George Steinbrenner, the mercurial, temperamental, and never dull owner of the New York Yankees for my entire lifetime, died this morning of a heart attack.
I'll leave it to others to weigh in on both the bad (Nixon, Howard Spira, Billy Martin, Steve Trout, several decades of emotionally abusing employees) and the good (seven World Series titles, a relentless - if at times poorly-planned - commitment to winning, less-publicized kinder moments) that came with Boss George. Instead, I wanted to remember George Steinbrenner, "Seinfeld" character.
Steinbrenner never played himself in an aired version of the show (though I believe he did once film a scene that was cut). Instead, the character always appeared in silhouette or from behind, and was voiced by Larry David himself (which was easier to do pre-"Curb," when few people knew what David sounded like), and was the most wonderfully loopy boss on a series that took great pleasure in giving its characters weird and hilarious bosses (Mr. Pitt, Mr. Kruger, etc.). Steinbrenner was introduced to the show during the end of the Yankees' early-'90s misery (one of the show's earliest cameos by a Yankee player was the unfortunate Danny Tartabull) and was still around after the team won its first World Series in almost 20 years, but the character was just as funny whether the real team was good or bad.
Here are links to two compilations of most of the great George-meets-George scenes, with the highlight being Steinbrenner's trip to the Costanza house around the six-minute mark of the first video: Part One & Part Two.
Once again, we’re spending Tuesdays this summer revisiting Joss Whedon’s space Western “Firefly,” and this week brings with it a very familiar face from another show that’s about to become a staple of the blog this summer. A review of “Our Mrs. Reynolds” coming up just as soon as I kill you with my pinkie...
A few weeks back, there was a report that ABC was considering a remake of "Alias," with a new cast and a streamlined approach that was heavy on the spy missions and lighter on (if not absent of) the convoluted Rambaldi mythology. This idea seemed silly, not only because "Alias" went off the air only four years ago, but because so much of what made the show memorable was Jennifer Garner.
But the timetable on remakes seems to speed up all the time, to the point that it's not surprising the CW is introducing a new version of "Nikita" (another show about a deadly female spy) only nine years after USA's "La Femme Nikita" came to an end.
And tomorrow at 10, USA introduces "Covert Affairs," showing that it is, indeed, possible to do a more straightforward version of "Alias" minus Garner, and making any of ABC's plans in that regard even more redundant.
After taking the holiday weekend off, "True Blood" was back with a new episode that started off as a stronger-than-usual Sookie episode, only to have her disappear for long stretches in the middle. What did you guys think of this one? Are they handling the werewolf culture okay? Do you care about Sam's family issues? Do you, like Fienberg, wish Jessica was getting more to do?
Once, again, I reviewed all the episodes for this season of "Friday Night Lights" on my old blog as they aired on DirecTV. Because I can't bring content from the old blog over here, each week I'm going to link to those reviews so you can see what I and the DirecTV audience thought of them back in the fall, then discuss them here.
This week: "I Can't," in which Becky has to make a choice, Vince goes to extremes to help his mother, and Virgil tries to come to grips with his kids' love of the game he rejected. Go read the review and - keeping in mind that we will not be discussing, or even hinting at, anything that happens in episodes that have yet to air on NBC (and also that the No Politics rule applies in the extreme with regards to this episode) - tell me what you thought.
HBO has announced a premiere date for "Boardwalk Empire," the drama from Martin Scorsese and former "Sopranos" producer Terence Winter set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition. It'll debut on Sunday, September 19 at 9 p.m., hopefully creating for a month or so one hell of a double feature with the tail end of "Mad Men" season four.
Though I haven't seen "Boardwalk Empire" yet, the pedigree of Scorsese and Winter, and a cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Michael K. Williams (Omar from "The Wire") and Michael Shannon has me beyond excited to get a look at it. After the jump, a trailer:
I went to sleep last night not sure if I should write anything about "The Decision," the bizarre, excruciating one-hour special that ESPN carried last night so LeBron James could announce that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Miami Heat. This isn't a sports blog (though I did, on rare occasions, write about the Yankees and Giants at the old blog) and actual sportswriters like Joe Posnanski and Will Leitch have already offered up more thoughtful takes than anything I've got. Plus, as a Knicks fan, I worried that I'd just come across as someone bitter about being jilted.
But this is a TV story, in the end, as LeBron was involved in one of the lamest, most obnoxious hours I've ever had to witness (and remember, I watch "American Idol" weekly). And while I'm disappointed (and have already moved on to hoping the David Lee/Anthony Randolph trade turns out to be the opposite of all the moves Isiah Thomas made during his nightmarish tenure), I had reached a place by Wednesday afternoon (i.e., before the Miami reports came in and it looked like LeBron was either staying home or coming to New York) where I began to wonder if I wanted this guy on my team.
TV loves fish out of water stories. Good storytelling, comic or dramatic, depends on conflict, and the fish out of water scenario creates easy conflict. Jewish snob from Manhattan stuck in rural Alaska? Done; “Northern Exposure” writes itself. Honest, polite Canadian Mountie assigned to work with a gruff cop in Chicago? Done; all “Due South” really needed was Paul Gross and that uniform (though it had more). Poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks gets taken in by a wealthy Orange County family? Done; add some indie-rock and you have “The O.C.”
The trick that those shows and all the others like them understood is that the fish out of water story needs either an interesting fish or an interesting body of water, and preferably both. If you’re going to relocate a boring person to a boring place, why bother at all?
No one, unfortunately, revealed that lesson to the creators of “Haven” (which debuts on Syfy on Friday at 10 p.m.) and “The Glades” (Sunday at 10 p.m. on A&E). Both are bland stories of bland crimefighters transplanted to locales that are supposed to seem exotic and mostly come across as anything but.
Christina Hendricks did not have much time to bask in the news of her first Emmy nomination before getting back to work at the show where she earned it.
The Emmy nominations were announced at 5:30 a.m. Pacific, and "I had to be at work at 6:30 this morning," the red-headed "Mad Men" co-star said in an interview last night, "so I was drawing a bath when I heard about the nomination."
She wasn't expecting the Emmy recognition three seasons into the show, particularly after a year when her character, the sexy and super-competent Joan Harris, was absent much of the time because she had quit Sterling Cooper because of her loser husband Greg.
"The material was amazing, but I wasn't there as much," she reasoned. "I thought that might affect how people might pick."