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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Southland - Westside


It doesn't matter what kind of f-ed up, crazy, depressing, terrifying or morose storyline the writers come up with, I have yet to watch a cop drama that doesn't end with me wanting to sign up for the police academy.

When I say "cop drama" I am speaking of the good ones like The Shield and The Wire (not those cliche-ridden piles of trash that use initials to describe their unit.) Where do you think that real, police officer allure comes from? It certainly isn't in the pleasantries. These police officers in Southland have major, major issues. They are addicted to pain pills, have affairs, fight with their spouses, can't get along with their kids and just generally make a mess of their personal lives.

But out on the street these guys and gals are doing something seemingly more important than any of us could ever dream. Imagine going to work each day with a civic purpose? Southland makes this purpose alluring because you can see how important it is to each officer and detective. Amidst all their fucked-up-edness they still go to work each day and solve robberies, track down killers, protect witnesses and put their lives on the line. This purpose comes before their family or personal obligations, but that almost seems okay.

Take Officer Cooper; he of the heavy painkiller addiction. He is basically a drug addict because of a work-related injury. He references his belief system as his moral and ethical guiding compass. I suspect when he takes drugs, he does it under the egotistical premise that the painkillers allow him to be a better cop; therefore, making drugs a good thing. The police force of Southland all work under the same delusional premise that their sacrifice is a means to a law enforcement end.

Hence the show's appeal. Imagine loving something so much you are willing to sacrifice everything else. The job must be awesome, right? (I mean at the very least you get a gun with a license to shoot).

One great highlight;

- The high speed chase at the end was among the best I have ever seen on television from both a dramatic and realistic sense. I felt like I was watching Cops, but I knew all of the police officers and had a little stake in their well-being. Those 3-4 minutes of television: listening to the helicopter radio-in locations while each character played his/ her role in the chase were about as good as it gets.

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The Office- Company Picnic


No one does a barbecue like a mid level paper company. This episode had a little for everyone: Volleyball, Rolf, and branch logo t-shirts. (Spoilers ahead)

Season 3 ended with Pam and Mrs. Channelup crying. This season ended with Jim and Mrs. Channelup crying. We'll get to that in a second.

First, the company picnic gave a chance for the writers to find doppelgangers for some of the characters. We met Dwight's friend Rolf, Toby's HR compadre, and the obvious Buffalo branch version of Jim. I talked last week about writers apparent goal to make each character as ridiculous as possible. I thought Company Picnic scaled it back to classic-Office sensibility. (Is it too early to call something "classic Office?" Its been around long enough I suppose.) Tonight we saw the characters little flaws more on the periphery rather than throwing the absurdity right in our faces. Where I thought last week the cafe disco was over the top, the volleyball game offered the perfect chance to laugh at how each Office member would react to an inter-company competition.

Where that storyline worked for me, the Michael/ Holly arc just confuses me. Bringing it back in this episode may be part of some grander scheme, but I just don't see it. It's not that I can't see them being together; they are obviously perfect. It's that I don't understand the waffling or the long term implications of their separation. Michael imagines them taking years and years to find each other, and while the sweetness is implicit, the arc just may extend needlessly over another season. I don't particularly look forward to another season of Michael pining over Holly, because as much as he wants to believe he likes the time and distance, Michael Scott is just not that kind of person.

And finally, the BIG NEWS!!!!! In season 3 we were (sort of) surprised at Jim's asking out Pam. Her reaction was classic and touching. Tonight's baby announcement (we assume because they never actually said it) was a perfect a way to let viewers in on the joy this kind of thing brings. Turning the mics off and allowing us to just watch without any punchlines or crazy remarks made it that much better. I felt like I saw a real couple actually get the news. A truly great television moment.

Highlights
- For the fifty thousandth time this year I am reminded (and almost scolded) for not having seen Slumdog Millionaire

- Anyone else hate Charles Minor (Stringer Bell) as much as me? Probably not, but their handling of that situation worked out well and I am very glad it didn't end in some kind of awkward fight between he and Jim

- Michael and Holly unknowingly announcing the closing of the Buffalo branch probably does mean they are meant to be.

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Parks and Recreation - Rock Show


Parks and Recreation ends its six episode run with the knowledge that:
A. They have been picked up for another season and
B. A giant hole still is still waiting to become a park


Tonight we see a different side of Leslie where she, for the first time, isn't the most ridiculous person in a conversation. Her trick blind date set up by mom is with a guy even more socially stupid than Leslie. I like the emotion this illicited from Miss Knope when she became more than a little annoyed at his lack of social cues (and grandkids). I have been waiting for this deeper insight into characters, especially Leslie who up until now has been little more than a female- Michael Scott without the mean streak. I understand the differences: Leslie tries at her job, Michael just thinks he does. Leslie works for things she wants whereas Michael feels he deserves everything he wants. But tonight's episode went some way in making her seem a little more real. They toned down her inanity and just made her a single lady on a bad blind date, but still looking for love in all the wrong places. (Mainly Mark B. who is a dick trapped in a good guy's body or vice versa, I'm not sure. He is tough to read). I guess I am just trying to say that they made her a great deal more believable.

That being said, I really don't know what to think about Mark. They set him up just enough to make the viewer really confused about what kind of person he is. I suspect he is more the nice guy than the dick even though he does a nice job of confusing the issue. But having him fall in the pit was a nice Karmic moment.

Parks and Recreation
picked up more and more steam as it neared the end and definitely deserves a full season run. Too much potential here to let it go.

Highlights (and one lowlight):

- It took a lot for me to not just write all about Tom. At this point, it is fair to say I have a man crush. Last week I wished we could meet his wife and then BAM, she isn't only hot but is also a surgeon. How he flaunts it is even funnier considering his tenacity in trying to score other women.

- My favorite quote of the night was Andy's band description: Matchbox Twenty meets The Fray (how about Hootie meets the Goo Goo Dolls)

- The scene where Andy just listed all of the band's names seemed more a deleted scene than something that contributed to the episode. Hey, we are all still working to get better right?
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Lost - Season Finale Discussion


Again between two guys a hell of a lot smarter than you. Me and James.

Just a reminder Channelup is in Italics, James in regular font.

Yo buddy

Last night's lost was nothing if not interesting. I liked it (thought it could have been an hour and a half) and thought it did a pretty good job setting up next season. Writing about it was insanely hard as I had a lot of trouble gathering my thoughts and putting them in a coherent format. I obviously wanted to avoid just straight summarizing, but there was so much going on. Anyway I thought I would add a couple of more thoughts that didn't make it into my post.

- I kind of mention this but the good/evil thing is really going to be the main focus of the last season I think. Ben and Mystery Island guy leading the charge to keep the island secret from everyone with others (Richard Alpert maybe? Shadow of the statue group?) fighting for their own end games. That storyline has the potential to be awesome and maddening at the same time.

- The bomb explosion will probably make it so that the Oceanic crew (plus Miles and Juliette) can somehow jump back to the present and back into the fray. One thing I liked about this season with them alternating between different points in time, is that there wasnt too much overlap and confusion with the characters. Basically keeping it so that everyone easnt always running into each other worked for the production of the show. Putting them all back in to the same time, with Alpert and company's increasing role, plus this new faction, could be tough.

Any other thoughts? I think I have now written 10,000 words on Lost.


Interesting idea about the bomb sending the main characters forward in time. Supporting that idea is the fact that they used the exact same screen effect when we are meant to believe the bomb goes off as when we have traveled in time previously.

So this foil to Jacob doesn't actually resurrect Locke - but turns himself into an image of Locke? So are we meant to believe this guy also turned himself into a vision of Jack's Dad, Walt, etc? Even though it's bizarre, I suppose it's at least a consistent explanation.

I am not sure if I like the idea of the island being this place where two gods are battling for supremacy. I also don't get why Jacob would just let Ben wave that knife around and then kill him(if he is indeed dead) considering he earlier exercised the power to bring a human being back to life when Locke was thrown from the window. And to be honest, I also thought the "Jacob was actually there at all of these huge moments in all of the Losties lives" got extremely old after the first couple. The first one I was like WHOA!!! and then after that it sort of felt like cheap thrills. Jacob sitting on a bench...Locke falls from the window! Can you believe it?! Jacob was there when Locke was thrown out of the window, too! So I guess what I am saying is, I agree that the episode stands up a lot better as an hour and a half instead of 2 hours. This is sort of a shame considering I felt like some of the other huge plot points were sort of rushed.

We need to see Jacob at Sun and Jin's wedding, but all we get for the most pivotal turning point is the episode is Juliet saying "I changed my mind. I saw the way you looked at her," and a weak explanation? Juliet similarly instantly changes her mind in the sub to get them back to the island...I guess she didn't see any suspicious looks by Sawyer in any of the other dozens of times he and Kate interracted since she got back? I just thought this was a very hurried and sloppy way to make sure everyone got back on the island while also letting Jack's plan carry on. It felt like forced drama, which LOST has done a good job avoiding this season. Easier would have just been to not place Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate on the sub...avoid some empty action scenes of their escape, Sawyer and Jack's fight, the "Why'd you stop," "That's why dude," Hurley and Jack moment, and so on.

Why couldn't Juliet have given her "i saw the way you looked at her" speech when Sawyer first suggests going on the sub in the first place? We are still in the same place, but we have room for further development elsewhere. Would it have been so bad if we saw MIles saying to his father, "Now I understand why you did it," and then playing a bigger role in all of this instead of just having this awesome character making snarky comments in the background from time to time? Perhaps another interraction between Jacob and Evil Jacob at some other point in time(like when Oceanic 815 crashes). My overall point is, as I am sure you can tell by now - a few storylines left me wanting more and a few left me wanting decidedly less. I think either trimming it down, or re-organizing it while dropping the fluff would have been a far more impactful finale. I do agree though, that the events that happened set us up well for next season.

Totally agree about the Jacob appearances. I thought some were cool (Sawyer, Sayid, Locke) and some were stupid (Jin and Sun, Jack). Also they kind of throw you off with Juliet's parents getting divorced and Jacob not showing up. When he doesnt show it kind of makes the whole thing some weird set up for why she leaves Sawyer. To be honest, the whole Sawyer, Kate Juilet thing has annoyed me for a while and I find it very hollow. What I did enjoy about Sawyer though was the genuine anguish (not for losing Juliet), but for losing the life he had in the Dharma Initiative. He was kind of saying, "I finally made a normal life for myself and you (Jack) came along and f-ed it up like you always do." That is where I felt most pity for him as a character.

Also the scene where they are about to explode the bomb was beyond ridiculous considering an alarm is going off, the Dharma initiative is on to them, Sayid is dying and every sits around to talk about their feelings for ten minutes. No possible way.

Agree totally about the sub and its uselessness in the overall plot. Just a filler. I doubt Jacob is actually dead and we need to consider that his body is most likely just some kind of vessel to a more supreme being. I don't know if I love these God implications because they complicate things almost more than time travel does. People with God-like powers (Sylar) are just as impossible as those who try and change the future or past.



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American Idol - And then there were two


Some quick, nitty-gritty Idol thoughts as I see one of my all-time favorite contestants go home. I am not sure I rooted for anyone as hard as I rooted for Danny.

Just watched the vote-off on warp speed replay. I rarely like the vote-off as it is an hour ratings grab for two-five minutes of actual entertainment. I do, however, enjoy this week in the season when the top three head back to their hometowns for some family time, keys to the city and mobs of adoring fans lining the streets in the their honor.

The return-home week always comes off as the first time each contestant begins to fully grasp what their lives have morphed in to. Last year, David Cook's entrance to his high school football field where thousands waited to cheer is something I always think about. He got a little choked up at the idea of, "Wow. They are all here for me." It is a special moment that seemed to hit Danny and Kris especially tonight. Where I think Adam believes he truly was meant to do nothing but entertain, Danny and Kris are just a couple of dudes with great voices who kept the dream rolling week after week.

The Danny vote-off didn't come as much surprise to me. Don't get me wrong, I have been rooting for him since day one. He became my early favorite when he let on about his wife's recent death. His church-boy demeanor wrapped in a genuine "just happy to be here doing something special" persona drove him over the top. But last night's performances didn't do him any favors in comparison to the other two. I thought the vote was correct. Kris and Adam make for a talented, yet juxtaposed final two. The edgy rocker vs. the sweet kid. Should be interesting.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lost - The Incident


Well that was interesting. Mrs. Channelup and I went to a friend's house to watch the finale so I was stuck writing notes on little pieces of paper and trying to not be anti-social. (Spoilers ahead)

I was apprehensive about watching it outside of my own living room because I thought there would be needless distractions. Man was I wrong. Watching Lost is an activity best shared. So much is going on, it is good to have some different viewpoints. That being said, Mrs. Channelup and I walked home and I just kept saying over and over again, "How the hell do I write about this?" She replied, "You'll think of something. You have a gift." I agreed and sprinted home.

I think I am just going to do this bullet point style with some quotes. How else would I even begin to sum up two hours of Lost?

"They come fight, they destroy they corrupt. It all ends the same." - unknown character
"It only ends once. Everything before that is just progress." - Jacob

- From the get-go we thought this would be a Jacob-centric episode. In some ways it was as we saw him enter briefly into the lives of all the original members. The implication being here that by entering their lives at various, traumatic points, Jacob is beginning to steer them towards the island for whatever reason. I suspect he, by choosing these particular people, hopes to end the perceived negative cycle of human corruption of the island and prove his adversary wrong.
There is another part of me that thinks Lost may have set him up to be the good guy, when in fact his aims for the island are selfish and detracting. He seems so benevolent, kind and trustworthy, but is he? I can imagine a situation where his death is actually the best thing for the island.

"We traveled back in time and are still finding ways to shoot each other." -Bernard
"Just care about being together. That's all that matters in the end." - Rose


- This basically, and obviously, sums up the other central theme of the show. What brings us together? Love? Fate? Something else we can't even fathom? The Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Juliet menagerie switched back and forth more times for me to count but it all boiled down to this: when each realized who they wanted to be with, it was much too late. And in the end detonating the bomb represented a way, not to find love, but to make sure each didn't love only to have it lost.

"I lied. That's what I do." - Ben Linus


- We know Ben, we know. But over the last two episodes Ben has awakened so to speak. He is sort of like an alcoholic who wakes up one day realizing his whole life has been one big haze of shame, sorrow and misguided ideals. The island was the booze, killing Locke was hitting rock bottom and his return was the beginning of the recovery. Unfortunately, by killing Jacob he appears to jump of the proverbial wagon. Even when Jacob's counsel (plea) mentions Ben's over-arcing selfishness and Jacob reminds Ben he, "Has a choice," Ben still chooses vice over well being. Some people just can't change. I know people will argue that Ben killed Jacob because of the pain Jacob inflicted, but the pain was only representative of what Ben deserved by his own actions.

"What lies in the shadow of the statue?" - Ilana


- The discovery of a little Locke-in-a-box was a true whaaaa moment even if Mrs. Channelup claimed she called it from the beginning. Obvious these people are very pro Jacob and anti fake-Locke, but who are they? Are they like super-Masons who have ruled behind the scenes for centuries fighting with the Knights Templar (are those the same groups? I don't know. You get my point though). This fight for the island has raged over centuries, maybe millenniums and the struggle continues. When Jacob whispers, "They're coming," I can't even venture a guess as to who he means.

"Boom." - the bomb


- Well, the ending was nothing but a moderate cliffhanger. The implications here are more minutia than actual story changers. Miles's assumption that the bomb doesn't stop the cataclysmic event, but rather IS the event itself was prescient and probably accurate. Many less questions need be answered if the bomb actually changes nothing. If the bomb acts as the reason for the the Hatch and the button, then we can spend the final season focusing on the island itself. I like that much better than rewriting any kind of history. (Remember, the Red Sox won the World Series in '04. We don't need the Oceanic flight landing, a butterfly flapping its wings, and Dave Roberts not stealing second. Wouldn't be right.)

Quick highlights from an entertaining two hours

- Miles yelling, "Dad," to Chang when he is trapped. A moment of true love from a guy who rarely has anything but awesome one-liners.

- This may be the first time in history VW Bus acted as a tactical assault vehicle. When the crew rolled up on the Swan station, guns a-blazing I cheered a little inside.

- Jacob convincing Hurley that he isn't crazy or cursed, but in fact a very special guy warmed me a bit. Hurley gets dumped on a lot, but all he needs is someone to say, "Everything is going to be all right. You are a good guy. Believe in yourself."

I am sure other thoughts will come but its late and i feel like I've spent thirty years on this damned island.

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Lost - Some pre-finale thoughts


Well Lost wraps up a fantastic season (dare I say one of the best?) and the Channelup family is headed to a Lost party. I am dressing as Sawyer and Mrs. Channelup is going as the smoke monster.

I usually write at a breakneck pace during the episode so I can post my thoughts immediately after its over. That won't happen tonight unless I am allowed to bring my computer, not talk to anyone, and shhhhhhh any side conversations that might spring up during the two hour finale. Because of this I wanted to get some pre-show thoughts in.

Has there ever been another show that could spark so much debate, questioning, conversation, and camaraderie among internet loser bloggers who have nothing better to do than sit around and think about the secrets of the island (present company included)? The reason this season, in my mind, has been so successful is the writers have seemed focused on getting more answers and working us towards an endgame. This season took no episodes off, rarely introduced new characters, tied up many loose ends, and gave us relevant back story all without sacrificing the charm and appeal of the characters we connected with from the beginning. The major players are all still around, still relevant, rarely annoying, and genuinely interesting as human beings. The don't act as entertainment for the sake of ratings but rather human beings placed in the most extraordinary of circumstances and for that they are entertaining. Through the entire run of the show the characters have not lost one little bit of luster and, if anything, have become more and more intriguing. They spark questions.

Oh man the questions. They still abound:
- What does Charles Widmore want?
- What dos Ben Linus hope to accomplish?
- How/ When will that 70's contingent get out of their time warp disaster?
- What lies in the shadow of the statue?
- Who is Richard Alpert?
- Will the bomb go off?
- Will Walt ever come back?
- Where or when is Claire?
- What is Desmond's role in this whole thing?
- Who is Jacob?

And these questions are just on the surface. They are much like the Hatch when the survivors first discovered it. It lay on the surface, but you just knew there was shitload going on underneath. You just hoped the answer of its meaning would be easy, neat and tidy. But with Lost, the answers rarely are.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Real Housewives of New Jersey - Premiere


I have not watched any of the other Real Housewives but, as a Jersey resident, it seemed like this was a no-brainer. I went into this program with mixed feelings. On the one hand I prayed the Garden State wouldn't come off looking too bad. But then with my other hand I prayed even harder this would be the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. God met me somewhere in the middle.

Going into this show assuming the worst made the Real Housewives of NJ almost bearable. Look, we are a culture of people bred on My Super Sweet Sixteen, The Real World, Hole in the Wall, Fear Factor, and the Osbournes to just name a few. It takes a great deal to be labeled "shocking." Nothing in this program is shocking. Luckily, for us it takes a whole lot less to be labeled "trashy." And guess what? Trashy is entertaining.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is what happens when you take some egotistical, moderately intelligent, insanely superficial people with inferiority complexes and give them a shitload of money. You then take these people, convince them they live in the "real" world, turn the cameras on and let the material write itself.

Trying to sum up all the characters and their relationships to each other would be like navigating the Parkway during rush hour: infuriating, complicated and full of guidos. Suffice to say they all live in the same town (Franklin Lakes), are all basically related (save one or two)and divide their time between flaunting money and trying not to kill each other. All in all though, nothing of much consequence comes about. They want to go to parties, find love (with money attached), and be noticed. It isn't too much different than your standard high school drama except with more menopause and plastic surgery.

I don't know if i come back for more here. I can't buck the feeling that I have seen this all before. (Between television and 20 some odd years living in Jersey I probably have). But in age of shock-me, Jersey can't even do that as good as New York. We'll always be second class citizens (millionaires or not).

Some Quick Highlights:
- Teresa telling us, ""Im not fake and don't try to be someone I'm not," and then following it with, "I want breast implants."

- Danielle, after lying around by her pool, driving her SUV and walking around her mansion worrying she may not have, "financial freedom."

- The opening being an obvious, and non-apologetic rip-off of The Sopranos opening credits. It came up just short of waking us up in the morning and getting us a gun.

- Caroline's son declaring his goal of being the face of "strip clubs and carwashes."
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American Idol - The Top 3 perform


It's the 300th episode, my three favorite contestants are all still in it, Kara's approval ratings are way down and its the "going back to our hometown" week. Oh its a good night in the Channelup household.

Tonight each contestant sang twice. One judge's choice and one song of their own. Will do this in recap format tonight for speed. Let's go to the top 3.
(blogging note: I am typing my comments in real time, but am posting as soon as the show is over)

Danny Gokey

- Paula picked Dance Little Sister by Terrance Trent D'arby. Danny had never heard of this song and neither have I. Neither had anyone else I have ever known. I'll be honest, I had to look up TT D'arby on wikipedia just to make sure I spelled his name correctly. Guy is kind of famous. Who knew? Anyway, Danny made due with what Paula gave him. The song was a little corny, but at least it was Paula's fault.

Kris Allen
- Randy and Kara picked Apologize by OneRepublic. This choice worried me for two reasons: OneRepublic and David Archuleta performed this flawlessly last year on the season finale AND I love this song. Well he crushed it and it really made me think that Paula did Danny no favors by picking such an unpopular song while Randy and Kara gave Kris one that EVERYONE knows. And then fucking IDIOT Kara kills him for singing it. AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I FUCKING HATE KARA!!!!!!!! (BTW I typed this before Simon made his comment! Then I clapped my hands together and cheered for bashing her and her comments towards Kris). This is going to be a long post tonight.

Adam Lambert
- Simon got permission from U2 for Adam to sing One. Kudos. First four lines were incredible. I am worried Kara and Randy will kill him just because what Simon said about Kris. Because that would just be unfair seeing as how the version he did was insane. Simon's ear-to-ear, shit-eating, "look what I made Adam do" grin was priceless. Randy proclaims him to be "one of the top 3 left in the competition." Randy is a literal judge I guess. Like saying, "Adam you are a singer and your hair is black." This song goes even FARTHER in proving how terrible Paula's choice was for Danny.

A quick break for Idol Gives Back where I spend time working on my facebook page.

Danny Gokey - You are so Beautiful. Nice job, don't love the song. Not much else to say here. Mrs. Channelup loved it more than I did. I think he goes home.

Kris Allen - Heartless by Kanye West. Kris does a strictly solo performance on guitar and he does a version of a rap song. Oh yeah and it was fantastic. This is a guy that probably has a wealth of original songs in his coffer. He is as creative a performer as Idol has ever had.

Adam Lambert - Cryin by Aerosmith. When someone is just good over and over it gets hard to find things to say about him. His and Kris's performances I think overshadowed Danny tonight. The judges pitch Adam going to the final. This thing is over.
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Southland - I'm back on board


I wrote a couple of times already here and here about Southland and why I thought it was a show that could really go somewhere. The premise, the actors, the footage and the writing all had promise and were believable. I even had conversations at a party recently extolling the excellence in the show. So why haven't I been watching?

I watched the first two episodes and that had been it. While the logistical reasons at the time made sense, my lack of viewership had no excuse beyond laziness. Mrs. Channelup kept asking, "When are we going to watch Southland?" or "When are we going to catch up with this show?" I kept saying "soon," and then putting it off for another week. I would spend time on Thursdays writing about The Office and Parks and Recreation, lose interest in television and go to bed. Another Southland episode missed.

One thing I wrote about the show at the time was its real, gritty feel. The camera work reminded me of the documentary like- Friday Night Lights, the violence and language bordered on the edges of broadcast television acceptability, and the characters were very, very believable. In thinking about it though, I think the characters were what stopped me from coming back. They were so real, and nameless, that I felt no connection. Real life is kind of boring. I didn't tune in because, while I knew the show had so much to give, I didn't particularly care about any of the police officers.

Well tonight I got home from work, had an hour before American Idol and caught up on the third episode (they have aired 5 so far). Let's just say that I am back on board, will catch episodes four and five tonight and tomorrow, and am planning on covering the final two episodes of the season. The connection I was looking for came in episode three as we began to see more from Officers Cooper and Sherman. And while I still needed to look up these guy's names (remember I said about connection?) we began to see the human, flawed side of each. Man was this so important and I feel a bit stupid for jumping off the ride so soon. I didn't give the show enough of a chance and almost missed out. Sigh of relief.

I know this analysis is coming massively late, but watching the third episode just excited me. Southland has the chance to be a legitimately great television program. It is different than almost anything else on television right now because it seems more concerned with being believable than being intriguing or even artistic. But, and this is what many many programs do not get, believability triggers intrigue and art. Making something seem real is perhaps the most difficult thing a television can do. Making it interesting at the same time is nearing perfection. Southland has that mix.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

24 - Channelup saves the day again


My buddy Mike typically covers 24 for CinemaBlend, but I being the Jonathan Papelbon of that website, needed to step in tonight for the save.

Read my recap and review at CinemaBlend.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Watching - SNL Please find this skit


After a Channelup family reunion we watched Satuday Night Live. Justin Timberlake was the host. Timberlake is an all time classic host and he brought it tonight.

This will be short. I mostly just want you to download his Titanic-like skit focused on the supposed "Timberlake-lineage" where he admits to banging Britney Spears. I will find a link. But it was followed by the sequel to "Dick in a Box." This will soon be an internet sensation just in time for Mother's Day.

Timberlake is a star that just gets it. Part of being an insane celebrity is being able to laugh at yourself. Timberlake gets this more than most. He understands that his fame comes with a sado-masochistic price and he is willing to pay. Channelup's mom made a great point tonight considering JT's success on SNL. He is so talented in so many areas that the writers must have a field day in writing his skits. He can literally do anything and do it well.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Office - Cafe Disco


The Office hasn't been the same since Michael came back. At least that's his claim and it precipitates the inception of the "party room." Who wouldn't love this in their job? A room where they played techno music and everyone raved all day? Scratch that, I would hate it.

Michael doesn't have the same connection with the larger staff at Dunder Mifflin as he had with his workforce of three at Michael Scott Paper (Pam and Ryan). He yearns for the same connectivity and tries to achieve it through exxpresso (sic) and house music at annoyingly loud decibels. He turns the old Michael Scott Paper into a meet-and-greet disco type place for office workers to kick back and relax. Unfortunately, no one can take it easy with Michael around. Nor do they want to.

It isn't until Michael gives up all hope of the space that the two Kelly's (secretary and customer service) take it over and make it into the party atmosphere Michael dreamed off. I loved how their cliche'-airhead-party girl mentality actually spurred this party room into entertaining functionality. They (as I imagine Ms. Kapur saying), "brought the party."

As entertaining as the party room became, I am not sure this episode works in the overall Office spectra. It seemed like filler writing with much of the comedy coming through the characters dancing their way through their respective roles. That's fine and some may even see it as a way to inject physical humor into an otherwise dialogue format. I would argue though, that it diminishes the comedic effect in the name of almost slapstick humor. Sure I had a few laughs watching each office member navigate themselves through the world of an "underground" dance hall. Kevin made out with his true love from somewhere else in the building, Angela stormed off, Meredith acted as if she always belonged while Andy and Kelly K. got into a dance off. All that was missing was Toby standing awkwardly in the corner telling stories of Costa Rica.

Even Jim and Pam got into the act by making an abbreviated appearance to waylay Michael and appease the staff. I am not sure if I am being too hard on The Office. I may be but, I expect a great deal from this comedy because it has given so much already. I expect to be kept thrown off-kilter, surprised by new events, amused by the characters and to discover new things about each member of the crew. I don't feel that has happened. Have there been laughs? Sure. Are we moving anywhere? No.

Highlights:

- As soon as I saw Bob Vance(Vance Refrigeration)'s secretary I cried, "Uh-oh." What do you think the casting was like for that part? We need a Phyllis look-alike?

- Dwight using horse remedies to cure Phyllis's ailing back right down to feeding her a carrot and stroking her mane.

- Jim and Pam pulled the same thing Mrs. Channelup and I did in getting married. We were thiiiiiissssss close to doing it on the sneaktip (and then having a celebration post facto) but didn't.

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Parks and Recreation - The Banquet


Unlike you, I am from the Channelup lineage, so I understand Leslie. She hails from the Knope dynasty; a powerful Pawnee, Indiana political family. We are cut from the same cloth. Much like the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and Carnegies we aspire to political and social excellence. We don't take 'no' for an answer and we strive for world domination. (or at minimum to be mayor)

Leslie's mother is up for a big time award. You may have heard of it: the Tellyson Award for excellence in public service. Its like the Nobel Prize but for smalltown yokels with their priorities all askew. Some people get the insignificance (Mark and Ron) while others people thrive on it (Leslie and her mom).

Before attending the award ceremony, Leslie's warped sensibilities point her in the direction of the local barber shop. She strives to be "one of the guys," which precipitates her getting a Hillary Clinton/boy hair cut. Poor Leslie. All she wants to do is enter the boys club, be on the inside, get the goods, wheel and deal, and make some moves. She doesn't know how to pull it off.

I think in the end, Leslie just wants to be her mother. This is a small, small feat but in Leslie's eyes it is the acme of success. She wants to be the kind of woman that has all the inside info, exerts her influence and makes things happen out of sheer will. I almost envy her sensibility here as it is, in effect, striving for so little. How could one fail? Unfortunately Leslie can. She isn't able to pull of even the minute details of political interplay and ends up apologizing after a failed attempt at extortion. What a shame.

One of the things that makes Parks and Recreation funny is Leslie's awe in respect to the average politico. She never ceases to be amazed by the the third rung political figures in her presence. Whether it be the head of the zoning board, some former town councilman or the like. She knows them all and here her political savvy/ obsession comes into play. Its like being the biggest "trekkie" or Star Wars fan. The excess of specific knowledge may work in a few select circles, but for the most part it just make you look the fool. Leslie is guilty in this respect.


Highlights:

- Ron Swanson's increased role in this show. His two main contributions tonight were eating all the bacon-wrapped shrimp (its my first favorite food wrapped in my third favorite food) and being completely honest in his speech

- the implication is that Mark is yearning for Leslie, but I think it is obvious he wants to hook up with Ann Perkins (Rasheeda Jones)

- Tom admitting, after many failed attempts at scoring the ladies, that he is married. He said it in the first episode but no other mention has come of it. I can't wait to meet his wife.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lost - Follow the Leader


Last week I wrote about how Lost had fractured its story arcs to a point where entire episodes went without mentioning key characters. Tonight everyone was a player. Two groups have formed in the fight for the island. In the present, Locke and company are working to ensure that events on the island (past and present) solidify his role as leader of the Others . In the past, Jack wants to follow the late Daniel Farraday’s advice and disrupt the flow of time by setting off the bomb.

It must be nice to be John Locke. His supreme confidence in his abilities and understanding of the island have put him firmly in charge of both the Others and, more importantly, Ben. To say he has made Ben his bitch is putting it lightly. He taunts Mr. Linus with his ability to talk to the island and knowledge of Jacob. I like Ben being put on his heels.

We also get some clues about Richard Alpert when Ben says he has been an advisor for a “very, very long time.” We knew Richard had some issues with aging (like he doesn’t do it at all) but should we assume he is the ageless rep for the ancient civilization whose magic in fact powers the island? Seems plausible and probably explains why he is calm under pressure and rarely surprised at situations. He may have literally, “seen everything.”

But Locke is nothing if not a go-getter. He wants to go to Jacob, and take all of the Others there too. Richard Alpert reiterates sentiments Jack had a few seasons ago when he says, “I’m starting to think John Locke is going to be trouble.” When Locke says he wants to kill Jacob I am inclined to agree with Richard.

Jack, fresh off Farraday’s murder, wants to pick up where the mad scientist left off by detonating the bomb and altering the past/ future. Kate doesn’t love the plan and all signs point to the idea that no matter what these guys do, the island always gets its way. Jack has gone from sensible voice of reason to hard-headed rabble rouser who needs to always get his way. He, Eloise, Sayid (he’s back after his failed hit on young Ben) and past Richard enter the caves to retrieve the bomb.
I liked this week’s focus on action over intrigue. The episode felt like non-stop movement and didn’t allow for time to sit around and wonder what? or why? Instead, I worked to just keep up with the characters and their respective goals. Just a good, entertaining hour of television leading into next week’s season finale.

Highlights

- Hurley begrudgingly admitting to Dr. Chang that he, Miles, and Jin are in fact from the future. Chang’s interrogation techniques by asking year of birth, President of the US, etc. make me think Hurley never had a fake ID. Those are the kind of answers you practice over and over before heading out to that first pre-21 trip to the bar.
- Sawyer can’t get out of his own way in his relational ménage-a-tois with Juliet and Kate. Just when he and Juliet profess their love for each other, Kate climbs on the sub and they depart.
- I loved how the actor they got to play the young Charles Widmore looks exactly like the older one. I wonder how that casting search went. The resemblance was uncanny.
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Scrubs - JD's last day


For me, Scrubs is like one of those friends I knew growing up that I slowly lost touch with over time, but when we get back together it is like nothing has changed. We instantly break into the same conversational rhythm, bust out the same old jokes, share some good laughs, wonder why we haven’t gotten together in so long and promise to do it again soon. I went through a phase where I watched Scrubs daily in syndication and then would not watch it again for a year, but I never felt like I missed a beat.

Read: JD's Last Day at CinemaBlend
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