Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Supernatural' Saturdays: "Mommy Dearest" Tweetathon Round-Up...

- Less than 15 until . I assume all you east coasters already made the wire hanger jokes, so I'll refrain...

- Okay, here we go. I try to avoid Tweeting spoilery things, but expect a lot of incoming messages nonetheless.

- Yeah, Dean, kill 'er! Kill 'er simply because she can't act!

- Oh my, the angel pick-up line is cheesy even when you're in on the joke.

- The envy fight from was cooler. Just sayin'

- But Dean, you're not evil. You're the chosen one in the good sense. Nothing will burn you. Except, you know, fire.

- "Cas, get out of my ass!" Oh my, best line ever. Put THAT on a tee-shirt.

- Also, I'm glad the show pointed out that Dean is always the chosen one to call Cas. He's teacher's pet.

- Welcome back, vampira.

- I honestly can't tell if Sam is lying about being happy to see her. But I'm happy to see her. @

- Everyone does NOT always give in. Dean didn't. It's 50/50 in this family.

- Is this the first time we've learned Eve can use them as spies? I feel like this is new info to me. And if so, can she use Sam that way?

- Cas: The Killer of Exposition. LOVE. HIM.

- This town is so, so clean. It's such a juxtaposition from "Frontierland."

- Okay, where did the Winchesters get the money for an iPad!?

- When Dean and Cas team up, it's always my fave. They are unintentionally hilarious.

- For the record, though, I don't think Cas is a baby in a trenchcoat. THIS is a baby in a trenchcoat:

- That's a shame. That kid was cheesy but cute.

- Are they just pretending they never used this actor playing the Sheriff before? Or is he a traveling demon?

- Okay I'm officially confused by what kind of monster Eve is creating here. But whatever it is she seems to be failing. Typical

- How are they not even flinching with all the coughing and spewing? I know they've seen a lot but GROSS.

- Gives new meaning to "hit the bar," I guess.

- See, ? Hybrids are ALL the rage!

- I don't know why, but I always figured Dean would have a soft spot for "We Built This City." Guess not. That makes me kind of sad.

- There's a swordplay game on the Wii Fit that I will never be able to look at the same again...

- Well, you had a gag on. He couldn't talk even if he wanted to, Joe. You're not as smart as the other big brother.

- There's Dean's bleeding heart. I've missed that this season.

- Poke the pig, Bobby! I could go for some bacon.

- 5 minutes or 5 hours, your mojo doesn't work, Cas, what can you do?

- Huh. Apparently something. Interesting. Intriguing. Makes me want to see next week's episode right now & this one isn't over!

- Cas may not have had much experience with human firearms, but I'm putting my money on him for the kill-shot. The war in heaven is great.

- Is the special human flesh? Cause no thanks. But if it's fried chicken...

- "You have no idea" -- Heh Dean and I think alike.

- Aw crap...

- No, Sam, it's not impossible. If you're in the "road so far" piece, you're coming back.

- No, you do NOT mess with the sun. I need it for tanning!

- Samantha Smith is doing a good job of channeling Julia Maxwell for this performance. But she's still outshining her.

- I think the perfect beast has already been built. Any guesses?

- It's always the baby bro. Always.

- Well, that commercial break certainly made it seem like it took Dean & Sam a LONG time to process...

- How many times has a deal backfired? Does Sam really not remember Ruby!?

- Drinking ashes: better or worse than snorting them?

- Bobby is always the voice of reason. I cannot wait for next week!!

Closing Remarks: I think it's officially become a problem that by the time I can watch Supernatural on the west coast, I have seen so many "Holy crap" Tweets and commentary. Look, I love every episode of the show; even the ones I deem "not as strong" are still better than most shows out there, genre or otherwise, but the hype I build up in my head based on everyone else's reactions often make me sit back at the end of an episode and go "That was it?" Unfortunately, that's what happened tonight.

Perhaps it's because no matter how cool or fascinating a new monster hybrid introduced looks or acts (and believe me, some of these were quite fascinating), I know it's just a means to an end. It's not about the monster of the week hunt anymore; it hasn't been for a long time. And while it may still matter that Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) figure out what they are so they can figure out how to kill them, in the grand scheme of things that is such an action point to get them from A to B now that I was kind of bummed it took up so much time of the episode. Especially because when they finally went back to kill the supposedly biggest and baddest monster ever, someone else had gotten there first and done the job for them. Where's the fun in that??

As I said, I'm fascinated by the new monsters-- err, excuse me, Jefferson Starships Eve can create. I find them all so much more interesting than her. And I was eagerly awaiting the returns of both Samantha Smith and Amber Benson, even though I knew the latter was only going to be for a brief moment. I love it most when the series surprises the boys (and the audience) with blasts from their pasts because it always catches them at the worst possible time and makes them react sloppily. This episode certainly threw a lot of curves at the boys-- in the form of the assumed doppelgangers and then the kids that they surely saw as extensions of themselves and finally their mother standing before them-- but if the script had been stripped of all the curves and instead built more upon what was actually going on, it would have been even more fascinating to watch the news sink in. That's the real story, anyway; everything else was just filler.

And when it came to Mama Mary, the emphasis was certainly on "finally," no!?

Since Smith wasn't playing Mary but instead Eve in Mary's corporeal form, it was a much different performance and scene than I expected. Unfortunately this meant we missed out on some of Dean's more emotional moments, staring down the woman he lost so long ago, but it almost couldn't be any other way. In the last six years, he has had to face her a number of times, and he has put her in his past where she belongs. He has grown up a lot and come a long way and dare I say it? May have finally completed the grief cycle.

So instead we got to see Smith's take on Eve. It was kind of muted, but I suspect that was because she had seen what Julia Maxwell was doing with the role and needed it to match enough. She had kind of a quiet confidence; she could stay calm and composed and never even raise her voice but still instill fear. I bought it, but she was still the Winchester matriarch-- the woman in the oversized white nightgown who always guided and at least tried to protect her sons in the past. So when she died all over again, it was hard for me to see. Somehow it didn't seem that hard for her on-screen kids, though, but like I said: they've become somewhat detached.

I really, and I mean REALLY freakin' liked that Eve was not nearly as important to the overall mythology as we were originally led to believe. I honestly don't know if that was originally the case, but knowing what I do now, it certainly feels like it was their intention all the way through. After all, I had complained in previous episode commentaries that for a so-called "big bad," Eve was certainly still on the out-skirts of the story pretty late in the season. But the thing is: even if the writers knew she was never really going to be the big bad, the characters didn't. They were still chasing her, and by default the audience really should have been, too. By not using her more leading up to this episode, it makes it really clear to look back and go "Of course she's not that important!"

I want to go back and pick through the season to see if the truth about Eve and Castiel and Crowley (Mark Sheppard) holds up well or is hinted at in subtle, even subtextual ways. Off the top of my head the moments I am remembering feeling "off" before could fit into that-- but they could end up still feeling just as inconsistent but for different reasons. Thinking about "Mommy Dearest" post-viewing, the episode felt unbalanced, most probably because the writers wanted to be "clever" and zag at the last minute where they hoped and prayed and assumed the audience would expect them to zig. But the season as a whole feels unbalanced, and kind of poorly time-managed now that we have this great revelation for two powerhouse characters and really only one episode in which to tell their side of things. It's unfortunate that so much time was wasted and that the show relied on the "gotcha" factor of the "twist" to be enough to sustain.

I'm not going to nitpick too specifically or harp too loudly about all of that, though, because honestly I'm just glad Eve is done, dead, gone. Hear that, Sera Gamble? I know that just because you die on this show doesn't mean you can't come back, but leave this one dead!

But I can't help but wonder: what the hell is Castiel (Misha Collins)'s end game? And at this point, does he really have one, or has his original plan gone so awry he is now acting out of his ass (hey, that was a common remark/theme in this episode, after all!)?

Friday, April 29, 2011

From LA Examiner: 'Love Bites' Finally Gets An Airdate; 'Smallville' Series Finale Sneak Peek...

"NBC makes room for Love Bites on its summer schedule"

Say what you will about being "sloughed off" in a summer time slot, we have seen the previous wasteland of Friday nights become a powerhouse this year with quality scripted programming across multiple networks. So the fact that Vulture reported today that Love Bites has finally found a home on the peacock network (in the summer scheduled) can in fact mean good things... [MORE]

"Smallville series finale sneak peek"

If you've been watching Michael Rosenbaum in his new FOX comedy Breaking In then seeing him don the Lex Luthor bald cap once again is a bit jarring. But somehow, even if you're taken aback, it looks like he has come home, doesn't it? ... [MORE]

Pop Culture Winners of the Week (April 25-29)...

- The Voice, NBC, every advertiser, coach, and contestant associated with it, and every TV viewer who tuned in.

I am only picking one winner of the week this week. It's not because I'm lazy and not because I'm burnt out. No, not even a little bit. It's also not because my snarky little brain can think of more losers than winners lately. Ahem. But I also think that this one truly took the cake.

Sure, you could say that toward the end of the advertising campaign, it was a little bit of overkill. The countdown clock next to the peacock bug during The Biggest Loser set it over the top. The promos, while emotional, were in every break. Literally. But somehow, surprisingly, it lived up to the hype. And more importantly, they were effective. People tuned in in-- what's that expression-- droves? This was much more than droves! 11.8 million viewers for the premiere, beating everything else, including a super-sized glee and Dancing with the Stars.

The show's producers did a great job of weaning through talent so that by the time they hit that stage every one of them actually had some talent (therefore not embarrassing anyone, which I admit is the only interesting part of Idol for me), something I thought might be schmaltzy and dull. But it wasn't. Because when talent shines, it really shines. It really wasn't a surprise to see so many of the coaches want the same contestant, and it really wasn't a surprise that America wanted them, too. Twitter blew up (I even live-Tweeted simply because I found I couldn't hold my commentary in!), and iTunes exploded with searches for some of the soon-to-be-stars. That is the definition of overnight sensation. Even if they don't make it past the duet round, managing to shoot up to number 30 on iTunes is a B.F.D. for an unsigned, previously unknown artist.

It was emotional at times, but the focus was on the voices, just like the title would suggest, and the back stories of the contestants fell to the side. Character development is so important to today's television viewer, but it is always best when it comes out over time, naturally, rather than threaded through exposition (or in the case of a reality show, in an interview) in the first episode.

But that doesn't mean the tears didn't come! A beautiful voice can crack you like no sad story can! And then to watch the nerves fade away when a coach spins around in their chair, signifying that the person is as good as he or she hopes...the excitement is palpable, and that's when the performance really comes alive.

And yes, the suspense of will they or won't they hit the button wasn't entirely necessary. I much preferred to watch the contestant sing his or her heart out on stage than cut to an insert shot of a hand hovering. Apparently hitting a button is not that easy, Staples! But I imagine it mimics what many of the viewers at home are feeling, deciding on whether or not they would buy a single or EP from the particular person on stage.

I also must admit I have a newfound respect for Adam Levine after watching his style on this show. He really puts a lot of thought into the process of building a team, but he is very sincere about who he wants and who he just thinks isn't right for him. When he's jamming in the chair, back to the stage, he gets into the sound, and when he spins around he never lets a person's look take him aback or make him think twice about that passion. That's not something I can say for everyone at this point in time.

I don't know a lot about music. I know what I like, but I don't listen to enough of an eclectic variety to be nearly as knowledgeable about it as I am about television. I didn't know Blake Shelton before this show, but now that I do, I like him, too. He may not turn me into a country fan, but he's part of what has just made me a reality TV fan. Well, at least a The Voice fan!

I'm clearly sold. Are you?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From LA Examiner: 'Smallville' To Get A Complete Series Special Box Set; 'The Vampire Diaries' Spoilers; 'Supernatural' S6 Finale Summary...

"Smallville: The Complete Series DVD to include Superboy pilot!"

Smallville may be coming to an end on The CW on May 13 2011, but come this fall fans will have a whole new reason to celebrate! A Smallville: The Complete Series collector's DVD boxset will hit shelves chock full of bonus content in addition to all 218 episodes of the series... [MORE]

"The Vampire Diaries S2 finale will put Damon on a quest for forgiveness"

If you've been thinking that The Vampire Diaries really feels to be all about Damon (Ian Somerhalder) lately, well, you may be onto something! Earlier today at a press Q&A in Los Angeles series E.P. Julie Plec shared that the final few episodes of the season really are about his struggle for forgiveness... [MORE]

"From Damon & Stefan to Elijah & Klaus: The Vampire Diaries brotherhood"

The Vampire Diaries, at its core, is about family for its Executive Producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. It doesn’t matter how much gore they show off or how many genre elements they introduce, at the end of the day it is about loving and fighting (and sometimes even fighting the love of) one’s family... [MORE]

"Supernatural season six finale secrets"

Is it the week of May 16th yet?? Today The CW released the official summary for the May 20th season sixth finale of Supernatural. As promised, it is a two-hour event but not one super-sized episode. The two very distinct chapters in the story are just airing back-to-back, with the first hour much more focused on Dean (Jensen Ackles) and his journey for a "normal" life and family, while the second hour and ultimately the specific season finale episode will chronicle Sam (Jared Padalecki)'s struggles... [MORE]

"Community explodes in all of the colors of paintball"

Sergio Leone homages are certainly a big deal on network television these days! Not only did Supernatural do one with their western episode, "Frontierland," but Chuck has an upcoming ode to the famed Hollywood icon in their own season finale, "Chuck Vs The Cliffhanger." But the one who is taking it head on and not afraid to infuse their own specific brand of wacky humor on it is Community... [MORE]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Win A Copy of 'Jawbreaker' On Blu-Ray...

When ABC Family created the "original" sequel to Mean Girls, they claimed the film really took girl-on-girl crime to a new level. But what they seemed to fail to remember was the film that started it all when it came to such bitchy behavior: Jawbreaker.

The nineties were full of "geeky girl turned popular kid" stories, but this cult classic went in a whole different direction. The high school beauties here were the ones everyone wanted to be-- that many might even kill to be. But unfortunately this "flawless four" made one huge mistake. They decided to prank the future prom queen, and things went so south they ended up accidentally killing her (well, she choked on a jawbreaker). Suddenly the "Satan in Heels" nickname popular girl Shayne (Rose McGowan) attracted was suddenly, literally, earned, and it became a rush to cover up the crime and offer a makeover to a delightfully dorky girl who witnessed it all and could spill the secrets.

A true pop culture nerd's dream, this film is a who's who of before they were stars. In addition to McGowan, Mad Love's Judy Greer, No Ordinary Family's Julie Benz, and Rebecca Gayheart starred. Then of course there were smaller roles held by Tatyana Ali, Pam Grier, Jeff Conaway, and Ethan Erickson!

Now Jawbreaker is being adapted into a Broadway musical, and it has just been released on Blu-Ray with a special anniversary edition and one of YOU lucky Made Possible by Pop Culture readers has a chance to win a copy!

Entering this one is really, really simple. Between now and noon on Friday, April 29th, simply contact me either through Twitter, email, or comment below by telling me something YOU regret from high school. You know, assuming the story told in this film is one that these women, if real and alive today, would actually regret!

Good luck!!

The Road So Far: DanielleTBD's Favorite 'Supernatural' Episodes From The First Six Seasons...

In the wake of yesterday's announcement from The CW that Supernatural would, in fact, be coming back for a second season, Made Possible by Pop Culture wanted to go back and consider our favorite episodes of the series so far. It's not an easy feat, nor is it one I have never attempted before, but I welcome the challenge of whittling down the moments and seeing which ones consistently withstand the test of time!

5. "Home" - This is really the first episode where I truly "got" the overall mythology to the show. Sam (Jared Padalecki)'s psychic abilities were in full force, hinting at just how important he was going to be to this whole story, but both brothers dealt with some deep-rooted mommy issues when they returned to their old hometown, and their old home, to save another young mother and her children. Plus this episode introduced Loretta Devine in a role that was always meant to become bigger...well, maybe in season seven now!
4. "Mystery Spot" - I still get the giggles every time I think of the various ways the writers thought of in how to kill off Dean (Jensen Ackles). Some were heartbreaking, some were just plain ridiculous, but they were all clever. But still, the message the end was very sad and very true: Sam wouldn't be able to save his brother. He could only make the best out of the time they had left. While many probably looked at this episode as a stand alone and potentially even a "throw away," I see it as one of the more important ones in the shortened season three arc because it gave Sam-- and all of us, really-- one of his most important lessons.

3. "A Very Supernatural Christmas" - I may be a sucker for a good Christmas episode, but this one in particular gets me every time because of the concept of knowing you are staring down your own mortality and making the most out of your final holidays with your loved ones, no matter how f-ed up the situation around you may be. Plus, the Winchester boys as slightly deranged carolers? That's hot!

2. "Frontierland" - I tend to gravitate towards the more comedic episodes, and even though season six is not yet finished, this one certainly lands at the top of my list of favorites from it (and obviously, from all seasons!). Though you have to be willing to suspend your disbelief about time travel in order for this one to work, it's filled with so many pop culture and self-referential moments, and it pays careful respect to the continuity of the show's mythology. It offers the idea that Dean and Sam really can affect their own fate-- in ways they didn't even realize before. And of course, everyone just looks like they were having so much fun with this one, it's almost a big dare to the audience not to smile along, too.

1. "Lazarus Rising" - In the season four opener, not only did we get to see Dean emerge from the depths of hell (literally!) but for the first time the series introduced the idea of a heaven above us in addition to the hell below us. While in this episode Dean was still very much in the "shock" portion of his reaction, it was fascinating to watch him try to come to terms with something he never believed in. For three years we all watched demons walk among humans, so it was impossible not to believe in them; we had physical proof. Now we also have physical proof of the angels in the introduction of Castiel (Misha Collins).

Hmm, next time I may have to go for the Top Ten. Five just doesn't seem to do it justice!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Just In! 'Supernatural' Renewed For Season Seven!...

Today is the day so many of us have been waiting for! The CW finally made its announcement regarding a seventh season of Supernatural-- something which shouldn't have kept so many on the edge of their seats considering the guys were contracted for as many years but managed to because the turnover at the network meant that then-President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff, one of the show's biggest professional fans, wouldn't be the deciding vote. And who knew if her successor would have as much faith in the series, even though it was poised to become the second highest rated program once Smallville ended?

After a lot of speculation by some, optimism by others (back in February when asked about schedules for potential east coast fan conventions over the summer both Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles seemed confident they would be tied up filming in Vancouver come July), and all around rumors about how this season would end (cliffhanger like the first two years when the show seemed doomed for "brilliant but cancelled" status or wrapped up neatly, closing one arc in case it was its last, like last season), we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief: Supernatural will, in fact, be back for a seventh season...

From LA Examiner: FOX Picks Up New Sketch Show; 'Jeopardy!' To Host First Teachers Tournament; Damon Wayans Jr Has a Family Reunion on 'Happy Endings'

"FOX to premiere Jamie Foxx' In The Flow With Affion Crockett in August"

Formerly the "Untitled Jamie Foxx Project", In The Flow With Affion Crockett has been picked up by the FOX network for a special one-hour series premiere on Sunday, August 14th at 9pm... [MORE]

"Alex Trebek and Jeopardy! honor educators with first-ever Teachers Tournament"

For the first time ever Jeopardy! is about to embark on a Teachers Tournament. Shot in front of its usual live studio audience in Culver City CA and featuring a couple of local educators, the emphasis in this special week of shows is on the importance and impact of education. It may be a long time coming for this one, though: after all, they have students’ weeks; they even have kids’ weeks; but never before have they singled out teachers... [MORE]

"Damon Wayans Jr. talks Happy Endings as a mini-Wayans family reunion"

This week on Happy Endings Damon Wayans Jr. has a tough job. The young stand-up comedian and co-star on this new half-hour comedy series on ABC shared with LA TV Insider Examiner that he doesn’t usually like to go into a room-- audition or comedy club-- using his real name because he doesn’t want to be automatically compared to his father or his uncles. But sometimes it is inevitable because as much as he may try to downplay the family connection, he really does resemble his dad-- in physicality and in comic timing. The thing is: that family is just damn talented! And now Wayans Jr. has to meet his greatest competition head on when his real life father guest stars as his reel life father... [MORE]