RED, Hard on the Outside, Gooey on the Inside

RED just goes to show that old dogs don't need to learn new tricks.  The old ones work just as effectively. 

Replete with stars, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker and John Malkovich, this action-comedy is fun for all.  RED is about former CIA field agents designated Retired, Extremely Dangerous who get back in the game.  With explosions galore, this movie seems like a hard-core action flick on the outside, when in fact, it's got an abundance of the romantic, gooey stuff that women (and secretly, men) particularly like.  So if you're looking for a movie that caters to all tastes, rent this one.  It's good for a laugh or two, and Bruce Willis genuinely kicks ass.


Oscar Nominations Are In!

So it's awards season, a time for fashion, speeches and upsets.  And here are my predictions for the Oscars, but I have a disclaimer: I haven't seen all the nominated performances or films.  And the categories concerning music and cinematography?  You're guess is as good as mine, so I have omitted those categories from my predictions.

A Vampire, A Werewolf, A Ghost...Oh My!

SyFy's Being Human is the Americanized version of the UK show of the same name.  The American version of Being Human is not like those other failed UK-copycat shows like Coupling or Life on Mars.  Instead, it's like The Office in its heyday.

Being Human follows three "monsters," a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost, all making valiant attempts at being human.  Josh is a werewolf with personal problems.  Aidan is the reformed vampire that recently fell off the wagon.  And Sally is the ghost that haunts the house where the boys live.  As roommates, these monsters provide a sort of support network for one another.  As one can expect, the problems these characters face occur when their monstrous tendencies clash with their human personas.  In fact, one such problem was the focus of the pilot's cliffhanger ending, which admittedly, made me tune into episode 2.

But Being Human is not just another werewolf/vampire show jumping on the Twilight bandwagon.  This show is part supernatural, part touchy-feely, and part comedy, which reminds me of another supernatural show called . . . Supernatural.  So if you're a fan Dean and Sam, you should definitely tune in to Being Human.  I plan on checking out the UK version myself.

There's just one question about this show that has been nagging me: Why are Josh and Aidan friends and roommates if werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies?  This question alone will keep me watching.


More of a Bad Thing Is...Good?

A friend of mine urged me to watch Teen Mom 2.  Having seen some episodes of the original Teen Mom, I was definitely hesitant.  But the Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant series are praised as cautionary tales against teen sex, so maybe there's some merit to these shows?  No.  Like many reality shows, the attraction to Teen Mom 2, and it's popularity, is being able to watch people that are worse off than you and make fun of them in the anonymity of your own home.  If you think about it, it's actually quite depressing that these teens have to grow up so fast and be role models for their own children.  What makes things even worse is that the fathers of these babies rarely stick around.  So these teens girls, and often their parents, are stuck with the bulk of the responsibility of raising these babies alone.  Not cool.

Basically, this show is not for me.  I don't enjoy reveling in others' hardships.  That's not to say that everyone who watches this show watches to feel better about themselves in comparison to these teens; this is just how I view this particular show, and many others like it.  If I want to watch a reality show, I'll stick to Millionaire Matchmaker and Top Chef.

Fairly Legal, A New Spin on the Legal Genre

USA premiered Fairly Legal last Thursday, providing perspective on a little-explored aspect of the legal profession: alternate dispute resolution.  Most legal-themed shows focus on the trial aspect of practicing law because people are enamored with the courtroom antics of lawyers, the shady tricks attorneys allegedly pull, and the drama of innocence or guilt.  But in fact, most cases do not even reach trial, which does not make for good television.  That's why Fairly Legal is taking such a huge risk; its main character is not a trial lawyer, but rather a mediator.  That means a lot of the show's plot lines play out in a conference room, not in a court room.  I have to say though, that Fairly Legal may stand a chance.  Writers have cleverly positioned our hero, Kate Reed, in her family's law firm, which means those traditional courtroom cases will still see the light of day.  Toss in a sprinkle of complicated family relations, and you might have yourself a winner.

It also helps that Fairly Legal airs on a cable network.  Cable networks like USA, TNT, and FX are more patient with their original programming than say, ABC or NBC, which allows writers 1) more freedom with violent or sexual content and 2) more time to hit their creative stride.  I'll just have to tune in next week to see what kind of zany plot-o-the-week these writer's come up with, and see if this show is worth watching (so far, the writers have kept the show light and airy).

At the very least, Fairly Legal did a smart thing in casting Sarah Shahi.  She's likeable as Kate Reed, smart and compassionate, with a fiery attitude.  And Virginia Williams is well-cast as Reed's foil, Kate's recently widowed, ice queen of a stepmother, who also happens to be Kate's boss.  Pulling in the sci-fi fanboys is Michael Trucco, formerly of Battlestar Galactica, who plays Kate's ex-husband DA (Somehow Trucco ends up playing characters that constantly chase after the women they love, e.g., Reed and Starbuck).  So if this show fails, it likely won't be due to its cast.

Fairly Legal airs on USA on Thursdays at 10/9c.

Doctor Who by Derek

When a show has run out of ideas and becomes a confusing, outlandish mess, it is said that the show has "jumped the shark," or, in some circumstances, was "written by J.J. Abrams."  Sadly, almost every show eventually reaches this point.  Sometimes the Shark is a wedding.  Sometimes the Shark is a new location.  Often, it is Ted McGinley.  This knowledge causes many of us to approach each new season with trepidation.  We sit paralyzed wondering if the show will fall from the narrow tightrope between Jumping the Shark and stagnation.  But thanks to Dr. Who, we now have an alternative; a moment of excellence we hope a long-running show can reach that justifies our loyal viewership.  I like to call this event "Flying the Shark."


Finally, a Snake! What Took Them So Long? Off the Map

Off the Map came back for its second episode with some Grey's Anatomy-like stunts and some new tricks of its own.  Personally, I can't believe it took the writers two episodes to use a boa constrictor as the impetus for a jungle-medical emergency.  And it worked, as is typical of most GA-type stunts, i.e. using the medical case as a metaphor or vehicle for the treating doctors to work out their personal issues.

But Off the Map is not just Grey's in the jungle.  The jungle not only provides a myriad of characters that come across these doctors' paths (tourists, natives, and probably animals), but also the cultural differences and obstacles treating their patients may pose.  Set in South America, Off the Map has the opportunity to explore the cultural differences between gringo and native whereas the the doctors of Seattle Grace rarely get a chance to do so.

As I said before, this show is great for Grey's Anatomy fans; the sexual tension, the medicine, and the exploration of these doctors' personal lives is reminiscent of it's predecessor.  But if you're not a fan of Grey's, I don't expect you to tune in, and I don't think ABC does either.

The Cape, Part Deux

After episode two (or three if you're a purist), I've concluded that The Cape is a dud.  Anyone who has seen The Incredibles knows that superheroes shouldn't wear capes.  They get you killed.

The beauty of The Cape, aside from Summer Glau, is that it embraces the camp.  The show aims to be a comic book story, and with that comes the cheese.  However, it was a nice change of pace to see the show give a nod to fellow comic book character Gambit with a violent, card-throwing murder.

As much as I hate to say it, the over-the-top dramatics, combined with The Cape's holier-than-thou attitude doesn't encourage the loyalty I usually dedicate to my TV shows.  At best, The Cape is DVR-able, but if your DVR is anything like mine, inundated with a myriad of better shows, then The Cape is not worth your time.


Will You Watch- Harry's Law

Another legal television show from David E. Kelly, this one's along the lines of Ally McBeal.  Why?  Because within the first five minutes of the pilot, the main character smokes pot, gets fired, has a man fall on her from the sky, and gets run over by a car.  Oh, and she also sells high-end shoes out of her storefront law firm.  But will all this goofiness lead you to watch?

Guest Blogger Derek on Inception

Readers, my buddy Derek has graciously provided his review of Inception.  Although a 2010 blockbuster, I have yet to see this mind-bending movie.  I will post my own review of the movie once I have the change to view it.  The plan is to do separate reviews to provide different perspectives, so I have not yet read Derek's review (so his opinion doesn't subconsciously taint mine).  Without further ado, Derek's review after the jump.


The Town

I kept hearing rave reviews about The Town. It's the movie that supposedly jumpstarted Ben Affleck's career (in conjunction with Gone Baby Gone); it highlighted Affleck's directorial prowess; Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) gives another amazing performance; it's authentic and thrilling...And yes, it's all those things, but it's definitely not a night out on the town. It's a slow-paced drama that left my mind wandering.

I can't definitively state whether this movie is authentic, but it's seems so.  From the accents to the Red Sox fan-gear, this movie, like all of Affleck's other creatively-helmed movies (Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone), is an ode to working-class Boston.  In this case, it's about a band of brothers (in the figurative) that also moonlight as a bank-robbing crew.  Unfortunately, they've got Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and the rest of the FBI on their trail.


Off the Map, On Your Schedule?

Off the Map comes from the mind of Shonda Rimes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy, which, like Off the Map, was a midseason replacement.  So does Off the Map look like it'll succeed like it's older sibling Grey's, or will it be slashed and burned?

Black Swan

I went to see Black Swan the other day fully prepared to be in awe of the performances of Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.  And I must say, they did not disappoint.  Although, Portman's Nina Sayers did grate on my nerves with her pretty pretty princess persona and soft, doll-like voice.  However, I do recommend that you go see this movie.

Black Swan makes its audience experience the same evolution of madness Portman's character experiences as she strives for utter perfection.  While actually watching the movie, I found myself constantly asking, "Did that just happen?"  I couldn't distinguish between movie reality and movie fiction.  I left the theater feeling like my brain was placed in a blender and put back together again, only everything wasn't in its proper place.  Basically, I felt like I had just been mind f@!#ed.  Go see this movie and tell me you didn't feel the same.


The Best Show on TV You're NOT Watching

I'm from Texas, so maybe I'm biased toward shows that play to my Southern sensibilities.  And, no, I don't mean guns or football.  And although this critically acclaimed show is built around Texas football, Friday Night Lights is really about the relationships that build you up and tear you down.


The Cape- Will You Watch?

Last night, NBC debuted The Cape, a tv show modeled after a comic book character.  I have to say, I've seen better.  But that's not to say that it's dead on arrival.  I have a theory that audiences have to give new shows at least two chances: one for the pilot, which should pique the audience's curiosity; and another for the second episode, which should cement the relationship.  Although last night's episode was two hours long, I'll give The Cape the benefit of the doubt . . . for now, and count the episode as a really long pilot.  The Cape will be moving to it's regular time slot to Mondays at 9/8c.  Will you be on the couch to watch?

Aussie David Lyons stars as The Cape.  The Cape, our "superhero" is tortured, tragically separated from his family because the bad guy did bad things . . . yada yada.  But it was the promise of Summer Glau that I tuned in.  As an ardent fan of Glau and her work (Serenity, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), I thought her "Orwell" character was greatly underused.  Given a small proportion of screen time, Orwell was relegated to a side-kick role, which, let's face it, she is.  But hopefully more time will be dedicated to Glau's character because there is 1) more than meets the eye with this one and 2) there is no longer any need to set up the show's premise--tortured do-gooder out to get justice while wearing a cape.

So give this show another chance.  If Glau doesn't kick ass, then don't come back.

EW's List of Movies You Need To See Before the Oscars

Want to be in-the-know for the Oscars?  Watch these movies before the big night.  I'll give a short blurb summarizing my opinion of the movie, if I've seen it.  Not all are out on DVD, and ironically, some are no longer in theaters.  They recommend you watch in order:


Smallville Season 9 for $20

Smallville fans: Season 9 of Smallville, formerly sold out at Amazon.com, is now $20!  Get something else for $5.01 and qualify for free shipping.


Doctor Who?

So my friend Sarah told me to write about a show set in SPACE.  After quickly considering and discarding Star Trek, I could only think of one show: Doctor Who.  Now, I haven't seen all the seasons of this BBC show, nor have I seen all the specials.  But I do like the quirkiness of Brit humor, the SPACE travel, the far-fetched and mostly ridiculous aliens, oh, and the time travel.

So check out a trailer for the new Doctor Who, and let me know what you think.  I'll definitely do the same.

And Derek, if you're reading this, this is your official invite to be a guest blogger.

Winter Premiere Dates

Yesterday, I was asked which shows were new this week.  Check out the 2011 Winter Premiere Date calendar compiled by Kristin of Watch With Kristin on E!


Best Character on TV

My vote is for Christina Yang.  Following close behind is Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory).  Yes, my #1 and #2 favorite TV characters are complete opposites.  But each character encompasses something especially different that sets them apart from all the rest.  First, Christina Yang (Grey's Anatomy), at least for me, is relatable.  Ambitious and determined, she exhibits strength and intelligence while simultaneously showing vulnerability, a rarity for female characters on television.  Oftentimes female characters are either the bitch (Wilhemina Slater, Ugly Betty), the mama (Nora Walker, Brothers & Sisters), or the airhead (that assistant Cerie on 30Rock).  Granted, characters like Alicia Florrick and Kalinda (both from The Good Wife), are popping up on primetime, but it could be argued that these shows are thriving due to the strong female lead characters.

Anyway, back to Christina Yang, whose most recent story arc has made her the "dark and twisty" half of the Yang/Grey duo.  <If you have not seen the season finale of Season 6 of Grey's, do not read on>


Best TV and Entertainment Websites

This site is not about spoilers, but there are a bunch out there that are.  I'll do my best to retweet any good spoilers on my Twitter account @ViewsOnTheAir.  But if you're not into tweeting, or you don't appreciate the selection of shows that I cover, take a look at these websites:

Watch With Kristin: Kristin hosts her own segment on E!, but she also has a spoilerchat every Monday where viewers can submit questions about their favorite shows.  She also provides videos of interviews from your favorite TV actors.  http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/index.html

TVLine.com: For those of you who are fans of Michael Ausiello (formerly of TVGuide and E!), he has launched a new website chock full of spoilers, casting scoop, and more.  He continues his Ask Ausiello column where he, like his frenemy Kristin, hosts a spoiler chat.  http://www.tvline.com/

Zap2it.com: Zap2it is more of a pop-culture entertainment website, but of course, there is information about your favorite television shows, movies, and celebrities.  http://www.zap2it.com/
You can also scroll to the very bottom of the webpage and click through to a myriad of pop-culture entertainment websites.

TV.com: Tonight's TV listings, episode guides, current events, the latest episode of numerous shows available for free streaming.  http://www.tv.com/

TVSquad.com: More of a TV news site, this website lets you know about TV current events, TV listings, and even posts free TV shows streaming from its websites.  http://www.tvsquad.com/

Apple.com: Apple posts movie trailers and clips for free.  http://trailers.apple.com/.  Other sites that provide movie trailers: Amazon.com and Imdb.com.

Hulu.com: Watch movies and television episodes for free.  Upgrade to Hulu Plus for a fee.

TVRockstars.com: Just learned about this site...gives advance synopses of TV episodes.  http://www.tvrockstars.com/

Grey's Anatomy DVDs On Sale at Amazon!


Follow me on Twitter!  @ViewsOnTheAir


It's probably not a good idea to admit in my blogging debut that I'm a little late to the Eureka party, but this blog is about discovery, even if it's only my own.  For those who don't know (assuming I'm not the only person who reads this thing), Eureka is a show that airs on SyFy during the summer.  Each episode centers around a plot-of-the-week disaster that's inadvertently generated by some of the United States' most genius scientists and the every-man sheriff who must avert said disasters.

Still not ready to get on the Eureka party train?  I have to admit that after four seasons, the weekly disaster plot is not the strongest aspect of the show.  Rather, the characters drive the success of this show.  Our protagonist, Sheriff Jack Carter, is a little bit wacky, but definitely one of the most relatable characters of the show.  He's not as eccentric as the nerdy, accident-prone Fargo who loves his AI and even captured himself in an ever-expanding personal force field, or Vince, the cafe proprietor that can make the residents of Eureka any type of food at any given time.  But Sheriff Carter is the character that grounds the show in the believable . . . even if the rest of the show's plots are not.  Then there's Jo, Sheriff Carter's deputy, former Navy Seal (or equivalent), quintessential tough girl with a hard-candy shell and a soft, nougaty center (also the victim of body snatching).  Or bad girl turned smart girl Zoe, Sheriff Carter's daughter.  And of course, who could forget S.A.R.A.H., the smart-house AI program that governs the bomb shelter home of the Carter clan.

Of course, there's romance, weird-science, and time travel.  So even if you're not fully persuaded, give this little show a try.  What else do you have to watch during summer reruns?  Catch up with Eureka from the beginning via Netflix' streaming Watch Instantly, or catch the second half of Season 4 on Hulu.com.