<p>Casey James of 'American Idol'</p>

Casey James of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Shania Twain helps the Top 6 feel like a woman

The judges love Casey James and Aaron Kelly, while nobody mentions Mutt Lange

I really wish that "American Idol" wasn't insisting on calling Tuesday (April 27) night's theme The Shania Twain Songbook.

I'm not saying that Shania Twain doesn't have hits aplenty. She's popular and Grammy decorated and it often feels like she's written enough hits for 30 different Dodge and Chrysler commercials.

But The Shania Twain Songbook? Come on. Bob Dylan has a songbook. Cole Porter has a songbook. But in 60 minutes of programming tonight, do you think we're going to hear the name "Mutt Lange" mentioned a single time? Because if you aren't going to acknowledge a man whose name is on nearly every meaningful page in the Shania Twain Songbook, maybe you ought to just call it "The Music of Shania Twain" or just "Shania Twain Night."

Full recap of Shania Twain Night after the break...

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<p>Nicole and Derek dance on Monday's (April 26) 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Nicole and Derek dance on Monday's (April 26) 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Performances - Can anybody beat Nicole?

Erin Andrews also shines, while Evan fights a head-wound

Did you know that last week “DWTS”  was the number one show in television? Do you care? Really, Tom Bergeron, I wouldn’t get all that cocky, because now that Kate Gosselin is gone, there’s really no one truly  loathsome on the show, and really, that was half the fun. Now all that’s left is to hypothesize about who’s doing who, marvel at the ugly-ass outfits and think about, oh yeah, dancing. And seriously, who really likes ballroom dancing?

Anyway, this week, it’s tango or samba and a swing dance marathon. The kids are trotted out and Pamela Anderson is rocking a dark wig this week – I guess she’s trying to look more serious, less “Baywatch.” And, in other news, Erin Andrews appears to be mostly naked except for a hideous purple skirt and matching appliqués over her naughty bits. Really, I know ABC wants to keep that top spot in the ratings, but really, this is one step removed from pimping.

It’s time for dancing!

[Full recap of Monday's (April 26) night's "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]

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<p>Cherry Jones of '24'</p>

Cherry Jones of '24'

Credit: FOX

Recap: '24' Day 8 - '10 a.m. to 11 a.m.'

With Jack on the loose, President Taylor takes drastic actions to keep the peace agreement intact.

When last we saw Jack Bauer, he was flying away in a stolen helicopter with new CTU head Chloe O’Brien watching from the ground. With the show keen on showing that Jack’s work has left him all alone, it’s only fitting that he’s setting off to singlehandedly expose the involvement of the Russian government in the day’s atrocities. All this is well and good, but still pales in terms of the excitement of Alan Sepinwall announcing that he’s coming to HitFix, possibly to expose the nefarious acts of one Daniel Fienberg. So make sure to keep an eye on developments there, while I try and keep you abreast of the activities in the world of “24.” 

[Full recap of Monday's (April 26) "24" after the break...]

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<p>Yvonne Strahovski of 'Chuck'</p>

Yvonne Strahovski of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Honeymooners'

'Chuck' channels 'The Lady Vanishes' and '39 Steps' in a romantic, fun episode

After Monday (April 26) night's episode, "Chuck" fans have seen the future and the future turns out to be a ton of fun.

There's a lot of erroneously motivated paranoia regarding the horrors visited upon TV shows that consummate the will-they-or-won't-they tensions between main characters. Both audiences and the characters force themselves to hedge their bets by asking questions like, "What will happen if we hook up? How will everything change?" Those questions imply that change is evil and that change can't be organic in the same way that occasional human lives have been know to change dramatically in the real world.
 
In the season's last new "Chuck," Intersect-enhanced spy Chuck and handler-turned-colleague Sarah finally gave in to chemistry, temptation and flirtation and admitted that they loved each other.
 
Oh no! What will happen now that they've hooked up? How will everything change?
 
Maybe it's the 47 episodes it took to get us to this point, but Monday's "Chuck vs. the Honeymooners" made a compelling case that a "Chuck" in which Chuck and Sarah are a happy, sexually fulfilled couple can be every bit as good as a "Chuck" beholden to yearning glances and unspoken feelings. If "Chuck vs. the Other Guy" was the best episode of the season, "Chuck vs. the Honeymooners" was perhaps the season's most purely entertaining hour.
 
[More recapping of Monday's "Chuck" after the break...]
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<p>Dean Norris of 'Breaking Bad'</p>

Dean Norris of 'Breaking Bad'

Credit: AMC

Recap: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Sunset'

'Breaking Bad' surely had its fans wearing their fingernails down to nubs with 'Sunset'

"Breaking Bad" is better than almost any series on right now at ramping up tension in almost completely organic ways. That's because, I think, it takes its time to build toward those moments of tension. It believably puts all of the pieces in place to make catastrophe seem not only plausible but almost the only logical outcome of what's happening. It puts the dominos in place, and then it just casually flips over the first, letting the others fall in rapid succession. That means that the show's more casual fans complain when it seems like there's not a lot happening, but it also means there's little fans can do but get ready for what's to come when that first domino falls. Other series would have drawn out many of the developments in this episode for the better part of a season. "Breaking Bad" is content to have Hank's investigation into the RV last just three episodes and culminate in one of the most effortlessly tense scenes I've ever seen in the medium.

[Full recap of Sunday's (April 25) "Breaking Bad" after the break...]

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<p>Louie and Michael of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Louie and Michael of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race - 'I Feel Like I'm in, Like, Sicily'

Teams make noodles and puzzles and face confused cabbies in Shanghai
Sometimes, knowing the upcoming TV schedule can take a lot of the fun out of watching TV.
 
Because I was making plans for "Lost" finale day on May 23, I had to make sure that the "Survivor" finale was the week before, which led me to ascertain that the "Amazing Race" finale had to be May 9. And knowing that there were three episodes of "The Amazing Race" left and knowing that four teams remained and three teams compete in the finale, I didn't have much doubt that this Sunday's (April 25) episode was either a non-elimination leg or a "You're the first to arrive, unfortunately, this isn't the end of the leg..." leg. Stupid math and logic.
 
So as great as much of this week's episode was -- lots of good character moments, funny one-liners and potentially devilish tasks -- I never figured for a second that anybody was going home, so there was never all that much tension.
 
Oh well.
 
Full recap of Sunday's "Amazing Race," titled "I Feel Like I'm in, Like, Sicily," after the break...
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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: small; ">Gabourey Sidibe</span></p>

Gabourey Sidibe

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Host Gabourey Sidibe sings and MGMT performs

The 'Precious' star brings a winning personality to lazy 'SNL' writing

When “Precious” (I refused to type out the rest of the title) debuted at Sundance, all of the hype was surrounding Mo’Nique’s breakthrough performance: it was showy, it was horrifying, and it eventually won her an Academy Award. However, Gabourey Sidibe was sort of an unsung hero at that point, a talented young discovery who manages to bring to life a character who needs to be something more than an emotional punching bag for that film to truly succeed. But as the Awards season wore on, her winning performance and her winning demeanor unsurprising won over pretty much the entire world: she seems uncorrupted by her stardom, always smiling and always excited to be able to do the things that her success have afforded her. However, this means that her appearance as the host of “Saturday Night Live” could go in two directions: either her enthusiasm will make for a winning experience, or else her enthusiasm will finally find itself horribly misplaced as she is stuck hosting a lifeless comedy show in the midst of a fairly substantial creative black hole. 

Ultimately, I’d say that it leans more towards the former, although Sidibe succeeds at winning us over in spite of some pretty terrible material overall. 

[Full recap of the April 24 "Saturday Night Live" after the break...

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From 'Miss Mystic Falls'

Are you ready to dance?

Credit: the CW

Recap: 'Vampire Diaries' - 'Miss Mystic Falls'

Stefan rages, pushing Elena into the arms of the other Salvatore

This week in Mystic Falls, Stefan's nasty blood habit has gotten so out of control that maybe it's time for an intervention. But first, it's time for the Founder's Ball, the annual bash where the town's teenage hotties get their hair did and compete for the Miss Mystic Falls crown! More importantly, we all love Stefan and Elena's mushy romance -- but are the seeds of a love triangle being sewn as "Delena" (that's Damon + Elena, duh) heats up?

[Full recap of Thursday (April 22) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

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<p>Heidi Klum of 'Project Runway'</p>

Heidi Klum of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' Season 7 Finale - And the winner is...

It’s time for Bryant Park, as Mila, Seth Aaron and Emilio face off

Can you believe it’s time for the finale of “Project Runway”? Even though this has been one of the dullest seasons of “PR” in recent memory, I’m already feeling a little nostalgic. Remember all the brighty, shiny talents who have been strewn by the side of the runway like so much excess polyester? Anthony? Mya? Jonathan? That crazy Ping chick who didn’t know how to sew? That guy who never said anything and made ugly metal dresses? And… that other guy? And there were some girls, I’m pretty sure. Okay, maybe I won’t miss this season that much. But I am definitely excited about tonight. Admittedly, for me it’s more about rooting against one designer (Mila) rather than for Seth Aaron or Emilio (hey, they’re both good), but either way, Bryant Park is always exciting.

 

[Click through for a recap of Thursday's (April 22) "Project Runway" finale...]

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<p>Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson of 'Fringe'</p>

Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson of 'Fringe'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'The Man From the Other Side'

With the shapeshifters once again raising havoc, Peter gets ever closer to learning the truth about his origins.

Tonight’s episode of “Fringe” featured the moment most fans feared. With shapeshifting Thomas Jerome Newton back on the scene, and the creation of another portal between worlds imminent, it was time for Peter Bishop to learn his true nature. And, as you might have guessed, he didn’t take the news particularly well. The Bishop Boys are no more. At least for now. But then again, as the show constantly reminds us, there’s more than one of everything. And a man on a bridge possibly connecting them all. 

[Full recap of Thursday's (April 22) "Fringe" after the break...]

That’s right: rather than try to bring an entire building over from the other side, Newton simply wanted to bring a man. Or, rather, a Secretary. A Secretary of what, you ask? Good questions. I’m going with “Secretary of Whupping Interdimensional Butt” for now, or SWIB. He sent for three more of his kind to come over, assuming specific identities, and triangulate a harmonic signal using the exact coordinates in the other dimension. In theory, rather than expending tons of energy trying to cross over to the other side, whatever was inside those respective triangles would simply swap. 

Shapeshifters come through time and space in much the same way Terminators do, except instead of being naked, they are essentially embryos, albeit ones filled with inordinate amounts of mercury to facilitate the travel. Two of three shapeshifting miracles of life pop over, but the third one didn’t eat his Wheaties, and died in utero, albeit outside. (“Fringe” is delicious gross about such things.) Using a great deal of electricity (and a recently deceased man), Walter managed to speak to the third shapeshifter, who not only gave the team valuable intel, but also grabbed Walter’s hand and issued a simple, “I’m sorry,” before dying. 

All this gets us back to the man on the bridge, the aforementioned “Secretary.” In apologizing to Walter, the shapeshifter revealed that he’s familiar with the Walternate on the other side. I’m not sure if that confirms that the Walternate=Secretary, but it’s certainly a compelling idea. The only other possible candidate? William Bell himself, isolated and potentially exiled in the alternate universe for reasons we still don’t understand, and perhaps trying to get back. We only have his brief encounter with Olivia to go on, and Bell isn’t exactly the more reliable of sources. 

Peter saw this man on the bridge while trying to fix Walter’s device to disrupt the harmonics bringing over the middle part of an abandoned bridge. He saw something else, too: a police officer disintegrate right next to him. In the aftermath of his successful disruption of the energy field, he finally realized why Walter and Olivia have been acting so strangely lately. Another fact also came to light tonight: the two men only spoke once while Walter was in St. Claire’s, and the call centered around the suicide of Peter’s mother. Looks like she couldn’t handle the guilt over the decision she helped foster in “Peter,” either. One parent killed herself; another went mad. Peter? He got lost in the world, only to emerge for a brief time starting last year. 

And now? He’s lost and gone again, with potentially two Walters now looking for him. As a crucial part of the impending war (according to the Observers), whomever recruits Peter to his side will have a distinct advantage in that battle. In that sense, if it was the Walternate that crossed over, he didn’t need Peter to see him. Peter had already seen plenty that day to shake him loose from his preconceptions. After all, before destroying the world of the man that stole his son, the Walternate is undoubtedly interested in destroying the man himself. 

 

Some more points about tonight’s episode… 

*** As a lover of all things J.J. Abrams, I knew that Peter would find out about his true nature the moment he called Walter “Dad.” I mean, talk about the kiss of the death, right? 

*** I didn’t even know of ONE way to roast a reindeer, nevermind multiple options. I am clearly behind on my culinary skills. 

*** With the use of Rush at the beginning of the episode, I got the strong urge to play “Missile Command.” Thanks a lot, “Chuck.” 

*** The awakening of the shapeshifting embryo? Pure and utter “Frankenstein.” Loved it, especially the genuine scare when the shapeshifter’s hand grabbed Walter’s. 

*** Joshua Jackson’s understated nature during his final scene with John Noble really paid off. Had he blown into straight histrionics, the scene wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. But but playing it with controlled, eloquent, understated fury, he conveyed betrayal more than anger, which cut Walter even deeper than rage ever could. 

What did you make of Peter’s revelation? Did it pay off the season-long tension, or fall flat? And who do you think is the Secretary? Sound off below! 

 

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