Breaking In is slick, but there's a difference between a well-oiled story and a plot that ends before it starts. Every character interaction, each scene of them breaking into things, each storyline washes over you in quick cuts, on sets that are brightly lit and totally clean, with a cast full of chipper people who are wholeheartedly throwing themselves into their roles. Watching an episode is more like having a wave of serial television wash over you. Afterwards, you know you just saw a show about people breaking into places just to say they broke into places, but you probably won't be able to easily break down that experience yourself. However, you probably won't still be trying to figure out why any network would give Christian Slater another TV show.
Helen Mirren was the special guest on last night's SNL, and it was... a mixed bag, as it so often is. I guess when there's an hour and a half to fill, you let some go through that aren't as strong to fill out the time. But Mirren showed a complete lack of reserve by really going for it in her sketches, playing an old stripper, a Fox News caller and Helena Bonham Carter. These are the best and worst of the night.
A show about three friends in various stages of their romantic lives is not really an original idea, but I think most of us have the feeling that if done properly, a show like that could be interesting and fun. Of course, shows like that never are. We were already exposed to this once already this mid-season with Perfect Couples, a bad show that seems like it is trying too hard. After that, I thought I was ready for Traffic Light. Turns out, I wasn't. Traffic Light is not good by any means, but it isn't bad like Perfect Couples -- it's just boring and feels like it is not trying at all. With Traffic Light, we get all of the most unoriginal aspects of the three-stages set-up presented to us in the most mundane ways.
As a big fan of Sarah Shahi on Life, I was actually kind of looking forward to seeing her on a new show. Not necessarily a legal show, since I kind of hate legal shows, and not necessarily a USA show, since they tend to be a little... lightweight? Even Burn Notice is fairly consequence-free and light on drama, despite weekly explosions and gunfights. But since Life was a lot of fun, too, I was willing to give it a shot. I don't know if I'm going to ever watch it again, but the first episode was certainly... fun.
I'll have to admit that I was not planning on liking The Defenders. Not being a big fan of lawyer shows or Las Vegas, and unable to forgive Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell for their last outings (According to Jim and Do Not Disturb), I expected it to be terrible, worthless garbage. But, just as I've always secretly assumed I would like Las Vegas if I went there, the show actually entertained me. Like the city it takes place in, there's a lot of sexy behavior, and the lawyers really know how to put on a show in the courtroom, which is important for a legal Smeagol like myself.
I have a thing for quirky cop shows. The Unusuals, Raines, Justified, The Closer, the D'Onofrio-era Criminal Intent... If there's an unusual cop tracking down a criminal, I'm on the case. So when I heard that My Name is Earl star Jason Lee was going to be playing a Memphis police detective who sang in nightclubs at night, I knew I had to see it. I wasn't sure that Lee had the gravitas to pull off a cop role, since Earl was a light-hearted fairy tale and most of his most famous film roles have been of the "talkative man-child" variety, but I was certainly rooting for him to prove himself. And while I'm not entirely sure that he did (yet), the show itself is a entertaining Southern cop drama with moments of levity, which puts it somewhere between Justified and... well, My Name is Earl. And since I liked Earl, that's good news in my book.
If there was ever an era that was perfect to be made into a pay-cable TV series, it's ancient Rome. Courtly intrigue, coupled with the excesses that the Romans indulged in -- glorious conquest, opulent wealth, killing for entertainment, sex as a distraction from boredom -- form the perfect recipe for mass entertainment. Why else do you think Gladiator won an Academy Award? The HBO series Rome tried to capture that glory, and succeeded; unfortunately, it was too expensive to last more than two seasons. Starz is following a different route, however -- they're emulating the film 300, which re-created ancient Greece on a budget by using computers and green screens. There are sets in Spartacus, of course, but they're far from the massive exteriors of Rome, and most of their characters (like the Spartans in 300), require very little costuming. I don't know what budgetary category "washboard abs" falls under (catering?), but it ain't costumes.
Fans of Sock on Reaper will undoubtedly be flocking to this show in droves, just to see more of their beloved Tyler Labine, but the show thankfully seems like it will appeal to people outside the Reaper viewer base. Labine plays Ron Snuffkin, a lazy sporting goods salesman who's living out of his car since he split up with his girlfriend and owes money around town. Almost immediately at the start of the episode, Snuffkin is recruited by three kids who need a fake dad to enroll them in school, since their dad is in prison for defrauding investors. He uses his ability to spin a good yarn to get them in with little effort, and needless to say, it turns into a regular gig, which should make for plenty of funny plots.
After hearing how bad The Situation was when they taped this roast, I was dreading it, and, well, for his part he totally bombed. Completely. There was deafening silence as he delivered his clunkers which turned to extremely vocal boos during the course of his few minute stint. Jeff Ross tried in vain to assist him, but it was too late, Sitch's comedy career was dead on arrival. However, I'd love it if he was at future roasts, not to deliver any of his own "zingers," but because he was the butt of more jokes than Trump himself. Fair warning, the content below is not for the faint of heart, or really anyone who doesn't have a sense of humor.
Like many of you probably did, over the past couple years I had completely forgotten Aubrey O'Day and Danity Kane ever existed, so imagine my surprise when she popped back up with a reality show on Oxygen about her comeback. Good for her for still existing! Last night's premiere was decent enough entertainment, with one truly upsetting moment and even some genuine pathos there at the end, but in addition to learning that Aubrey's still alive, I learned a few other fascinating tidbits about her in episode one. Here they are, in order of increasing ridiculousness.