Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thanks to Denis Leary's writing, producing and unfailing eye for the dark side of humor, Rescue Me is back. In fact, as a fan who has never missed a single episode, this is without question the best season ever.
The most recent episode, "Iceman", opened with the theatrical existentialism of Eugene O'Neil's The Iceman Cometh, where Tommy Gavin faced his demons and ghosts in a NYC bar. And it ended with more blood, fire, explosions, and drama than you would pay good money to see for one of those Jerry Bruckheimer action flicks at your local movie palace. In between, there was profane, swallow your tongue humor and...quite frankly...the best banter on TV.
Last week's episode found our beloved Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) tossing his AA chip for the siren call of ghosts and alcohol once again. This is not a new theme, and could have been tedious, except for a phenomenal moment between Tommy, and fellow firehouse buddy (and now room-mate) Lou. Confronting T. Gavin, Lou launches into a flaming put down of all his faults, and lays it on the line.
"Sober...you're a great fireman. And a selfish, spiteful, hit the nail on the head, no bullshit kind of guy. Drunk...you're a great fireman. And a selfish, spiteful, hit the nail on the head, no bullshit kind of guy. But funny. And I like funny."
This may be my favorite TV line of the season. Played by John Scurti (Lou), Shea is a revelation. He's a solid, hilarious, down-to-earth dude who seems more real than any other character on the series. I think he is sexy as hell, and I don't wonder why the mean French journalist was attracted to him. If she didn't give Lou a roll in the sheets, that's one more reason why folks here in the USA might resent the French. I hope Emmy award nominations are around the corner for both Denis Leary and Scurti this Fall.
This is superb television, and as we wait for some of our other favorites to come back, there isn't anything better on TV. Please visit the website too, as Denis Leary wants to funnel the recognition for this fantastic program into support for real life firefighters and their missions.
Friday, May 29, 2009
In a real spoiler-filled release -- and if you don't want to know the gist of next season's story arc, you should just tune out now -- they disclosed that Lithgow would be playing "Walter Simmons, an unassuming, mild-mannered suburbanite who has been living a dual life as one of America’s most prolific and deadliest serial killers. Dubbed the 'Trinity Killer' because of his proclivity to kill in threes, he relocates to Miami after being tracked by FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine). Brought on to assist in the investigation of Miami’s latest serial killer, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) becomes fascinated with Trinity’s killing methods and his ability to evade capture for almost three decades." Pictured above, Lithgow in one of my favorite of his performances, as Dr. Emilio Lizardo in the brilliantly eccentric 1984 movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.
Oh, boy! Not only does that bring us Lithgow, one of the most interestingly idiosyncratic actors around, but it also means that Keith Carradine is back (at least for some episodes) as Special Agent Lundy. You must remember how we were completely smitten with the second season sexy May-December romance between Lundy and Debra Morgan, Dexter's sister (played by Jennifer Carpenter, who is Mrs. Michael C. Hall). Their relationship was nipped in the bud when Lundy left Miami to go back to his regular post, and last season Debra got herself another beau in the form of the deliciously laid-back musician Anton (David Ramsey).
So much for our girlish natterings. But Lithgow -- now that's an inspired piece of casting and should make for much murderous merriment when Dexter returns on Sept. 27, 2009. Sounds like a long time from now, but it's really just a summer away!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here's a terrific moody promo for Season Two, to Bob Dylan's "Beyond Here Lies Nothin" --
You'll probably also enjoy taking a look at this new TrueBlood ad campaign which uses the vampire theme in print ads for real products. Take a look at them here.
More on TrueBlood, of course, coming on The Flaming Nose soon!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'll tell you what this really means, for once and for all. The results really are based on voting, and not the whims of Fox producers or executives. Adam was clearly the favorite of the judges, so the fact that Kris won means that votes mattered. Teen girls can text faster than anyone on Earth, and now they have spoken by giving their darling Kris the top spot.
Farewell until next year, American Idol TV show obsession! Next up: a review for "Glee". It was exhilarating!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
We predicted (14 weeks ago), we confirmed (6 weeks ago) and we still believe (tonight). Adam Lambert is one of the most qualified and least typical of any of the American Idol contestants that have come before in this top rated Fox Television program's 8 season history. He can sing anything and his range is triple octave. He has enormous stage presence. He is handsome, and personable and humble and (OMG) even nice. He is unflappable in the face of countless AI judge insults and inanities. He has weathered (in this day and age...puleeze!) a ridiculous tabloid tsunami of snipes and hisses about his possible "gayness". To which I (and hopefully the American public after tomorrow) will respond...who gives a flying factoid one way or another. Adam Lambert is a star. My only hope is that he can write. If he can come up with his own original words for a few fine tunes, and find a Bernie Laupin to make the music ring, we will have a star on our hands that will last for a good long time.
Having said all that...I do have to mention, that both final contestants had to sing songs chosen by AI producer Simon Fuller tonight. He picked "Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke for Adam and (one of my all time personal favorites) "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye for Kris. As talented as these two guys are, neither one of them came close to the originals. It's not their fault...how could they possibly? But I'm glad the songs were chosen because it puts a spotlight on two great African American artists that are no longer with us. And maybe they will get some fresh downloads as a result of this publicity.
Good luck to both of tonight's contestants. Alan Lambert and Kris Alan will have to sort it all out tomorrow, and wonder along with the rest of us....who is the American Idol? How long does it last? Who will get the most downloads? And (most importantly) will anyone still care after Susan Boyle wins "Britain's got Talent"? My fantasy for the Wednesday night finale is for Adam and Kris to sing "Under Pressure", a great 80's song by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. It would bring down the house.
Note: This post has been updated with a video. It's Adam singing "Mad World" while a water ballet lady swims around blowing bubbles. It's exquisitely weird.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Great dimensional breaches, gruesome injuries, fascinating discoveries, a creepy bandaged face, and most importantly, Leonard Nimoy revealed as series mystery man William Bell. I know Nose correspondent Jane was most impressed by the amazing appearance of -- SPOILER! -- the Twin Towers where Bell has his office. Gotta love alternate realities!
This will make for a fantastic 2nd season for the show. I think we should all do a refresher course on Fringe over the summer, and give it our complete support and attention when it returns with new episodes. We've liked the show a lot here, but it never quite blossomed into true love. With Nimoy around, that's going to change!
(Late Breaking Update: Fox has just released its Fall 2009 line-up, and Fringe is moving to Thursday nights at 10pm, opposite CSI, Grey's Anatomy, and two of our favorite sitcoms. Break out the DVRs!)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Have you seen this wonderful commercial yet? Hulu has been rocking the airwaves as one of the few big Internet sites to advertise on TV. They rolled out some great advertising in this year's Superbowl. But because Hulu is all about television, it walks a gossamer thin line in this spot; poking fun at TV...while simultaneously making it seem like the coolest thing on earth. And what better spokesperson could they have gotten for THAT message than Mr. Denis Leary? If you look up the word cool on Wikipedia, you'll find a picture of Denis, who can be found every week in the gritty FDNY series "Rescue Me" (Tuesday nights on fX).
Hulu's online traffic has been growing faster than you can say the word Twitter. It really makes you wonder why more big web sites don't spit shine their brands and send them off to TV Land. With most advertisers fretting about "clutter", TV is a wide open frontier when it comes to this category.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
With so many Flaming Nose TV favorites coming to a season close, I thought there might be something nice to carry us through the summer. Alas, there will just be a one hour glimpse of Glee before it is put on ice to wait for the real debut in the Fall. What a tease. "Glee" (Fox, next Tuesday on May 19th, 9pm) gives us a great show biz perennial ("let's put on a show!") and smacks it down in a venue that is pulsating with peril (high school). Scheduled after next week's American Idol season finale, Glee should resonate with anyone who ever tried out for chorus or the drama department. Check out the video, it looks like High School Musical with brains and humor. Too bad Fox had to try such an odd scheduling technique. If it's any good, we will have a long, long wait to see the second episode. The audience better be patient, or else Fox will be singing the blues.
Oh well...summer belongs to cable anyway!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
OK, somebody had to do it, so I'll take the fall. Before Shatner himself comes onto the Flaming Nose and tells us to "get a life" for being all Star Trek, all the time...here's a little break from our beloved TV Series-Movie Franchise.
MySpace Video has a feature now called U-Zoo (you can subscribe). I'm a connoisseur of animal videos, and what I like about this series, is the subtitles, giving you some sort of idea of what (in this case Russian) people are talking about as they adore their critters. In this particular video I love how the domestic house cat and dog are so accepting when their new family suddenly includes a few lion cubs.
It's a great series, but they need to refresh it more often. Good also for ultra sensitive animal lovers, as they don't include some of the more violent/drastic stuff that is omnipresent on YouTube.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I've never before read an article that completely and concisely explained what was so immensely entertaining and importantly different about Star Trek: The Original Series. Hadju, a professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, author, and music critic at The New Republic magazine, totally nails what made ST:TOS unique.
It sounds like Hadju grew up like many of us did, devouring television and movies and making connections between everything we saw. His appreciation and understanding of the special pastiche of cultural influences which came together in Roddenberry's original vision for Star Trek is dead on and faultless. Explaining Trek's special magic doesn't ruin the illusion, it makes it even better.
What a delightful and insightful article! Hadju nails it and in the process actually makes Star Trek even more culturally relevant than ever.
The sketch at the top of the post is artist Ted Mcgrath's witty illustration for the piece. Hilarious!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
If you've read anything on the Flaming Nose over the past few months you're aware that our eager anticipation for the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie was just this side of borderline psychotic . I am pleased to announce that the movie opened wide on 5.08.09 and did not disappoint. Would it be too over the top to use the word "Love"? No it would not. I would like to write a love letter to Mr. Abrams, because if anything, Star Trek surpassed even my OTG (Original Trek Geek) expectations.
At its core, the original Star Trek television series was about hope, friendship and the pioneer spirit...enduring themes that have always contributed to its immense popularity around the world. Who wouldn't want a future where humans (and quite a few extraterrestrials) of every race and origin, live and work in harmony? Star Trek was a program that featured a young
Japanese Navigator (Sulu) as a central character, only twenty years after World War II ended. While the American south was still riddled with
"Whites Only" signs, Star Trek dared to display an interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura. The movie kicks it up a few notches with an "inter species" moment between Spock and Uhura that is hotter than Antares. I'm not going to spoil it for those who have not seen the picture yet, so all I will say is, "oh my". Ladies, feel free to explore your inner cougar inclinations with this one.
Star Trek appeals on every level, whether you grew up loving the Shatner-Nimoy opus or cut your teeth on the last three Star Wars movies. I saw it yesterday with my teenage son and two of his friends. They were just as engaged as this die-hard Trekkie and didn't seem to mind at all when I repeatedly gave the Vulcan hand salute to the screen.
Star Trek is a summer blockbuster in every sense of the word. It moves at a breathless, lightning pace and the special effects are astounding. There are harrowing, edge of the seat fight scenes and a fantastic torch-like atmospheric drill the evil Romulans use to threaten Earth. You want a little humor with your action flick? Star Trek was packed with genuine laughs and surprises, many coming from Simon Pegg who played the Enterprise loving chief engineer Scotty. For traditionalists, Leonard Nimoy's appearance as Spock Prime was touching, and (not a word generally used for Vulcans) emotional.
But nothing in Star Trek is as compelling as the developing friendship between the young Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) who meet at Star Fleet Academy and take an instant dislike to each other. That's called "meeting cute" in the movies, and it usually means that a lifelong buddy bond is on the way. Quinto's young Spock was fascinating and very sexy; his struggle to be Vulcan and subjugate his emotions conveyed by a slight flash of the eyes or a barely perceptible tightening in his face. This is a very explosive, angry Spock. Whatever you do, don't say anything bad about his mother. Chris Pine is amazing as the brilliant "bad boy" Kirk, a car jacker and party animal until he gains focus and joins the Star Fleet. Like many young men who turn to the military, he soon discovers it's a lot more fun to fight bad guys at warp speed than punch wise guys in a bar brall. I loved it when he assumed the familiar lion-like slouch in the Captain's chair on the Enterprise. A new super-hero, refreshingly human, was born.
The USS Enterprise, a cultural icon so huge that NASA named the first Space Shuttle after this fictional ship, functioned like a main character in the movie. Sleek, gleaming and surreal, when the silver bird with its aviation mark NCC-1701 first appeared on screen I got a lump in my throat and had to reach for my popcorn napkin. Seeing Scotty's love-at-first-sight appreciation for the beautiful ship was also a delight.
As I write this report, the LA Times has announced that Star Trek the Movie is on track to surpass estimates and may reach $80 million at the box office this weekend. I certainly hope it will. And please let there be a sequel to this prequel. The incredible chemistry of this cast is too good for just one movie. We want to boldly go see another one, as soon as we finish seeing this one about 6 or 7 more times.
Thank you J.J. Abrams. From the opening battle scenes to the final credits (and dedication to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry), this movie was a wonder. Flaming Nose fans, if you have not done so already....go see it now.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
A thoroughly enjoyable but exasperating night on American Idol has prompted me to post this morning! The good news is that, like many viewers, I finally know what kind of record Adam Lambert should (and probably will) make. Yes, as the judges said, he needs to go the Led Zeppelin mixed with glam-rock route. There are, however, some big problems with that and I will elaborate in a moment.
First I must vent because the judges really pissed me off by going overboard in their obvious attempt to save Mr. Lambert after last week's bottom two "scare." Whether Lambert is your cup of tea or not is irrelevant because he turned in a stellar performance last night and didn't need extra pimpage from the judges. Allison Iraheta came out and gave one of the best performances anyone has given all season, and they picked it apart over what seemed like the lamest of reasons. Non-reasons. It smacks of manipulation. I would still buy Allison's record before Adam's. But that's me. Kris Allen and Danny Gokey did the best they could with the material but they are not this year's rockers and it showed. Gokey's fan base will keep him safe.
So let's get back to rock music. Here's where Adam Lambert faces a challenge. If he takes the judges' advice and goes the pure, classic, bring-the-house-down rock route he's going to have post-Idol troubles. There's much talk about filling the current empty void of arena rock but I've got news for you and I will put this in bold typface: an American Idol contestant, whether a winner or runner-up, is not going to be the one to single handedly bring back rock. Mr. Lambert, good luck getting on rock radio, because you better line up behind 5 x platinum Daughtry and newly platinum David Cook. Their "tainted" American Idol history still has them waiting for spins on the all-too-snobbish rock radio format. The pair are ruling Hot Adult Contemporary (aka Adult Top 40) and they both do well on Top 40, but cracking into the rock radio format is an uphill challenge. Daughtry's sophomore album is due out in July, and it remains to be seen whether he's paid enough "rock dues" to get onto rock radio. If so, it will have been three long years since he left American Idol, and he didn't even have the "stigma" of winning the show!
Adam Lambert faces other big challenges, especially if he wins and is signed by 19 Recordings and managed directly by the boss, Simon Fuller, himself (as is the case with Daughtry and Cook). They'll likely hook him up with RCA Records (again, like Daughtry and Cook, both 19/RCA) and there's no way he'll put out a hard rock-Led Zeppelin-Guns & Roses type of album right off the bat. David Cook, who was given unprecedented creative freedom post-Idol, and is by far the Idol success story with the most extensive indie-rock resume, put out a superb but fairly commercial rock album that crosses several radio formats (HAC, Top 40, Adult Contemporary). Daughtry's debut album has similar characteristics. The difference between Lambert and his two Idol predecessors is that it's unclear whether Lambert can shine in the dialed-down rock ballad category. Daughtry's crisp, clear understated angst-driven vocals have made him a rocker who gets played on pop radio. Cook's power and pipes go into Lambert's territory, but Cook is also brilliant at dialing it back and putting in a vocal performance that can bring tears to your eyes. Both Daughtry and Cook write and sing songs with pop-rock hooks that stay on your brain all day, but never stray from their rock roots. I'm not convinced Lambert will have me buying his entire album. Cook and Daughtry are seasoned musicians but I have no knowledge of Lambert being anything more than a performer, and that can be another handicap for Lambert in the rock world.
As an American Idol fan, I hope that Lambert succeeds as a rocker. Daughtry opened the door. Cook practically broke the show last year and proved you can be a successful rock winner. I think both Daughtry and Cook have allowed the judges and the fans to embrace rock on Idol, and as someone who prefers rock to pop, it makes me happy. Slash's involvement with the show might also help keep rock alive on Idol, and open some rock doors for Idol alumni. The sad news for me is that, in the real world, when you look at current radio, it's clear that rock has taken a back seat to R&B and Hip Hop oriented pop, so when a rocker does well on American Idol, expectations for him/her need to be managed. Versatility is the key to success, and I'm not convinced that Adam Lambert has the level of versatility that has helped David Cook succeed on HAC, Top 40 and Adult Contemporary. I would love to hear all four Idol rockers - Cook, Daughtry, Lambert and Iraheta, on rock radio - and soon!
Contestant duets are a welcome addition this season. Last night's performance of Foghat's "Slow Ride" by Lambert and Iraheta was a highlight of the show.
This is an adorable montage of wonderful moments from the late, great DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy of the Starship Enterprise. Word is that Karl Urban makes a terrific new McCoy -- can't wait to see him in the role made beloved by Kelley!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
- Being forced to play the "Gorn" monster on the playground during recess at the age of 12, because my two fellow male classmates would not let me be, "Spock" (my first choice) or "Kirk". OK, this is not a good memory, but it built character.
- Following my Dad (may he rest in peace) outside after watching an episode of the original Star Trek series and having him point out all the stars...and their names...and seeing his excitement about thinking that humans would go there some day. Star Trek really made him believe. I was just a kid at the time, but it made me a believer too.
- Winning the Kings Elementary School oratory contest for reciting a segment from Leonard Nimoy's "Mr. Spock from Outer Space" album in 6th grade. All the other kids read poems about flowers. I had a more apocalyptic view.
- Seeing John Belushi do his skit on Saturday Nite Live with Chevy Chase...still one of the best SNL moments ever. NBC comes to take down the set of the immortal series Star Trek, because the ratings suck...Spock and Kirk can't break character to let it happen. Best line...a production assistant yanks the pointy's off of Chevy Chase as the fourth wall crumples.... and he screams..."I want my ears...give me back my ears!"
- Creating some of the strangest, funniest Spock and Kirk stories ever with my co-worker (and now fellow Flaming Nose creator) Lisa back in the days of independent television. Does anyone want to see some of it? It's wonderfully inappropriate. Maybe we'll wait until after the movie opens.
- Taking my (then) 6 year old son to a huge Star Trek convention in Pasadena with my sister Georgette. He was horrified by the giant leather clad Klingon fans in attendance (fabulous bone heads, enormous weapons, platform boots) . My beloved offspring flipped out when I would not buy him the blow-up Enterprise, AND the Phaser AND the talking Tri-corder. I bought him the Enterprise. Then he had a melt-down. Mom and Aunt exited with enraged 6 year old. I told him if he didn't settle down, I would give him to a Klingon. Silence. Before all the Mom PC police get their shorts in a knot...that kid has grown up to be the greatest young man ever. He's college bound, and a sci-fi geek to the core.
- Actually that last bullet point is the perfect set-up to my most favorite Star Trek moment...and I will have to bring it to you through the Space Time Continuum, because it hasn't happened yet. This Friday, I'll be seeing Star Trek the Movie on the day that it opens with my son Tommy and a few of his buddies. They are all teenagers. (You hear that Paramount...it does span generations!). It was their first choice to see in the theater this weekend. It was my first choice as something to do for Mother's Day. A complete win-win for all.
Monday, May 4, 2009
According to a recent blurb in Entertainment Weekly online, Leonard Nimoy has been tapped to appear in the season finale of J.J. Abram's Sci Fi series, Fringe next Tuesday May 12th (9-10pm) on FOX. He'll be featured as William Bell, a mysterious scientist and former partner of John Nobel's quirky and wonderful Dr. Bishop.
Rumor has it that this is more than a walk-on, and Nimoy will return next season to carry on the role as a semi-regular. Fingers crossed for that!
PS-I lied when I said I wasn't going to do any more Trek related posts. Never trust a Trekkie when they say they are done. They can try to make me go to Star Trek Rehab, but I won't go, go, go!
A very insightful analysis of the greatness that is Spock, the character. They love him as much as we do.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
In terms of non-workplace relationships, we had Spock's reunion with Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland) in "This Side of Paradise", where in addition to kissing a girl Spock also gets to hang from a tree like a chimp. Bravo on both counts! We can't again ignore the total Vulcan sexuality-infused "Amok Time" where we meet Spock's betrothed T'Pring (Arlene Martel) and also catch him at his computer almost creepily gazing at her picure as a child. (Always thought that was a bit weird!).
How about his out-of-character flirtation with the skinnier-than-skinny spoiled aristobrat Droxine (Diana Ewing) in "The Cloud Minders"? I was always fascinated by it, but thought it completely ridiculous and highly illogical, albeit almost hilarious. Much better was Spock's James Bond-ian undercover seduction of the Romulan Commander (Joanne Linville) in "The Enterprise Incident". Not only they did look good together, but as distant racial relatives they shared unearthly foreplay techniques which were good for endless speculation.
Mainly because I've always loved actress Mariette Hartley, I'm partial to Spock's unlikely but nearly plausible -- thanks to time travel -- infatuation with Zarabeth in "All Our Yesterdays". It's also got that wrenching doomed romance farewell scene, this time played in blowing snow, which gives it kind of a Doctor Zhivago-esque air. Quite memorable overall!
I think that's about all for now, so I'm hoping the new movie will add more nooky to the Star Trek canon. Love makes the world...the universe...go round!
Paramount is desperate to get the young male "butts into the theater seats" next weekend. So much so, they are breathlessly promoting the movie as "not your grandfather's Star Trek", while wedging hot young director J.J. Abrams into every conversation.
If web-buzz is to believed, I don't think Paramount has anything to worry about. This has become one of the most eagerly awaited movies of the season, and not just here on The Flaming Nose.
Since the Internet is pulsating with clips from the new movie, I'm going to kick it old school one more time and post the opening sequence of the original Star Trek TV series. Behold..below...the television moment that started a movement. Live long and prosper, everyone!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
For a thoroughbred horse racing fan the Kentucky Derby is always the big ticket event in the racing season. It is also about the only time (unless there is a legitimate Triple Crown contender) that the average Joe and Mary pay attention to thoroughbred horse racing.
I watched the coverage of the pre-race on ESPN and their coverage is all encompassing and no one does this better than ESPN. Kenny Mayne, Jeannine Edwards, Jerry Bailey, Hank Goldberg - they know this sport and they know and love the horses.
NBC's coverage was relatively pedestrian and a huge disappointment. There's no enthusiasm, excitement or wide ranging knowledge. The true giant in this race was scratched. I saw "I Want Revenge" win the Wood Memorial and it was on that day that I had my Derby horse. He bolted from the gate sloppily and was in dead last place through most of that major prep race and then like a frigging bullet he crossed through the lanes like a mighty warrior. I placed $70.00 on this horse yesterday at an OTB and of course, I now have lost that $70.00. It's like throwing money away. I only gamble on Derby Day even though I love this sport with all of my heart. I love horses and as long as the horses are protected I'm for the sport. My equine friends mean the world to me, so this is a big day in my life. My party friends are still eating and talking about the winner - a $9,500.00 purchase that has a goofy name. "Mine That Bird" has won the Kentucky Derby. He will no doubt NOT be the 12th Triple Crown winner (we haven't had one since 1978's "Affirmed"), but then again you never know. That's why they call it a horse race!
Friday, May 1, 2009
Ladies and gents, Trekkers, Trekkies and assorted Sci Fi Geeks....the buzz is off the charts on this one. Have we built it up too much? Do we need to go into a cone of silence over the next week to cleanse our palates prior to the big event?
Naaaa! Let's continue the drumbeat!