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Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010
New FOX series officially debuts Thursday, Feb. 11.

Past Life stars Kelli Giddish as a psychologist who teams up with a former cop (Nicholas Bishop) in order to investigate crimes that involve “past-life trauma”. Set in Washington D.C., the show is somewhat similar to another FOX series Bones, in that most of the show focuses on its characters instead of what they are doing. In the first half of the episode, we learn that Dr. Kate McGinn drives a truck, loves dogs, is very particular about her coffee, and has a kooky mom who doesn’t believe in marriage. Meanwhile her partner (and probable love-interest as the series progresses) is former cop turned detective Price Whatley, who was fired after sinking into an alcoholic depression over his wife’s accidental death, which he blames himself for. At the beginning of the episode, he is skeptical about what they’re doing, but “he needs the money” and is superstitious. There are also two other regulars, fellow doctor, Rishi Karna, and their boss, Dr. Malachi Talmadge, but they don’t really add much to the show other than awkward humor.


The show should have focused more on its plot. This week, a troubled teenage boy’s mysterious visions and confusing behavior led to the fact that he was a re-incarnation of a little girl who was abducted and murdered. McGinn explains the concept of past lives as if it were post-traumatic stress, leaving her patient to deadpan, “So you really believe in all this crap?” A FBI Special Agent, who doesn’t even bat an eye in disbelief, aids them in the search for the girl’s killer. Similarly, the boy’s mother and the family of another abducted girl all easily accept this concept, and by the time the murdered girl’s father is found, Det. Whatley warms him up to the idea by saying that he has “seen some amazing things” because of “this case, or the crazy woman standing next to me”.


Even though Past Life has a unique, interesting concept, it seems to be put together poorly. In the end, the only thing original about it is the odd, sunset-like orange tint that most of the scenes are filmed in. FOX showed the first episode on Tuesday night, but that same episode will air along with a new one this Thursday. After that, it goes to its regular time at 8 pm central. Despite the fact that it will attract Bones viewers, Past Life doesn’t really stand a chance against its competitors, CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, in the ratings.



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Monday, Feb 8, 2010

With audiences of up to 150 million viewers, the Super Bowl is traditionally the highest-rated annual event on American TV. However, the reason for this has very little to do with football. The modern day Superbowl is a combination of virtually all facets of the entertainment industry. Celebrities appear, top musicians perform, patriotism is on display, highly anticipated movies are advertised, and new products are pushed to consumers for no significant reason other than the fact that they can be.


A pre-taped performance of Jay-Z with an orchestra performing “Run This Town” (without Rihanna, oddly) ushered in the experience. Later on, Queen Latifah sang “America the Beautiful”, but she got off to a shaky start probably because of microphone problems. Carrie Underwood then sang the national anthem in acapella with complete confidence. The half-time show was a mini-concert by the Who. Despite their rough voices, they were instrumentally great in their performances of “Pinball Wizard”, “Baba O’ Riley”, “Who Are You?”, “Tommy”, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.


The football game itself was an interesting match, the Indianapolis Colts, last year’s champions, were up against first-time competitors the New Orleans Saints. While New Orleans won the coin toss, a seemingly trivial moment that is treated like it holds the utmost importance, the Colts mostly dominated the game. That is, until the last quarter, when the Saints surged ahead by five points. The game actually ended 44 seconds early, with New Orleans besting Indianapolis with a score of 31 to 17. Quarterback Drew Brees held his baby on the field before accepting the Most Valuable Player award, with a noticeable gash on the side of his face. Meanwhile, the cameras cut to the celebration in the streets of New Orleans, noting how far they have come since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


With all of this drama, though, CBS routinely reminded viewers that the much-hyped commercials were on the way as if they were the main event. Some of these were for CBS’ TV shows, including a montage of NCIS-style head-slapping set to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and a preview of a new medical drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Miami Medicine, that premieres in April. A funny, but intrusive moment came when Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory appeared on the screen to notify us that he hacked into the Super Bowl and that he wishes that whatever team you do not like is “less effective”. As for the rest of the commercials, I’ll detail the best and worst of them in another post.



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Saturday, Feb 6, 2010

Star Trek captain and Shakespearean actor extraordinaire Patrick Stewart sees no point to Twitter, believing life can’t be condensed into snippets. He’s not a technophobe though as he “loves the Internet”, travels with a laptop everywhere and is an email junkie. This is from an interview with PBS’s Frontline.



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Friday, Feb 5, 2010
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart returns to The O'Reilly Factor for the first time since 2004 to face his ideological opposite.

In a clip that’s sure to be passed around from political junkie to junkie, two prolific and drastically different media figures faced off against each other this week. Returning to the show for the first time since 2004, The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart visits The O’Reilly Factor to face his ideological opposite, Bill O’Reilly. The two threw the standard punches (Fox News blows panic out of proportion, Stewart’s audience is made up of pot-smoking slackers), but the conversation ultimately becomes a sharp criticism of the media. No one really won, it was kind of a draw, but one should find it riveting no matter what side they’re on. The random edits, however, makes you wonder what may have been left in the cutting room floor.



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Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010
The abscence of MTV's cult hit Daria's from the DVD market frustrated fans during the eight years it's has been off the air, but the show is finally getting its due in 2010.

Much like another beloved MTV cult hit The State, Daria‘s absence from the DVD market frustrated fans for the eight years the show has been off the air. Fans mobilized an online petition movement and soon became one of most wanted shows on the site tvshowsondvd.com. Rumor had it that music rights complicated Daria‘s release. The show never really had an original score and used pop songs instead. VHS releases replaced or even completely removed the music in some episodes.


But the long awaited DVD release ofThe State last year was a huge victory for cult television enthusiasts, and a teaser trailer revealed that the impossible was indeed possible: Daria is finally getting its due in 2010.


The show will be released in complete series form, including it’s two straight-to-television movies, Is It Fall Yet? and Is It College Yet?. Although the exact date is yet to be confirmed, you can sign up to be notified of the release date on amazon. Some episodes will differ from the ones originally aired, however, because of the aforementioned music rights complications.


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