Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sons of Anarchy - Na Triobloidi


Where I have some major issues with the season finale of this amazing television show.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parks and Recreation - Hunting Trip


Tonight, the guys take their annual, illegal, office hunting trip allowing Leslie a perfect opportunity to come along and ruin it.

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Sons of Anarchy - Service


A great episode from one of the best shows on television. The great keeps getting better.

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Modern Family - Great Expectations


Celebriry cameos already? Do we really need this from one of the funniest shows on television?
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Glee - Ballad


What is Glee trying to accomplish? Ballad was a tale of two very different agendas.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

5 Signs Your Show's Writers Have Run Out of Ideas


If the main character just woke from a dream sequence then things have gone real bad in the writing room. Follow this little helpful guide to know if a television writer's creative juices have stopped flowing.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Parks and Recreation - The Camel


It’s not easy capturing the spirit of something. Tonight, the Parks Department was tasked with coming up with a mural that expressed the spirit of Pawnee. What ensued was an entirely forgettable episode of Parks and Recreation.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Glee - Wheels


I think I know what Glee was getting at in “Wheels:” we should treat everyone equally and learn to think about situations from other’s points of view. We see this in the Glee members riding around in wheelchairs and Sue allowing Becky on the team, but this point fell extremely flat in a couple of places.

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Sons of Anarchy - Balm


Television doesn’t get much better. It very well might not get any better. Sons of Anarchy was already on the short list of best shows even before this episode. Now, I’d have to be convinced it isn’t in the top two or three.

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ESPN 30 for 30: Jimmy the Greek


What has been great about the 30 for 30 series is its use of simple story to illustrate a grander point. The stories these documentaries tell transcend the people on whom they focus. The story’s subjects are small parts of the larger scope of sports. Jimmy “The Greek’s” story is important because it dissects a rather simple man who lived a fairly complicated life.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parks and Recreation - The Stakeout


Leslie is such a active member of the the Pawnee landscape that she literally has started a community garden in the vacant pit. Can you blame someone for growing pot in said garden? I cannot.

The Stakeout was an interesting episode for Parks and Recreation. I liked it for a couple of reasons. for starters, it featured considerably less Leslie Knope. This is a positive move considering the writer's seeming over reliance on her character. Tonight's episode spread the wealth in such a way that I didn't feel The Stakeout was about any particular character but instead about the cast as a whole. It was about everyone and no one all at once. Mark and Ann's date, Tom's idiocy in the name of racial profiling, Ron's hernia, and Andy's decent into the literal pit of hell. I liked The Stakeout for it uniformity.

A couple of other notes on the episode. It isnt easy making a guy just sitting totally still and doing nothing funny. Damned if Ken Tremendous and the gang didn't do it tonight. Ron's creepiness and stoicism in the face of excruciating hernia pain wash hilarious. This is a testament to the writing and acting. The humor was built totally of the auxiliary character's reactions to his silent ordeal. I loved every second of it.

I know I talk about Tom a lot (who couldn't) but one of favorite things about him is his willingness to do anything with Leslie. This could be in the name of his own personal laughs but he proved at the end of the episode that in spite of his disdain for her naivety, he actually cares about her. I thought this was an interesting step in the show that needed it.

Highlights:

- I was born ready. I'm Ron Fucking Swanson.

- Great addition of Louis CK to the crew. I didn't tons about this guy until my buddy James sent me a link to his stand up a few weeks back. In all honesty I was just happy to now who he was.

- Hos before bros.
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Saturday Night Live Weekend Update


The name just rolls off the tongue doesn't it? Watched this tonight mostly because I didn't want to just watch the first half hour of Flash Forward (thoughts on this show coming tomorrow). I have a few, non too original thoughts on this SNL in primetime format.

In all honesty I'm surprised Saturday Night Live hasn't tried this sooner. Their product is more than viable evidenced by the show having been on television and fairly relevant over the last 150 years. Considering NBC decided to chuck Leno on five nights a week, having the SNL cast out there for a half hour on Thursdays leading up to Parks and Rec and The Office seems totally logical. They aren't reinventing the comedic wheel, but what NBC is obviously going with a low cost (and possibly low return) solution for primetime. It makes perfect sense. Why develop a whole new show, hire new staff, film, promote and whatever else goes with a new show when the talent is already just sitting around 30 Rockefeller.

Weekend Update
had its moments. I laughed here and there. Mrs. Channelup giggled. I checked the clock a couple of times. It was fine. Whatever. But the writing is on the broadcast wall. This is the future of television. Keep it simple. Keep it cheap. Grab some laughs. Move on.

Highlights:

- I love when SNL makes fun of New York Governor David Paterson. They are unrelenting and tonight was no different.

- Daryl Hammond's Bill Clinton being confused that he wasn't on the real SNL. (and claiming his family was "completely out of politics.")

- A Guiding Light tribute with Megan Fox that included a great deal of wide eyes and surprised looks

- I love a good swine flu strategy guide from the worlds biggest college dork

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Glee - Preggers


This week Fox announced that they had picked up Glee for a full season run. This is huge news in Fox’s commitment to a show that has gotten progressively better each week. Tonight’s episode “Preggers” was not only Glee’s best (by far) but a testament that a show can mix music, humor, drama, high school, and real world issues into a perfect mix of television.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sons of Anarchy - Fix


A couple of years ago I thought about getting a second job to earn some extra cash. After some careful deliberation I decided on getting my real estate license. Man do I wish Sons of Anarchy had been on at the time because I could have saved myself some time and effort by just making a living running some guns (or at least gone legit and financially backed a porno studio). So goes the life of SAMCRO.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis


This summer Mrs. Channelup was dying to see "The Nightman Cometh," Its Always Sunny's broadway-esque rendition of the Charlie's season 3 ending play. I balked, but now regret it to some degree. The gang would have probably made a fairly hilarious spectacle.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is like Curb Your Enthusiasm for the young, drunk and stupid crowd. I mean this is the best possible sense. The formula of Ridiculous premise + inane ranting dialogue + actors and actresses that can pull it off = comedy fucking gold. There aren't many funnier shows on television. Consider tonight's season premiere where Dee strives to become a surrogate mother strictly for the cash and residual benefits while the rest of the gang exploits a family foreclosing on their home. Does any other show make so much light of two topics more unfunny? That the gang is too stupid to pull either ploy off makes the show that much better.

I always wonder how much of Its Always Sunny is scripted and how much is just the actors spouting off whatever comes to mind. I envision a scenario where the Dee, Dennis, Charlie, Mac and Frank just try to one up each other in crassness before they realize the censors would just shut the whole thing off if they went any further.

There are times when Its Always Sunny misses the mark. It happened plenty of times last year when random episodes would seem to roll on and on without any kind of point. I guess this can happen when you make a literal show "about nothing." But when it hits, it hits hard. Judging from the season premiere, we are off to a good start.

Highlights:

- The good realtor / bad realtor concept is something that needs more exploration. I would love someone threatening me to buy a house.

- Kudos to Charlie for being a self-proclaimed expert in "bird law."

- I will have the baby vs. house debate any day of the week.
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The Office - Gossip


I love a good rumor. I love spreading said rumor. I like embellishing it and I especially enjoy telling everyone within earshot. In this way I can 100% identify with one Mr. Michael Scott. Everyone hates being the last to know.
Jim and Pam are pregnant. We discovered this at the end of season five (a truly great moment of television). They have decided to not tell the rest of the office in an effort to avoid the annoying questions and inevitable over emphasis on the situation. I can identify with this thought. I dreaded telling my coworkers about getting engaged to be married. It wasn't that I didn't want to share the joy. I just knew the next couple of months would be an incessant barrage of wedding questions and comments. It will be the same when Mrs. Channelup gets knocked up. I'll never hear the end of the oooohs and aaahs.

Michael strives to become the center of the rumor mill. Unfortunately, he sits around the periphery of the office gossip. But when he accidentally catches on that Stanley may be having an affair, all bets are off. He tells everyone leading to Jim scolding his big mouth antics. This leads to Michael "fixing" the situation by creating rumors about everyone in the office. When his "rumors" about Pam being pregnant and Andy being gay turn out to be true and probably true respectively, I really started hoping he had become the office Kreskin. Kelly would have an eating disorder, Dwight would use inferior manure, and Kevin was actually two small people combined.

Not the case, but still a pretty great episode proving The Office is still at the top of the comedic game. They continue to turn out episodes with the characters, rather than the ridiculousness, as the major focus. That the characters themselves are so funny is a testament to a group of writers and actors that work real, real hard at their craft. The Office has pulled off no easy feat. They are a non-laugh track mockumentary with substantial laughs and deep characters. Name another show that does this. None exist. The Office just keeps getting better.
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Parks and Recreation - Pawnee Zoo


Leave it to Leslie Knope to unwillingly stick herself right in the middle of the gay marriage debate just by doing something as innocent and cute as marrying a couple of gay penguins at the zoo. She has always been a champion for gay antarctic animal rights.
Parks and Recreation returned tonight picking up somewhat where it left off in the ridiculous factor but without many ongoing storylines. Sure we have the Leslie as a political wanna-be powerplayer but beyond that what is there? Where The Office always had the running Jim/Pam will they or won't they debate, Parks and Rec lacks much of the week-to-week questioning. Instead it relies much more on the characters' (read: Leslie's) individual antics to carry the storyline. This isn't bad persay, as Parks and Rec is a pretty funny show, but it isn't a formula for long term success. We need more than "Leslie wants to be popular" as a reason to tune back and in. I don't think the Ann and Mark possible love affair is enough to get us there so where do we go? I, of course, petition to get a shitload more of Tom, but my wife said his character was goo "as is" so I don't know. There just needs to be more than a few laughs for a show to remain endearing. The season two premiere of Parks and Recreation didn't give me a great deal of confidence.

Highlights:
- Tom's appearance on "Pawnee Today" was the highlight of the episode. He schmarmy attitude is something I just want to hang out with.

- The Bulge party with Leslie doing a little "Poker Face."

- The return of a suited-up, yet degenerately homeless Andy Dwyer made me happy as much as sad. .
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sons of Anarchy - Small Tears


Before I get to this week’s Sons of Anarchy recap I wanted to take a second to applaud FX. Too often networks spend time leading up to a show by half-ass promoting it, throwing a few commercials here and there during primetime, teasing the audience only to show three episodes, move the time slot, stop promoting it all together and promptly cancel it. Not FX. No boy.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ellen as Idol Judge? Channelup is a fan?


Yesterday Fox announced that Ellen Degeneres would be the new judge replacing 1/3 of the Idol panel that makes me want to punch babies. (Simon is safe. The other three should have been voted off at the end of last year). Ellen is an interesting, and not totally unappealing choice to replace Paula.

I am not the biggest Degeneres fan in the world. I don't hate her persay. I am just generally ambivelant to her brand of humor. But in all honesty, Fox could have gone a lot worse that her. Hell they did it last year when She-who-Shall-Not-Be-Named took as over as a Paula insanity buffer. If anything the removal of Paula as judge was weird to me because Kara seemed to steal a great deal of the stupidity spotlight away from her fellow female judge. Alas Paula gets bounced in favor of the fast talking, and occasionally funny Degeneres.

Look, we all know you don't need a Amadeus Mozart-like ear for music to judge this competition. It either sounds good or it doesn't. The song worked or it didn't. You liked it or you hated it. Being able to spout off tired music-speak and retread phrases like "pitch problems" or "you can sing the phonebook" is something I could learn to do pretty fucking quickly for a hell of a lot less than the judges make. Degeneres has the chance to bring unpretentious humor and actual intelligence to a panel desperately needing both. The other part I like about the Degeneres addition is that she is ALREADY FAMOUS! She doesn't need Idol to reboot a career or bring her out of the shadows. Everyone already knows her and seems to handle fame relatively well. That leaves her free to judge honestly without fretting on how the media will react. One judge down. Two to go.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Glee Recap - Showmance


The true highlight of Glee is Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). Anyone who has seen The 40 Year Old Virgin or Role Models knows Lynch is a true scene-stealer. Her deadpan delivery of the most inane and contemptuous lines make her one of the main reasons Glee is so enjoyable. It is a show making fun of itself. Her seeming life goal of destroying Glee Club by any means necessary only enhances her comedically-menacing character.
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Sons of Anarchy - Albification Recap


Season two opens with the gang taking target practice while the rest of Charming goes about its merry business. One of my favorite things about Sons of Anarchy is the dilemma the gang causes in the town (they are its biggest threat and biggest protector) as well as the inner turmoil among many members as they struggle with their day-to-day family and work duties along with maintaining the outlaw life.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sons of Anarchy - Season 2 Review



Last year Sons of Anarchy was one of television’s true surprise gems. The FX drama focused on the members of a violent (and very mafia-like) motorcycle gang. With story arc, action, deception and suspense that very closely resembles a Shakespearean play (with a lot more booze and guns) FX proved it can continue to turn out hard-hitting dramas.


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Hung - Series Premiere Review


Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) is a down and out gym teacher. His kids hate him, his wife divorced him, he has no money, and his house just burned down. But Ray has one plus. He's conveniently endowed with a huge package. Whats a guy to do in this economy? Become a male prostitute of course.

The Hung series premiere follows Ray through the machinations that lead to his job as a gigolo. His motivations are basic. He is a loser just looking for a way, any way, to succeed in a world he feels has dealt him a bum hand. Thomas Jane plays the character in a way that made me want to both root for Ray and slap him at the same time. He's not a bad guy but he isn't an angel either. He exists somewhere in between and thats what makes him believable. Jane plays the part so well that it doesn't seem a stretch at all that Ray Drecker would turn to prostitution in order to pay the bills.

Shows labeled "dark comedies" always make me wary. Adding humor to a dark premise can seem forced or fall flat. Hung does neither. From Ray searching, "How to make money from your large penis" on google to a poet/one night stand becoming his pimp was funny without pressing the issue. Jane plays the "everyman" perfectly and the premiere dealt more with Ray as a person than Ray as a working dude.

Hung has potential and the pilot left just enough for us to think about with out over burdening the viewer with a ridiculous premise or situations. I'll hang around for this show.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Hangover - I was right, Corliss is an idiot


Scroll down for my hammering of Richard Corliss and his inane review of The Hangover. Well I finally got to see it this past weekend and it just reconfirmed what I already thought: the movie is hilarious and Corliss is a jackass.

The movie fired on all comedic cylinders and I won't say too much about it other than the casting was absolutely perfect. The ultimate sign this movie is as good a comedy as you can see this year was when the lights came on and I saw a group of teenagers and a group of middle aged women (separate groups) laughing hysterically. We even passed a 70ish year old lady in the back with a huge smile on her face. (this shocked me a bit tbh) Anyway, The Hangover is well worth the watch just for all the quotable lines I'm sure you will be repeating before you even leave the theater.
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True Blood - Keep this party going


If you like blood, sweat, sex and tears (not to be confused with the crappy "jazz fusion" band of a similar name***) then you will probably like True Blood. If you are fan of good acting then this probably isn't the show for you.


What I like about True Blood:

the blood
the sex
the nudity
the occasional humor
Lafayette
Jason Stackhouse
the vampires other than Bill


What I dislike:
Man just about everything else. On a whole the acting is pretty terrible. That could be a product of the writing which is heavy on plot (which is razor thin as far as being interesting), and low on believable dialogue. The main characters are pretty unlikeable. Like I said before, this is a huge problem if they are the focal points of the show. Most of the time I think True Blood is content in just showing muscular sweaty guys and a ton of tits in order to distract me from what is (or isn't) happening.

But about halfway through this I had a True Blood epiphany. I have been watching this show with the wrong attitude. I was set on it being this intriguing, in-depth drama when it is anything but. If I watch it as a joke and just check baseball scores whenever Sookie is talking the show gets a hell of a lot more enjoyable. There are enough moments of levity and intrigue to keep me going as long as I don't start wishing and hoping for it to be some kind of award-winning program. So there you go. That is how I am approaching True Blood from now on. Focusing on the good. Ignoring the rest of it.



Highlights:

- Eric's vampire character getting a haircut and then getting blood in his hair because he ate someone.
- Jason Stackhouse trying so damn hard and being so damn excited to be in a vampire-hating cult. The Light of Day cult is a fairly great satire on every ridiculous group of right wing retards whose fundamentalism comes off looking even more stupid every time they speak. Actually this part of the show was the highlight including the house band singing "Jesus Asked Me Out Today."


*** Take a look at the Blood, Sweat and Tears Wikipedia page and scroll down to the list of people that have been in the band. Holy crap!
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Entourage - A Moderate Plea


It's a little hard for me to believe Entourage only began in 2004. I am not sure if its hard to believe because '04 seems so close or so far away. Since its premiere season, that I watched on a weekly basis, I've been a rapid season-watcher. Season 2 I got on DVD. Seasons 3-4 were off my buddy Pat's computer. Each one I devoured in about 3 days and with mixed feelings.

Where I thought seasons 1 and 2 hit every right note, I thought seasons 3-4 were hit or miss. The big pull behind Entourage comes from the idea that we plebes will never live Vincent Chase's (Or E's or Drama's or Turtle's) life. By the third season I had become almost sick of their routines. The third and fourth seasons weren't great, but worked more because of

- Drama's perfection of a character
- Ari carrying many, many scenes
- Celerity cameos out the ass

than an actual working storyline. I became bored with the celebrity aspect. It doesn't mean I didn't want it. It just means I didn't need to see anymore of it from good old Vinny and gang. I get it. Hollywood is theoretically tough for superstars. They get high and party, read scripts, and struggle to maintain their self image in the face of ever-increasing criticism. It's basically like the Channelup house. Old news.

Season 5 almost brings Entourage back to pre-roots. From the beginning of the show we have never seen Vince struggle. Oh sure we have seen him fight for roles, stick to his ideals and lobby for what he feels is right. But those aren't struggles, those are harbingers. They are set ups for his success. We know Vince will win. He will get the role, get paid, stick with his friends and live the good life.

What's it like for an actor on the outs? What happens when his faith and his friends' faiths are brought into question? What comes of an actor who gets no gigs? Don't get me wrong, it's still better than my grind up the Parkway, but at least it seems realistic. I root for Vince's redemption the way I root for a struggling actor which he is and isn't. But isn't that the feat of great writing? Make us root for those we probably shouldn't. This past season of Entourage accomplished just that.

So what is my plea? Watch Season 5 of Entourage. Get caught up for the premiere of Season 6 on July 12. Don't even bother with seasons 3 and 4 if you haven't seen them yet. The "previously on" will catch you up on everything you need to know. Just sit back and root for some guys living a life you will never live.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

True Blood - Season 2 - Nothing But the Blood


Mrs. Channelup and I started watching season 1 of True Blood onDemand last month. I got through about 4 episodes before giving up. The missus made it all the way through the season and was actually excited for the beginning of season 2. I decided to give it a second try. After the "previously on" and with some running commentary from Mrs. C. I caught up sufficiently. What I got was a vastly improved show that didn't annoy me as much as the first season (Anna Paquin aside).

For those that haven't seen it, True Blood is about a world where vampires are part of everyday society but are discriminated against. This premise can seem both intriguing and stupid at the same time. Kind of like Heidi and Spencer Pratt.

The second season deals more with the characters and their respective problems and powers. In this world, vampires aren't the only ones living among the normal folk. There are telekinetics, shape-shifters, spiritual healers, and some other crazy shit that I haven't figured out yet. It's basically like Heroes set in Louisiana and with a ton more sex and blood.

I found the characters significantly more interesting and likable this episode. That may be because the plot went light on Sookie and Bill who are the show's two most annoying characters. This is somewhat of a problem being as they are also the main ones. Where I thought the first season had a high campy factor, that seems to have been toned down a bit. True Blood will never be a real serious drama, the storyline and characters don't lend itself to that route. Everyone is a bit of a joke, but last season I was turned off by some of the dialogue and relationships being over the top.

The two main questions right now are:
What are Maryann's motives (and powers)?
How many more times will Anna Paquin get naked?

Getting the answers to those two things are enough to keep me going for at least a few episodes.
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Nurse Jackie - Sweet'n All


I offered to cover Nurse Jackie for three reasons:
1. It’s the summer and very little is on.
2. Shows on premium stations are typically a notch better than broadcast or basic cable because of the freedom they have.
3. The first few episodes are on OnDemand so I can watch them a bit ahead of schedule and therefore feel more important and critic-like.

Read the rest of this review at CinemaBlend.
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Hangover - Haven't seen it. Already have a problem with someone else about it


Where I take Richard Corliss to task over his critique of a movie I have never seen.


I'm not one to argue. No would label me a dissenter. I stick to the status quo and rarely cause trouble or rabble rouse. And while none of these statements are technically true I thought they would help in gaining, you the reader's, trust before I go off on Time's Richard Corliss for his review of The Hangover.

I haven't even seen the movie yet and I already have a problem with something someone wrote about it. Does that say I don't have a life and need to find a better Friday night/ Saturday morning activity? Probably. Does Corliss need to be taken to task? Most assuredly.

In his review of The Hangover, after admitting that its Rotten Tomatoes rating is a stunning 85%, he questions the producer's (or studios) choice of actors. To quote Mr. Corliss:

You want to make a comedy about guys who learn the true meaning of bromance on a horrible weekend in Vegas, but you can't spend a lot of money on talent. Which actors do you cast? The leading role of Phil, the smart, energetic audience surrogate, might have suited Jim Carrey or Vince Vaughn, so go with Bradley Cooper, who was Carrey's pal in Yes Man and Vaughn's preppie torturer in Wedding Crashers. Steve Carell would have been perfect for Stu, the amiable, henpecked dentist; but Ed Helms, Carell's cohort on The Daily Show and The Office, costs so much less. Now for Alan, the roly-poly cute guy with a surfeit of energy and a sociopathic streak: can't afford Jack Black, give stand-up comic Zach Galifianakis a chance. OK, we got ourselves a movie!
Look, I like Corliss. I am one of the few, under age 35 people with an actual Time Magazine subscription so I read his movie reviews regularly. (Not like I couldn't on the internet for free). But this criticism is just plain stupid. Lambasting a studio for not casting the world's most popular comedic actors (sorry Will Ferrell) for every single role in a movie and blaming the studio for chincing out on said talent? WTF? Short of Ocean's Ten Eleven Twelve whatever, what movie does this? None.

And besides that, does a casting of these actors help the overall movie? Probably not. Consider if any one of those actors is cast in any one of the roles (much less all of them). What does the movie become? A Carrell, Vaughn, Carry, Black vehicle without any of the inherent "bromance" because movies like this work when the actors are all on even footing. Its funny because each actor is just popular enough in their own right. They are all sitting in that in between "that guy" and "I love that guy" phase. thats what makes these kind of ensembles work so well. No actor steals the spotlight from the other and more importantly, the writers don't feel pressured (or obligated) to hand more scenes off to the star. Instead it becomes exactly what was intended, a "bromance."

Like I said, I haven't seen The Hangover though I intend to. but without even viewing the movie I can tell Corliss's review is massively off base. Condemning a movie for not hiring every (or even any) big name actor is like telling the Tampa Bay Rays they shouldn't have been in the World Series last year because Arod or Pujols wasn't on the team. It doesn't make any kind of sense. If you thought the movie was bad, fine. If you want all of your favorite guys in one movie? That's a different story.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Listener - I'm an Adult - Review


Toby Logan has telepathy and he chooses to use it for good?!!! I am sick of these moral fundamentalists who insist on using their powers for the greater well being. Give me one day of telepathy and I would be able to retire away to an island. What does Toby do? He becomes a Toronto paramedic. What a waste and a perfectly awesome super power.

Forgive me for being skeptical about The Listener when I read it was :
A: A Canadian television show
B: Made in Canada
C: Produced by our neighbors to the North

Hmm, maybe I just have something against Canada. Its good to talk these things out. The Listener (according to trusty old reliable, accurate and all knowing Wikipedia) has had a pretty nice run in Canada and a few other countries so it isn't technically a new show. NBC picked it up for a summer run. The idea that it has had enough success elsewhere to warrant a new airing in The States was enough to start changing my tune.

Toby's telepathy is a secret from those close to him: his partner Osman, his doctor girlfriend Olivia and I guess everyone else in his life except for his old counselor Dr. Mercer(President Taylor's moronic husband from 24). Toby's an orphan but from his flashbacks we learn his past contains some mystery.

He uses his gift understatedly by playing off the other characters around him. The humor is subtle but effective and the writing rarely tries to do too much. It makes for a very watchable and entertaining hour. I typically am not a fan of of stand alone programs, but I can get behind ones that have over arcing themes with potential subplots. The Listener, much like the quickly canceled Journeyman and Life on Mars, grabs the best of both worlds. In fact it is probably a perfect summer television show because you don't have to overthink it while remaining entertained.

The production has fairly high value, the writing is quickly paced and I found myself rooting for Toby. Really, what else are you hoping for with a show like this?
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nurse Jackie Review


It is hard for me to hear Edie Falco’s voice and not think of Carmella Soprano. Even with a shorter hair cut and hospital scrubs the voice just gets me thinking Tony and company every time she speaks. Nurse Jackie though, is a far cry from the mafia wife. She is a drug-addicted and adulterous disaster doubling as an exceptional and over-achieving nurse. Nice juxtaposition. Obvious and a bit cliché, but nice.
Continue reading this review at Cinemablend television.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Earth 2100 - Like Drag Me to Hell, but real


I rarely watch shows like this for a couple of reasons:
1. They scare the ever-living shit out of me and I think we are all going to die
2. They make me feel like a terrible person.
Earth 2100 did both in just the first 10 minutes. The rest was just an ever-increasing feeling of nausea that I wouldn't be able to drive my Hummer anymore.

I've read The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (who they briefly interviewed) and seen Wall-E. so I didn't feel like I was going to get too much new info from this program, but hey it was on and I needed something to write about.

The show is narrated by Lucy, a fictional character living in 2100 who's "seen" all the bad shit that has befallen Earth. She walks us through her life to identify where it all went wrong with the planet. She begins with Earth as it is now and then starts laying on the disaster. Her "experiences" are validated through interviews with today's leading experts on global change. These are just some of the uplifting highlights:

Rising gas and food prices
Storms of the Century
Excessive Global Warming
Godzilla vs. Mothra
Population overgrowth
Massive human migration
Animal extinction
Global pandemic
Catholicism
Road Rage

The shock value in this program was off the charts. I understand the "scared straight" mentality of invoking change, but Earth 2100 spends most of its time with laying out the worst case scenario without giving too many solutions. That's what the average person needs, solutions. Specific, real world solutions. It's obvious we are too dumb, as a collective species, to figure out how to handle these problems on our own. We need someone holding our hand through the process and basically treating us like children or poorly behaving pets. Spank us, scold us, and make us do the right thing for the planet.

(Sidenote: there was a 20 minute section that was pretty much Stephen King's The Stand.)

Overall, Earth 2100 was a mostly animated version of something you can read in any one of a number of books out right now. The Earth is going to Hell in a non-recycled handbasket and on different levels, we can all admit this. I just wanted someone to tell the masses how to stop it. Saving all the solutions for a rapid fire, against the clock list in the last 10 minutes probably isn't enough.

Basically the inanely vague and broad solutions were:

Invent new things
Use other energy
Be committed
Set an example
Make sure all my Chinese and Indian friends are on board with this
Use results as my actual solutions
Have faith

Thanks ABC. I will start all of that stuff tomorrow. Earth cured.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Starting to watch Chuck! - It's about time


Reading Alan Sepinwall's blog today I learned the WB was putting up the whole first season of Chuck for those (like me) who were too lazy to catch on with this critically acclaimed show.

Starting tonight Mrs. Channelup and I are going to try and watch an episode a night and plow through the first two seasons in a relatively short time. Here's hoping it lives up to the expectations. I will do a review after we finish the first season and then another after the second. Don't you love your reviews a couple of years after the fact? Next I will be reviewing the movie Heat and taking a look at this show called Lost everyone is talking about.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Southland - Derailed and season in review


It took a couple of weeks but I finally got around to watching the Southland finale. The show will come back next year, but in the Friday purgatory time slot effectively ruining what is otherwise a very promising show; completely different from anything else on primetime, network television.

I have written fairly extensively about Southland and what I perceive to be its positives (realistic format, troubled characters, production value) and negatives (lack of character connection, fractured story arcs, annoying voice over at the beginning). All that considered, the season finale showed the limitless promise this show has going forward. The characters (police officers and detectives) are awash with problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, inferiority complexes, relationship troubles, family issues and infidelity while all still being immensely likable. Much of this came through in the finale and the last ten minutes set up some much needed intrigue going into season 2.

One of my big problems with the program was that, while entertaining, gritty and gutty (I sound like a college basketball coach describing his just average team), I never felt particularly compelled to watch on a week-to-week basis. In my mind I knew it would be a great episode, but I just didn't feel connected to any particular story or character. But this last episode began to shift the storyline into some much needed episode-connecting drama. Look, I am not a CSI or Law and Order fan, I don't need a new who-dunit or crazy case each week. I just want to become invested more in the characters. I think a 12-15 episode run next season will add depth needed to make Southland viable. Because I think what it ultimately suffers from is too many things happening at once.

Consider in the season finale we had storylines of witness protection, officer Sherman's girlfriend troubles, Officer Cooper's potential homosexuality, another officer's alchoholism, Detective Salinger's out of control daughter and Detective Russell Clark (Tom Everett Scott) coming back to his wife. While the majority of the episode focused on the witness protection, culminating in 6-7 minutes of the most suspenseful television you will ever see, this is still a great deal of mini storylines to handle in one hour. Plus we began to get some insight into the characters in the various LA gangs. So much going on is tough.

The season ending cliffhanger was one of those, "Wait, what the hell?!" moments I didn't see coming at all and I think that bodes well for Southland going forward. The show desperately lacked intrigue. Thank God for DVR as I will continue watching it on Fridays (this new Jay Leno thing has disaster written all over it) and am excited for a whole season of this cop drama. Derailed was just the kind of episode Southland needed to end on prompting my buddy Pat to ask me excitedly if had watched it yet. Shows need this kind of excitement. Southland pulled it off in spades.

Highlights:
- I love the little things the beat cops run into on a day-to-day basis including the woman calling 911 because McDonald's was out of chicken nuggets and the business man demanding the officers drive him to his important meeting.

- Detective Salinger's desperate, and at times comical, search for his daughter was the kind of thing I think all fathers can relate to in regards to their teenagers. When he asked the other detectives what "sexting" was I made a mental to note to only have boys.

- Just to make sure I didn't understate it before, the scene with the hitmen in the house was as good as television gets.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ChannelUp takes the week off (I deserve it)


Will be away from the television this week but am coming back full force next week when I...

Review The Goode Family, take a look ahead to season 2 of True Blood, wonder why more comic books aren't turned into television shows, talk about Earth 2100 (ABC's special that is probably meant to scare the shit out of us), and pick up other summer programming along the way.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

ABC - 2009-2010 Pitch meetings and schedule


ABC announced its schedule for 2009-2010 and it offers the complete antithesis of what NBC put out there. Earlier I wrote about my imagined meeting of NBC execs and plebes coming up with ideas (or lackthereof) for next season. Let's take a walk through ABC's meeting rooms and get a glimpse of one of their pitch meetings.

To start, here is a link for ABC's actual scehdule for next fall. Now on to the meeting:

ABC executive: Okay cretons, we have a bunch of time to fill here. We need ideas and we need them quick. Let's put those Ivy League minds to good use. Go

A flurry of commotion, papers flying everywhere, everyone's voice going at once shouting louder to be heard above the din:
Kelsey Grammar! Lawyers! More Cold Cases! Docu-Comedy! Courtney Cox, remember her? Courtney Cox!!!! Old Ladies! Cougars! Updike meets Desperate Housewives! Small town intrigue! Tiiiimmmmeeee TRaavvveeelll!!!!!!!!

ABC Executive: Whoa, whoa, whoa people. Not to worry. I love all those ideas. There's plenty of room for everybody. In fact, we are going to use everything you just suggested. Mumbling: too bad we can't do it all in one show.

Where NBC lacked anything new of substance. *** ABC is throwing everything but the kitchen sink out there (and they might even have a show about a kitchen sink starring Joey Tribiani or something like that. We could call it Joey's sink. Bam, there's another show). Some of the programming looks like recycled parts from already recycled garbage, but there is some promise here.

Flash Forward: I have now read three descriptions of this show and still have very little idea what it is all about. It involves glimpses of the future and Jospeh Fiennes and that is about all I know. The uncertainty alone makes me want to watch. Replacement for Lost? Never.

Happy Town: I can't tell if this is more Twin Peaks or Desperate Housewives, but reading the summary I am inclined to think it falls somewhere in between. Here's a new idea: everyone in town has a secret. Run with it.

Modern Family: I am firm believer in the docu-comedy format (Office, Parks and Recreation) and this show could be fantastic. The cameras following around a "normal" family is a concept that could really work if done correctly.

Other than that, it is more of the same from ABC. Cold cases, actors trying to get sitcoms up and running again (Grammar, Cox), law firms, etc. Nothing of consequence although I suspect one or two will catch on because of the minion television watchers who trend toward anything that has to do with courtrooms or dead bodies.




***Caveat here: NBC's fall schedule is abyssmal, while their mid-season programming has a bit more promise (but not much)
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lest anyone think...


This is just an American Idol blog, we will return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow where I make fun of the clusterf$#% of ideas ABC produced for their fall schedule next year. Until then.... And here is the rest of it. Read more!

American Idol - And the winner is.....


Kris Allen. Channelup called it. We are geniuses!!!!!! Pop the champagne..


Kris Allen wins American Idol. Channelup's own James Davis called it here. Bow before the intelligence. All kidding aside, this still seems a bit of a shock. Both these guys have careers ahead of them but I think Kris had slightly more to lose than Adam. Interesting result that I am sure will be talked about ad nauseum.
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American Idol - Finale (the final thoughts)

The final vote-off. Or the most important moment in the history of the world. (sorry Jesus).

final flurry of thoughts before vote off:

"Maggie May" is my favorite Rod Stewart song and definitely in my top 500 songs of all time. (that isn't a knock. I love music.)

Mrs. Channelup called the Tatiana reappearance. She defines trainwreck (Tatiana, not my wife). Idol though did a great job tonight of self-deprecation (or the losers from early in the season did a great job).

The final Kris and Adam duet accompanied by Queen (minus Freddie) was an instant classic. My god. Queen?! I am speechless.
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American Idol - Finale (another hour or so of thoughts)


Here is the 2nd part of my semi-live blog about Idol.

Mrs. Channelup explained to me why I should like the Bikini Girl - Kara duet while she wrestled the remote out of my hand as I tried to change the channel. Look Kara is a disaster, we all know this. But she got up there and sang decently well and exposed her bikini body for charity so I can't kill her for that (even though I might kill her in real life). \

Alison and Cyndi Lauper singing "Time After Time." Mrs. Channelup says that Lauper looks like a Tim Burton character. That being said, what a great rendition. I love that song and their voices were perfect matches.

Then my favorite contestant Danny Gokey performed. I don't know what kind of career path this guy has, but he is just a guy you root for. Choir director, wife passes away and he goes on the show with his best friend (who got a bum deal by not making the top 24).

I am not going to comment on what Adam is wearing because I don't have the keystrokes to accomplish it. And man do I hate KISS. But I find it hard to deny the starpower they have drawn tonight. I hate Kiss but tons of people love them. Adam kind of fit in well. Go figure.

And i just typed out something about Santana but it got deleted. I am not typing it again. But the performance was awesome.

Holy Shit Steve Martin WTF is going on here tonight? They even squeezed some bluegrass in here. I am in literal shock. Mrs. Channelup is typing this as I dictate because I just can't believe this finale. My hands stopped working.
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American Idol - Finale (1st 45 minutes thoughts)


With all of the glitz and glamour associated with Idol isn't it apropos they sent the two finalists out there in their virgin whites to signify the purity of the whole thing? No, it was stupid and they looked like idiots. So begins the finale.

Couple of highlights from the first hour:

I know my manhood will be brought into question over this but I really like the song Rockstar by Pink. When the top 12 sang it seemed as weird as can be. I kept thinking that at least half the people up there would rather be anywhere else but probably had an agent (or Simon Fuller) in their ear saying, "Get the F#$% out there and dance and sing your ass off. You need to start earning." The whole thing seemed odd.

Giving Norman Gentle an award was a nice way to get one of the truly entertaining and disturbing contestants ever back in to the fold. I can't believe this guy is married to a woman, but hey maybe she just hasn't realized yet. By the way, I said to Mrs. C right before that he had tear away pants on. Boo-ya. When he ripped those bad boys off, she just looked at me with the same face she had on our wedding day, terror.

There aren't many bigger Jason Mr. A To Z fans out there than the Channelup family. Absolutely awesome ensemble "I'm Yours," rendition. God Idol is an absolute juggernaut. (and they're like, "Guess who else we have here. Keith Urban. Suck on it.")


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American Idol - Kris Allen Pulls Ahead - Favorite to Win?


For the first time this season, Kris Allen is now favored by the major online gambling sites. Was America so moved by his performance of "No Boundaries," or might I have been right in stating that the state of the competition actually favored him before last night's performance?

Before the finale last night, you could have bet 100 dollars on Kris Allen and stood to win 300 if he won. In the hours after the finale, you had to bet 170 just to win 100! Now I'll go on record as saying that last night's performance looked to be a wash to me. If you liked Adam before this, you probably still like him - no matter how awful his performance of Kara's song was. And can we take a quick second and discuss that? Is Kara really a worse song writer than the fledgling millions who produced such classics as "This is My Now!" and "Whatever that David Cook Song is Called About the Time of His Life That is Also Doug's Wedding Song?" Isn't she world famous specifically for her ability to write songs? Consider my mind blown by the junior-high-ishness of that song.

As I was saying - Adam lovers have no reason to stop loving him. He didn't deliver any new "wow" moments either, though, since the format of the finale is such self-indulgent fluff on the behalf of the AI producers. Yes, all season long we have been DYING to see what Simon Fueller would have Kris and Adam sing!!! The finale is almost set up so that America will not change its opinion of the contestants - and as I wrote in my first post about AI - this actually may have favored Kris.

So in the hours after the finale, it went from you having to bet 350 to win 100 on Adam to win to being able to bet 100 to win 200. This is a monumental change. I think we can comfortably say that the betting sites are far more likely to have insider information moving the lines than not. Either that, or folks with inside information bet so heavily on Kris that the lines moved incredibly quickly. For those of you new to gambling, casinos and bookies will change the odds on a specific bet if traffic is very heavy to one side. They do this to protect themselves from insiders betting too heavily, and to entice people to take the other side of the bet to insulate themselves from losing too heavily on a given outcome. Last night bettors turned out in such force that prominent sports betting site WSEX froze any betting on AI because it felt overexposed. The overwhelming majority of these bettors supported Kris Allen.

So is Kris a lock now? By no means. I can't speak in such absolute terms in good faith. But instead of having a 25-30% chance like the public perceived just yesterday, it now looks as though he has a 60-65% chance to win. Here's to hoping he makes me look like a prophet!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Glee - Pilot Review


Before I begin my Glee review let me say this: I was extremely excited about this show before it aired. “Don’t Stop Believing’” by Journey stuck in my head after every promo. Starting with this mentality can be a curse or a blessing. It may make the expectations too high, or conversely, help to overlook the flaws that come with any new program.
Continue reading this review at BlendTV.
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American Idol - The Top 2 perform


Well its Adam vs. Kris and I must say Idol has proven over the last two years that the most talented and current can make the finals.

Idol has progressed. Can you imagine Taylor Hicks getting out of Hollywood week at this point? It would be a laugher. Even Ruben Studdard would be nowhere to be found this year. The fans got it right. The ostentatious rocker vs. the acoustic guitarist.

Before we get to the performances I need to ask one question:
What the hell were the stylists thinking when they dressed the judges tonight?
Paula reminded me of the Green Goblin from Spiderman, Simon looked like a Saturday Night Fever reject, Randy looked like Steve Urkel put on 400 pounds, and it wouldn't matter what Kara wore because I would still hate her.

The format for tonight was
1. Song of Choice from this season
2. Song picked by Simon Fuller
3. The Song that Must Not be Named co-written by Kara

Adam - Mad World. James wrote earlier that this was probably one of the best Idol performances ever. I am inclined to agree with James and with Lambert making this choice. Beautiful and did a good job of not using the trademark scream thereby saving it for later songs.

Kris - Aint No Sunshine. I loved him getting on the piano here seeing as how he would use the guitar later on. Sounded like OneRepublic covering this song. Same mellowness Adam had. Different style. Totally perfect.

Adam - A Change is Gonna Come. I love this Sam Cooke song. Got Adam out of the rock element a bit but it was perfectly suited for his voice. (Although I suppose there are very few songs not suited for his voice) A slow beginning and a power exit. Pretty f-ing good if I do say so myself. Mrs. Channelup just calls, "yard," in an absolutely perfect way to describe his performance.

Kris - Whats Going On? Also love this Marvin Gaye song. I didn't love this choice of songs but I do think Kris did his absolute best in making it current. Not an easy feat. Made due with what he was given. I tend to agree with Randy and Simon's assessments that it came off a bit "light," and "laid back."

Adam - Kara's song. This was like a Ferrari being forced to drive over rocks and dirt at fifteen miles an hour and then judging it on performance. What a terrible song! My god. They had a whole season to pick a good one. I am in shock. If Adam couldn't make it sound good then what the hell chance does it have?

Kris - And then we are forced to listen to the song again. Look the melody of this song isn't the worst ever. Its that they try to cram 10,000 lyrics into about 2 stanzas forcing the singers to focus on the words rather than actually singing. I wish they had given each guy the song and made them do their own version. Kris's performance was not great, but at this point I don't think matters too much.

In the end, I think Kris wins the finale tomorrow. Based on what James wrote earlier today and his likability I think he takes the award. Idol has been fairly consistent in awarding winners completely different than the year before. I think that may factor in a bit in pushing Kris over the top as he is less like David Cook than Adam.

Highlights:
- Random celeb sightings - Anthony Hopkins, Katie Holmes and her daughter L.Ronita Hubbard

- Poor Scott, no one told him to face the camera when they showed the Top 8.

- I loved that Simon made fun of the final song. I think he hates Kara too.
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NBC- Caution: Creative Minds at Work!


I am going to walk you through, what I imagine to be, the idea pitch meetings that occurred earlier this year around the NBC offices.

Before we start, you can click here to read NJ.com's listing on NBCs's programming lineup.
Networks, especially broadcast ones, with shitloads on the line every year must continually come up with new and exciting programming in order to keep hold of viewers. I would assume these same networks aim to hire the best and the brightest entertainment minds to come up with said ideas. After looking at what NBC has in store for next year, I have to begin wondering if they have anyone even working over in these offices. On to the pitch meeting:

NBC executive
: All right boys and girls here's the scoop. Even though it has turned to a pile of trash we are keeping Heroes, the Biggest Loser, the usual favorites like Law and Order: CMGSG*, The Thursday Night Comedy Lineup, and we are going to ruin Southland by moving it to Friday nights where no one will watch. Now what I need from all of you is to figure out how the hell we are going to fill about 5 hours of primetime each week (about an hour per night). Ideas?

Shuffling of papers, everyone looks down, someone coughs, silence

NBC minion (sheepishly): Jay Leno?
NBC exec: Did you say Leno?
Minion: uh yes?
Exec: Fucking brilliant! That's the kind of genius I am looking for. We'll just show Jay Leno four nights a week for an hour from 10-11!!!! Meeting adjourned.

Honestly, this really sums up NBC's schedule. It is a lot of the same and even more Leno. I know this isn't necessarily new news considering they announced the Leno deal months ago, but when I saw the vast wasteland of NBC programming I just sighed. So little to get excited about. Adding Leno to the schedule for such an crazy amount of time means NBC will barely touch my television screen in 2009. These guys and gals are paid to be CREATIVE! What a disgrace.

Up next is the polar opposite: ABC's pitch meeting.

*Crime Murders Get Solved Good
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American Idol - Why Kris Allen will win


Guest and possibly soon-to-be semi-regular contributor James Davis explains why Kris Allen will win American Idol. Ready to put your co-workers to shame and maybe win a little money in the process?

Danny Gokey was seen by many as the only possible threat to Adam Lambert's march to Idoldom, and now he is eliminated. Radio stations across the countries are already crowning Adam and proclaiming him as one of the best Idol's in history. Bloggers are declaring that it would be a catastrophic upset if Lambert doesn't win in a landslide, and once again dragging the dreary cliché of Chris Daughtry's elimination through the mud for yet another season in anticipation of such a shocker.

Meanwhile, Kris Allen has quietly chugged along with some truly elite performances, mixed in with some clunkers. It's tough to quantify the chances of winning for a candidate who can pull off an acoustic version of "Heartless" or "All she wants to do is Dance" while also looking extremely awkward singing "Renegade" and "Come Together" during rock and roll week. It looks like we are setting up for a blood bath in the finale. And yet, Ryan said the Final 3 vote was separated by a mere 1 million out of the 88 million cast. If that is true, this race is a lot closer than public perception seems to make it. (Last year the judges shamelessly promoted David Archuleta in an effort to make it seem he had a chance in the finale against Cook. The truth was betting sites knew it was going to be a landslide and Cook won by more than 12 million votes.)If Kris and Adam were indeed separated by a million votes, there are a few factors at play that seem to favor Kris over Adam.

The first advantage at play for Kris is his versatility. He can sit and sing a ballad, rock out on guitar, or sit behind a piano in any given performance. He is stronger in some areas than others, but he is versatile. Adam Lambert, on the other hand, really only has 2 gears - and those are not nearly as distinguishable. He can sing slowly and eerily, as we heard in what I believe is the performance of the season in "Mad World," or go pure rock, as we saw with "Whole Lotta Love." But, in a finale where the contestants sing 3 songs - is it not possible that the voting audience raises an eyebrow when Adam's 3 performances all sound somewhat similar?

Perhaps a more important concept all the American Idol bettors I know employ is vote re-distribution(yes, I actually know several people who bet AI. This is the life of a professional gambler). The basic process for considering how things might change in the balance of the competition from week to week stems from both the performances delivered, but also the person most recently eliminated. Think back to Season 4, when rocker Bo Bice was storming into the finals after several weeks where he was praised just as loudly as Adam has been. Going into the finale he was listed as a 5/8 favorite on Pinnacle.com; a heavy favorite. Meanwhile, the underdog Carrie Underwod was listed as a 3/2 underdog. This betting line suggests that Carrie only had a %40 chance to win. We all know what wound up happening. The question is - why? The answer lies in both the obvious answer - hot girls singing country music have more material relevance and appeal than bizarre looking southern rockers - but also in the relatively obscure R&B singer, Vonzell Solomon.

Solomon was the girl who was eliminated the week before Underwood "upset" Bice in the finale. Clearly, to make it to the top 3, she had quite a strong following. Her song choices were heavily pop, r&b and female influenced. Now assume that a large portion of her following just loved her, and stopped voting when she was eliminated. There must still have been a large group of people who simply love American Idol who also just liked her the best. Are the people who connected with the songs listed previously more likely to go to a strange looking guy who sings Lynyrd Skynyrd or a charming girl who sings female-driven songs? You could easily imagine Underwood garnering an overwhelming majority of Solomon's votes and overcoming a decent gap in votes between herself and Bice. It seems more likely to overcome a deficit when people would already be inclined to vote for you than it is to change their mind with one set of performances in a 20 week season.

So once again, we asume that Ryan was telling the truth. The top two were separated by less than a million votes. The vote could have been

Lambert 35 million
Allen 34 million
Gokey 19 million

This seems unrealistic though, because Gokey has been a major factor all along. More realistic seems to be

Lambert 31 million
Allen 30 million
Gokey 27 million

I would argue that Adam is such a polarizing figure that supporters of other contestants have been frustrated with the overwhelming Adam-love this season. He is definitely a "love him" or "hate him" type for many people, and I have to imagine those who were sad to see Danny go are more likely to latch on to Kris' campaign than Adam's. By this logic, the more votes Danny had last week, the better it will be for Kris in the finale. Look at this model:

Gokey had 27 million votes.
7 million of those votes only liked Gokey, will not vote in the finals.
20 million of them will be re-distributed.

Kris needs just 10.5 million of those 20 million votes to overcome a one million vote deficit - or just 52.5% of Danny's votes! I would project that he inherits a much larger percentage of Danny's votes, personally.

All of this is for naught if the true results were something different than reported by Ryan. But when someone tells you that Adam is definitely going to win - it might not be a bad idea to tell them to put their money where their mouth is. Folks that don't understand odds might easily bet $20 to win your $5, which can't be close to the true odds if Ryan was reporting accurately.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

24 - 6AM - 8AM


I am going to to let you in on three quotes that basically sum up the 24 finale (and probably the season).
"We don't have that much ACTUAL intelligence."
"We can harvest everything we need from his blood."
"I can make him talk."
SPOILERS AHEAD


This season of 24 has been pretty par for the course considering the show's history. 24 employs the "layers of onion" concept to its story arcs. Peel away one and realize that another layer sits there awaiting your attention. Nothing really new here. Each time a bad guy is caught, we find out it was another badder guy giving the actual instructions. That's just the way it goes in the 24 universe. Tonight, in the season finale, we do peel away the onion to find a man named Alan Wilson (Coach Yoast).

When Jack is taken hostage we learn the terrorists plan on using his blood and organs to harvest the virus in his blood. This premise was comical at best. Hearing Tony and company talking about using his insides as a weapon is probably apropos seeing as how Jack Bauer is a human weapon. Of course he escapes and we learn Tony has been playing every side against each other this season so he can get to close to the man, Alan Wilson. Seems Wilson is behind every bad thing that has ever happened in the history of 24. Palmer's death, Michelle's death, Logan's incompetence, the cougar sent after Kim, etc. Personally, I wonder, if going back and rewatching this season would make me see the logic in Tony's choices. Probably not.

They really should have called this episode (season?): "Do the ends justify the means?" The writers had so little subtelty with this theme I suspect they had bets and office wagers on how many moral and ethical dilemma conversations they could pack in to each episode. Tonight there were three and a half. A convincing one between Tony and Jack where Tony explains (sort of) his plan throughout the whole day. A sort of believable one (and a half) among the Taylor clan about how to deal with Olivia's role in the Jonas Hodges death. And a downright hilarious one where we are to believe that Renee has converted to the religion of Bauerism when she suggests torturing the captured Alan Wilson. The scene was so sappy and unbelievable that I just started typing my writeup in order to avoid having to turn off the television.

And then the coup te gras - the Arab mosque leader comes to see a dying Jack in the hospital. I am not sure I could coherently convey the thoughts that went through my head when he showed up at the door but I think I can sum it up with , "BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAH!" when Mike and I were writing up our end of the year 24 preview I had written a part that I cut right before it posted. I am cutting and pasting it here:
"Odds Jack shakes hands with an Arab guy thereby morally absolving him of all past racial profiling 15:1"

Oh and I called it. Kim saves Jack's life. I said it was going to be blood work or something. It was stem cell research. 24 just had to get one moral ethical debate in before the clock clicked to the end. And next season Jack goes to New York to fight global warming, abortion, same sex marriages, animal rights, and internet piracy. I think that should about cover it.

Highlights and lowlights
- Kim Bauer catching on fire trying to get the computer from her kidnapper. Why does she need to go up in flames?
- Renee being the least intimidating person of all time when she threatens Alan Wilson after his initial arrest.
- Totally awesome in the airport where Duncan from Seinfeld (Kim's would be hostage taker) says, "Take her," and then a massive fire fight ensues. Probably the best scene of the season.
- Interesting sort of cliffhanging ending. It didn't wrap up as neatly as we would have wanted, but I didn't totally mind the finish.
- See you tomorrow Jack!
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Fox 09-10 Scheduling Announcement - Sarah Connor says goodbye, Channelup dies a little inside


Fox announced its lineup for the 2009-2010 season and a notable omission (for me at least) was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Even though I wrote this article about coming to emotional grips with the show's impending doom, I am nevertheless sad. What makes me most depressed though is the seeming lack of creativity coming down the pike for FOX.

First Fox will re-up Dollhouse, a show I wrote about here and was massively disappointed with. I heard it picked up near the end of the season, but the first seven episodes were sufficient for me to determine the show was flawed at best, unwatchable at worst. Til Death will air in Terminator's place on Friday nights in front of Dollhouse. Kudos everyone; A terrible comedy leading in for a terrible show. I guess it is Friday night, but some of us are still at home because we have no lives.

The two shows with any apparent promise are Glee and Human Target. I have avoided reading reviews of Glee as I want to go in fresh when it airs a special advanced pilot on Wednesday. I will have my thoughts then. Human Target is basically about a body guard and is based on a DC Comics graphic novel of the same name. (I have an article coming about my thoughts concerning comics in television). Fox's writeup on the show is absolutely terrible but in spite of their best efforts to do otherwise, the show still looks interesting. It is basically about a body guard who is "hired to completely integrate himself into his clients’ lives – to become the human target." Actually it sounds a lot like the Dollhouse so we will see.

After these two shows though Fox's new creations are a sea of creative despair. (Past Life reads like a reincarnation of every terrible TV premise from the last 20 years) They bring back old faithful's: 24, House (Poppa Channelup does a little cheer), Bones (one of the stupidest shows I have ever watched), and Fringe (a show I haven't watched but have heard rave reviews about). But beyond this Fox has very little to offer in quality programming. With more and more announcements like this I move more and more towards cable programming where commitment to quality is tantamount.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

24 - Answering all of the Big Questions


Two 24 junkies (Michael Pacchione and I) sit down and answer the really important questions leading into tomorrow's finale. Will Jack die? Does Elisha Cuthbert write her own lines? What was the biggest plot hole this season? Who was the best "that guy" appearance? All this and more!
Continue reading this article at CinemaBlend television.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's coming this week


For those who hang on my every word I wanted to give a quick preview of the week to come - Channelup style. Some new things happening on here this week including some guest contributors and a lot of TV gambling talk.

Sunday
- a 24 extravaganza where Mr. Michael Pacchione (covers the show for CinemaBlend) and I handicap the odds related to Jack Bauer and company

Monday

- A 24 season breakdown and last ep recap

- Guest contributor James Davis does some more handicapping with American Idol. Lets just say you will be calling your bookie. What he has written is a must read for all American Idol fans

Tuesday

- American Idol where I pick my winner and man crush for the next 12 months. Sorry David Cook, someone is about to succeed you

- I review Glee. A show about the resurrection of the Glee club in a high school. If these last two bullets have left you confused let me reassure you I am happily married to a woman.

- Real Housewives of New Jersey - I am a glutton for punishment and I go back for a little more

- We find out if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been renewed. This is my meal ticket at CinemaBlend so fingers crossed.

Wednesday

- American Idol vote-off (two hours of mind numbing excess)

Thursday


- begin watching Chuck, a show my buddy Pat has begged me to watch and didn't and will now probably get canceled. Oh well.

- Hopefully see Terminator Salvation opening night. If so I will have a review early Friday morning. God I love anything Terminator related.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
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