Someone Had to be First

Live chat Friday! Live chat Friday!

OK, one more time:

Live chat Friday! It’s noon, right here, all your pop culture questions will be answered. The fall movie season is kicking off, holiday albums are starting to hit the shelves and the fall TV season is underway. I’ll be chatting about all of that Friday at noon.

On to today’s links:

do you know these three? probably not.

do you know these three? probably not.

Ahhhhhhhh. We can all rest easy now and stop looking for The First. We’ve got The First Show to Get Yanked in the new TV season, as Fox’s drama Lone Star is being pulled from the schedule. It isn’t officially canceled — it’s just going away, but there’s a good chance we’ll never see it again. The ratings were gawd awfuland there was no hope of it pulling in anything bigger than it already got in its first two weeks. Apparently people just don’t like polygamist con men. Who knew? Lone Star came in to the season with high hopes, but Fox didn’t do it any service by slotting it in one of TV’s most competitive time spots against one of the most hyped new shows of the year with The Event. Plus, it already was competing against Dancing with the Stars, CBS’s formidable comedy lineup and since Lone Star was considered an adult soap opera-type show, it even had to compete with Gossip Girl. I have no idea when Fox should have put it on — it just shouldn’t have put it on Mondays at 9. Now it’s sacrificing one of its other fringe series, starting Lie to Me about a month early after telling its fans for months the next season will start in November. Even after the pretty-good season finale a couple weeks ago, Fox ran promos saying it would be back in November. Not everyone is like me, reading stories like this all the time. Fans of Lie to Me — and there aren’t that many to start with — are likely to have no idea it’s coming back Monday. So not only did Fox do its part in killing one of its most promising fall series, it’s going to throw good money into a bad situation and kill another show. Lie to Me will be lucky to make it to Christmas. I’m still bummed My Generation wasn’t the first show to get axed, but it can’t be far behind. Actually, let’s start laying odds for what new show is next, it’s pretty clear one of these four shows is going to be next:

My Generation (even money): The show stinks in a box and it’s in one of TV’s most profitable and competitive time slots with terrible ratings. This is a 1+1=2 thing.

Outlaw (2-1): Surviving right now on the name of Jimmy Smits and low expectations in a Friday night time slot.

The Good Guys (3-2): Technically not a new show since it aired all summer, but if it doesn’t pick up ratings with the season premiere of Human Target on Friday, it won’t make it to Halloween. It’s the saddest case of a potential cancellation because it’s a very, very funny show. Well, at least Bradley Whitford is very, very funny. (UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Whoops, looks like the Lone Star effects are far reaching. Human Target is moving to Wednesdays and won’t premiere until November. For all intents and purposes, this will kill Good Guys.)

The Whole Truth (5-1): ABC traditionally has given a little more rope to its shows, so The Whole Truth probably won’t be next. But there’s not much to this show that Law & Order hasn’t covered 1,000 times and the Rob Morrow-Maura Tierney combo isn’t setting anyone’s world on fire.

waiting a month and a half to see a movie at home doesn't sound so strange anymore

waiting a month and a half to see a movie at home doesn't sound so strange anymore

Two years ago, I would have laughed off any thought movie theaters could possibly go out of business. Then my wife and I had a baby, and it’s become a hassle to walk a block-and-a-half to go to Mass every week, let alone the amount of planning and coordinating it takes to just be able to take an afternoon to go and see a movie. Now I see why movie attendance is dropping every year and why movies are made for 17-year-olds — because they’re the only ones who can go to movies without moving heaven and earth to do it. So the thought of getting OnDemand movies just 45 days after they’re released in theaters is pretty enticing. I went to see Inception on Sept. 12, way more than 45 days past its opening date and spent about $20 between tickets for me, my wife and popcorn. Then we spent about $40 on dinner after. We also had to plan for about four days to make sure we had a babysitter, par for the course these days. Are you telling me it wouldn’t be attractive to someone like me to buy the movie at the 45-day mark and just spend two hours or so watching it on my couch instead of throwing my life into panic mode just so I can get to the movies? I’m not the same movie viewer I used to be, when I went to the theater at least 25 times a year and laughed at people who said they couldn’t find the time to go. I now rescind that statement and apologize to everyone I ridiculed. Well, most people. But this is why theaters are literally praying 3-D works. If it does, then there is a reason for people to go to theaters. If it doesn’t, the reasons dwindle even more. The last thing I want to see is movie theaters die off, but it’s an uphill battle at this point. The old “people will always want to go to the theater” adage just doesn’t work anymore.  

Here’s what people who dismiss Glee don’t get — it might be the funniest show on TV. Between the comedy gold that is Sue Sylvester and the random Puck moments, that’s already enough humor-filled firepower that should make anyone watch. But the find of the show has to be Brittany just because the character has pushed herself to the forefront of the show so organically. If the show had been canceled after about 10 episodes, we barely would have heard anything from her. But now there seems to be a weekly Brittany quote that is so off-the-wall and so hysterical that it’s often the funniest moment of the week. She’s taken on kind of a “crazy next-door neighbor from the 70s and 80s sitcom” personality. She’s never central to the plot, she just shows up for a second or two, says something really funny, then we don’t hear from her until the next week. She’s the next evolution of Larry from Three’s Company. She finally got to take center stage last night, but I’m hoping she doesn’t get over-exposed a la Urkel or The Fonz. I’d be happier with her just being Flanders. She can even say ok-alee-doak-alee, just as long as she doesn’t become too big a character.

Max Weinberg has made himself scarce on whatever form the Conan O”Brien TV broadcasts have taken over the last few years thanks to a rigorous touring schedule with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. So now that Conan has been off the air since January, Springsteen hasn’t been on tour since the Super Bowl and Conan finally has a new show coming in a matter of weeks … now is the time Max decides to leave the show? Something stinks like Jay Leno’s monologue here. Unless Springsteen is going back on tour (yay!), then it doesn’t make a lick of sense. No more PSAs for Max …

good to have you back, kind of.

good to have you back, kind of.

Here’s the continuing proof that someone needs to poke Howard Stern to wake him up and get him to stop mailing it in for the next three months. The Stern world had huge news fall in its lap Monday when comedian Craig Gass said Stern show sidekick Artie Lange showed up at a comedy clubfor a couple sets over the weekend — and he did nothing with it. He glossed over it. Then he let Page 6 pick it up and be the go-to spot for anyone to find out what the heck happened with Lange’s comedy gig. Whether Stern likes it or not, there are millions of his fans who probably like Artie more than they like him and he should really be giving people any kind of Artie update he’s got. The fact that he let this slip through his fingers is inexcusable. It never, ever would have happened like that 10 or 15 years ago. I’m not ready to break up with Stern, but he’s making it way easier than it should be come the end of December when his contract is up.

What??? Wasn’t it a done deal last year that Brad Pitt was supposed to be playing Dr. Moriarity in Sherlock Holmes 2? Didn’t they go into reshoots to possibly even have him appear? When director Guy Ritchie called BS on all those reports, it sounded like Hollywood speak for, “C’mon, gimme a break, we can’t say anything yet, but you’ll see.” Then we didn’t see Pitt anywhere in the movie and now comes the news that the sniveling Lane Pryce on Mad Men, fresh off a beat down and humiliation from his old man’s cane, is in line to be Moriarity. Umm, OK. I didn’t like Sherlock Holmes as much as I wanted to anyway, so it doesn’t bother me, but I can’t see Lane Pryce as anything other than Lane Pryce. Now he’s going to be one of popular literature’s most famous villains? Meh.

It was only a matter of time until George Lucas figured out another way to scam Star Wars fans out of another $20 they were saving to finally put some curtains up in their parents’ basements. Even better, he’ll be doing it for six straight years starting in 2012, releasing a new 3-D edition of every Star Wars movie each year. It makes sense seeing as people seem to looooovvvvvvvveeeee the 3-D conversion movies and Lucas hasn’t made enough money to buy Russia yet. So everyone wins! Was that sarcastic enough to come through in writing? I’m never sure.

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