Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Fantastic Fall of 2014

The excitement of the oncoming summer - with all the time for vacations, beaches, and barbecues - brings the downside of saying goodbye to our favorite shows for the season. Finales and cliffhangers leave us wanting, yet waiting, for more. So in an effort to calm (or maybe worsen) our woes, here are some of my favorite brand-spanking NEW shows we get to look forward to in the fall:

1. AMERICAN CRIME (ABC) - "The personal lives of the players involved in a racially charged trial are examined as their worlds are turned upside-down." Sounds like it could be interesting. Since it's written by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and starring Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), this drama's premiere is at least worth a look.

2. CONSTANTINE (NBC) - Based on a DC Comics character who defends humanity against the forces of evil. This has "fanboy" written all over it. I'm there.

3. EMERALD CITY (NBC) - Looks like television is taking on a series revolving around OZ. Apparently this will be a "dark re-imagining" of the original novels and will center around a 20 year-old Dorothy Gale. This could either be really awesome or a total disaster. Who could miss finding out tho?

4. THE FLASH (CW) - Another DC Comics hero to add to the roster. This series will follow Barry Allen as he transforms into the Fastest Man Alive, portrayed here by the handsome Grant Gustin (Glee). I'll stop there. You had me at DC Comics (and Grant Gustin).

5. GALAVANT (ABC) - A fairy-tale musical with songs by Academy Award-winning Disney composer, Alan Menken. Enough said.

6. GOTHAM (FOX) - Two words: Batman. Prequel.

7. HIEROGLYPH (FOX) - This show has potential to be awful, but my sole interest in the mysteries of Ancient Egypt will force me to at least tune in to this action-adventure drama's pilot.

8. IZOMBIE (CW) - Another show where I'll watch the pilot, about a zombie medical examiner who eats brains at work to maintain her humanity, out of sheer curiosity. Why so curious? Zombies and Veronica Mars creator, Rob Thomas.

9. LAST MAN ON EARTH (FOX) - It takes a special sitcom to keep me hooked, but I can never get enough of the hilarious Will Forte (Saturday Night Live) who stars and executive produces this series about life after the apocalypse.

10. MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER (ABC) - A series centered around Captain America's love interest from the first film. I wasn't all that impressed by her character or The First Avenger as a whole, but I can't help but to keep up with the televised Marvel Universe.

11. THE MESSENGERS (CW) - Random people die when an object crashes on Earth only to reawaken and find a destiny in preventing the apocalypse. I'm interested.

12. MISSION CONTROL (NBC) - A comedy set in the 60's about astronauts fighting to land on the moon. It's been compared to Anchorman and is executive produced by Will Ferrell. This could be a funny one.

13. PROOF (TNT) - The first show on TNT that has ever peaked my interest. It involves a brilliant surgeon who investigates supernatural phenomena. It sounds very Fringe-like, therefore I'll be checking this out.

14. SECRETS & LIES (ABC) - A series that originated in Australia revolving around a murder mystery. I'll watch the pilot for two reasons: Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis.

15. THE WHISPERS (ABC) - Aliens threatening to destroy they world. It's involved with Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV. It stars Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) and Lily Rabe (American Horror Story). And it's got a really cool name. I'm in!

My DVR is gonna explode.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Sting of Cancellation

It's that time of year when networks make a choice.

Most of us dread the day when our favorite shows get the ax, especially when they're sitting on the bubble for most of the season. Sometimes, we get lucky (ie. Fringe), but often we find ourselves feeling the pangs of lost potential (ie, Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Dark Angel, Firefly and many, many more). Yeah, I know Dark Angel is kinda ancient, but I'm still feelin' the pain after all these years.

Fortunately, due to the vast accessibility to television programming thanks to streaming media and On-Demand, I've managed to avoid the disappointment of feeling so cheated after tuning in week after week after week after week.

I wait.

Unless the pilot is unlike anything I've ever seen before (ie. American Horror Story), I tend to avoid weekly viewing until I hear all the reaffirming feedback. For me personally, this isn't too difficult with so much great television to watch. And the all-too-enjoyable practice of binge-watching leaves something to look forward to, once you know you're in the clear and ready to dedicate your time.

I can't say that I'm surprised with the ones sent packing this season, tho I did expect Believe to last a bit longer. At least they make for room for some potential awesomeness in the fall!

The Birth of a Whovian

The proudest of Potatoes get busy. Life gets in the way and we're often redirected, distracted, and consumed by all it throws at us. Alas, here we are, and there's never been a better time for TV...

In a television era dominated by streaming media providers like Netflix, couch potatoes everywhere are now revisiting shows long-since-premiered, such as fan-faves Breaking Bad and The West Wing. Remember the days when you missed a show and you actually missed a show? When you only held out hope for those potential reruns? Gotta love technology! Well, during my hiatus, I decided to try out an old series to add to my already-extraordinarily-long list of television viewing: Doctor Who.

Doctor Who, a BBC television program that's dated back to the early '60's, was rebooted in 2005, which is where I decided to begin my journey through time and space.

Now, my decision to delve into this show was far from an instant one. For some reason, I had this hesitation to jump into the craze, like one of the those indie music lovers who have that innate disdain for popular music. Doctor Who, somehow, was just a little too geeky for me... so I've ignored it for years. It took my 13 year-old sister and multiple visits to Hot Topic to peak my interest in a show about a regenerating "doctor" alien.

Truth is, I'm a total geek. Always have been. Which is probably why I instantly became so fascinated with this show. My little sister loved it and I wondered why. Hot Topic, a store that sells some of the coolest television memorabilia, was apparently obsessed with it, and I wondered why. I had no choice but to find out what the big deal was.

Doctor Who is pure escapist entertainment. Getting to know The Doctor, a Time Lord (the last of his kind) who travels through time to wonderful worlds, forever saving the day, has been a super-satisfyingly distracting experience. Doctor Who tickles the imagination in ways that many shows don't. The spectacular array of alien lifeforms, from the cute and cuddly (ie. the Adipose) to the downright gross and evil (ie. the Daleks), is reason enough to tune in to this epic series. I'm always excited to discover where we'll go next and who we'll meet along the way.

Sci-fi adventures aside, the true soul of Doctor Who that shines the brightest is its cast of characters, essentially The Doctor and his rotating carousel of companions.

The shows that tend to stay with me, the ones that hold a special place in my heart, are the ones that impart something greater than its intended entertainment. In watching Doctor Who, I've learned a lot about accepting loss. In this life, we're always saying goodbye, whether it be a break-up, friends parting ways, or the passing of a loved one. It may be considered silly to compare life to a science fiction television program, but art is art. And art can be profoundly inspiring. This is why I love television.

The companions of Doctor Who are ever-changing. Once you find yourself getting used to these individually-unique, super-likable travelers, The Doctor is bidding them adieu by season's end, some in tragic and surprisingly emotional ways (ie. Rose Tyler). The Doctor himself, who regenerates into a new body upon being fatally injured, offers the series a way to introduce new actors into the title role. These Doctor "exits" have occasionally been some of the most heart-wrenching scenes in television (ie. the amazing David Tennant). It's not easy saying farewell to our favorite characters so often in a single series, but Doctor Who has been a special TV show that's gotten me used to the idea. An idea that could even ring true in one's own life.

I'm not caught up to the latest seventh season just yet. And I'm still getting used to the 11th Doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith. I am, however, undoubtedly hooked on this space-age story. I've learned to adore and appreciate the show's token cheesiness, and I've come to view the TARDIS as probably the coolest spaceship ever.

I've also noticed that I've been frequently saying what's been suggested to me for quite some time now...

"You need to watch Doctor Who!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

'Proud' to Be Back

I went away. Took a moment. More than a commercial break. More like a summer hiatus. Sometimes you need to take a step back to move ahead. Onwards we go.

I started this website because I love television. My relationship with the small screen has only been surpassed in length by the one I have with my own family. Like them, television has nurtured and inspired me, in ways that some of my closest friends haven't. But rather than using The Proud Potato to convey this love and passion for TV, I've been devoting my time to it in an attempt to do what other sites are doing better.

The Proud Potato will no longer focus on news stories that I alone cannot keep up with. It will not focus on shows that I honestly couldn't care less about or the latest poster promotion. It will only be dedicated to what moves me the most - the moments that contribute to this enduring relationship I have with television.

'Cuz, remember... I started this website because I love television - and it's certainly about that time to talk about it. And, hopefully, to find others who feel the same as I in the process.

Where are the other Proud Potatoes at?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The New Spartacus

The Spartacus series is, without a doubt, in the top three when it comes to my favorite shows on the air these days. Just when I thought True Blood mastered the shock value when it came to violence and sex, Spartacus came along and raised the bar on the mature meter much, much higher. This shouldn't suggest that the explicit nature is the sole reason for the show's greatness, but I'd certainly be lying if I said that it didn't add to all the fun.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand pushed the envelope as far as a television series could. It remained unapologetic when it came to truly telling the story and placing you in that particularly savage time period. The writing was phenomenal. The entertainment value in the dialogue alone was remarkable. Lucy Lawless (Lucretia) and John Hannah (Batiatus) were incredible as the manipulative heads of a Roman ludus - a training school for gladiators. The rest of the cast followed along with their brilliance as well, especially Mr. Andy Whitfield (Spartacus).

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena was a short prequel, absent Spartacus due to Whitfield's real-life battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The prequel itself was supposedly meant to whet the fans' gladiatorial appetite until Whitfield recovered in time for an official second season. Surprisingly, even Spartacus-free, the series found continued success with all its daring, the amazing writing, and its ├╝ber talented cast. Sadly (very very sadly), after Whitfield was ready to return to his career-altering role, he received news that his illness was not completely eradicated and that he had to undergo further aggressive treatment. It was then that he announced his official departure from the hit series.

Spartacus: Vengeance will be the next chapter in the tale of the rebellious gladiator. After Starz decided they were going to continue the series, it was then time for them to search for a new Spartacus. They found one in Australian actor Liam McIntyre. This news-of-the-week is that we finally have a view of the new Spartacus in action, via pics from Entertainment Weekly:

Now, I have no doubts at all that the show will remain to be top-notch. I definitely can't wait for it to come back. It's all very exciting. The cast proved that they could carry a show without the fantastic Andy Whitfield. I'm just now sure how I'm gonna feel about a character that I've become so invested in being a completely different person. Yeah, they look similar. But can Liam McIntyre pull off the emotional intensity that Whitfield had done so effortlessly? When Spartacus crosses paths again with his nemesis, Ilithyia, will the seething hatred come across so seamlessly as it did before? Or will it feel as if they just met? I honestly don't know what to expect.

Putting all speculations regarding the new Spartacus aside, however, I wish that someone would report on Andy Whitfield's current status. It was tremendously sickening when I first heard about his diagnosis. So it will certainly be a sincerely joyous moment when I hear about his clean bill of health. I hope to hear it soon.

Get better, Andy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Major Three Leave Glee

This just in. It's official.

The upcoming third season of Glee will be the last for Rachel (Lea Michele), Finn (Cory Monteith), and Kurt (Chris Colfer).

I don't think I've ever seen a show make a move so bold. Three of the the hit show's most popular characters. Gone.

No need to delve into this. We kinda saw it coming.

Glee Goes 3D

It was only about a week or two ago that Glee Live! wrapped up its summer tour in Dublin. For those who didn't have the time, cash, or motivation to attend this year, you still have a chance to check it out when Glee: The 3D Concert Movie hits theaters on Aug. 12 in limited cities nationwide.

Yes, this news is about two months old, just about as old as this site itself. The relevancy, however, is the fact that the tickets go on sale today. And if you decide to buy tickets for the advanced screening on Aug. 10, you apparently get a bunch of goodies that include: a Glee logo lapel pin, a commemorative ticket and lanyard, a silicone bracelet, a hat, commemorative Glee RealD 3D glasses, and a backpack.

Gleeks can head here to purchase said tickets/goodies.

I remember last year when I tried to purchase tickets for Glee Live!... anxiously holding my cell, waiting for the Ticketmaster time to arrive, only to find that they sold out in like half a second. It kinda took the wind out of my summer tour sails, and I never attempted it again. This film may be the closest I ever get to partaking in an actual Glee concert.

Or, at the very least, it could be the last time to hear Sam Evans sing a song ever again.

How Ally McBeal Made Me Feel

Every now and then, very far and few between, there's a show that comes along and does quite a remarkable thing. Using television as its medium, it tests the limits of what we're capable of feeling as emotional beings by exposing us to material that's both immensely uplifting and downright heart-wrenching - all in the span of a single hour.

I'll never forget a particular episode of Ally McBeal that aired in its very first season. It introduced the tragic tale of a transsexual prostitute who manages to run into our lovably quirky little lawyer (played by Calista Flockhart, who will only and always be Ally to me). After Ally befriends him and attempts to recruit him to her firm, with the hopes of a better life, he retreats back to his old lifestyle with an all-too-dreadful conclusion. I cried a lot. But what astonished me the most was the fact that, only moments before, I was laughing hysterically at a gospel tribute to a man who hated short people.

That was the magic of Ally McBeal. It tugged at our heartstrings, tickled our funny bones, and touched our souls through the power of music, each and every week. Even the whimsical world of Glee hasn't managed to evoke the same as effectively and, ultimately, as realistically as Ally.

Ally McBeal was a show about love. The search for love. The hope for love. The love in self-acceptance and that between the dearest of friends. It far surpassed anything that would be expected from a show about a bunch of lawyers. This was no standard courtroom drama.

The cast was phenomenal. My personal faves were the neurotic, Porky Pig-channeling John Cage (Peter MacNicol) and Elaine Vassal (Jane Krakowski), the office vixen/inventor (face bra, anyone?) who'd burst into a song and dance at every opportunity. There were, of course, some additions in later seasons that I could have done without, but for the most part - I loved these people.

The guest stars were frequent and consistently fabulous (ie. Tracey Ullman, Robert Downey Jr., Dame Edna Everage). The Christmas episodes were always a festive treat. And there was a very shocking death in the middle of the series that'd immediately send anyone grasping for the tissue box.

In the end, Ally McBeal made it okay to be a little loony. It made me a fan of Vonda Shepard and dancing babies. It encouraged a new appreciation for Barry White and unisex bathrooms. And it managed to inspire me to embark on a personal journey in discovering my very own theme song.

It was truly one-of-a-kind.

I still believe that it could have gone on for more than five seasons, despite the ratings slump (which I blame on the "less silly, more mature" Ally). And the final episode still remains a rushed disappointment. Still, no show is perfect. It is what it is.


Here, now, is a tiny peek into the aforementioned episode... a small glimpse of my favorite law office... a quick glance at a very tragic character... and a not-so-nice ode to short people, courtesy of Jennifer Holliday:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Final Act of Desperation?

I have a difficult time letting go. I never enjoy hearing that a show of mine may be coming to an end. For the most part, I can envision years and years of endless storytelling, several new story arcs, and infinite character development. Any reason for my favorites to stick around that much longer. In this case, however, I readily admit that it may just be the right moment to say goodbye.

I've watched Desperate Housewives since its premiere. Seen every episode for seven years. According to TV Guide, the upcoming eighth season might indeed be its last - and I can't help but to agree with such a decision.

An announcement could be made soon, before/when the network meets with the press on Aug. 7 for the Television Critics Association's summer tour. On the other hand, ABC might just wait until the fall to see how their new series fare. If they find success with their new programming, Housewives most likely won't find a ninth season. They've already lost about half their audience since season one.

As much as I've enjoyed the antics of Desperate Housewives all these years, I honestly can't see much else happening before it gets a little too ridiculous, if it hasn't gotten to that point already. How many more crazy people/murderers can possibly live on one street? How many more affairs, separations, or illnesses can Wisteria Lane endure? And when will these ladies truly find any stability?

I think it's time.

But if Desperate Housewives does come back for round nine, I'll certainly still be there.