Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year with "The Jack Benny Show"!

From back in the day, check out this adorable New Year's Eve episode of The Jack Benny Show on Veoh (another great source for online TV), originally broadcast on December 31, 1961! The Flaming Nose loves classic TV and we all grew up on it.

I particularly love and admire Jack Benny, whose easy comedic style and phenomenally popular weekly show made the transition from radio to TV in 1949, though he did both until 1955 when he stopped the radio show. This episode finds Jack facing New Year's Eve without a date, poor fella....

Happy New Year to all our TFN fans, as Jane related in her post!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year Flaming Nose Fans

What would the end of the year be without yet another top 10 list? Here is mine, for all of our Flaming Nose fans around the world (all 12 of you). May you all have a prosperous and peaceful New Year. And may the power of television and the Internet bring us closer in the days to come.

Here we go, in no particular order...

  • Best Ending in a TV Series Ever...The Sopranos-I still feel high when I remember that unprecedented cut to black. Amazing, shocking, and I still think that the onion rings on the diner table signified that Tony lived through the "circle of life".
  • Weirdest Nod to Sub-Sub-Cult...The Entourage episode when Drama hooked up with a "Furrie" fetish girl and did the dirty deed in a full body squirrel suit. I'm going to have to guess this was a first for television.
  • Greatest TV-Internet Event that Nobody Ever Heard of: When local TV affiliate KNBC broadcast the funeral of local town (Torrance California) hero on streaming video. Private Anzack had been captured and killed in Iraq and Torrance citizens honored him with full honors and a horse pulled caisson through the streets of their mid-sized California town. This sad and proud moment proved that small moments can be beautiful when TV and web merge to broadcast local events.
  • Funniest Actor on TV...Alec Baldwin as the glorious Jack Donaghy on NBC's Great, Great, Great comedy 30 Rock. Not since the Dick Van Dyke show has a show about TV been this smart, funny, and magnificent. And Alec Baldwin is the absolute soul and pilot of the show. As an actor and a human being, he's had a rough year. As a character, he is top of the heap.
  • Best Internet Television...Everything is YouTube, blah blah blah. That could all change on a dime. Here is a place where you can find short form user generated video as well as traditional long form television programming! All for free, of course. MySpace TV HuLu has it all; a place for TV fans to click onto many, many versions of great TV past and present. It's better than candy.
  • Best Sidekick...Dwight Schrute (Rainne Wilson) For eveyone who has followed his manic path through this season's episode's of The Office, who would not worship the demented Dwight? From his unrequited, almost heroic love for boss Michael, to his clumsy pursuit of Angela, the blond office Nazi. Yeah, there was a terrible moment involving a cat in a freezer (we all felt really bad about that and talked about it endlessly the next day at work). Never mind, Dwight is the sidekick waiting to happen, he could go Supernova if the writer's strike ever ends.
  • Best Weird Serial Killer Show...Dexter on Showtime. See past 10+ blogs on the Flaming Nose for details.
  • Best Tech Moment...Finally in 2007, the prices got low enough to purchase an HDTV. And this Flaming Nose correspondent is here to tell you that it is...glorious, beautiful, heavenly. I got it a couple of months ago, and I can just barely remember TV life prior to its existence. Strangest thing to notice on HDTV---all the guys on regular TV series look like they are wearing lipstick (they are, we just never noticed in the old format). Best thing to watch so far in HDTV--The Discovery Channel. You just can't beat the glory of nature in high-Def!
  • Most Innovative TV Hit that Didn't Stand a Chance...Flight of the Conchords on HBO. Who would have dreamed that a half hour comedy about a couple of down and out folk singers from New Zealand (and their frequent bursts into song) would be the most darling show on TV? I can't wait for its return.
  • Best Overall TV Episode of the Year...The season finale of "The Extras" on HBO, broadcast in December. It had everything...EVERYTHING...that the best of television should ever have. Fall down funny. Surprise. Heartbreak. If you look in the dictionary under "perfect TV", you will see a picture of Ricky Gervais in the Extras.
Special Memorial Mention for 2007: We mourn the passing of Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, both most well known for their feisty double entendres on the classic game show THE MATCH GAME. You can still see their hilarious and edgy banter on the Game Show Network.

God Bless and a Happy New Year to all the Flaming Nose Fans!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sic Semper Tyrannis! Tonight on the History Channel

I've got a bit of a thing for both Abraham Lincoln and his misguided assassin John Wilkes Booth. The History Channel premieres a new special The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth tonight at 8pm eastern time, and it should be a good two hours with enough history and adventure to satisfy anyone.

Everybody knows how Booth shot Lincoln in the head at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C., but less known is the story of Booth's unbearable and ultimately futile flight from justice. After breaking his leg in his jump to Ford's stage and then hobbling to his waiting horse, Booth managed to squeak past road guards to escape the city, accompanied by young David Herold. Making his way to the house of Dr. Samuel Mudd -- great controversy here, of course; were they acquaintances, did Mudd help the assassin? (well, of course, but not knowing he killed Lincoln, I would say, and unless Booth was a hell of a good actor Mudd must have known who he was, but maybe not....) -- where his leg was temporarily splinted and then Booth and Herold disappeared off into the Maryland and Virginia countryside to evade capture by Union troops.

For nearly two weeks they survived out in the wild, taking fateful wrong turns in borrowed boats, begging food from rebel sympathizers, and desperately hiding out in fetid swamps, with all the while Booth scribbling emotional tirades in his diary and watching his broken leg go rotten. Finally they stumbled onto the Garrett farm, where they stayed for a couple of days but finally ended up consigned to the barn when the family became suspicious of their strange guests. Union soldiers followed clues to the Garrett place, Booth and Herold were trapped in a burning barn -- but you should really watch the show to find out the rest.

The rest of the story includes, bizarrely enough, Booth getting shot by a crazed Union soldier named Boston Corbett, a truly mad hatter and religious fanatic who castrated himself a few years before the War. You can't make up stuff like that. I know I'll be fascinated to see how The History Channel tells this unique real life tale. It's difficult to have sympathy, perhaps, for the murderer of one of the most incredible figures in American history, but John Wilkes Booth was a troubled and misguided soul, but also extremely fascinating in his own right. (And so was Booth's brother Edwin, who has a movie about him, 1955's Prince of Players starring Richard Burton, with John Derek as JWB.)

If only some day someone would properly put John Wilkes Booth's story on film! I know that the new National Treasure: Book of Secrets movie deals with Lincoln assassination lore, with actor Christian Camargo, who so expertly played the Ice Truck Killer on the first season of Dexter -- you knew we had to get it in here somehow! -- onscreen briefly as Booth. Director/writer Todd Field (In the Bedroom) has/had a Booth film in the works for a while, but haven't heard much about it lately. With the right actor as Booth, someone able to capture his charm, talent, touch of madness and could be great. Maybe someday!

Anyway, make like a history student and watch The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth tonight on The History Channel; two runs tonight then it plays a couple of times early in the new year. Check out the special's website for more background information on this important moment in United States history.

Friday, December 21, 2007

So, Did You Watch The "Extras" Finale on HBO Yet?

If you already have, watch it again. If you haven't, be sure to catch it while it's still running. We hate to nag you (we've already told you about this special), but we feel we need to.

Sure, it's funny, but like most of the Extras episodes, it's got an undercurrent of melancholy and dissatisfaction that is completely mesmerizing. If you can't stand your comedy mixed up with your drama, leave this one alone. It will bug you too much if all you want is kicks and giggles.

If, on the other hand, you relish the heartbreaking along with the hilarious, this series finale of Extras (which isn't really a Christmas show at all, which is fine) will give you all the ammunition you need to once again assert with complete assurance that the British simply do it better than anyone else.

Especially great in this episode is Ashley Jensen (you may know her better from Ugly Betty) as Maggie, now-successful Andy (Ricky Gervais) Millman's best friend who's been shunted to the sidelines and finds herself on hard times. Tremendously effective use of Kate Bush's song "This Woman's Work" underscores Maggie's rather desperate and affecting circumstances. All women of a certain age should understand and respond to Jensen's amazing work here. Also wonderful, as always, is Stephen Merchant as Andy's (ex) agent Darren. What am I saying? They're all good, of course.

Don't miss this one! If you're not convinced yet, watch this short promo for the episode with Gervais and Merchant. Check out the HBO Extras website for info and schedule information -- it runs tomorrow on HBO and of course on HBO Comedy, and other times, too.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hide Your Eyes -- Funny Cat Video

Okay, The Flaming Nose and its correspondents have been good about not talking about cats -- which we happen to love -- but I just caught up with this very amusing two-part cat video that you can find here. It was in Daisy Whitney's column on the TV Week website last Friday; I missed it then.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. But if you don't, get what you pay for. We will justify its inclusion here because the cats appear to be watching TV, or at least there is a TV on in the background of the clip. Good enough for us!

More Kudos for Hulu

If you read Jane's previous post about the Hulu video interface on MySpace, you might already be turned on to this nice new service that's just made for TV lovers. I went to the Hulu website and signed up, and you should too! I'm watching an episode of Lost in Space right now, and the video is smooth -- no lag, seamless, better than AOL In2TV which though it has a tremendous library I find is not as nice a viewing experience.

The idea of getting TV online is one of my favorite things about the internet, and Hulu looks like it's going to be a good. And it's not just for classic TV lovers -- there are plenty of new shows on there, too!

Do check Hulu out and read Jane's post about hulu on MySpace! She called it first!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"EveryBody Lies" (Don't Read if you Have Not Seen Season Finale)

It's over. I feel strangely detached. Sort of like Dexter, I suppose. The season two finale has come and gone. Sgt. Doakes became the sacrificial lamb in a spectacularly staged explosion reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, and Lila was butchered for her treachery.

The brilliance of this episode, and in fact, of the entire season, was the underlying tapestry that "everyone lies". They are either lying to themselves like Angel, who saw first hand that Lila was Satan in a tank top, but followed her down a dark path with his libido leading the way. They are lying to themselves like Debra, who was too deeply in denial to see small lies (like Agent Lundy pretending that he would ever be anything but an aging workaholic), or monumental lies (like the creepiness at the underbelly of her own brother, who leads the ultimate double life). Even Rita the sugar queen is herself, to her kids. She is the type who wants everything to be fine, but that's never going to happen. There is never a fairy tale ending for people like Rita. The most she can ever hope for long term is an affordable mobile home and a beer bellied boyfriend who doesn't beat her. Instead she has Dexter, who she thinks is a God, but is instead the dark sociopath that walks among us with a box of donuts and a pleasant smile.

I feel very sad that Sgt Doakes had to die so horribly, and that his last days were torturous. That Dexter doesn't show any remorse whatsoever, even though he put Doakes in harms way, is immensely troubling. Dexter, killer of bad guys, has now caused a good cop's death, and he's so delighted to be off the hook, he's practically skipping off to Rita's for a little post murder roll in the hay. Please pass the pancakes before I gag.

Dear old Dad said, "don't get caught", but that's exactly why I'll be tuning in next season. I think Dexter will be going down.

OK, Nose fans, it's time to end the Dext-Fest and go on to some lighter fantasy fare. "American Idol" anyone? How about "Lost"? Both are right around the corner!

"Dexter" Final Episode Countdown: 3 Hours to Go!

Our Favorite Villainess, Lila West, aka Lila Tournay.

Boo. Hiss.

Expertly played by Jaime Murray.

"Dexter" Final Episode Countdown: 6 1/2 hrs. to Go!

Debra Morgan

"Dexter" Final Episode Countdown: 9 Hours to Go!

Sgt. Doakes

"Dexter" Final Episode Countdown: 12 Hours to Go!


Well, at least in my time zone...close enough to start getting excited!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golden Globe Noms -- Michael C. Hall, at least...

Flaming Nose readers will be happy to hear that FN favorite Michael C. Hall, who is so amazingly good in the title role of Dexter, has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor, Drama Series. Oddly, the show wasn't nominated as Best Drama, which is a bit of a drag. Oh well...we all know what the Best Drama is already, don't we?

We will all be rooting for our favorite serial killer!

Congratulations on the nomination, Michael C. Hall! And also congrats to one of our other favorites 30 Rock which received nominations for Best Comedy, Best Actress in a Comedy for Tina Fey, and Best Actor in a Comedy for Alec Baldwin. Also to Ricky Gervais and Extras (what a sublime series that is...), which received noms for Best Comedy and Ricky G. for Best Actor in a Comedy. And another Flaming Nose favorite, Kevin Dillon for Best Supporting Actor for Entourage.

If you're interested in the entire nomination list, check out this article from

New "30 Rock" Tonight at 9pm!

We turn from the our dark side -- the abject worship of Dexter -- to one of The Flaming Nose's other favorite things, the delightful Tina Fey's delightful sitcom 30 Rock on NBC. There's a new episode tonight at 9pm, after an hour-long The Office, so don't miss either one!

I just read a nice article on the CBC website about Tina Fey, and you might also enjoy taking a look at it here. She's certainly hilarious and adorable and smart, and we also can't say enough great things about Alec Baldwin as her boss Jack on 30 Rock. He's in a tie here at The Flaming Nose for most attractive and irresistible older man on TV -- tied with Keith Carradine as Special Agent Lundy on Dexter -- and we desperately love them both.

Why aren't more people watching this show? Do you think they're mistakenly confusing it with the old 3rd Rock from the Sun? (I'm only half-joking; that might be enough to put anybody off.)

If you haven't warmed to 30 Rock yet, cuddle up with your remote and start tonight, then go online and catch up with episodes and recaps and all sorts of other resources to put you in the know. You know how important laughter is -- it heals, for heaven's sake! -- so get yourself a dose!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dexter, We Hardly Knew Ye

And, as the last days of Dexter (season two) draw near, we are left to wonder....who the Hell is Dexter anyway? Our hero's Code of honor is kaput, the Feds are closing in, and Sgt. Doakes (poor thing) is still in a cage...all with one episode left to go. Oy vey.

The ambivalent Dexter is very conflicted, and that leaves us all feeling the same way. His relief at deciding to turn himself in to the feds felt very real. His decision (after a good steak and a few beers with Deb) to keep being true to his righteous serial killer self felt...well...crazy. And isn't that the kicker right there? Dexter IS crazy! It is only through the amazing acting skills of Michael C. Hall and phenomenal loopy script writing, that we have been able to accept good old Dexter, as just that cute boy next door who has an unusual hobby. For me, the hobby crossed the line into big time creepy, when he hosted Rita and the kids on his boat for a little pre-prison R and R. This was the first time the little ones (who clearly adore Dexter) were brought into his physical world. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who found the thought of them running around the deck that once held mounds of chopped body parts, not just a little stomach churning.

Oh Dexter fans...where do we go from here? The teaser for next week's final episode hints at an apocalyptic explosion in the swamp. We know that our Dexter won't be caught in the flames (spoiler haters, go take a bathroom break) as Lisa has already assured us there will be a third season. We most fervently hope that Doakes won't be caught in the flames, as Erik King's brilliantly nuanced performance has made this caged Special Agent a hugely sympathetic and engaging character. I love Angel to death, but as they said over and over again in this episode, he was warned about Lila. All bets are off for Angel's survival.

Ah yes...Lila. Here's what I think Dexter-ites, and I don't care a bit if it's trite. I'm hoping there is an eleven foot Gator out there in the Everglades who likes lean meat.

One. More. Dexter. Episode. Left. We will all need a 12 step program to get us through Dexter withdrawal until Season # 3!

I Wasn't Kidding About That New Bill in Congress --

It's bad, really bad, and here's another article about it from today's Online Media Daily --

Proposed Law Stiffens Penalties For Piracy

by Wendy Davis, Monday, Dec 10, 2007 7:30 AM ET

THE MOVIE AND RECORD INDUSTRY got an assist from Washington, as lawmakers last week introduced a new bill that stiffens penalties for piracy, while the Bush administration argued in support of a six-figure fine in a copyright infringement case.

The new PRO IP (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act), H. R. 4279, introduced with bipartisan support, would boost some fines from the current maximum of $30,000 for non-intentional infringements. Under the new bill, courts would be able to issue damages of $30,000 for each track on an album, as opposed to one $30,000 fine per album. Sponsors include Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

The bill also authorizes the creation of a new chief advisor on intellectual property, and creates a new Intellectual Property Enforcement Division of the Justice Department budgeted at $25 million a year.

The entertainment industry has been lobbying for tougher copyright infringement laws, arguing that they continue to lose money when people unlawfully upload or download music and clips.

Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive officer of NBC Universal, praised the new legislation last week during a keynote speech at the UBS Conference. While he complained that technology "has made it easier for people to steal our content," he said the new bill "will continue to protect our intellectual property."

But copyright reform advocates say the measure is not needed--and that even under existing law, damage awards are sometimes disproportionately high.

"Nobody has made the case to us why penalties for copyright violations need to be increased," said Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of advocacy group Public Knowledge.

Sohn adds that her organization supports overhauling copyright laws to take into account the way consumers experience digital media today --including the ways they make use of copyrighted material in their own creations. "The law doesn't make sense," she said. "Why is Congress focusing on ratcheting up fines and rearranging the intellectual property deck chairs?"

The move to introduce new legislation came as the Bush Administration intervened on behalf of the record companies in the case of Jammie Thomas, a single mother fined $220,000 for uploading 24 tracks to Kazaa. The Justice Department last week filed a brief arguing that the damage award isn't unconstitutionally excessive.

The PRO IP Act isn't the only anti-piracy bill under consideration. Last month, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) introduced the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of2007, which authorizes the Department of Justice to file civil lawsuits against file-sharers and creates a new FBI unit dedicated to enforcing intellectual property laws.

Also last month, the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously approved the Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R. 4137), which requires colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid to explore "technology-based deterrents" to illegal downloading.

end of article
Well. It's pretty crummy of NBC's Jeff Zucker to come out in favor of this absurdly draconian bill; does he really think his shows, like Heroes for example, would be nearly as popular without the fans "stealing the content" and giving the show publicity on their websites and spreading the word about other shows they love? Squashing new modes of fan appreciation seems like a pretty rotten way to say thank you to viewers. And hasn't NBC openly acknowledged the internet as a prime vehicle for making The Office a success? about being clueless and ungrateful.

Here's what you're all going to have to do -- write your Congressional representatives. Go to the United States House of Representatives website and find the "Write Your Representative" area on the left side of the page. (If you don't know what to say let me know and I'll send you a copy of what I wrote as an example). Write something and tell all your friends to write, too! Just because this has bipartisan support doesn't mean it's good or well-reasoned; it just means nobody in Congress on either side of the aisle understands what's at stake here. Tell them.

Also visit the Public Knowledge website, the organization mentioned in the article. They are, as defined on their site, "...a public interest group working to defend your rights in the emerging digital culture." And it's big job, no doubt about it. They need your attention and support.

You should be outraged by this proposed legislation and many other current issues in this realm. Get informed and get involved. It's your future. Do you want these guys to tell you how to live in it?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I think this is scary, folks: Major copyright bill boosts penalties, creates new agency

In the aftermath of the $222,000 jury verdict that the Recording Industry Association of America recently won against a Minnesota woman who shared 24 songs on Kazaa, the U.S. Congress is preparing to amend copyright law.Politicians want to increase penalties for copyright infringement.It's no joke.

read more digg story

Catch Up with Extras on HBO This Week!

What a treat -- comedian Ricky Gervais' absurd and hilarious behind-the-scenes comedy Extras is reprised all this week -- two episodes per night -- on HBO2 East at 11pm ET/PT, beginning Monday 12/10. This festival leads up to the premiere of Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale next Sunday night at 9pm on HBO, and rerunning many times throughout the month. (Of course, this puts it in direct competition with our favorite Dexter which must take priority, but there are plenty of opportunities to watch both of these top-notch pay network offerings.)

Many of you are probably already familiar with Gervais as creator and star of the original British version of The Office, the both achingly funny and nearly heartbreaking comedy which actually managed to spawn a U.S. version every bit as great as the original. Extras, his next series, premiered in 2005 in the U.S. on HBO with its first season of six episodes, then came back with six more. The Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale is 80 minutes long -- more to love -- and is sure to bring more cringeworthy moments as only Gervais and and his cast can.

Filled with celebrity cameos, Extras chronicles the struggles of actor Andy Millman (Gervais) and his attempts to batter down the doors to stardom. Along for the ride are his best friend and fellow actor Maggie (played by Ashley Jensen), and his hapless agent played by Gervais' co-writer and co-director Stephen Merchant. They are all superb.

TFN correspondent Jane has been a big Extras fan from the beginning, and let's look forward to her take on this newest episode and the whole Extras world that she loves so much! But it's never too late to get in on the hilarity -- do the catch-up thing this week just in time for the series finale next weekend! (Those of you who have HBO on Demand or the HBO Comedy channel have even more chances to watch the show, but then you're just plain lucky! DirecTV is to be chastised for still not offering HBO Comedy while bombarding subscribers with every manner of shopping and religious channel out there. Ick.)

Ricky Gervais is some sort of a comic god, creating awkward everyman characters with savage moments of hilarity that are sometimes painful to watch. Ah, perfection....

Check out the Extras HBO Website for more information and the complete schedule.

The Penultimate Dexter

Okay, guys, we're getting down to the wire now, only two more Dexter episodes on tap for this season. Oh, it's going to be hard to say goodbye for a while, and even harder to fathom as we sit, ten or so hours away from watching tonight's episode, what the hell's going to happen to wrap this season up.

Everybody's in a pickle -- Dexter with Doakes and Lila and Rita and Lundy, Batista with Lila, LaGuerta with Lundy and Debra, Debra with Lundy (sort of, though they did have a good talk about things last ep), Lundy with the new guy agent Adams (I'm surmising, per the scene previews on the Showtime website).

Dexter is feeling the pressure, my friends, and though as before the speculation is rampant all over the online Dexter community, there are no perfect solutions, as Dexter is doubtlessly finding out. Kudos to Michael C. Hall for continuing to make his portrayal of our favorite serial killer the best performance on television, and shout-outs to all the cast, who have been at the top of their game. Special mention to Erik King as Sgt. Doakes, who been able to believably maneuver Doakes over the line from belligerent asshole bugging Dexter (and we all hated him for it) to contemplative captive trying to figure out how to get out of his grim predicament (and we feel for him).

Wow. Can't wait until tonight! We will be having our Dexter follow-up posting here as soon as possible after the episode. Watch Dexter on Showtime tonight, with two showing back-to-back at 9p and 10p ET/PT. (I definitely recommend watching the Dexter eps several times; they only get better!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hooray for Hulu on MySpace TV

OK Nose fans, here is an excellent tip. You have to check out the new "hulu" feature of MySpace TV. It is a fabulous site if you want to watch streaming videos of Fox and NBC television programs past and present. Want to see Simpsons or the latest House programs? Are you a big fan of 30 Rock? How about classic TV like Adam 12 or Alfred Hitchcock? From Bionic Woman and Bones to Queer Eye, you can find it all here. It's quick, and it is easy. You can also find the newest Internet "mini" programs like QuarterLife and RoomMates. I highly recommend...these little shows are episodic and only a few minutes long. Perfect for a lunch break at work if you have high speed access, no corporate firewall and a progressive company that won't fire you if you are surfing the net. Nose people, you know that I am not one to post plugs, but this is a good tip for TV people, so go see for yourself and bookmark it.
Here is the link, and have fun.

Put Your Hands Together for Mr. Don Rickles

Students of comedy and vintage show business will adore the new documentary (from filmmaker John Landis) MR. WARMTH The Don Rickles Project, which premiered on HBO Sunday night and will replay several times. Featuring recent onstage footage from this year, plus older material, including great Las Vegas footage that makes you weep for the old days, MR. WARMTH ends up being an affectionate look at an extremely talented entertainer who's still going strong at eighty.

I've always thought he was as good a dramatic actor as a comedian, and his screen and TV career is covered nicely here (including his great turn in X The Man with the X-Eyes), giving him full credit for his wide-reaching talents. While many of may not have spent our childhoods tuned to the Tonight show with Johnny Carson, we certainly watched, as did comedian Bobby Slayton who talks about it in the doc, all the appearances he made on so many popular shows of the 1960s, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone and many others. It was great seeing this part of his career also being saluted.

The interviews are wonderful, especially from show biz vets like Steve Lawrence, Keely Smith (who looks great!), Ernest Borgnine, Sidney Poitier, Jack Carter and many of Rickles' business associates. The insights from his best friend Bob Newhart are especially fascinating and charming, and the discussions about Rickles' mother Etta are vivacious and adorable.

What I most loved was the evocation of the nightclub era, in Las Vegas and beyond, a time that is long gone (mostly) but was vividly discussed and brought to life through the terrific footage and recollections of many of the participants in MR. WARMTH. The frank discussion of the influence of the Vegas gambling interests and how they loved and nurtured entertainers was especially fascinating. Shots of old Vegas makes it look like everybody was smart and snazzy; footage from today looks more like people walking around Disneyland with baby strollers and kids. Thank goodness Rickles and his ilk started out in the former world! In any case, the documentary provides a top notch look back.

This isn't a kissy-kissy documentary. Rickles' material doesn't play towards that at all, but it's an appreciative salute to a real trouper who is evidently as much of a pussycat in real life as he is a comedy tiger on the stage. As it should be....

Check out the MR. WARMTH The Don Rickles Project HBO Website for more information and airdate information.

We're All Feeling Dexter's Pain

I'm with Jane on this week's Dexter. An excellent episode, and I found it an extremely tense one with so much coming to a head, and no perfect solutions in sight.

It's all quite horrible, isn't it? The one sort of bright spot is the bittersweet Deb/Lundy thing, as Jane mentioned. At the risk of verging into soap opera here (but I'm going to anyway), I think Lundy was surprised that their little romance had so touched her, and Deb was also similarly alarmed--and hence hurt and hostile--to find that she really likes him and had actually dared to envision something more between them in the future. Quite sweet and our Deb is growing up, it seems. We know from Season One and her relationship with Rudy that a little romance goes a long way with her. She's not used to it maybe but does respond to it, surely. Lundy is light-years away from her usual boyfriends, to be sure. And I'm not discounting the possibility that Lundy could still have suspicions about Dexter as the BHB, and might be playing, if not actually using, Deb in some way in the investigation.

Ohmigod. Lila. Railroading poor sincere Angel (watch the previews for more on this.) Jane is right. She must die.

The Dexter/Doakes scenes were chilling and scary, and there's going to be more of that next week. Unbearable revelations for Dexter, and too much horror for Doakes. Hard to believe.

There's a lot to wrap up in the next two weeks, and it's going to be some ride! Be sure to visit the Showtime Dexter site for previews and extended scenes from the upcoming episode. (Look under Video).

Also in Dexter news, in today's writers' strike world where nobody knows how the current season is going to be played out, CBS head Les Moonves has made statements that CBS (a corporate sister to Showtime) could be looking to pick up Dexter for use on the broadcast network. If so, even cleaned-up and made broadcast-safe, Dexter would be the best thing on TV, and I guess those of us who have loved it since the beginning can stand around saying "I told you so."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

T-Minus Two More Episodes and Counting

I am wracking my brain for a hook to cover this week's Dexter! Isn't that weird? I feel oddly ambivalent about it...can't quite find the mojo for something to say that hasn't been said before. I feel like this week's episode was more of a "bridge" to advance the plot a bit more towards whatever they will do next week. Expository-city. The only thing that was truly revealed, which I suppose is too depressing for me to deal with on a Sunday night, is that our Dexter is so appalling, his adopted Dad had to kill himself when he realized that his monstrous lab-rat creation was a sicko beyond all repair.

Also--I really do feel sorry for Doakes now. I have terrible claustrophobia, and the thought of him trapped in that hot, sweaty cage in the Everglades. Well. It's quite dreadful.

I am getting too emotionally involved with the characters ...must have distance from them..yet also must find a way to be even closer.

Actually, I'm happy for Deb and Agent Lundy. His line about thinking that once the "novelty of his AARP discount wore off" she'd dump him in a heart beat, was absolutely precious. Keith Carradine is a much better actor than I ever would have suspected. This has been a dream role for him, he's quite sexy and adorable, and has aged much more attractively than his Kung Fu brother.

Lila must die. That is what I live for as we near the end. In a series full of miscreants and ne'er do wells, she is the lowest of the low.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dexter: Episode Ten Premiering Tonight!

Are we all ready for tonight's Dexter episode on Showtime? As the season draws closer to its final episode on December 16th, the theories are running wild as to how it will all get sewn up, at least until the third season comes along.

The one person who knows that Dexter is indeed the Bay Harbor Butcher, Sgt. Doakes, was (as last we saw him) behind bars in a makeshift cage at the isolated cabin where Dexter dispatched the man who murdered his mother. If you've watched the preview you know that Dexter is planning to implicate Doakes via fingerprints on tools, and that Doakes has invoked Harry, Dexter's Dad. We remember that Harry's rules for Dexter included both "don't get caught" and "don't kill innocent people" which won't make it easy for Dex to figure out how to get himself out of his current predicament.

This should be a terrific episode -- no surprise there, they have all been amazing -- and we'll be discussing it very soon after the ep airs!

Only two more episodes after tonight...savor each moment.