In honor of Thanksgiving, I could write a column about all the TV things I’m thankful for. Like I’m thankful that Lost, Scrubs and 24 will all be back in January. Or I’m so thankful that it actually looks like the Arrested Development movie is going to happen (remember there’s always money in the banana stand). And, of course, I’m thankful that Little J wiped off her bad eye makeup on Gossip Girl (although I am strangely indifferent to who Nate ends up with, how about you?).
But today I’m feeling a little cranky about all that’s happening in the world of television and I thought we could commiserate together.
Eli Stone is cancelled: You can insert which ever show you are most upset about —Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Lipstick Jungle or My Own Worst Enemy — into that sentence. I’ve been writing about TV for a long time. You would think that by now I would have become more accustomed to shows I love going to that great TiVo in the sky. And I certainly should be used to shows I don’t like (Knight Rider) living on in the wake of all these cancellations. But it smarts every time. I really loved Eli Stone for trying new things, pushing TV conventions, telling clever and compelling stories, always surprising me and for having reasons for Victor Garber and Loretta Devine to break into song. I’m going to miss it and I want to throw a tantrum and stomp my feet and scream a la Michael in last weeks The Office. "NO! NO! PLEASE NO! NOOOOOO!" There I feel slightly better.
Scheduling Shenanigans: Again, this is really something I should be used to by now but I still get annoyed every time. You’ll need an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the changes coming to FOX and as thrilled as I am that Life on Mars is getting a cushy post Lost time slot, I don’t think it is a good thing that a show that is just building real momentum (last week’s episode was fantastic) won’t be back until January 28.
Grey’s Anatomy: I’ve received many emails from you guys hoping that I have some explanation but I got nothing. I don’t know why Izzie is having sex with a ghost. I don’t know why Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) keeps telling Izzie "I’m here for you." And really can’t understand how the show has managed to turn such a beloved character into a pesky and creepy annoyance. They have truly outdone themselves.
What’s annoying you on TV these days? Talk about it below.
Best Go-To Familiar Faces
Each Wednesday, we talk about the familiar faces we’ve seen on TV over the past week. But there are some faces that are welcome every time we see them. Here are some of my favorite familiar faces:
Steven Weber: This season alone we’ve seen the ex-Wings man as Julie’s much older boyfriend on Desperate Housewives, Jack’s temporary replacement on Without a Trace and he’ll be back this Sunday as Graham Finch on Brothers & Sisters. He’s great at being in charge (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and even better at being the seductive love interest (Brothers & Sisters). My favorite role: As Sam Blue on Once & Again. I couldn’t blame Judy for falling for him. Where should he guest star next: On Private Practice obviously so he can reunite with Tim Daly.
Gail O’Grady: This fall, she’s causing all sorts of trouble as Porter’s lover on Desperate Housewives, was in the opening minutes of The Mentalist (remember she killed her husband) and was Delko’s therapist on CSI: Miami. The stunning O’Grady still exudes a relatable vibe and can easily vacillate from a down-to-earth mom (like the one she played on American Dreams) and to a judge with questionable ethics (like the one she played on Boston Legal). She can even do comedy as she proved in the short-lived Hot Properties. My favorite role: I just loved her as Donna Abandando on NYPD Blue. Where she should guest star next: Army Wives seems made for her.
Dean Winters: Just last week we saw him as Sam Tyler’s sleazy dad on Life on Mars. And that’s really Winters gift, he can be totally sleazy, totally funny (I laugh every time I think of the Beeper King on 30 Rock) and totally compassionate (poor Charley Dixon on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). My favorite role: As Tommy Gavin’s doomed brother Johnny on Rescue Me. Where he should guest star next: I would like to see him in another comedy. Maybe as the new Dunder Mifflin efficiency expert on The Office.
Zeljko Ivanek: You’ll see him again this week when he takes House hostage (Tuesday, FOX, 8 p.m.). He won an Emmy for his great work as Ray Fiske on Damages (and apparently death won’t keep him away from the second season). He also was in the pilot of The Mentalist and was pivotal as Juliet’s husband in the episode "Not in Portland" on Lost. Given his penchant for playing bad guys or at least not so nice guys, I’m always suspicious of him but he often bring a truly sympathetic side to the bad guys he plays (see Damages). My favorite role: A tie between Ed Danvers on Homicide (a sentimental choice because this is the first role I remember him in) and Andre Drazen, one of the show’s first villians on 24. Where he should guest star next: It’s hard to find a show he hasn’t been on but I think it would be fun for him to pop up on a show totally against type. Say an episode of Gossip Girl.
Those are four of my favorite go-to guest stars. What are yours?
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for November 24 — November 30
It’s the day of the wedding on Worst Week (Monday, CBS, 9:30 p.m.). This show still isn’t working for me? Is it growing on you at all?
Olivia tries to get to get rid of her memories of John Scott (Mark Valley) on Fringe (Tuesday, FOX, 9 p.m.). But Mark Valley doesn’t go away that easily. I actually think this show is getting better. How about you?
This is the episode of Without a Trace (Tuesday, CBS, 10 p.m.) some of us have been waiting for — Sam and Jack travel to LA to find a missing person and rekindle their romance.
Shawn wanted to make sure I reminded you that it is the 90-minute series finale of The Shield is this Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX. I definitely feel guilty about not keeping up with the show in its final season. Sons of Anarchy, a show I gave up on after three episodes, has its first season finale Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX.
That’s all for today. I’m back on Wednesday with this week’s familiar faces and more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face or want to nominate a topic for discussion? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you on Wednesday.
Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal