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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

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.

This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll

Your typical Jersey Shore love story.

1. Modern Family (Last Week: 1)

2. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)

3. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 3)

4. Dexter (Last Week: 4)

5. Jersey Shore (Last Week: 6)
This show is just too good to ignore. There seems to have been much debate over Gianni being a TV whore who only dated Snooki to get on TV (or at least there was between the 4 people I discussed this with at work). I disagree. And I have an opinion on what really went down (shocking, I know). Gianni was not dating Snooki, he was dating Nicole. And Nicole does not go around throwing the cooka (can I get a ruling on the spelling here?) at clubs. Nicole is probably a sweet girlfriend who just happens to quietly put out like a porn star. He probably thought she was a changed little guidette. And then she threw the cooka out at that club in Florence,  and then suddenly he realized….”Jesus f’n Christ, I’m dating Snooki! What time’s the next flight to Newark?”

6. Real Housewives of New Jersey (Last Week: 7)
I have two words for you….On Display. Enough said.

7. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 11)
I’ll tell you what…I want to hate this show, but it’s too funny to truly hate it. Again, I have a theory. It’s a really funny sitcom for 28 minutes, and then they go and put the “ooooohhh….is this the mother???!?!” cherry on the top of each episode and it sucks for the last two minutes and I get all PO’d again. Nonetheless, 28 minutes of good TV will apparently move you up 4 spots in the TVpocalypse poll.

8. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 8 )

9. The X Factor (Last Week: 5)
On the upside, reports of this show being terrible were greatly exaggerated. On the downside, this model might be a bit stale. With that being said, I still have faith in Simon. Four hours might be a bit much for me, but when you throw in an I Touch Myself (a song that was almost the 1992 Bergen Catholic Senior Prom song…another story for another time) cover from a sixty-something year-old woman…it can’t be all that bad.

10. Parenthood (Last Week: 9)

11. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Last Week: 10)

12. Up All Night (Last Week: 13)

13. The League (Last Week: 14)

14. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 15)
Episode two was all about sexting. And by sexting I mean it dealt with the specifics about how to take good pics of one’s junk, how to effectively frame it for the best reaction, and of course determining whether or not to attribute your face to it. I’m not joking. I couldn’t be, because you can’t make this up. And that would be why I watch.

15. Pan Am (Last Week: 16)

16. The Office (Last Week: 17)
Andy’s the boss, and Spader is still around. Not exactly stunning, but it was probably the best case scenario. It’ll be interesting to see if they can get their mojo back.

17. House (Last Week: 18)

18. Gossip Girl (Last Week: 21)

19. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (Last Week: 22)

20. Hung (Last Week: 23)

21. The Playboy Club (Last Week: 25)
It’s not that I loved this show, but I tell you what, I didn’t hate it. This show is such a train wreck that it begs to be watched. I have some very definitive thoughts on this show, but I want to give it one more viewing before I go on a full-on rant (how’s that for a tease?).

22. Happy Endings (Last Week: 24)
Didn’t air and episode and I still haven’t seen more than 6 minutes of this show, yet somehow it creeps up 2 spots… 

23. Person of Interest (Last Week: 19)
…and this would be the somehow. Welcome to the Mendoza Line. If you are at or below this line, you are officially in trouble of falling off the TVpocalypse Top 25. This show was even on The Unwatched List, but the only thing that could keep and Unwatched List show from being at the bottom of the poll would be….

24. Fringe (Last Week: 12)
…a disastrous season premiere from a show that needed a really, really good one. In case you missed it.

25. Harry’s Law (Last Week: 20)
What is this show about again?

The TVpocalypse Pre-season Top 25 Part 1

Rappin' David Silver

90210's death knell...Rappin' David Silver

25. The Playboy Club (Mondays @ 10pm on NBC)
Every season there are those shows that have no hope. The shows that are DEFINITELY going to get cancelled. The shows that only got made because the network couldn’t find a reality show to slide into that time slot. You know heading in that it’s going to be gone by midseason, yet you defy all common sense and you still ante up.

This show makes those shows seem like sure things.

There is a very real chance The Playboy Club gets cancelled during its’ first commercial break. So, of course, I’m in.

________________

24. Happy Endings (Wednesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC)
This was a midseason replacement for ABC last season. I think I read a good review of it. And I think maybe I saw a good preview for it. And I think someone might have even told me it was a pretty good show.

So I Season Passed (yes, that’s a verb now) it last year. And then I kept reading that it would probably get cancelled. And then it didn’t. And now I have a season’s worth of Happy Endings (I only wish that was as good as it sounds) sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched BEFORE I can even get into this season’s shows. Of course, something tells me I’d be able to pick up the storylines without the benefit of having viewed last season pretty quickly. And by pretty quickly, I mean by the end of the opening credits during this season’s premiere.

________________

23. Hung (Sundays @ 10pm on HBO)
This show is so Goddamn slow. And it’s borderline terrible. And I can’t really remember a time when I thought it was good. Yet, I am now entering my third season of watching it. The only excuse I can offer is that it goes on after HBO shows that I actually enjoy, and I’m too lazy to change the channel and find something else to watch. First I say, “Hello, my name is Scott, and I have a TV problem.” And then you say, “Hi, Scott!”

________________

22. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (Mondays @ 9pm on Discovery)
I’m about 74.8% certain that the Discovery Network has orchestrated the entire Teutel family feud. Without the brawl, the split into two companies, and the awkwardly painful father/son dynamics, this show would have been relegated into “oh wait, these are actually new episodes?” territory ala Dirty Jobs and other completely formulaic serial shows on cable networks about 2 seasons ago.

Despite this, I still find myself going through spells where this show starts building up 3 or 4 episodes in the DVR queue…and not really caring that that has happened. That’s probably not a good sign.

________________

21. Gossip Girl (Mondays @ 8pm on The CW)
As a seasoned veteran of the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise, I can tell you that I have some very real concerns for Gossip Girl. We are one main character trying to get a record deal away from this show entering the same sad state of affairs that 90120 entered during it’s personal Death March of Bataan some 11 years ago.

Yep, that was only 11 years ago. Of course, the show was dead for about 3-5 years prior to that, but no one had the heart to tell them. It’s almost as if FOX was just pulling off some giant Weekend at Bernies scam on its’ viewers as they dragged the corpse formerly known as Beverly Hills, 90210 around until any and all signs of life had finally shriveled up and fallen off of it. (“The prosecution would like to call 58 year-old Ian Ziering to the stand….and the prosecution rests”).

The mere fact that as you’re reading this, you’re no doubt saying to yourself, “Yep, I could see Serena launching a music video this season” is really all you need to know about the dire state this show is in.

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Check out part 2 of the TVpocalypse Pre-Season Top 25 poll !

It’s like life…only more important

The TVpocalypse DVR

The TVpocalypse DVR...prior to the 2011 Fall Season.

I have a confession. This isn’t my first blog. I wrote a blog for a little less than a year a few years back. Said blog was fairly well-received by friends and friends of friends and even some complete strangers. If we’re all being honest here (and by “we’re all” I mean me), I posted with little to no consistency and eventually just kind of stopped writing. Well, apparently, one needs to post entries to maintain a blog and some kind of readership. Lesson learned. So obviously this is a blog that you should start following religiously without even a shred of trepidation.

ANYWAY, the reason why I mention my previous foray into the world of blogging is that the concept for this blog was born out of one of the entries from my now defunct thatswhatscottsaid blog. “The 2008-2009 DVR Rankings” essentially merged my love of TV with my love of all things sports. I analyzed my seemingly endless Season Pass Manager and set out to rank the shows as if they were college football teams in the Top 25 Coaches Poll (real heady stuff…I know).  This “TV poll” will be the backbone of TVpocalypse. We’ll start with a preseason Top 25 and re-evaluate every Monday. Some shows will rise, some will fall and some will make you sit back and scratch your head and wonder why the hell I was even watching that show to begin with.

Before you start worrying that I won’t have enough shows in my rotation to make for a respectable weekly poll (and thus for a compelling blog), let me assure you…I watch TV. Now, I know what you’re saying, “Hey, I watch TV too! This guy’s just like me! I’m definitely going to read this blog ALL THE TIME!!!” Either that or “Ummm, who the f#% DOESN’T watch TV?!” (probably the latter, but it’s so much easier to delude myself into believing it’s the former). Allow me to explain.

When I say “I watch TV”, I mean I watch TV…like ALL of TV. I will pretty much try any show once. And I mean ANY show. There will definitely be something in this poll for everyone. From Sons of Anarchy to Top Chef. From Jersey Shore to Boardwalk Empire. From American Chopper to Gossip Girl (yep, I just outed myself as a Gossip Girl fan). And when you watch that much TV, you’re constantly forced to make tough choices. Two shows running at the same time…which one do you watch live? Three shows on all at once? Which one do you cut out? And if you do cut one out….is there another show out there to pick up (obviously, the answer to that question is always yes). These are the scary important life decisions that we will tackle here at TVpocalypse.

So consider yourself invited.
Invited to tell me I’m crazy for even bothering to try and watch The Playboy Club.
Invited to tell me I’m equally crazy because I somehow missed season 1 of Walkng Dead.
Invited to further encourage my borderline life-crippling addiction.
Invited to help determine which show will become my favorite TV show.
Consider yourself invited to witness the TVpocalypse.

Be sure to check back later today for the afore mentioned Preseason TVpocalypse 25 poll….in theory anyway.