catching up with the brain drain

I'll get around to more personal matters later, but for now I wanna catch up on recent television, borrowing from my pal Angie for the post title above.

First off is television's best comedy, Arrested Development. Sunday nite, the second season's (but hopefully not the series') penultimate episode aired & was hilarious, featuring guest spots from Zach Braff & Dick Van Patten, along with return appearances by Judy Greer, Jeff Garlin, and briefly (no pun intended) Dave Attell. Braff played the director of Girls With Low Self-Esteem, a Girls Gone Wild-like video series that was also featured during the show's first season. Possibly the biggest laughs of the show came courtesy of Ron Howard, who narrated his ass off. After cutting back its order from 22 to 18 episodes, Fox has still shamefully not renewed the Emmy-winning AD for a third season. While normally I wouldn't condone signing such a thing, I will refer you to a Fox-sponsored site that allows you to pledge a loyalty oath to the ratings-challenged, yet critcally-acclaimed show. As per usual, everything you need to know about AD is available over at The O.P.

I think Zach Braff's regular series Scrubs ends its fourth season on Tuesday (4/12), though NBC hasn't been promoting it as such. Even if the network may be neglecting it, Scrubs is still one of my favorites. Sarah Chalke is just so adorable, it only makes me more envious of those Awesometown dudes.

ETA: I was wrong. There will be at least one more episode (airing 4/26).

Back to Arrested Development for a sec, as stars Jason Bateman & Jeffrey Tambor both appeared on the most recent episode of IFC's entertaining (and addictive) Dinner For Five, which aired over the weekend. Even though Jon Favreau's other dinner guests were Bonnie Hunt & Tracy Morgan, the highly comedic table's conversation was far more serious than the group's that ate with Favreau on the show's fourth season premiere a couple weeks back. That episode, which featured writer David Milch and actors Timothy Olyphant, Jay Mohr & Michael Rapaport, was actually a lot of laughs in comparison (Olyphant does a terrific Vince Vaughn-bullsh** imitation). While stumbling through the IFC website, I noticed that the cable network has set up its own blog with lots of interesting daily film-related links.

Speaking of Dinner For Five, the latest Heavy compilation includes a bonus dvd promoting the show's new season, including two full episodes (including the aforementioned premiere). For the sake of a few mp3's, here are a few "legal" downloadable tracks that also appear on the Sumosonic 37 cd:

MP3 The Decemberists - "The Engie Driver"
MP3 Killola - "Sound of You"
MP3 Supersystem - "Born into the World"

bonus MOV Supersystem - "Born into the World" video (15.1mb)

Supersystem files courtesy of Touch & Go, Decemberists mp3 courtesy of Kill Rock Stars & Insound, & Killola mp3 courtesy of the band's website.

I have been meaning to comment on The West Wing, which ended its sixth season last week. I'm way late, but thankfully Chromewaves was much more timely with his analysis. While the four time Emmy-winning political drama still lacks the conversational rhythm & general pep of its Sorkin years, executive producer John Wells was able to inject some excitement back into the series by basically skipping a year in order to jump into an election cycle. After odd developments like Allison Janney's unlikely rise from press secretary to chief-of-staff (Emmys=promotion), the drama shifted away from character somewhat into more of a racehorse scenario to see who would succeed Martin Sheen as president. Jimmy Smits was effectively introduced as the new upstart candidate, whose campaign would be run by West Wing mainstay Bradley Whitford. Unfortunately, this pitted Whitford's character against the sorely underused Josh Malina, whose character has suffered severely under Wells' regime. Of course, only in this bizarro world could a moderate republican like Alan Alda's likeable senator win his party's nomination, but I have to admit that I don't know which way Wells will swing this fall's fictional election - and I'm damn curious to find out. The (also unlikely) reveal of John Spencer's former chief-of-staff as Smits' running mate at the end of the finale was another interesting turn that promises to keep me watching, even if the show isn't what it used to be.

Jon Stewart's utterly essential The Daily Show won its second prestigious Peabody award last week for its brilliant election year coverage. As reported by TV Shows on DVD, June 28th will bring the first dvd release for the Comedy Central hit, a three disc set featuring highlights from Indecision 2004, including episodes from the RNC & DNC weeks, the election nite special, and more. Also taking home a Peabody was the first season of Deadwood, which I did a crash course in last week. I am finally caught up enough with HBO's foul-mouth western to appreciate the new season.

Lastly, despite a likeable cast, ABC's new medical drama Grey's Anatomy is just plain crap IMO. And of course, it's also getting good ratings. Go figure.

That's about it for now. Well, that rambled all over the place, didn't it?
| let's not bring ink & paper into this »
| i'm just as boring as everyone else »
| look at you with your mind reeling »
| listening w/loot i ain't got (pt 2) »
| listening w/loot i ain't got (pt 1) »
| we don't need to dream no more »
| everybody's singing along, come on »
| slept right through the year i've grown »
| hot soft spots on a hard rock planet »

Blogger Unknown @ 4/12/2005 08:10:00 AM:

I've been doing the Deadwood crash-course, too, and I'm loving it. I watched the very first episode when it premiered and it wasn't enough to grab me, but now that I'm trying again with the dvds, I'm in.

Totally agree on Grey's Anatomy, too... feels like a tired retread of so many similar shows. It's all been done, and far better. Does the world really need another ensemble medical drama? Apparantly, Neilsen families do.    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 4/12/2005 09:59:00 AM:

frankly, ER probably did the medical drama thing so well that almost everything after it is watered-down & yawn-worthy. GA is trying to sorta be the surgical version of ER, but it's terribly written. i feel bad for the actors.    

Blogger Paul Irish @ 4/19/2005 10:39:00 PM:

Man, I like Grey's Anatomy. It's cute!

Also, write shorter posts if the blog thing is gettin ya down. A lotta people just skip to the music anyways. :-]

And.... Phoenix live is exactly what you would expect. And honestly, I think their music is better in the well-produced audio CD format. But their keyboardist smiles a lot and its a bucket of fun to watch.    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 4/20/2005 12:08:00 AM:

paul, i understand your liking grey's anatomy, as i have actually seen every episode. like i said, the cast is very likeable, but i think the writing (especially in the first few episodes) has been trite & weak. it's sorta trying to be er except w/surgeons, but not quite. it has the potential to get better, i suppose, but i'm not holding my breath. i suppose "cute" would be an accurate way to describe the show, or at least lead actress ellen pompeo.    

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