TV starts now
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Goodbye for now, NFL
Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone, and with it the vaunted commercials viewers typically care more about than the actual game itself. Oh, and there was also that whole halftime show with a cart-rolling, lip-syncing pop icon nearing her mid-50s.
An impressive feat, albeit overshadowed by an unfortunate hand gesture from performer MIA. But since I didn't actually see "NFL: Public Relations Nightmare Part II," I can honestly say Super Bowl XLVI will be an easily forgotten four hours of my life. I just didn't care. If the Patriots had won, then so be it. I was not about to root for the Giants either (lifelong Dallas Cowboys fans would rather die).
After every NFL season it seems like I hear the same general consensus on Super Bowl commercials: "They just weren't that good this year." You know, as opposed to all of those other years where it was one piece of 30-second awesomeness after the next. But there was some entertainment to be had this time around. I didn't exactly buy into the whole Clint Eastwood "this is America's halftime" speech (epic or not, I don't equate the Detroit auto industry with America's overall struggles). Some of the dog commercials provided a few decent laughs, and the whole naked M&Ms bit was nice.
One over the top, but not too over the top commercial appealed to me in particular:
Top 3 Shows of the Week
1. NBC- Smash
After months of seemingly nonstop promotion, NBC's Smash premiered Monday, and it well... lived up to the hype. Sorta. I wasn't completely swept away by the described "larger than life drama that follows a cross section of dreamers and schemers who have one common desire - to make it on Broadway." But Katherine McPhee, the 2005 American Idol runner-up, surprised me. The musical journey to decide the stage role of Marilyn Monroe looks promising, and you can watch the full pilot episode online here.
2. FX- Justified
The criminal underworld of Kentucky keeps getting more and more interesting. Four episodes into season three, the writing and acting of Justified has never been better. U.S. deputy marshal Raylan Givens finds himself entangled in a battle for control – drugs, extortion, you name it – of Kentucky's Harlan County. With well handled, interweaving plot lines, Justified looks to continue its stellar pace Tuesday on FX in the episode titled "Thick as Mud."
3. FX- Archer
Hilarious from start to finish, each episode of Archer brings with it the feeling that the last 30 minutes of your life were well spent. The James Bond meets Arrested Development cartoon (in no way for children) is top-notch entertainment for those who love not only action, but extensive character-driven dialogue. I dare you to watch it Thursday nights on FX. And if you want to learn how to be like the world's greatest secret agent, Sterling Archer, check out his book "How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written."
What to avoid
I'm not one to pay for HBO, but if you happen to be someone that does, save yourself some time and do not watch Luck (watch the trailer here). Looks like a typical high budget, high-caliber acting, dramatic HBO show doesn't it? I mean, you can't go wrong with Dustin Hoffman, right? He seems almost too good to be on television in the first place. And then there's Michael Mann directing the pilot episode and serving as series producer.
And yet, unless you absolutely love the world of horses and horse racing, you will in all likelihood find Luck too densely focused on the racetrack. I watched the pilot episode with a couple of friends, and they each walked away essentially asking: "What exactly did we just watch?" There's little to no explanation for the relationships between the main characters (even Hoffman's Ace Bernstein). If you don't already know the intricacies of the racetrack, then tough luck. You either get what's going on, or you don't. Simple as that.
Whatever compelling camerawork Mann had going in the pilot disappeared by the second episode, making Luck more of a headache than an engaging, powerful drama.