TV Shows »An Idiot Abroad

On The Science Channel


I could have recommended An Idiot Abroad without seeing a single frame because as any of you that have listened to the Ricky Gervais Show podcast know, the idea of Karl Pilkington (aka K. Dilkington) traveling under the often harshest conditions across the globe is absolutely ingenious.

I actually read about this project a while back, but assumed when it aired in the US, it would have some HBO backed fan fair. Instead, it’s buried in the Science Channel, but oh so worth DVR-ing (also limited episodes available on demand).

For those of you unaware of the moronic and uniquely strange mind of Karl, you can expect such insightful gems as comparing Israel to Pac Man in that every time you go down an alley expecting it to be quiet something comes at you.

It’s basically just plain amazing and for me to explain why would take away from your experience. Watch this!!

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on February 26, 2011

TV Shows »Frontier House

frontier houseIt's too bad PBS hasn't delved into the world of reality television more. Frontier House (inspired by a similarly conceived show about the 1900s over at the BBC) was a highly entertaining, insightful, and even educational. Three families were given acreage in Montana to live just as settlers did back in the 1880's. The goal was to be prepared for the coming winter by the end of the series – without cheating, Gordon Clune!

Like any good reality, there's a villain, and here Mr. Clune serves well, but in this relatively good-natured show, even the cheater finds himself better for growing closer to his family. Another family, the Glenns adapt to the harsh lifestyle easier, but their personal relationships are strained.

Available on DVD and Netflix, you'll find yourself more inthralled in the drama of making root cellars and cutting wood than you would ever expect. This is only second to Manor House in PBS's amazing series of historical reality shows.

See more: TV Shows

One Comment →
Posted on June 29, 2009

TV Shows »Female Forces

female forcesThe Female Forces recommendation came from a not always totally reliable source; while our good friends have impeccable taste in many things, they're also the ones that can quote from the two part Real Housewives of New York City season finale. Still, a hilarious clip on The Soup involving chicken wings made the decision to record the realty show an easy one.

Set in Naperville, Illinois, the show follows the women of the shield as they chase down stray dogs, escort drunkies to the tank, stop speeders, and visit the dermatologist. They're a charming bunch, often speaking with Fargo-like accents that make them even more lovable. It's also nice that this show is not like Cops in that you walk away from it feeling like a voyeur with a roman emperor's lust for blood and a sinking feeling that humans are truly animals. In fact, for a reality cop show, this is fairly light hearted and even a bit cheerful.

It's not the easiest show to find, but look for it on the HD Crime and Investigation channel (that also airs Twin Peaks).

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on June 8, 2009

TV Shows »The Fashion Show

anna the fashion showIt's no secret that The Fashion Show is the fashioned by Tresemme clone of Project Runway. Terribly self conscious of that fact, Isaac Mizrahi (who I still adore) and Kelly Rowlands (who I never did, and care even less for now – but more on her later) tip toe around the long shadows of Heidi and Tim. Instead of calling out a trademarked catch-phrase like “gather round”, Mizrahi has to stammer out, “Come here around me” to the contestants.

Even the sewing rooms look exactly the same, though the judging panel puts the judges on the opposite side of the stage and for whatever reason forces them to huddle and conspire in a hallway like gossiping girls cutting class as they debate which contestant will hear the uninspired send-off, “Sorry, we're not buying” in place of “You're out” and “Bye bye darling” instead of “Auverderzien”.

The show really could have benefited from an attempt to establish its own identity, because there are some good things here. Firstly, one of my friends from college is a contestant. Root for Anna! She's the one who looks Amazonian and strikingly sane amid the sea of freaks. Merlin is so over the top and flamboyant that he's nearly nauseating just to look at; when he gleefully announced to a hushed room that, “The woorl is run by beetches!” I wanted to hide someplace far away from my television. There are other caricatures here too who come in varying degrees of bitchy, swishy, and cocky but they pale in the shadows of Merlin's feathered hat.

On the plus side, the challenges are actually pretty good so far, better than some of the weaker late season PR efforts. I think Mizrahi, despite emphasizing his bitchy, non nurturing (read un-Tim Gunn) edge can offer a lot of good criticism and knows what he's talking about. However Kelly Rowlands, a natural born mumbler, seems only able to say, “I wouldn't be caught dead in that” and manages to make all her lines sound as if they come from the tenth plus take on a very long shooting day. I have no idea why they hired such a charmless wonder.

She explains her credentials up front as having worn lots of fashionable clothes and having been seated in the front row of some show; but considering that she really means wearing and viewing the horrendous showboaty glamour of Beyonce's mom's House of Der?on, her ostensible assets are more like hindrances. Oh, what I wouldn't give (since their going the bitchy route anyway), to have Sandra Bernhard as the co-host!

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 11, 2009

TV Shows »Running in Heels

running in heelsOf all the lame and desperate reality shows to come round, Jim and I took a shine to one of the most ostensibly boring. Running in Heels revolves around the none to glamorous adventures of three interns at Marie Claire. They get coffee! They fail to hail cabs! They haggle over Chinatown luggage! All the while bemoaning how haaaard they're working.

It's a super addictive show mainly because it most closely resembles the life and people my friends and I would gossip about in our actual lives. There are minor competitions, like helping with a charity event, or writing a blog about Kenneth Cole, not exactly the stuff of television magic, but the intrigue of these catty girls competing to literally be better than the other ones at grabbing coffee for the Vassarettes (the world's first “bra” band!, huh?) is funny and perfect for lazy morning viewing over some baked eggs.

I guess it's a bit late to be recommending this show, but I had to wait until the finale to decide if it was going to make it because if they dared to offer the job to that bitch Ashley, giving young viewers the false impression that being a terrible, horrible person is the way to get ahead in life, there was no way on earth I could recommend it.

I know, it may not be mature or endearing for me to feel so much hatred for some idiot girl, but you didn't see Ashley! As it turns out, Marie Claire did fine by me, condemning her attitude as a major liability in the real world, and so now I can safely admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I watched and enjoyed every episode.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on April 27, 2009

TV Shows »Project Runway

Project Runway Even though this is a reality TV show, it's not a guilty pleasure because it's good… great–excellent in fact. I was first worried there would be no season two, then worried it wouldn't be as good as season one. I was wrong on both counts, thank goodness!

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on December 18, 2005