Finale Recaps, Green Lantern and TV Changes

As per the usual, if you came around looking for thoughts on the American Idol, Dancing with the Stars or Oprah finales, you’re in the wrong place. Sorry, but it would take some kind of martial law situation to get me to watch any of those. Some spoiler-filled finale recaps are down yonder on the bottom in case you haven’t seen Glee, Modern Family or The Middle yet.

And if you want to get in an entry for the tickets to the Lost 80s Live concert Sunday, now’s the time. I’m drawing a winner by about 4 this afternoon. Here’s how you enter. We’ll have yet another concert ticket contest coming tomorrow.

The links:

The Green Lantern trailers are just getting ridiculous. We’re now on the third edition of the trailer, and each one is worse than the other. They’re just trying waaaaayyyyyyyy too hard. It’s obvious in this installment that people just haven’t understood: 1. Who Green Lantern is 2. Why he’s a superhero and 3. What his story is. Because that’s all this trailer is, really. A two-and-a-half-minute explanation of Green Lantern. It’s like someone from the studio came out and said, “My 15 year old says he has no idea who this mofo is and he doesn’t care. Make a new trailer. And what’s a mofo?” And that’s what we have. You never saw this in trailers for Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men or geez even Daredevil. The fact that they’re laying this out so simply tells me that the feedback from audiences has not been good at all. And it’s not good here either.

How, how, how, did I not realize that Ted from Scrubs was first Elaine’s stalker in Seinfeld? If you put a gun to my head and made me pick my favorite Seinfeld episode, I’d say it was either The Voice or The Cigar Store Indian — the episode where we first met said stalker. I’ve seen it a trillion times. So how did I not recognize it before? Crap. I swear, IMDB is ruining my memory. It makes it too easy to look that stuff up, where I used to be able to know it off the top of my head. IMDB, you are a cruel mistress. Even if I didn’t realize it, Sam Lloyd (that’s his name) certainly has some interesting stuff to say about the Hollywood machine. Have I even mentioned how much I love Random Roles? I have? Good.

quick! who are these guys? don't worry, i didn't know either.

quick! who are these guys? don't worry, i didn't know either.

Is it safe to say the Farrelly Brothers don’t really matter in Hollywood anymore? Not yet? Crap. Even after yet another box office failure this year (Hall Pass) and the fact that they’re on Fallback Plan #70 for the cast of Three Stooges? Can’t we just nudge them out the door a little bit? Pretty please? I love Kingpin, Dumb and Dumber and Something About Mary just as much as the next guy — but those were going on 13 years ago now and they haven’t made a good movie since. Time to start reevaluating our relationship with the Farrellys for good now.

The surprise isn’t that Christopher Meloni isn’t coming back to Law and Order SVUnext year. The surprise is that the cast lasted intact this long. How come this version of Law and Order didn’t suffer the same cast turnover as the original? He’s been on the show since 1999, the kind of job stability the cast on the original would have loved. Don’t worry — you’ll be able to watch reruns with him in it for decades. This has “pony up the dough” written all over it. But with NBC reportedly doubling its pilot season spending (for Playboy Club?) it had to make up that money somewhere. Looks like the first place was Meloni’s salary. Mariska Hargitay is scaling back her workload too, and the show looks like it’s getting its first cast turnover. All except Richard Belzer. That guy knows a good thing when he sees it. Stick with Munch as long as you can, my man.

Toni Collette is looking for work too after Showtime canceled United States of Tara. Saw it a couple times, never got in to it. But Collette has one of the most under-appreciated movie careers of any actress I can think of. I’m not claiming to have seen all of her 43 IMDB credits, but Sixth Sense, In Her Shoes, Little Miss Sunshine, About a Boy — that’s a pretty good start. I even liked her in Shaft, even though I didn’t necessarily like the movie. If I’m casting a second-fiddle female role, she’s at the top of my list.

We’re not even a day out of the regular TV season, but it’s already time to start looking at our summer TV watching list. For the first time in a couple summers, it looks like there actually is a good break from good TV. Summers have been too crowded lately. I want to watch the Phillies in the summer, not some of the best shows on TV. I’m only counting four summer-premiering shows available to me I’m going to be watching for sure — Rescue Me, Burn Notice, Wilfred and Falling Skies. And I have no idea how long my relationship will last with Wilfred or Falling Skies. If I had HBO or Showtime I’d be watching Entourage, True Blood and Weeds, and if I had DirecTV I’d be watching Damages, but looks like I’ll be on the DVD lookout for those. Hit the comments if you think I’m missing something.

No reality show recaps here, however, but you are in the right place for shows that actually take thought and not text message votes (season finale of The Simpsons notwithstanding). Took in three season finales last night, and refreshingly, none of them had cliffhangers:

no worries about season 3

no worries about season 3

GLEE: Let’s take a minute and just admire what Glee did this year. It was coming off a first season that was simply awesome despite being the riskiest bet in TV before it aired. Then it went through a summer of intense media hype and a bunch of kids going through the rigors of superstardom. It easily could have gone off the deep end creatively and still pull in envious ratings. I worried as much in August when the hype machine just didn’t seem to want to stop. In spite of that, the show pulled together a very good season. Maybe not as good as the first, but it would have been almost as impossible to match that first year. So what if it got pretty darn preachy in its dealings with homosexuality, bullying, homelessness and high school cliques. Even when the show did tread close to the Sunday morning sermon territory, it still did it with information, real-life situations and, most importantly, it’s unique brand of humor. Without a the Glee writers standing on their soapbox about bullying, we never would have saw Santana and Karofsky walking down the hall in slow motion dressed in Guardian Angels outfits — one of the funniest moments of the season. There’s been a little too much singing this year, obviously in an effort to sell albums and iTunes downloads, but it’s still been funny with really good, real high school stories and adult ones too. And that’s what I’m looking for in Glee. I’m not nearly as worried about season 3 as I was about season 2. The finale was a microcosm of the year — funny, emotional, good story, but too much singing. FINALE GRADE: B. SEASON GRADE: B+.

claire is a control fresk, phil is a child ... we get it. but it's still funny.

claire is a control freak, phil is a child ... we get it. but it's still funny.

MODERN FAMILY: There was some old car commercial where a dad is getting his daughter a car for her 16th birthday or graduation or some crap like that. But he’s surprising her at the car lot with it. So she can’t wait to see it, and she’s asking him all these questions about it and he describes it as “safe and reliable.” Her response is, “Safe and reliable? But a tank is safe and reliable!” So apparently, there is some stigma about being safe and reliable. But every now and then, isn’t that what we want from our TV shows? Safe and reliable? At this point, you know what you’re getting from ModFam. Family jokes, gay couple jokes, Haley is a ditz, Alex is a brain, Manny is a weirdo, Jay is old, Phil is immature, Gloria has big boobs … you know the drill. It’s been that way from the start, and in two seasons, it hasn’t changed. But what’s wrong with that if it still makes us laugh? that’s been a criticism of The Office, that it’s the same characters doing the same things. So, what, you want Dwight to run for President? Or Toby to become a man-about-town playboy? Same goes for ModFam. If it’s still making us laugh, why screw with it? It may not seem as fresh a couple years from now, but let’s worry about that then. FINALE GRADE: B-. SEASON GRADE: B.

gotta love the hecks

gotta love the hecks

THE MIDDLE: When I Googled Modern Family, I found about 30 episode recaps for last night’s finale. Glee finale? 155. When I did the same thing for The Middle, know how many I found for last night’s finale? Zilch. It’s TV’s most under-appreciated comedy, taking the mantle from former title holders like NewsRadio and The Drew Carey Show. It’s consistently funny. It’s … it’s just a good show and I don’t know why it doesn’t get as much positive buzz as Modern Family, Parks and Recreation and Community. It deserves it. FINALE GRADE: B+. SEASON GRADE: B

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