Monday, August 31, 2009

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Mark your calenders for the next fantastic PBS miniseries which is coming on September 27, 2009. Check your local guides for times. Documentary film maker extraordinaire Ken Burns has produced a magnificent six part series for public broadcasting, with The National Parks.

Mr. Burns has established himself as an artist who paints unique video portraits of all things "American". Past series have included baseball, jazz and the city of New York. Some critics (not me!) find the pace of his specials a bit too leisurely, but various media outlets including Entertainment Weekly, have said that this latest effort will knock the hiking boot socks right off your feet. If the economic down turn caused you to have a "Stay-cation" this summer, National Parks might be the next best thing to being out there on the road. Segments will bring you to U.S. treasures such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Everglades. This is one holiday that won't require a trip through the security line at the airport or maxing out your already depleted credit card. We can't wait!

Here's a taste of this wonderful special: the cliff dwelling ruins in Mesa Verde, Colorado. Abandoned one thousand years ago by the original inhabitants, and still absolutely magic.

Remembering: The Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

It was August 31, 1997 -- twelve years ago, and no doubt many of us can remember where we were when we heard about the car accident that took the lives of Diana, her companion Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul, the driver. Diana's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones alone survived. The following is a compilation of BCC news reports from that fateful evening, a night that changed history.

Diana's allure has barely dimmed in the subsequent dozen years since her death, and her legacy lives on in the work of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Whether you are or were a royal watcher or not, it made no difference; the fascinating and heartfelt outpouring of emotion transfixed the world. This was another event where television brought the world together as one.

Kate Mulgrew joins NBC's 'Mercy'!

Good news for fans of this always intelligent actress, from The Hollywood Reporter.

Kate Mulgrew joins NBC's 'Mercy'

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Mad Men" -- Sneak Preview of Tonight's Episode on AMC

An ex-secretary comes back for a visit! Meow!

Recap of Last Week's "Mad Men" Episode!

It's always good to refresh our memory before drinking in another episode of this titillating show...

"TrueBlood" Heating Up for Last Two Episodes!

Despite last week's really short episode -- less than 45 minutes, by my clock -- HBO's TrueBlood continues to offer supersized thrills and excitement. Only two new episodes left in this latest Season 2 batch of 13 -- time flies when you're shapeshifting, drinking blood and being possessed by ancient bull spirits, doesn't it?

Here's a preview of tonight's episode "Frenzy":

Friday, August 28, 2009

Laura Linney is coming to Showtime!

Now this is excellent news! Follow this link to the Variety article about actress Laura Linney -- a Flaming Nose Favorite for her Emmy-winning role as Abigail Adams in last year's tremendous John Adams miniseries on HBO -- and her new venture on Showtime!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nose-Talgia: "The Lucy Show"

In addition to being raised on Flaming Nose Favorite I Love Lucy, many of us grew up with Lucille Ball's subsequent television series, including The Lucy Show which premiered in the Fall of 1962. New premise -- Lucy is a widow living in Danfield, NY, -- but with an old friend as co-star -- Vivian Vance played fellow widow Vivian who shared a house with Lucy (and both women's kids) -- The Lucy Show was a worthy follow-up to I Love Lucy, but certainly pales in comparison in terms of public awareness via syndication. By no means a buried classic, but also infrequently exposed in a couple of decades, it's an impeccably put-together show with many hilarious moments. One of the classic episodes is discussed below, and then watch the episode here!

From Wikipedia: While filming the 1963 episode "Lucy and Viv Put In A Shower", in which the leading ladies attempted to install a shower stall (but become trapped inside, unable to shut the water off), Ball nearly drowned while performing in the tank of water. She was unable to bring herself back to the surface, and it was Vance who realized there was a problem and pulled her co-star to safety; Vance went on to ad lib until Ball could catch her breath to resume speaking her lines (all the while, cameras continued to film). Neither the film crew nor the live studio audience realized there was a problem.

The Lucy Show
(Season One) is now available on DVD!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Are All One: The Human Family Tree

Join Dr. Spencer Wells on the National Geographic channel, Sunday, August 30th at 9pm as he explores the mysteries of human origin, DNA and migration. At a little street festival in Queens, NY (possibly one of the more ethnically diverse locations on the planet) he takes DNA swabs from 200 Americans of just about every color in the rainbow. The DNA test results trace their roots back 50,000 years. Guess what? We all come from the same place!

This special, which is airing On Demand on some cable systems already, is riveting and thought provoking. It turns out that humans have a great deal in common, in spite of their religious, ethnic and skin color differences. We are all related at the molecular level.

OK, everybody can stop fighting now and get ready for the world's biggest family reunion! I'll bring the Swedish meatballs and the potato salad. Seriously, this is a wonderful science special. Set your DVR and check it out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More on Don Hewitt and "60 Minutes" -- from Don Hewitt

You'll want to check out this article and accompanying video -- almost a full half-hour -- from PBS, with Don Hewitt sharing some of his insights regarding 60 Minutes. Thanks to TV Week for sharing this terrific link with us all!

Also recommended is this NY Times appreciation -- they call it "An Appraisal" -- of Hewitt by Mike Hale. It delves intelligently into the historical underpinnings of Hewitt's achievement. Without a doubt he changed television news forever, but that might be giving too little credit to him -- he changed the face and form of TV itself. Quite a legacy, as Hale details for us.

TV legend Don Hewitt dies at 86

You'll want to read's Michael Calderone's obituary of 60 Minutes mastermind Don Hewitt, who died today. He was surely from a different era of news reporting, but obviously foresaw the changing form of information-dispersal on television.

TV legend Don Hewitt dies at 86 - Michael Calderone -

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We Salute the Birthday of Gene Roddenberry!

Few television series have endured the steadfast rapture of the Flaming Nose founders more than Star Trek, so it is only fitting that we honor the birthday of its creator, the late Gene Roddenberry. Born August 19, 1921 in El Paso Texas, Mr. Roddenberry passed to the final frontier on October 24, 1991.

From his 70 year tenure on the planet Earth, Gene Roddenberry's most lasting legacy will be as creator of the original Star Trek television series in the 1960's, a phenomenon that has gone on to spawn 4 additional programs (including Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise) as well as 11 feature length movies. The most recent Star Trek movie was a J.J. Abrams blockbuster that has grossed over $200 million dollars and was reviewed here back in May 2009. The Flaming Nose has posted a total of 29 individual articles about Star Trek over the past few years, proof of our devotion to the brand and the dream.

Along with George Lucas and Neil Armstrong, it's fairly safe to say that Gene Roddenberry is a God to space fanatics and Sci-Fi geeks everywhere. But few probably realize that Mr. Roddenberry's life was an excellent adventure even before he gained fame for Star Trek. He was a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II, flying in 89 missions. After the war he became a commercial pilot for Pan American Airlines. He even had a 7 year run on the LAPD, a job he held to support his family while he tried to make it as a writer in Hollywood. I love the picture of Gene Roddenberry posted here. You can see the cocky swagger that inspired the iconic character of Captain James T. Kirk.

Mr. Roddenberry is one of the few celebrities who has ever been approved to have his ashes scattered in space by NASA. He did not live long. But he most certainly has prospered.

Check out this 2008 interview with his widow Majel Roddenberry (who appeared in the original series) and son Eugene (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Chris Pine...Captain Kirk in the new movie).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bruce Handy on "Mad Men" from Vanity Fair

If you are as mad about Mad Men as we are, you'll like this article by Bruce Handy about the show, along with photos of Jon Hamm and January Jones by Annie Leibovitz. No Season 3 spoilers but lots of insight from Matthew Weiner.

Bruce Handy on Mad Men:

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Mad Men" Comedy Promo

Have you seen the "Comedy" version in AMC's series of Mad Men promos? It's nutty.

The Toronto Star loves "Mad Men" as much as we do!

Check out this link to a nice article by Jennifer Wells!

Mad Men returns, as dark and stylish as ever

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"TrueBlood" Tonight on HBO!

The exciting promo for what will surely be an exciting episode tonight on TrueBlood! This week's ep is entitled "I Will Rise Up".

MaryAnn is one scary lady, eh?

TrueBlood tonight on HBO, 9pm. Don't miss it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Mad Men" -- The Sexiest Show on TV? Yeah, Probably!

Another in the Mad Men promos for Season 3, which begins this coming Sunday on AMC!

"TrueBlood" Stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer Speak!

I thought this little clip was interesting. It's TrueBlood stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer -- Sookie and Bill -- interviewed at last month's ComicCon in San Diego. Interesting for a couple of reasons, actually...

#1. You get to hear their real accents, both of them definitely not Southern American; Anna is Canada-born, raised in New Zealand, Moyer is British.

#2. You get to see if they look good together in real life, as they've recently announced their engagement.

We know you haven't forgotten that TrueBlood airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Allan Hyde as Godric on "TrueBlood" -- Mesmerizing!

We hope all you TrueBlood fans out there are as impressed with young actor Allan Hyde as vampire sheriff Godric as we are. He's stunning, with a quiet power and grace that makes him my new favorite character (at least for the time being) on this riveting and exciting series. We first got a glimpse of him in the Eric's flashback to the time he was turned into a vampire:

He came back into the show in a dramatic scene from last week's "Release Me":

And he was wonderful in this week's episode "Timebomb":

Hyde is Danish and TrueBlood is one of his first English-language appearances, but he's been making a name for himself in series and films in his native Denmark. The tremendously affecting work he's done so far in TB is deservedly going to make him a favorite of millions, and we hope he doesn't disappear too quickly from the show (IMDB lists him in only four episodes). More Godric, please!

Be sure to catch this week's episode -- it's disturbing and superb and also full of charming moments (like Jason hugging Bill). The episodes hold up to repeat viewing, the true mark of a show with enough layers to keep viewers enticed. TrueBlood is terrific!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Mad Men" Season 3 Photo Gallery -- Sublime!

Be sure to check out the complete Mad Men Season Three Photo gallery, which is now online. If you go to the AMC site there are only 12 photos posted, but the Mad Men Facebook page gives the whole 37 different shots, all worth perusing! The photo above is just one of several stunningly gorgeous Jon Hamm as Don Draper poses.

Beautiful photography, swanky imagery, and so much style you'll choke on it!

Of course we all remember that Season Three of Mad Men begins this coming Sunday night! More here later on the return of this terrific series!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"TrueBlood" Tonight on HBO!

Looks like there's a big showdown a'comin on tonight's TrueBlood, on HBO, 9pm!

Don't Miss It!

"Flaming Nose" Correspondent Jane is on a Road Trip!

In honor of her imminent fun, here's a great clip from I Love Lucy of the Ricardos and the Mertzes when they reached the West Coast!

Have fun, Jane and Tommy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Our Favorite Lucy Moments: Ethel May Potter and Company

Continuing our Lucy Birthday Salute, this is one of the most absurd and hilarious sequences that I always think of from I Love Lucy. Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel visit Ethel's hometown, where they're putting on a concert starring Ethel -- and only Ethel. This doesn't sit too well with her traveling companions and they endeavour to sabotage her performance. It's insane!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We Love Lucy!

Thanks to Jane for the wonderful Lucy post, and I've just posted another tribute to Our Lady of Laughter on the Turner Classic Movies Movie Morlocks site here. Be sure to go over and watch some great Lucy clips, including our favorite William Holden Hollywood moments!

The Flaming Nose Honors the Birthday of Lucille Ball-Our Beloved Muse

The Flaming Nose remembers the birthday of Lucille Ball, one of the finest comic actors that television has ever known. Born August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, NY, Lucy was also a star of film, stage and radio. But it was her TV role as the scheming but intensely lovable wife of Cuban band leader Ricky Ricardo that made her a legend. For six seasons and 193 episodes, Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethyl made Americans laugh until they cried. The writing was so well crafted and the physical humor so timeless, you can watch a re-run of this 50+ year old series and it still feels as fresh as a daisy. And that's after you've seen each episode oh...about a billion times.

What exactly is it about Lucy that makes her so endlessly appealing? She was beautiful and a brilliant comedian. She was creative and (along with Ricky) a phenomenal business woman. Beyond all of those accomplishments, I believe it was Lucy's ability to seem, even with all her riches and fame, like the girl next door. Someone who would have a cup of coffee with you at the kitchen table. We've all read that Lucy was not particularly hilarious in real life. It was her devotion to her craft and acting ability that made the Lucy character funny. But she could tell a great tale, something she demonstrated in her later years on talk shows with Dick Cavett and various other hosts.

There are countless biographies and fan sites for Lucy on the web. You could spend all day sifting through them. In Jamestown NY there is even a Lucy and Desi museum. One of my favorite Lucille Ball anecdotes took place in 1953, when Lucy was called to testify in front of the House Un-American committee. In her early 20's, she had voted in a Communist party election at the urging of her grandfather who was a socialist. The testimony came in the midst of her popular television series, and the publicity at that time could have had a negative impact on her image and career. Ricky introduced Lucy before the filming of episode 68 and explained the sticky situation to the audience adding, "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that's not legitimate." When she walked out on the stage, the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Happy Birthday dear Lucy. You are always in our hearts! Below is a wonderful trailer for the DVD boxed set of the entire I Love Lucy series. I feel like running down to Best Buy and getting it right this moment!

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Mad Men" Season 3 Promo -- Romance!

Another promo highlighting Mad Men's many delights -- this time the romance!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shark Week Premiers Tonight on Discovery!

It's as much a part of summer now as watermelon, and Coppertone suntan lotion. Shark Week returns to the Discovery Channel tonight with an absolutely terrifying cover of the 1916 northeast shark attacks that became the inspiration for Peter Benchley's book (and subsequently Spielberg's classic movie) "Jaws". Blood in the Water airs tonight at 9pm eastern, kicking off an entire week of delicious shark related fare. Catch a sneak peak of the video on the link above.

Buried somewhere in this week's fishy fun, will be a feature story about a man who saved his little dog from death by prying the pup from the jaws of a sand shark. That dog was treated at my sister's VCA veterinary clinic in Tavernier Florida, and they had the extreme thrill of welcoming a Discovery Channel camera crew to their office on a couple of occasions!

So much great little time! Humans are on the menu tonight, whether you watch the vampires chow down on True Blood or the sharks having a nosh on Discovery. Moi? I'll be going for both. Thank heavens for DVR!

"Eric" from True Blood is Vampire du Jour!

As we wait impatiently for tonight's cliff-hanging True Blood episode, here's a little pop-culture update. Entertainment Weekly has covered the top blood suckers in this week's issue and True Blood's Eric (played wonderfully by Swedish actor and director Alexander Skarsgard) is getting the most nods. A reader poll showed a shocking upset, with Eric getting the most votes for hottest vampire over Robert Pattinson from the movie Twilight.

As usual, the Flaming Nose was ahead of the curve, pointing out the joys of Eric many moons ago. Whether he's singing Swedish songs in a bathtub with feet, terrorizing adoring mortal fans in a bar or trying to "glam" Sookie, our buff Nordic neck biter is impossible to ignore. Since he's over 1,000 years old (and not a speck of plastic surgery!) we also love his Viking back story, and hope to see more of it.

Tune in tonight to HBO's True Bloood, the most exciting thing to happen to Sunday night television since The Sopranos!

New Episode of "Hung" Tonight on HBO

Here's a preview of what's in store for you on tonight's episode "Do It Monkey" of HBO's dramedy Hung -- or should we really call it a comma (comedy-drama, slightly more comedy than drama)?

The currently ongoing Television Critics Tour had a panel on Hung the other day, and evidently there were some interesting insights and an intriguingly testy (justified) Thomas Jane fielding questions from critics who obviously thought they were the real show. 'Fraid not. There's a good account of the session here from the L.A. Times, and another great one from The Toronto Star. (Right, Reuters photo of Thomas Jane and Jane Adams from the TCA session).

I appreciated the interpretation from the creators, as reported in both articles, of the many-faceted meaning of the word "hung" in the series. The show is being sold as a comedy, but it's really a lot more than that. As we've said before here, it isn't the complete downer that is AMC's brilliant Breaking Bad, but it treads some of the same existential ground. I love both shows.

Hung airs on HBO at 10pm Sundays, right after TrueBlood!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Mad Men World: There's No Business Like Show Business

Don Draper gets a surprise when Broadway legend Ethel Merman drops by his favorite bar. She confesses to him that she's been kind of down since "Gypsy" closed, especially since her marriage to Ernie Borgnine is shaky. Don feels for the talented lady, and tries to cheer her up by singing a medley of tunes from "Call Me Madam" with her. Several hours and many drinks later both leave for the night, Don home to Betty, and Ethel to Ernie, vowing to try to make amends with him. Don wishes her luck as he watches her cab drive away into the Manhattan night.

"TrueBlood" - Tomorrow Night's Episode "Release Me" Promo

Here's the promo for tomorrow's episode of Flaming Nose Favorite TrueBlood on HBO, entitled "Release Me". Everybody's in hot water -- Sam and Sookie especially! And Jason! Yikes!

Looks like a great episode of this exciting series, which you've probably have heard has been renewed by HBO for another season, along with fellow HBO Sunday night skeins Entourage and freshman dramedy Hung. The buzz for TrueBlood is growing expotentially, thanks to massive fan support and a general pro-vampire pop culture vibe going on. HBO is certainly benefitting from the teenage girl support for the Twilight books and movie franchise, and it's spilling over into all things vamp.

In its second season, TrueBlood is poised to take over as the sexiest show on TV -- generous amounts of skin are on display -- and none of it feels gratuitous in the least. (Pictured above right, Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin as Bill and Sookie, obviously not suffering a bit from post-coital tristesse). It's a winning recipe for HBO and we're happy to see their Sunday nights back in the game after a couple floundering years post-Sopranos. (Floundering in the audience sense, not in the creative sense; the shows were fine.) It's one thing to have a critically-acclaimed show like In Treatment and quite another to have a nekkid vampire-lovin' melodrama out there.

As we've said before here, boy, is CBS probably kicking themselves for giving their vampire drama Moonlight the boot a couple of seasons ago. They were just a bit ahead of the curve, and that's probably not where network television ought to be. Networks are better following the pop culture leaders, then getting into the act when Middle America finally catches the scent, and they're smelling blood right now.

Bottom Line: Don't miss TrueBlood tomorrow night at 9pm on HBO! Visit the TrueBlood site for more series information! (And here's a special shout-out for last week's episode where star Stephen Moyer sang a suitably sultry version of "Hard-Hearted Hannah" in a flashback scene; those English actors...they can do anything!)