pantheon show playing here. Band of Brothers. Damian Lewis, or Col. Winters as I’ll always remember him, stars in this show. It looks like the type of show that could attempt to fill the whole in my heart that was created when Jack Bauer decided that there was no more terrorism to stop. This show was also already on my radar.

Walking Dead (AMC)
Speaking of shows that were already on my radar. I have just heard too many good things from too many people to not believe this show is great. Of course, if I take this on I’ll need to do two things. One, I’ll need to rally on season one within 2  weeks (suddenly, I think I know what I’ll be watching this weekend). And two, I’ll need to get over my anger/beef with AMC for the debacle that was The Killing. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Mad Men isn’t on right now because AMC and I still aren’t speaking.

Raising Hope (FOX)
This show took a similar path to Happy Endings for me last season (which I watched last night…and loved it). I liked the looks of it. I had DVR’d a bunch of them. And yet, for whatever reason, I never got around to watching it. It’s not that I have anything against it, maybe it’s just another one that fell through the cracks (I’m but one man…I can only watch so much TV).

Big Bang Theory (CBS)
I was harassed by multiple friends on this one in the past. Too many people probably…which of course means I played stubborn and decided NOT to watch it just to be a pain in the ass (to know me is to truly love me…or so I like to think). This show does look extremely watchable. And even though I’ve been assured that I don’t need to rally on its’ history, the fact that it has been on for multiple seasons (and I haven’t seen any of it) does concern me slightly.

Terra Nova (FOX)
This show looks like an unmitigated disaster and I actually actively decided to NOT watch this. I’ve been burned too many times by these all budget/no writing titles in the past. Yep, that’s right The Event…Flash Forward…Heroes…I’m talking to you!

Covert Affairs (USA)
This is an interesting pick. I know that a lot of the summer shows on cable are really good, but for some reason I view them as minor league-ish. They’re on in the summer. They’re on lesser networks. I know, I know…very snobbish…but that’s how I feel. But with that being said, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed.

Southland (TNT)
As I mentioned in the comments, I loved this show when it was on NBC. And then I tried to follow it when it went to TNT, but I was one of the many who got lost in the move. For whatever reason, I forgot to DVR it, or I couldn’t find it, or who knows why. But, I do have a history with these characters, so it would not be a huge undertaking to jump back into this.

New Girl (FOX)
One problem here…I don’t really like Zoe Deschanel. I think it’s the whole hipster thing. Plus, from the promos I’ve seen for this show, it seems like it’s trying REALLY hard.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
I’ve seen this show a couple of times, and I always like it. I think I haven’t locked into a season pass for this because I almost view it as one of those shows I could stop at whenever I want to and mindlessly enjoy in a pinch…like during the summer (sorry again Covert Affairs) or even some late night when the DVR is empty (hey, it happens once in a while). I don’t really have any other explanation for not being a dedicated Always Sunny viewer, because it really does seem to play in my dark comedic wheelhouse.

Workaholics (COM)
Kudos to Cat for actually finding a show I’ve never heard of. If I were to take on this show, I would be taking it on completely cold. Of course, since I am a TV whore, this would not be a problem for me.

So there you have it folks. 909 words sure seems snippet-ish to me. I’m looking forward to seeing what shows rise to the top. Thanks for all the great feedback….keep it coming!

Why I love bad TV

Look familiar?

The Playboy Club is an unmitigated disaster. And I love it. And while I’m fairly certain that I can’t really explain my fascination with this show, I figured I might as well try. Hell, it might even help me understand it.

The very first thing that hit me in the very first minute of the very first episode was an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. I’ve seen this show before….but where?! And then it hit me. I was watching a bad imitation of Showgirls. Yes, THAT Showgirls. The Showgirls that is always front and center during anyone’s “What is the worst movie of all time?” debate.

(Editorial Sidebar: The following paragraph will get into a fairly substantial amount of detail about a movie probably 3.7% of you actually saw. For the other 96.3% of you, here’s all you need to know about Showgirls. When it came out, the buzz for this movie was huge (and this was pre-internet being the internet, and certainly pre-social media). And the reason there was so much buzz was because Jesse from Saved by the Bell was about to star in a movie about Vegas showgirls. The modern day equivalent of this would be something along the lines of Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly going into a Cinemax soft-core movie next year. Showgirls had excessive nudity, completely over-the-top and contrived sex scenes, and absolutely no script or story to speak of. To call this movie a bad would be an affront to all the bad movies that were ever made before this one. And now back into our Showgirls/The Playboy Club breakdown…)

Carol-Lynne is the Gina Gershon rip-off. She’s the old pro hanging on for dear life. A little bit wiser for having been in the game for as long as she has, but at the same time a bit too desperate to keep the party going as she realizes it’s all coming to an end real soon. This is only further provoked as she watches Maureen enter the club. Maureen is the Elizabeth Berkely rip-off. A doe-eyed starlet, whose innocence is magnetic to the other characters, but a complete threat to Carol-Lynne. And whereas Maureen is somehow in awe of Carol-Lynne’s singing/performing, Carol-Lynne is in full-on catfight mode as she watches her much younger boyfriend take a bit too much of an interest in the newbie. Now here’s where I would begin to state a case that the Nick character is a rip-off of the Kyle McLaughlin Showgirls character, but unfortunately, I can’t. You see, I was too distracted by Eddie Cibrian’s apparent obsession with Jon Hamm.

From the clothes, to the lighting, to the hair, to the controlled and deliberate speech pattern, it’s obvious that Eddie Cibrian is doing a very thinly veiled (yet miserable) imitation of Jon Hamm’s Don Draper. But this nod to Mad Men (and by nod, I mean thievery) seems as though as it’s woven into the DNA of the show. They do a magnificent job of taking bits and pieces of much more ambitious and thought-required TV shows, dumbing them down, and making them ready for mass consumption.

You want a mafia show with all sorts of political graft but Boardwalk Empire isn’t quite your speed? No problem, we killed the head of the Chicago mob in the first 10 minutes of the pilot and Nick is already paying kick backs to the corrupt Mayor of Chicago for an endorsement in his run for state’s attorney. Does a storyline where a closeted gay married man lives in an era where gays had little to no hope for mainstream acceptance sound interesting to you? But is Mad Men just too slow for you? We’ve got you covered, because one of the Playboy bunnies’ hubby is doing his own rendition of Sal from Mad Men. I would also call the unnecessarily mysterious presentation of Hef in all his scenes a direct rip-off of the Charlie scenes from Charlie’s Angels, but I think the new Charlie’s Angels probably has the “ripping off the original Charlie’s Angels” angle covered in spades.

So right about now, you’re probably asking yourself “why the hell do you watch this show?”, and it’s funny you should ask that, because after reading through this rant I find myself asking, “why the hell do I watch this show?”.

I think I watch it because it is so dumb. It takes me back to a time when TV was simple and I didn’t always have to think so Goddamn much. A time when Billy and Alison could start working at a small ad agency called D&D advertising with no background in the industry and, somehow, days later find themselves working on a Super Bowl spot. A time when there was no question that Valerie would be able to successfully manage The Peach Pit After Dark despite having absolutely no experience in seemingly anything even remotely related to running or even working at a club. I think I watch it for the exact reasons it is so bad. This show is the anti-J.J. Abrams, and you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So here’s how it works

Over the next five days, I will unleash the TVpocalypse Top 25 poll (5 spots to be revealed each day…how’s that for a big dramatic build up?!). I will watch all of the shows. I will write about all of the shows. If shows are great, I keep watching. If shows suck, I stop watching and find a new show to replace said sucky show.

Now, in case you’re wondering how I have gone about creating the illustrious TVpocalypse Top 25 poll, I have assembled an imagined list of commonly asked questions to help you understand.

Hey, Scott, how the hell did you create a great TV show list and leave Mad Men off?!
Very simple, only shows that are in an active season are eligible to be on the list. For instance, if this list was created last week, Curb Your Enthusiasm would have been in the top 5. But, since that series finale went on-air last Sunday, Curb is now ineligible.

How do you decide which show is better than the other?
Again, very simple. I imagine a scenario where an episode of each of the two shows sits on my DVR. Whichever episode I would theoretically push play on first is the one I like better and is thus the one that is ranked higher.

When do you cut a show?
A few different ways actually. First would be if the network cancels the show. Duh. The next would be if a bunch of the shows start building up in my DVR’s queue. If I have 4 or 5 episodes of a show lying around unwatched, that’s probably a pretty good indication that I’m not all that interested. The last test I use is what I like to call “The Laptop Test”. My interest in a show is inversely proportionate to the amount of time I spend buried in my laptop. If I barely look up, that’s a bad sign. Of course, the other end of that spectrum would be if I don’t even bother to open my laptop (this happens once…maybe twice in a lifetime), then I know the show is top 5 material.

How does the poll work exactly?
I’m going to reveal the poll 5 spots at a time, starting with the twenty-fifth ranked show and working my way all the way up to the number one show on my DVR. The lower the number, the better the show.

Where do you find the time to watch all of this TV?
I don’t sleep.

Well, that should be about it. I hope you enjoy. I look forward to all of your comments and feedback. So without further ado, let the games begin!