Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
Miley Cyrus performs and 'Idol' pares down to its touring company
9:00 p.m. ET. Sorry, "American Idol. There's really no way you can make last week's elimination of Lacey Brown seem shocking or dramatic. Then again, I guess it's easier to find "dramatic, climactic" music than to find "sleepy, anticlimactic" music.
9:01 p.m. But there *are* stakes tonight. Whoever gets sent home will miss out on the tour, will become this season's Alexis Grace. I still feel a little sad about Alexis Grace, in case you can't tell.
Who's going home? Find out after the break...
Richard Alpert takes center stage in the season's biggest episode so far
Who is that handsome devil in that picture?
"Lost" writers Melinda Hsu Taylor and Greggory Nations had one of the most difficult jobs in the entire history of the series tonight, and they more than rose to the occasion. Before I pressed "play" on my DVR this evening, I actually hesitated. This is one of those episodes we've been waiting to see for quite a while, and as much as I was looking forward to it, it also made me sad. This really is the home stretch now. In two months, it will all be over. No matter what we think of the answers we're getting, we are getting answers, and for a "Lost" fan, that's almost disconcerting at this point.
Richard Alpert was first introduced to the series in "Not In Portland," way back in season three of the show, and little by little, he's taken focus as one of the most significant characters of the entire series. Until this episode, though, just how significant was unclear. If you're one of those people who still complains that the show is more question than answer, tonight must have knocked you for a loop, because it was pretty much answer from start to finish. It also broke the formula that this season has followed. Instead of a flash sideways to the alternative timeline we've followed all year, we returned to the simple flashbacks that were such a staple of the series in the first few seasons.
Billboard Hit Night actually yields more misses from the 'Idol' singers
Welcome, friends, to another two-hour "American Idol" Tuesday.
This Tuesday (March 23) night was originally a Teen Idols theme, but it was changed at the last minute to the far-more-nebulous Billboard #1s theme. I have no idea what that means, but it's sure to be generic, since it encompasses any top hit in any genre dating back to 1958 [Billboard Hot 100 only].
While the theme is gone, Miley Cyrus, who dates back to 1992 or so, remains on-board at tonight's mentor. She's sporting the most makeup for any "American Idol" mentor since Verdine White.
Miley's also the first guest mentor to give all of her advice in blue jean short-shorts since Quentin Tarantino.
On to the performances, after the break...
With CTU dismantled, Chloe tries to save the day while Dana tries to suppress her past once and for all.
It’s been two solid weeks in a row for “24,” ladies and gentlemen. With a show such as this, it’s hard to have a series of episodes of wildly erratic quality: since it’s so plot-driven, the show’s about as good as its story. To date, the story of Season 8 has been wildly unfocused while feeling painfully familiar: we’ve gone from an assassination attempt to a coup to a nuclear attack while moving through four or five possible Big Bads. All this while employing the usual tricks and trades that the show employs in order to take a 5-6 hour story and turn it into 24 hours of prime-time entertainment.
Roughly halfway into this season, has “24” finally found its narrative stride? The jury’s still out. Tonight did feature some tense scenes with Jack, some classic Chloe O’Brien, finally turned the season’s weakest link (the Dana subplot) into…well, you’ll see in the full recap, after the break...
What's a Red Test and will Chuck be able to pass? And who could go for a Subway sub?
So let's say that due to circumstances beyond your control (or possibly within your control), your life situation has changed. You suddenly find yourself in an environment, in a job, that you never necessarily wanted to be in. But you're there. You're committed to it.
Now what's the worst thing you can imagine having to do to prove that you belong, to prove that you're prepared to to go all the way and embrace the New You?
That was the big question in the background of Monday (March 21) night's "Chuck," titled "Chuck vs. the Final Exam."
How far would you go?
[Full recap of "Chuck vs. the Final Exam" after the break...]
AMC's meth-fueled dramedy starring Bryan Cranston returns for its third season
The opening scene of the third season of "Breaking Bad" is one of the more arresting out-of-nowhere images I've seen on TV. An old man, presumably Hispanic, is crawling through the dirt. What appear to be tears stain his face. He's slowly making his way away from something ... or perhaps toward something. And yet, the people around him, standing and going about their business, simply do not seem to care. And then the camera pulls out, and we can see that this old man is one of many. There are dozens of people crawling through the muck, supplicated to something we can't yet see.
[More recap after the break...]
Champagne challenges and incorrect directions cause tensions to bubble up
In its lesser moments, "The Amazing Race" has been prone to being geographically irrelevant. All too often, teams fly thousands of miles around the globe, arrive at one of the world's most remote, most exotic locations and then teams are asked to bungee jump or to swim a few laps in a pool. They're asked to do things that could pretty much be done anywhere on Earth without any variation in the task or the outcome.
Perhaps that's why I'm tolerant, even excited, about an episode like Sunday's (March 21) "Amazing Race." Normally, I wouldn't exactly be pleased by an hour that ended and began with the same team in first and the same team in last and only a little minor shuffling in the middle. But "Cathy Drone?" was a lovely celebration of French Champagne Country, awash in important life (and "Race") lessons and, in some ways, a clever counter to traditional "Amazing Race" strategy.
Full recap of Sunday's "Race" after the break...
Daniel and Joseph take two very different approaches to locate their daughter's avatars
Fans of “Caprica” are almost universally also fans of “Battlestar: Galactica.” Not all, but most. So when I tell you that everything has happened before, and will happen again, you have more context for the speech than simply Amanda’s utterance of it last week. What tonight’s episode, “Ghosts in the Machine,” sought to demonstrate was just how one iteration of one stage of the neverending cycle started to pick up speed. Both Daniel and Joseph spent this episode looking for their daughters, fully unaware of how much they are fueling the fire of the younger generation’s imminent revenge.
As yes, I use the phrase “fueling the fire” intentionally. Between Zoe’s pathological fear of it to the invocation of Prometheus in New Cap City, the episode foreshadowed the fire the will engulf the Twelve Colonies in the near future. But that’s a tale for another time. Let’s focus our recap on the here and now, shall we?
[Full recap of Friday's (March 19) "Caprica" after the break...]
Which contestant will throw the other one under the bus?
Okay, I’ve finally figured out that Lifetime, home of the woman in peril/menopause/a tawdry extramarital affair with the underage but ripped pool boy movie, is not entirely trustworthy when it comes to promos. But, even after seeing and scoffing at the ridiculously over-the-top plug for this week’s “Project Runway” (“But NO ONE is prepared for what happens NEXT, bah dah DUM!”), I’m still excited to see this episode. After all, it’s a team challenge, and if there’s one thing we know about “PR” is that this is a certain recipe for the kind of passive aggressive sniping, angrily thrown pin cushions and weeping/high-pitched screeching that makes reality television so much fun but sucks eggs in real life. But good news, this isn’t real life (or at least it isn’t ours), so let the hysterics begin!
In another 90-minute episode, the models get naked and two are sent home
Cycle 14 of "ANTM" seems to be moving quite fast. Looks like the show producers want the girls to get naked on the second date. Here comes the obligatory nude photo shoot, girls!
[Nudity and more from Wednesday's (March 17) "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]