What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

It’s been a crazy-long time since I’ve talked about TV here on UM, but that doesn’t mean we’re not watching. It’s an interesting season because there are a good deal of shows I’m really into, but also a lot of slots in the schedule that are left open. For what it’s worth, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to cable and don’t have DVR, so all of our viewings are done the old fashion way, “live.”  Continue reading What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

Casting Internets

Well, I wanted to stay a little more timely with Casting Internets, but with the holidays, I got WAY behind not just on doing posts, but also reading stuff. Over the past week, I got really caught up. Not much was worth linking to, but I do have a few here that were fun.

Even before hyping my own links, I’ve got to call out this amazing post from Topless Robot. My pal Rob Bricken tore through a Washington, D.C. news report about DC comic books not being appropriate for kids. Mind you, they are clearly labeled as not for kids. His indignation is palpable and amazing.

In addition to my daily posts over on Spinoff, I also wrote a really fun piece about Mattel and their DC action figures for CBR in addition to pieces about Hoax Hunters, Rebel Blood, Near Death, the Artifacts finale and I even helped out with the CBR Top 100 Comics of 2011!

I also wrote about Black Widow’s costumes for Marvel.com!Phil Noto drew Hellboy!

If you’re a How I Met Your Mother fan and saw the episode from a few weeks back, I highly recommend checking out the Puzzles website, especially the calendar and menu. Looks like quite the NYC hang out.

Whoa, there are 700 unreleased Thin Lizzy songs according to The Onion. They will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine. Maybe I should get the rest of their existing records, too. The Superman: Earth One book only looked interesting because of Shane Davis’ art, but the Batman version by Geoff Johns and the always amazing Gary Frank? I’ll buy that for some dollars. (via CBR)

I am definitely on board for this Bruce Lee documentary called I Am Bruce Lee. Like how they put it right on front street. (via /Film)

Last Night’s Shows, Today: How I Met Your Mother Season Finale, Off Limits Premiere & Castle Season Finale

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER “Challenge Accepted” (8:00PM, CBS)How I Met Your Mother‘s sixth season finale snuck up on me this year. Part of the reason for that is because my lovely daughter was born on a Monday, we missed the previous week’s episode and our TV watching schedule has been interrupted by busts of crying every now and then. Anyway, this season has been an interesting one as it focused mainly on the non-Ted characters. Sure Ted was around with his doomed-from-the-start relationship with Zoey and the will-he-or-won’t-he plot regarding the GNB building project, but this season belonged to Marshall and Lilly dealing with Marshall’s dad’s death and Barney finding a girl who he might be able to settle down with. A lot’s been going on to widen this group’s horizons with the season premiere’s tease of a wedding in the somewhat near future. It seemed pretty clear from the beginning that it would be Barney’s wedding, but the real question was, “To who?”

This episode itself was a little disappointing, but not completely so. As always, the plot was well put together and the episode amazingly acted, but the blunder, as far as I was concerned, was the Lilly/Marshall sickness plot. The second Lilly got sick the missus and I were like “She’s totally pregnant.” The writers did an okay job masking the obviousness of this with all the grossout humor as far as Lilly’s sickness, but it feels ridiculous that no one in the episode thought “Hey, she might be pregnant.” The smokescreen didn’t work for a second on us and even though all of Marshall’s preparation for his interview was funny, it was ultimately pointless because we knew how this gag would ultimately end. It was a rare misstep as far as I’m concerned and they did an okay job of covering their tracks, but it just seemed so obvious.

Like this season as a whole, Ted took a back seat in the episode. While Lilly and Marshall dealt with their sickness, Barney and Robin were trying to stop Ted from getting back together with Zoey. It was some great stuff and those two characters and actors just murder everything when they’re together. Then, we almost end with Barney seeing that girl he had a thing for and after that the obvious reveal we’ve been waiting for: that it’s his wedding we’ve been seeing this year. I think this new girl is just a trick and that he’ll end up with Robin. Oh, also, I totally bought into the “And that was your mother” gag. All in all, it was a great season, with some Ted stuff that seemed like filler, but enough fantastic work by everyone else to really solidify this as a great season of television. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

OFF LIMITS “Las Angeles” (9:00PM, Travel Channel)I fully intended to tune into Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations last night, but Travel Channel had other plans for me. Instead, their new show Off Limits was on which was an okay replacement, but not really what I wanted to watch. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve really grown to like No Reservations and was excited about the new season, but after a few new episodes they went right back into reruns. Now they’re messing with me again by changing the time. Not cool Travel Channel, not cool. To make matters worse, my cable guide is all weird and doesn’t have information for the Travel Channel even though we definitely it, so I can’t tell ahead of time when things are on (without looking it up online, but that’s just SO much work). Anyway, this new show Off Limits follows host Don Wildman as he basically goes places that normal people can’t go. The premiere episode focused on Las Angeles and wound up being pretty interesting. He went into the hundred year old aqueducts that no cameras have ever been inside and also included tools that were just left there when the job was done as well as a tour through a Nazi compound in the Hills. While all that stuff was cool, the most interesting bit of info I learned from the series is that LA is on top of one of the biggest oil fields around which has resulted in oil rigs all over the place, many of which are hidden, especially in the fancier parts of town. Shows like these are fun to watch on a weekend when nothing else is on, but are not the kind of thing I will make a point to watch on a weekly basis, unless nothing else is on.

CASTLE “Knockout” (10:00PM, ABC)I was pretty disappointed with Castle‘s season finale last night. I had my problems with the show in the early parts of this season with it’s over-use of gimmicky plots, but I found tonight’s season finale far more insulting on a creative level. The season had gotten better as far as I was concerned and I was looking forward to this episode because it looked like we’d get a few more pieces to the puzzle of what happened to Beckett’s mom. Those episodes tend to be pretty epic with a fast pace and lots of action, but instead “Knockout” seemed to meander. Worse than that they threw in some hackneyed plot stuff that gets my goat. First off, SPOILER out of nowhere it was revealed that their boss Captain Montgomery was involved with the guys that were connected with Beckett’s mom’s death (the plot has gotten so complicated that I had to have the missus explain it all to me during a commercial break). I tend not to like these twists, not because I feel betrayed, but because they seem to come out of nowhere. I’d have to go back and watch previous episodes to see if there were any hints, but I didn’t catch any. Did Montgomery get shifty when the case came up? Or possibly sweaty? It wouldn’t have to be obviously telegraphed, but something should have been there. I felt very similarly when SPOILER Zach turned out to be a bad guy on Bones. It just felt tacked on and out-of-nowhere. Once they find out that Montgomery was somehow involved with the bad guys, Ryan and Esposito have a by-the-numbers fight where one believes it’s true and the other believes it but JUST CAN’T ADMIT IT TO HIMSELF. Blech.

Even worse was the near-the-end scene between Beckett and Montgomery where he explains what he did and what he’s going to do. Of COURSE he plans on taking on the bad guys solo and of COURSE he’s got Castle there to take Beckett away from the danger, which Castle does literally picking her up and dragging her away. Now, aside from not buying the very basis of this premise and not appreciating the melodramatic nature of the performances, I don’t buy for a damn second that bad ass cop Kate Beckett couldn’t free herself from a bear hug by an out of shape mystery writer. After that, he holds her against a car while she cries and Montgomery shoots the entire group of bad guys EXCEPT the main bad guy who somehow teleports behind him. Ugh. Thinking about it this morning just makes me more upset, because the show is absolutely better than this kind of writing. By the time we got to the final scene where SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Beckett gets shot by a sniper while speaking at Montgomery’s funeral (he died of course). They make it look like she died, but I don’t really care much anymore. They’re either faking her death to draw this assassin guy out, which might get rid of some of the hokey gimmicks they relied on earlier this season for the upcoming one, or she’s just going to be fine. Her death wouldn’t just kill the romantic chemistry between the two leads (Castle told the “dying” Beckett he loved her, so we’ll see how this works out next season, I’m guessing she won’t remember and he won’t say anything about it) but also make the proceedings just too sad to stick around for. Castle relies on Nathan Fillion’s charm and him mourning for episodes on end would destroy that charm. Boring. Yawn. When does the summer season start?

Casting Internets

Whew, it’s good to be back, but I do admit, I skipped a lot of the news I missed while on our journey to Ohio. I’ve gotten mostly caught up, but here’s the things I saw today that interested me.

First up, some self promotion. I did a piece for Marvel.com about giant collectibles called Muckle Mannequins.

There’s a new teaser for Wimpy Kid 2! (via /Film)

I am very excited about this collection of Carl Banks Disney duck comics I read about on Robot 6. I’ve never read any of that stuff, but have heard great things.

Robot 6 also informed me that Stan Lee got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congrats to him!
Stacie Ponder recaps Friday the 13th parts one and two. Great stuff.

It’s about damn time.

CliqueClack noticed a 50 to 1 countdown on last night’s How I Met Your Mother which had one of the saddest moments I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I didn’t notice the number aspect of the show whatsoever. (via Pop Candy)

Go check out the custom Medusa over on The Fwoosh. You won’t be disappointed.

What We’re Watching: Monday & Tuesday

I find myself with a strange feeling this TV season: a lack of interest. Sure, I’ve got favorite shows I like tuning in to, but it feels like I’ve got a lot less of them to look forward to, possibly because Lost is gone. There wasn’t another show in the history of my television watching career that engrossed me as much as that one and got me so excited about an hour of TV. Maybe it’s because most of the new shows aren’t so good. Here’s the break down for the first section of the week as far as regular viewings go.

For all the years I’ve been in New York, I’ve been looking around for a good syndicated block of reruns between 6 and 8 that would stay consistent and, for the most part, I’ve been unsuccessful. That is until recently. VH1 scored Saturday Night Live reruns from the 90s which have been a lot of fun to watch, even when I’m reminded that that was an era when skits tended to run WAY too long. It’s still fun to see a lot of today’s big stars and musical acts on the show both in the cast and as hosts. It’s even more fun to see long forgotten folks like Finese Mitchel and Sysqo perform. That takes care of the 6 to 7 block and then we bounce over to a local station called My9 which runs How I Met Your Mother. The only problem I foresee is that, with only a few season under its belt, I’ll be rewatching these episodes over and over again.

MONDAY

8:00pm – HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
I’ve already gone on record with the potential problems I see with HIMYM, but I still enjoy this show better than most of the others I watch on a weekly basis. I’ve grown to really enjoy these characters, but I still think there needs to start being some resolution to the overhanging “mysteries” or else this one could start feeling a little tedious. Like I said though, great cast and still one of my favorite, most looked-forward-to shows.

8:30pm – RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS)
Rules of Engagement is a show we only started watching because it was on right after HIMYM and nothing else was on, but I’ve actually come to enjoy it. Sure, it’s a jokier type of sitcom with lots of jokes being tossed around that aren’t hilarious, but funny enough to get a laugh. I like seeing Patrick Warburton and David Spade doing their things, plus I find the dumb neighbor/friend guy oddly charming. I’m in it with this series, though if something more interesting came on I think we’d jump ship in favor of that. 

9:00pm – THE EVENT (NBC)
AS regular readers might remember, I wasn’t really all that into The Event when it premiered. I’m even less so now and barely still pay attention while the missus watches. I think she’s getting pretty sick of it too. I spent way too many episodes wanting to slap Jason Ritter for saying “My girlfriend!” so much that I don’t think we can ever be okay again (at least not on this show). I appreciate that they’re trying to move things along at a faster clip, but I just do not care about any of these people or what’s going on. I have the vaguest interest in what’s happening with these supposed aliens (though my money’s on dimensional or time travelers), but I could really just look it up in Wiki at some future date and feel satisfied. Probably moreso because I wouldn’t be wasting my time watching a lackluster Lost wannabe. 

10:00pm – CASTLE (ABC)
I almost feel bad for not liking Castle more. I really like the cast and the dynamics of the characters, but it just feels so hacky lately. From the wacky set-ups for crimes this season (steampunk AND time travel in one episode?!) to the increasingly formulaic plot, I’m getting worn down. How many times can they run across a suspect who lies so well that they completely buy his story and move on only to come back to him or her later in the episode to realize he or she is really the killer? It’s boring and, personally, I expect more from a show with Nathan Fillion on it. Hopefully this one will pick up because the missus still LOVES it, while I just keep thinking about how much better Bones is and wishing Netflix would send the first disc of last season already so we can start the long road to catching up.

TUESDAY

8:00pm – GLEE (Fox)
This one’s completely because the missus likes the show. She’s a big fan of musicals and show tunes and whatnot, so this is right up her alley, which is unfortunate, because I find it to be one of the most wildly inconsistent, sloppy and increasingly gross shows around. Anyone else see the Rocky Horror episode tonight where the teacher actually considered and planned on dressing up in gold shorts and performing a sexually charged number with one of his students? Sure he practiced with the hot red head teacher, but he was actually planning on jumping in and doing that. He’s just one of the many headache-inducing characters on a show filled with them. I’ve heard the argument made that you’re not supposed to expect anything from Glee but high school drama and musical numbers, but I call bullshit on that. The very basis of ongoing fiction of any kind is based in consistent characterization and this show lacks it for the most part. However, I do love Brittany’s throwaway lines. Those are just solid and sound like they’re being written by someone from 30 Rock.

9:00pm – RAISING HOPE (Fox)
I can’t remember the last time I watched this much Fox programming on a single night, but I find myself really liking Raising Hope. It’s clear the show was created by the brains behind My Name Is Earl as both showcase small town folks without much money doing what they can to get by. Hope revolves around a guy discovering his one night stand turned out to not only be a serial killer on death row, but also pregnant with his child. Now he’s raising the kid with his parents who had him at a really young age (his dad looks about the same age as him at times) and his mom’s grandma played by Cloris Leachman. Hope can be a little too weird and a little too jokey at times, but I think it’s starting to hit its stride. Plus, the Halloween episode featured homemade Batman and Robin costumes, so bonus points for that.

9:3opm – RUNNING WILDE (Fox)
Running Wilde, on the other hand, is not a show I’m enjoying much and I’m starting to get the feeling I’m not the only one as Fox decided to run two episodes of Raising Hope tonight instead of one of each, like usual. I am a huge Arrested Development fan, so I should like this show with its use of Will Arnett, David Cross and that fact that it was co-created by Mitchell Hurwitz, but Wilde suffers from two afflictions. First off, it’s not very easy to jump into. We missed the first episode and had trouble figuring out what the relationship between Arnett and the still-hot Keri Russell was. That’s not a good thing for a new show and something that AD suffered from (I still have trouble describing it to friends who missed out the first time around). The other problem is that it just feels like a rehash of old material. Arnett’s playing GOB from AD, Russell feels like Felicity though I never watched that show, plus the premise is a more exaggerated version of Dharma & Greg without the love. I’ll be curious to see what Fox replaces this show with if it does get the axe.

10:00pm – PARENTHOOD (NBC)
Parenthood continues to be one of the best written, most solid shows on television. I’d honestly put it up there with Mad Men. There’s a lot more in Mad Men considering it’s a period piece, but like that show, the Parenthood creators do an amazing job of juggling a small army of fast talking characters, giving each their moments to shine and great lines. Great writing mixed with a great cast makes for great TV, but for some reason I don’t find myself looking forward to this show on a regular basis. I’m happy when it’s on, but never excited for it. I wonder if that’s because it’s a drama and not an action show. I’ll have to think about that. I’ll be back on Thursday with more shows I’m watching. What are you viewing on Monday and Tuesday?

Season Premiere: How I Met Your Mother Season 6 “Big Days”

Good fiction is like a house. Complex characters make up the foundation of the house and then the story is built on top of them. Good storytellers really engineer this and crappy ones kind of pile things up making shakey houses that might seem okay, but don’t hold up. If the characters aren’t solid the house falls down. Luckily CBS’s How I Met Your Mother has an incredibly solid foundation with it’s leads Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Marshall (Jason Segel), Ted (Josh Randor), Robin (Colbie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). What worries me is that series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are spending TOO much time solidifying the foundation and working on the walls, but don’t have a plan for the roof.

Okay, I should explain myself. The conceit behind HIMYM is that Ted in the future (voiced by Bob Saget) is explaining to his son and daughter how he met their mother. It’s been going on for six seasons starting tonight. I love the show because the characters are fantastic and the show has a lot of heart without being too corny. They also use a lot of storytelling methods that really borrow well from previous works in film and television. We’ve seen Ted move his way through plenty of relationships with many of hints as to the identity of his future wife. In Season 3 we were told that Ted’s future wife would have a yellow umbrella. In 4 Ted got the umbrella. That same season we also found out that Ted’s one-time girlfriend Cindy lived with the woman who would be his wife.

So, tonight’s season premiere started with quite the tease (SPOILERS AHEAD): some time in the future we see Ted in a tux at a wedding and Marshall bringing him a beer. It appears to be his wedding. Then, the episode jumps to the present. Most of the episode takes place in MacLaren’s (the bar our characters frequent). Lily and Marshall were planning on trying to conceive that night, but Marshall’s dad sent a crib and Lily got angry that Marshall was talking to him about their baby plans. Out of nowhere, we find out that Marshall’s really close to his dad (I don’t believe this was an aspect of the character before today, more foundation building). There’s lots of fun here with Marshall doing a little Cyrus-from-The-Warriors impression and bits with Marshall warning everyone from touching him because he’s been saving up for the night. There’s also a really sweet moment at the end where Marshall tells Lily she could never disappoint him.

The thrust of the episode involves Ted scoping a hottie at the bar out for a while. Barney comes in and calls dibs. Then, it turns out that the girl knows Ted’s ex Cindy. Is this the wife?! Nope, it’s not. Turns out, Ted never saw the roommate (just her ankles and she was wearing boots at the bar, so no chance of IDing her) and his breakup with Cindy made her reevaluate her life. She tells Ted this and it all felt very obvious that she was now a lesbian, presumably with the girl at the bar, but they wait another commercial break to tell us this. Meanwhile, Robin’s still bummed that her boyfriend Don left and has turned into what looks and apparently smells like a homeless person. Barney gives her some trouble, saying she’s lost her hotness. Robin disappears and comes back all sundressed-up. Methinks Barney did all this on purpose and might be smitten with Robin again (the two dated for a while, but broke up).

But then, we get the big surprise at the end (I think they telegraphed the lesbian thing, so you’d guess that and then not expect yet another surprise). Future Ted explains to his kids that he didn’t meet their mother that night, he met her at a wedding. They then cut to the wedding from the beginning of the episode and it turns out that Ted’s the best man at the wedding, not the groom. So, unless Bays and Thomas want to bring up another character who would randomly have Marshall and Ted as groomsmen (they were wearing matching tuxes) and Lily as a bridesmaid (ugly purple dress with a bouquet of flowers), it’s got to be Barney, right? Let’s hope so. The missus and I are hoping he’s marrying Robin who was conspicuously missing from the flashforward (it’s weird how Lost-like the show is starting to feel in my head).

Back to my initial metaphor, we got a lot more foundation with some more structure building. There’s enough to support that damn roof, so it’s got to be time soon to put it on right? Contrary to the title of the show, I don’t think it needs to end once Ted meets the wife. Part of the mystery might be gone, but then we get to see what happens between Young Ted and his new bride, plus all those other characters who can support their own roof. Hell, you can always put an addition on right? On the other hand, I’m a big fan of the British Office model of finishing a show when it makes sense. Much as I would miss How I Met Your Mother if it were to end, I’d be more upset if it ended poorly and I felt like I wasted all these seasons watching (something that some Lost fans felt, though not me). Here’s hoping the sixth season actually introduces the friggin’ wife!

Look How The Daughter From How I Met Your Mother Grew Up

Yeah, even I’m a little skeeved out by that title, but I think it works for the post. I’ve been super busy this week thanks to some house cleaning, work and an upcoming trip to New Hampshire that’s pushing all my other work up a day. Last weekend the missus and I watch Hot Tub Time Machine. It was a fun little movie that I thought handled time travel in a way that regular dudes who’ve seen some movies would handle things. It was also kind of annoying thanks to the Rob Corddry character, but John Cusack was, of course, awesome. I even liked Clark Duke a guy I’m still not sure if I like or not. Anyway, I don’t think I’ll get around to reviewing the actual movie beyond what I just said, but check this out How I Met Your Mother fans. Remember how Bob Saget, aka older Ted, is explaining to his kids how he met their mother? Well, they filmed the kids listening to dear old dad and then the kids moved on to other projects. Here’s what they looked like in the beginning. And here’s what that actress looked like in Hot Tub Time Machine.Sweet Christmas. The actress’s name is Lyndsay Fonesca and she’s apparently been on Desperate Housewives, Big Love and Kick Ass among other things since leaving HIMYM. There was something about her character–she plays Cuasack’s girlfriend once they travel back in time–that seemed really familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I looked it up on IMDb. She doesn’t really look that different in the face, just more grown up. It has been five years since she shot that HIMYM stuff, so it makes sense.