Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weekend again.

So what's on my mind?


1. My boss. A definite case of the more I dislike someone the more I want to engage in rough, angry sex with them (see also C. Aguilera, J. Jackson, N. Campbell, A. Lavigne, E. Cetera). Weird.

2. "How To Stop An Exploding Man." And thus ends Heroes Volume One, the first time I've watched an entire season online before it gets to broadcast UK television, digital or terrestrial. And damn, it was worth it... not only has it managed to fill the Buffy the Vampire Slayer-shaped hole in my life that Charmed, Desperate Housewives and Lost never quite managed (keeping me going from week to week, thinking about it between episodes etc), but if you've seen the illustration you'll know where I'm taking this. Too bad about the Sci-Fi Channel losing first-run rights to Volume Two to the BBC (bigger reach, but they had it first...). And to everyone moaning about the finale; a) he couldn't fly away because he was too busy trying to keep from exploding, b) the guy isn't dead, and c) it's called putting characters ahead of flash. August 1 on BBC2, apparently.

3. The ComicCon has had its dates changed, so I have to readjust my holiday (brought forward a week). Better that than a cancellation.

4. Bridge to Terabithia. Probably a better book than movie. But a good movie. (Too bad about the trailer for Are We Done Yet? however.)

5. Yay for Sharon for getting a break from AOL! She was going to transfer from them but they cut her a deal because she's such a good customer. Now ease up her burden on other things as well, fate.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We could be together for a while.

In talking about the new US shows in general and Life Is Wild (the US Wild At Heart) in particular, I said with regards to its Alttiere Factor, quote, "Unless Tiffany Mulheron is smoking hot, I doubt it."

I stand corrected.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Three things I have to get off my chest. Now.

Thing Number One: I may (and do) lie in real life, but I never lie on this blog.

Thing Number Two: I have a problem with crossdressers. Riding on the N5 to Camden Town last week I was on the top deck with a tattooed, rather unattractive crossdresser. It wasn't the first time I'd seen him either, and it made me uncomfortable - such things often do. True, he was minding his own business and I was minding mine (it wasn't like he was making a scene like some genuine jerks have on the buses), and if he's fine like that then good; but I just have difficulty warming to that particular choice. That's likely to be one reason why I never really liked Boy George (admittedly "The War Song" and his colossal bitchiness are ultimately bigger factors), and why I've always been left cold by men dressing as women for laughs (with all due respect to Lily Savage). Lifestyle choice it may be, but part of it is a bit like men horning in on something that's still primarily female territory - namely, their gender; transgenders in one direction or the other are an entirely different thing. Irrational prejudice? Yeah. And I'm not proud of it. Mind you, like I said the guy was tattooed and unattractive. Maybe if he was goodlooking it would be another story.

Thing Number Three: I don't know where Jen's gone, but I miss her. A lot.

Nothing to say.

Nothing at all.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Cindy Spot presents My Own Personal Guide to the New US Shows II: The Next Day

Ah, the upfronts. My favourite part of the TV year, when we find out which shows are likely to be up for grabs at the LA Screenings and MIPCOM (or maybe not - they're likely to tread more carefully after last year, when all the major UK buyers got burnt to some degree; ITV was going to give Six Degrees the flagship channel treatment, the BBC snapped up, er 3 LBS., Channel 4 couldn't wait to take Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Five went for Vanished and Sky took Standoff. To compound this, they all passed on Heroes the first time around... though to be fair, BBC2 came to their senses later on, C4 did take Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters and Five has Shark). What's coming up, whether or not I'll take a look, and the ever-important eye-candy points (hence the Alttiere Factor - named after Jessica Alba and Hayden Panettiere, the lures that got me into Dark Angel and Heroes respectively). No reality shows included, by the way. Especially for the CW.

Bionic Woman
Worth checking out? Well, I never much cared for the original show (I was a loyalist to The Six Million Dollar Man myself), but it sounds... watchable.
Alttiere Factor: Reasonable. Katee Sackhoff is no Grace Park, and Michelle Ryan sure as hell ain't no Jessica Alba, but neither are they Trinny and Susannah.
Chances of being in the UK: Extremely high. The casting of a graduate from one of the main soaps helps, plus the fact that Sky One is always after new SF shows - plus the fact that Sci-Fi will be wanting something to fit in alongside Heroes (the first thing to regularly tune me to the channel since She Spies ended)...

Worth checking out? The premise of a spy with an enhanced brain is right up my alley, and McG already lured me in with Fastlane, The OC and the Charlie's Angels movies.
Alttiere Factor: Okay. Sarah Lancaster was cute on What About Brian.
Chances of being in the UK: Pretty good.

Worth checking out? Zap2it claims "there was a bit of a Life on Mars vibe to the trailer," but like most people, the moment I heard about this I thought Quantum Leap.
Alttiere Factor: Meh. Gretchen Egolf had to cope with Katherine Heigl and Emilie de Ravin when she was on Roswell and Kelly Hu when she was on Martial Law. Here she has to cope with Moon Bloodgood.
Chances of being in the UK: Could go either way.

Worth checking out? Well, a cop coming back to the force after wrongful imprisonment doesn't spell long-lasting show. Plus it's from Rand Ravich, who still hasn't received the horsewhipping he should have gotten for The Astronaut's Wife.
Alttiere Factor: High. Sarah Shahi (illustrated)'s in it.
Chances of being in the UK: Good. ITV's digital channels love cop shows.

The IT Crowd
Worth checking out? A redo of the British show of the same name, so I have to skip such things on principle.
Alttiere Factor: Not good. Jessica St. Clair is cute,
Chances of being in the UK: Low. Then again UK channels show what is known over here as The Office: An American Workplace...

Lipstick Jungle
Worth checking out? Since I was never on board for Sex and the City, I may have to say no.
Alttiere Factor: Brooke Shields. Kim Raver. Lindsay Price. Not feeling it...
Chances of being in the UK? Bet on it. Sex and the City did not founder over here. Channel 4's probably the best bet.

Big Shots
Worth checking out? Four big executives into male bonding. Hmm. On the upside, Jon Harmon Feldman did okay with Tru Calling...
Alttiere Factor: ...which had Eliza Dushku. This has Jessica Collins from that show, Paige Turco and Nia Long. Not quite in the same league.
Chances of being in the UK: Not out of the question.

Worth checking out? A bunch of white guys sitting around talking? In a car? Better be very funny. Still, Jerry O'Connell can be entertaining. Yes, he can.
Alttiere Factor: Low. I didn't fancy Faith Ford in Murphy Brown, Hope & Faith or Maggie Winters. Unlikely to happen here either.
Chances of being in the UK: Can't see anyone getting excited over it.

Worth checking out? The commercials this gimmick comedy launched from are unknown over here, but even without that foreknowledge it doesn't sound like something that can last. But then again...
Alttiere Factor: Not familiar enough with Kaitlin Doubleday and Stephanie Lemelin to judge.
Chances of being in the UK: Low, but with so many cable channels nothing should ever be ruled out.

Dirty Sexy Money
Worth checking out? Family secrets in high-powered lawyer firm with Peter Krause. Sounds interesting.
Alttiere Factor: Not high, more thanks to Samaire Armstrong than Zoe McLellan.
Chances of being in the UK: Pretty good.

Private Practice
Worth checking out? I don't watch Grey's Anatomy, so there's no chance of me being there for a spinoff. Plus I haven't forgiven producer Marti Noxon for Point Pleasant, Elisabeth Harnois notwithstanding.
Alttiere Factor: Low. Kate Walsh, Merrin Dungey and Amy Brenneman are not enough to atone for Taye Diggs being in it.
Chances of being in the UK: Bet on it. The original show has enough fans on LivingTV and Five.

Pushing Daisies
Worth checking out? The fantasy premise (a man can bring people back to life by touching them but they die again if he touches them again) sounds like something designed for me. Plus Bryan Fuller's behind it - anyone involved with Heroes and Dead Like Me gets a pass automatically.
Alttiere Factor: Pretty high, with Anna Friel and Kristin Chenoweth.
Chances of being in the UK: See Bionic Woman.

Sam I Am
Worth checking out? Amnesia is one of the oldest tricks in the book but it works better as the basis for standalone episodes than as the basis for entire shows (A Man Called Shenandoah, Coronet Blue, The Lazarus Man, John Doe... only Quantum Leap really pulled it off, and that was more time-travel). And as a comedy? But hey.
Alttiere Factor: High. Not only filled with lookers (Christina Applegate, Jennifer Esposito, Jean Smart, even Melissa McCarthy if you like that kind of thing) but they're all good value thespically. Too bad Barry Watson's in it though.
Chance of being in the UK: Paramount Comedy Channel may well come a-calling.

Women's Murder Club
Worth checking out? If I was more familiar with the works of James Patterson, I might be more excited. But it might come off.
Alttiere Factor: Laura Harris, Angie Harmon and Aubrey Dollar. They're all attractive, but... I'm not sure.
Chances of being in the UK: Excellent - there's always room for American 'tec shows on British TV. Always. Especially on the BBC's daytime schedules and on Hallmark.

Cashmere Mafia
Worth checking out? High-powered women in business in New York? At least it's not in the Sex and the City mold. I hope. That said, I'm not hopeful this'll be the hit Darren Star could really, really do with.
Alttiere Factor: Lucy Liu (illustrated). Enough said. (No offence to Frances O'Connor, Miranda Otto and Bonnie Somerville.)
Chance of being in the UK: Darren Star is like catnip to buyers.

Eli Stone
Worth checking out? A lawyer who thinks he's a prophet? Sounds unusual and intriguing. As long as Ken Olin's wife doesn't show up, I'm there.
Alttiere Factor: Sadly not high, thanks to Natasha Henstridge and Loretta Devine.
Chance of being in the UK: If they go for the "UK interest" thing (it stars Jonny Lee Miller - as did, er, Smith, the first show last year to be canned), quite good.

Worth checking out? Hmmmmm... not sure about this unpopular-student-turned-guidance-counselor thing. Depends on if my mind changes; if I'd seen Judy Greer on Arrested Development I'd be more definite.
Alttiere Factor: Not high on Brooke Burns.
Chance of being in the UK: Paramount or Living?

Big Bang Theory
Worth checking out? Geeky guys come under the wing of a beautiful woman? Wow, that's original. Then again, this is from Chuck Lorre so it might be amusing.
Alttiere Factor: Ooh yeah - the beautiful woman is Kaley Cuoco, pictured above. Kaley "8 Simple Rules" Cuoco. Kaley "Billie from the last season of Charmed" Cuoco. Kaley "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers" Cuoco. I am SO there.
Chance of being in the UK: I wouldn't rule it out.

Worth checking out? The story of a successful South Florida family's trials. With Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno, so the acting will not suck. Might be interesting.
Alttiere Factor: There are those who find Polly Walker and Alona Tal (last seen by me in Veronica Mars as the unfortunate Meg, because I don't watch Supernatural) hot. Okay.
Chance of being in the UK: If it's a big enough hit, maybe. And Polly's one of our own.

Worth checking out? Everybody who saw the premise about a tortured sensitive vampire detective and immediately thought either "Angel" or "Forever Knight", raise your hands...
Alttiere Factor: On the down side, it has Amber Valletta. On the upside, it has Shannon Lucio. So-so.
Chance of being in the UK: It'll come. Sooner or later, one way or another, it'll come.

Viva Laughlin
Worth checking out? Based on the BBC show Viva Blackpool (about a man wanting to open a casino, and lots of singing thrown into a bizarre-sounding pot), so that's one for me to avoid on principle...
Alttiere Factor: ...even if it does have Madchen Amick.
Chance of being in the UK: Since Hugh Jackman produces and appears occasionally, better than expected.

Worth checking out? Well, it's a '70s drama that isn't devoted to taking the piss...
Alttiere Factor: The only name that leaps out at me is Lana Parrilla, but after Boomtown that's more than enough to pass.
Chance of being in the UK: Depends. It does have a UK lead in Jack Davenport.

Back to You
Worth checking out? A news sitcom (traditionally shows set in newsrooms do better if they're comedies rather than dramas) with Kelsey Grammer as an anchor. Plus you get him and Fred Willard on the same show. Of course it's worth checking out!
Alttiere Factor: Patricia Heaton is not how I roll.
Chance of being in the UK: Extremely good.

Worth checking out? A cop show set in New Orleans post-Katrina does sound like something to check out. Even if it does star Anthony Anderson.
Alttiere Factor: To the delight of Evil, Simone Deveaux lives - Tawny Cypress goes from Heroes to this. So pretty good. (In a cheeky scheduling move, Fox has this on the fall schedule at 9pm on Mondays until 24 comes back. Heroes is on at the same time, for anyone reading this who doesn't know.)
Chance of being in the UK: This has FX written all over it. Or Five.

New Amsterdam
Worth checking out? Another show about an immortal hero (back and forth between the 17th century and the present). All together now - "I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings..." (With Lasse Hallstrom as producer, though, gore will likely be low.)
Alttiere Factor: Alexie Gilmore is cute, and Zuleikha Robinson has her admirers.
Chance of being in the UK: It could happen eventually. Hell, Queen of Swords is on UK TV now...

Canterbury's Law
Worth checking out? Julianna Margulies as an unconventional defense attorney (aren't they all on TV?). You pays your money... (Then again, Denis Leary's one of the producers.)
Alttiere Factor: See above.
Chance of being in the UK: It's hard to think of a lawyer show that hasn't turned up on British TV.

The Return of Jezebel James
Worth checking out? The words "Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino" mean it definitely is.
Alttiere Factor: I still haven't forgiven Parker Posey for annoying me in Blade: Trinity, but don't discount Lauren Ambrose. So good.
Chance of being in the UK: Trouble? The channel, not the degree of difficulty.

The Rules for Starting Over
Worth checking out? Oh joy, yet another sitcom about friends dating (granted they're in their 30s). Then again, you can never tell just from descriptions.
Alttiere Factor: No offence, Rashida Jones, but the Hottie From The Office slot has been filled by Jenna Fischer.
Chance of being in the UK: Hello, LivingTV.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Worth checking out? As long as it's closer to the first two Terminator movies than the last one.
Alttiere Factor: This will be my first exposure to Summer Glau (illustrated). Hope she lives up to what fans say. (If Lena Headey couldn't get me into 300, on the other hand...).
Chance of being in the UK: Excellent. I expect this to get a buyer at the LA Screenings for sure. And I expect that buyer to be Sky One.

Aliens in America
Worth checking out? Two young boys united by not fitting in. Doesn't sound awful.
Alttiere Factor: Not immediately apparent, frankly.
Chance of being in the UK: It might turn up on Nickelodeon or the like...

Gossip Girl
Worth checking out? A series involving a mysterious blogger who blabs about bad-behaved teens. I'm not a great fan of most gossip blogs, but yes.
Alttiere Factor: You bet. Not only does it have Leighton Meester (illustrated, and let's hope this hot little thing doesn't get killed off like when she was on 24 or be AWOL from several episodes like when she was on Surface), but the gifted and beautiful Kelly Rutherford is here as well - she's long overdue to be on a hit show, having already been on at least two good ones (The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Homefront... did you think I meant Threat Matrix and E-Ring? Please). The fact that the series is narrated by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, is the icing on the cake.
Chance of being in the UK: High. Channel 4 and E4 could use something to replace The OC.

Life is Wild
Worth checking out? Family dramas about people moving from the big country to the countryside or whatever are not my cup of tea to begin with. Especially if they involve animals. Add to this the whole "based on ITV's Wild At Heart" thing, and... but if it's up your street, go nuts.
Alttiere Factor: Unless Tiffany Mulheron is smoking hot, I doubt it.
Chance of being in the UK: On one of ITV's digital channels, probably.

Worth checking out? A lad having to be the Devil's bounty hunter? Brimstone for laughs (with Kevin Smith as a producer). And I was never keen on Brimstone.
Alttiere Factor: Valarie Rae "Original Cindy from Dark Angel" Miller and Nikki Reed from The OC. Hmm.
Chance of being in the UK: Not too bad.

* = Shown (or due to be shown) in the UK.

In memory of: 3 LBS*, 7th Heaven*, 20 Good Years, According To Jim*, All Of Us*, Andy Barker PI, Armed & Famous, Big Day*, The Black Donnellys*, The Class*, Close To Home*, Crossing Jordan*, Day Break*, Drive, Extreme Makeover, George Lopez, Gilmore girls*, Grease: You're The One That I Want, The Great American Dream Vote, Happy Hour*, Help Me Help You*, Identity, In Case of Emergency, Jericho*, Justice*, Kidnapped*, The King of Queens*, The Knights of Prosperity, Nanny 911*, The Nine*, The OC*, Raines*, The Real Wedding Crashers, Reba, The Rich List, Rock Star, Runaway*, Standoff*, Show Me the Money, Six Degrees*, Smith*, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip*, Thank God You're Here, Trading Spouses, Vanished*, Veronica Mars*, The War At Home*, Waterfront (which managed to get cancelled without a single episode being shown!), The Wedding Bells, The Winner and What About Brian*.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ah, the weekend.

And no better way to start it.

Apparently there are four other covers, but I don't care about them.

Comic book buffs take note; Jessica Alba, unlike the Silver Surfer, is a real person. And unlike Spider-Man 3, this OST has no songs on it. Apparently.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hey! Teacher! Leave those credits alone!

Being the kind of person who always stays in the cinema for the closing credits and who avoids movies on broadcast TV because of their fondness for lopping 'em off (especially ITV), this Charlie Brooker piece from The Guardian yesterday is right up my alley...

Pay attention. You're going to read this. Sit up. Concentrate on my words. This is important. Something terrible is about to happen.

I was first alerted by an email from reader Mark Liversidge, with the subject line
A Cry For Help
. In it, he complained about the BBC's new "end credit delivery policy", the effects of which will be seen on screen from June 4 onwards. There's a preview, complete with mocked-up screengrabs, at - but in case you're not near a computer, or you're allergic to the internet, or (most likely) you think it all sounds a bit dull and couldn't be arsed, let me summarise neatly in 12 words: the BBC are about to ruin the ending of everything they show.

For several years now, end credits have been maltreated by all the networks; regularly squashed to one side, babbled and scribbled over, in a desperate bid to keep you watching, or sell you a spin-off DVD, or force you to visit a website. Why? Because you're not a "person" any more, bucko - you're a "content consumer", and the omni-powerful shit-committee that runs absolutely everything these days can't bear to leave you alone for a second. It has to keep prodding you and prodding you and prodding you, like a hog in a cage that has to be kept awake at all costs.

So credits are squashed and squeezed. Most viewers don't notice or care, but to spods like me, it's like watching a dog owner violently jerking their pet's lead in the street, shouting "hurry up" and booting its arse. It's not that I want to scan the credits and find out who's who: I just want to enjoy a small breathing space before the next programme. And listen to the theme tune without being yelled at.

Anyway, until now some programme makers have been able to find a way round the squeezing. I know this because I did it myself. On my BBC4 show Screenwipe, we deliberately fill our credits with jokes or footage or dialogue, partly because we're trying to make a show with at least a vague whiff of personality, but mainly because it stops "them" messing with it. But now, thanks to the new rules, we won't be able to do that any more when the show returns in the autumn.

Instead, "end credits should run over visually interesting graphics or live action but the content must not be editorially critical to the integrity of the programme or include speech... programme trails, solicits or helplines [within] end credits are no longer allowed."

Why? Because from now on they're going to cram the credits into a teeny box and fill the rest of your screen with squawking exhortations to stay tuned for Judge John Pissing Deed. Every. Single. Time.

That's it, at a stroke. No more enjoying the Doctor Who theme tune. No more '"You Have Been Watching". No more dramatic coda following the final credit. No more Pythonesque fun-with-mock-continuity. None of that. Instead, shows must slide into and over each other, turning the schedule into one big TV megamix; meaningless imagery gushing from a tap. Because they're terrified you might exhibit free will and turn over.

As ever, it's all the fault of people with charts and computers and expensive shirts and frail imaginations, of course; people who delight in proving beyond all doubt that old-fashioned credit sequences caused viewers to start flipping. And you can't argue with their figures, because numerically they're right. But aesthetically they're wrong. And aesthetics matter in a way that can't be detected in Microsoft Excel.

Slowly, surely, these bastards are wrecking the universe; turning everything into a gaudy festival of tactless shouting. Thanks to their meddling, I'm going to have to stand behind my own end credits, in a stamp-sized window, thronged with virtual hoardings, saluting them and their latest idiotic triumph.

Rub a little more shit on all our noses, world. That's the way. Thank you.

Jessica Alba and Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith, may he rest in peace, said he didn't like scoring horror movies (Alien, The Omen) or action movies (he liked to joke that Rambo: First Blood Part II paid for his house). But he was so damn good at it!

Jessica Alba states that she doesn't like being considered sexy. But...

The Bastardly can... I was going to say "kiss her ass" but they might like it despite their comments on her (overrated? This from a blog that likes TheArchivist non-favourite Adriana Lima?). So they can kiss Vanessa Feltz's ass instead. Or Anne Robinson's. Or Barbara Bush's. And as for the rest of you, check out anything of Goldsmith's that you can. (Except maybe Criminal Law.) I have spoken.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

NBC and the Queen

Since coming back from its ill-advised break Stateside, Heroes (along with 24, admittedly) has lost audience ground to Dancing With People Who All Ought To Be Locked Up For Life Except For Paulina Porizkova Of Course. As NBC going all Carousel on everyone in the American TV audience over the age of 60 is out of the question (though on the bright side if they did this they might take out Bush et al as well), the obvious solution is to show it all uninterrupted next year a la 24 (plus if Sci-Fi plays its cards right and Sky hasn't outbid them come renewal time if the price goes up - the way they did with Lost and 24 - there won't be such a huge gap in episodes... NBC showed the 21st chapter on Monday, Sci-Fi's Monday new episode was the 13th). You didn't mess it up before, don't do it now...

And now, to cheer me up, Cindy Crawford with a masterclass in how to fill out legwear. Enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

CC To All The Staff...

You're all wonderful, for sure. But here's the Queen in Cancun with the husband and kids. (With apologies to Joseph at The Fashion Spot.)

He makes me SICK.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I like Sunday Sundays

What Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is to Defamer, Gilmore girls is likely to be to The Jay - so the CW's announcement that Lorelai the Elder and Lorelai the Younger are leaving the lineup this year will no doubt lead to a celebratory post from him any day now, as well as making the chances of Veronica Mars getting a fourth season slightly better (this is their third hour-long show to be axed after 7th Heaven and Runaway - what are they going to do, show more reruns of America's Next Top Pandering To Tyra's Ego?). Shame on those of us who like both shows, though - but at least Veronica's back on UK screens. Even if it is on Trouble. (Thanks for letting it go, Living - no room for Miss Mars on the lineup but endless hours of Most Haunted, Tyra and the girls, and a reality show with Abigail Clancy and Janice Dickinson? Cheers.)

Meanwhile, Sharon's under more and more financial pressure, and the guilt's weighing on me because I need to move onto something that pays more, so I can help her more... but can I do it? Apparently not.

I need something to perk me up, please. Ah, here we are - two of my Hall of Famers: Rosanna Arquette tying in with What About Brian. And the queen.

I suck.

Yesterday was Dad's birthday. I forgot.

Shaz reminded me in time for me to call him, but it still sucks.

Forgive me, Dad.

Later, I was late to the 8:50 screening of Next and I never enter late, so I returned home. To steal a line from my girl Hayden's "Your New Girlfriend," I believe what goes around comes around.

Friday, May 04, 2007

No. No. No. Just... no.

Okay, this was from some years back when Rihanna entered a talent contest at Combermere (Barbadian school), and won with it - but... no.

Add to this "Umbrella" and I'm beginning to wonder if Mr. Rosser might not have a point. Fortunately Rihanna is still preferable to Avril Lavigne, though almost anything is.