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The Five: Mike C's fall picks

by Michael Canfield, posted Aug 4th 2006 2:36PM
Allison MackFrom John Madden to Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, and superheroes on the small screen (where they really flourish) -- here are the five things I'm looking forward to this Fall TV season:

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?

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For the record, I too was offended by those comments. Thank you for clearing up the fact that they were your misguided views and not those of TVSquad's, otherwise, I'd be hard-pressed to return.

I look forward to "The Five" posts, please don't degrade them again.

September 15 2006 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeremy Dayton

SMALLVILLE??? Are you kidding me? Some of these posts are just ridiculous. I'm a big fan of Smallville- but not so much to remember the titles of episodes from past seasons- so forgive me for explanation. Lana - played by Kristen Kreuk- (i do know that)- is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, and her acting is actually very believable. That's NOT the problem! The problem, as has been stated alreday- is that the writers seem infatuated with the idea of running circles around the same story arc- the problem is- having the Clark is finally fed up with Lex at the end of the past 2 seasons (was it season 4 when Clark saw Lex meet her at the airport)- doesn't fit Lana in anywhere0 unless she just gets "caught up" with one of them somehow. Has to be Lex now- she doesnt fit in anywhere else. Which takes us to the character development- which has also been mentioned. You guys are right! Wasn't it two seasons ago when Lex was ready to practically throw Lana under the helicopter when he thought she was covering for Clark as to the whereabouts of the crystal. It's ridiculous and a complete discredit to Lana's character. She was alwasy supposed to be the upstanding, morally correct one- and then all of a sudden- she is constantly hopping over the Lex's house to chit chat- KMOWING that Lex and Clark had issues- and SHE IS STILL DATING HIM. What girlfriend does that?!?!?! As pretty as she is- I got completely sick of seeing her be such a leech in scenes- and have no backbone. Her character has just gone downhill since season 3.

I'm not really a big Chloe fan- as I think her ability to crack codes and decipher clues should have her working for the federal government- ala Good Will Hunting- then in a small town like Smallville. I mean seriously- the way she takes some obscure name and types it into Smallville's version of google- and suddenly she knows that 50 years ago that guys great grandfather killed some guy with a meteor rock. It just downright stupid sometimes.

And Clark- I mean- in season 1 for crying out loud he was levitating above his bed. Was it not 2 seasons ago that he flew and stole the crystal from Lex's plane? When will flying be a norm- and not the exception. Once someone figures out they can fly- don't you thnk they'd prefer that to superhuman speed. It's easier to conceal your identity up in the sky than it is to show up like a flash of light on the ground. And stop with the occasional friendly pitstops with Lex. Although more rare- it's time to write off Lana as cuckoo and if she wants to stay with Lex in the hospital- so be it.

Lois- Where in the hell did her character come from. I like her- and she's not tough on the eyes- but she seems a bit over the top as compared with what she will eventually become. I do generally like her character though- just wish she'd tone it down a notch- and not be such a b**** sometimes.

Everyone else is top notch. Lex, Lionel, Mrs. Kent (except for her senatorial run replacing Jonathan- which i think is absurd)- are great. Clark- other than his inability to move FORWARD- and not forget what he has learned- about himself and his enemies/friends- is just a bit boring.

I knwo that a lo tof hot air- but still- all in all- I love the show- most of my complaints were of the last season- where I felt like the show just kind of stalled- mainly AFTER the dream epidode where Clark proposed- and we were all happy- for all of a quarter of a show... and then downhill from there- so I am truly hoping that the writers bring some believability and suspension of disbelief back to Smallville.

and please please please- can we go this next seaosn without lana being possessed by someone other than her own psychotic mind.

August 24 2006 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeremy Dayton

Mike C- You're an idiot. How's that for sarcasm and humor? Sure I could try to sound intelligent and say something like, "loopy tv character of a human being"... but what's the point. I took no offense to anything you said until you pointed out, probably the only 2 conservative woman's voices I've ever heard of to make a derogatory remark. Then you try to turn it on someone who comments on it as "looking to be injured"- you come off as just another typical liberal minded know it all who thinks he has it all figured out...

I by the way- think you're way off base on the show getting cancelled. Sorkin may get high on set every other day- but he knows how to do a show and keep it going. He just gave up on SportsNight with the idea of bringing it back one day- even though there were talks with HBO and other cable networks to keep it going- he just wanted to go head strong with West Wing. Now that he's back with Sunset Strip- this show will get AT LEAST 2 seasons- similarily to aformentioned SportsNight and Arrested Development.. shows hailed as genius by critics, but tough to find an audience...

August 24 2006 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim McCleese

Robin: I was not going to comment on this particular discussion, but your comment about Lana left me no choice. To call her dull is like calling Einstien an idiot. You think she is dull...well that is your minority opinion. She is one gorgeous talented actress that plays an interesting character. She is second only to Grace Park in talent and beauty.

August 10 2006 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris S.

Again, in what universe is Chloe useless? Without her, many would die because Clark has not shown himself to be smart enough to even turn a computer on, let alone use it to find info on whatever villain he is fighting this week.

August 08 2006 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seriously, if by the end of this season A) Lana isn't dead and B) Gough/Millar drop their "no tights" restriction and but Welling in the damn blue suit, I will completely write this show off. They're so interested in developing Lex as a character that they don't even care about the rest of the cast anymore. Chloe is useless, Lana is stupid and Clark seems to be in roughly the same place he was at the beginning of last season.

August 08 2006 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lana is too annoying now. More annoying speeches about honesty while she sneaks around is nothing to be excited about. Chloe is so bland and there just to come up with some computer nonsense to help the story along. Aquaman and Green Arrow are both dull. Too bad they couldn't do Batman. Maybe they'll keep in mind the main story and go back to focusing on Superman.

August 07 2006 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Canfield

Tonya, I said she stole HER BRIEF SCENE in the movie. And if you can't remember that between the time you read my post and the time you wrote your comment, then your characterization of what you can "barely remember" about Serenity is suspect. Chill out, browncoat!

August 07 2006 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Character development" and "Smallville" shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence, Mike. That said, I *heart* you for finally saying what so many other Chloe fans have said, on- and off-line, about matching a great actress like AM up with a "freckled goofball" of a character like Jimmy Olsen. AM/Chloe is the reason I'm still watching the show, and she deserves 'waaaay better than Jimmy, or Green Arrow when it comes to that. :)

August 07 2006 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sarah Paulsen was in Serenity? Really? And she stole the movie? Not if I can barely remember her being in it.

August 07 2006 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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