Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trevor Noah, New Daily Show Host?

After many weeks of speculation (which felt pretty long, compared to the events of last year's late night chaos), the search for Jon Stewart's replacement has finally concluded, and they went with the South African comic Trevor Noah. I'm okay with this development like how I was okay with with news of Jon Stewart finally stepping down from The Daily Show. I thought I read somewhere that he was reluctant to give up his standup comedy touring, or perhaps not? At least it's not another middle-aged white guy, amiright?

With all the natural heirs to TDS already upped and left (you know which ones), it was slim pickings from the current stable of correspondents. I didn't really think that either Jason Jones or Samantha Bee had a shot of taking over anyway, which is just as well that they're both leaving (Jason did as of last week). Jessica Williams is self aware enough to pre-emptively take herself out of the running early on. I really can't see any of the others taking over, familiar faces or not. All the other names bandied about was about as ludicrous as the next. So what's wrong with a South African guy taking over? John Oliver's doing a hilarious job on HBO. 

At least now there'll be men of colour in Comedy Central's late night lineup... now I can't wait to see the rejigged Daily Show later in the year.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

CSI: Cyber

After the backdoor pilot (which they're playing again for World CSI Day) months ago, CSI: Cyber is finally here. 

Someone uploaded what I presumed to be an advanced screener for the CSI: Cyber pilot online a couple days ahead of its big premiere (no opening credits, network tags, lower third ads, etc) this week. But the episode did closed with another CSI franchise signature: the use of The Who song for a theme song, this time it's I Can See For Miles, which seems apt for this show.

If you have logged a lot of hours of your life in front of the TV, you would recognise some of the faces (besides Patricia Arquette, who was previously on the show, Medium) like James Van Der Beek (her second-in-command/field muscle) and Peter MacNicol (who plays the uber supportive boss). Also totally didn't recognise Bow Wow (formerly L'il Bow Wow - I hope I'm not the only one who remembered that). 

Some big differences for the CSI franchise: a leading lady, that it's not some local police department, but an FBI Cyber Crimes division... The pilot case is already pretty creepy - a baby trafficking ring who sources their babies by exploiting a flaw in a company's baby monitors. The cases are already creepy, on par with SVU or Criminal Minds

I don't know if the show's momentum will continue to last to get a full season pickup or renewed after the glow of Patricia Arquette's Oscar win fades, but I'm curious to find out. (Before she won, they used her Academy Award nominee status like crazy in the promos - they should change them to reflect "Nominee" to "Winner" now)

While I can see why professional TV watchers (you know, critics) panned both the show and pilot, but if you've been watching the franchise through thick and thin, why not. Just don't let technophobic old people watch it because it might make them even more paranoid.

Thoughts on The Late Late Show Guest Hosts, Part 3

This is the final instalment of my random thoughts/opinions on the guest hosts of The Late Late Show before the new guy starts next week. Holy crap, I can't believe it's coming up already. 

I've had fun watching the guest hosting gigs, whether they killed or bombed. They're also bringing in current and former CBS personalities to fill in the last few weeks before James Corden starts. I'm guessing Drew Carey is doing a second week of shows at the end because they didn't want to find more people to fill in the guest host slot. 

Wayne Brady (Feb 9 - 13, Let's Make a Deal): I personally didn't know that he's currently hosting Let's Make a Deal with Jonathan Mangum as his sidekick, which makes them both more qualified than most to do a week of guest hosting on The Late Late Show. The cold opens are tolerable, with him interacting with him as a character, with the odd appearance from Mangum. He brought his Whose Line persona with him and kept the singing to a tolerable minimum, and not to mention his geek/nerd side when Shatner came on. I also enjoyed the Judy Smith (inspiration for Scandal's Olivia Pope) segment. He had a good mix of guests for his week of shows, from the child genius to the Freestyle Love Supreme guys, whom I had no prior awareness of. Him signing off by saying "I love you" to his kids was a cute touch. Fun week.

Tom Lennon (Feb 16 - 18, The Odd Couple): I wonder if they got him to host because he's on the rebooted The Odd Couple (also on CBS), or because he was also on the show a lot during Craig's tenure (not just as someone they call to fill in for guest drop outs, but as the voice of Geoff the robot). Anyway... of course he got his Odd Couple co-star Matthew Perry on, who was smart enough to decline the hosting gig. Got a little exhausted of him promoting the show by the end of the three nights, but thought he was all right. My favourite night was the first when he had Weird Al, Natasha Leggero and Maz Jobrani on. 

Lauren Graham (Feb 19, The Odd Couple): Guess I wasn't the only one wondering if a boob was gonna spill out of her low-cut top. She did okay for one night, but she should stick to her day job(s). 

Will Arnett (Feb 20, formerly The Millers): He should definitely stick to his day job. Using pre-show footage of himself as his sidekick is just... meh. But getting another late night talk show host from another network (Jimmy Kimmel) was the only bright side to this. 

Billy Gardell (Feb 23 - 24, Mike and Molly): For all his self-deprecation, he did a pretty good job for the two nights he hosted. 

Kunal Nayyar (Feb 25 - 27, The Big Bang Theory): I thought he did okay, and was pretty entertaining. But that screaming goat will be his Late Late Show hosting legacy. 

Drew Carey (March 2 - 6, The Price is Right): Do I need to repeat myself? He'll be fine. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thoughts on Late Late Show Guest Hosts, Part 2

(I have no idea why some of the guest hosts are doing this in New York, on Charlie Rose's set during the so-called blizzard where guests can't be that easy to book...)

Regis Philbin (Jan 26 - 27): Classy and high calibre guests (don't know how he got Annie Lennox), but a bit of a snore for me. 

Whitney Cummings (Jan 28 - 29): Awkward, but could be worse. Still not a fan of the braless co-host. But hilarious that Alan Cumming came on the show and they discussed their last names for a bit. 

Adam Pally (Jan 30): Don't know why he said yes and thought getting a tattoo for the show was a good idea. Luckily it's just for one show. But didn't mind that he had Howard Stern's wife on. 

After the week in New York, back in LA... 

Sean Hayes (Feb 2 - 3): Gone all out, knowing he's only doing two shows as I don't think he can keep up the musical numbers any longer. His USB idea - the bowl of talking points for awkward silences -  is hilarious. 

John Mayer (Feb 4 - 6): Not a fan of the guy personally, but I thought he did an okay job. Getting the Super Bowl sharks as his first guests is not a bad get, but I can't imagine it wasn't THAT hard for him. I wasn't the only one disappointed that they didn't dance on the show..

So Jon Stewart is finally leaving The Daily Show...

First major late night TV bombshell of 2015: Jon Stewart announcing his departure from The Daily Show later in the year. No specific date yet, but let's just say he won't be renewing his contract this year when his current one runs out. 

Ever since last year's late night TV shake up, I had been wondering if JStew was ever gonna step down: Dude's been at it for almost 20 years, he's aging before our (collective) eyes... and I've been failing miserably to stay awake through it. Makes for great insomnia cure :P He also doesn't seem to have a lot of time for anything else, it seems like.

I can't say I'm surprised to hear this piece of news as I have been expecting something like this to happen since last year. It's a little sad, but it's time. That, and when Dr Bassem Youssef was on Monday's show (as the Middle East contributor), I did have that niggle... well okay, it's because the good doctor has taken up a fellowship post stateside, and not to take over the show... I think.

The Daily Show under his helm has been a massive platform for his former correspondents (Carrell, Colbert, Oliver, et al), enabling them to move on to bigger and better things: movie careers, TV careers, etc. So why not him? Maybe he wants to slow down, make more movies. Whatever.

And of course, so many questions as to what happens next...
  • Does this mean that any of his current stable of correspondents are gonna take over the show? Same direction, different direction? 
  • JStew's production company is still running both The Daily Show and The Nightly Show. Does this mean that he'll just be running things behind the camera instead? 
  • For a split second there, I thought Bassem Youssef was gonna take over... then I remembered he's doing a resident fellowship stint at Harvard. Don't think he's got the time. 
  • I don't know if Jason Jones is right to take over the reins...? 
I suppose this means that other shows might have a better chance of winning the Emmy that The Daily Show has been winning for at least a decade now.
As usual, I can't wait to see what happens. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts on the Late Late Show Guest Hosting So Far...

I'm such a masochist, I'm also watching the guest hosting stints on The Late Late Show out of habit. While I'm glad they didn't tear the old set down just yet, but sad that the faux fireplace is not where it is any more. 

Drew Carey: Not the first time he's done this (he and Craig swapped jobs once), but I'm still a bit thrown off by his eye line because it's really obvious that he's reading the teleprompter that's a little too high for him. Now I know why other shows have cue card guys who are low to the ground. That's just my niggle and he's also doing the last week before Corden's official start. The cold opens with his Price is Right announcer George Gray are pretty hilarious. 

The Talk hosts: I don't watch the show because I don't have the time nor the energy. It's just them on their own set, doing a "After Dark" version of their show. Sharon Osbourne is a hoot. But otherwise, I thought they were fine. 

Jim Gaffigan: (Did they take the kids out of school for a few days?) After just three days, I already can't get the kids' song out of my head... and not in a good way. Have to like that it was a family affair, with his wife Jeannie as co-host and his brood of FIVE kids as opening act/ushers/foils. But yeah, the self-promotion (of his upcoming TV show, albums, books and specials) is almost unbearable. Even the guests that were on are on his upcoming TV show. That said, the kids made it an adorable experience. 

As of this post, Judd Apatow is halfway through his guest hosting stint to end this week. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

While watching this year's Golden Globes..

Finally found some time to watch this year's Golden Globes ceremony.
  • Tina and Amy again. Hmm. 
  • Amy looks awfully orange..
  • I wonder if Cumberbatch practices his photobombing face..
  • That looks like a nice plate of desserts at the Girls table..
  • You know the seating is not so obviously fixed when a couple of the winners have to make their way from what seemed like the back of the room to accept their award (Joanna Froggatt from Downton Abbey and Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin).. 
  • Okay, I literally have no idea what is Prince doing there.. but have to give him props for not wearing a penguin suit.
  • Oh, Clive Owen and the shiny forehead :P
  • Haha, Ricky Gervais and his boozing XD
  • Too bad Emma Thompson isn't nominated for anything, she was a blast last year.
  • So didn't know Ruth Wilson is English. 
  • I'm glad The Grand Budapest Hotel won SOMETHING.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mythbusters - Back to Basics?

When news that Kari, Tory and Grant won't be back for another season of Mythbusters for "undisclosed reasons" (read: money?), people got upset. If I have to guess, these are the people who either grew up watching them, or had not remembered a time when it really was just Adam and Jamie testing the myths for the first season or two. 

I was one of a minority of people who questioned the point of having a B-team from the beginning... and has anyone noticed that their myth-testing has gotten more expensive with the explosives, etc?

Either way, I'm glad it's back to just Jamie and Adam again. That's just me. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bye bye, Covert Affairs

I can't say that I am sad nor upset that the cancellation of USA's Covert Affairs blew up what niche (it was a cable show, after all) fanbase it had. I thought it was just a matter of time since White Collar (the lead-in)'s shortened final season was announced. Getting the news some weeks after the season finale, however..

Don't get me wrong: While there were a couple of storylines that I didn't really care for; but for all intents and purposes I can say that I watched it to the bitter end. I guess the ratings plunge as a reaction to the some of the shark jumping elements gave USA Network enough cause to pull the plug. That, and I guess the rising cost of making the show, since apparently they really do travel the globe making it, and not just shoot it all in Canada or something. 

I thought the recent season, er, series finale kind of tied most of the (implied) loose ends up. I don't think I want to see what really happens to everyone in a hypothetical sixth season :P

If nothing else, I will miss Christopher Gorham's portrayal of Auggie (and his pretty frequent state of shirtlessness) and Annie's favourite Mossad guy, Eyal.