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This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll (11/28/11)

Is that Blair Warner?

(The following should be yelled in your head in a frantic and desperate manner)

The return of Beavis & Butthead has been disappointing…

The X Factor makes American Idol look worse each week…

The Office stayed around about 2 years too long…

How I Met Your Mother is stretching this mother reveal out…

I’m overdue for a blog update….

(The following line should now be triumphantly yelled in your head)

THINGS THAT ARE UNDERSTATEMENTS OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!

Well, now that we’ve gotten my little $25,000 Pyramid apology out of the way, let’s get down to the business at hand. There has obviously been a lot going on across all of the TVpocalypse Top 25’s shows (shows tend to have things happen over the course of a 4 week spell), and you will see that the poll will be reflective of that. We’re also coming up to that awful time of the year (yes, the holidays) when shows end or go on sabbatical, so we’ll also need to start considering which midseason shows will be joining the poll as others fall off. So obviously we have lots to get to, so without further ado (I mean it this time), here’s this week’s TVpocalypse Top 25 poll!!

1. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 4)
I’m going to say two things about this show, that if you know me or anything about me, will help you understand just how great it’s been the last few weeks. First of all, this is the closest thing I have seen to The Sopranos in it’s prime (before the heart of the show got derailed by the untimely and unfortunate illness and eventual real-life death of the show’s matriarch, Livia). And to be honest, if I really think about it, it might even be better. The action, the storylines, the relationships around the club and the family are so perfectly interwoven. The show is just always pitch perfect, and these last 4 or 5 weeks have somehow been even better. And that leads me to my second point. This might very well be the best run for a show that I’ve ever seen. The only season I can recall where this much has happened was the final season of Six Feet Under. But that was the final season and they were going out guns blazing (might have very well been the best series finale ever…another topic for another time). But Sons just got renewed for another season (thank God) and they keep raising the stakes every week, and somehow finding a way to raise them even higher the following week. Are Bobby and Juice really going to be in jail? Who’s going to blow the whole thing up first…Tig or Ope? Is Gemma going to cripple Tara or is Tara going to cripple Gemma? Will Jax kill Clay? And is he going to finally take his rightful place at the gavel? I literally have NO idea on any of these questions….and I couldn’t be happier about it. I don’t know that I have ever been this excited for a season finale.

2. Homeland (Last Week: 1)
In any other season, at any other time, this show is number one. So many twists and turns with so many interesting characters. Every time you think you’ve figured out if he is or isn’t a sleeper cell, Brody goes and does something or says something or just looks a certain way that makes you question everything you thought you knew to be true. Claire Danes, Damien Lewis and Mandy Patinkin are brilliant, as is the writing. The show’s already been picked up for a second season, so if you haven’t already, now’s the time to get on board.

3. The Walking Dead (Last Week: 3)
This show just wrapped up the first half of the season and will not be returning until February. Ugh! How good has this show been lately you ask? Let’s put it this way, that stunt they pulled in the last episode with the little zombie girl emerging from the barn….I had no idea. I literally didn’t see that coming at all. And when I can say that, I am happy. And the only one happier than me would probably be Kate since when I am unable to ruin yet another plot twist in yet another TV show or movie, I would assume that improves the viewing experience for her as well.

3. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)
OK…I wimped out. It’s a tie. I can’t help it though…they’re both that good. And sadly, unlike it’s #3 brethren, this show is flat-out ending soon. But just like it’s #3 brethren, I have NO idea where we’re heading. You might be surprised to know this (or Kate might be anyway), but actually I enjoy a show or a movie so much more when I DON’T know what’s going to happen. Sadly, it just doesn’t happen all too often. I’m as curious as anyone else to see how it goes down between Nucky and the Irish versus Jimmy (who is going to be BEYOND pissed about his wife’s murder) and the Commodore. Is it Sunday night yet?

5. Modern Family (Last Week: 5)
The only reason this show is not moving up the rankings is because the shows ahead of it are literally having epic seasons. This cast reminds me of the Bluths in that it’s almost impossible to pick your favorite member of the family, and I think you all know how I feel about the Bluths.

6. Happy Endings (Last Week: 7)
Very simple. This is the best show you’re not watching. Go. Watch it. Now!

7. Parenthood (Last Week: 10)
I can’t believe that after one episode of this show I was worried about how the story arc they chose for Alex would ruin this season, and now I can’t even remember when the last time Alex was actually on the show. As you will learn, there are no guarantees on this blog. I put predictions and theories out there. Some are right, and I will write about them and brag about them for years to come. Some are not entirely right, and I will immediately dismiss them and ignore them. What were we talking about again?

8. Up All Night (Last Week: 12)
So Christina Applegate is back. As is Ed O’Neil. And Katey Segal. So the question begs to be asked. When is it time for David Faustino to be back?! I think America is ready for full-on Bundy’s renaissance! Someone get me David Faustino’s agent….wait…someone get David Faustino an agent!

9. The X Factor (Last Week: 11)
First of all, I’m a little bit concerned that this show has effectively ruined American Idol for me. But with that being said, I am loving the format, I’m loving the contestants, I’m loving the judges’ bickering…and I’m loving the drama. A couple of weeks ago fan favorite Astro finished in the bottom two and was seemingly preparing to “perform for his life”. But instead, Astro went diva….like Whitney diva. He openly questioned if he should even be forced to do this. He then went on to essentially tell off anyone and everyone in the crowd and at home who didn’t vote for him. And then went out and put a big giant stamp on it as he mailed in his performance. The truly hysterical part about all of this was that he STILL was selected by the judges to move on over the very obviously talent-deficient Stacy. Stacy was one of the older contestants and this juxtaposition of attitudes only made her desperation that much more obvious.  My question is what would Astro have had to done to have been voted off by the judges? I’ve come to the conclusion that anything short of him taking a dump on the stage would have seen him being selected over Stacy to move on (and I’m not 100% certain that him taking a dump on the stage would have made a difference either).

10. The League (Last Week: 15)
Years ago HBO came out with this abomination named The Mind of the Married Man. The show was supposed to be Sex & the City for men. It was supposed to let everyone in on what went on behind closed doors when men interacted with each other and within themselves. It was supposed to give you a peek into the “mind of the married man”…hence the name. The show failed miserably, because in short, it could not have been further removed from the truth. I’ve never actually investigated it, but if I had to guess, I would say that the show was written entirely by women. And I do not mean that in any sort of offensive way. I would never attempt to write a show or a book that pretended to perfectly capture what goes on inside the head of a woman, because I would have no idea how to do that. Obviously. But where that show failed, The League succeeds. This is one of the best expressions I have ever seen of the dynamics, the humor, the conversations, and the relationships between a group of long time guy friends. Here’s a hint ladies….don’t over think it.

11. Fringe (Last Week: 18)
OK. I admit it. I was wr…. I was wr…. I was wron…. All I’m saying is that MAYBE this show wasn’t as doomed as I made it out to be in the beginning of the season. They’ve done a nice job of staying in one universe for the most part (always a good thing in my book…in all shows), and the Peter storyline has been handled wisely thus far.  I’m back on board.

12. Top Chef: Texas  (Last Week: 13)
Since I last left you Top Chef: Just Desserts has ended. But fear not, for another Top Chef show was there to rise up in its’ place….like they always do. This time we’re in Texas, and this time, I’m BETTING on it! A very special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Erin, for bringing me into the pool of another long ago friend, Kathleen. Kathleen and her husband organize a seemingly simple pool (yet I’m sure back-ended complex) where participants select contestants and gain and lose points based on their performances in the weekly quick-fires and challenges, and of course if they move on or get asked to, “pack their knives and go home.” There’s not many things I love more than TV, but finding ways to bet on TV is probably one of those not many things.

13. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 11)
Every single crime in the city of New York is still being handled by every single member of the Reagan clan. I’m just saying.

14. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 17)
This show just finale’d, so it will be leaving the poll after this week. With that being said, this is just a solid, mindless, frat-humor show. It even ventured into some smart satirical territory this year by mocking the NCAA and all its’ corrupt hypocrisy in a late season episode. Players are graduating this year and next, so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Of course it doesn’t really matter since it certainly can’t be going anywhere as I can’t even imagine the circumstances that would need to transpire for Spike to actually cancel a show.

15. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 14)
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, IT’S THE NAME OF YOUR GODDAMN SHOW!!!! HOW LONG!!!!! HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO DRAW THIS OUT!!!! DON’T BE AFRAID…YOU CAN HAVE MORE EPISODES AFTER WE FIND OUT WHO “YOUR MOTHER” IS!!!! AND I KNOW YOU’RE JUST GOING TO START TEASING IT AGAIN 2 OR 3 EPISODES BEFORE THIS SEASON’S FINALE TO DRAW THIS WHOLE THING OUT FOR YET ANOTHER YEAR…BUT I MEAN….COME ON!!!!! OK, I will now release the caps lock. I feel better. Sorry and thank you.

16. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior  (Last Week: 21)
In case you were wondering, Junior was the talent at OCC. I’m sure there are only 2 of you (maybe 3) who actually watch this show, but I’m just saying…Junior is the talent on this show.

17. Hung (Last Week: 25)
I have finally caught up with this show (for the most part anyway, I think I’m one episode behind right now), and I have to say….it’s not bad. Although I’ve never actually “liked” this show and have really just watched it by accident for a couple of seasons (I’m not even sure if this is season 2 or 3), it seems to have found its’ way for the time being. I’m digging the “Ray being replaced by a younger dude” (and shockingly enough, I actually knew Ray’s name off the top of my head), and I’m loving the pimp wars with the newly featured role for Charlie (OK….I had to look that one up on IMDB). In a weak poll at a weak time of year, this show should be fine until it wraps its’ season up. Damn HBO and their short seasons!

18. Whitney (Last Week: 24)
I’ve come to the conclusion that this show has about a one in three hit rate. For a couple of weeks the show will be average at best, and then that third show will be genuinely funny. The key for this show is that it’s only a half hour and it’s really never painfully bad. And apparently in this week’s poll, all of those things add up to a spot at number 18. How much longer until the midseason replacements?

19. Dexter (Last Week: 8 )
I don’t want to be the one to say I told you so….aw hell, who are we kidding? Of course I want to be the one to say I told you so! I TOLD YOU SO!!!! Welcome to the world of way-to-early spoilers with Scott! OF COURSE that Edward James Olmos looking dude was dead and not there! Come on people…I NEVER get these things wrong! The bigger issue of course is that he was dead and not there and in the show. As is Harry. And as is Rudy. There are just too many dead people walking around and conversing, and what’s more, there are simply too many serial killers that happen into Dexter’s life. I care less and less about this show every week.

20. The Office (Last Week: 16)
How many episodes can we find a reason for Andy to sing? If you answered EVERY episode, congratulations…you WIN! But really, we all lose for having this show live 2 or 3 years too long. Every week just makes me miss Michael Scott more and more. And what’s more, every week last season made me miss Michael Scott more and more…and he was actually still on the show then.

21. House (Last Week: 19)
Speaking of shows that should have probably ended a couple of years ago.

22. American Horror Story (Last Week: 20)
How many murders can occur in one house? Better yet, how many different murders can occur in clichéd different eras in the same house but yet by different killers every single time? You can all thank Kate for making me watch this show by osmosis. And by osmosis I mean I am generally in the room as she desperately hopes against hope for this show to find its’ footing. And by in the room, I mean I am present and half watching…or maybe even a third…or probably closer to like a sixth. I don’t like the notion that people could move into this house without knowing about its’ history. For Christ’s sake there’s been an annual murder spree there for seemingly the last 90 years! And the fact that a school assassin could have been killed in this house and no one would know about that or even the fact that a school murder spree happened in that town is simply too much for me to accept. If I told you were moving into Columbine, CO…exactly.

23. Beavis & Butthead (Last Week: 6)
Meet the TVpocalypse Top 25’s biggest faller. 17 spots to be exact. When last we discussed this show I explained to you that I was supremely disappointed in the first show, and that I hadn’t yet brought myself to watching the second show for fear that I would realize that I’ve somehow left adolescent Scott and his sense of humor behind. Well, fast forward 4 weeks and I haven’t yet brought myself to watching episode 3…or episode 4…or episode 5. Fare thee well fart jokes.

24. Gossip Girl  (Last Week: 23)
I keep waiting for the mood to strike me where I’m going to want to power through my DVR stockpile on this show. I’m still waiting. Every time I catch a glimpse of the show it scares me. I’ve seen Elizabeth Hurley. And she’s talking to Nate. And I’m pretty sure they’ve hooked up/are hooking up/will hook up. And I’m pretty sure I don’t like how that makes me feel as she is old enough to be his grandmother.

25. Pan Am (Last Week: 22)
It’s been 4 weeks, and there’s still talk that this show might get cancelled. So much so that one of the stars of the show (go ahead, I dare you to be able to name one of the “stars” of this show) tweeted that she was told that they wouldn’t be returning after the holidays. ABC has since denied this report, but really, who cares? I’ll tell you when this show lost me (probably for good). There was an episode when we delve into Ted’s past and how it landed him in the co-pilot’s seat (Before you say anything, you should know that I had to IMDB Ted’s name. And before you go saying anything else you should know that, yes, I have made IMDB a verb.). There was a supposed high drama flashback scene where Ted is standing in front of a military court defending his actions in an accident involving his aircraft. What came out of these proceedings is really unimportant. What is important is that it reminded me of two things. The first was the scene from Top Gun where Maverick is standing in front of a similar Navy tribunal for his role in poor Goose’s death. And the second was the military courtroom scenes involving Ted Striker in Airplane 2. I don’t know that either would really strike the dramatic chord I’m sure the writers were looking for, but the similarities were downright uncanny. “Over Macho Grande? No…I’m afraid I’ll never be over Macho Grande.”

And that my friends is 3,124 words of pent-up TV blogging.

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I Have a Theory on….American Horror Story

If you're a woman looking at this image, let me know if you see Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under. Thanks.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “I Have a Theory On…”. This is meant to be a recurring theme for some of my posts here on TVpocalypse (in theory anyway). Basically, every so often, while watching one of the seemingly 54 TV shows I watch, I’ll come upon a “theory” as to why the show is good…or why it’s bad…or why I can’t stop watching it…or why I can’t bear to watch another second…or maybe even why I love writing in ellipses so much. It’s generally not very well thought out, and it is almost certainly never deals in anything of great importance or substance. So, in essence, it’s a microcosm of this entire blog. So, with all of that out of the way, I present to you I Have a Theory On…American Horror Story.

So after 3 episodes of American Horror Story, I have a theory (hence the name) on why I’m not all too excited about this show. Actually, let me preface my rant with a warning. I am not a horror film buff. I used to love them as a kid (think Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween…typical 12 year old boy stuff), but as I have gotten older I have found myself somewhat disinterested by the genre. Call me old fashioned, but when I sit down to watch a horror flick (or show), I like to be scared. You can scare me by startling me, or you can scare me by making me believe my house is haunted, or maybe you can even scare me into believing the guy next door is a sociopathic axe murderer. The point is, you’re supposed to scare me, and at no point during this show’s first three episodes have I been genuinely scared.

To me, the problem is that it’s WAY too over-the-top. Every week we learn of a new murder that has occurred in this house. We’re three episodes in, and I’m pretty sure they’ve exposed 6 different murder scenes over the course of the last 80 years. Well, guess what? OF COURSE THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED! THEY HAVE MURDERS THERE SEMI-ANNUALLY!!! How am I supposed to watch this and think that maybe my house is haunted in any kind of similar way?! MAYBE there was some murder that occurred in my building that I was unaware of. Or MAYBE the building was built on the site of some ancient Native American cemetery. MAYBE I wouldn’t know anything about these things moving into my place, and thus MAYBE I could be scared that this same sequence of events could happen to me. MAYBE. But, while I didn’t due a ton of due diligence before I moved into my building, I’m fairly certain I would have heard something if 487 different murders occurred there.

I would actually argue that the writing on this show is extremely lazy. They’re using the genre as an excuse to do anything and everything they want to. LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! A creepy burn victim! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Scary kids who were murdered! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Dylan McDermott doesn’t have a shirt on again! (I don’t even know that the genre offers any sort of rational reason for this). My point is that the writers seem to go over-the-top in every minute of this show without much concern for things making sense in the context of a larger story, all the while hiding behind the excuse of “it’s a horror show”.

This is becoming frustratingly reminiscent of a show that had a similar amount of potential to be great, True Blood. Mind you, I still watch True Blood, but every season I find myself becoming more and more annoyed by the ridiculousness of the writing on that show. In True Blood, there seems to be 11 human beings left in the entire world. Everyone else is a vampire. Or a werewolf. Or a fairy. Or a sprite. Or some other mystical creature that I haven’t heard of because I didn’t lock myself in a room and play D&D for hours on end as a child. So in this world, there is no problem that can’t be written around. Killed a main character? No problem…they’ll just drink vampire blood and be good as new! Miss a character that somehow died and stayed that way? No problem…we can go visit them in the fairy world and see what they’ve been up to! Hell, they just killed Tara in last season’s finale and I didn’t even flinch since I know she’ll be back in some way, shape or form come episode 2 of the next season.

And this seems to be much the same in American Horror Story. How could he kill his ex-girlfriend and bury her under a gazebo he just built?! Why are the wife and teen daughter seemingly unaffected by the fact that they MURDERED 3 people in their house yesterday!? And what the hell is the deal with the Shallow Hal affect on Ruth Fisher (Six Feet Under reference, for those not in the know) where only men get to see her as a hot little chippy!? And of course, the lazy answer to all of those questions is “because it’s horror.” Well, if this is their interpretation of what “horror” is, I’m not sure how much I like it. And at 850+ words I don’t know that this is a theory as much as it is a theorem.

This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll (10/24/11)

Luckily my sense of humor has not evolved one iota since this show last aired.

1. Homeland (Last Week: 1)
In a week littered with no-shows, this show was as solid as ever. I literally can’t wait to see what happens next. This is one of those rare shows where they over-deliver every week, which is incredible seeing as how the scenes from next week have me chomping at the bit for next Sunday the second they end.

2. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)
Jimmy and Robert scalped someone this week. And it make perfect sense that they would. That’s how good the writing on this show is right now.

3. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 4)
Speaking of shows that are on a roll….it seems like they are killing a major character or setting the table to kill one every week in Charming. Of course now that I’ve FINALLY caught up with this show and it’s on an incredible run, I’m about to lose FX thanks to the good folks at DirecTV. As if it wasn’t hard enough to keep up with 25 shows on my DVR, now I’m going to have to find bootleg versions of a half a dozen shows online. Good times.

4. The Walking Dead (Last Week: 3)
A little bit slow last week, and I have to be honest, I need more walkers.

5. Modern Family (Last Week: 5)

6. Beavis & Butthead (Last Week: NR)
Out with Jersey Shore and in with a classic that is near and dear to my heart. For the young’uns who make up a large contingent of this blog’s readership, I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the greatness of this show. And the fact that it’s animated (no actors to get old), and that it has Mike Judge on board still (no half-assed attempt to bring it back again…I’m talking to you 90210), means that you can in fact get a second chance in life. Throw in the fact that the boys now have all of the rich content of MTV’s “finest” reality programming to comment on and you might very well have the perfect storm for TV gold.

7. Happy Endings (Last Week: 6)

8. Dexter (Last Week: 7)
I have to be honest, this show is about to drop in the rankings. There are just too many ridiculous elements in this show right now. First of all, Debra’s the lieutenant. Wasn’t she backdooring her way to detective like a year ago? Isn’t she the loose cannon who, while she does a good job, certainly does not play the political games that are required to move up the ranks in the police department (if you have any friends who are “on the job”, you know what I’m talking about). My second issue is just how many serial killers can one city have in such a short amount of time? Yep, exactly….not this many.

On a completely side note, I’m going to do to all of you what I do to my girlfriend at the movies and during TV shows all the time (keep it clean people!)….I’m going to attempt to call out a very obvious plot line (that the writers think is super slick) and thus potentially ruin the show for you. I have no inside information, this is entirely based on my own hunch. Of course this hunch is born out of 37 years of relentless TV watching and movie going…so it obviously has merit. Lucky for you, unlike Kate, you have your warning. Skip ahead to the next show if you do not want to know that the old professor following Colin Hanks around does not in fact exist. You shouldn’t be reading this if you don’t want to know that he is merely a figment of his imagination similar to Dexter and Harry. Of course if you did just read this you can now consider this season of Dexter ruined for you! And welcome to the frustration that is living with me!!

9. Up All Night (Last Week: 12)
A flashback episode this early in a show’s existence could have been a disaster….but this episode was fantastic. It seems like this show is getting better every week.

10. Parenthood (Last Week: 11)

11. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 9)

12. The X Factor (Last Week: 10)
FOX and the World Series that no one is watching is wreaking havoc on my X Factor allegiance. Nice job FOX.

13. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Last Week: 13)

14. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 14)

15. The League (Last Week: 15)
Thank you again FX and DirecTV.

16. The Office (Last Week: 16)
Yet another show with no new episode.

17. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 17)

18. Fringe (Last Week: 18)
And yet another show with no new episode.

19. House (Last Week: 19)
And yet another show with no new episode. World Series fever….CATCH IT!!!

20. American Horror Story (Last Week: 20)
Major post coming on this tomorrow….consider yourself teased.

21. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior  (Last Week: 23)

22. Pan Am (Last Week: 21)
There’s talk that this show might get cancelled. There’s also talk that I don’t know if I care too much beyond the fact that I will now have to go and find yet another show to enter the TVpocalypse Top 25.

23. Gossip Girl  (Last Week: 22)

24. Whitney (Last Week: 24)
And , yes, you guessed it…another show with no new episode.

25. Hung (Last Week: 25)
Goddamn bedroom DVR.

This Week’s TVpocalypse Poll (10/17/11)

In her heyday (as is evidenced the "Rachel" haircut)

1. Homeland (Last Week: 4)
As you’ll notice, there’s a major shakeup at the top of the rankings this week. And at the urging of Erin, my friend and fellow blogger, I’ve decided that three episodes is enough of a sample size to go on the record and declare this the best show on TV (or at least the best show on the TVpocalypse 25). As is always the case, it comes down to the DVR. There is not a more jam packed night on my frenetic TV viewing schedule than Sunday night, and this show is always the one I’m looking most forward to. As I measure which show I will watch first, I realize that I’m always a little disappointed when I realize Homeland doesn’t go on until 10pm so I can’t watch it first. I literally can’t wait to see what happens next.

2. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)

3. The Walking Dead (Last Week: 23)
This is one of those rare cases where, despite months and months of media overhype and over-the-top word of mouth endorsements, this show didn’t only live up to the hype…it exceeded it. I am not a horror movie fanatic, nor am I a comic book maven, so it’s not like this is a show that is pandering to me.  It’s just that this show is that good. Similar to Boardwalk Empire, this show just seems to standout to a point where it’s always unfair to compare it to other mere mortal TV shows. I don’t know that it’s one of the perks of doing good TV on cable instead of network TV, but this is more like a weekly movie-going experience as opposed to a TV show. The moment I finished the sixth and final episode of season one, I was counting the moments until the season two premiere.

4. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 3)

5. Modern Family (Last Week: 1)
It’s not that this show has been bad lately, it’s just that the other shows have been that good.

6. Happy Endings (Last Week: 17)
Alright, so I mentioned in The Weekend Rally that this was one of the shows that I rallied big time on and completely caught up with. After pouring through about 6 episodes this weekend, I have one simple question, “How the hell is this show not bigger than it is?!” Six friends. Great banter. Plenty of inside joke-ish references for those of who are children of the 70’s. And a major point of tension that runs throughout every episode…will Alex and Dave every get back together again? Sound familiar? Yep, this show is essentially Friends before that show jumped the shark with Ross and Rachel part 87. Get on board people….this is good stuff!

7. Dexter (Last Week: 5)
Similar situation to Modern Family.  I’m not hating on Dexter, but I’m not loving on him either. There are just too many crazy-good dramas on TV right now to have this show (in its’ current state) rate any higher.

8. Jersey Shore (Last Week: 6)
Season finale coming this week, and a possible farewell to our current cast of guidos. So it goes without saying that I have some pretty high hopes for this one.

9. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 8 )

10. The X Factor (Last Week: 7)
Remember when I told you last week that I am now officially looking forward to seeing what happens next on this show. Well, I still am. Thanks FOX.

11. Parenthood (Last Week: 10)

12. Up All Night (Last Week: 12)

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

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

15. The League (Last Week: 14)

16. The Office (Last Week: 16)

17. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 15)

18. Fringe (Last Week: 18)
I’m back in. Another couple of solid episodes and this could start climbing again. I’m just hoping they don’t botch this Peter return.

19. House (Last Week: 20)
I might have a better idea on this had I been allowed to watch episode two. Thank you one more time FOX.

20. American Horror Story (Last Week: 24)
Much improvement from episode one into episode two, but I still have reservations. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear that I have a theory on this. More to come on this one later in the week.

21. Pan Am (Last Week: 13)
I’m a bit confused as to what this show is trying to be. Let’s put it this way, with 24 off the air, this is not the show I’m looking to sate my international spy games fix. Apparently, the show’s writers don’t entirely see it that way. That’s a bit unsettling. Again, I have a theory on this. And again, more to come on this one later in the week.

22. Gossip Girl  (Last Week: 19)

23. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior  (Last Week: 25)
Someone needs to prove to me that Discovery did not in fact have an actual role in manufacturing this Senior vs. Junior riff. Without this storyline, the show would have been cancelled 2 years ago. It’s almost sad (says the guy writing this post while watching said exploitative show).

24. Whitney (Last Week: 22)
One of these days, you’re all going to fall in love with Whitney and you’ll have me to thank for discovering a show that you normally wouldn’t have considered. Either that or NBC will cancel it in January. Either one….but more likely the latter than the former.

25. Hung (Last Week: 21)
Wouldn’t be the worst idea if I actually got around to watching one of these episodes.

Others to Watch: Person of Interest (Still piling up on my DVR)

The Weekend Rally

Waterworld. Yep, I went there.

I took Friday off from work and, as a result, The Weekend Rally just got super-sized. So whereas the glass half-empty’ers will complain for a slow week of posts from TVpocalypse, the glass half-full’ers can rest assured knowing that having caught up with every show under the sun, I now have an abundance of superficial thoughts to offer on an array of seemingly inane topics. Translation: it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy week here at TVpocalypse.

That’s right folks, if not for a DVR malfunction that  resulted in none of the Hung episodes being recorded (don’t worry, it has since been remedied…I’m sure you were all very concerned), I would be 100% caught up on all of the shows in the current edition of the TVpocalypse Top 25.

Rally on season one leading into season two of The Walking Dead? Check. All of the back episodes of American Chopper? Cleared. Catch up on all things Gossip Girl? Check. I was a machine. I was on a roll and I literally couldn’t be stopped. I was bagging dinner and a movie plans (before you go screaming and yelling about my poor girlfriend, I’ll have you know that it was just as much her decision. We are both equally addicted to The Walking Dead now), I was staying up to all hours of the night (3:30am Thursday night, 2:30am Saturday and Sunday night…the things I do for you folks). I literally couldn’t be stopped. And then I ran into the FOX buzz saw.

In it’s mishandling of the MLB playoffs, FOX has wreaked havoc with my DVR and thus my TV viewing proficiency. As I powered through the season premiere of House and looked to continue on into episode two, I was greeted by a title on my DVR entitled House: Transplant that in actuality was 47 minutes of Terra Nova topped off with just enough of House to get me interested in the episode that I was missing and thus get me even further frustrated.

FOX’s assault on my DVR continued as they cancelled Wednesday’s The X Factor for the World Series (understandable), then mislabeled Thursday’s episode so it didn’t’ record (not so understandable), and then left Sunday’s programming labeled as MLB NLCS (a game that wasn’t happening as said series concluded the night before). This clerical error made it impossible to simply record the 8pm-10pm replay since the NLCS block ran all the way past 11pm. And this in turn made it impossible to record The X Factor replay without wreaking havoc on my already log-jammed Sunday night programming (epically not understandable). So here’s the net net…

 

The Unwatched List
The X Factor (thanks FOX)
House (and thank you once again FOX)
Hung (DirecTV’s DVR’s fault….because obviously nothing is my fault)

 

The Worst Episode of the Week
Terra Nova (What Remains)

Apparently FOX is refusing to take “no” for an answer. As anyone who has read this blog can attest to, there wasn’t a moment that I even entertained the notion that Terra Nova would be a good show or that  I would want to watch it (because, as has also been proven in this blog, one has nothing to do with the other. I am more than happy to watch bad TV that is truly great). And, I agree, there are those who would argue that it’s a little unfair to judge the merit of an episode (nevermind an entire show) on a viewing that took place in 1 minute and 37 seconds and entirely in 4x fast forward speed. Of course, I would rebuke that in that time (and even at that speed) I saw everything that I needed to see to reinforce my completely biased and prejudiced opinion of this show.

If Jurassic Park was impregnated by Waterworld and Avatar, this is what I imagine their offspring would look like. And while there are probably some of you who like the sound of that, I am not one of them. I didn’t mind Jurassic Park and that is probably the best I can say about any of them. I think we can all agree on the absurdity that was Waterworld. And finally, I am proud to declare myself a founding member of the I Refuse to Ever See Avatar Because That’s Just How Absurd It Looks Club. Mind you, there are only 17 of us members left, but I’m not caving on this one. And I’m not caving on Terra Nova either…no matter what you do to my DVR FOX!

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)

The Weekend Rally

Don't let the smile fool you...he'll cut a bitch.

We might as well rename this post the The X-Factor Rally this week. Because obviously when a show turns out 4+ hours of programming a week, it just begs to be saved up for two weeks and powered through in an 8-12 hour marathon session…right?! Doesn’t it? No? Is it just me?

Anyway, after the afore mentioned 10 hours of The X-Factor viewing I have finally come to a conclusion on this show. I love it. And while I admit that there are plenty of parts that are almost direct lifts from American Idol (e.g. train wreck auditions, a Euro-trash version of Ryan Seacrest, Simon, the entire format), there are enough changes that make this somewhat new and interesting. In reality, this isn’t a new show as much as it is a long overdue re-boot of the Idol franchise (except Simon had to depart and start this show on his own because, as was evidenced by his fielding a call from the show’s producers aboard his 100 ft. yacht in the south of France, it’s about time he finally gets paid).

For those of you who aren’t on board just yet, here’s the upside that The X-Factor brings to the table:

1. The 30+ Group: Whereas Idol has morphed into nothing more than a Disney-type teenybopper-producing machine, I love that The X Factor opens it up to any and all comers. And while the very young contestants have also made it interesting, it’s the grizzled veterans that make this show completely unique. They’ve been around the block. They know this isn’t supposed to be handed to them. They actually have an idea as to who they are (mostly). And best of all, they’re desperate. Some of these contestants have seemingly just come in from living on the street, so you have this overwhelming sense that they might literally kill that 16 year-old kid doing his “pained” rendition of Hallelujah if that’s what it would take to move on to next week. And in my book, that’s TV gold.

2. Competition: The major point of difference between The X Factor and Idol is that the judges have a vested interest in the development of the show’s talent. Not only are they actively mentoring the contestants, but the format of the show pits the judges against each other. They are each responsible for one of the groups (Simon has the girls, LA Reid has the boys, Paula has the groups, and the waif model/singer that no one has ever heard of has the 30+ contestants). And rest assured, the pissing contest has already begun. The only thing funnier than the fact that Simon and LA have begun trash talking each other, is that neither of them has even considered for a moment the possibility that Paula or Model girl can actually lead their talent to the win. (I’m also 93% certain that neither Simon nor LA know the Model girl’s name either and actually call her Model girl as well).

3. Simon: If you’re an Idol fan and you have fallen out of love with it, you should get on The X Factor now. Because just in case there was any doubt, Simon is the difference. It’s amazing what a judge with an actual opinion beyond “You look great.” can make. Simon hasn’t even brought “awkwardly brutal, yet utterly brilliant and entertaining Simon” to the party just yet, and already I find myself saying “God, I missed Simon” upwards of 10 times an episode. Throw in his hysterically subtle (at times) jabs at Paula’s mental instability, and you have yet another reason that I am all in on this show.

 

The Unwatched List
There are a whole bunch of show’s on the list this week (how’s that for descriptive?). But this probably isn’t the best indicator as to whether or not a show is falling off the Top 25. And there are actually two reasons for that.

First, I’m losing so many shows from cancellations and season endings that I can’t afford to kill a show just because it sucks. That’s the kind of dedication I’m bringing to this blog for you folks.

Of course, the second reason is work. Again, until this blog develops its’ own revenue stream, there will actually be times when I’m unable to keep up for a couple of days at a time. Despite the fact that I’ve trained my body to operate on a mere 2-3 hours of sleep a day (I’m a professional….so don’t go getting any ideas), I’m still in need of a few more hours per day to stay on top of my 25 shows, and my job, and oh yeah…my actual life.

 

The Worst Episode of the Week
The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Portrait of an Italian Family)
This was the season finale. This was building off the momentum of the now legendary On Display “performance”. This should have been must-watch, save until I delete TV. But instead, it was check the DVR and make sure it recorded the entire episode TV. All of the showdowns the show’s producers worked so hard to set up over the course of the season were never fully realized. Ashley, or Ashlee as she is now called, never moved out. And what’s even more disappointing than that, is the fact that the only way I found that out was through an on-screen caption which told me so. The captions also told me that Ashley legally changed her name to Ashlee. How in the hell was this not captured on camera!? I need to know how she came up with this. I want to know how much time and money was spent to make this happen. I might need to fire off a FOIA letter to Bravo so I can personally pour over all of their footage to get these answers. I don’t think I’m overstating the importance here in the slightest.

The other annoying element of last night’s finale is the fact that the Tre-Caroline feud was teased only to lead into a fireworks filled reunion show, or worse yet, next season. If I had any self-respect, I would skip the reunion show and not allow myself to be so obviously strung along. But of course since I don’t have any self-respect, I will be there with bells on hoping for a no-holds barred, Jersey Housewives brawl.

Goodbye to The Playboy Club

20111006-174956.jpg

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.

That was my pre-season assessment of The Playboy Club. And while it did make it out of its’ first episode….it didn’t make too much further. So while it’s impossible to say that I didn’t see this coming, I must confess, it stings nonetheless.

But why you ask? Well, I’ve spent the last day and half trying to wrap my head around that very same question and I’m pretty sure I’ve come to a conclusion (yet another perk to my daily 3-state, 3 hour sojourn to and from work (or commute as most people call it…and yes this is another case of a parenthetical statement within another parenthetical statement)).

I guess because I’ve been able to put so much time into analyzing this (because obviously, there really aren’t any more important things I should be thinking about), I not only have one reason as to why I’m so hurt by this show being cancelled, but I actually have two of them. So without further ado (I would say 256 words is enough ado), here the two reasons why I’m so bothered by The Playboy Club being cancelled.

1. Whatever happened to bad TV?
Don’t get me wrong, this was bad TV (really bad TV actually). But I would argue that that is exactly the reason why we need this show. With the explosion of reality TV, bad TV has become a lost art form. Judging by production costs alone, the networks would obviously much rather go out with a “bad TV” reality show than a “bad TV” non-reality show. But I would argue that in that thinking, there is a massive void in our TV viewing selection.

You see, sometimes, I don’t want a sitcom that hits me with some adaptation of a joke that has been used approximately 378 times in 216 different shows since the first time it was used in a 1956 episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

And sometimes, I don’t want to watch a drama where I can sniff out the entire story line (definitely for the episode, and quite possibly for the season) about 7-8 seconds after the opening credits have cleared the screen (yes Grey’s Anatomy, I’m talking to you. To be honest, I actually liked Grey’s the first time it was on. I think they called it ER back then).

I don’t want it to make me a better person. I don’t want it to make some huge veiled statement about our society as a whole. But most importantly, I don’t want it to make me think.
Because, sometimes, I just want bad TV. I want mindless TV (Donna Martin graduates!). I want it to be over-the-top (the Melrose Place explosion at the pool). I want to be able to shut off my brain, watch without thinking, be completely entertained and love every ridiculously absurd minute of it.

The Playboy Club was all of those things. And now it’s gone. Thanks a lot NBC! Which is actually a good segue into my next point (it’s almost like I’m planning this as I write or something).

2. Fear of Commitment
How many times have you gone against your better judgement and gone all in on a show? You knew from the moment they announced it that the network wasn’t entirely sold on it. You knew they were just looking for a reason to cancel it. You knew that the only reason they put it in the fall lineup was because they’re already having trouble justifying 7 hours of The Biggest Loser a week on top of the 4 hours of Minute to Win It, and they figured that had to have some original programming…right? Didn’t they?

You knew all of this, yet you still went in on The Black Donnellys, and Journeyman, and Southland, and Kidnapped, and Pushing Daisies, and The Event, and Flash Forward, and Detroit 1-8-7, and of course on The Playboy Club.

And then the network did exactly what you knew they would they do. At the first sign of distress, they cancelled it. And in its’ place, they created a new SVU or they extended Deal or No Deal another hour longer. They got nice and safe…and lazy. Of course, these are the same folks who tried to cancel possibly the greatest TV drama of all time (Friday Night Lights) and the greatest TV comedy of all time (Arrested Development) every single season they were on.

So let me save you all the time since I have a good eye for these doomed shows. If you happen to be watching Terra Nova….yep…you already know…don’t you? Maybe Netflix (or whatever they call it now) an old season of The Wire or something. Sorry to be the bearer of bad new, I guess I just miss The Playboy Club.

Am I the only one? Was I the only one watching the shows mentioned above? Did I happen to miss any? I would love to hear about them..

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