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Monday, December 29, 2008
TV Round-Up: Best of 2008
1. The Shield
This is how you do a final season. It started a bit slow, but that was putting the foundation in place for the final run of episodes that were breathtaking and can't-tear-your-eyes-away from the screen riveting. Watching the final chapters as the Strike Team shattered and Vic Mackey lost everything....I loved every last second of it. Pitch perfect final two episodes. If you've not seen The Shield, get the DVDs and start watching.

2. Battlestar Galactica
What else can I say that hasn't already been said about this show? I loved the first half of season four with the tension between the new Cylons in the fleet, the Cylon civil war and the finding of Earth in the mid-season cliffhanger. We've got a ton of questions left, including the big one--who is the final Cylon. Who'd've figured that the reboot of a show I enjoyed so much in my childhood would be one of the best dramas ever made? Had it not been for The Shield's final season, this would have been my number one show of the year.

3. Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
It didn't air on TV but this is my blog and I can make up the rules as we go. A three-part episode about good vs evil that is funny, thought-provoking and has one heck of a catchy soundtrack. Is there anything Joss Whedon can't do?!? (On a related note--bring on Dollhouse!)

4. Mad Men
I came late to the Mad Men party, watching the first season over the course of a week when I DVRed the marathon before season two began. The second season was, in its own way, better than the first. The first was about answering the question of Who is Don Draper? The second was about what it means to be Don Draper and saw Don tearing down and having to put back togehter the "perfect" life he's built for himself. It's slow moving at times, driven by a fascinating set of characters.

5. The Big Bang Theory
Consistently the funniest show on TV--and the one that makes me laugh out loud at least twice per episode. I love every last geek reference. What threw it over the top was the Christmas episode where Sheldon gets a napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy.

6. The Office
Just behind Big Bang is the Office. I have to say this is more for the early episodes than the later ones, though those have been good as well. Amy Ryan, please come back. The dynamic of Michael Scott and Holly was so well lovingly realized and the two played off each other so well. I will admit part of me is a bit tired of the "aren't Jim and Pam" cute together stories that keep playing out. But they make up for it with the hilarity surrounding the Dwight/Angela/Andy triangle.

7. Lost
Call me a fan, but I never lost faith in the show. But the whole flashforward concept really took the show to a new level. I think giving the show an end point has helped it immensely and this is another one I can't wait to come back.

8. Chuck
Man, Mondays at 7 p.m. are crowded. You've got two of the funniest shows on TV competiting with each other. Thank heavens for DVRs and VCRs to keep up. I liked Chuck in its first season, but I love it this year. The show is consistenly the most amusing and fun show on TV, though I still think they're struggling with how to best utilize Buster Bluth on the show. But the whole dynamic of Chuck yearning for a normal life but being thrust into the role of a reluctant spy is working a lot better this year because it's allowing Chuck to become more confident and embrace the role a bit more. Plus, you can just go to a reaction shot from Adam Baldwin for comedy gold.

9. Friday Night Lights
I liked the final few episodes of season two and season three has returned to what made season one so doggone special. A renewed focus on the football team and how it impacts every aspect of life in Dillon, Texas has vastly improved the show. It's also allowed us to say some farewells to old friends and set the stage for future seasons (though I fear this may be the last season for the show). And any time you get Kyle Chander and Connie Britton together, it's pure gold. The episode where Smash finally gets his shot to go to walk-on was a thing of beauty.

Labels:



posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/29/2008 06:53:00 PM | |
Friday, December 26, 2008
Christmas Thoughts
I'm one of those annoying people who likes to shop for Christmas gifts or birthday gifts for people year round. For one thing, it helps keep the holiday season less stressful because I'm not as worried about finding the exact perfect present within a certain time frame. And it also can reduce the stress of things financially if you happen to find things on really good sales in July that sell for three times as much in December. Case in point this year--while browsing Kohl's clearance rack in July, I stumbled across a Imaginex dinosaur that moves (according to the packaging, just like a real dinosaur, which makes me wonder how exactly one verifies this...), roars and its eyes light up and glow a great red hue. It was on a really good sale and I was really excited to be able to buy it for my nephew then--and at quite the savings. Of course, the hard part was having to keep it hidden for six months, esp. a few weeks ago when he came over to hang out and let Uncle Michael try and right the injustice that he's five and has never seen Star Wars. He wanted to check out the closet of loot I have, where I keep presents hidden. And the dinosaur was something you couldn't necessarily put behind stuff becuase it was kind of tall and kind of obvious what it was. But it met some of my critera for giving of gifts to small people--it was cool and it made noise.

Yes, I am doomed at some point in the future when I have children. Payback is going to be hell.

I think if it were up to my nephew, we'd open presents over the course of a week or so. He loves opening presents, but he really wants to go all the way when it comes to opening gifts. As in--let's get it out of the package entirely and play with it for a while before we move on to the next gift. The problem is that it can take up to six days and a pound of TNT to get into a lot of the packaging on toys these days. I'm sure I'm not the first and won't be the last to make this observation.

I really love everything about Christmas. But the part I love most is just getting to spend some quality time with my family and friends. Getting to see everyone open their presents is so much fun and I love being surprised by what people have picked out for me. And just to enjoy all the good food this time of year. I went to the choir Christmas party and there was little on the table that did not have carbs in it. I did pick up a few veggies to put on my plate to try and at least feel like I wasn't eating a complete meal of carbs. But, man you just can't wrong and it was blessed by a minister, so that cuts the calorie count in half, right?

Of course, now we begin the trek toward new year and the inevitable resolutions. I've begun preparing myself for a myriad of new faces at the Y, crowded classes, crowded pool lanes and crowded exercise machines. It hasn't started yet, but I expect the trickle to begin next week and really just explode as we build up to the BCS title game. (Speaking of which....yawn....). It happens every year and a lot of these people will be there and active for a few days or weeks, only to be gone by Valentine's Day. Each year, I find myself both looking forward to the activity level dropping off and hoping it will stay at the same level and that some of these new faces will stick with it and make a choice for a healthier lifestyle.

But that's another thought, for another day...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/26/2008 04:33:00 PM | |
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
How do you know it's the Christmas season?
A couple of days ago, USA Today's Pop Candy blogger linked to a website that contains every cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" ever made (there are a lot of them...I simply had no idea). Part of the story was that the people who created the web-site didn't really feel like the Christmas season had kicked-off or was here until they'd heard the song as originally performed by Wham.

That got me thinking about the songs, movies, tv specials, events, etc that I look forward around this time of year. I'll admit one of my favorite Christmas songs is "Carol of the Bells" and I love to hear it performed by a handbell choir. I know there are a ton of recordings of the song in just about every possible genre you could ever want, but there's just something about it played on handbells. And as cheesy as it may be, I've got to admit that a new favorite is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter" and seeing the YouTube footage of the house that timed out its light show to the song.

Of course, there are a ton of other things out there. One I stumbled back across this year was "The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever." I read this book about a billion and one times as a kid and I loved it every time. They made a one-hour special version of it, starring Loretta Switt, but it never really compared to the visual spectacle I had in my mind. I gave a copy of the book to my niece, hoping she'll enjoy it half as much as I did growing up. (I also found out there were two "sequels" out there, one taking place around Halloween and one that was about the whole school year. I gave them a try and maybe one book should have been enough).

So, those are a couple of things from my end. How about you? What are those things you want to see or hear around this time of year that tell you that Christmas is coming?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/09/2008 02:10:00 PM | |
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
12 Days of Christmas
A unique version of "The 12 Days of Christmas." I love it.

I found it via the genius that is Rick and Bubba.

Enjoy!



posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/02/2008 07:15:00 AM | |
Monday, December 01, 2008
New Football Coach
It's official: the University of Tennessee has a new football coach.

Lane Kiffin takes over as the 21st coach of the Vols.

First things first. I appreciate what UT tried to do in keeping the lid on this story until after Phil Fulmer's last game Saturday. Unfortunately, ESPN didn't really cooperate. Heaven forbid we wait a day to break a story. I know, I know...with the 24/7 news cycle, it was only a matter of time. But was it really too much to ask?

As for the new coach, I'm not sure how excited I am yet. He didn't exactly have a hot record at Oakland and even though he's from the Pete Caroll coaching tree at USC, I still need to be convinced.

Of course, should he go out and find a way to beat Florida, Alabama and Georgia next year, I'll be sold...

Until then, I'm taking the wait and see attitude.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/01/2008 08:11:00 PM | |
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