I'm sure I'll have more political stuff to say, but for now, it's time to get back to entertainment. Every Friday, I seem to long for the weekend more and more. Then, by the time I actually get home – whenever that may be – for some reason, I feel like it's already Sunday. That kind of, you know … sucks. Although this weekend, there actually is good reason to look forward to Sunday, at least within the realm of television. Still, after the emotions and depression of this week that was, a long weekend (say, 30 or 40 days?) would be much appreciated right now. Sadly, no matter how often I state my case for the four day work week to everyone I know (and yes, I actually have a case, as in rational, much considered arguments as to why our entire society hurts itself with only a two day weekend), I have yet to see any progress on making Monday the new Sunday. But I digress …
You know where you need to be this Sunday at 8:30 PM? Planted in front of your TV tuned-in to Fox. That's right: the new season of the Emmy-winning Arrested Development premieres. If you've never watched it, it's now time to jump on board and get addicted. Today's Variety says this first episode "may well be its funniest" (sub. req'd). That's saying something considering that it's already the best comedy on television. It's time for you to go see what the fuss is about, and if you don't love the first episode you see, give it a chance with one or two more. It's like anything that's good for you: it takes time to ween yourself from the crappy, packaged, fabricated, laugh-track sitcoms you're used to. The rest of Fox's Sunday lineup premieres too. Of special note, the 16th season premiere of The Simpsons. At 16, it's still better than most of the other half-hour comedies on the show.
Get those DiVos/VCRs ready for Saturday night, unless, of course, you're going to be home, in which case at 9 PM you'll want to tune in to The Sundance Channel to catch DiG! That's right, the documentary about the relationship between the bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols that had the entire NYC blogosphere atwitter (yours truly included) when it premiered here about a month ago is hitting our cable television screens. (If you live in Manhattan and have Time Warner digital cable, Sundance is on channel 101.) If the film hasn't come to your town or you missed it, definitely check it out. Sundance is actually using this Saturday night to kick off its featured series for November under the moniker (((AMPED))). Every Saturday night, Sundance will air a double-feature of rock-themed films, fictional and documentary. After DiG!, they'll be showing Tom Dowd & The Language of Music, about famed and influential record producer and engineer Tom Dowd. Other films programmed include Michael Winterbottom's interesting depiction of the rise and fall of The Factory in 1980s Manchester 24 Hour Party People next weekend , Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) about the band They Might Be Giants on 11/20, and Standing in the Shadows of Motown, the great documentary about The Funk Brothers who played the music behind a large percentage of the best Motown singers.
This Sunday, Showtime makes its latest (and supposedly best) effort to find a high-profile dramatic series hit on the level of The Sopranos or even Six Feet Under. Showtime has had several series for years. Some, like Queer as Folk and The L Word, gained a lot of notice in the press but certainly never caught on as a broad hit. I would count myself a fan of Dead Like Me, but not so much that I remembered it was ever on during its recently concluded second season. Other series, like The Chris Isaak Show and Street Time, barely register a blip in the public consciousness at all. But this Sunday, with the premiere of Huff, Showtime is laying it all on the table. A concerted (and expensive) marketing office has been underway for weeks. In last week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, subscribers received a DVD of the entire first episode of the show for them to preview, a great idea for a premium cable channel, with maybe half the subscribers of HBO, trying to reach new subscribers. And timing-wise, they couldn't have picked better. The new season is well-underway and some people may be looking for something new. Huff will air at 10 PM when only ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast, and none of them have breakout hits that control the time slot. Additionally, 10 PM is the secondary time slot for HBO's shows, and right now it's the home of the incredibly boring Family Bonds. And on top of all that, it looks to actually be a good, interesting show with a very talented cast. All of this simply points to the fact that Showtime might finally be getting its act together.
Also on Sunday night is the Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork. Now it seems that this is just the cast members getting together and reminiscing, which is probably a much better idea than actually doing a lame TV movie. And chances are, I won't watch it. On the other hand, Dallas was a consistent presence in my youth. It was one of the shows that every Friday night I would go watch after being excused from the dinner table at my grandparents' house. "Who shot JR?" was, in fact, a major cultural event in this country, and the show, for all its soapy cheesiness, became a fascinating reflection of our society throughout the Reagan '80s. So there is a certain curiousity factor there. If you share it, tune in CBS at 9 PM.
In other CBS news, Clubhouse moves to Saturdays at 8 PM starting this week which should be an official indication that the series is on life-support just waiting for someone to shut-down the machine which keeps it breathing. Saturdays might actually be an OK time slot for it because the tone of the show is trending so very, very young. If it was on ABC, they could air it during The Wonderful World of Disney. I don't really consider this to be a positive comment. I actually find it quite unfortunate. I've liked a couple episodes, but so far, the best elements of the series -- the baseball, the nostalgia of youth -- are being subjugated in an attempt to create your average family drama with the batboy gimmick.
What's that? Big movies opening this weekend? Personally, I'm beyond excited for The Incredibles. The Polar Express opens next Wedesday, but really, who cares? Because The Incredibles, from everything I've heard and read, lives up to its name. Also opening this weekend is the remake of Alfie starring Jude Law, and in limited release a new film from Franco Zeffirelli starring Jeremy Irons called Callas Forever, a fictionalized version of the last days in the life of famed opera soprano and diva, Maria Callas. I actually saw the film last night, and its unintentionally timely since it deals with the idea of Callas, after no longer being able to sing as she was once able, lip synching to her earlier recordings in order to make new big-scale films of famous operas. This is a very silly film, down to Zeffirelli's choice to make it look like films he made in the late '60s. Actually worse; from the opening credits (and its punk rock theme music) to its extensive use of camera zooms, the film looks like a bad TV movie. To be fair, it's not horrible; it's just not very good.
And a final note for today: it seems that Worldwide Pants (David Letterman's production company) which produces The Late, Late Show has narrowed its selection for a new permanent host down to four semi-finalists: Craig Ferguson, Michael Ian Black, D.L. Hughley and MTV's TRL host Damien Fahey. Wha wha what?!? Damien Fahey? Are they trying to guarantee that nobody will ever watch the show? And what the hell happened to the funnier-than-any-of-them Amy Sedaris?