The Five: Mike C's fall picks
1. Lex, Lana, and General Zod love triangle: Forget Bryan Singer's not-too-bad film, forget the foul and execrable My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Smallville does comics right. And no ditzy bimbo sidekick for television's Lex Luthor, who appears to have won the heart of Clark's ex, Lana Lang, over the course of last season, and now he's possessed by the Superman II film villain, Zod. That's character development that movies, (even 2 hour 45 minute movies) just don't have time for. A Smallville cast addition: Jimmy Olsen? Who cares. And is that freckled goofball the best they can do as a love interest for adorable Chloe (Allison Mack)? Also, I'm thankful the suits passed on Aquaman. There's a reason Aquaman is the fake movie on Entourage -- the very idea is just ridiculous. A superhero should have powers that at least outweigh his weaknesses. (Has gills and the ability to bond with lobster and other entrees, but can't be out of water more than one hour?) Now, Justin Hartley is freed up to play Green Arrow on a Smallville arc. Come to think of it, cut Chloe a break and hook her up with Green Arrow.
2. Longer blocks of good shows. Battlestar Galactica is running its next full season without a break. And producers convinced ABC that Lost fans are right and their two-weeks-on, three-weeks-off schedule the first two seasons really wasn't the best thing for a show composed a long story arcs. Lost season three, will run in several longer blocks.
3. Sunday Night Football on NBC. I don't care what night or network it is on, nighttime football is the best, and John Madden and Al Michaels are the anchor team to end all anchor teams. Let's hope NBC doesn't get goofy with the casting and try to add, I don't know ... say, the Tonight Show's John Melendez, or Matt LeBlanc to the mix. Or Joe Rogan. Him neither. Plus, though like Jimmy Kimmel, I won't miss his cricket-chirp-inducing taped bits from the final season of ABC's Monday Night Football.
4. & 5. Sarah Paulson and Bradley Whitford. They are both on the soon-to-be canceled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. ( I hope I'm wrong -- but come on, you know it's true -- and at least the complete series DVD set that'll be out by this Christmas will make a nice gift.) Aside from the fact that both are great actors, my reasons for looking forward to their performances are completely different:
So Bradley Whitford: I was not a devoted West Wing viewer, but gravitated mostly to the campaign-year seasons. I'm going to miss Josh and am happy Whitford is diving right back into another Sorkin drama. Okay, Josh had to run around trying to keep the free world on track, so maybe his new role of a guy trying to get a moribund TV-skit show back on track is more than a bit of a comedown in stakes, but I love Whitford's easy and casual delivery. I hope his wife, Jane Kaczmarek, who played Mom Lois, on the recently-ended Malcolm in the Middle, gets another gig soon too.
Last but not least, Sarah Paulson. A well-regarded character actress with memorable TV guesting roles recent years on Deadwood and Nip/Tuck, she plays one of the "big three" on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- that is, one of the three stars of the SNL - inspired calcified comedy skit show that is the focus of the new Sorkin drama. With a gaggle of characters ranging from studio suits (like Amanda Peet) to show runners like Whitford and Matthew Perry's characters, and other cast members like D.L. Hughley, Paulson's (unfortunately Geritol-set named) character, Harriet Hayes, is one of many many that will have to fight for screen time. Her character sounds like something that came out of a first-year screen writing class exercise: "Hey she's a Christian but she's on a hit Hollywood show, AND she's smart and fair minded." But Paulson can't help but tease out the realism in any role she's tackled. She even stole her brief scene via hologram in in Serenity , the Firefly movie. With Paulson in the role and Sorkin at the helm, Harriet's not likely to turn into one of those loopy TV caricatures of a human being like, say, Ann Coulter or Elisabeth on the The View. Plus, the character now has to work for her ex-boyfriend -- and even worse -- it's Matthew Perry. How horribly fraught with dramatic potential is that?