They Have to Come Back! Your Favorite Shows Return; A Winter TV Schedule


Thanks to Kristin at E!, here are the dates when many shows return after the holidays. I tried to include the series’ which you seem to be interested in, and marked the ones I watch with an asterisk (double asterisks indicate a new show).

Friday, 1/2
Lipstick Jungle (NBC) *
Stargate Atlantis (SciFi)

Sunday, 1/4
Brothers & Sisters (ABC) *
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
The Unit (CBS)

Monday, 1/5
The Bachelor (ABC)
Gossip Girl (The CW)
One Tree Hill (The CW)

Tuesday, 1/6
90210 (The CW)
The Biggest Loser: Couples (NBC)
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
The Mentalist (CBS)
Nip/Tuck (FX) *
Scrubs (ABC) *
Without a Trace (CBS)

Wednesday, 1/7
Damages (FX) *
Law & Order (NBC)

Thursday, 1/8
30 Rock (NBC) *
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) *
My Name is Earl (NBC)
The Office (NBC) *
Private Practice (ABC) *
Ugly Betty (ABC) *

Friday, 1/9
Monk (USA)
Psych (USA)

Sunday, 1/11
24 (FOX)

Monday, 1/12
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
CSI: Miami (CBS)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Samantha Who (ABC) *
Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Tuesday, 1/13
American Idol (FOX)

Wednesday, 1/14
Criminal Minds (CBS)

Thursday, 1/15
Bones (FOX) *
Smallville (The CW)
Supernatural (The CW)

Friday, 1/16
Battlestar Gallactica (SciFi)
Friday Night Lights (NBC) *

Sunday, 1/18
American Dad (FOX)
Big Love (HBO)
Family Guy (FOX)
Flight of the Conchords (HBO) *
King of the Hill (FOX)
The L Word (Showtime) *
The Simpsons (FOX)
United States of Tara (Showtime) **

Monday, 1/19
House (FOX) *

Tuesday, 1/20
Fringe (FOX) *

Wednesday, 1/21

Lost (ABC) *

Thursday, 1/22
Burn Notice (USA) *

Monday, 1/26
The Closer (TNT)
Trust Me (TNT) **

Wednesday, 1/28
Life on Mars (ABC) *

Thursday, 1/29
Hell’s Kitchen (FOX) *

Monday, 2/2
Chuck (NBC)
Heroes (NBC) *
Medium (NBC) *

Wednesday, 2/4
Life (NBC) *

Thursday, 2/12
Survivor (CBS) *

Friday, 2/13
Dollhouse (FOX) **
Terminator:: TSCC (FOX)

Sunday, 2/15
The Amazing Race (CBS) *

Sunday, 3/8
Breaking Bad (AMC)

Monday, 3/9
Castle (ABC) **

Thursday, 3/19
Kings (NBC) **

What am I missing, and which are you more excited for?

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Great in ’08: Pop Culture Picks in My Rear View Mirror

There are myriad year-end lists published every December; here is my (J)opinion about the Best of 2008.


Glenn Close, Damages

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man & Tropic Thunder

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Mary Louise Parker, Weeds

Sean Penn, Milk

Jimmy Smits, Dexter

Rutina Wesley, True Blood

The women of Mad Men


The Dark Knight

Iron Man


Slumdog Millionaire

Wall E


30 Rock


Mad Men



The Middleman

True Blood


Even better than the real thing: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.

Hallelujah. Change has never looked better.

With the passage of Proposition 8 in California, the wedded bliss that Ellen & Portia and 18,000 other happy couples share may be revoked.  Our plans to get married are now on hold as well. Disappointment doesn’t begin to cover how I feel.

Coldplay: Viva La Vida

Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs

Killers: Day and Age

Pink: Funhouse

Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak


Ben Folds w/Regina Spector: “You Don’t Know Me”

The Bravery: “Believe” & “Time Won’t Let Me Go” (tie)

Kaiser Chiefs: “Never Miss a Beat”

Kings of Leon: “Sex on Fire”

I’m sure that there are shows, films and songs I’m forgetting, so let’s blame the holiday food coma.

I hope that you enjoyed a fabulous holiday, and Happy New Year to all!

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Final Answer: Slumdog Millionaire. Yes!

I wanted to provide a quick review of Slumdog Millionaire before the holidays, because I think this movie deserves a wider audience and I highly recommend it.

There have been very few films in the last few years as equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. It is beautifully filmed and edited, accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack.  Colorful and compelling, Slumdog Millionaire weaves us through one young man’s life in a series of very seamless and clever flashbacks while he is on the verge of winning the Indian equivalent of one million dollars on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Director Danny Boyle (28 Days Later), who has already been recognized with a Golden Globe nod for helming this film, definitely deserves an Oscar nomination as well.

Slumdog Millionaire is very impressive from start to finish; led by a talented and relatively unknown cast (at least in the U.S.), it is a fascinating story with a great script, enhanced by superb cinematography. It is now my second choice in the Best Picture category this year, along with Milk.

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Exclusive Preview 5: The Write Environment with Sam Simon (The Simpsons)

For the fifth installment in the DVD series The Write Environment, I was fascinated and riveted by Jeffrey Berman’s interview with the very talented and accomplished comedy writer Sam Simon.

Before I discuss his interview, I wanted to offer a chronological look at Simon’s impressive contributions to the world of the television sitcom (animated and human):

1981-82: Taxi (writer/producer)
1982-85: Cheers (writer/producer)
1987: The Tracey Ullman Show (writer/producer)
1987-88: It’s Gary Shandling’s Show (writer)
1989-present: The Simpsons (writer/producer/character designer)
1994-95: The George Carlin Show (writer/producer/director)
1995: The Drew Carey Show (writer/producer/director)

In addition, Simon also directed one episode of Friends and several of The Norm Show with Norm MacDonald (whom Simon believes to be one of the funniest people he’s ever met). In addition to 20 amazing years of The Simpsons, the man has worked with and written for some of the most incredible casts and entertaining personalities in television history, from Andy Kaufman and George Carlin to Drew Carey and Tracey Ullman.

Simon has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards, and golden evidence of his 9 wins now line the shelf behind his desk. Unlike the other writers in The Write Environment series, however, Simon’s home office does not appear to be decorated with memorabilia from any of his shows. Given that he prefers the collaborative nature of the writers room at The Simpsons to writing alone, it does not seem like he spends a great deal of time at home in that space.

Prior to this interview, I was unaware that Simon had ties to the Bay Area. He went to Stanford (where he was a cartoonist for the student paper), and created cartoons for the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner before leaving to design characters as a storyboard artist.

That Sam Simon is a man of very high intellect is quite obvious, but not in an obnoxious manner. In fact, he is quite humble and is quick to give credit to all of the writers on his shows rather than take any of his own.  Simon was actually a child prodigy, and he became one of the youngest TV showrunners ever at 23 (Taxi).

One of the many highlights from his interview include the moment when Simon addresses how he feels about Family Guy. Very interesting…

On top of Simon’s extensive career, he has an incredibly charitable spirit. He created The Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to become hearing dogs for the deaf or hard of hearing.

The holidays are fast approaching, but it’s not too late to order Sam Simon’s interview or the entire DVD series of The Write Environment for the aspiring writers and television fans in your life! Click here to order through the official store.

I would like to thank The Write Environment’s creator/host Jeffery Berman and producer/editor Amy Gollnick for the opportunity to review this series. It has been a real pleasure to learn more about the lives and processes of such well-respected television scribes.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my last sneak peek – an interview with Doug Ellin, who created and writes Entourage!

Happy holidays and safe travels to all you, and thank you very much for taking the time to read and visit this site.

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’08-’09 TV Shows: A Mid-Season Report Card

Some of these were summer and/or cable series which will not return until later next year, and other shows are only mid-season at this point, but here is how I would rate each of them right now:

  • 30 Rock: B+
  • The Amazing Race: B
  • Bones: B
  • Brothers & Sisters: B
  • Dexter: A-
  • Dirty Sexy Money: B-
  • Eli Stone: B
  • Entourage: C
  • Fringe: A 
  • Grey’s Anatomy: C
  • Heroes: C+
  • House: B
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: B+
  • Life: B+
  • Life on Mars: B
  • Lipstick Jungle: B
  • The Office: B-
  • Private Practice: B
  • Pushing Daisies: B
  • Samantha Who: B+
  • Saturday Night Live: C
  • Survivor: B
  • Top Chef: B
  • True Blood: B
  • Ugly Betty: B-

I don’t have DirecTV so I haven’t been able to watch Friday Night Lights yet this season, but I certainly look forward to doing so when it airs on NBC beginning in January!

Other returning favorites which I am quite excited about include Damages, Flight of the Conchords, Lost and Medium. I will continue to enjoy the remaining episodes and then mourn the loss of Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Lipstick Jungle and Pushing Daisies.

As a huge fan of the small screen, it is very disheartening to see that kind of programming disappear, and alarming to note the number of ill-advised reality shows filling up the airwaves instead. Note to studio execs: there is a reason that The Amazing Race, American Idol and Survivor remain popular year after year- they feature actual competition, emotion and talent. Enough with the dating garbage (I’m talking to you, NBC, MTV & VH1). I realize that it is far less expensive to create and produce an allegedly unscripted reality series these days, but it is a shame that the television landscape (and audience) loses quality and creativity as a result.

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