TERRIERS: There are many reasons to watch this fine new show. As many of you enjoy my bulletpoint MAD MEN thoughts, I’ll do the same for TERRIERS to make my case for compelling you to watch:
–Donal Logue – he’s always been a good actor and if you saw him in THE TAO OF STEVE and a whole raft of films and on TV in the long-running comedy GROUNDED FOR LIFE and NBC’s short-lived LIFE, you know he keeps getting better. Exec producers Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin have given Logue a really meaty role in Hank Dolworth, a former cop turned P.I. who’s down on his luck. The beauty of Logue’s performance in this show is that he’s never obvious or over the top; he’s real, true and completely believable. While he’s not a stereotypical leading man, he’s a terrific actor and a pleasure to watch. And believe this: it only gets better as the episodes progress. I’ve watched the first three but I refuse to spoil anything for you because every episode gives you more morsels of goodness.
–Michael Raymond-James – he plays Hank’s partner Britt Pollack, a former thief. In tonight’s pilot episode, we also meet Britt’s girlfriend Katie (Laura Allen), who is going to studying to become a vet. The show’s core is built around Britt and Hank’s dynamic and the casting is inspired because these two guys are a solid pair. The term “bromance” is being tossed around but I like to think there’s a simpatico friendship here and even though the two guys don’t always see eye to eye, they often think the same way which makes their working relationship successful.
–Jamie Denbo as Maggie Lefferts, Hank and Britt’s attorney who also helps them get P.I. work. Denbo is known best for her stand-up comedy and most recently starred in the RONNA AND BEVERLY pilot for Showtime. I think this is her strongest acting role yet.
–Rockmond Dunbar as Det. Mark Gustafson, Hank’s former partner. You loved him on PRISON BREAK and now you’ll love him even more on the right side of the law. He’s got a perfect dry line delivery which contributes to the show’s humor.
–Shawn Ryan: this show couldn’t be more different from THE SHIELD but once again, Ryan proves great characters are what make his shows tick. Tonally, this show is also very good and I have to think Ryan has a lot to do with it. Ted Griffin wrote the TERRIERS pilot; he wrote the wildly successful OCEAN’S 11 remake and he co-wrote the movie MATCHSTICK MEN with his brother Nick. Griffin also has an episode of THE SHIELD among his credits.
–Tim Minear, Phoef Sutton and Jed Seidel: all fantastic TV writers with track records including THE X-FILES, BUFFY, DOLLHOUSE for Minear, CHEERS, BOSTON LEGAL and NEWSRADIO for Sutton and VERONICA MARS, GILMORE GIRLS and MISS MATCH for Seidel. All of these guys are terrific character writers and they all inflect their writing with humor. That’s very much in evidence on TERRIERS too.
So what starts out being a shaggy dog P.I. show turns into so much more by the end of tonight’s first hour. Tune in and see what I mean. TERRIERS premieres at 10pm tonight on FX.
WHITE COLLAR MIDSEASON FINALE: How about that final moment? No, I don’t think the person in question is mortally wounded because I like to think Jeff Eastin and the WC writers just wouldn’t do that to us. My favorite thing about the superstrength midseason closer: the way Neal played Peter, creating the fake case with Moz, and then Peter anticipating very well how Neal would react to anything related to the music box and Kate. In addition to their snappy repartee, Neal and Peter have become two sides of the same coin and I like that the line blurs sometimes, as we saw when Peter went undercover in earlier episodes for a case. Bomer showed real intensity in the midseason finale which was a new shade for him and I don’t know about you but I bought it. Huge props to the writers and actors for a wickedly good episode that truly built tension and made us want more immediately.
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL: The show is upping its game with this cycle concentrating on high fashion (hmm, has it been low up til now?) and the cover of Italian Vogue as part of the grand prize. On the plus side, Andre Leon Talley returns to the judges panel and Miss J returns as runway coach/commander (I adore Miss J). Guest judges during this cycle include: designer Diane Von Furstenberg, designer/stylist Patricia Field (“Sex and the City”), beauty photographer Matthew Rolston, supermodel Karolina Kurkova, fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier, Italian photographer Francesco Carrozzini, designer Zac Posen, designer/model Margherita Missoni, IMG Models executive Kyle Hagler, Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani and designer Roberto Cavalli.
HELLCATS: Like everyone else, I thought the idea of a show that used cheerleading as a dramatic tentpole was a good idea. I loved BRING IT ON. I mean, who didn’t love BRING IT ON? That said, upon first viewing, HELLCATS seemed a little porny to me and that’s probably because Aly Michalka has moves that look like they’d be equally at home on the pole as in a gymnasium. Not that there’s anything wrong with that and you know kids today: they’re far more, er, adventurous, than kids used to be. The other recognizable faces in the show are Ashley Tisdale, whose character starts out as Michalka’s nemesis but things change. Gail O’Grady plays Michalka’s mother and I had a hard time getting past her bad southern accent but she’s not heavy in the show so it doesn’t really matter much. HELLCATS premieres at 9pm on The CW, after the season premiere of ANTM.
ALSO AT 10PM: PSYCH and THE DAY BEFORE: I have no doubt the PSYCH summer finale will be funny because it’s been a very good season for this consistently clever, pop culture-rich show. Over on The Sundance Channel at 10pm, the new season of THE DAY BEFORE kicks off. This is the show that goes behind the scenes with major designers the day before their NY Fashion Week shows. Tonight’s installment: Diane Von Furstenberg. This season the episodes are only half an hour which doesn’t seem right because these designers go through A LOT in the day before their shows.
BECAUSE TV AND SNACKS GO HAND IN HAND: My new favorite TV snack is L&J Popcorn; I like the caramel corn but the regular and kettle corn are delicious too and all the L&J popcorn is gluten-free. To order by the bag or tin, click to http://landjpopcorn.com/
TODAY’S SURF WRITTEN WHILE LISTENING TO: In honor of NY Fashion Week and Friday’s Fashion Night Out: Madonna’s “Dress You Up” -
ABC: 8:00 p.m. The Middle (R) 8:30 p.m. The Middle (R) 9:00 p.m. Modern Family (R) 9:30 p.m. Cougar Town (R) 10:00 p.m. Castle (R)
CBS: 8:00 p.m. Big Brother 9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds (R) 10:00 p.m. CSI: NY (R)
NBC: 8:00 p.m. Minute to Win It 9:00 p.m. America’s Got Talent 10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)
FOX: 8:00 p.m. Masterchef (2 hours) – the show has been renewed for a second season
THE CW: 8:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model (season premiere) 9:00 p.m. Hellcats (series premiere)
After a young woman (Aly Michalka) loses her college scholarships, she turns to the competitive world of cheerleading to stay in school. The cast includes Ashley Tisdale, Ben Browder, Elena Esovolova, Gail O’Grady, Heather Hemmens, Matt Barr, Robbie Jones and Sharon Leal.
Bravo: 9pm: TOP CHEF – the remaining cheftestants are in Singapore to continue the competition.
FX: 10pm: TERRIERS series premiere
Sundance: 10pm: THE DAY BEFORE: Diane Von Furstenberg
USA: 10pm: PSYCH summer finale
That’s a wrap for now.