Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Favorite William Shatner Will Be "Dad"!

We neglected to offer our heartfelt congrats to Flaming Nose Favorite Forever William Shatner on landing the title role in CBS' pilot Shit My Dad Says (presumably there will be an "*" in the title there somewhere). SMDS is based on a popular Twitter feed of the same name, and if you're not a regular follower, check out the link and get in on the sage amusement it offers. The creative team behind Will and Grace is also behind this one, so expect it to be plenty funny.

We love William Shatner embracing his gift for eccentric humor, and for being such an incredible survivor and TV god! (Check out a great selection of his hilarious moments here.) We can't wait for this show!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Giant Snakes are Coming!

The long running and superb PBS Nature series will feature an awesome hour of giant snakes tomorrow (Sunday) at 8pm. The Invation of the Giant Python is going to slither right into your living room. Who wouldn't want to watch that?!? This invasive species is taking over in South Florida. They can grow 15 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds. They'll eat humans, deer, sheep, pets. There's video out there showing pythons even consuming Florida's native (former) top carnivore...the alligator!

Don't miss this this real life horror. And if you visit Florida, be careful where you sit!

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Parks" Proves the Death of the TV Comedy has been Greatly Exaggerated

It seems like just a few years ago, pundits were predicting that television comedy was dead. These days, nothing could be further from the truth. Though the ratings might not be quite what they were in decades past, NBC's Thursday night comedies are still thriving in a sea of critical acclaim and Emmy awards. The Office and 30 Rock are well established phenoms now (and truthfully a little "off" this season, although still wonderfully watchable).

The biggest surprise in the line-up, and an absolute don't miss is the gem "Parks and Recreation", at 8:30pm on Thursday nights.

At the helm is Saturday Night Live's versatile Amy Poehler. She plays Leslie, an officious little do-gooder who works for the Parks commission in the small town of Pawnee Indiana. The surprise is that even with a job description that makes you want to hammer nails into your kneecaps, she is absolutely adorable in the role. The rest of the cast is an inspiration, including the wonderfully likable and funny Rashida Jones (formerly of The Office), Nick Offerman as the gruff, whiskey swilling politically incorrect boss, and Aziz Ansari as the hapless nerd who pines for a Canadian hottie who married him only so she could get a green card. Aziz is part of the latest trend in TV comedies, where the funniest breakout character is always of Indian descent (see Dani Pudi as Abed on "Community"). There is no end of quirky characters in this series, and not one of them strikes a false note.

This week's episode "Galintine" featured John Larroquette in a guest star roll as the long lost (and most hilariously psychotic) boyfriend of Leslie's mom. I searched in vain for a clip of this or any other episode...they just are no where to be seen on YouTube. I thought NBC was friendlier to online blogging, but I guess they just can't help doing things to tick off viewers these days!

"Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." on PBS

We hope that you've begun watching PBS' new four episode series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a genealogical journey through the lives of twelve prominent Americans, and by extension, all of our lives. Gates, the Harvard professor whose previous PBS efforts were the acclaimed two series of African American Lives, sits down with these dozen celebrities -- a diverse group including Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Mike Nichols -- and weaves the life stories of their ancestors and their varied paths to America.

It was an interesting and no doubt the right decision not devote separate episodes to individual stories, but rather skip around to tell bits of the immigrant experience behind the subjects. Each episode explores a different theme using traditional genealogical resources and finally in the last episode Gates (right) turns to the latest scientific DNA research to further understand humanity's bonds to each other. (Gates, you may remember, was arrested in July 2009 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while breaking into his own home after a trip -- off filming this show, in fact -- resulting in much media attention for the bizarre and unpleasant incident. Only in America, right?) Much as there's an over-emphasis on celebrities in our country today, it also was surely the right decision to use this collection of notables to appeal to viewers. A little star power can hopefully be a useful thing, if it brings people to this thoughtful series.

Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will appeal to those who've been bitten by the family tree bug, and should appeal to everybody else, too, since there's nothing more intimate or more fascinating than the lives of real people. This is the kind of reality show that we should be watching. Forget the battling savages of Survivor or all the other unpleasant contestants on the shows littering every network these days -- this is the real deal. And of course, nothing could be more germane than the subject of immigration, one of the key issues of this century. It has yet to be truly understood by todays' citizenry and will inevitably change the face of the future America, just as Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shows how it changed the America that came before.

Check out the website for Faces of American with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., where you can learn all about the series itself and also access resources to help you look back into your own ancestry. Episodes are also available online after their initial airings. Check the PBS website for the airtimes in your local market.

Wouldn't it be great if Americans quit wasting time caring about minor celebrities with nothing but scandal to distinguish them, and tried to understand more about themselves? This series will help the effort.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flaming Nose's Jane on "Farmville" on BlogHer!

You'll want to check out this delightful and thought-provoking article on the BlogHer website -- it's written by Flaming Nose correspondent Jane, and it's all about her (mine, our...everybody's) fascination with the Facebook game application Farmville, by Zynga. Be sure to watch the YouTube video included -- it's hilarious.

And you thought Jane only knew about television! :-)

Ellen on "American Idol"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

150% "Yes" for Ellen on American Idol!

After months of anticipation, Ellen Degeneres finally joined the judge panel on American Idol, as the Hollywood phase of this season got underway. Although her total time on air in the one hour episode was just a few minutes, it was enough to give us a taste of what she'll be like sitting on the high court of America's most popular TV show. So far it bodes well for FOX. She's witty but not distracting or overwhelming. She also seems to be taking the whole task very seriously. With her stylish reading glasses perched on the table and pen in hand, she looked like a favorite teacher about to grade a stack of tests. Sensing (like a prey animal) a competition she could not possibly hope to win, Kara actually took it down a few notches in the presence of Ms. Ellen, and in the process became a more thoughtful judge.

The format for this first of the "weeding out the hopeless" phase was choppy and frustrating. We never really get to see any of the contestants finish an entire song as they ran the Kodak Theater gauntlet, sweating and hyperventilating. Ellen has established that she is not going to fill Paula Abdul's fuzzy slippers. If anything, she was almost too hard on some of the singers. I was very sorry to see the Tennessee mountain girl cut (nerves got her) but at least she got her first ride on an aeroplane. I also did not expect to see the hottie cancer survivor guy gone so early in the competition. Some interesting talent made it through however, including a diamond in the rough single mom who had the audience in the palm of her hand with a powerful version of You Make Me Feel (like a Natural Woman).

Tonight is group night in Hollywood...can't wait for more Ellen. She has brought a new level of excitement to Season 9! Too bad all the video of her from last night's telecast has been disabled on YouTube or I would have posted a snippet here. You'll just have to watch and judge the new judge for yourself.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Temple Grandin on HBO

Heads up from the Nose about an extraordinary (do they make any other kind?) film on HBO Saturday night at 8pm (2-06-2010). "Temple Grandin" is the true story of an autistic woman who overcomes an isolating and little understood affliction, to become a world renowned scientist and animal behavior specialist.

Born in 1947, Dr. Grandin struggled to find her way. Many folks were (are) routinely teased in high school for being a little "out of the box". Temple Grandin endured gulag level torture and ostracism in high school. Through the grace of a favorite science teacher, she persevered and ultimately emerged as one of the world's most accomplished experts in the study of livestock behavior.

Temple Grandin features Claire Danes in the title role as well as Julia Ormond, Cathryn O'Hara and David Strathairn.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Patty Duke for Social Security

Have you seen the series of PSAs for the Social Security Administration, starring our baby boomer TV favorite Patty Duke -- star of course of the classic sitcom The Patty Duke Show -- reprising her Patty and Cathy Lane characters? The spots encourage seniors to go online to conduct their Social Security business.

I guess I've been out of the loop, evidently not watching enough U.S. TV in the wee hours to catch public service announcements, but just this morning I caught one of the five spots. Honestly I didn't pick up on the Patty Duke connection (or even that it was Patty Duke) until they reprised the iconic theme song in the last moments of the PSA, but I've since found out all about them, mainly that they've been around since the beginning of last year. They are cute spots, with enough knowing references to the series that fans won't be rolling their eyes bemoaning their lameness.

And here they are:

I did a post here almost two years ago (!) about The Patty Duke Show, so take a look at that if you want to see the original show open that so charmed us all back in the 1960s. Patty Duke did a fair amount of publicity for these PSAs, and one nice interview is here, and I think you will be heartened to know that Ms. Duke volunteered to do these spots, good citizen that she is. (If you'd like to visit the SSA site and watch the vids online, go here.) There is supposed to be an additional spot featuring the remaining castmembers of the show coming up, and we'll be looking forward to that. In October of last year Patty appeared in a spot with flu shot information, also available at the SSA site.

Fans of Patty Duke -- and who isn't, and I mean that -- will want to check out the well-informed website Call Me Anna: The Official Patty Duke Website for the latest on Patty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Leonard Nimoy on "Mission:Impossible" -- Paris When He Sizzles!

I'm down in Sarasota, Florida, for a few weeks this winter, and was pleasantly surprised to see that a local indie is playing the great Mission: Impossible series in the mornings. Sure, I know you can get them now on DVD, but there's nothing like turning on your television set and seeing something this terrific in front of your eyes in real time. I'm a great believer in the power of shared TV viewing, and I surely hope I wasn't the only Sarasotan watching this morning.

Anyway, they aired an episode from the fourth season of the show, when masters of disguises Martin Landau and Barbara Bain had left the show, and a just-off-the-cancelled-Star Trek Leonard Nimoy stepped in to co-star as Paris, a former magician who was also another master of disguise, a crucial job skill on Mission: Impossible. The episode this morning was the penultimate of that season, called "The Choice", and featured Nimoy in the dual role of Paris and Emile Vautrain, a Rasputin-like mystic who was trying to usurp the throne of a mythical country called Trent. Two Nimoys for the price of one! Very typically good episode, with a bunch of great character actors like Sid Haig and Arthur Franz running around and of course that great Lalo Shifrin music score making everything so dramatic.

I guess I'm trying to get you to try to watch some vintage Mission: Impossible! The show is iconic and eternally classy, and I'd never steer you wrong!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let the Countdown to Oscar Night Begin!

The nominations for the 82nd motion picture Academy Awards were announced this morning. In Los Angeles, this event is accompanied by more angst and anticipation than the Nobel Prize. There are many changes in the format this year, although very few surprises among the nominees. For the first time ever, there were 10 nominations for Best Picture: The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Blind Side, Up (pictured above), Crazy Heart, Up in the Air, Precious, A Serious Man, An Education and District 9. Hurt Locker and Avatar tied for most nominations this year, with 9 each. There is (almost) something for everyone onthis massive list including Sci-Fi, animation, Iraq war action, love stories and the heartbreak of the current broken economy. As per usual, no comedies are represented, although The Hangover was a strong contender. Of course Flaming Nosers are terribly disappointed that their beloved Star Trek was not among the Best Picture nominees, even with the expanded list. I take comfort in the fact that the Blogosphere is burning up with pols showing Star Trek as the #1 pick in the "We Was Robbed" category.

For a complete list of all the nominations, click on the link above. The Golden Globes were (as usual) a harbinger of this year's Oscar nomination, as many of the same titles and actors are on the list. I'm pleased to see Globe winner Chris Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) nominated for Supporting Actor.

The Flaming Nose can feel free to write all it wants about the Oscars, even though we are primarily a TV blog. That's because the Academy Award show telecast is one of the biggest TV events of the year. It's's splashy, the ratings are Super Nova sized and no matter how long, weird, exhausting, exhilarating or (sometimes) disappointing we must always watch it. That's the law. The year I don't watch the Oscars you better check me for a pulse. This year's telecast will fall on March 7th, at 5pm pacific on ABC. It will be co-hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who have already made comic magic together in a couple of 30 Rock episodes and the recent movie It's Complicated.

I will be hoping for Kathryn Bigelow to win Best Director this year for her harrowing war drama, The Hurt Locker. She already got the nod from the Director's Guild (a first for an XX chromosome human) and is a front runner for the Oscar. She'll be competing against her ex-husband James Cameron (Avatar) for the honor. Now THAT is going to make for some interesting side comments on what is already the high holy night for celebrity gossip in the entire universe!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Birthday to Michael C. Hall!

The Flaming Nose wishes a very Happy 39th Birthday today to one of our favorite performers, the talented Michael C. Hall. We send our greatest hopes for continued health and happiness to Mr. Hall, the star of two of our favorites series, Showtime's Dexter and his previous success HBO's incredible Six Feet Under.

Mr. Hall is seen in the above photo with his Dexter co-star and wife, the equally gifted Jennifer Carpenter. If you're as much of a MCH fan as we are, you'll want to check out the Michael C. Hall Online webpage, and this article about his recent win at the Golden Globes, including some info on his ongoing successful battle against cancer.

Happy Birthday, Michael C. Hall! You make television worth watching!