NETFLIX ALERT: ‘Damages’ Season 4, ‘Alias,’ Now Available…

From the files of “Crap We Care About” and “It’s About Flippin’ Time” we just learned that season four of the critically acclaimed legal drama, Damages, starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne (and guest starring John Goodman) has FINALLY been added to Netflix’ streaming service.  For those who were wondering what happened to the series after season three in 2010, FX decided not to renew it and it was picked up by DirecTV (of all companies) so that all ten of their subcribers could have exclusive access to it for seasons four and five beginning in 2011.

Also, all five seasons of J.J. Abrams’ first hit, the action/spy thriller series Alias starring Jennifer Garner has finally hit the streaming service, as well. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a season one trailer for the series, so you’ll just have to suffer through the pre-Ben Affleck, 90% naked Jennifer Garner from 2002 in this season two DVD Trailer.  Straight guys and lesbians, you are welcome.

SyFy Renews ‘Haunted Collector’ For Third Season

Via Press Release:

SYFY RENEWS HIT PARANORMAL SERIES HAUNTED COLLECTOR FOR THIRD SEASON

RETURNS IN 2013 WITH 12 ALL-NEW EPISODES

NEW YORK – September 17, 2012 – Syfy has renewed its hit paranormal series Haunted Collector for a third season. The series, which demonstrated significant viewership gains during its second season by jumping 18 percent in Adults 18-49, will return with 12 all-new episodes in 2013.

Eminent paranormal collector John Zaffis and his team of investigators respond to SOS calls from around the country by individuals and businesses who’ve been terrorized by items that have been taken over by paranormal spirits and/or energy.

Through careful research, Zaffis works with the owner to find the best solution to the ghostly problem, such as returning the item to its owner, burying the object in its place of origin or storing it in his paranormal museum in Stratford, Connecticut.

During season two, Haunted Collector averaged 532,000 Adults 18-49, 663,000 Adults 25-54 and 1.17 million total viewers, growing +5 percent / +18 percent / +6 percent, respectively, versus season one. Haunted Collector also ranked #7 in Adults 25-54 and #10 in Adults 18-49 among cable entertainment programming in its 9-10PM (ET/PT) time slot.

Haunted Collector is produced by Gurney Productions. Executive producers are Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

REVIEW: ‘Guys With Kids’ (NBC – Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

From Emmy winner and executive producer Jimmy Fallon comes a new comedy about three thirty-something dads trying to hold on to their youth, while holding onto their new babies’ hands.  Easy, right?  Thankfully, Chris (Jesse Bradford, “The West Wing”), Nick (Zach Cregger, “Friends with Benefits”) and Gary (Anthony Anderson, “Law & Order”) have each other to help navigate their survival as new dads, while still trying desperately to remain dudes. Balancing work or staying at home, painfully married or happily divorced, they know that taking care of the little ones while maintaining a social life is a daily challenge. Whether it’s hosing the little squirt down in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with a baby björn, these guys are on a roller-coaster adventure – parenting like you (and they) have never seen before.  Also starring are Jamie Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) and Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”).  Someone once said it is much easier to become a father than to be one. These three guys are about to find out just how true that is. “Guys with Kids” is produced by Universal Television and Holiday Road.  Fallon (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) serves as executive producer/creator along with executive producer/creator/writer Charlie Grandy (NBC’s “The Office”) and executive producer/creator Amy Ozols (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) as well as executive producers Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz (“Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” “American Dad”).   Emmy-nominated director Scott Ellis (“Modern Family,” “30 Rock”) is the director. – NBC

Score:     5 out of 100

Initial Impressions (May 20, 2012):  As far as standard, multi-camera sitcoms go, this really doesn’t look bad.  We actually found ourselves laughing four or five times during the trailer which is far more than we did during any episode of Whitney or $#*! My Dad Says.  That, in and of itself gives it some hope despite the fact that we also face-palmed it several times because of the typical sitcom crap that we hate.

Shawn:  Here’s the thing:  I don’t know what I’m more annoyed at; the fact that this show is as absolutely horrible as it is or the fact that NBC played the game of putting all of the gags that were actually funny in the pilot into the trailer.  The worst part is that when actually viewed in context they aren’t even that funny.

So, here’s apparently what happened with this show; Jimmy Fallon had this great idea about a bunch of guys sitting at a bar watching a basketball game with their backs to the camera.  There’s a last second buzzer-beater and all three guys jump up in excitement and then turn around and they’ve all got what I’ve referred to as the “baby backpack that goes up front” complete with babies.  Besides the fact that we’ve seen that beer commercial before, I gotta ask: did the network scheduling heads at NBC even bother to read the script for this pilot?  Seriously, what we’re suspecting is that Jimmy Fallon walked into the meeting, pitched this idea and the execs said, “Y’know… we do have a hole to fill in the schedule and you are Jimmy Fallon.  Go out there and film us a pilot, son!”

In principle, if you were hanging out with your friends on a Friday night and one of your friends happened to be a television writer and threw this at you after a couple of drinks you might think that it sounds kind of funny. Hell, it sounds like the setup to a good joke. However, if you work for a network and you read the script for this pilot and then not only greenlighted it but actually ordered multiple episodes to be included in your fall prime-time schedule, you should immediately replaced… by that monkey on Animal Practice who would no doubt do a better job just by accident (and also isn’t getting enough screen-time on Animal Practice, but I digress.).

This would have gotten them more laughs…

This show is so painfully unfunny that I don’t know where to begin.  When they can’t milk the crap out of every sitcom cliché and perceived parenting cliché in the book, they fill in the gaps with Anthony Anderson having one his typically type-cast manic episodes where he has a complete meltdown (because, after all, that’s all he can do, right?) to try to force some laughs into a scene that we all know is going nowhere.  What’s funny is that the studio audience isn’t even fooled.  While we have no doubt that the laughter from the audience for both $#*! My Dad Says and Whitney was induced at gunpoint, we don’t even think they have a flashing applause sign for the studio audience in this case because they don’t seem to know when they’re supposed to laugh.  I sat there only half-assedly paying attention to this mess and on multiple occasions said to myself, “Whoops… that was a joke… the audience missed it.  It wasn’t funny, but in theory, it was a joke.”  It even appears that the writers aren’t sure whether or not the audience will get the jokes because after each one of these fizzles came the obligatory Anthony Anderson freakout.

What it really comes down to is that the writers of Guys with Kids are incapable of relating and relating to their subject matter and characters so they’re just winging it.  It’s quite obvious that no one associated with this production actually has children or knows anyone with children and everything they’ve learned about parenting has come from bad television.  The characters make this even worse because they are either completely unlikable or at best, meh (yes, I just used “meh” as an adjective.), so either way you just don’t care about them at all,  i.e., they are unrelatable.

Here’s what it seems like is honestly going on; imagine this scenario if you will:  a computer and peripheral manufacturer has a whole team of executive level sales people that they use to pitch their products to various businesses and government agencies.  Bill is the go-to-guy for PC’s and their top salesman in that division.  Tom is the hotshot for the copier and printer division.  Tom comes down with a cold and cannot make his big presentation to “X” Insurance Company so Bill is asked to take the lead on the big sales pitch.  Bill says, “Well, you know I don’t know much about printers and copiers, but crap,  I can sell ice to an Eskimo.”  Bill’s company agrees, he does his presentation to “X,” “X” places a huge order.

This is what’s going on with Guys with Kids but no one seems to realize that selling a product and producing a product are not the same thing and if you don’t know what the hell you’re writing about or how to even write relatable characters, your product will fail to connect with audiences.  It’s as if all of the writers of this show spent a whole lot of time writing service manuals for top-loading washing machines and passed the qualifications prerequisites for being hired for the show because they had “professional writing experience.”

…Rule #1 For Success With JDate: Actually be Jewish

Here’s an example, completely unrelated to the premise of the show, of how dumb this show is and how ill-informed the writers are: the big joke in the episode that turns into the big reveal is that the ex-wife (a character whose name I don’t care enough about to look up) of one of the trio (the white guy with the dark hair) is making up the fact (or so we think) that she has a date with someone so white-guy-with-dark-hair can’t go out on his date.  When pressed for specifics, it appears by her hesitation that she is lying because she claims that her date is a professional athlete… named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar… who she met on J-Date.  Then, at the end of the episode – surprise, surprise! – it turns out that she was telling the truth because who makes a cameo appearance at the end of the pilot?  Why, none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, himself… a Muslim… who she met on a Jewish dating site.  Seriously, besides the fact that the majority of the audience probably doesn’t even know who Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is, how dumb are these writers to have the characters have met on J-Date?

Guys With Kids really has no redeeming value except for the fact that as bad as it is, at least the trailer made it look convincing for two minutes and twenty-five seconds which is two minutes and twenty five-seconds more of comedy than $#*! My Dad Says or Whitney gave us in 44 episodes so far (but at least $#*! My Dad Says can never hurt anyone again with its awfulness). That’s about 10% of an episode so it should get a 10 out of 100 but I’m cutting that in half for intentionally tricking us with the out-of-context scenes that actually made us think that this might be good.

Pure, unbridled, puke-in-your-mouth Suckitude© from Guys with Kids and I’d like to congratulate them for being the worst show I have seen so far this year.  Let’s see if Partners on CBS is up to the challenge of taking the title away.

UPDATE: Partners wins!

Watch the pilot of Guys with Kids, right now, ahead of the September 26th premiere, here. Please note, this is the only chance other than Video OnDemand services through cable providers you will be able to see the pilot.  NBC will be airing the second episode on premiere night, not the pilot.

Chance of Renewal:  0%

There’s no way that this gets picked up for a second season.  I predict cancellation before Thanksgiving.

NETFLIX ALERT: ‘Sherlock’ Season Two Now Available For Streaming

Season two of the BBC hit and highly-acclaimed drama, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the contemporary version of the eccentric sleuth, is now available on Netflix’s streaming service.  If you haven’t seen this masterpiece, now’s your chance to see the series in its entirety (so far), in full 1080p HD whenever you want it.

We hate to gush, but the BBC catalog on Netflix streaming is reason enough to subscribe if you haven’t already.

NETFLIX ALERT: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season Two Coming Soon…

(Originally Posted At Vic’s Movie Den)

Netflix Alert – The Walking Dead Season 2…  Oh, Yeah!!!

There is much cause for celebration for those who subscribe to Netflix’s instant streaming service. Netflix will premiere Season 2 of the insanely popular AMC Original series The Walking Dead on September 30th.

The highly anticipated third season will premiere on AMC October 14th, so all of you TWD fans have plenty of time to catch up with the series before the premiere. You could always marathon-watch it… like I’ve been known to do with some series (Dexter, anyone?) or you can watch one or two episodes a day and still have time.  At the ‘Tastic, we like to give you options.

So, enjoy, all of you Zombies acolytes and don’t miss The Walking Dead season two on Netflix and the season premiere on AMC of Season three on October 14th! Highly recommended. Enjoy.

Nintendo Announces Launch Date, Pricing & Titles For Wii U… Unimpressed Cat Is Not Impressed

And for $299.99 you get one with the storage capacity of a first generation iPhone.

Last Thursday, Nintendo announced the release date and pricing for its new console, and as curious as I was last year right before E3 when the details were released for what was being dubbed as “Nintendo HD” and officially announced as the Wii U during Nintendo’s “teaser” presentation during their press conference, after the event, I must say that I was honestly left non-plussed to say the least.

Below is what Reggie Fils-Aime, COO  of Nintendo U.S.A., told us last year in the Game Trailers E3 interview, but just remember to filter out all of the crap in your brain that he’s trying to feed you.  The Wii U will support HDMI HD games and video. The Wii U will have support for proprietary Nintendo discs, only, i.e., it will not have Blu-ray or even DVD support, and it certainly won’t support 3D.  The Wii U will provide comparable Internet-based experiences such as video services and gaming networks currently offered on the Playstation 3 and the XBOX 360.

In order to understand the absolute arrogance of Nintendo, you must watch all 19 minutes-plus of the obnoxiousness that flows like projectile vomit out of Reggie’s open maw.  Watch him squirm in this video when pressed for specifics and furthermore pressed for information on how this is going to be better than what the competition is currently offering.

“…And again, what I want to focus on is, “is it going to offer the consumer a competitive value when it comes out?” And the answer is, “Absolutely.””

Reggie Fils-Aime: Snake Oil Salesman

How can you tell when Reggie is being disingenuous?  He says “Look…” or “absolutely.”  Honest to God, you can make a drinking game based exclusively on “Look…” and “absolutely” in this interview.  That, and you know it’s a bad sign when he keeps using the word, “competitive” but not to fear, as its competitive value will be long gone when Sony and Microsoft actually launch the only true next generation consoles.

Yes, I own this series… both volumes.

I own all three current systems on the market, the Wii and the current generation systems, the Playstation 3 and the XBOX 360 (w/Kinect). I make the distinction because the Wii is not a current gen system, regardless of the fact that it was launched at the same time as the PS3 and the 360 (well, actually the 360 was launched a year before, but I digress). That being said, the Wii U is a current gen system and unfortunately it’s six years too late to the big dance. I’m not a Nintendo hater by any stretch of the imagination. I’m an original NES, SNES, Gamecube and Wii owner. I love the Nintendo properties and I’ve always appreciated their innovation in the industry. I would even go so far as to consider myself a Nintendo fanboy. Honestly, with my kids, Nintendo characters are as much of a staple to them as Disney characters.  I’m making a point to  explain my history with the brand because when the discussion of video game consoles rears its ugly head it’s usually done with a biased perspective from consumers who one day, for whatever reason (price, brand loyalty, features, etc.) decided to choose one system over another and because of that decision have determined that their system is the best and everything else is awful.  These discussions are usually driven by 14 year-old boys… and men in their 30’s and 40’s who regress to adolescence any time the subject is discussed.

But, before any discussion of the Wii U can begin, you have to discuss its predecessor, the Wii, its history, development and evolution. Although I appreciate the novel concept of the Wii and what Nintendo was trying to do with it, it stands as a testament of failure of innovation and foresight as far as I’m concerned by Nintendo and I’m not the only one who thinks this.

From The Globe and Mail on Nintendo’s record losses in 2011:

“Meanwhile, the short-sighted Wii, though seductively cheap and in possession of a couple of compelling casual gaming gimmicks, proved unable cope as both user desires and surrounding technologies evolved. Its more robust competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, got off to a slower start, but have thrived in the long term, and will likely continue to prosper for at least a few more years.”

There is no question that the Wii has made a lot of money and it is certainly a fact that it has sold about 50% more units than the PS3 and the 360, but I firmly believe that when the Wii U fails, history will look at Nintendo’s short-sightedness regarding the Wii as the ultimate reason why this failure occurred, and unless consumers are completely ignorant of the specifications of the Wii U, this would seem to be inevitable.  And let’s be clear, when I discuss specifications, what I really mean is capabilities, because most consumers wouldn’t know what the significance of CPU and GPU numbers were if they took a course on them. So when discussing system capabilities, the Wii U is set to disappoint like no system ever has.

The truth is that while the Wii was in development during the early 2000’s, Nintendo was aware that they could not compete with the hardware capabilities of the PS3 or the 360 while developing their seventh generation console and be at a pricepoint they wanted to be at and worse, they couldn’t foresee the demand for HD gaming, network gaming or the concept of a video game console being a network connected home entertainment hub the way that both Sony and Microsoft envisioned them, despite losing money initially. Nintendo thought HD TV was a fad.

Perhaps the most poignant metaphor for the Wii’s Technology.

So what did Nintendo do? They punted. They went in a completely different direction with their console because they knew they didn’t have the chops to compete at the same level tech or capability-wise and they developed a system that was hardly more than supercharged Gamecube with a unique controller system. Instead of targeting the same market that console manufacturers have been traditionally targeting for the last two decades – y’know, actual gamers – they decided to target just about every one else they hadn’t in the past, and of course, their own loyal base. Nintendo never saw itself as in competition with the current gen consoles from day one with the Wii, not because they weren’t, but because they decided to pretend that they were above all of that just as they’re doing with the Wii U (straight from the mouth of Fils-Aime at E3 2011 in that interview above) and while, from a standpoint of expanding your market, I commend Nintendo for targeting casual gamers, retirees and consumers that would not normally consider themselves gamers, I’m not so naive as to think that this was some genius stroke of marketing innovation and foresight. No, this was a defensive measure entirely in order to be able to survive because they weren’t ready to play with the big boys and no one was as surprised as they were at the Wii’s success.

“… But you ARE me.”

I hate to be the one to break this to everyone, but the Wii’s success was based on the novelty of its controller system, its safe and easily accessible titles and most importantly, the fact that it was and continues to be the cheapest of all seventh gen systems and it gained its prominence during a period of worldwide recession. High sales numbers for a cheap product does not mean that the product is an outstanding product. You truly get what you pay for. The Wii is hardly any different now than it was when it was first launched and that’s because its hardware is so incredibly out-of-date, using virtually the same technology as a Gamecube (as confirmed by Miyamoto, himself), albeit faster and more efficient. One of the biggest jokes of all is the fact that the Wii cannot even support digital audio-out (and I’m not even talking about the horrific 480 resolution) and the best you can hope for is a Dolby Pro-Logic II audio track. Are you flipping kidding me?  I had a DVD player from 1997 that supported digital audio out. Is it any wonder that the Wii hasn’t had a system update in nearly two years while the 360 and PS3 continue to receive regular updates? Is it also any wonder that that the Wii’s sales have plummeted since 2008 while the PS3’s and 360’s (especially the 360’s) have done nothing but increase?

The truth is that the Wii as a console was and is an insult not just to the true gamer (who was alienated by it and rejected it) but to anyone who expected that the system they spent $250 or $200 on would have any kind of extended technological life-cycle. Nintendo lied to their fanbase (who wanted to believe the lie) and they lied to the ignorant consumer (their new market of casual gamers, preteen girls and the elderly) who didn’t care or know any better, selling them a technologically archaic unit that was out-of-date on launch date. The only reason they got away with it is because their biggest market didn’t know any better and their fanbase was so enamored by the Wii-mote (just as they are about the new  Wii U GamePad) that they chose to ignore the realities of the Wii technological deficiencies.

Oh, and the alternate controller for the Wii U is… an XBOX 360 Controller, c. 2005. Are we seeing a trend, yet?

And all of this is what has led us to Nintendo’s new big lie, the Wii U which should really be called the Wii-on-U because that’s exactly what they are doing… pissing on their customers, new and old. They are playing the “pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain” game by introducing a current gen console and trying to pitch it as a next gen console – once again – because of its gimmicky new controller that no one cares about. This is a turd… a big cigar-shaped stinking turd floating in the toilet of failure and the pricepoint is ridiculous.

So what exactly is the Wii U offering and how much is it? Well it has the capability to do everything that a PS3 can do (minus the Blu-ray ability and 3D ability) and a 360 can do (minus the controller-free ability) and a bunch of stupid crap that no one cares about.  It comes with a controller (the GamePad) that costs $170 to replace if broken or if, y’know, you just want a second one,  and then you have the privilege of getting a console with 8 GB of storage for $299.99 ($50 more than the PS3 with no Blu-ray player and 112 GB less storage) or a “Deluxe” version with 32 GB of storage ($100 more than a 250 GB XBOX 360 or the same price including Kinect).

FAIL

TVii-U… seriously? I’m supposed to be impressed with the ability to watch Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime which I’ve doing for years with PS3 and 360? I’m supposed to be impressed that it’s compatible with TiVo which has a grand total of 2.3 million subscribers?  Well, I guess, I’ll just go out and spend another $300 on a TiVo so I can take advantage of TVii-U.  Do I really need another universal remote with a guide in it when I get a guide through an OSD already and have been for nearly two decades? Am I really supposed to be impressed with its capability to “stream live TV similar to a set top box,” considering that like 91% of the U.S., I already have a GD settop box and a cable signal or satellite signal won’t be compatible with the Wii-U because they don’t have any license agreements with the providers? Can I possibly be the only one who sees TVii-U as being as big of a failure as the Logitech Revue was… for the exact same reasons?

So, basically what you have here is a whole lot of nothing because that’s what Nintendo has been excelling at over the last decade: bringing a whole lot of nothing new to the table. The Wii-U is even more of an insult to the “core gamer”  this time around that they lost with the Wii because its sole reason for existence is to woo them back by saying, “We know this is what you’ve been complaining about for the last six years so we’ll finally give it to you except for the fact that once again, you can only use our proprietary discs in it and the hardware we’ll be at the end of its lifecycle in two years… but hey, you can hook it up to the TiVo that you most likely don’t own, so STFU!  You’ll take what we so graciously give you and like it.”

Oh, and one more thing for the gushers who will hail Nintendo’s brilliant new console because of Nintendo’s new found dedication to third-party developers, every single piece of footage shown by Nintendo at E3 2011 from third-party developers to showcase Wii U was either footage from a PS3 demo or an XBOX 360 or from a PC Demo because Nintendo thinks you’re that stupid.

From our favorite propagandist Reggie Fils-Aime,

“We’re talking a year away from when the system’s going to launch. The system’s going to be 1080p. You’re going to see games that take full advantage of a system that has the latest technology and can push out some incredible graphics.”

And the problem with this entire endeavor can be summed up in that quote. First, excusing the lifting of footage from other consoles and pretending it’s yours by saying that the graphics are going to be 1080p suggests that resolution is the only thing that matters with gameplay and that’s all critics have complained about so what’s wrong with using the competition’s footage because it will all be the same anyway, right?  Second, no dummy, it cannot push out incredible graphics, it can push out 1080p graphics, i.e., the contemporary standard in the only types of displays that are available on the market… 1080p displays. Third, and the most important, Reggie do you really want to run with this notion that your brand new, state-of-the-art, next generation console, the Wii U will be just as good as the competition’s current consoles (hence why you used their footage) when those systems and that technology is six and seven years old, respectively?  Is that where you really want to go?  What next… the Nintendo cell phone with the novel idea of the built-in camera?

Here’s the reality of what you can really hope to expect from Nintendo’s Wii U, which would be fine if they weren’t trying to sell it as something it wasn’t.  Also, notice that this, and every other trailer that Nintendo has put out is only in 720p.

A Note to Nintendo: Assuming that core gamers and even the average contemporary home electronics consumers are as ignorant and un-tech savvy as who your target market of little girls and the elderly has been is the stupidest mistake you have ever made in the history of your company… even stupider than the PowerGlove.

Although I never speculate about game consoles, the Wii-U deserves to be an absolute disaster and no amount of limiting retailers’ initial inventories to artificially drive up demand will change that.

But wait… hold up!  They’re throwing in a $3 HDMI cable.  Well, that changes everything. Forget what I said and sign me the f*ck up.

More reading:

CNET: Nintendo Wii U arrives November 18 starting at $299

CNET: Nintendo turns on TVii for Wii U

Nintendo Wii U Official Page

VIC’S REVIEW: ‘Grimm’ – Season One (NBC – Friday, 9:00 p.m.)

“Grimm” is a drama series inspired by the classic Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. After Portland Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, “Turn the Beat Around”) discovers he’s descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” he increasingly finds his responsibilities as a detective at odds with his new responsibilities as a “Grimm.”

His attempts to shield his fiancée, Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch, “The Artist”), and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby, “Lincoln Heights”), from the hazards of his new life have reached a crisis, leaving Juliette in a mysterious coma and Hank on the verge of a mental breakdown.

With help from his confidants, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner, “The Ugly Truth”) – both reformed Grimm creatures, Nick must help those closest to him while still facing off against all manner of ancient evils, including royal lines dating back to the original profilers themselves, the Grimm Brothers. As Nick develops his ability to harness his inner Grimm, he begins to question what he once knew, never more so than when he is reunited with his mother (guest star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, “Scarface”), also a Grimm, whom he thought dead for the past 20 years. Reggie Lee (“The Dark Knight Rises”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star as Sgt. Wu and Captain Renard, respectively. – NBC

8o out of 100

I just finished Grimm season one and have just moved on to season two as I write this quick review. Grimm plain and simple has a lot of potential. It is, what I like to call, a “diamond in the rough” type of show. It is earnest, slick and full of wit and suspense. I have to give credit to writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf (Rush HourNational Treasure) for giving me enough at each show’s end to want to come back and immerse myself in the engaging mythology of  Grimm‘s universe. It revels in weirdness and it serves up no small feat each week in trying to keep us interested in the otherworldly adventures of Nick Burkhardt. Nick is a Grimm, one of those fortunate humans that descended from the  Brothers Grimm, and you know all those fairy tales his ancestors wrote… yeah, well it turns out they weren’t fairy tales after all, and our hero has inherited the family gift of being able to see what normal folks cannot; all sorts of funky, ugly and nasty creatures that to the rest of us look like normal people… and they’re all inhabiting his universe, specifically, Portland, Oregon.

I’m reminded of Smalllville and The X-Files where with its “monster-of-the-week” formula. Much like every mutant in Smallville was a kryptonite-enhanced super being, in Grimm‘s case, every beastie comes forward from being either very dangerous and committing murder or living on the edge of society. These monsters that Nick sees are not some Disney animated, little bunnies feeding on sunflowers. These monsters are killers. They are rogues and dealers in bad medicine, creatures hell-bent on slavery, ancient forms of battle and getting high on mythological herbs and drugs.

The show sports a great and likeable cast. In the pilot Kate Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) plays Nick’s Aunt who tracks him down and gives him a trailer full of Grimm monster hunting paraphernalia. She is really fun to watch and as she finds out her time has come her portrayal takes an abrupt turn and she capably emotes. The smooth and slick Russell Hornsby (Meet the ParentsStuck) plays Nick’s partner on the force, Hank. They have a very likable and solid chemistry. Hornsby is by the book but also likes to watch Nick closely just to see what makes him tick. They play well off each other. Hank, unfortunately is the friend that is left in the dark at the end of every episode, which is an aspect of the series I really do like, as it’s part of its charm. We like watching Hank be totally clueless as to what Nick really is. Now, my favorite is Morgan, played by Silas Wier Mitchell (My Name is Earl).  He is hands down the best thing about the make up of this show.

Monroe is a werewolf or rather a “blutbad.” He quickly becomes (not so easily, though) Nick’s go-to guy to help him with other creatures he sees and must bring to justice like hexenbeasts, fuchbaus’s, damonfeuers (dragons) and my favorite,  “The Reapers.” Mitchell is spot-on as Monroe. He is the reluctant assistant to Nick most of the time. He has to help Nick at odd times of the day and usually it leaves Monroe, in some way or another, rather put-out. Mitchell seems to be having a blast in the role. He’s tongue in cheek, funny, bufoonish and when needs to be he goes all out Blutbad and kicks some ass.

There is a mythology to the series that is spellbinding and very suspenseful involving royal houses, reapers and creatures lurking and posing as public officials like Sasha Roiz (Caprica) as Captain Renard who is stalwart in the role as a duplicitous creature of lore. I find that the show is easy to digest. It is harmless creature feature fun. The pace is good, the camerawork is flawless. Cort Fey shoots naturally and very gothically as well and it helps the show maintain its authenticity. Richard Marvin’s score is chilling and quite suspenseful. The opening strings in the intro are creepy as hell.

The show just continued to gain momentum and get better and better with each episode. I found the action to be well staged and exciting. Nick vs. the Reapers being a standout. Monroe is always fun to watch and I must give some love to Reggie Lee who steals EVERY scene he’s in as Sgt. Wu. He even gets caught up in a case or two eventually succumbing to a witch’s spell. Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette is a stunning beauty who towards the end of the season gets in over her head during a personal vendetta against Nick. She is very regal and caring. She acts with her eyes. She also, more importantly, is observant and very curious. The cliffhanger of season one has Juliette in a sleeping beauty type of slumber.

My only gripe, you ask? The CGI needs to step up a bit. It’s clunky more often than not. The transformation scenes are quick and brief but we still can see how hokey looking the beasts can be. Other times, like the Reaper battle, we get good solid CGI. I’m nit-picking thought. Check out Grimm Season One as soon as you can or pick up the DVD or Blu-ray. I think you’ll enjoy this foray into an entertaining and mythical universe. I know I do.

You can watch new episodes of Grimm, here.  New episodes begin on September 28th.

ADVANCE REVIEW: ‘The Mindy Project’ (FOX – Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

THE MINDY PROJECT is a new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, desperately needs to break bad habits in her personal life. After all, how many doctors make inappropriate toasts at their ex-boyfriend’s wedding, nearly drown at the bottom of a stranger’s pool and get arrested for disorderly conduct just moments before having to deliver a baby? Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books – all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman…who can meet and date the perfect guy. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN and shares a practice with a few other doctors, none of whom make life any easier for her. JEREMY REED (British writer/comedian Ed Weeks) is the walking definition of total bad news. He not only shares a practice with Mindy, but sometimes her bed as well – despite her best efforts to resist. He is funny, self-absorbed and super sexy. In contrast, DANNY CASTELLANO (Chris Messina, “Damages”) is a hothead and guys’ guy who has a habit of stealing Mindy’s patients. Danny criticizes her for everything, including her struggling love life and her lack of professionalism – even though it’s obvious to everyone except Mindy that he secretly admires her work. His blue-collar childhood gives him a big chip on his shoulder, but he is a dedicated physician, which Mindy can’t stand to admit because he’s always getting on her case. Rounding out the office staff are the receptionists – BETSY PUTCH (Zoe Jarman, “Huge”), young, earnest and easily excitable, who thinks the world of Mindy and is always trying to impress her; and SHAUNA DICANIO (newcomer Dana DeLorenzo), a self-assured Jersey Girl who is indifferent to Mindy, always knows where the cool party is and carries a poorly concealed torch for Danny. Mindy is in constant communication with her beloved best friend from college, GWEN GRANDY (Anna Camp, “The Good Wife”), who also happens to be the governor’s daughter. Gwen is a hilarious, sometimes too-blunt friend, and secretly a former carefree party girl (which only Mindy seems to remember). Although Gwen is now happily married to a financial analyst, with a six-year-old daughter, this lawyer-turned-Pilates mom remains squarely in Mindy’s corner. As Mindy attempts to get her career off the ground and meet a guy who passes her red flag test (no drug habits, no skinny jeans and no secret families, among others), only time will tell if she gets her romantic comedy ending. – FOX

Score:     20 out of 100

Initial Impressions (June 5, 2012):  Just when we think FOX has comedies figured out, they hit us with this. We’re not really sure what the big deal with Mindy Kaling is.  She was funny on The Office but even that wore thin over the years and to be blunt, she’s kind of impossible to look at and we don’t mean that in a good way. So, that being said, we’re a little perplexed as to why anyone would think that she’s prime material to have her own series.  As awful as Whitney is,  Whitney Cummings is at least smoking hot and actually is quite funny.  It makes sense that she would get her own show.  This really doesn’t and not for nothing, this show doesn’t look completely horrible if you judge it exclusively on the merits of every other performance besides hers.  She’s not just bland and again, difficult to look at, but she’s just playing the same Kelly Kapoor character that she played for eight years on The Office.  Also, just from watching this clip, does it honestly look particularly original?

Shawn: One thing I can say about the new shows this fall is that they have been predictable, if nothing else.  It also seems that every show so far has exceeded expectations as far as either its level of brilliance or level of suckitude© is concerned.  The Mindy Project  is no different.

Simply put, the show is not funny and we have no idea why idea why Kevin Reilly at FOX allowed this to be greenlit after seeing the awful pilot.  Again, we are just baffled as to why Mindy Kaling is such a hot property in Hollywood.  She’s not funny and she looks awful.  Harsh?  Yep, but you know what? This is an industry based on superficial aesthetics and no one wants to look at unattractive people on a 55-inch TV in high-definition… ESPECIALLY when they are trying to lie to us and convince us that they are attractive and, as Mindy put it… hot.  Does it work on shows like The Office? Sure, but the reason why is that you go into The Office knowing that it’s a mockumentary and that the people on the show are SUPPOSED to represent real life.  That’s not what’s going on with your standard sitcom/drama.  Everything is exaggerated and your headliners are supposed to be attractive… unless of course the gimmick is that they aren’t supposed to be (see: Ugly Betty).

The Mindy Project seems intent on reminding us (and convincing us) ad nauseam how hot and sexy she is, in fact that really seems like what the whole purpose of the show is, and no, before you say it, it’s not supposed to be ironic because every other character on the show apparently thinks she’s hot, as well, so they’re just going to run with the big lie.

“Tattling is what a little girl does.  When a hot woman does it, it’s called ‘whistleblowing.'”

There are two scenes in the pilot where she is in the middle of the screen and we honestly thought that somehow the “stretch” option on the TV had accidentally been selected… no joke, you’ll know them when you see them.  Are we spending a lot of time focusing on her physical appearance?  Absolutely, but you know what? We’re not spending nearly as much time on the subject as the show does.

This is really one of the most self-emulating and narcissistic shows we’ve seen in years, if not ever, and what’s worse is that the industry is enabling this behavior.  Mindy Kaling has created an idealized version of herself where she is a doctor and a super model.  This is beyond a fantasy and none of the jokes work because they all revolve around this stupid premise.

The plot is stupid and disjointed and the characters are completely unlikable and unrelatable.  All in all, this show is absolutely unwatchable and cameos by Ed Helms can’t help it. Pass on this.

Chance of Renewal: 0%

We simply cannot see how audiences aren’t going to be immediately annoyed by this awful mess and steer away from it and FOX has no tolerance for failure.  We doubt this makes it to midseason.

Watch the pilot of The Mindy Project, right now, ahead of the September 25th premiere, here.

A&E Renews ‘The Glades’ For Fourth Season

How time flies.  The Glades is one of the first shows we reviewed back in 2010 when we started The ‘Tastic.

Via Press Release:

A&E Orders Fourth Season of The Glades from Fox Television Studios

A&E ORDERS FOURTH SEASON OF THE HIT DRAMA SERIES “THE GLADES” FROM FOX TELEVISION STUDIOS

September 12, 2012 – A&E Network has picked up a fourth season of the acclaimed drama series, “The Glades” starring Matt Passmore, it was announced today by David McKillop, Executive Vice President of Programming for A&E Network and BIO Channel.

The third season of “The Glades” averaged 4.1 million total viewers (up 5% from season two based on Live +7 viewing) per premiere episode. “The Glades,” along with A&E’s hit scripted drama series “Longmire,” propelled A&E to ad-supported cable’s number one network on Sunday nights among total viewers this past summer during their run.

Season four of “The Glades” will begin production soon and will premiere in 2013. A&E is currently in pre-production on the new scripted drama series “Bates Motel,” slated for a 2013 premiere and the second season of the scripted hit series “Longmire,” which also will premiere in 2013.

“The Glades” also stars Kiele Sanchez (“Lost,” “Samantha Who?”), Carlos Gomez (“Shark,” “Sleeper Cell”) and Michelle Hurd (“Law & Order SVU,” “Gossip Girl”).

“The Glades” is produced by Fox Television Studios for A&E Network. The series executive producers are Clifton Campbell (“White Collar,” “Profiler,” “21 Jump Street”) for Innuendo Productions, Inc. and Gary Randall (“Saving Grace”) for Grand Productions, Inc. The series was created by Clifton Campbell.

ADVANCE REVIEW: ‘Animal Practice’ (NBC – Wednesday, 8:00 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: To understand how we do our reviews, please refer to our review of Revolution, here.

Meet Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk, “Weeds”), a top-dog New York veterinarian. With an unorthodox style of operating, George’s success comes from his undeniable gift with animals of all kinds. That is, all but the human kind. Dorothy Crane (Joanna Garcia Swisher) once held the key to George’s heart, but today she also holds the key to the family business as she takes over Crane Animal Hospital.  Not only is she George’s new boss, but her romantic history with him and her lack of experience with animals is seriously cramping his style.  Dorothy is whip-smart and ambitious, and she’s going to make George pay for the past.  Needless to say, he’s determined not to make any changes in his (animal) kingdom — which includes poker games with a resident capuchin monkey.  Also starring are Tyler Labine (“Reaper,” “Sons of Tucson”) as Dr. Doug Jackson, a vet who’s great with animals but hapless in matters of the heart, Bobby Lee (“Harold & Kumar”) as Dr. Yamamoto, and newcomer Betsy Sodaro as Angela.  “Animal Practice” is a production of Universal Television and American Work Inc.  The executive producers are Scot Armstrong (“The Hangover Part II,” “Old School”) and Ravi Nandan (“Best Friends Forever”) of American Work Inc. (“Best Friends Forever”) along with Emmy Award winners Joe & Anthony Russo (“Community,” “Arrested Development”).  “Animal Practice” was written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (“The Sitter”), who also serve as executive producers.  Gail Lerner (“Happy Endings”) also is an executive producer.  Directed by the Emmy-winning Russo brothers, “Animal Practice” is a comedy where the animals are running the asylum. – NBC

Score:     65 out of 100

Initial Impressions (May 20, 2012):  OK… we really hate to admit this, but this show looks insanely funny.  It’s certainly a new take on the standard comedy.  It’s ridiculously irreverant and sarcastic and it seems quite brilliant.  Without even looking at the show description, it was pretty obvious that there was involvement from the folks at Community because it definitely has that kind of vibe to it. Honestly, the funniest moment in any television trailer ever is in this clip at the end with the turtle races.  Not going to spoil it, but you’ll know why when you see it.

Shawn: *Sigh* And here we have the first review we have to do where the episode did not live up to the expectations of the trailer.  As you can tell, we really were expecting a lot out of Animal Practice, but unfortunately, it’s not nearly as good as it looks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s  not horrible, and in fact it’s actually pretty good but there is certainly nothing to make it stand out from any other comedy.  That’s a huge problem on two fronts.

Yes, it works… always.

First, we hate comedies to begin with around here so a comedy has to really blow our socks off in order to get high praise from us.  Second, this show has the best, can’t-lose gimmick of all time on it that should make it incredible: animals… and specifically a well-trained monkey that acts like a human.  It’s the Doctor Dolittle effect.  Those films suck, but the animals are so flippin’ hilarious that you are fooled into thinking they’re good.  Mind you, those are talking animals, but you don’t need a monkey to talk to be hilarious.  Just dress it up in a clown suit or in a beret and have it be an alcoholic… or make it an on-staff veterinary doctor… like in Animal Practice.

The problem is that the monkey isn’t making enough appearances… yes, you read that right, I’m complaining about the lack of the gimmick monkey.  I don’t have much of a choice because, overall, the show isn’t that great.  Sure, it’s got some really good gags, but George (Justin Kirk) doesn’t have nearly the funny Scrubstype likability and sarcasm I was hoping for and that’s not a good sign for your lead… even in a dopey comedy.  Making matters worse, there is ZERO chemistry between George and Dorothy (Joanna Garcia Swisher) and they were supposed to be an item and it’s obvious that the writers are going to rehash that romance.

Dr. Rizzo: We need mooooar…

The truth is that Animal Practice is more straight-up sitcom than it is wacky spoof and that’s not how it was billed.  A lot of the characters are very cookie-cutter, however, the few that aren’t kind of save the show such as Dr. Yamamoto (Bobby Lee) and Dr. Doug Jackson (Tyler Labine) who are both pretty brilliant.  So does Dr. Rizzo (the monkey), when he actually makes an appearance.

So, while I still recommend the show, the pilot wasn’t nearly as good as it really should have been and I’m a bit disappointed.  Let’s hope it picks up in subsequent episodes.

As a bit of an aside, I had to change the settings in the comments section about five minutes into posting this trailer on YouTube to make it so that all comments had to go through me before they were posted and I had to disable the voting.  Why?  Welllllllllll, because butt-hurt Community fans, redirected from a Reddit Community fan page, were flooding the comments section with negative comments and ratings because they think Animal Practice is why Community got moved to Friday nights with only a 13 episode order.  Chances are those same crybabies who don’t get that the decision on Community was made the moment Comedy Central picked it up for syndication in 2013 to get it to 100 episodes will probably flood this review, as well.  So, crybaby Community fans, we love your show, too, but seriously… get the holy f*ck over yourselves.  It’s an NBC sitcom, not Downton Abbey… and we’ll be filtering your comments, here, as well.

Watch the pilot of Animal Practice, right now, ahead of the September 26th premiere, here.  Please note, this is the only chance other than Video OnDemand services through cable providers you will be able to see the pilot.  NBC will be airing the second episode on premiere night, not the pilot.

Chance of Renewal:  50%

…and that’s generous.  On any other network, we would probably say not likely because it’s difficult for us to see audiences getting very excited out-of-the-gate for this, however, this is the network that renewed Whitney, so it’s a toss-up, and yes, you are correct we use the Whitney benchmark a lot when it comes to NBC.