Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going & What I’m Watching: The Future of This Site

As many of you have noticed, I have not posted on this site in two months. Because I am a freelance entertainment writer, my work has been appearing elsewhere – primarily TVovermind and AOLtv. Moving forward, I will still be posting here, especially when analyzing a film or a television series that I am not also covering on another site. And of course my archived articles will remain available here, including my very first batch of Lost posts from several years ago. 

Now that Lost has ended its six season run, I have no plans to start another site or focus that much time on one particular series. Although I will be starting Battlestar Galactica from the beginning later this week, I will not be writing about it other than reactionary tweets.

The new slate of Fall 2010 shows looks promising, and I will be posting a list of recommendations and trailers soon. In the meantime, please let me know which current or new shows you’d like me to cover! 

Here is an updated list of shows that I already watch, although I admit to being a season behind on a few:
  1. 30 Rock
  2. Bones
  3. Breaking Bad
  4. Brothers & Sisters
  5. Burn Notice
  6. Chuck
  7. Community
  8. Cougar Town
  9. Desperate Housewives
  10. Dexter
  11. Entourage
  12. Friday Night Lights
  13. Fringe
  14. Glee
  15. The Good Wife
  16. Grey’s Anatomy
  17. House
  18. Hung
  19. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  20. Justified
  21. Mad Men
  22. Medium
  23. Modern Family
  24. Nurse Jackie
  25. The Office
  26. Parenthood
  27. Parks & Recreation
  28. Private Practice
  29. Rescue Me
  30. Survivor
  31. Top Chef
  32. Treme
  33. True Blood
  34. United States of Tara
  35. V
  36. Weeds
I appreciate your patience and promise to keep you posted about where to find me and my perspective about the television landscape. If you’re not doing so already, I would love for you to follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook.

- Jo
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Hi Again: A Very Random Pop Culture Update

I owe you an apology, again. Every intention of updating this site on a much more frequent basis has fallen victim to time, travel and Lost over the last several weeks. But this site is my real baby; my original blog of almost 5 years, and what will continue to be home base once Lost ends forever in May. 

Because I have been negligent for far too long, I thought I would briefly address what has been going on in my pop culture world and provide appropriate links if you’re interested in additional details. 
  • I just returned from a weekend in Buenos Aires and week in Santiago, Chile (visiting family; see video at bottom of post). To escape thunderstorms one afternoon, we went to see An Education. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, particularly the performance of Carey Mulligan. While I believe that she completely deserves her Best Actress nod, I don’t think that she stands a chance against Meryl and Sandra this year. And to be honest, I do not agree with the film’s inclusion as a Best Picture nominee. But don’t get me started about the fact there are now 10 in that category…

  • While on the red carpet, I had the opportunity to interview Michael Emerson’s wife, actress Carrie Preston. Stay tuned for audio from that conversation, as we discuss her role as Arlene in the third season of True Blood!
  • I am currently hosting a Haiti relief fundraiser on my Lost site, giving away memorabilia to those who donate $10 or more to Partners in Health (in conjunction with Mo Ryan from the Chicago Tribune, who is also auctioning off various TV items for the cause via eBay). 
  • In anticipation of new episodes of the stellar series Southland (beginning March 2 on its new network: TNT), here is a look behind the scenes of the show. I will be receiving a screener shortly and plan to preview it here for you before it airs. 

  • To celebrate the new movie The Crazies, a reinvention of the George Romero horror classic starring Timothy Olyphant (opening on February 26 in theaters), I will be giving away a set of limited-edition The Crazies comic books very soon!
  • One of my favorite new shows of the last several years, Nurse Jackie, returns for a second season on March 22. Here is the trailer. Jump on board; I guarantee you won’t regret it. Twilight fans, you will love Peter Facinelli in this series – check out Dr. Coop’s Video Diary.

  • And here is your first look at the sophomore season of my other favorite new show in recent memory, United States of Tara. Joey Lauren Adams joins the cast, and the series also returns on March 22.
Thank you for your patience, whether you are fairly new to this site or have been visiting for several years. I look forward to hearing from YOU; feel free to leave comments and/or feedback below!

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Primetime Brain Tumor Television: Enough!

Before I begin, some housekeeping.

a) There are what may be considered MAJOR spoilers below for recent season finale episodes of Bones, Eli Stone, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Medium and The Unusuals; read at your own risk if you are behind on your favorite shows. 

b) I have absolutely nothing against the writers of these shows and episodes. This is a personal perspective and emotional response.

Like many people, I absorb and watch television to escape reality. It is not that I want or need to remove myself from my own life for a few hours at a time; I simply enjoy the ride and appreciate the effort that is put into providing that journey for us.

We just finished watching the season finale of Medium. And it made me angry. Not directly at this series and not because it ended in a cliffhanger. I am generally disgruntled with the number of shows that chose to end their seasons with lead characters who have brain tumors.

I’m sure it’s mere coincidence that so many shows traveled down this particular road. And obviously the circumstances are varying in each. But I am frustrated by how unoriginal and commonplace the concept has become.

Why do I care so much about fictional illness?

Because my good friend and co-worker Jackie was diagnosed with a brain tumor a year ago this month. She endured a very successful operation that removed almost all of it, and returned to work six months later. Jackie’s spirit and strength are an inspiration, but as she reminds us…it’s still there. That someone so kind and beautiful and damn funny has brain cancer at 30 years old…makes me question both fate and faith.

So no, I do not like seeing so many people on television living under similar circumstances. Jackie has always been a huge Grey’s fan, and chooses to continue watching the show despite our advice otherwise. Those of you familiar with the series are keenly aware that not only is one of the main characters a brain surgeon, but one of the other main characters was just diagnosed with and apparently died from a brain tumor at the end of the season.

Perhaps I am noticing a pattern more right now because I am sensitive to this particular affliction; other instances of it have occurred on many shows over the years. The brain tumors of Mark Greene (ER) and Nate Fisher (Six Feet Under) certainly come to mind in retrospect. But it is frustrating and odd that Booth (Bones), Izzie (Grey’s), Alison (Medium) and Eric (The Unusuals) all developed brain tumors during this same television time period. 

By the way, I am very aware that neither Greg House nor Eli Stone had brain tumors; they were cursed with vivid hallucinations due to a mental breakdown and brain aneurysm, respectively. But their behavior and symptoms alone were similar enough to warrant inclusion here. To be honest, I am also crossing my fingers that Olivia’s hallucinations on Fringe are not the result of a tumor.

My point is that when art really imitates life, disbelief is no longer joyfully suspended.

I’m telling you right now that when Lost ends next season, if it turns out to have been one huge hallucination from the mind of a character who has a brain tumor…I will need to be locked in a padded room for a while. Of all the possible scenarios for my favorite series to end, I am unable to fathom one in which the passengers of Flight 815 have shared this vision together as patients in the same hospital or mental institution. No.

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Hola & Aloha! Hawaii Here We Come

I have been absent and a shell of a blogger. Apologies.

Tomorrow we leave for Hawaii, and I have plans to post a few entries…when I’m not on the beach, at the pool, on the zip line or enjoying ridiculously fruity/girly cocktails.

We will be in Maui until next Sunday, and then in Oahu for a few days. We are primarily going to Oahu to take the all-day LOST tour. Seriously, and of course.

I have not had enough time to catch up on all of my TiVO’d shows, but here is a very quick report card:

  • 30 Rock: A-
  • Bones: B-
  • Damages: B+
  • Friday Night Lights: A-
  • Grey’s: B+ (HUGE improvement)
  • Heroes: A- (HUGE improvement)
  • House: B
  • Flight of the Conchords: B
  • Lost: A
  • Nip/Tuck: C
  • The Office: B-
  • Private Practice: B
  • The United States of Tara: A-

Thank you for your patience and for checking in on occasion. You still complete me.

p.s. If you’re at all interested in our (mis)adventures in the 808, feel free to follow me on Twitter:

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Excuses, Excuses: My TV & Travel Schedule

See, I warned you about my lack of posts here once Lost started up again. I’m certainly not complaining, but watching every new episode 2- 3 times and then writing several entries about each per week is quite time-consuming (and is more than likely the culprit for this lingering headache I’m nursing).

In addition to Lost, I am also watching the following shows every week:

  1. 30 Rock
  2. Bones
  3. Brothers & Sisters
  4. Damages
  5. Flight of the Conchords
  6. Friday Night Lights
  7. Fringe
  8. Grey’s Anatomy
  9. House
  10. Life on Mars
  11. Nip/Tuck
  12. The Office
  13. Private Practice
  14. Scrubs
  15. Top Chef
  16. The United States of Tara

…on top of catching up with Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother on DVD and Season 1 of Breaking Bad on my iPod, and attempting to finish last season’s Survivor online.

I’ve given up on The L Word and Ugly Betty. But in the next few weeks I will be adding these to my collection: The Amazing Race, Dollhouse, Heroes, Life, Medium and Samantha Who.

Why do I list these out and why should you care? Because I’m an over-sharer and like to keep you in the loop. I would also like to know which shows you’d like me to write about; I’m much more likely to discuss YOUR favorite series…if only I knew what they were. Do tell.

In the interest of over-disclosure/overexposure, I also wanted to let you know that I will be out of town next week on business and then in Hawaii for 10 days on vacation. Don’t hate me. So you may not hear as much from me in February, except for occasional pop culture related reports (i.e. after our 8 hour private Lost tour on Oahu)!

Keep watching, keep reading and keep in touch.

Love you, mean it.

- Jo

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Wii Are the World

Christmas has arrived early this year in the JOpinionated household! A lovely new Wii and Wii Fit were delivered on Hanukkah Harry’s handlebars (my version of a sled w/reindeer), even though that holiday doesn’t begin for a few weeks either.

We’ve named the new system Wiibert. She is interactive and far cheaper than a gym membership…although I strongly disagree with her assessment of my body mass index.  So far I am enjoying the balance, strengthening and yoga exercises, and my very competitive better half is mastering all sports games and just about everything else.

I made a deal with the Wii (what? she’s my personal trainer) – I will work out one time for every blog entry I post from here on out, alternating between the couch and the balance board. That sounds fair, right?

By the way, if you have any recommendations for games, please let me know!

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