Monday, June 28, 2010

"Louie" it's funny -- and painful -- because it's true

Is anybody else absolutely thrilled that the sitcom is back? I mean, for years, the format seemed to be struggling. Many new sitcoms didn't work and the few that did ("30 Rock," "Arrested Development")  had to fight for their lives. But, with the success of the Wednesday sitcom lineup ABC introduced last fall (well, it was mostly successful. RIP, "Hank"), funny is in again.
Of course, ABC isn't the only station coming up with high-quality comedy. Take "Louie," the new FX sitcom that premieres Tuesday at 11 p.m. The show stars stand-up comic Louis C.K. as, well, himself -- a stand-up comedian and single dad in New York.

Life after death: Reviewing the new season of "Rescue Me"

FX's "Rescue Me" might be the show on television most capable of driving me nuts. Maybe that's because I know how good it can be when it's firing on all cylinders. I mean, when the show -- which starts its new season Tuesday at 10 p.m. --  focuses on the relaxed, funny, often profane banter between firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) and his crew, few series are better at depicting the power of male bonding.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"True Blood" recap: Let go

Spoilers on this week's episode of "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Will someone please tell me why I'm still watching "Entourage"?

The new season of HBO's "Entourage" starts Sunday at 10:30 p.m. and, while watching the three episodes sent for review, one question kept popping up in my head: Why am I still watching this show?

Friday Night Lights recap: Two recaps for the price of one!

OK, admittedly I've been quite bad about keeping up on my "Friday Night Lights" recaps. Mainly it's because I've been busy, but I'm also not that motivated to keep up with them, because I'm not sure anyone's reading them.
So, before I do a two-for-one recap of both last week's episode, "In the Bag" and this week's "Toilet Bowl," let me enter a quick plea -- if you like these recaps, please share comments below. It will help me stay motivated into keeping up on this. If I don't get any comments, I  will probably just stop doing the recaps.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on "In the Bag" and "Toilet Bowl." In the interest of time, they both consist solely of bullet points.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Credits where credit is due

Nearly every year, you see a story about how the opening credit sequence is dead. At the very least, I agree that creating a lengthy credit sequence for the opening of a television show is a lost art. It's certainly not as common as it was in the 60s, 70s or even 80s, when many series had memorable, catchy theme songs and indelible opening credits.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"True Blood" recap: The cactus king of Mississippi

Spoilers for this week's episode of "True Blood" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Leverage" review: Breezy, diverting summer entertainment

Not all TV shows have to be innovative. They don't all have to be deep or insightful or turn your world upside down. Sometimes, they can just be fun, distracting comfort food. "Leverage," TNT's breezy caper dramedy starring Timothy Hutton, is a perfect summer snack.
It returns for its new season Sunday at 9 p.m., and it picks up pretty much where it left off -- with Nate (Hutton) in prison, having sacrificed himself to protect his band of do-gooding thieves. They seem somewhat less than grateful, but want to break him out of jail anyway. But Nate has other plans, which involve helping a fellow inmate who was unfairly incarcerated.
The whole thing is bright and swift, with typically snappy performances by the actors. Hutton, as always, effortlessly communicates world-weary crankiness and decency, but the real kick here are the supporting actors. Aldis Hodge continues to be a hoot as the fast-talking, quick-thinking hacker Alec Hardison. And Beth Riesgraf grows on me a little more each season as quirky thief Parker. Rounding out the cast are Christian Kane as the team's muscle and Gina Bellman, returning from a season long maternity leave to reprise her role as Sophie.
So far, I'm less than impressed by the show's new character, a slinky villainess played by Elisabetta Canalis, also known as George Clooney's lady friend. However, the show's quick pace and engaging core cast are enough to suck me in week after week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Breaking Bad" season finale recap: "Full Measure"

A spoiler-laden recap of the bleakly brilliant (or is that brilliantly bleak?) finale of AMC "Breaking Bad" below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"True Blood" season premeire recap: There. There wolf.

Before I dive into recapping the season three premiere of "True Blood," let me just say that I'm not sure I'll be able to write a recap every single week. Since the verdict on "TB" is somewhat split in the I Screen household, I have a feeling that I won't always be watching episodes on time. But I'll try to recap as many as possible (provided that you actually want the recaps -- covering this post with comments will go a long way to making the recaps more frequent).
Anyway, here are my thoughts on this week's episode.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Friday Night Lights" recap: A whole pile of bull

Spoilers for this week's episode of "Friday Night Lights" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Claws and fangs: Reviewing the new season of HBO's "True Blood"

HBO's weird, wild fantasy drama "True Blood" is not unlike a carnival. It's bright, a little unsettling, and contains something for almost everyone. Just as some carnival goers might dig the midway and despise the Ferris wheel, "True Blood" fans, more likely than not, enjoy some aspects of the this occasionally over-stuffed show more than others.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Glee" season finale recap: "Journey"

I'm criminally late in reviewing the season finale of "Glee," so I'm sure everything truly important about this episode (and the freshman season of this highly unique show) has already been said. Thus, I'm going to skip right ahead to a series of bulleted thoughts/questions/reflections on this week's episode.
Spoilers after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Justified" finale recap: "Bulletville"

Spoilers on the excellent, bloody finale of FX's "Justified" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Friday Night Lights" recap: "The Son"

Just a few thoughts on this week's episode of "Friday Night Lights" after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"The Good Guys" returns -- could you please give it a look?

When Fox's new series "The Good Guys" premiered a few weeks ago, few people took notice -- as evidenced by the episode's fairly dismal ratings.
I can only hope that this show -- which stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks as a pair of mismatched cops -- fairs better when it makes its regular time period debut at 9 p.m. Monday. Admittedly, "The Good Guys" is disposable entertainment. It doesn't require a lot of deep thinking, and its characters are pretty broad. But it's also funny, quick moving and possessed of two engaging lead performances by Whitford and (especially) Hanks.
The joke of the show is that Dallas cops Dan Stark (Whitford) and Jack Bailey (Hanks) are charged with investigating petty crimes that often turn out to be something much bigger.
In the premiere, it was a stolen humidifier that ended up being linked to a drug ring. In this week's episode, a series of broken street lamps leads the guys to unearth a car theft ring.
As in the pilot, Whitford's Stark is a quasi-creepy throwback who hates computers, spouts off about "busting punks" and appears to be permanently hungover. The shtick can be tiresome at times, particularly when he refers to computers as "computer machines" (I'm sorry -- I just don't buy Whitford as a guy old enough to be mystified by computers).
But I guess Dan is supposed to be a little tiresome. Besides, the character does land quite a few good lines, as in his description of the British in this week's episode: "I can't understand a thing they're saying unless they're singing." Plus, Whitford appears to be having such a swell time in the part, I'm inclined to roll with him.
Hanks, playing the more realistic of the two characters, is the anchor and heart of the show. It must be hard to stand out when your father is Tom Freakin' Hanks, one of the most famous and well-liked movie stars of the past 30 years. But the younger Hanks is managing to carve out a fairly nice career for himself, simply by being funny and appealing (hey, it worked for his dad). He's a fine leading man, and he and Whitford have a nice chemistry.
"The Good Guys" is fluff, but it's charming, well-crafted fluff that's highly capable of entertaining TV audiences during the hot summer months.
Give it a shot, won't you?