Thursday, January 31, 2008

LOST!



Calling all LOST fans...tonight the curtain rises for the long awaited season premier on ABC! We promise to post our thoughts and most hysterical theories right here on the Flaming Nose over the next few days. Stay tuned!

In Treatment on HBO: Let's Talk About It


You have to give HBO credit for innovation.Here is a brand new half hour series on five nights a week, in the midst of a TV drought. Irish actor Gabriel Byrne plays Paul Weston, a calm and weary looking therapist. Each night he attempts to offer psychological succor to the desperate, the borderline, the boring and the unquestionably unhinged. The premier episode on Monday of this week featured "Laura", a self absorbed nymphomaniac who harbored inappropriate sexual thoughts about her therapist. Well that sounds sort of interesting. But all she did was talk talk talk about her creepy infidelities in a fidgety annoying manner. Instead of being engaged by her story, I became increasingly mesmerized, and then almost lulled to sleep by her mouth, which was shaped like a triangle. This program is very talky. Think "My Dinner With Andre", but you only have to stay awake for 30 minutes instead of a couple of hours. Other episodes this week have focused on a guilty Naval pilot, a miserable married couple and a young gymnast. There are no flash backs, and it all takes place in Paul's office where they all sit around and...talk. One wishes that more talking would come from Gabriel Byrne so we could hear his lovely Irish accent, but it is the thankless job of the therapist to mostly listen. Friday night's episode will feature Paul visiting his own therapist (played by the magnificent Diane Wiest), so maybe redemption is at hand.

The best thing going for this program so far, is the fact that HBO is featuring all of the episodes in streaming video on their website. So if you have a particularly lenient workplace with a high speed connection and no firewall, it's a cool thing to watch during lunch. I'm going to hang in there and see if they pick up the pace, because the actors are top notch and Gabriel Byrne is a soothing electronic presence if you're having a stressful day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beam Me Up Scotty!

Like fellow Noser Jane, last Monday I had the opportunity to attend the first leg of the 5 year, 40 city journey of Star Trek the Tour at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach, California. Attending on a Monday morning there weren't any crowds which made the experience that much more enjoyable. For anyone who is a Star Trek Fan this is a must see event. Unlike a convention that occurs over one weekend, this event lasts an entire month and gives one the advantage of avoiding the weekend mass of crazed trekkies.


Star Trek the Tour is a travelling museum of Star Trek props and costumes from every incarnation of Star Trek from the the original series with Captain Kirk to the last series Enterprise. But not only will you find props and costumes, you can step into a transporter and beam away, sit in the captain's chair on the bridge of both the original Enterprise and the Next Generation (and these chairs are the actual stage props for the series), eat in Ten Forward at tables from the Deep Space series, step through the portal of the Guardian of Forever (and all Star Trek fans know what that is), see yourself in an episode of Star Trek and for those brave enough there are two shuttle craft simulator rides.

The exhibit is set up so that you can go at your own pace where ever you want and spend as much time at any one place. You can also rent a device that allows you to access recorded information at many of the displays if you need a refresher in who a particular alien was or who wore a certain costume. There is a trivia game that you can take to test your Trekkie knowledge and each time you do there are different questions. The last stop in the tour is the Encounter Theater where you are part of a space adventure. I also found the staff to be knowledgeable about Star Trek which I thought to be a nice touch. The only thing lacking from the Tour are the actors, however Shatner did make an appearance on opening day.



I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek the Tour and encourage any Trek fan close enough to one of the 40 stops to experience it for themselves. This is a Disneyland for Trekkies and a once in a lifetime chance to see all that is Trek.


Live Long and Prosper!

Monday, January 28, 2008

History Channel Does It Right -- In the Underworld!




With a new host up on deck for its second season which starts tonight, History Channel's exciting Cities of the Underworld offers up subterranean suspense with a neat dose of history. Tapped as our new fearless guide to the delights deep down is actor/host Don Wildman, a stalwart and heroic-looking fella who might be familiar to you from his work in myriads of commercials and as host of various adventure-y shows on ESPN, Travel Channel and CNBC.

Wildman seems to have the real life chops necessary to carry out his new mission; he's kind of a smart he-man/Renaissance man, tracing his lineage back to the early Quakers and walking the walk as an amateur pilot, scuba diver and other pursuits perfectly suited to his new gig on Cities of the Underworld. He gets to shimmy down skinny little ratholes, poke around spooky dungeons, and explore forbidden hidden spaces guaranteed to fascinate.

Tell me, who doesn't like the idea of scrambling around dark places looking for creepy secrets? For those of us who prefer our thrills brought to us in a neat package with a cool host, Cities of the Underworld is the perfect solution to our couch potato dreams.

Check out the show on the History Channel website -- loads of information plus vid clips and other cool stuff! The show airs regularly on Monday nights but also pops up in other slots; check out the History Channel's schedule page to search for additional airings.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Star Trek: The Tour


video
It has been over forty years since the original Star Trek series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy first appeared on NBC. Alas, we are no closer to interstellar space travel today, but it is a far more futuristic world we are living in, then one would have imagined in the 60's, when Gene Roddenberry's legendary vision was created. For one thing, most of us carry around these nifty little communication devices...sort of a cross between a communicator and a tricorder. We call them cell phones. And because most of them come equipped with photo and video capabilities, you can find yourself at a Star Trek convention one morning, and by the afternoon, post the entire experience on the Internet for all the world to see. Actually, I used a Sony digital for these shots. But I could have used my cell phone!

Star Trek the Tour is visiting Long Beach, California over the next month. It features interactive rides, models from the films and Captain Kirk's chair from the bridge of the Enterprise (yes you can sit in it, but it has the longest line at the whole show). You can watch yourself get beamed up, have yourself inserted into a favorite episode on video, or even pull up a metal stool and sit at Quark's bar for an intergalactic beverage. On a rainy Sunday morning in Southern California, it was packed with Star Trek fans of every age, size, shape and color. And if you think Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, you should have seen the looks of joy on the faces of these fans. The word "spiritual" comes to mind. That a colorful sci-fi TV show which only ran a few seasons could have spawned 4 additional TV series, 10 major motion pictures, and such completely unhinged viewer adoration, is utterly amazing. There is even a JJ Abrams directed 11th movie currently under construction, scheduled for a Christmas 2008 release.

It's easy for elitist critics to dismiss a movement that has generated such rabid fan devotion and billions of t-shirts. But more than a handful of real life astronauts have sited "Star Trek" as the reason they decided to make a living reaching for the final frontier. If you look past the glitz and glitter at the Star Trek tour, you'll see a glimpse of what television can achieve at its finest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cloverfield!


It's not TV, or even a movie...it's a ride. And worth every penny if you do the ROI compared to a Disneyland ticket.

Thanks to a very successful and brilliant viral campaign (which included embedded video right here on the Flaming Nose), I was compelled to drag all of my willing friends and relatives to see Cloverfield opening weekend. We helped it sell a LOT of popcorn (with white cheese flavored sprinkles in the Pacific theater chain I attended) and break box office records nationwide. Here is my sociological analysis of this event:

  • It was interactive. People in the audience felt free to share their thoughts about the movie, in full voice and very colorful language. They were especially vocal at the end, and in some cases, violent. I saw soda cups and Twizzlers thrown forcefully by disgruntled males in the core 12-17 demographic.
  • Even though the most secretive part of the promotional campaign involved hiding the identity of the actual monster, most people did not want to talk about the monster afterwards. Why? If you ask me, the movie could have been hugely improved by chopping 10 minutes off the opening boring upscale 20-something pretty people party sequence and replacing it with significantly more quality monster time. Especially when it opens its lizard like cheek flaps and nips a helicopter out of the air. That was awesome.
  • I think the monster was the main character. Has anyone explored its motivation or origin? What if it was an endangered species? Why didn't they just put it to sleep long enough to build a giant wild animal habitat where it could live and be happy and not have to destroy Manhattan? But we would have to neuter it big time, because it spawns horrible small crab babies that bite you and then you get Ebola and explode. Oh, sorry. Forgot the spoiler alert for the 12 people worldwide that are reading the Nose.
  • Does anyone else love...LOVE the news reports that theaters are posting warnings outside that people "prone to motion sickness" might want to avoid the movie? I adore a disclaimer that is based, not on sexual or gory content...but camera style. Is this a first? Warning people that the hand held camera jerkiness is something that they might find nauseating? Why was this warning not posted outside the theater for "Flight 93"? Or "Blair Witch"? Clearly, this is a cinematic breakthrough for annoying camera movements.
  • Why, in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight, do women still find it necessary to run for blocks and blocks and through devastated monster wrecked tunnels, without taking off their stiletto high heeled shoes? Hate them in 1950's retro horror movies. Hate them now. Just saying.
Best question of all; what does this have to do with TV? You're kidding. Everything becomes television eventually. If a ride (Pirates of the Caribbean) can become a movie; then a movie (Cloverfield) can become a video game (no brainer there), which will eventually turn back into a ride with vibrating seats at a theme park. And then we'll buy the DVD. In Blu-Ray. Which we will ultimately view on television in the familiar confines of our living room. Isn't it a great time to be along for the ride? We'll save a seat for you, right here on the Nose.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life Without People

Life Without People aired Sunday night on the History Channel and I must say it was definitely intriguing. What would happen to the earth if suddenly there were no people. How fast would it revert back to nature and I must say it was surprisingly fast.

I loved seering the cities that exist today that were suddenly abandoned due to nuclear blasts. People left hurriedly and never came back. A playground where no children would ever play was shown, the grand opening was to have been 4 days after the blast-- that is of course if the blast had never happened. Stuck in a time warp. Fascinating! I love time warps.
Temples abandoned by tribes long ago were overtaken by vines and trees all growing over the temples and obscuring them. A stadium in Texas abandoned, the field where football had been played had reverted back to a forest. The grandstand where people had watched falling down and in disrepair.

The show went in progression first in 1 year and then 5 year increments--or something like that--showing what cities would look like if suddenly there were no people to maintain the city. Things we take for granted such as paint on bridges. Without daily, weekly or yearly maintenance the Golden Gate bridge for example would rust and eventually fall apart.
Windows in office buildings--without a careful eye for maintenance--would eventually fall out of their casings and offices would become open to the elements. Pigeons would roost on computers and use papers that were so important and confidential at one time to some one as mere fodder for nesting.

In this age of Blackberry's, IPOD's and razor thin computers none of that means anything if we don't appreciate what we have. How quickly if nature held humans in captivity like a monster, would we see our world as we know it today return to what it once was. Very quickly indeed.

Try and catch this as I'm sure it will be played and played again. It's well worth the watch.

"Breaking Bad" -- F***ing Great...

I loved Breaking Bad, AMC's new hour-long drama which premiered on Sunday night. It was touching, exciting, heroic, depressing, melancholy, hilarious, maddening and a whole slew of other adjectives you'd care to throw at it. The preem flung you headlong into the action from the very first moment -- a pair of pants floats dreamily down to earth, then a frantic escape sequence begins, with a huge RV careening through the desert. At the wheel, an underwear-clad man in a gas mask. You've just met Walter White, normally mind-mannered high school chemistry teacher, a totally decent guy who's just taken his life in a daringly different direction--he's making crystal meth these days. And he's really good at it.

You'll be hooked on Breaking Bad from those first moments, thanks to the wonderfully nuanced performance of Bryan Cranston as Walter. He's amazing, playing the decent everyman with a dignity that's heartbreaking at times, as the world seems to almost mock him for his brainpower and his dedication to his profession. His gung-ho DEA agent brother-in-law (Dean Norris) tells him "You've got a brain the size of Wisconsin, but we'll forgive you for that," partly a joke but also there's a bit of the bully in there, especially as he later kids Walter for being uncomfortable around firearms. The kids in his class sit dumbly as he tries to express the magic of science and chemistry to them (a great scene you can check out on the BB flash site), and there's a cabal of snotty rich kids who are 1.) insolent in class and 2.) amused to discover that Walter has a second job at the local car wash to make ends meet. It's pretty brutal to watch, and oh, I hope they get their comeuppance sometime (but probably not, just like in real life.) The daily assaults on smart people who care passionately about something are a particular bug of mine, and I've seldom seen the frustration and unfairness resulting from that peculiar but common human sport better portrayed than here. It's pretty devasting to watch. Simply excellent.

Walter has a smart, practical and pregnant wife, played by Anna Gunn (Deadwood), and a teenage son with cerebral palsy, played by actor RJ Mitte who really has CP. Walter has also just found that he has inoperable lung cancer, and keeps his diagnosis a secret from his family. It's also the reason he ventures into the illegal drug manufacturing business, titilatted by his brother-in-law's admission that a recent 700K dollar bust was common in the meth-making world. For a high school teacher with a pregnant wife, a son with special challenges, a zero-hope health future, and a detailed knowledge of chemistry, the previously unthinkable becomes a perfectly logical solution to the problem of providing for his family after he's gone.

He partners with former loser student Jesse, winningly played by Aaron Paul, whom Walter sees escaping from a window when he goes on a DEA ride-along. Walter tracks him down, steadfastly threatens to turn him in unless Jesse lets him in on his operation, and thus their business is born. It's going to be a fascinating relationship to see develop throughout the series, and this unlikely pair have much to give each other. Walter's crystal meth is superior, of course, the best quality Jesse's ever seen, but when they go to sell it to Jesse's former associates, the trouble begins. By the end of the first episode there's a body in the RV and Walter has discovered heretofore hidden depths of courage, hostility and bravado in himself, and you'll love him for it. (Great, great scene in a clothing store where teen morons make fun of Walter's son as he tries on some jeans.)

Breaking Bad looks like it's going to be one of the great series of this year, and congratulations to AMC for bringing it to us. Creator Vince Gilligan (The X Files) has fashioned an entertaining and very human adventure with a terribly likeable protagonist in Walter White, and found a cast perfectly suited to bring his characters alive. Gosh, I think I really love this show!

Be sure to explore AMC's excellent website for Breaking Bad, filled with oodles of video, a fascinating zen-like flash site that will draw you in, and lots of background info including an excellent and detailed episode recap. The premiere episode airs again on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with a new episode on Sunday at 10pm. My only beef with the show is the fact that the truly germane and expertly peppered profanity is bleeped out, even in the closed captions. We need to hear Walter say fuck, we really do. Perhaps AMC could run one play, extra-late-night, of the unexpurgated version? I think America could handle it. Also, replays, at least on Sunday night, had commercials, though the initial play did not. Hope this keeps up and so be sure to catch the first play if you can.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Life After People" -- Tonight on the History Channel



Quel domage! The Eiffel Tower has turned into the Leaning Tower, and there's nobody left on Earth to prop her back up again. That's the intriguing premise of Life After People, History Channel's new two-hour documentary premiering tonight at 9pm. Envisioning an Earth where humanity has been wiped out, LAP puts on screen the hypothetical conclusions which scientific experts surmise might be the fate of what's left behind after we've gone.

As the cities and landmarks crumble, what of the various ecosystems? Will kudzu take over the Empire State Building? Will wolves roam the White House (and one might ask aren't they already)? Life After People is another one of those amazing apopcalyptic scenarios that are so fascinating (to some of us, at least) and work so well on TV these days thanks to the terrific special effects available to illustrate them.

The special promises intelligent theories, a perhaps shocking and unthinkable possible future, and a chance to ponder the imponderable -- Mother Earth sans her homo sapien inhabitants.

I know I'll be glued to the set, and I hope you are too!

Life After People, tonight at 9pm, and it will run several more times during the week. Check out the History Channel website for more information, the whole schedule, and special features on this riveting special.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Breaking Bad" Premieres Tonight on AMC

Who might have thought, a couple of years ago, that AMC -- the other classic movie channel -- would come to be the home of sensational cutting-edge adult scripted drama, first with the award-winning Mad Men and now with its new series Breaking Bad? From an unlikely source has come terrific television.

Starting tonight at 10pm, Breaking Bad stars Malcolm in the Middle's talented and likable Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who receives some really bad news and has an epiphany. To elaborate slightly, a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer forces the by-the-book White to reevaluate his life and make drastic changes to ensure his family's financial future. The series is getting great notices from advance sources and we'll have an actual review tomorrow, but for now we hope that the buzz is true and that Breaking Bad turns out to be as fascinating as it sounds.

(The premise -- the cancer part, anyway -- reminds me a little of an amazing Canadian series called Terminal City which will be starting on the Sundance Channel later this year, and of course we'll be all over that one, too.)

And here at The Nose we were a little worried that once The Sopranos and Dexter were gone, there'd be nothing good to watch. Oh, we of little faith...couldn't be further from the truth!



Check out Breaking Bad on AMC tonight, starting at 10pm. Visit the show's website here for more information, too. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nose-talgia: Some Classic Star Trek

Completely juvenile, and completely funny, what can I say? A very short Star Trek parody from the original series episode "Obsession".

Mega Disasters on History Channel Today!

By now you must know how much The Flaming Nose loves apocalyptic television, such as History Channel's excellent and exciting series Mega Disasters. It's a bit late notice, but there's a three episode mini-marathon of MD today starting at noon eastern time, with "Asteroid Apocalypse", "Mega Freeze" and "New York City Hurricane" all set to wreak havoc. What a line-up!

This is a terrific show, with great CGI sequences and the kind of oh-my-god scenarios that ought to make your everyday annoyances seem fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Let's hope so, anyway. Programs like this offer good old-fashioned thrills and chills along with a bracing dose of science, and there's hardly a better combination than that. Wow! I can't imagine a kid not being fascinated by this stuff, too. Too scary? Wouldn't you rather know about a possible danger than have it completely surprise you? Give me a little forewarning and I'm good, and I hope you are, too!

So enjoy Mega Disasters today on The History Channel, starting at noon!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nose-talgia: Ripped from the Headlines -- Clowns Too Scary!

Probably everybody has read about the findings of a recent study over in Britain which confirms something that many of us have known instinctively for as long we can remember -- that children don't particularly like clowns and in fact are often downright scared of them. This is probably no big deal, except think about those poor kids in hospitals who are subjected to visits by hyped-up adults dressed as clowns (which is more about the adults liking...really liking... to dress up as clowns than the kids wanting to be entertained by them, that's for sure) and how that's the last thing you'd prefer to see before you went under the knife for some scary operation.

And what does this have to do with TV, you might ask? Well, in keeping with this creepy clown theory, the wonderful old TV show One Step Beyond had a terrific episode originally broadcast March 22, 1960 -- and yes, I understand that many of you weren't even born then (I'm not particularly happy about it, but I understand it) -- called "The Clown" starring the delicate Yvette Mimieux. It's more relevant than ever, now that the clown mythos has been laid bare and found wanting. I think you'll enjoy it! (There's also a version of it on Brightcove.tv which includes a clown-filled prologue which is great, but I couldn't get it to embed here so here's the link instead.)


LikeTelevision Embed Movies and TV Shows

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Today's Nose-talgia: Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahoney!

Anybody else like ventriloquists like I do? This is one of the best, Mr. Paul Winchell and his friends Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Welcome Back American Idol


Full disclosure time. I have been an American Idol fan from the moment it burst forth as a summer replacement show on FOX over five years ago. I am not an unbiased source. Plus--I am exponentially excited because this is the first time I am watching American Idol on HDTV and writing about it on an official blog. In a desperate attempt to purify all of my extreme thoughts and emotions over tonight's season opening episode, I dumped them all into a food processor for five minutes and strained the results through a double layer of cheese cloth. And then I counted to ten.

It didn't help at all. Welcome back, American Idol. I am still your biggest fan. Don't fool yourselves television lovers, this is not a Reality show. It is the most compelling drama on TV. Simon, Paula, Ryan and Randy are the main characters. The contestants are the guest stars. And we...the lucky viewers...are still here to gape in wonder at the astonishing results.

How do I love thee AI, let me count the ways. Did we have freakish early season comic relief? Yes, we most certainly did. I loved Alexis the sparkle eyed wanna be a vet girl who sang a Grace Slick song. Alas, the judges did not agree. I hated the chubby dude in drag who underwent a hair waxing for the cause. Painful and creepy, yet I could not turn away.

We also witnessed Temptress Brown in the first hour, a hefty 16 year old teen girl linebacker with a Mom in a wheelchair. In spite of all my crossed fingers, she could not sing a note. Sounds like a set up, right, oh those Fox puppet-masters. But I still cried like a baby when they sent her on her way without a yellow ticket. She got a group hug from the whole gang on the way out, while Simon, the dark haired judge with the hidden heart of gold promised he would talk about her ten cats. You know what Nose Fans...we all work hard to get through the day. Who cares if it takes a TV show to make us feel human again? I applaud the artful manipulation.

Through the three ring circus, tonight's episode had some very promising real singers from the city of Brotherly Love to remind us of what this show is all about. The diamond in the dust talent, began to blossom before our very eyes. I will now employ Jane's "Goosebump" meter on a scale of 1 to 5 to measure tonight's vocal performances. Joey, the guy who lost 200 pounds and found his groove with a Maroon Five song gets a 3.5 on the GBM. Chris Watson, the handsome black guy with dreadlocks is a 3.7. Angela, the pretty African American lady with the handicapped daughter gets a 4.0. Christi the blond from Oregon, who has no Reader's Digest background story but looks fabulous, loves horses and sang a heavenly version of Amazing Grace gets my highest GBM score of a 4.3. I don't quite get the appeal of Brooke White, the virginal snow queen that they saved for last, but anyone that gives Simon another opportunity for a not quite R rated double entendre works for me.

Any negatives? Simon--I like you better in a black t-shirt. But maybe that was the high-def talking. Any more positives? Don't get me started because it's late and I still have to go to a real job tomorrow. We are living in stressful and volatile times. There is a war in Iraq. There is a tight Presidential race on the horizon. The DOW just tanked again today. And for all of us who love television, the writer's strike has certainly taken its toll.

But for the next few months, we can all look forward to a weekly gathering around the electronic blue glow of AI; empowering....thrilling...weird....unfair...and tonight, surprisingly warm. Just like life and America itself. No wonder we love it so.

TV Nose-talgia: Lost in Space

This video accompanied the presentation of one of the Lost in Space robots to the Kennedy Space Center visitor center, last June. Enjoy!

Some Flaming Nose Favorites Win at Globes

Despite a severely altered format and correspondingly dismal ratings, the results of Sunday evening's Golden Globes telecast were of some cheer to The Flaming Nose when several of our favorites made out well.

We were happy to see Tina Fey of 30 Rock win as Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical, Jeremy Piven of Entourage as Best Supporting Actor in TV, Extras win for Best TV Comedy or Musical, and John Hamm of Mad Men as Best Actor TV Drama and the show itself win for Best Drama. Not happy, of course, to see Michael C. Hall not win for his superb work as Dexter, but Hamm was a solid contender. We were also especially rooting for Alec Baldwin or Ricky Gervais to take Best Actor TV in Comedy, but David Duchovny's equally fascinating and worthy performance in Californication got the award.

Check out our "Labels" section on the righthand side of page to find our previous posts about all these wonderful shows and performers. Congrats!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Feasty Boys Eat America!



The Feasty Boys are coming to town. Please make sure your prescriptions for cholesterol lowering medication are up to date and filled. Jon Mayer and Jim Stump are two cheerful and rotund cooking advisers, who insist that the main ingredients for balanced meals are the "Four B's": Beer, Butter, Bacon and Better not forget the Cheese!

Jon and Jim hail from Maryland, and together they have provided nearly 600 pounds of Good Ole Boy fun to ESPN's morning show Cold Pizza as well as Good Morning America. Now they will be showcased on The Travel Channel , and you can catch their shenanigans January 16th at 8pm. An upcoming episode has them visiting a cranberry bog in New England so they can demonstrate how to make a deep fried turkey injected with butter and cranberry juice. There are already a few artery clogging cooking shows on the air. Paula Dean on the Food Channel comes to mind...we love it when she says "Butta" in her pearly Georgia drawl. But few look as down home fun as The Feasty Boys. Emeril Lagasse used to be the Pied Piper of cooking for regular guys, but he's just too darn important now. He was the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade 2008, for heaven's sake! For big boy cookin' with dudes who look like they'd be happy to pull up a lawn chair at your house and crack open a beer, The Feasty Boys are just what the doctor (preferably a cardiac surgeon) ordered.
(This blog is dedicated to my dear brother, the late Eric Collins, who loved science, cooking and pork fat, and not necessarily in that order)

The Terminator's Back -- Tonight on Fox!

It's been nearly twenty-five years since the first Terminator movie came out in 1984, and it's now TV's turn to take over this exciting science fiction franchise. Premiering in two one-hour installments tonight Sunday and tomorrow Monday, Jan. 13 & 14th, 8p and 9p respectively, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles begins as Sarah and her son are thrust again into the fight of man vs. machine.

Beautiful British actress Lena Headey (300) stars, along with Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau and Richard T. Jones. It's an attractive cast and we're always up for some good robot mayhem around The Flaming Nose clubhouse.

Good luck to Fox with this and do check out the show's website here and I'm assuming that if you miss it tonight, it will be available online at Fox very soon. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' regular timeslot is Mondays at 9pm following Prison Break.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Remembering Johnny Grant

For those of us who worked at KTLA-TV years ago, the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant was also our co-worker. He was director of Public Affairs at the station for years and it was a boring day indeed if you didn't get a chance to chat with him as he passed by. As many of you probably have heard already, Johnny died on Wednesday, and many very nice tributes are showing up. I wrote one for my other blogger life at Turner Classic Movies Movie Morlocks site, which I will point you to for more info on Johnny and some great links to coverage.

The friend I refer to at the end of the post is indeed fellow Flaming Noser Jane--thanks for the phrase! Johnny Grant was always nice to everybody, and I recommend going to the L.A. Times' article and checking out all the comments that have been posted about him. It's clear that he had a tremendous positive influence on everybody he met, and boy, wouldn't you like somebody to say that about you when you're gone?

He had his own website but it was down yesterday (and it's still down today) because of too much traffic. Let's hope that somebody takes it over and keeps it alive as a tribute to this man who kept Hollywood on the map and never lost the zest for life. So long, Johnny!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

US Presidential Election 2008, The Race is On!



As my fellow "Nose" writer Lisa would agree, there is never a shortage of great things to write about in the world of television. We generally write about programs that capture our imaginations,
but here we take a moment to note the tremendous build of excitement being generated over the US Presidential elections, 2008. The interest in the political process, as US citizens attempt to sort it all out and exercise one of their most important rights (voting) is reaching a fevered pitch, and it is effecting all media news, whether TV, Internet, radio or the struggling (and still important) paper press. As the two past primary elections in Iowa and New Hampshire have so amazingly demonstrated, the races on both sides of the political arena are incredibly close. And the viable candidates represent a new spectrum of diversity that is generally not seen in a US presidential election. The prospect has left all the media pundits salivating. There is more posturing, hypothesizing, and flashing red/white/blue graphics on TV right now than you can shake a stick at. But mixed in with all the hysteria and glee, is also an element of hope. Hope that people are actually watching and caring, as this all important political process unfolds. And TV is covering it on every possible pipeline: local news, broadcast news (for the over 80 set), cable news and PBS. If you miss your favorite television coverage, the web is there to provide you with an instant recap, 24 hours a day and on demand.

I have two people in my own world, who are utterly captivated by the upcoming election, and both will be first time voters in America. One is my son, who will turn 18 just in time to cast his very first vote in a US Presidential election. The other is a co-worker, who has just become a new US citizen in 2007. They are just the tip of the interest surge, but beneath the waves, an entire iceberg of jaded American voters is just beginning to thaw. US politics are suddenly (wonderfully) hot and important for everyone. Television news producers take note. Take advantage. I think it will continue.
Who would have imagined, that the writer's strike could have such an impact? It just might be responsible for the biggest voter turnout in US history. When there is nothing else on TV, it turns out American viewers love politics after all.

Monday, January 7, 2008

It's Official -- "Dexter" on CBS in February

This just in: the first season of Showtime's hit series --and The Flaming Nose's fave, too-- Dexter will air on CBS Sunday nights beginning in February. The cleaned-up versions of the gritty, grisly and gruesome (especially in the 1st season!) episodes will be broadcast at 10pm beginning Sunday, Feb. 17th, and continue for the next eleven weeks.

Pictured above are Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall as Debra and her brother Dexter, just two of the wonderful actors that mainstream America will now be able to enjoy with the broadening of Dexter's viewing base, by many, many multiples.

Obviously Dexter is a great fit--at least promotion-wise--with CBS' many crime dramas, but the inclusion of Dexter could have the unintended side-effect of making all those other shows seem just a little bit lame in comparison. It will be interesting to see how the show feels with the rougher and bloodier edges honed away, but the excellence will remain intact, no doubt.

Season One of Dexter was incredible, what with the whole Ice Truck Killer thing, and what a treat CBS viewers have in store for them! Dexter, welcome to Middle America!

P.S.: Check out this detailed article from yesterday's Variety with more information on the Dexter CBS pick-up. Interesting remarks from a Dexter producer about the appropriateness of Dex as a character for mainstream TV, and from a Showtime exec who says that the show, cut-down, will be "exactly" the show it was and that that cuts are things that nobody would miss. That's pushing it a little, but let's assume the edits will be done well and won't hurt the show, at least. I love the show, too, and I understand the exigencies of making the show suitable for CBS, but hey, they're cutting it. It won't be the same. That's just the way it is; you can't pretend otherwise. But don't worry, it will probably work just fine. It's that good.

"Lost" Episodes in HD Streaming Video on ABC.com


Lost fans among us -- and who isn't one? -- will be pleased to know that ABC.com has all three previous seasons of Lost available online in streaming HD, in anticipation of the new season coming up at the end of this month. The quality is great and if you've missed any episodes or just want a comprehensive refresher course, this is the place to go. The only problem I can see is that they don't have the episodes numbered, but if you go to the site and click on whatever season, if you scroll down the first episodes are at the bottom of the list, not the top. So, if you want Season 1, to get to the pilot go to the last listing. And pay no attention to the dates they have on there; must be the dates the videos were posted because they mostly don't seem to correspond with airdates (except for Season 3).
Not everybody likes watching TV on their computer but I think it's super. If you do too then enjoy this generous serving of Lost while you can!

Friday, January 4, 2008

How To Look Good Nekkid -- on Lifetime


Okay, I'm not a fan of makeover or reality shows, but the good review in the New York Times prompted me to take a look at Lifetime's new show premiering tonight at 9pm. How to Look Good Naked, based on the British show of the same name, pairs host Carson Kressley (from Queer Eye) with a woman who has a negative body image, and he then helps her overcome the self-loathing. Big job, thanks to the years of propaganda and conditioning that all women are in varying degrees aware of throughout their lives.

Kressley became the breakout star of Queer Eye a few years back because of his over-the-top personality, and frankly I'm sure that many of us had just about enough of him when that show was on top. However, he seems like he has a good heart (or can play like he has one on TV) and it makes HtLGN kind of sweet and I ended up liking it. If you're already a Size 0 and can't fathom why these curvy gals are even allowed to live then you might want to skip the show, but for the rest of us, I think we might be able to discover a little something and ease up, already, on ourselves.

Lifetime has made the first episode available online so if you don't catch it tonight do take a look at it here. The How to Look Good Naked website has lots of features which you might also want to explore at your leisure.

Yikes! Monsters!


I'm in love with History Channel's new-ish wonderful (in the true sense of the word) series MonsterQuest, a weekly journey into cryptozoology (the study of mysterious, rare and elusive animals). Now, whether or not something this exciting and fanciful even belongs on History Channel is certainly up for discussion, but I understand their desire for younger demos and this may be a great way to capture them. If the show weren't so well done there might be an issue, but it's super. Nat Geo already has Is It Real? which deals with some of the same subject matter (and seems quite at home on the channel), and it's good too, but there's something about MonsterQuest -- probably starting with the hilarious menacing beastly eye logo that shows up frequently during the show (as seen above)-- that is extra-exciting and oh so watchable.

If you've never checked out this well-made and serious-minded show, you've got a chance tomorrow, Sat. Jan. 5th, when they're running six episodes on a row starting at 11am. You'll see the latest on Giant Squids, Sasquatch, strange big cat attacks (kind of relevant really, with that tiger attack at the S.F. Zoo, and what about the revelations that those boys may have been taunting the tiger with slingshots? Ick. The Flaming Nose hates animal abuse and that changes the whole story, doesn't it?), Killer Apemen (with kooky CGI footage of an army of Russian chimp footsoldiers marching in Red Square, very much worth tuning in for!), Swamp Beasts, and giant killer fish. It doesn't get much better than that.

Grounded in hard science and with much use of DNA and modern identification techniques, MonsterQuest has one foot planted in crazyville and the other in the laboratory. I love the sincerity of those who study this field and hope that one day they'll find their Yeti, Nessie, Ogopogo or whatever else they search for. Until then, we can all go along for the ride and experience our vicarious monster-hunting thrills on History Channel's MonsterQuest!

(If you don't catch up with tomorrow's marathon, MonsterQuest regularly airs Wednesdays at 10pm. Check out the show's website for more information and fun extras! I also found this nice interview with MonsterQuest's creator Doug Hajicek right here.)


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Okay, I Know This is a Movie, But...



Wow! I can't wait! If you're not excited by this, you ought to be!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Maybe the Best Moment on TV Last Year?

From the Extras Finale, with Ricky Gervais --