Friday, December 31, 2010

This is (probably) my only post about the Liberty Bowl fiasco

I have always been a huge Coach Richt apologist...I love the man. But I no longer have any argument against those calling for a coaching change other than "He's a really good Christian man".

6-7 record with this collection of talent, and a putrid performance in the bowl against a team that we out-talent at virtually every position? Absolutely indefensible. I'm not saying I WANT him fired...I'm just saying I have run out of arguments to the contrary that have anything to do with on-field performance.


And, as always...


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fringe will not go quietly into that good Friday night..

Fans of sci-fi series know it well...The Friday Night Death Slot. It's where Firefly, Terminator: TSCC, Dollhouse, Farscape, Wonderfalls, and countless other shows have been sent to die.

So, the news that Fringe (my fall TV season MVP) will be returning at 9 pM on Fridays has caused many fans some....consternation, shall we say.

Well, the Fringe Team has heard the news...and here's their reaction:

Love it.

I also don't think the timeslot issue necessarily means the death of the show.

Couple of reasons for that:

1) The DVR factor. Fringe is one of the shows that gains the most in terms of DVR and online viewing. Those numbers are obviously unaffected by what night the show airs.

2) Friday night is an easier time slot. Fringe was up against Grey's Anatomy, The Office, and CSI at 9 PM on Thursdays. On Fridays, it will be up against a couple of newsmag shows (ABC Primetime and Dateline NBC) and a much lesser version of CSI (CSI: NY). If Fringe can maintain the ratings they are getting now, it will be a success.

3) The timeslot may not have been the issue in the first place. Dollhouse and Terminator were dying anyway. Firefly had NUMEROUS issues (mostly network related), with time slot being way down the list, in my opinion. We could go on and on, but the point is that these shows were probably doomed no matter where they were on the schedule, and the timeslot problem has been overstated.

Also, let's keep in mind that the sci-fi show that I think Fringe is MOST similar to did quite well on Friday nights for (I think) its entire run...The X-Files.

I want to believe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fans of the book will know what I mean...

...when I say that this particular screen capture from the Game of Thrones preview on HBO makes me both very sad and very excited at the same time.

There can be very little doubt what scene this is...

By the way, I am EXTREMELY excited about everything I am seeing from HBO regarding this series. I will be talking more about it as it gets closer to air (looks like it will premier in April), and I will most likely be doing weekly recaps once it starts.

Winter is Coming!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mid-season television report (now complete)

OK...time for the much anticipated (mostly by me) mid-season television wrap-up extravaganza!!

I have been very up-front about how burnt out on sports in general I have been this season, and the various reasons for that. But all it really means is that I have been even MORE invested in the television shows I watch, and have subjected my friends and co-workers to HOURS upon HOURS of my blatherings about what I watched on TV last night (Hi, Amanda!).

So, what I'm saying is...pack a lunch. This could be a long one.

A few disclaimers....first of all, SPOILER ALERT OMG SPOILER ALERT. I will be spoiling plot, character development, themes, etc. for all of these shows. If you come to one that you are wanting to stay unspoiled for, just skip to the next one.

Also, I am incorporating a bunch of clips for some of these. I was somewhat limited by A) trying to keep the blog family friendly, and B) Hulu. A lot of the clips came from Hulu, so I apologize in advance for the lead time and advertisements. Hulu is getting awfully handsy.

OK, on with the show!

Amazing Race - Oof. What a frustrating season this was, capped off by the most boring finale I can ever remember.

Question - why is it that almost every young single "dating" couple on this show consists of a douchey, arrogant, borderline abusive guy and his slightly ditzy, attractive girlfriend? Are those the only personality types who try out for this show? The only couple I can remember who didn't fit this pattern was the hippies who won a few years ago...I loved those people whose names I can't remember. I wonder what they are doing now...

The finale this season was terrible...usually there is at least some sort of demanding task that will enable some "bunching" for a more dramatic finish (and the finale, by the way, is the one episode of the season where I don't mind the "bunching" technique of the producers, since all 3 of the teams conceivably have earned a chance to win at this point). Not this time...everybody bungee jump to this raft, now go paste some flowers on to a Rose Bowl float, now go take an open book version of the memory quiz that anybody who has ever seen a finale before knows is coming,'re done. Nat and Kat basically won this leg, and therefore the million dollars, by being the first to their cab at the LA airport. Yes, Thomas and Jill had the cabby from hell (and should have bailed on that cab as soon as they realized they were going to have a language barrier while IN LOS ANGELES), but Nat and Kat got the first cab at the airport and never really faced anything that was likely to trip them up.

Oh, season is an "All Stars" cast (or something like it...they are calling it "Unfinished Business", and I don't think the casting is meant to be the "best" players as much as "players the audience seemed to like"), and also the first season to be filmed in HD, which should be gorgeous.

At least this season gave us THIS:

And, really....shouldn't that be enough?

Boardwalk Empire - The internet reaction to this show has been sort of strange...most of the critics who I trust (Sepinwall, Mo Ryan, A.V. Club, etc) seem to be big fans of the show, but a lot of the commentary on more "fan based" sites or the comments to the critics sites seem to be either more lukewarm or downright disappointed.

I think it has to do with people's expectations of what this show was going to be...people saw Terence Winter (one of the head writers on The Sopranos), Martin Scorsese, characters such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, and Prohibition-era Atlantic City and thought we were going to get a mix of Sopanos, Goodfellas, and The Untouchables. Which, granted, would have been pretty awesome...but it's not what this show is. This is not a "gangster" show, at least not at this point. It is a story about times of massive upheaval and how people deal with it. It's about, as Nucky said in the season finale, how much sin people are willing to live with.

President-elect Harding called for a "Return to Normalcy" in the victory speech we heard in the last episode, and that's the point...what is the new definition of "normal"? We are just coming out of a World War, and many of the men who came back have had their eyes opened in ways that had never happened before. Prohibition has produced an extremely lucrative and dangerous black market. The Sufferage movement has given American women the right to vote, and with it more influence and power than had ever been possible before. We are almost squarely between the abolishment of slavery and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, and that dynamic is fluid at best. A huge influx of immigrants have filled the east coast, especially the Northeast, and brought new ideas, dreams, and methods to achieve those dreams with them. Organized crime is finding strong footholds in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, and power struggles are ongoing to see who is going to be the "boss".

Trying to ride this wave and find a place to stand on this rapidly changing foundation, is Nucky Thompson, city treasurer for Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi has been sort of a polarizing figure among those debating the show's merits, in large part because he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would be powerful enough to be running the show. I think that's the Jimmy told Nucky in the pilot, he can't be "half a gangster" anymore. Nucky is a guy who has been very successful under the old rules, and he's now having to adapt to a world that he doesn't know if he's suited for, or if he even wants to be suited for. Buscemi, as always, knocks it out of the park.

Other stuff I love about this show:
- Richard Harrow: It was when this character was introduced that I really started loving the show. Here are a couple of scenes that capture the quiet menace of the character (keeping in mind that the family-friendly nature of the blog limits the clips I can use):

- Arnold Rothstein: I sure hope that his truce with Nucky doesn't mean that we'll be seeing less of him. Michael Stuhlbarg's portrayal was perfect as the educated businessman whose business just happens to be somewhat less than legal.

- Chalky White. Wish we could have seen more of him, because I miss Omar.

- "Real tough guy, you gonna shoot me for mouthin' off?" "Well, I wasn't gonna...but you sort of talked me into it." BLAM. The moment I stopped worrying about Michael Pitt's portrayal of Jimmy Darmody.

Obviously, I could go on and on about this show...I am starting to wish I had done a weekly recap of some sort. Maybe next season.

One last clip before I move on...loved this scene for so many reasons, including the obvious homage to the "settling all family business" scene from The Godfather. It includes some very brief profanity, and some pretty intense violence, so if that's not your thing you can move on to the next show.

Walking Dead - My reaction to this show is kind of...mixed? I guess? I distinctly remember thoroughly enjoying every single episode (with the slight exception of the finale), and yet when I think about the season as a whole I feel a bit...disappointed? Unfulfilled? In other words, each individual episode worked for me on some level, but the overall arc seemed to be lacking and missing the thread that tied it all together.

I guess most of my issues can be explained by the fact that it was only a six episode season, and even those six episodes were slightly rushed due to AMC wanting to get the pilot on Halloween night. So, the whole season ended up feeling sort of like prologue, in retrospect. In particular, the characters never became "full" enough for me...I didn't find myself really caring that much about any of them.

The whole thing with the CDC in the last two episodes ended up being totally useless, as it blowed up real good but only took the lives of two characters: the one we just met last week, and a character who we knew next to nothing about. My guess is that the storyline was inserted (and it's not part of the comic book series, apparently) to let the audience know that A)we are not going to get an "origin story" as to how this zombie apocalypse happened, and B) don't get your hopes up about a possible cure at some point. Which is my mind, that's not what the story is about anyway. It's about starting over, figuring out the new paradigms, how we as humans react and adjust when everything we find familiar is taken away. The fact that you have to be constantly worried about zombies popping up and attacking just adds drama. Sort of like Battlestar Galactica, but replace "Cylons" with "Zombies" and "Space" with "Metro Atlanta".

Here's why I'm still on board: First, like I said, I really did enjoy the individual episodes. They were really well shot and directed, and I stayed on the edge of my seat at almost all times. Second, even given such a short period of time to flesh out the characters, they were still able to give us scenes as powerful as this one, which affected me as much as anything else on TV this season. This scene is the day after a zombie attack on the camp, and Amy (younger sister) was bitten by a zombie and is now dead. Andrea (older sister) sits next to her, keeping vigil and not letting the other survivors put a bullet or pickaxe through her head (the usual way of disposing of zombie-bitten bodies so that they won't reanimate) so that she can get some sort of closure:

If they can continue to find a way to include those kind of character moments along with the ZOMG ZOMBIES scenes, I think this has the potential to be a great show. It's just not quite there yet, and we won't know if it will ever be until we can see at least one full season. Which we now have to wait ten more months for. {sad clown}

Chuck: There may not be a current show that I have more FUN watching than this one. The writing creates a great mix of a sci-fi show, buddy movie, comedy, and a really well-done love story between two leads with great chemistry. The cast, led by Zachary Levi, is absolutely perfect, having completely inhabited their characters now that we are in the fourth season. And if you follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about Yvonne Strahovski (hint: I like her. A lot).

The show hit a bit of a lull last season, as they seemed to be throwing obstacles at the Chuck/Sarah pairing for no reason other than to keep the "will they or won't they" tension going, but this season has been back to the show we all love and buy foot long subs for.

What makes the show fun, besides the fact that it seems to be written for people my age and with my interests, is the supporting cast that seems to be having an absolute blast. One pairing that has been spending a lot more time together this season, with hilarious results, is Morgan and Casey:

And now, just because I love this cast so much and this reel just makes me want to hang out with them:

How I met Your Mother: This is one that I just picked up last year when I dropped House, and it's one that I can really take or leave. In fact, I have come thisclose to dropping the show from the rotation, only to have an episode like this week's that reminds me of how good the show can be sometimes. So, if they keep throwing in the occasional winner of an episode, then that fact plus Jason Segel and NPH will be enough to keep me around.

Just for fun, even though it's not from this season:

Glee: Look, there's nothing I can tell you that is going to sway your opinion either way about this show. You either love it, and can therefore forgive its many, MANY faults, or you hate it and can see nothing BUT its many, MANY faults.

I am obviously in the former camp, but that doesn't mean I can't at least acknowledge the faults. The most egregious are:

1) Overall lack of consistency. In EVERY facet of the show. There are wide swings in quality from week to week, plot lines are dropped and picked up seemingly at random (though that hasn't been quite as bad this season), and characters (especially Will) are written and portrayed in whatever way fits the plot that week, often leading to completely contradictory situations, like the Glee club members repeatedly telling us and other characters what an awesome teacher Mr. Schue is when we have such thing.

2) Especially this season, the deification and martyrdom of Kurt. In the first season Kurt was a snarky, self confident (although mostly still in the closet) guy who reminded me of a couple of my show choir friends back in high school. This season he's a whiny, self absorbed, selfish, insecure little waif who is constantly telling us how unfair his life is, even while people are bending over backwards to try and make things better for him. I wouldn't want to be friends with that fact, I would want to stay as far away from that person as possible.

Having said all that, I still love this show. Even though the main characters sometimes seem to have different motivations and personalities from week to week, the supporting cast seems to be written much more consistently. I have loved seeing more of Santana this season, and Heather Morris as Brittany is probably the most solidly funny performance on the whole cast, doubly impressive since this is her first acting job.

I have been tougher on the show this season...when it first hit the air, I loved having an almost painfully realistic portrayal of a high school show choir, and I was blown away by the musical performances to the point that I was more likely to overlook the less consistent parts of the show. Now, I'm spoiled by the musical performances, which causes me to look more critically at the other stuff...but as long as they break out something like this every once in a while, I'm going to continue to be hooked:

Raising Hope: If you had told me before the season started that of the two new Fox comedies on Tuesday night, this one would have become must see TV for me, while Running Wilde would have been out of my rotation after two weeks I would have said you were nuts. But that is what's happened.

Raising Hope has done a great job of re-creating what was the strength of another Greg Garcia show (My Name is Earl), which is building a world of really off the wall characters that still somehow manage to be likable and bring a lot of heart and emotional connection as well.

Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton (along with the cutest baby on television) are giving performances that are reason enough by themselves to give this show a shot if you haven't already:

Sons of Anarchy: This was my first season watching this show, and more than anything else it made me want to go back and watch Season 2. That is a compliment...sort of. I really enjoyed the world that Kurt Sutter has created, and the characters are well written and acted (besides some occasional accent issues, JAX)...but even I feel like the plot was a bit meandering, and I don't have the supposedly vastly superior season 2 to compare it against.

The SAMCRO-goes-to-Belfast plot seemed pretty pointless while it was going on, and it seems even moreso in retrospect...I feel like this whole season was just to set us up for next season, which seems didactic at best, and insulting to the viewer at worst, as if Sutter didn't think I had anything better to do than watch a 13 episode prologue. And while I did enjoy the season finale, I had some of the same issues that Mo Ryan did...namely, what did SAMCRO know with regard to the game Jax was playing with Stahl, and when did they know it? I have no problem with Jax tricking Stahl, obviously...but if Jax was never really in danger with SAMCRO, then the tension the audience was supposed to feel about how the club was going to react to Jax turning rat was false, and that bugs me.

Having said all that...I'll be back for season 4, hopefully after going back and watching season 2 so that I'll have a better idea as to what all the fuss is about.

Modern Family: On Todd VanDerWerff's podcast this week, I think he nailed my feelings about this show...this show is good, but it is as good as it is ever going to be. It arrived fully formed, which is impressive, but it also means that the show doesn't really show any interest in growing or developing. Instead, they are just going to try to produce the funniest episode that they can every week...and there's certainly nothing wrong with that approach, especially when you can be as funny as this show can be when the writers and cast are hitting on all cylinders.

Survivor: First season I've watched from start to finish, and probably the last. I'm mainly watching so that I can read the recaps from people I like to read...and that's no reason to watch a TV show.

I don't know if it is that I haven't been watching long enough to pick up on things, or just really poor editing, but I have gone through this whole season not really being able to tell what anybody's strategy is. I think I'm a pretty smart I'm blaming it on the editors.

Cougar Town: SO much better than its name (every review is federally obligated to mention that at this point). There is absolutely nothing deep about this's just a funny bunch of people sitting around doing and saying funny things, with copious amounts of red wine available. And it is maybe my favorite comedy currently on television (with the possible exception of Community).

Psych: Consistently funny, and laughs are coming so fast you have to have the pause and rewind button ready. Much like Chuck, I feel almost like this one is written specifically for me.

For instance...note how the victim is positioned in this clip:

Look familiar? For any avid players of EA Sports NHL '94, it should:

THAT'S the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back...and the fact that they chose to just trust that those who the joke was meant for would get it, rather than explain it, made me love it even more.

Terriers: Sigh. This show was SOOOOO good. I'm not even going to try and analyze why it couldn't find an audience...instead, I'm going to STRONGLY urge you to find some way (Netflix, Hulu, DVD, whatever) to go watch a truly fantastic 13 episode movie/miniseries.

There is no way to really do this show justice in a review, which I think was part of its problem...when you describe it, it sounds like a very generic premise. It's about a couple of scruffy, witty PI' is a washed out cop, one is a (mostly) reformed criminal. There is no way to convey the feel of the show, which was just...I don't know, "comfortable" doesn't sound right, but it's the best I can come up with right now. I just felt like I knew these guys as soon as they showed up on the screen in the pilot, and their world felt so lived in and familiar that it was just easy to immerse myself in the show every week, no matter what was going on in the actual plot.

Again, Hulu is a nemesis when it comes to finding just the right clips, and this show doesn't lend itself to that kind of thing anyway, but this is a good one from the finale.. (and don't worry about spoilers. I could tell you every single plot point of the overarching story and I don't feel like it would diminish the show one iota, and I'm HUGELY anti-spoiler)

RIP, Terriers. Thanks for a tremendous run.

Big Bang Theory: Ummm...I don't know. It is what it is. It's funny, most of the time...the jokes just seem to be mostly the same every week. Last week, I never watched the episode, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything. That can't be a good sign, especially in a time slot as crowded as this one.

Community: Like most of the comedies I like, this one is written for a very specific audience that I happen to be a member of. There are plenty of laughs, but the genius of the show is both the meta commentary (of which there is wisely less of this season...don't want it to become a crutch) and the fact that there is a gooey center to it as well. This is a group of people who really NEED each other...separately, they would be impossibly lonely, but together they have created a surrogate family for each other. That doesn't sound funny, I know...but again, that's part of the genius.

The Christmas episode from last week became an instant Christmas classic to be rewatched every year, as far as I'm concerned. Sheer awesomeness, both in concept and execution.

And, of course, there is Troy and Abed:

The Office: Continues to be wildly inconsistent as it careens towards what I believe to be either the end of the show or a complete reboot once Steve Carrell leaves at the end of this season.

I do think this is a better season than the last one, when I really started to question whether I actually liked any of these people, especially Jim and Pam. This season's lows haven't been as low as last season, and every once in a while they can still come up with an episode like "China", which felt to me like the show did when it was in its prime.

The Mentalist: Perfectly acceptable television, and the only true "procedural" that I watch. This is one that the wife and I usually let build up and then blow through 4-5 episodes of on a Saturday like this last one when neither of us feel like doing anything productive. Nothing special, but consistently entertaining, and a very solid cast.

Fringe: Last but certainly not personal MVP of this season so far. I said back in my original Fall TV preview that this could be my new LOST, or at least as close as any show could come to that. And, as high as my expectations were, the show has exceeded them.

Smart storytelling: The alternate universe storyline was perfectly executed, and ran for what seemed like the exactly right amount of time, which is not easy to do. Catching the little differences between the two worlds (like Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future and Springsteen Station in New Jersey) was fun, but the storytelling was so much more rich than that...we actually got to know the doppelgangers of our familiar Fringe team, and get a clear understanding of why they hate us so much. Truly great stuff.

Creepily awesome cases of the week
: Nobody does it better. I don't know how these guys minds work that they are able to come up with this stuff, and maybe I don't want to...but I sure do love it.

Last week, they gave me one of my very favorite scenes of television this year...a clinically depressed scientist has been harvesting the donated organs of a woman whom he met in group therapy (who committed suicide), with hopes of regenerating her so that she can dance again. Creepy, right? But, somehow, this scene turns it into something almost...sweet. And certainly gorgeous. See for yourself:

Quality acting: Of course, John Noble and Lance Reddick are tremendous, and Joshua Jackson is playing Pacey all growns up, so that's good. But Anna Torv, who was criticized by many in the first season (including myself) has shown that if you give her great material, she can definitely rise to the occasion:

Put it all together, and you have my Fall Season MVP. Trust me, I'm as surprised as you are.

OK...all done!! I think that once the new year rolls around, I will be posting more often (maybe weekly?) going through the highlights of these shows, as well as some others I'm looking forward to (Parks and Rec, V, Justified, etc). Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions/requests!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grading the Dawgs

As I've said before, I got really burned out on sports in general the last few months, with the one lone bright spot being the play of the Falcons. This general sports malaise even affected my obsession with the Dawgs...more than anything else, I'm just ready for this season to be over.

I'm sure that by the time next summer rolls around I will be back to my normal, rabid self.

In the meantime, and while I am working on my MASSIVE mid-season television report, let's dole out some grades, shall we?

Quarterback: A-
Comments: Aaron Murray surpassed ALL expectations this season, both in terms of statistics and intangibles like toughness and leadership. The only thing that keeps this grade from an A or even an A+ is the Florida game, the only time all year where Aaron really looked like a freshman. We've got a great one, Dawg fans.

Running Backs: C+
Comments: I was really surprised to find out that both Ealy and King averaged over 5 yards a carry...I only seem to have memories of them running directly into a wall of defenders over and over again, looking desparately for a hole that wasn't there (we'll get to that in a minute). Either way, the running game wasn't nearly as effective as we all thought it would be going into the season, and while the running backs don't share all the blame for that, there was still a noticable lack of big plays out of the running game. And the fumbles, my God, the fumbles...

As for the fullbacks, I don't think we got the same level of effectiveness out of them as we have become accustomed to. They were adequate, but I can't give them much more than that.

Wide Receiver: B-
Comments: A.J. Green is the best receiver in college football, but we only had him for eight games. Kris Durham had a fantastic season, and probably earned a spot on an NFL team somewhere. Tavarres King showed some flashes that he may be living up to his potential. Other than those three? Everybody else was virtually invisible. Only Marlon Brown had double digit catches, and he only had one touchdown. Rantavious Wootentheballcarrier only had seven catches for a measly 41 yards.

And, the most disturbing part? Durham is definitely gone next season, and A.J. almost certainly is. Ugh.

Tight End: B-
Comments: This grade would be lower, except that I don't fully blame the players for their lack of production. This staff has to find a way to get these guys involved...we heard all kinds of talk before the season started about how much we were going to incorporate all three of the Charles/White/Figgins trio into the game plan. The result? 36 total catches between the three of them, for only four touchdowns. Those numbers should have been double that.

Offensive line: D
Comments: By far the most disappointing position group on the team, as well as the most frustrating. There were individual plays, sometimes even whole drives, where we were imposing our will on the defense and the line looked like we all thought they would look with 6 starters returning and one of the most respected assistant coaches in the country overseeing them. But by and large, we struggled to open holes for the running game, and Aaron Murray had to make far too many plays while running for his life.

This lack of production is inexplicable, and it makes me sad, so I'm going to move on...

Defensive Line: C
Comments: Adequate. Seriously, that's the best I can come up with for what this group was. Considering you had Tyson playing out of position all year, I guess that's the best you could have hoped for out of this group. We were gashed several times this year by the running game, but I think that is partially due to not having the right players for the scheme yet...we'll see, I guess.

Linebackers: B+
Comments: Probably the most effective position group on the defense. Justin Houston was an absolute monster all year, but we never got the production out of the other OLB that I was hoping for. Akeem Dent had an all-SEC caliber season. Overall, this was a HUGE step up from last season...big kudos to Coaches Belin and Grantham.

Cornerback/Safety: C-
Comments: I'm grouping these two together, because I'm probably going to say the same things about both of them. Our secondary is who we thought they I and a lot of others thought may be the case, we made a lot more plays but we also gave up a bunch of plays due to folks being out of position.

If you want to see a Dawgs fan have an aneurysm, just walk up to them and shout "WHEEL ROUTE"!

This is another position, especially at corner, where we have to wait and see what happens when we get the right personnel in there...Lakatos and Grantham appear to prefer larger cornerbacks rather than the really fast midgets that Willie liked to use.

Kicker/Punter: A-
Comments: Blair continues to be as close to automatic as you can get, and although Drew didn't have the monster season he had last year he was still very effective.

Kick Return/Coverage: B
Comments: Not as many big plays out of the return game this season, but wow...what a difference on kick coverage. Just like the linebacker position, I think this area benefitted greatly from the change in coaching philosophy.

If you add all of those components together and take an average, you end up with around a C+. The fact that we still ended up with a horrible 6-6 record is a testament to how frustrating this season was. I don't feel like we were really bad at anything, but we weren't really good at anything either, and we showed a remarkable knack for making our penalties and turnovers a bad way. The mistakes always seemed to come at the most inopportune times. I guess that's what happens when you're just not a very good team.

Ugh. I'm ready for this season to be over.

As always...GO DAWGS.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I've been out of the loop, obviously..

I've been awfully distracted the last few weeks, not really active online anywhere, and I had not really been feeling the Hate that normally is associated with this week.

Then, I was reminded of THIS.'s back. And there's nothing Clean or Old Fashioned about it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The end to a friendly rivalry

Let's get this out of the way up front...absolutely nothing that is to follow in this post has anything to do with why the Dawgs lost yesterday. Auburn is a better team than Georgia is right now. I think that without a doubt, we are a better team than the 5-6 record would indicate, but Auburn is the #2 team in the country for a reason, and they showed it yesterday. We never even looked like we MIGHT stop their offense at any point after the first quarter, and another very good performance by our offense could not overcome our defensive deficiencies and poor special teams play.

Now....on to the point.

Unlike some Dawg fans, I have never really hated Auburn. There are a lot of reasons for that...some of them as innocuous as the fact that my high school was the War Eagles, so we shared a fight song and the same color scheme. There was also the Pat Dye-Vince Dooley institutional incest. And when I got older and visited their campus, I was always struck by how much it reminded me of Athens. On top of all that, about ten years ago my parents moved to the Opelika area and my father now pastors a church full of Auburn fans who happen to be great people who treat their pastor and their pastor's family very well.

So, yeah...I'm one of a minority of Dawg fans who has always sort of pulled for Auburn a little, as long as they weren't playing us.

Never again.

Cam Newton is a thief, a liar, and a cheater. These aren't allegations. Not "allegedly". As Captain Jack Ross said, "These are the facts of the case...and they are undisputed". On top of that, over the last couple of weeks there has been a ton of smoke regarding pay-for-play allegations, including the latest news that Cam's father has allegedly admitted soliciting money in exchange for his son's prodigious football talents. Now that part of the story IS still in question, but I ask this: Knowing what we know about the kind of person that Cam Newton has repeatedly shown himself to be, why are we supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt?

Along those same lines, why do we keep being told that this is a "feel good story"? When does the "feel good" part kick in? This story makes me want to take a shower.

And yet...the Auburn administration, coaching staff, and fan base continue to be, in their own words, "all in". Not only are they not embarrassed or ashamed by any of this, they have anointed this player as the face of their program, and seem to be reveling in the controversy, flaunting the fact that they are going to support this individual, NO MATTER WHAT.

As for Nick Fairley, well...I don't understand any fan base who can look at THIS:

and THIS:

..and feel anything other than embarrassed. (By the way...Fairley was NOT "blocked into" Aaron. He was blocked, yes...but he saw Aaron's exposed knee, changed direction, and INTENTIONALLY drove his helmet into his knee). But that's not what I saw or heard last night...instead, I saw Auburn fans (some of whom I have known and respected for a long time) sticking up for him and saying that he was just "playing hard", that this was "just football".

Those who know me know that I am for the most part disgusted by the rule changes that we have seen in recent years that try to "soften" football. I have no issue with football as a violent sport. But what this man (not did yesterday was intentionally try to injure an opponent in the most cowardly ways possible. Not only the two plays above...he repeatedly picked up Aaron and drove him into the ground with his shoulder, which is against the rules but repeatedly not called yesterday. (slight caveat...I know it's a rule in the NFL, not sure about the NCAA. But the point remains...there is no reason for that move other than to take advantage of an opponent in a defenseless posture and try to injure him).

I was also told last night that these are just 18-21 year old kids making "mistakes". I mostly agree with that sentiment. That's why it becomes incumbent on the adults surrounding them...their coaches, administration, and the so-called adults in their fan teach them that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about your business, and the wrong way will not be tolerated.

But that's not what's happening.

The Auburn coaching staff, administration, and fan base has made it quite clear that they not only accept these two individuals...they celebrate them. They obviously represent everything that Auburn now wants to be.

Which is why, at least for me, this rivalry can never be friendly again.

I'll end with this...Auburn is 11-0. My Dawgs are 5-6.

Without a doubt...I would still rather be a Bulldog.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Here's what I'm not talking about...

Have you noticed that I haven't had a lot to say lately?

I'm sure that a big part of it is the crappy season the Dawgs are having, but I am also just fed up in general with a lot of the things that I would normally be writing about here. Combine that with the fact that I have been EXTREMELY busy, and I just haven't been able to find the time, motivation, or energy to talk about:

- How hot Mark Richt's seat is.
- GranthamGate, ChokeGate, or whatever you want to call the ridiculous kerfluffle that was stirred up by the idiots over at the AJC this week.
- The AJC in general.
- Boise State.
- The stupid new technical foul rules in the NBA.
- The fact that every time a football player takes a hard hit now, we have to spend five minutes examining super slo mo replays to determine what the hitter's intent was, what the exact position of his head was in relation to the other player's head, how he should have somehow defied the laws of physics and changed position and/or speed in midair to keep from hitting his opponent so hard, and then eventually call the hitter out for being a horrible human being who is intentionally trying to turn his opponent into a vegetable. Instead of calling him what he is...a football player.
- The most personally heartbreaking loss I can remember since UT 2004.
- Urban Meyer and Chris Rainey.
- The revisionist history from TV announcers regarding Cam Newton's past (though that may change with yesterday's news regarding the NCAA investigation).
- Brett Favre.
- Randy Moss.

Seriously, my attitude towards sports in general right now is just very bitter. And I don't think that any of you want to read that, so I haven't been writing.

I'm about to be through with the busiest time of the year for me at work (budgets for next year). Hopefully, once I'm past that, I will have a better idea about what I want this blog to be going forward. I have a good feeling that if it continues, it's probably going to be a lot different than what it has been in the past.

As always...


Friday, October 8, 2010

Still not ready to talk about the Dawgs...

Though I will feel MUCH better after we destroy the Hillbillies tomorrow.

So...remember a couple of weeks ago when I went through all of the shows I was going to be watching this fall? How about we talk about that instead?

Here is a (hopefully) brief synopsis of this Fall's TV season so far, the way I see it:


Mad Men: Still awesome. I love how characters are being put into situations that just highlight everything we have learned about them over the past 3+ seasons, and that the writing and acting has been so good that each scene has at least three different levels to it depending on which characters are interacting at the time.

I'm not going to spoil anything on this one, because I still want everybody reading this who has not been watching the past three seasons to go watch as soon as possible.


Boardwalk Empire: When I posted about this before, I had only seen the pilot. We're three weeks in, and in my opinion the show gets better every week. The pilot had a LOT of Scorsese quirks to it, which made sense because he directed it. But the last two episodes have been better in part because they haven't been weighed down with the standard Scorsese required shots. Instead, we've focused a lot more on the characters and their motivations, and it's been fantastic, with superb acting performances and wonderful direction.


The Amazing Race: Very boring season so far, and I'm watching more out of habit than anything else. The problem is that there aren't any teams yet that I really like (except the one that went home last week, unfortunately), and what's worse is that there aren't any I can actively root against.



Chuck: Except for a slight mis-step this week, which was a pretty blah episode despite the appearance by Stone Cold Steve Austin, this show has picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. Which is a good thing. The relationship between Chuck and Sarah is sweet and funny, but they need to be careful not to be too repetitive with the "Chuck has a neurotic fear about some aspect of their relationship and Sarah has to spend the whole mission putting off talking about it" stuff.


How I Met Your Mother: Meh. Probably better than last season, but the writers are still making some pretty big mistakes (like acting as if either the characters or the audience care one lick about Don, who Robin spent the entire episode this week freaking out over). I'll keep watching, even if only for my weekly NPH and Jason Segal fixes.


The Event: I dropped this one about an episode and a half in. The actors are good and doing the best they can with the material given, but the Big Story is just not interesting enough to overcome ridiculous plotlines and character motivations that make no sense.


Lone Star: Kaput after two episodes. It is sad, because it was a decent show, but I don't think it was awesome enough to freak out over like a lot of critics and bloggers have. I'll miss seeing Adrianne Palicki every week, and I hope the lead (James Wolk) gets something else soon because he was really good and likable. I'm a lot more upset over recent losses like Dollhouse and Pushing Daisies than I was about this one.


Hawaii 5-0: This falls neatly into the category of Perfectly Acceptable Television. Nothing earth-shattering, just a nifty little procedural that is nice to look at (due to the gorgeous Hawaii establishing shots, and the fact that they manage to put Boomer in a bathing suit every week). The dynamic between Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan has been fun, with O'Laughlin serving as a pretty good straight man. My only real complaint is that the nods to the original have been a little ham-fisted, both the "Book em, Danno" part and the "Hey, we need a name for our little group" thing. But the theme song still rocks, and I think the show meets both the expectations that I had for it and the expectation it has for hour of mindless fun with beautiful scenery.


So, I've dropped two shows from Monday (The Event and Lone Star) and haven't picked any up...I tried Castle for a couple of weeks, but it just never clicked for me. I'm a fan of The Mentalist (more on that later), and this just seemed like a less-funny version of that.


Glee: Man, I don't think I've ever loved a show that is this inconsistent about what it wants to be, but here we are. The past two weeks are a perfect example...last week, we had the wonderfully silly and fun Britney Spears episode (featuring my very favorite character on the show finally getting a chance to show off her formidable skillset), and then this week the show tries to take on the huge and tricky concepts of personal faith. And, for the most part, they are able to do both of them really well.

(Quick aside: As someone who is a Christian, I thought they did an admirable job of at least trying to be fair with the "Religion" episode. It's extremely rare that the Christian point of view is captured properly by television, because the majority of writers are coming from a totally different place. I don't think Glee got us exactly right, but I give kudos for at least trying to portray Christians as something other than mean or stupid.)

This is a show that you are either going to love or hate...there's not going to be a lot of in-between. I still love it, in spite of its whiplash-inducing tonal shifts.


No Ordinary Family: ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I made it halfway through this past week's episode, and I think that's probably as far as I'm going to go.

GRADE: Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Running Wilde: Ugh. I really, really WANTED this to be good. But I didn't laugh even one time at the first two episodes, so I cut it loose.


Raising Hope: Look, don't tell anybody, OK? But this show really makes me laugh. The pilot was pretty bad, but I have laughed a LOT at the last two episodes. Garret Dillahunt as the dad is really funny, which I wasn't expecting. His scene last week when he was trying to come up with a name for the boat he's going to buy with his lottery winnings has had me laughing all week.

GRADE: B. Would probably be higher, if it wasn't for Cloris Leachman's over the top and stupid portrayal of the occasionally lucid grandmother.

Detroit 1-8-7: Only made it part of the way through the pilot, and decided it wasn't going to work for me. Is it still on the air?


Sons of Anarchy: I picked this one up after dropping a couple of other ones on Tuesday night, and was immediately hooked. I've only watched full episodes of this season (4 so far, I think), so I'm still getting caught up (with the help of a couple of fan sites and the Television Without Pity recap archive), but I am REALLY loving it so far.


Caprica: Don't know...haven't watched it yet.

So, on Tuesdays I have dropped three shows and only picked up one. See, Mom? I'm making progress!


Modern Family: Chugging right along...absolutely no dropoff in its sophomore season, and I'm loving the new weekly "Sofia Vergara Stirs Things" feature.


Cougar Town: Just picked this one up a couple of weeks ago, after trying it and hating it early in its first season. Tremendous improvement, and a consistently enjoyable half hour...just wish they could do something about the name.


Survivor: This is the first season I have watched live, so I can't really compare it to earlier seasons, but I am only mildly impressed so far. I am mainly watching it to see if the contestants I hate are going to go home, but the most odious person on the show now has an immunity idol, so I don't know if that's going to work out for me or not. I think I may go back to watching this show like I used to...ignoring everything except the tribal councils.


Undercovers: Hey, what would happen if we got JJ Abrams to do a show, only we took out everything that makes JJ Abrams projects interesting?

Oh. THIS happens.

I was out after one and a half episodes.

GRADE: ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Terriers: This show just keeps getting better and better...I just wish more people were watching it. The dialogue is clever and funny, the acting is great, the overall plot is intriguing. Too bad we're only going to get one season out of it.



First things first....

Grey's Anatomy: If the comments on my last post are any indication, you will all be happy to know that this one has been DROPPED FROM THE ROTATION.

Even cooler was that it was the wife's idea. I'm so proud of her.

Big Bang Theory: Another one that just keeps chugging along. Sheldon Cooper is on his way to being a television comedy icon, and for the most part the surrounding cast holds up their end of the bargain (though I wish the writers didn't so obviously despise Howard).


Community: WATCH THIS SHOW. It's clever, it's funny, it's loaded with pop culture references, it's somehow taught Chevy Chase how to be funny again, and it has one of the most genuinely likable ensemble casts in years.


The Office: Still watching out of habit, despite the obvious decline in quality over the last two plus seasons. Last night's episode was good, and reminiscent of some of the character-driven episodes of the show's peak. Any episode with that much Andy and Erin is fine with me.


Fringe: I love this show so much. They are really firing on all cylinders right now, nailing the mix between freak-of-the-week procedural, X-Files/LOST style geekfest, and character pieces.

The dynamic this season with the two dimensions, and especially the two Olivias, has breathed new life into a show that was already one of my favorites. And it's also given Ana Torv an opportunity to prove that she is a much more skilled actress than many (including me) gave her credit for during the show's early days.


The Mentalist: I've only watched the season premiere so far...this is one that we usually stock up on and then blow through 3-4 episodes at once. But I saw nothing that led me to believe that this wouldn't continue to be a fun hour of television every week...nothing earth shattering, nothing that is can't-miss, but consistently entertaining.


Still nothing on Friday or Saturday, except for the Freaks and Geeks replays on IFC, which definitely get an A. Apatow FTW, always.

Overall, this has been a really horrible season for new shows on the networks...I think Raising Hope and Hawaii 5-0 are the only ones I am going to stick with, and neither one of these shows are what I would consider "quality" television. More like Solid, Non-Offensive Procedural and Guilty Pleasure That I Hesitate to Admit I Like. about y'all? Agree with my assessments? Think I'm way off base? Anything I'm missing that I should be watching?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I guess I should say SOMETHING about the Dawgs...

Since several Dawg blogs and the geniuses over at Dawgbone continue to link to this blog, I guess I owe it to the blogosphere to say SOMETHING about the state of the Dawgs right now...

The problem is that I just don't know what to say.

After the South Carolina loss, I was frustrated, because I thought it was a winnable game that we let slip away, but I also knew that South Carolina was a pretty good team, it was the first road game, blah, blah, blah.

After the Arkansas loss, I was angry, because I thought that for the most part our players played well enough to win, only to be hampered in their efforts by poor game planning, especially on the offensive side of the ball (and this is coming from somebody who has been a Bobo apologist most of the time).

After last week, well...I'm just confused. I don't really understand how we got to this point. Taking a step back and really looking at the way we've played, I don't think this is a BAD team, per se...and I don't think I'm the only one. These posts at by Macon Dawg and T Kyle King say a lot of what I'm thinking about the quality of this team. It's not that we are terrible at anything, we just don't seem to be really good at anything. There just seems to be something "off", and I don't really know what it is.

I don't know...this post is threatening to go off the rails, since I'm really at a loss as to what to say about this team at this point (obviously), so let's see if we can work it out stream-of-consciousness style, mmm-kay?

- Aaron Murray has definitely been the brightest spot of the season so far. There's not a throw he can't make, as far as I can tell, he really hasn't made the kind of freshman mistakes we were expecting, and he has proven to have maybe been underrated as an athlete. And the heart he has shown, well...he makes me proud to be a Dawg. There is no quit in this guy.

- Kris Durham has been a revelation in the time he's gotten to play due to the absence of A.J., and Tavarres King has stepped up, as well. But we haven't gotten any real production out of any of our other WR, and the tight ends, inexplicably, have been a non-factor. Yeah, not having A.J. has hurt, but I think it was Blutarsky who pointed out that there are many teams in the past who have managed to get the ball to All-American level tight ends without the benefit of an All-American wide receiver.

Plus, if A.J. being gone screws up our offensive philosophy and game plan that much, what does that say about our chances next year when A.J. is in the NFL?

The passing game is one of the areas that you look at and just wonder why we haven't seen more production...nobody is playing poorly, and even the o-line has been fairly effective in pass protection (don't worry...we're coming back to that group in a second), and yet we're really not putting points on the board.

Part of that issue, of course, is that we seem to shoot ourselves in the foot so often when we have the chance to put the ball in the end zone. We have had at least 4-5 situations this year where we have either touchdowns called back or had the ball in obvious scoring situations only to blunder it away, either by turning the ball over (Washaun's two back breaking fumbles) or just putting it in reverse (the sequence last week when we went from 1st down at their 29 to 4th and 22 and a punt come to mind).

Moving on...told you this was stream-of-consciousness.

- The lack of running game has been by FAR the biggest disappointment to me. Our O-line is getting manhandled at the point of attack on a consistent is that possible? Our most respected and experienced coach coaching our most experienced and accomplished position grouping...and they have been horrendous. I have NO idea what is going on here. Maybe all of the people screaming about our strength and conditioning program are on to something? That doesn't seem right, either, though, because this exact same group was pretty dominant in the last half of 2009. If it was a S&C problem, wouldn't that actually get WORSE over the course of a season? I don't know...I'm stumped.

All of the running backs have been disappointments for various reasons...Ealy can't hold on to the ball and really hasn't shown any kind of big-play potential, King can't stay healthy (again), and poor Carlton Thomas keeps being asked to try and run the ball up the middle. Apparently Bobo hates him and wants to see him maimed. I may be mis-remembering, but have we even tried to throw a screen pass to Thomas, or a swing pass, or even a toss sweep to get him to the corner? It seems like every time we are running one of those plays it is to Ealy, when I think Thomas's skill set is more conducive to that than what we are asking him to do, which is take on defenders that outweigh him by anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds.

I'm sure this stupefying lack of success in the run game probably has something to do with why the passing game isn't working, either.

And although we have cut down on penalties and turnovers, it seems like every time we DO make a mistake, it is at the most crucial and costly times. It's not "We had 2nd and 2 at the 40, now it's 2nd and 7 at the 45". Instead, it's "We had a touchdown, and now we don't", or "We picked up big yardage on 3rd and 4 to convert, but instead now it's 3rd and 14".

One more thing on the offense...Bobo is SO predictable in 2nd and long situations. EVERY time it's 2nd and long, we run the ball up the middle. Now teams are expecting it, and it inevitably puts in 3rd and medium to long situations, and that's not where you want to be (duh).

- As for the defense,'s been about what I expected. We don't quite have the personnel we want, especially at CB and nose tackle. Not that Boykin, Cuff, Tyson, etc. aren't quality football players...they just aren't the body type you look for when you run this kind of scheme.

I've seen a lot of people complaining about lack of effort, or guys "not wanting to be there", but I don't think that's the case...I think it's that they are still thinking rather than reacting, which slows everybody down.

Bottom line, the defense has played well enough to win all three of these games, in my opinion....they are being hampered by the offense's absolute lack of consistent success.

- Special teams have been fine, but not the overwhelming advantage many of us thought they would be. There have been several times when we really needed a game-changing play in the return game, like we got several times last year, but those plays just haven't come yet.

Drew Butler has been solid, but he hasn't seemed himself at times for some reason. Blair Walsh continues to be money when given the opportunity, we just haven't given him many.

The kickoff coverage seems to be much improved...guess that's what happens when the guys on the coverage team don't look so much like me.

- I love Coach Richt. I want so badly for him to get this ship righted and pointed in the right direction, because I don't think you can find a better person and role model to run your program. I am sincerely dreading the day when he is no longer our head coach.

But...I'm running out of ammunition to support him when it comes to on-field results, and let's face it: those results are ultimately what he is being paid for and what drives everything else.

Here's how "hot" I think his seat is:

If we lose three more games or more, I actually think he may be in trouble this year.

If we lose two more games, and those games are Florida and Georgia Tech, I think he keeps his job but is on VERY thin ice.

If we lose two more games, but beat Florida or Tech (and lose the other one), I think this is categorized as a rebuilding year and we go into next year hearing more hot seat talk, but he is still relatively safe.

Beat Florida and Georgia Tech, and I think he's safe even if we lose one or two others.

I do think the Vandy and Kentucky games may be must-wins, as well...we've lost to perennial bottom feeders WAY too often the last few years, and the Miss. St. game is another example.

OK, enough rambling....

Bottom line...we are in a precarious situation, no doubt about it, and one that Coach Richt has never faced, as a player or a coach. Now is the time for the Dawg Nation to rally TOGETHER and support this team harder than we ever have, not turn on the team and each other and devour ourselves. We still have a chance to salvage pride out of this season, if nothing else.

It starts Saturday in Boulder. Go win the game, and on top of that, go make a statement.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let's talk about something else...

Believe it or not, when this blog started I never intended it to be exclusively about Georgia football. It was originally supposed to be a place for me to talk about ALL the stuff I am into, the stuff that I was spending hours on end talking about every day with my friends and family. But I ended up not having nearly as much time to write as I did when the blog first began, and a weekly football game was a good reminder that it was time to post something again, so every post ends up being about the Dawgs.

But right now, it's not fun for me to talk about the current state of the Dawgs (or, more specifically, the current state of DawgNation), and this blog is supposed to be fun for me (and hopefully for you, too).

So, let's turn our attention to something else I love to talk about...television. I am a self-confessed television junkie. In fact, if I had it to do all over I might have tried to become a real television critic. I watch way too much. How I manage to fit in all of the television I watch and also help my kids with their homework, handle my duties around the house, teach a Sunday School class, etc. is a mystery to me. Obviously, a lot of the credit (blame?) goes to the invention of the DVR, but it also helps that my wife is as big a junkie as I am, so a lot of our "bonding" time goes on while we are enjoying watching and commenting on television shows. We like to "actively" watch (comment/criticize, try to come up with where we know actors from, etc) rather than just sit there staring at the screen, so it's actually a nice way for us to spend some time alone together.

Anyway...the fall TV season is upon us. Here's what we are watching:


Returning shows:

Mad Men (AMC): I know, it's over halfway through the season now, so it probably doesn't count as "returning". But I had to mention it, because it has been my favorite season of my current favorite show on television. The episode from two weeks ago, titled "The Suitcase", is probably one of the best hours of television I have ever seen, and the best part about it was how it paid off character development that has been going on since the very first episode the show ever aired. The Don/Peggy dynamic is the heart of the show, in my opinion, and this episode used everything we have ever learned about those two characters, plus an acting master class put on by both Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, to deliver an absolutely perfect episode.

If you're not watching this show, I don't know what else to tell you. Go. Now. To Netflix, or wherever, and I promise you won't be disappointed.

The Amazing Race (CBS): Yeah, I'm still in. I've been hooked for about six years, why stop now?

New Show I Am Extremely Excited About:

Boardwalk Empire (HBO): Let's's a based-on-a-true-story show about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, airing on HBO, starring Steve Buscemi, written and created by Terrence Winters (who was basically the #2 guy on The Sopranos writing staff), with executive producer Martin Scorsese.

So...yeah. I think this show might have been written specifically for me.

The premiere was Sunday night (if you missed it, I'm sure HBO is airing it about 7500 times on their various channels this week), and it did not disappoint. As always, it's hard to judge how good a show is going to be based solely on the pilot...this was the only episode so far that Scorsese actually directed, and it felt a lot like a 70-minute Scorsese movie rather than the first episode of a TV series. But the characters that were introduced are intriguing, the cast is magnificent (it's FILLED with some great "Hey, it's That Guy!" guys), the world they have created is gorgeous and authentic, and the writing staff has a great track record. I'm in.


Yeah, now it starts getting a little more crowded...

Returning Shows:

Chuck (NBC): Love, love, love this show, and it's a shame it's not being watched by more people. If you aren't already watching, you may as well wait for this season to be over and then watch the whole thing on DVD, because barring a miracle this will be the last season.

The writing is smart and funny (with TONS of pop-culture references for geeks my age), the entire ensemble cast is extremely talented and entertaining (plus, Yvonne Strahovski). I will miss these guys next year.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS): Hopefully they will rebound from what was a pretty disastrous last season. The writers have basically spent the entire press tour admitting that last year was really really awful, and they are going to try to get back to what made the show good in the first place. The season premiere was last night, and let's just say it left me cautiously optimistic.

New Shows That Intrigue Me:

Lone Star (Fox): Interesting concept (con man living a double life who decides to try and live the life without the con), good cast (Adrianne Palicki from Friday Night Lights, Jon Voight, David Keith). Like a lot of the previews I've seen, I'm worried that there won't be enough "story" to make an actual long-running series, but I'm interested enough to tune in and see where it goes.

Hawaii 5-0 (CBS): Mainly for THIS, of course. But also in hopes that a cast that includes Scott Caan (who I have been a fan of since his epic turn as Tweeder in Varsity Blues), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin from LOST), and Grace Park (Boomer from Battlestar Galactica) will be enough to overcome the black hole of sucktitude created by Alex O'Laughlin. We'll see.

New Show I am Fully Prepared to be Massively Disappointed By:

The Event (NBC): Much like people used the term "The Next Michael Jordan" to describe every big, talented, athletic shooting guard that entered the NBA after 1990, this is around the 6th or 7th attempt by a network to create "The Next LOST" in the last five years. Let's see...there was The Nine, Six Degrees, FlashForward, V...I know I'm missing several others.

The creators of The Event appear to be making the same mistake that all of these predecessors have made...they think it's about the "mystery", when really LOST (as fully demonstrated by the finale episode) was about the characters who just happened to be in a mysterious setting. After watching the premiere of The Event last night, this looks like another case of a lot of sizzle, but no steak.

Go back and watch the LOST pilot...maybe the best pilot I have ever seen. And at the end of it, I had no INKLING of all of the super cool elements that were going to be introduced in the next six seasons...I was just looking forward to seeing more about these interesting characters we had just met and how they were going to try and get off the Island. Sure, we were introduced to The Monster, but it was secondary to the community that we were watching interact with each other.

After last night's premiere of The Event, I know little to nothing about the characters, and even less about this stupid "EVENT" everybody keeps referencing. There is a difference between being in the dark WITH the characters, and feeling kept in the dark BY the characters. So far, The Event feels a lot more like the latter.

Returning show you're not allowed to tell anybody I watch:

Hoarders (A&E): I have no idea why, but this show is a constant source of fascination for me. Plus, it always motivates me to do some sort of cleaning around the house, so that's always good.


Returning show:

Glee (Fox): As I've stated before, I was a performing arts geek in high school, so these are very familiar characters for me. I wouldn't call this a "great" show...there are too many continuity and logic issues with the writing, and too often the plots seem to be in place only to drive the song that is coming up, rather than the songs being driven by the plot. But the vocal performances are outstanding, the staging of the musical numbers is terrific, and there are some really good acting performances going on (Jane Lynch, of course, but also Mike O'Malley, Chris Colfer, and several others).

And I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that we are supposedly getting a lot more of my girl Brittany this season: "Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?"

New Shows I am Trying Out, But With a Very Short Leash:

Raising Hope (Fox): From Greg Garcia, the creator of My Name is Earl. I enjoyed that show for about half a season, before the "Hey, aren't Redneck White Trash folks hilarious" humor got kind of old. This looks to be along the same lines, but with a cast that I am not as confident in (no Jason Lee, Jaime Pressly, or Ethan Suplee), so I don't know if I'll even last that long.

Running Wilde (Fox): The second half of the 9:00 Fox comedy hour, this one SHOULD be really good: from the creators of Arrested Development, starring the hilarious Will Arnett and one of my longtime crushes, Keri Russell. But every critic I trust who has seen the pilot and the next episode say that, against all odds, it's just not funny. I'm going to give it a shot, because I trust the people involved.

By the way, no matter how good these two shows are, expect them to stick around for a while, with the ratings juggernaut that is Glee as their lead-in.

No Ordinary Family (ABC): Looks like a live-action version of The Incredibles. I liked The Incredibles. Maybe I will like this.

New show I am trying to figure out if I'm going to watch:

Detroit 187 (ABC): I liked the initial concept, which was more of a documentary-style show that aimed to focus more on the cops than the cases (kind of a hybrid of Cops and Southland). But the network ditched the documentary concept (both because they felt it had been done before and some issues with the city of Detroit allowing the filming), and it is supposedly now just a typical cop show. I would be more excited if they kept the original concept, but it still interests me because it is shot on location in Detroit and it stars Michael I think I'm going to try it out.


Returning Shows:

Modern Family (ABC): Deserves every accolade it has received, including the Emmy for Best Comedy. "People are going to stare, Mitchell...they're not used to seeing only one clown in a car".

Survivor (CBS): This one is actually pretty new for me, although it is obviously not a new show. In the past it has always been on Thursdays, which (as we're about to find out) meant that it was getting squeezed out by everything else I was watching. I did watch a good bit of the last two seasons, as I wanted to see what all the hype was about this Russell character (who I hated for so many reasons it would take another whole post to list). This season has Jimmy Johnson on it (the football coach, not the boring NASCAR driver), and of course it is an iconic show as far as television history is concerned, so I figure I will give it a shot. After one episode, I really don't like the Old vs. Young concept, and Jimmy is already this one may not last long for me.

Cougar Town (ABC): Another one that is new for me, even though it is not a new show. Like many, I was turned off by the name and also by the fact that the first couple of episodes weren't funny. Like, at all. But supposedly the show got better as the season went along, so I'm going to give it a shot.

New Show I am Already Watching and Loving:

Terriers (FX): FX really has a hot streak going right now as far as developing new shows, especially dramas: Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, Damages, Sons of Anarchy (which, to my eternal shame, I am still not watching), Justified...that's a pretty impressive little hot streak, even if Rescue Me has diminished in quality to the point where I gave up on it a couple of seasons ago.

Terriers does absolutely nothing to diminish that string of success. The cast is really good (including a typically great performance from Donal Logue, one of the great That Guys of our time), the writing is wonderfully snarky and dark, and the plot does a nice job of combining an interesting serialized arc with "Case of the Week" stories that don't feel as procedural as they really are.

New Show I Will Be Watching only Because it's J.J. Abrams:

Undercovers (NBC): I'm only watching because it's J.J. Abrams. is where it gets a little embarrassing...

THURSDAY (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Smoking Wreckage of My DVR):

Returning Shows:

Big Bang Theory (CBS): Great old school, laugh-track comedy, with an ensemble cast that started out as good and has just gotten better. Jim Parsons is obviously the breakout star, but the writers and actors have done a really good job finding the right niche for all of the characters, and they do a pretty good job walking the line between laughing WITH the characters vs. laughing AT them.

Community (NBC): Another great ensemble show, and I can't tell you anything about it that you can't discover for yourself by watching THIS.

Yes, I meant go watch it now. I'll wait.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC): Fine, go ahead...get all the name-calling out of your system. Want my Man Card? Sorry, gave that up back when we were discussing Tuesdays.

You know how golfers talk about how you can spend an entire day hacking around a golf course, but then you hit that one perfect shot and that's what keeps you coming back? That's what this show is like for me. I spend about 85-90% of the time infuriating my wife by constantly pausing the show and telling her exactly WHY the writing is so ridiculously awful and contrived, but then every once in a while they will break out an episode like last season's finale, which was one of the very best episodes of television I watched last year...and that's why I keep watching. Because I would hate to miss one of the weeks when they manage to knock it out of the park, because when this show is good it's fantastic.

The Office (NBC): I'm watching out of habit as much as anything else right now. I hate how they have written Jim and Pam's characters for most of the past two seasons. Andy and Kelly are the only characters that I consistently laugh at (though I do love Erin, the new receptionist).

This is Steve Carell's last season, but surprisingly they are going to continue on after he leaves. I'm hoping that this season of change will re-energize the writers, because I feel like they have been in a pretty lazy funk for the last couple of seasons (Michael is borderline retarded, Dwight says something weird, Jim/Pam are obnoxiously full of themselves, lather/rinse/repeat).

Fringe (Fox): If any show deserves the "Next LOST" trophy, it's this one. Fitting, since J.J. Abrams is one of the creative minds behind this one, too. This is a sci-fi show that understands that we have to have characters that we care about and relate to, or it doesn't matter how cool the genre stuff is.

Over the first season and a half, the show had a tendency to ignore the "Big Picture" story for too long (sort of how I remember X Files being, though I was never a huge fan), and the "Case of the Week" episodes, while interesting, didn't do enough to move the story along.

But the last half of last season was, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. The whole Alt-universe concept was very well conceived and brilliantly executed, and the end of the season left us with a whole slew of possibilities as far as the story line goes. I can't wait.

The Mentalist (CBS): This one is not a must-watch for's one that we often build up 3-4 episodes of and then bang them all out at once. I'm usually not a big fan of the CBS procedurals, but Simon Baker makes this one worth watching, as does the underused and underappreciated Tim Kang as Cho...he cracks me up at least once a week.

Parks and Recreation (NBC): Wait...what? Parks and Rec isn't coming back until mid season?!? NBC decided to bump their best comedy for an insultingly gross and unfunny "comedy" made up entirely of "Hey, people from India are WEIRD!" jokes?

Is it any wonder that network is tanking?


Ummm....Blue Bloods, maybe? That's the new Tom Selleck thing. Other than that, Friday night is its typical fall wasteland.

Oh, and IFC is replaying Freaks and Geeks on Fridays...that was a show that I missed that I always kicked myself for missing, and I can see why everybody still raves about it.


All football, all the time.

This is also usually when I catch up on a lot of stuff that I missed during the week...thank goodness for DVR. that's it. I feel like I just went through a confessional or something. That is a TON of TV, and I didn't even include the stupid reality stuff on cable that always seems to somehow incapacitate my remote and remove its ability to change the channel.

Now, it's your turn...what are some of the shows that you are most looking forward to this fall? Do you want to give my mother a heart attack by suggesting even MORE shows that you think I might be interested in?

Also, are there any that you would be interested in seeing posts about? I probably won't take on any recaps the way I have for LOST and American Idol, but maybe some short blurbs every week that could lead to some discussion in the comments?

Oh, gotta go...Hoarders is on!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When the Dawgvent is a source of reason... know things are in chaos.

I'm still not in a good place to try and articulate my thoughts on the Dawgs right now, but this is a pretty good version of what I would probably say.

From the Dawgvent, of all HERE.

Update: Looks like the message is what it said. (Again, this is from the poster HacksawDawg on the Dawgvent at

Last week, I was furious. This week, I’m just sad. Sad that we have somehow allowed the program to deteriorate to this level, and recognizing just how far away we are from where we want to be. And it seems we were there just a moment ago.

I’m one who constantly struggles in thought between my brain, and my heart. My brain is very clear on where we are as a program and what may need to be done. My heart is equally resolute, but in stark conflict with the conclusions of my brain.

Surely though, being a rational and logically-minded type, my brain is the one to trust. Right?

I’m reminded though of a documentary I saw last year that observed people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was shocking how deliberate these folks were. They seemed to have clarity of mind, and would calmly climb the bridge’s barrier, look down at their chosen fate, and willingly let go. Most died instantly on impact with the water.

But a handful miraculously survived. The documentary interviewed each of them, and they all revealed a common experience. None had made a rash decision - they had given suicide careful thought and came to their decisions over time. They were absolutely certain of their decision and at peace with it when they jumped. But to a person, every one of them said as soon as they let go of the bridge, they were overcome with a panicked regret of, “What have I done?”

I’ve given the current state, and direction, of our program a lot of careful thought. I’ve reached some conclusions that I believe to be rational and prudent. But not until this weekend, did I really get cozy with the reality of some of those conclusions. And when I did, I was overcome with that same panicked regret as those bridge jumpers.

Georgia Football is a passion of mine. I love and revere the program with all of my heart. And for a moment, you can rationalize making some big changes in the program as the tough love demanded from those who only want what’s best for the program.

But you know what? I spend most of my week thinking with my brain, and making decisions I wish I didn’t have to. And I love Georgia Football, in part, because for 12-14 Saturdays a year, I get to spend four hours seeing the world through the perspective of my heart, and my heart alone.

My heart is 100% behind Mark Richt.

Does he have some flaws as a coach? Yep, and many more than we may have once thought. They may even prove to be tragic flaws in due time.

Is he a “nice guy.” No - he’s more than that. He’s the finest man in college football, and I’d be hard pressed to name a finer individual I know, period.

There is the crowd that’s weary of the “nice guy” point. And I understand that, and acknowledge it’s valid to dismiss that point in the context of winning football games as a head coach. But Richt’s character and convictions do matter, and they do count for something. An awful lot in fact. I don’t think we’ll fully appreciate or understand the role of Richt’s character in our Georgia experience until he’s no longer our head coach.

I’ve commented many times on this board before that Mark Richt “gets it.” He understands the big picture. He understands what really matters in life, in his faith, and ultimately what you’d really regret, or not regret, when you take your final breath.

And I’m reminded this is…just a game. A game that plays a large role in our lives, certainly, but it would do many well to watch a closed scrimmage in Sanford. I was always struck by seeing the game for what it is when it’s stripped of 93,000 fans and all the hoopla and fanfare. It’s just 100 dumb college kids playing…a game. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at all when you witness it in that context.

Georgia’s program under Mark Richt IS different. We pursue a grander mission than just winning football games. We genuinely care about our kids. We really, really do. In everything we do as a football team, we are mindful of how it develops our kids into quality men. And that’s an experience many of our kids have never been afforded in their lives, and wouldn’t at any other program.

I can only speak for myself, but that’s a big, big deal to me. Our grander mission is the backbone of our program and a source of immense personal pride. It makes Georgia different, and in the most noble way possible.

I’ve always embraced that mission, and I’ve always dreamed of the day when we might win a National Championship under Mark Richt and prove to everyone that you can do it the right way and still get to the mountaintop.

I am committed to that grander mission. I’m on board. I think it’s that important.

I think the commitment to that grander mission is going to make it harder for us to win football games, and even more so in a cutthroat conference like the SEC. And it may even produce some valleys like the one we’re in now, where our commitment to that mission is really tested.

But like those bridge jumpers, I think we’re staring down at our fate and have a decision to make. Right now. Do we let go, or do we climb back over that barrier and go all in?

I’ve decided if I were to let go, I too would immediately panic, “What have I done?”

So I’ve made my choice, and it’s Mark Richt.