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by Steve Leftridge

21 Apr 2010


Dear god, this show is still on. And I hate to be the one to say it, but we still have five more weeks. You now get the feeling that folks are sticking with the show only because they’re waiting to watch Glee. In any case, seven contestants remain, down to six tomorrow night after a special episode, Idol Gives Back and Boots Off Michael Lynche. This season has been rocky, to say the least, and watching the final seven line up for the evening’s show provided a sinking feeling. The cuts of Katelyn Epperly, Alex Lambert, Lilly Scott, etc., are really starting to come back and hurt.

Thankfully, we keep getting off-stage scuttlebutt every few days, and what rocked Idol Nation this week?  Crystalgate!  Word spread that Bowersox, the clear frontrunner, wanted to abruptly quit the show (“What’s the point?” she cried), but she was talked off the ledge by Ryan Seacrest (“You’ll be able to buy your mom a house!” he pleaded). No mention of the episode on Tuesday’s show, but the story did take attention away from Kara’s ongoing quest to be publicly nude. (First her bikini stunt on the show last year, then a Maxim spread a few weeks back, now the Allure “Nude Issue”). Tonight’s guest coach was Alicia Keys, who mentored the kids on the supremely vague theme, “inspirational songs”, the lamest producer’s move in a season full of them. Here’s what went down.

by Robert Moore

19 Apr 2010


Over the course of the past decade there have been few shows that I have consistently enjoyed more than Smallville. As a student of television, I watch a large number of shows, including most of those that are considered the best in the medium. Objectively I have never ranked Smallville among the dozen or so best shows on TV, but I nonetheless retain an affection for this show that transcends its aesthetic achievements. What is more, I sometimes find myself looking forward to the next episode of Smallville more than the next episode of more acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad or Big Love.

Certainly there is little on Smallville to justify ranking it among the elite shows on TV. The writing is inconsistent and occasionally downright awful, though it must also be conceded that there are times when it is unexpectedly and delightfully memorable. The acting is not going to win many awards. While Tom Welling—given his uncanny resemblance to anyone’s expectations of what Clark Kent should look like—is absolutely perfect for the lead role, he will never be nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe. While the revolving cast (only Welling and Alison Mack, who plays Chloe, remain from Season One) is adequate to the task at hand, the show is not going to win any awards for ensemble acting.

by Jessy Krupa

16 Apr 2010


There has been a lot of hype about the 100th episode of Supernatural, with various websites and magazines giving away spoilers and gossiping about just how big this episode was going to be. Even though I either knew or guessed a lot about what was going to happen, I was still impressed with how well all of it was done.

The episode mundanely opened with two guys complaining about their jobs in a bar, but one of these guys is no ordinary barfly, it’s Zachariah. Just as the human realizes that there is something different about his newfound friend, the bar is consumed with a loud humming, shaking, and a blindingly bright light. This is the result of a powerful angel speaking to Zachariah, who teleports him “back in the game”.

Meanwhile, Dean is packing his meager possessions along with a farewell letter into a box addressed to Bobby. Sam arrives, realizing that Dean wants to kill himself, and tries to convince him that “running away” is wrong and to keep faith, because “Bobby will figure something out.” Moments later, Castiel appears and teleports everybody to Bobby’s place. While Dean argues with everyone, Castiel finds himself teleported to a decimated forest. After fending off two violent angels with martial arts and their own angel-exorcising knives, Castiel notices some ground moving nearby and pulls a person out of the dirt.

by Michael Landweber

15 Apr 2010


Mr. Sunshine's Matthew Perry

Hollywood producers, studio execs and network suits do a little mating dance every spring where they make writers, directors and actors shoot pilot episodes of potential shows. Based on these one-offs, where the creative types pour everything they’ve got into setting up a premise, it is decided what viewers will be offered on network TV in the fall. 

One problem. No one in Hollywood has any clue whether a great pilot will translate into a long-lived and rewarding series. Development season is a bit like Christmas for them, except that they can’t tell if they got a present or a lump of coal in their stocking. 

So, normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to pilots. Why get excited about a premise that may never make it onto the schedule, right? But this year feels a little different. Not because the pilots sound better, but because a number of my favorite shows are ending. 24, Lost and Ugly Betty are all hurtling toward series finales. FlashForward seems to be a dead show walking. Scrubs fizzled out without much fanfare (though I suppose it could be back). So I’m starting to wonder what I’ll be watching in the fall (other than the last few episodes of Mad Men, Weeds and Entourage).

by Steve Leftridge

14 Apr 2010


Nine finalists competed again this week after the dramatic turn of events last week in which the judges used their one get-out-of-jail card to snatch Big Mike Lynche from the jaws of elimination. Simon proved that he never gets tired of the fake-out—even taking the other judges for a ride—when announcing the unanimous decision, at which point Mike assumed a gigantic Buddha pose and Ellen did the Lindy Hop. It means that this week, we’ll cut two singers to stay on schedge, and after a lackluster round of Elvis covers, perhaps it’s a shame we can’t wipe out twice as many. Adam Lambert met the kids in Vegas to mentor them, and it’s no secret that Glambo has a little E in him, so he was the natural choice to take care of business this week.

The other story is the ongoing evolution of Tim Urban, who has become a legitimate contender by redefining the competition. This year, American Idol might not be about the greatest singer; it might be about who makes for a pop idol. Tim isn’t a singer of great skill. And neither was Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garrett or Britney Spears. Since when is awesome vocal ability a requirement for teen idolatry? Tim, by virtue of his Ringo haircut and loyal-puppy demeanor, has won over voters who have moved singing down to third or fourth place on the list of support criteria. What’s hilarious is that Vote For The Worst is claiming “victory” every week that Tim survives, which is getting to be like “saving” Crystal every week. If VFTW really wanted to prove that they’re making any difference in results, they’d put their support behind Aaron or Andrew—otherwise they’re no longer voting for the worst. Here’s what we found out Tuesday.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Double Take: 'The French Connection' (1971)

// Short Ends and Leader

"You pick your feet in Poughkeepsie, and we pick The French Connection for Double Take #18.

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