TV Diary

a) "Conan"
It's funny, after all the waiting and anticipation, Conan's new show is finally here, and then it's like oh yeah, this is the same show he's always done. But that's not a problem, really, I spent my entire teenage years loving his "Late Night," and even though I haven't felt very compelled to stay up for it often for a very long time, the fact that he's now on at 11 will maybe allow me to do so more often. Love Andy back on the couch, miss Max already, wasn't crazy about the opening sketch and Seth Rogen's kind of a crappy interview, but a lot of the comedy bits have been spot on.

b) "The Benson Interruption"
I've always found Doug Benson kind of unctuous and annoying, but I'm glad that Comedy Central gave him a new show that actually has a clever concept and isn't just another attempt at a "Chappelle's Show"-style sketch show built around a standup. In this, he basically hang out onstage with another comic and interrupts as they do their act, asking questions and getting them off topic until they start riffing and improvising together. I really like it so far, kind of a fun way to freshen up the standup format, and kind of the opposite of all those shows where comics sit around pretending to improvise and interact but really just quoting their own acts.

c) "The Walking Dead"
The whole appeal of a show like this, for me, is that it can take the usual zombie movie plot and extend it over the course of one or several seasons of TV, so you don't get the usual brief peak at the situation and then it's over, you can really watch the whole thing unfold and see how people survive. So that by token, I don't even feel like judging the couple episodes that have aired so far, I wanna see how things go over time. But if that pilot was a standalone zombie movie, it'd be a pretty decent one, some pretty good execution even if it's a bit cliched at times.

d) "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear"
As good as "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" have been lately, and as entertaining as the lead-up to this event was for both shows, the actual event, at least as it was broadcast on TV, seemed kinda lame. A couple fun stunts and comedy bits that made use of the moment, but for the most part it seemed like a waste of energy, for the viewer and everyone else involved.

e) "Night of Too Many Stars"
And one of the reasons the rally about nothing was annoying was that a few weeks earlier, Jon Stewart hosted another live all-star event on Comedy Central that a) actually had a point and used the attention and energy it stirred up for a good cause like autism research, and b) was a way funnier and more entertaining show overall. Even Lewis Black, whose last standup special was a dud, did a funny set, and the bit with a donor getting to have Chris Rock call up and chew out their ex was classic.

f) "The Talk"
Maybe I've been home with the baby so long that I'm slowly turning into a housewife, but I'm kind of enjoying this show, which is as far as I know surprisingly the first attempt to create a "The View" knockoff/competitor in the same daytime syndicated TV wasteland. It's stocked with an even more random assemblage of female celebrities than "The View," but thankfully they're generally a lot less obnoxious -- even the biggest personality on the hosting panel, Sharon Osbourne, is pretty capable of just seeming like a normal relatable person more often than not.

g) "Lay It Down with Cee-Lo Green"
I like Fuse's other recent music-oriented talk show hosted by Mark Hoppus, but I was still really kind of surprised at how good this is. Instead of a hourlong variety show format like the Hoppus show, "A Different Spin," this is just a half-hour interview show with one guest a week, who does a live performance at the beginning and end of the show. It's been great to watch Cee-Lo sit down with people he's known for a long time or influenced, like Ludacris or T-Pain or Lil Jon, and just talk shop, it's really a mellow show, could almost be the hip hop equivalent of Charlie Rose. The thing where the editors take something an interview subject says and flash it on the screen as fancy text is kind of annoying, though, it's like they were afraid of how straightforward the show is and had to spruce it up.

h) The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Darkness is my favorite Springsteen album, and it was really the last of the early ones I heard and I was like finally, this is what I've been looking for! So I'm excited about this big reissue thing going on and hoping to get that at some point and really enjoyed this HBO documentary about the making of the album. I'm impressed by how much studio footage they had and it was fun to learn about the context of it and how much stuff was cut from the album, I only really vaguely knew the story.

i) "Boardwalk Empire"
So this show has yet to shape up into anything I actually want to watch every week, no matter how much nudity, violence, and handsome cinematography and production values there are. I just keep tuning in, waiting to give a fuck.

j) "In the House with Peter Bart & Peter Guber"
I always enjoyed the first little Hollywood chat show these guys had on AMC, "Shootout," and was disappointed when it disappeared. But it turns out Starz basically picked them up and started doing an identical show with a new title, which is pretty much the same, very low key and amiable, these guys aren't great interviewers but when they have someone interesting on there's usually some interesting industry-oriented conversation, which is refreshing in and of itself, just that they talk like actual showbiz insiders and not like Entertainment Tonight robots.

k) "Sons Of Anarchy"
It might be partly that I binged on the 2nd season on DVD right before starting to watch the new episodes week by week, but so far the 3rd season feels kind of weird and slow paced. There've been some great moments, but I think structuring the whole season around the kidnapped baby plotline stretches that idea a bit thin. I'm interested to see where it's all headed, though.

l) "Castle"
This is such a light, inconsequential show that I'm kind of amazed it's now on its 3rd season, but it's nice to watch a bit of on Mondays when I feel like keeping the TV on after the CBS comedies. Stana Katic's new longer haircut is kind of a bummer, though, she's still a beautiful woman but she was 10 times hotter with the shorter hair.
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