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Thursday, December 30, 2004

The 2004 Geekies: Irina D's Picks

Ah, yes. It's that time of the year- another potentially lame, best-of-2004 award list thingie. At TVGeekSpeak, we want to be original, but let's face it- these things are easy to write and fun to read, so eff it- we're doing it anyway. Our first contributor to rattle off her nods: Irina D.

Least welcomed newcomer: ZZZZZzzzzzzz..... hmmm, what? Oh, sorry, I was watching The Jane Pauley Show.

Most welcomed newcomer: It took me a long time to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm on it baby-- Lost rocks.

Most disturbing trend: The ever-decreasing quality of the CSI: spin-offs. By the time they launch CSI: St. Paul the show will revolve around high school dropouts examining their spit in a microscope.

Show I wish more people knew about: Do I have to keep pimping Veronica Mars? Apparently so. Veronica Mars!

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: The continuing return of high-quality dramas, such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and the aforementioned Veronica Mars.

Go away: Someone needs to tie up Fox Entertainment head Gail Berman and force her to have an original thought.

Best show of 2004: The Wire brought it this year. I realize that The Sopranos had a renaissance year, what with the murder of poor, dumb stool-pigeon Adriana, but The Wire once again is the best written, best acted show on television.

Worst show of 2004: I'm sure that there are worse shows on the air, but I'll never get back the hour of my life spent on CSI: New York. It's mopey, depressing and excruciatingly boring.

2004 Geek Of The Year: Bill O'Reilly. For having the top-rated cable news show, for giving new meaning to the word "falafel," for writing an absolutely horrifying children's book (The O'Reilly Factor for Kids) and for insulting Jews at Christmas, all in the same year. Quite a 2004 there, Bill. I hope your wife got a Mrs. Kobe Bryant-style diamond ring this holiday season.

The 2004 Geekies: Pusher's Picks

Next to the plate is Pusher, who, in her choice for Best Show of 2004, may have made the oddest selection in all of this year's Geekies. But hey- who are you to judge?

Most welcomed newcomer: In an attempt to sound cool, I'll say Lost. I've never seen it but everyone else says it kicks ass. (And you know how I try to be popular.)

Least welcomed newcomer: Wife-swapping shows. If they're not about the original definition of the term, I don't care.

Show I wish more people knew about: NCIS. Solid stories, funny characters, good acting, and Mark Harmon. Everyone should look... I mean watch. (Watch for an upcoming "Geek Files" column about my MH dream while on vacation.)

Most disturbing trend: 30-somethings watching the WB. That or FOX ripping off other network reality shows, making their own version and putting it on air first.

Go away: Donald Trump. You had me at "You're Fired." You lost me with the dubbed over boardroom scenes. Plus - if these are the caliber employees you really do hire, how the hell are you a cabillionaire?

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: A successful, high rated show for Rob Lowe (See "Best show of 2004").

Best show of 2004: dr. vegas. Yes, it was cancelled- but Rob Lowe is still hot as hell and he can wear a pair of jeans like nobody's business. Television like this deserves to stay on our airwaves.

Worst show of 2004: CSI: NY. A gritty film look is cool for a two hour movie, but if I'm going to be subjected to it week in and week out, the plot and acting are going to have to be a lot better than mediocre.

2004 TV Geek of the Year: The Geek-In-Chief himself for starting this website. Aw, shucks. -Ed.

The 2004 Geekies: Jen Schefftenberg's Picks

She's a "Bachelorette" afficionado and writer of the upcoming TVGS column "The REAL Bachelorette." She's also quite blunt and tells it like she thinks it oughtta be. Introducing... Jen Schefftenberg... and her Geekies.

Most welcomed newcomer: Donald Trump. Yeah, that's right- I like The Apprentice. So fire me.

Least welcomed newcomer: Caroline Rhea, host of the new reality disaster, The Biggest Loser. What a loser (the real kind)! You’re done, you’ve had way more than your 15 minutes already.

Show I wish more people knew about: Nip/Tuck. Cosmetic surgery, hot doctors, sizzling sex, brilliant story lines, emotional heartache... if everyone just watched, the world might just be a more peaceful place.

Most disturbing trend: The Time Warner DVR. Gooooo TiVo!

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: Silver Spoons reruns... I still have my Ricky Schroeder pinups from Teen Beat... no, not on my wall, in a drawer... somewhere…

If I could be on any show as a regular: Charlie’s Angels.

Go away: Ryan Seacrest. Oy, what is it about him, he disturbs me... it’s just something I just can't put my finger on... he's too... smily.

Best show of 2004: Nip Tuck. Because… well, it just is, so watch it. If that's not nough for you, re-read my "Show I Wish More People Knew About" choice.

Worst show of 2004: North Shore... If Brooke Burns wasn't blowing Bruce Willis, she's got no shot at getting that role.

2004 TV Geek of the Year: The Geek In Chief himself, but in a good geek way. He will forever be my technical/television guru!

The 2004 Geekies: Uncle Buster's Picks

Up next in our year-end, space-filling feature-o'-fun is Uncle Buster, who shares his warm memories of 2004 Tube.

Most welcomed newcomer: Natalie Morales, MSNBC/Today Show. I know she may not techincally be a "newcomer." but whatever she's telling me, I'm listening with rapt attention. She is one of the very few reasons to bother getting up early and learning the news of the day from the otherwise horrid Today show. With incredible looks, a stylish appearance, and a damn fine delivery, she won't be subbing for anyone for very long. Hey CBS, you wanna stop getting beat by Judge Judy at 6:30? Sign this hottie up!

Least welcomed newcomer: Scooter. Fox Sports baseball cartoon aimed at explaining some of the basics of the sport to kids and other first time viewers. Scooter is neither entertaining nor informative, and has a voice so irritating, you actually question the sexuality of an inanimate object. He (?) just needs to go away and die a quiet death. And this may have already happened: I challenge you to find a single image of Scooter anywhere on the internet. Go ahead, I'll give you all the time you want.

Show I wish more people knew about: MXC. Spike TV's hilarious send-off of the Japanese game show is a combination of cartoonish pratfalls and stunts with quick-witted, snappy one-liners in the mold of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Watching this show won't make you smarter, but you'll feel smarter than the contestants- plus, there's a very good chance of laughing yourself silly.

Most disturbing trend: Has to be the incessant array of "reality" shows cluttering the landscape. Turning Gilligan's Island into some sort of retarded reality series? Is nothing sacred? Not a single one of them is worth watching for more than 5 seconds, and I suggest the outcomes of each of them are rigged in some way.

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: I don't care what comes on (except reality shows)- just make sure it's all in HD. I will watch anything, and I mean ANYTHING, as long as it's in high definition. Nature shows, bad movies, women's basketball, it's all SOOOOO much better in hi-def. My real wish is for the porn industry to discover this amazing technology…because I know they spend most of their budgets finding ways to make their material as up to date as possible.

Go away: Dr. Phil. If you're listening: you are neither insighful nor helpful. You cannot be taken seriously with that voice, which sounds like it comes straight out of a NASCAR garage. I thought Jerry Springer had cornered the market on preachy, camera hogging mouth breathers with sub-65 IQs. Sadly, I was wrong.

Best show of 2004: Several. Sopranos, Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, Behind the Music and Bands Reunited.

Worst show of 2004: Tie: The View and Today.

2004 TV Geek of the Year: Tom Brokaw. He was my inspiration for getting into television. Not since Walter Cronkite has one newsman been the singular voice of information for multiple generations. He has been at the forefront of every major news story for the past quarter century, and his departure from the daily mix is a loss for the entire genre.

The 2004 Geekies: JoeVideo's Picks

Now, it's JoeVideo's turn. A self proclaimed Sci-Fi fanatic, it's odd that none of his choices really have anything at all to dow with science fiction. Hmmm....

Most welcomed newcomer: Evangeline Lilly, Lost. Mmmm..... a mysterious past, a hot chick, a dedicated viewer!

Least welcomed newcomer: John Goodman. Actually, let's call this award "The Ted McGinley Memorial 'Jump The Shark' Award." He's not a newcomer at all, but as Larry the Lion in Father of the Pride, and as John in Center of the Universe, two of the most godawful (cancelled) shows ever aired, he reached a new low by playing a talking animated lion (not the one that almost killed Roy though - damn). Lucky for him, never-ending syndication of Roseanne means that all of his new shows can tank year after year and he still gets richer (and fatter). Runner up: Tom Arnold.

Show I wish more people knew about: The Dead Zone. Too bad this show only airs "seasonally" on the forgotten-about USA Network, with only about 12 episodes a year. Who knew Anthony Michael Hall was still acting, and acting well? Thanks to the Geek-in-Chief himself for turning me onto this one. Runner up: Deadwood.

Most disturbing trend: 3 hour Live Reality Show Finales. If the most recent finale of The Apprentice is any indication, I'll slit my wrists before sitting thru anything that long, un-produced and drawn out again. Runner up: Stripping on Reality Shows (Ivana, keep those shorts on next time).

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: Serial Dramas. Remember the early days of radio? (I don't, I'm only 32.) Serials were all the rage. Only took 50 plus years for them to make a comeback. Thanks to TiVo (GO OUT AND GET ONE NOW!), even if you can't tune in next week for another exciting episode, you can watch it at your leisure.

Go away: Michael Musto and Mo Rocca. Separated at birth? These pop culture commentators pop up everywhere, and just aren't that funny. Back to Hades with you!

Best show of 2004: Deadwood ties with Lost.. I'm a sucker for serial drama, but most viewers are too stupid to follow it from week to week. Runners up: 24, The Sopranos.

Worst show of 2004: Joey. The answer: Not so good. The question: "How u doin'?" Any bets on this turkey getting cancelled before the summer? No wonder networks aren't making many sitcoms anymore. Runner up: Father of The Pride.

2004 TV Geek of the Year: Joe Trippi. A man who ALMOST created the first President elected because of the blogsphere, he took his act of empowering the people onto TV and wrote a book as well. Better luck next time with a better candidate (hint: switch parties). Runner Up: Anne Marie Cox, "Wonkette."

The 2004 Geekies: Picks from the Geek-In-Chief

And now, last and almost certainly least, it's time for my own picks... I give you the 2004 Geekies from the Geek-In-Chief.

Most welcomed newcomer: Emilie de Ravin, Lost. Fake-pregnant blonde chicks with Aussie accents are hott.

Least welcomed newcomer: CSI: NY. Want reasons? I got reasons: Dark, painful, boring. Overly stylized. Underly human. Siphons scores of witless, flavor-of-the-month-loving viewers away from the far superior Law & Order. Male lead is only bearable when playing legless characters in Tom Hanks movies with titles rhyming with "Boris Hump." Female lead has annoyingly unpronouncable last name and harbors responsiblity for keeping the rancid Providence on NBC for four years. And its very existence waters down the cache of the original CSI:, the only good one of the lot. That enough?

Show I wish more people knew about: Arrested Development. I know I'm beating a dead horse, but it's freaking brilliant. I'll never look at bananas, magicians or Blue Man Group the same way.

What I'd like to see on the tube in 2005: More intelligent drama, a la The Shield, Nip/Tuck, and Lost. Less crappy CSI: spinoffs. And for the love of God, no more reality shows. Please!

Most disturbing trend: Censorship overkill. Thanks to a publicity stunt from two washed-up pop stars, the FCC went batshit and created mass panic among TV's rank and file. Sure, a fine was necessary- but it should have been billed directly to Ms. Jackson. It wasn't the fault of unsuspecting CBS that its airwaves were hijacked to showcase JJ's flabby-ass sweater meat during the Superbowl. Even more absurd were the ridiculous repercussions: Affiliates afraid to air Saving Private Ryan? Live awards shows forced to use a 5-second delay to prevent some 9 year old from hearing a word spoken 40 times a day at recess? NBC afraid to run a special episode of ER featuring an elderly woman's breasts? Well, maybe I can live with that last one. But just when TV was starting to get a little more creative and risky (a good thing), it's now back to square one. Be careful, folks. We're only a few big FCC fines away from TV spouses once again sleeping in separate beds.

Go away: American Idol. A rectal exam would be preferable to another season of this banal Gong-Show-of-the-masses and its parade of "winners" filling my ears with complete and utter dung for months. Kelly Clarkson? Ruben Studdard? Clay friggin' Aiken? This is what America wants in its music? Yeesh.

Best show of 2004: Lost. Original twist on a done-to-death premise. Great writing. Interesting characters. Full of surprises. Lots of inexplicably hot crash-victim chicks who somehow keep it together without cosmetics or makeup. Gimme more, more, MORE!

Worst show of 2004: OK, technically, maybe there are worse shows on the air. But none is more disappointing than NBC's lamely derivative Medical Investigation. Neal MacDonough, the scene-stealer from NBC's brilliant Boomtown, probably thought he'd take this role to pass the time until something better came along. Now, thanks to MI's horrificly uncompetitive Friday timeslot, his career will likely be trussed by this marginal hit for years. MI also wastes the talents of the scalding hott Anna Belknap, formerly of the far superior and less successful Friday drama The Handler. Her last gig sure knew how to use her: skimpy outfits, teased hair, buttloads of tarty eye make-up. Unfortunately, MI has been content to die and chop off her hair, hide her in business suits, and saddle her with brutally uninteresting dialogue. Oh, yeah, and the lame ER-meets-CSI: plotlines blow. Big time.

2004 TV Geek of the Year: Dan Rather. One of America's "Big Three" news anchors, one who's always worn his agenda on his sleeve, goes to air with a Bush-bashing story backed by memos of dubious origin. When questioned about said memos, Mr. Rather denies they're fakes, and slanders those doubting their authenticity. Eventually, he's forced to admit the memos are bogus, but only offers lame excuses and no apologies. Facing a damning internal investigation, Mr. Rather steps down "voluntarily" before CBS suits shitcan him. His actions will surely have huge repercussions within the news media. I worked in news for years, and saw first hand that the perceived liberal bias is not a myth- it's reality. I suggest Mr. Rather's story may even have influenced the election (in the opposite way he had hoped it would) by making viewers skeptical of any and all anti-Bush network news coverage, no matter how accurate the stories actually were. In the words of an old CBS News pioneer: "And that's the way it is." Maybe in 20 years, it will be remembered as "And that's the way it was... at the networks."

The Show Must Go On: Law & Order: Trial By Jury to Continue Sans Orbach

In a statement, the producers of Law & Order: Trial By Jury announced production on the show will continue despite Tuesday's death of star Jerry Orbach.

The show had shot three episodes with Orbach, which will eventually air.

The statement also noted that "While Jerry is irreplaceable, Law & Order: Trial by Jury is an ensemble and will continue." Meaning, essentially, that he is replaceable, and will in fact be replaced. Gotta love that flack jive!

Chung CHUNG!

Clark Not Too Ill To Suck Wife's Face On New Year's Eve

Good news. Even though stroked-out Dick Clark is too ill to host his annual New Year's Special, he promises one tradition will remain intact: playing tonsil hockey with his wife, Kari, at midnight.

Thanks for sparing us from having to see that this year, Dick. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

A Great New Reason To Learn How To Use Your V-Chip

Dear God, please make it stop.

Fox is set to launch Fox Reality Channel in a couple of months. Said channel will feature repeats of such Fox reality time-fillers such as My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, Temptation Island, Celebrity Boxing and When Animals Attack. Plus! Reality fare from around the world- previously unseen stateside!

With my luck, my crappy cable company (not mentioning any names, but their name begins with a Cable and ends in a vision) will add this to my lineup while still withholding FX (Nip/Tuck and The Shield, goddammit!) and Travel Channel (World Poker Tour!)

Life just ain't fair.

Muslims Complaining 24/7

After watching a chunk of the 24 season premiere, the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed outrage at the depiction of a Muslim family engaging in terrorist activity. Wow, how shocking! Writing a plotline vaguely mirroring exactly what happened in one of the worst days in this nation's history? How outrageous!

So I guess all bad guys have to be white guys now? Of course, then the outcry would be that the cast "lacks diversity."

*sigh*. Remember the good old days, when we could enjoy and embrace ethnic stereotypes? Those days are clearly gone. Now if you'll excuse excuse me... I have to go watch The Sopranos and continue my letter-writing campaign speaking out against Jewish, balding guitar players playing Italian mobsters.