Essential TV 2009

December 8, 2009

The next 4 Essentials posts, the last 4 of the year, will be “best- of” lists on books, music, movies and TV. Those that make the lists won’t be exclusively from 2009, but made up of my favorites I saw/heard/read for the first time in this year.

First up: TV

1.    Flight of the Conchords: Seasons 1 & 2. This is one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s about two clueless members of a band trying to make it in NYC, except their songs are awful, so awful/awesome they become parody songs.

2.    Summer Heights High– Only 8 episodes were ever made of this crazy show. I really don’t know how to explain it. The star, creator and writer plays 3 parts: drama teacher, troubled boy, and popular girl at Summer Heights High.

3.    Damages: Season 1 – Glenn Close is so scary in this murder thriller, and how about Ted Dansen? I never knew he could actually act before this.

4.    In Treatment: Season 1 – What a excellent idea. Gabriel Byrne plays a therapist treating 4 clients and eters therapy himself. Each episode is one session, each client always showed on a certain weekday (this show aired 5 times a week) The writing and acting are something to marvel at. It’s just the two of them, Byre and his patient, for the episode. It takes great talent to hold tension for so long

5.   Arrested Development: Seasons 1, 2, & 3- I’m going to be original here and just say: it’s funny.

6.   Friday Night Lights– I heard critics rave about this show for years and years, and the they were right. This drama about a high school football team is unbelievable. If you watch the pilot (reminiscent of Remember the Titans), I think you’ll be hooked just like I was.

7.    Community– I love Joel McHale, but I always love Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed’s (Danny Pudi) bits at the end.

8.    V– Best new drama this season.

9.    The Office, (USA)- Until this year, I refused to watch this show because I LOVE the British version so much, but I gave in once Netflix put it on instant view. The first few episodes of USA are complete copies of the UK edition, but after that, Michael Scott found his footing in a new way. ANd even though the name and general idea are the same, the 2 editions are completely different because they were both tailored to their respective audiences.

10.  Gossip Girl: Season 1- I tried this show and loved it. I heard it got really bad in the 2nd and 3rd seasons, but in season 1 its more like Dawson’s Creek, just more high fashion and with more money. But at the end of the season, I knew I’d never watch another episode.

The Pop Culture Essentials

November 2, 2009

by Andrea Burke

November 1- 7:

1. The Men Who Stare at Goats.  This movie looks hilarious to me. I can’t really explain why, part of it may be that I love George Clooney and Ewan McGregor

2. Strict Joy- The Swell Season. If you have seen the excellent movie Once, you know how awesome this pair is. They released a new album last week! Go buy it!

3. Ricky Gervais, the man who created The Office, Extras, and wrote/directed and starred in The Invention of Lying, will be on David Letterman Friday.

4. Michael Bublé – Haven’t Met You Yet. I can’t get this song out of my head.
5. It’s a new month, so Amazon has a new batch of 50 mp3 albums for $5.00, including albums from the Black Eyed Peas, Owl City, The Avett bros, The Decemberists, Tim McGraw, Ben Harper, and Johnny Cash.
6. Classic of the week: High Noon starring Gary Cooper. This is one of the best movies ever. It comes on TCM Thursday at 6:00.
7. Travel Writing by Peter Ferry
8. The Office Music video. ‘Nard dog steals the show in my opinion.
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The Pop Culture Essentials

October 4, 2009

by Andrea Burke

Oct 4- 10:

1. Zombieland– I’ve seen it but you have to!

2. An Education in theaters Oct 9. I hadn’t heard of this movie until I heard Fresh Air’s interview with writer Nick Hornby, who also wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy. The premise seems kind or ordinary, but I liked  Hornby in the interview so much that I’ll probably see it.

3. So You Think You Can Dance. I had to take a break from all the stupid auditions, but finally the best of the best journey to Vegas on Wed Oct 7!

4. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. The Pulitzer winner debuts his first work of non-fiction Tuesday (Oct 6)

5. Away We Go on DVD Oct 6. John Krasinski (better known as Jim Halpert- see #6) and Maya Rudolph play a couple expecting their first child who travel around looking for the ideal place to set up house and home. It got an A- from EW.

6. The office. Its the wedding episode! Jim and Pam finally tie the knot! Thank goodness because this last episode was terrible. Oct 8 on NBC at 8:00

7. Classic of the week: My Man Godfrey comes on TCM Thursday Oct 8 at 10:15. I heart this comedy starring William Powell.

8. Music. If you didn’t know, every month Amazon puts 50 mp3 albums up for $5 . October features a wide array of choices including albums by Nina Simone, Roy Orbison, Third Eye Blind, Kiss, Taylor Hicks, the Noisettes and (the album I just bought) The Avett Brothers

Emmy Predictions

September 20, 2009

Andrea’s Emmy Predictions

Lead Actress in a Comedy series: Tina Fey.

Lead Actor in a comedy series: I wish Jermaine Clement would win for Flight of the Conchords, because even though its my absolute favorite show, I don’t really want Alec Baldwin to win again, but I think he will. My fingers are crossed for Jermaine!

Best Comedy Series:  30 Rock, and maybe Alec should win….

Best actor in a drama: My vote is for Gabriel Byrne. if he doesn’t win, he should have.

Best drama series: I am definitely torn between Lost and Damages, although I think Mad Men will win.

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Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy series: There’s only one answer: COLBERT!

Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series: too close to call. Dwight, Kenneth, Tracy and Neil Patrick Harris all nominated- impossible to choose!

Enjoy the show!