Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TV-“Dance With Stars”; “No Ordinary Family”;”The Defenders”,…REVIEWS

“Dancing With the Stars”, “Not Your Ordinary Family”, and “The Defenders” get a look-see and a review. The dancers are into it and we have some thoughts on who’s great, who’s hot, who’s not; two guys defend the bad guys in Vegas and they are, of course, always innocent; and a family with all members having super powers and they’re not on Oprah? What’s wrong with this picture?

Pic of the Day

ABC’s “No Ordinary Family”-One Big Issue Totally Overlooked

ABC’s web site for this show

Below, how this show’s executive producer describes this series.

"To me, it's a show about a family that is repaired in the unlikeliest of ways, whose new abilities allow each family member to feel special in ways each of them always wanted to, yet perhaps never thought possible. It's a show about the blessings and burdens of

being extraordinary."

- Jon Harmon Feldman, co-creator/executive producer

I’ve watched this show a couple of times now. It does enjoy a great time slot, at first following ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and now right before that hit show. ABC does like to introduce new shows by giving them this advantage, so okay, nothing wrong with this.

I do not enjoy this show at all, finding every plot line so far totally implausible. Plus there’s one very important element that is the elephant in the room that the show does not address at all.

The Powell family was an ordinary American family, dealing with daily life, puberty, busy working Moms and unfulfilled underemployed Dads. Lots of angst in other words, with Jim the Dad passively angry with his wife, Stephanie, for her wonderful career and employment success along with two normal adolescents complete with the problems this age group brings to the table. The Powell Mom is a scientist but she works so many hours that there’s not much left of her days to enjoy with the family.

So the Powells all decide to join Stephanie on a business trip to South America. Their plane crashes and dumps all passengers into the Amazon River.

That’s when the excrement hit the fan.

Dad became a super strong dude able to catch shooting bullets in mid-air with his hands. He also can jump real high and stop locomotives with his body.

Mom can now shoot her entire body in the wink of an eye from place to place, able to accomplish a day’s work in a single second.

Daphne, female adolescent, has the ability to hear the thoughts of others. JJ, male adolescent, suddenly becomes a math genius, able to guage at what angle to throw the football to hit the receiver downfield at precisely the right moment. He can also easily ace all school tests whereas he used to be a bit of a dim bulb.

All this from that amazing dip in the Amazon River.

The show’s story lines deal with this family, how they use their powers rightly to make the world a better place, or wrongly to improve their own lot in life.

The Powell adults have a few favored persons with whom they have shared the secrets of their powers, each co-workers, each using the powers of Stephanie and Jim to further their careers. Jim is a police sketch artists who moonlights as a superhero, capturing the bad guys with the help of a fellow employee. Stephanie has a female co-worker who is aware of her speedy powers and this duo wants desperately to figure out how these super powers came to be to…well make the world a better place I guess.

So far the Powell adolescents seem to be using their powers to find out where the happening school parties are or as a wedge to get on the football team toward fame, fortune and cheerleading babes we must assume.

The most unbelievable part of all this is….WHY DOESN’T THE ENQUIRER KNOW ABOUT THESE PEOPLE?

The Powells should be the stuff of world wonderment. They should be welcomed with open arms on The View and Oprah would have a show a day featuring a different Powell on each.

Yet we are to believe that Stephanie’s timid co-worker and Jim’s noble crime-stopper chum have not nor will NOT mention this wonder to anyone to avoid the publicity?

I read a blurb on the ABC site for this show that the show is meant to capture a younger viewing audience, perhaps comic-reading adolescents who dream of being able to read minds, or an even younger group that still believes in the wonder of Harry Potter.

Old ladies like me are entirely too jaded to be entertained by such implausibility.

And the show could very well attract such an audience. One can rest assured I’ll not watch it again because try as I did, I was tempted to scream out loud at these nutty Powell people that they could be freaking millionaires with all this talent, that they could have their own road show, that science businesses and entire health industries would have them name their price for the chance to investigate what’s going on inside of them.

Problem here is, not to state the obvious, the most likely audience for “No Ordinary Family” probably isn’t sitting around watching “Dancing With the Stars” and once again, we have a total disconnect.


CBS’ “The Defenders”-Formulaic But Entertaining

CBS’ web site for this series.

This show takes place in Las Vegas and that locale alone provides story lines aplenty. One recent show was about a mega-bucks lottery winner who somehow ran through his millions in winnings to owe a casino ten million bucks. And the guy ended up prison as this viewer was jarred in the shock of knowing that the all powerful Vegas casinos somehow eliminated the silliness and absurdity of the notion of a debtor’s prison.

For if one is in jail than one can hardly pay off their debts which will leave one in jail….forever in a vicious legal circle that pretty much benefits no one.

The legal team of Morelli and Kaczmarek managed to pull off the salvation of this poor fellow by finding fallacies in the casino story of their innocence in getting the man to sign markers after getting him in a drunken state. The ending had the new but now poor millionaire going home with the casino saving face as needed in the gambling land of Las Vegas.

A more recent show has a senator accused of murdering his mistress. There is always another sub-plot going on which I prefer to the more boring straight line story. So the debonair Pete gets entangled with a female con artist while a senator admits to a crime he did not commit, doubtfully defended by Nick, with a very surprising ending I found most delightful.

Jim Belushi plays the part of Nick Morelli with Jerry O’Connell coming as the other half of the legal team of Morelli and Karczmarek. Both of these guys are veteran actors with the sort of faces that a viewers knows he or she has seen before but forgets just where.

Belushi is perfect in the part of the devoted defender of the downtrodden criminal while dealing with the emotional crush of his broken marriage and struggling to keep the relationship with his young son alive and vibrant.

Karczmarek is the man about town, handsome, debonair, magnet for the ladies.

It’s a good fictional team, dreamed up by a script writer and a formula that works well for an hour of fairly mindless entertainment, best when DVR’d for viewing on a nothing burger Saturday afternoon.


”Dancing With the Stars Fall 2010”

I love this show, have loved it right from its first show. In fact, I have an entire Blog, HERE ,devoted to the show. Life and some medical maladies leave me watching and enjoying the series but without the slavish to devotion to scores and videos.

Here was a show that, initially, I would think was met with great skepticism. Like its main competitor for reality show greatness-“American Idol”- I suppose that someday its allure will begin to fade away. As of this year of our Lord, 2010, this most unlikely of shows is going strong, still with its same group of judges, and its audience grows across America’s fruited plains.

It has a lot of elements that appeal to Americans of the short attention spans, especially the females amongst us. Sitting and watching folks dancing on TV would seem, at first, a non-starter. Once upon a time a fellow named Lawrence Welk had dancers waltzing across the screen but “Dancing With the Stars” adds so much more.

First, it is a reality show and I’m a bit of a reality show junkee. Reality shows, indeed, do quite well here in America. Second, the selection of the dancing competitors adds so much intrigue to the formula. The formula is fairly steady by now. Must have someone “older”…this year Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch” filled that niche. Last year we had Cloris Leachman serving as representative for the Medicare bunch who wanted a dog in the race.

Must have a couple of athletes, at least one football player, always, and maybe another. This year we have Rick Fox the basketball star and Kurt Warner, the football guy. Football stars almost always make great dancers, something I find intriguing. Football is hardly the sport of namby-pamby metrosexuals but there is an art to footwork required to achieve first downs that translates very well to a Viennese Waltz.

There must always be at least one politician in the bunch. This year we have Bristol Palin, adolescent daughter of Sarah Palin, filling that slot. One year we had Tom Delay, former Speaker of the House and others of this sort of fame included an astronaut and political pundit.

It’s always good to include a star from a somewhat distant past. This year we had David Hasselhoff of “Baywatch” fame. In prior shows we’ve had both Donny and Marie Osmond in that role.

Since there’s always one older dancer on the list, there is required to have a very young type to balance the age factor. This year we have a Disney series star, Kyle Massey. Other years we had Apollo Ono and other Olympic athletes.

There’s always a few current but modestly known stars to flesh out the roster, and these are the sorts who will often win this thing. This year there’s Audrina Patridge and Brandy competing for the prize.

Getting a dancing slot on “Dancing With the Stars” is a ticket to a revived career. Marie Osmond now touts weight loss for Nutra-system, Luc Laurent was a hottie at the time most well known for his naked part on the show “Sex in the City” now has a plumb roll on “Brothers and Sisters” after his stint on this series.

A couple of intriguing inclusions in this years roster also includes one of the worst dancers EVER, on this show-Michael Bolton, who really needs to stick to singing, Jennifer Grey, star of “Dirty Dancing” and riding on the recent death of her famous dancing co-star, Patrick Swayze, and a really weird fellow from some reality show from New Jersey known as “The Situation”.

ABC’s web site for this series.

Dancers left as of 10/22/10:

Audrina Patridge/Tony Dovalani, actress, famous for a steamy Carl Jr’s commercial

Brandy/Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Star of “Cinderella”, award-winning singer”

Bristol Palin/Mark Ballas-daughter of former Vice President candidate-Sarah Palin

Jennifer Grey/Derek Hough-star of “Dirty Dancing”/daughter of singer Joel Grey

Kurt Warner/Anna Trebunskaya-Quarterback/St. Louis Rams

Kyle Massey/Lacey Schwimmer- star of Disney channel’s “Cory in the House”

Rick Fox/ Cheryl Burke –NBC champion/Los Angeles Lakers

Of the dancers left as of this writing, some thoughts:

Rick Fox is probably one of the handsomest dudes to ever dance on this show, bar none. He’s tall, well-muscled and real easy on the eyes. Don’t think he will win but he’s great to watch.

Kurt Warner seems to worry himself to death over his wife. He’s obviously a Christian man based on some his references. After he dances he’ll often run out to the audience and kiss his wife. He’d be a much better dancer I think if he weren’t so fretful.

Audrina Patridge is one to watch to win this thing. She’s pretty and dances well.

(NOTE….I bravely did NOT delete the above although Audrina was sent home on 10/26/10. Just to show what I know.

Brandy is a pretty young lady and another contender to keep an eye on. Her partner, Maksim, seems to have a reputation as being very disagreeable. Poor little Brandy, it looks the child struggles every week dealing with this tyrant.

Jennifer Grey dances very well. She’s no youngster and, in fact, to everyone’s surprise, ended up on the endangered list in mid-October. Her partner, Derek Hough, always seems to get one of the better/more famous dancers.

Bristol Palin is fun to watch but she’ll not likely win this thing. I consider her a mediocre dancer. Bristol doesn’t present as enjoying herself when she dances.

Kyle Massey is an interesting, engaging guy. He’s a bit on the chubby side and not the most graceful fellow to ever cross that famous floor. But he’s funny, personable and genuinely seems to enjoy himself during the dance. He’ll not win but he’s a joy to watch.

I’d put Rick Fox up as a dark horse to win this contest but by me, it’s going to be either Audrina or Brandy.

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