Veronica Mars

Recalibrating the Cuteness Scale With Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson

Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are cuteness personified.

Let me attempt for one moment to try and conjure up the appropriate words for how utterly, disgustingly, punch a kitten in the face cute Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are standing next to each other at The Spike TV Video Game Awards.

Here is the breakdown, cute girl by cute girl:

Rachel Bilson is quite possibly the cutest tiny brunette working in Hollywood right now. No one holds a candle to how adorable she is seducing Chuck Bartowski with a sandwich, reigning in Seth Cohen’s acres of shit, or making Zach Braff seem palatable in the Garden State rip-off. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Rachel Leigh Cook have passed the torch. Ellen Page dropped a cabal of pithy Juno-esque toss-offs before high-tailing it out of the ring to ironically drink a Big Gulp, text Michael Cera and download Rise Against mp3′s, or whatever else stupendously hip thing hipster Canadian indie darlings like to do to show how stupendously hip they are. The inarguably awesome Leighton Meester, currently seen destroying Chuck Bass’ hopes and dreams and dropping her V-Card into Nate Archibald’s khaki pants, put up a Blair Waldorf-inspired fight, but in the end could not hide from the fact that she is in fact a strawberry blonde (and not nearly as awesome as Lily van der Woodsen). And as far as Natalie Portman goes, she’s definitely all-time, but I just can’t sit through her movies anymore, so she’s gonna sit on the sidelines until my insulin levels are regulated again from the trailer for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Kristen Bell is apparently on a James Brown “hardest working cute blonde in show business” inspired jaunt through geekdom. Dropping the awesome in Heroes, narrating Gossip Girl, appearing in a Star Wars fanboy movie called Fanboys wherein she dons the infamous gold bikini and thus earns her everlasting cred in the social awkward circles of life, voiced a character for Assassin’s Creed, and wore a freakin awesome yellow Chewbacca shirt to Star Wars Celebration IV this summer that made me nearly go Buffalo Bill and drop her into my secret dungeon well (Veronica Mars puts the lotion in the basket…). That’s all AFTER pwning the TV set with Veronica Mars, and BEFORE her upcoming star turn in 2008′s big Judd Apatow-produced romcom Forgetting Sarah Marshall (where I’m sure she’ll show the good graces not to call the film sexist target=blank, like some other ungrateful / annoying blonde TV tarts who are currently ruining their hit network dramas with obnoxious “sex with George” storylines, and who will remain nameless. cough Heigl cough.)

On their own they could make entire terror cells perform the care bear stare with just a tilt of their head and one sheepish grin, but put together in one place and the two girls become positively radioactive with cuteness. If scientists could bottle their cuteosity in liquid form it would cure feline leukemia and bring fairies back to life faster than a Martin Scorsese Lifetime Achievement Award standing ovation. Put on the Periodic Table of Elements their abbreviation would be Qt.

They are so freakin cute they make baby polar bears look like festering gobs of diarrhea. Rainbows look like hurl next to them. A two year old wearing a tutu and big sunglasses dancing around a golden retriever puppy would be like looking at a particularly spicy genital wart next to a picture of Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson.

This photo would make Quagmire’s head explode. This photo, when placed next to a DVD copy of Patch Adams, goes nuclear and turns the disc into dust like Peter Petrelli and the Shanti virus. I would c-punt a litter of bunnies if this picture asked me to.

This:

Cute Dog.

Might as well look like this:

Ugly Dog.

When up against this:

Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are cuteness personified.

Good god damn this is the cutest picture of two cute actresses taking a cute picture of two cute actresses being cute. That sentence was a palindrome of cute. The picture deserves it’s own Wikipedia page where under “Related” it gives you a link to entry page for the term “cute”. When confronted with these two girls standing next to each other, the Blake Smoke Monster from Lost would turn pink and cook them fat free brownies.

What I’m saying is that I tend to think Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are pretty cute.

Bangarang!

The Jay’s Official Fall TV Schedule

Love this show

With the Fall TV season now a full month in, I have finally seen every new show (save a few insignificant ones – Cane, anyone?), passed judgment on everything and can now reveal my Official TV Watching Schedule. I’ll take you through it day by day, telling you why I like what, and what I’m not watching and why. It’s gonna be a full television disclosure. I’m gonna answer questions like a Lost season finale (only without the crazy fake ass beard).

So sit back, grab your TiVmote and prepare to bloop bloop!

MONDAY

8 p.m.

Chuck – A nice, easy way to start the primetime week. I’m not completely blown away by either the action or the comedy, but I do dig the actors and the attempt at pulling the whole thing together. “Chuck” is a good lead, it’s nice to see Adam Baldwin back on TV (I finally caught up on Firefly this summer and thoroughly enjoyed it), and I can’t get enough of Captain Awesome. I also like how the producers go out of their way to put Yvonne Strahowski in her underwear as much as humanly possible. Why did Sarah have a fight in her slinky grey ass-high robe last week when the outcome was never in jeopardy and there was no reason for the fight to begin with? Who cares, because we got to see a Strahowski blackflip backside peekaboo and it turns out the whole affair was a chickfight between a be-robed Sarah and a red-headed ninja. It’s not even possible to calculate the awesomeness of that gratuitousness. And that’s the type of thing that gets shows season pass-ed in The 209.

How I Met Your Mother – Still a solid sitcom, though they have GOT to find better things for Robin, Lily and Marshall to do. Ted and Barney are doing fine trolling for girls (I was particularly pleased that the season premiere started out with Barney finishing his “Legen… DARY”), but I can’t sit through too many more “Robin has wacky dating hijinks”. Especially if they’re gonna involve skeezy Latin pop stars. Lawyered! Oh, and don’t think for a second that me and A-Train haven’t already purchased our very own championship belt, cause we have. If they can figure out a way to make Marshall and Lily relevant, and a reason for keeping Robin around her ex-boyfriend, there may be hope for the season yet.

9 p.m.

Heroes – Here are the five things currently killing this show:

1. WAAAAAAAY too boring a storyline for Hiro. Who, by the way, could not be more useless to the overarching plot of the show, and is reaching Charlie-level heights of annoyingness. We know you’re gonna end up being Kensei, so just get it done and blink your ass back into 2007. I don’t get to see Ando if you’re not around and I need my fill of fun comic sidekicks.

2. WAAAAAAAY too lame new characters. Maya and Alejandro do not have ANYTHING interesting going on. No, not even with Sylar in the mix. Go cry me a black river and wake me when they hit New York in six episodes. This reeks of Nikki and Paolo, but without a much needed buried-alive resolution.

3. WAAAAAAAY too much Matt Parkman. Seriously. Is he really necessary? Who in their right mind would grant custody of a fugitive seven year-old to a divorced, burnt out ex-cop recovering from four gunshots to the chest and his illegal immigrant roommate (even who happens to be smart. And still boring.)? I call shenanigans.

4. WAAAAAAAY too much time spent without Kristen Bell showing up already. Let’s step to it, people. The faster we get Veronica Mars on stage, the sooner we get to see the scene where Ali Larter, Hayden Panetierre and Kristen pillow fight over who’s the hottest blonde on the show. SPOILER ALERT: The answer, by the way, is Mr. Muggles.

5. WAAAAAAAY too many characters. I can barely remember everyone’s names and I’ve seen every episode. Let’s kill off all the newbies, and Parkman and maybe Ali Larter, and get down to business with the Petrelli’s, the Bennet’s, Hiro and Sylar.

That all being said, the show still kicks ass and I wouldn’t dream of missing it.

10 p.m.

Journeyman – One of my three favorite new shows of the Fall. I didn’t realize how much I missed a time travel drama on network television till I sat down to watch the pilot. I’m intrigued by the rules of the game here, like the dynamic of Dan seeing his ex on his journeys and his wife getting pissed back at home. And I’m curious how they are going to explain his continued absences (surely SOMEONE has to see him disappear at some point). Kevin McKidd is a fantastic actor and a great, very watchable series lead. I couldn’t dig this show more.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON MONDAYS

Aliens in America – I actually liked the pilot, I just have no time for it. This, like Everybody Hates Chris, is just gonna have to be a good CW show I never get into.

The Big Bang Theory – Hate the Galecki. The Cuoco does nothing for me. And that other guy wore my awesome beige Flash shirt in all the promos and now I can’t wear it anywhere without people asking me if it’s an homage (shut up, people!). I have nothing but dislike for this show. Even if CBS were the only station you could watch on your television, I would still recommend doing something else at 8:30 on Mondays. Like watching the end of MNF, or the second half of Chuck, or Aliens in America, or internet porn.

Samantha Who? – I got burnt by a Christina Applegate sitcom once before (Jesse, anyone?), and it’s not happening again. Barry Watson doesn’t help, either.

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TUESDAY

More Missy, Less Guy That Wants To Be Jack Black

9 p.m.

House – Still plugging along on Hugh Laurie’s endless charisma. I’ve kinda missed the old team, but am buoyed by spending time with Kumar and the hot lesbian from The O.C. (rent Alpha Dog to see her get down naked-style. The movie blows, but that scene is worth it in spades. Spades, son!). My only bit of contention is that Cuddy is becoming more and more ineffectual. Can we get her a storyline, please? One that doesn’t involve her going on a date that will eventually be ruined by House? Because we’ve seen that six times already. Or her telling House he can’t do something and then totally caving. Cause we’ve seen that eleventy-billion times.

Reaper – I’m at odds with this show. I like Bret Harrison. I like Ray Wise. I have a mad crush on Missy Peregym (yes I saw Stick It in theaters. Look, it’s not called GymNICEstics!). And the presence of Kevin Smith is never a bad thing. But the formula is already played out and we’re only on episode five. The freak of the week thing never lasts, just ask The X-Files and Smallville, so here’s hoping they come up with some sort of mythology they can dip into now and then. Also, getting Missy back into her leotard for some tumbling wouldn’t hurt.

10 p.m.

Law and Order: SVU – Nothing much to say about this show. Love the Meloni and the Mariska. The Belzer still needs a chemical peels worse than Bill Murray and Tommy Lee Jones combined. And the ching ching still rocks it.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS

Cane – Nothing against Jimmy Smits or Hector Elizondo, two actors I respect, but I have exactly zero interest in this show. And I’m a sugar fiend! (Cane = Sugar? No? Anyone? Bite me.)

Cavemen / Carpoolers – Yeah, right. I’d rather watch Ellen cry about dogs for an hour. At least that’s legitimately funny.

Damages – This one just got away from me. Watched the first 6 or so eps and just fell off track when the season started. The same thing almost happened with Burn Notice, but I like that show more. I’ll catch a marathon or wait for the DVD. So nobody post spoilers.

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WEDNESDAY

GREAT adult soap!

8 p.m.

Pushing Daisies – I like it, don’t love it. The whimsy is nice and all, but I feel like I ate a King Size back of jelly beans by 8:47. And a little Kristin Chenowith (pun intended) goes a LONG way.

9 p.m.

Gossip Girl – My favorite new show of the fall. I’m a sucker for a teen soap and this is trash of the filthiest order. The girls are crazy hot, the drama is ridonkulously melodramatic, the parents are all ILF’s, the clothes are ludicrous, the hair is headshakingly bad and the storylines are as old as Gabrielle Carteris. Also, Kristin Bell. I am unabashedly in LOVE this show. I don’t want to talk out of turn, and we’re gonna need to wait and see how the show falls together a bit, but this might be better than The O.C. This question definitely deserves its own column at some point.

Private Practice – Started off creaky and shameful, is slowly working its way to being credible. Could very well end up better than Grey’s (especially if Shonda keeps on with the execrable Gizzie storyline). And I’d never pass up the chance to watch Kate Walsh do anything for an hour, especially when anything includes naked towel dancing. Though I could do with a LOT less Amy Brenneman.

10 p.m.

Dirty Sexy Money – The third of my favorite new rookies. The cast is uniformly excellent, from Donald Sutherland (who rules all) to Peter Krause returning to his Casey McCall likeability to Natalie Zea being crazy, hot and crazy hot as Karen Darling to William freaking Baldwin happily throwing down with a tranny. And that’s all before we get into Tamara Feldman (who could throw down with Megan Fox, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down). I could watch the antics of the Darling family for years to come. And I hope I get that chance.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS

Bionic Woman – Tried hard to like it, but eventually had to accept that the show blows ass. Michelle Ryan does nothing for me. Growing up in the Valley I’ve had my fair share of crazy blondes, so Katee Sackhoff does less than nothing for me. And I can’t stomach Isaiah Washington (even when he’s getting a Bionic beatdown). I might have slogged through it as a change of pace to Private Practice but I can only tape two shows at once and I love Gossip Girl too much.

Kid Nation – I was completely wrong about this show. I thought it would be the biggest show of the year, and as it turns out, it blows harder than Cavemen. They had the kids cutting the head’s off chickens. At 8pm! I nearly booted my Chicken Pad Thai. Child Exploitation, thy name is CBS Reality.

Life – Liked the pilot, but my Wednesdays are already too packed. I’ll catch it when Dirty Sexy Money is in repeats.

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THURSDAY

What else is on my mind grapes?

8:30 p.m.

30 Rock – I could listen to Tracy Jordan be Anne Heche-crazy for days. I am appealing to the California DMV for my very own “ICU81MI” liscense plate (hilarious!). And then there’s the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah I wish my Mom had let me have:

9 p.m.

The Office – Can we please all agree that the hour long episodes were a bad idea and move on? Thank you. So much filler I couldn’t stand it. Thought I was watching season four of Dawson’s Creek for a while there. Though I’m really liking Jim and Pam as a couple. It was a great choice to not to draw that storyline out. I particularly enjoyed this moment (I love how happy they are about the whole thing, like they couldn’t want to tell someone):

Grey’s Anatomy – OK, I’m never gonna stop watching this show, but holy jeebus, if it was ever gonna happen it would be because of the Gizzie (George & Izzie). Izzie has become such a contemptable character. After the scene of Meredith telling Lexie about her Mom’s death, I started liking Mere again (a feat I never thought possible), which makes Izzie the current worst character on network television (even worse than the ghost of Dawson Leery, Carrie Bradshaw and Ally McBeal put together). If they don’t end that ridiculous, painful, ill-conceived plotline before November sweeps I am seriously gonna consider thinking about maybe not watching every second of each episode. And I mean it!

9:30 p.m.

Scrubs – Gotta watch the final season, even if it’s not funny anymore.

10 p.m.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Just to get a base!

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON THURSDAYS

Big Shots – I hated myself enough when I watched Sex and the City, I don’t need a bigger dose of self-loathing from the male version.

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FRIDAY

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!

9 p.m.

Friday Night Lights – Took me watching four straight episodes from the Bravo marathon, a plea from TwoP and Bill Simmons and my desire to have a sports show on my schedule for me to finally give this show a chance. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This is one of the best shows on television. Superbly written, directed and acted, with powerful storylines, big issues, and fascinating characters. If you can get past the football stuff and the Texas nonsense, there is a whole lot to love about FNL. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton put on an acting clinic each week, and there skills are free. Check out everything that’s going in their eyes in this scene:

Brilliant. I picked up the first season on DVD for fifteen bucks last week (and it came with a money back guarantee), and I can’t wait to tear it open and catch up.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON FRIDAYS

Moonlight – I want to like this show so much. Sophia Myles is hot, Shannyn Sossamon is a guilty pleasure. I’d follow Jason Dohring anywhere. But the lead actor is so so so terrible. Makes me long for David Boreananas terrible. And the writing is atrocious. If Fridays are the TV equivalent of the January movie dumping ground, Moonlight is released on the 5th of the year, every month.

Women’s Murder Club – The only new show I haven’t watched yet. This could go either way. I love me some Angie Harmon, but procedurals never do it for me unless they involve Christopher Meloni punching somebody in the face. I’ll let you know…

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SATURDAY

There is nothing good on TV on Saturdays.

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SUNDAY

9 p.m.

Family Guy – The Star Wars tribute episode may be the funniest hour of entertainment of the entire year, and that includes any 60 minutes of Superbad, Knocked Up or any combination of any episode of the Thursday night NBC sitcoms.

See what I mean.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON SUNDAYS

Viva Laughlin – The only way I’m voluntarily watching Hugh Jackman sing is he if he’s doing his berserker attack with adamantium claw action (should I call you Logan, Weapon X?). And even then I’ll probably be thinking it’s gay (and by that I mean retarded) (and by that I mean I’ve been watching too much House).

So that’s the schedule. Seventeen shows, of which a whopping SEVEN are rookies! What a great slate we got this year. And it only gets better in January when Idol and the Terminator show shows up. Now if I can only find the time to watch everything. It’s a problem. But the kind of problem I don’t mind having.

Bangarang!

Veronica Mars and The Cheerleader Redeem The Lowly Emmy Awards

The opposite of ugly

Yatta, indeed!

That’s a shot of America’s favorite feisty, canceled teen detective repping her new gig on network TV’s best angsty comic action drama with America’s most recent pre-approved hottie; a moment caught on camera that probably caused a nation-wide pants-splooging by any hot-blooded male under 30. Yeah, something tells me Heroes is gonna be quite so watchable this year.

Did you notice how front and center Kristen Bell was with the Heroes gang at the Emmys? Somebody’s happy she’s on a real network now. Dimes to dollars she takes over as this year’s Big Bad? As long as she shares some screen time with Hayden Panetierre and Sylar, her role on Heroes could be as a eighty year-old African American be-acned deaf mute and I’d still be glued to the screen (especially is was that!). She could do the role Tucker Max Drunk and I’d be snapadooed, so long as she throws down with Hayden just once (or even Ali Larter), and has a bitchin’ super power. Season Two could not come fast enough.

ON AN EMMY’S RELATED NOTE: I will not be talking about the Emmy’s. It’s the most corrupt award show in Hollywood and I won’t deem to spend my brainpower coming up with witty commentary on such a predictable, unfunny, awkward, porely-produced, overly-censored, crazy actor wankfest. To that end, suck it Sally Field! Keep your political shit to yourself, you’re no Susan Sarandon (and even SHE can’t get away with it anymore). I loved you in Soapdish something fierce, but you stole that award from Minnie Driver, Mariska Hargitay and Kyra Sedgewick’s assbackwards Southern accent, and you KNOW it.

I’m just going to pretend like the show never happened; that FOX wasn’t so stupid as to put the stage in a circle in the middle of the room so that EVERYONE had to come in from the audience to get to the stage, cause THAT’S was a good idea; that The Sopranos hadn’t gotten their bullshit send-off Emmy, that Hugh Laurie hadn’t gotten robbed, that Ugly Betty would stop pulling a Desperate Housewives and remember that they’re a melodrama and not a comedy, and that Ryan Seacrest would stick to his day job.

But, just for funsies, here’s what I would have voted for had I been a member of the Academy:

Outstanding Drama Series: Heroes – You gotta go with the show everyone loved the most that year, and nothing was more lovable than Hiro, Flying Man!, Peter’s emo bangs, Sylar’s bad ass TK powers, the under-18 hotness of Claire, HRG, The Haitian and annoying mind reader Greg Grunberg. Also, Grey’s screwed the pooch with the Gizzie storyline, House tanked witht he Shitter Tritter arc, nobody watches or cares about Boston Legal except Denny Crane (DENNY CRANE!), and EVERYONE stopped believing in The Sopranos.

Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock – I love this show like a handfull of Dr. Spaceman’s pinks and purples. I can’t get it off my mindgrapes, and was glad to see that at least one Emmy Award given out was deserved.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Hugh Laurie – The best male actor working in television, period. I love The Spader as much the next fan of Blaine from Pretty in Pink, but even HE didn’t think he deserved it this year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin – When people ask me if I like Alec on 30 Rock I tell them “I have two ears and a heart, don’t I?” And if you don’t get that joke, I can’t help you. I drop truth bombs! (I seriously can NOT get this show off my mindgrapes!) (OK, enough 30 Rock quotes.) (Also, enough paranthetical asides.) (OK, fine, just one more quote: “…here’s some advice I wish I woulda got when I was your age: Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Minnie Driver – The biggest surprise in television last season. I had just assumed she died after Grosse Pointe Blank, cause nothing she did afterwards was any good, but who knew the fat chick from Circle of Friends could be so subtle and heartbreaking? She flat out pwns as recovering matriarch Dahlia Malloy. I couldn’t sit through every episode of The Riches, but when I did watch, I was riveted every time Driver was onscreen.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Mary-Louise Parker – There is no finer actor working in the medium of television then the women who would be Nancy Botwin. And it’s not even close.

All the rest of the awards are “who cares”, cause when they start giving Emmys to Tony Bennett I start tuning the show out, but big ups to Jamie Pressly, the road from Skinemax to the Emmy stage is a seldom-traveled one, but she made the trip with persistence, talent and aplomb. Also she rules as the only good thing on the ever-lamer My Name Is Earl.

And now back to staring at the two hot blondes with superpowers.

Bangarang!

The Most Important Pop Culture Dates of the Fall

Kristen Bell = AwesomeI’m not much of a thinker a-header (NOTE: totally grammatically correct). I like to, as Garth Algar advises, “live in the now, man”. I prefer to focus on what’s directly in front of me and mentally note things in the future that may rock. But as we sit today in the doldrums of Summer, I can’t help but gaze down the road at what’s to come.

We’ve been in a O’ Brother Where Art Thou-style pop culture geographical oddity as of late, two weeks from everywhere. The last best movies of the summer just came out (Superbad, Bourne Ultimatum). Men across the nation are still hitting refresh on ESPN.com every few minutes, desperate to make sure none of their prospective Fantasy players goes down in a Preseason two-a-day (and Week 1, though now less than two weeks away, feels like for fucking ever). Harry Potter fever has boiled over. High School Musical 2 came and went with me still not knowing the the eff tween actor Zac Efron is and why he is rubbing his nipples on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (P.S. Way to be punk rock, RS!). And the Fall TV Season doesn’t get going until mid-September.

As Al Pacino in Heat once said, what do we got? WHAT DO WE GOT?

So I was pondering the bleak, barren landscape of non-awesomeness that lay before us, and silently meditating on the misery we are facing, until I opened up the Internets and was given the best news I’ve heard in the longest. Variety reports that Kristen Bell as signed on for a multi-episode arc on Heroes, starting in early October. This was my restrained reaction to that news: “Hurrrah! YEAAH!!!!1! Wha, shy, he, za, YEQAJKNBFSFUSA$###! Jackpot.” And to think, just last week I was musing on what great projects Kristen would move to after Veronica Mars, and how those projects are the reason I was OK with VM getting canceled. My prognostication is for reals. Believe that!

Kristen Bell = Wicked TightI now care only about the fall season. I’m gonna consider the next few weeks a complete wash. Hell, I’m gonna consider most anything a wash unless it concerns Veronica Mars sharing screen time with HRG and Peter Petrelli. The levels of casting kickassitude contained in this development rival just about anything short of full cast sequels to A Few Good Men, Airborne, Rad, The Monster Squad and True Romance or that long rumored Arnold, Bruce and Sly action movie. I love me some summer, but g-damn, bring me that fall! This pop culture geek just got himself a new countdown!

But lest you think I think the fall will rock only because we get to seeKristen Bell and Hayden Panetierre look at each other onscreen (and subsequently exploding the crotch-regions of adolescents everywhere), let me put you at ease. The final four months of 2007 are jam-packed with righteous happenings. The following list doesn’t include everything that rules, but is merely the days I’m looking forward to.

TRULY IMPORTANT POP CULTURE DATES OF THE FALL

Playoffs here we come! ...maybe.Sunday, Sept. 9th – Opening Day of the 2007-2008 NFL Season. A day for much rejoicing, beer drinking, Fantasy Football pool killing, debt collecting, buffalo wing consuming, testosterone flaring, wives and girlfriends despairing, Sportscenter watching, YouTube clip embedding, sports blogging, TiVo commercial double-blooping, porn ignoring, fav team cheering, buddy high-fiving and general wonderment. I can’t wait to eat myself retarded while cheering on my Miami Dolphins as they bring the teal all over the Washington Redskins. Ronnie Brown is gonna be a golden god this year. Trust The Jay.

Thursday, Sept. 13th – TheJay.com Turns 2! There will me much more on this in the week leading up to our birthday, including announcements on my T-Shirt Company, some podcast news and the introduction of an important new running column. Stay tuned…

Sunday, Sept. 16th – Ryan Seacrest flat-irons, I mean “hosts”, the 59th Annual Emmy Awards, the first not really important awards show of the fall. I can’t wait to see The Sopranos and Everybody Loves Raymond win again (what, Raymond isn’t on anymore? Whatever, they’ll find a way to give that shit Best Comedy Series, anyway). Wake me when they start giving awards to deserving TV work, like 30 Rock, Damages, BSG, How I Met Your Mother and Weeds.

This album will get worn out by me, VHS-style!Tuesday, Sept. 18th – KT Tunstall releases her second studio album “Drastic Fantastic”. She’s my favorite singer in the world right now, rocks live, has kick style, speaks in an adorable accent, has actual real musical talent, is sweetly down-to-earth and she pretty much destroyed any chance of Jewel ever having relevance again. For all those reasons and more, I love this woman. Also, the new single is steak sauce! I push my tread up a full mph every time my Nano rings the “Hold On” number.

Saturday, Sept. 22nd – Yom Kippur. Day of forgiveness, baby, show some respect!

Wednesday, Sept. 26th – The premieres of Bionic Woman and Private Practice; adding two more shows to my most crowded night of TV watching. The TiVmote is gonna have to work overtime blooping through Bionic Woman, Private Practice, Pushing Daises, Kid Nation, Back To You, Life, Gossip Girl, Dirty Sexy Money and come February, Lost.

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd – The Jungle Book, my favorite animated movie of all-time and easily the best Disney movie of all-time comes out on in a scrumtrillescent new 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD. Words cannot describe how uberhellastoked I am to finally own this movie on DVD (in its been on moratorium for the longest). I have so much Jungle Book paraphernalia that I could practically open my own merch store. Look for me at the El Capitan on Sunday, September 9th for the big screen stage show, I’ll be the shameless geek bear hugging the Baloo mascot (pun intended) and singing along off-key to all the words to Bare Necessities. Hey Mowgli, how about you knock that busy little bee-ya off my nose…

I may call in sick and just watch this movie over and over again for 24 straight hours.  It'd be worth it.Monday, Oct. 8th – The most likely date for the first appearance of Kristen Bell on Heroes.

Tuesday, Oct. 9th – Eleventy Billion NSFW Kristen Bell / Hayden Panetierre fan-fiction stories are released on the net.

Friday, Oct. 19th – Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, arrives in theaters. My favorite ‘Fleck gets to prove once and for all that he’s a big talent. And I think he’s gonna prove it in spades. His cast is flawless (Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, hottie Michelle Monaghan, Casey Affleck, Amy Madigan), his source material is first rate (author Dennis Lehane also wrote Mystic River, which gives me the chance to scream out “IS DAT MY DADER IN DERE!” every time someone mentions that fact) and the trailer is cool, confident and stylish. Matt Damon (Matt Damon!) may be the bigger star and the better actor, but I’m still not convinced that when everything is said and done, Ben Affleck won’t have the better career. And if you don’t believe me than be sure to catch my must-read post “Ben Affleck Does NOT Suck, And I Can Prove It”, coming in early October.

Tuesday, Nov. 6th – Quentin Tarantino FINALLY realizes the long awaited Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, where we get to watch the entire saga cut together as one movie. I got to watch the flicks back-to-back at the Arclight on Volume 2’s opening night in 2005 and it was a very rewarding experience. I bet taking out the intermission and resorting the order of scenes is gonna completely change how we look at the story of The Bride. My guess is that change will be for the better.

Friday, Nov. 9th – By my count, the most interesting movie going weekend of the fall season. Releasing on this date is the Robert Redford directed, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep starring political thriller Lions For Lambs, where we get to finally see the full extent of the damage The Cruiser has inflicted upon his career (not to mention the fate of the United Artist movie studio hangs in the balance). Also on this date is Fred Claus, the big budget holiday film that will be the marker for whether or not Vince Vaughn can be a charmingly obnoxious asshole for two hours without Owen Wilson or Jennifer Aniston and still be successful (and look at the rest of the cast: Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and Frank Stallone. That’s a lot of talent. Except for the last one). And on the limited release side we have a new Coen Brothers movie and Southland Tales, the extremely long awaited sophomore flick from Richard Kelly, director of Donnie Darko. That film intrigues the hell out of me, not least because it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a porn star, The Rock as her love interest, it’s set in the Valley, centers around an apocalypse on the fourth of July, co-stars Mandy Moore, Seann William Scott, Kevin Smith, Janeane Garofalo and Justin Timberlake, was lambasted at Cannes, shelved for a year because no one wanted to distribute it, is reported to be a complete narrative mess, and oh yeah, it’s a musical.

Tuesday, Dec. 25th – Charlie Wilson’s War, my most anticipated film of the fall, is released in theaters. Written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and hotties Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Rachel Nichols. You couldn’t put together a more attractive package to me. If I was told I’d get Herpes if I watched this movie, I’d call my HMO and pre-book some Valtrex. I think this is also Jesus’s birthday or something. That might be good for some cool goings-on, I don’t know. No lines at the bagel shop, maybe? I’ll keep an eye on this day for more cool happenings.

Green, for lack of a better word, is good.Sunday, Dec. 30th – Lakers vs. Celtics at the Staples Center. I am dying to see the new big three in green take on Kobe and whatever bunch of idiots they picked up off the street to pass the ball to Kobe. Jesus Shuttlesworth, insane-person Kevn Garnett, Monica Seles-wannabe Paul Pierce and old man Reggie Miller duking it out with acquitted Hershey Highway driver and ballhog extraordinaire Kobe Bryant, all while Jack Nicholson looks on form the front row and leers at the Laker Girls? It’s gonna be the biggest LA sports event of the fall, and I’ll be in the cheap seats taking it all in.

What cool pop culture days of the fall are you looking forward to?

Bangarang!

The Case Against: Reviving Canceled Fan-Favorite TV Shows

Veronica MarsThree months ago, nearing the end of a long, rather satisfying television season, I decided not to watch the final two episodes of Veronica Mars, and instead save them for the doldrums of summer when quality television is as sparse as a Lindsay Lohan sober day (I know, I know, I promised no more cheap shots like this, but it was so easy I couldn’t help myself. It’s not easy going cold turkey on Lohan bashing. Is there a patch I can buy for this?). I knew the show was being canceled and just couldn’t reconcile losing it so quickly. May sweeps is a bullish time for a high-end TV watcher such as myself and Veronica Mars deserved my full and complete attention, not just a clock-watching commercial double bloop due to a focus distracted by my musings on what I was going to find when the Lost season finale went through the looking glass (the FUTURE… spoiler!). My desire to keep the show alive and my respect for the quality of the show meant that I would have to wait, possibly a few months, to properly say farewell to one of my favorite shows of the last decade.

This weekend I finally sat down and said goodbye to Veronica Mars. I won’t bore you with the details of my experience; if you saw the finale you know both what happened and how good it was. And if you didn’t, then you suck and it’s your fault Jim Belushi is gainfully employed by the American Broadcasting Company. No, the point of this post is not to glad-hand Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell and the rest of the makers of Veronica Mars. This post is about saying goodbye to TV shows. Making peace with what is and what is not in our hands. And understanding that sometimes, despite the best of intentions, the good ones are not always meant to be.

I wasn’t originally planning on watching the VM finale this weekend. I was busy going to Napa, hitting the Manhattan Beach AVP Tournament, writing a script for a producer and seeing my best friend off to his last year at law school. I had a full load of non-entertainment related things to do. What changed were the three Netflix discs I received this week. I’m doing a summer of TV recapping, and at the moment I’m catching up on Wonderfalls, another female-centric hour-long that was beloved by critics, adored by a small, rabid fanbase, and canceled before it’s time. And while I went through my crazy schedule, I found an occasional forty-five minutes to glance over from my computer at the wacky shenanigans of a long since canceled FOX drama.

WonderallsI watched the first four episodes, enjoying the odd comic timing of series lead Caroline Dhavernas, the welcome appearance of William Sadler and the Matthew Fox clone they got to play Caroline’s love interest. But the thing I got the most out of the first disc was this: the show isn’t very good. The pace is stilted, the storylines are oft putting and the protagonist isn’t very likeable. In short, the show kinda blew. So much so that I didn’t even bother with the second disc (something I’ve never done) and instead jumped right to disc three and the last two episodes of the show (as a completist I wanted to see how it all ended). And after the final credits rolled I sat and pondered just what the fuss was all about.

The cancellation of Wonderfalls, like Veronica Mars, Arrested Development and a myriad of other shows, was taken rather poorly by its fanbase. A website, savewonderfalls.com, was launched in an attempt to revive the poorly rated drama from certain doom. Obviously, that did not shake out on the positive end. Now, I’m all for trumping quality television. And I support radical action. But I can’t wrap my head around going above and beyond for a show that wasn’t all that good. I can respect that the show had its supporters, heck every show has at least one loyal viewer, but with the way the television industry is constructed, specifically in the way shows are made and put on the air, I can not cotton to the idea of saving a show that is not worth saving and has no hopes for being saved.

The two great things about television are that it is democratic and unforgiving. A show is made, marketed and aired. Home viewers decide to watch it, and then decide if they like it. If they do, they watch it again the next week. If they don’t, they don’t watch it ever again. It’s a beautifully simple and merciless process. Unlike film, where even if no one goes to see a movie in theaters, you can always watch it on DVD, television shows have no real outlet when for exhibition if they fail. Pilots that don’t make it to series can pop up on You Tube (like the Aquaman pilot with Ving “Deadly Dog” Rhames), but a show that goes to series and tanks (especially ones that never finish production on their first thirteen) disappears into the mist. The odds of a series, especially an off-beat one (by off-beat I mean not CSI), are exceedingly slim. It would be easier to get a greenlight for Daddy Day Camp 2, then to get a show on the air about a teen private detective that solves crimes in her high school. Now, knowing that to be true, I submit that it’s futile and patently irresponsible to attempt to keep a show on the air that the majority of the viewing audience does not want to see.

Poor ratings are the only valid reason for canceling a television show. And as much as I might like a show, I cannot complain of its cancellation if I’m the only person watching it. Television is a business, and a poorly rated show is bad for business. Take a show that that is original, daring, well written, fiercely acted and brimming with potential. The only problem is that not enough people are tuning in to warrant its continued expensive existence; it airs 7 or 13 or 22 episodes and is canceled. Instead of decrying the network for its evil slaughter of a quality piece of entertainment, we should be grateful we even got to see it at all. Four episodes of Wonderfalls, fifty-three of Arrested Development, sixty-four of Veronica Mars, whatever number for whatever show that you loved and lost, you should be happy the show entered your life at all. Does it suck that it was canceled? Absolutely. But it’s simply the way the medium works. It’s fair, it’s just and it’s nonmoving.

Television shows are given every chance to succeed. When embraced by the viewing public they can be worth billions of dollars to the networks. They can bring in viewers for other shows. They can make stars out of nobodies. They can become iconic. Every pilot given a series order is given so because the network believed it had a shot to become iconic (yes, even crap like According to Jim). The shows may get marketed poorly (like Hidden Palms), or put in a shitty timeslot (like the J.J, Abrams dramedy Six Degrees), or get tampered with to the point where they had no shot at being successful (take the recent Traveler, for example), but in the end it is always the viewers that determine if a show stays on the air.

Arrested DevelopmentA poorly rated show can survive its first season on critical reception alone (see: Felicity, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Everwood, etc). A poorly rated show can survive its second season on minimal ratings gains and a lack of competitive pilots in its genre. But no show, no matter how good, can survive past a third season without good ratings. Period. After forty episodes, if a show has not clicked with viewers, it will never click. There have been shows that took a while to get hot. Cheers was 82nd in the ratings in its first year, only to be a top ten show by season three. But viewers don’t wait three full seasons to decide to start watching a television show. It just doesn’t happen.

This is why I cannot complain about the cancellation of Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, Wonderfalls, Sports Night, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, et al. They were all given ample chances to succeed, and none of them did. CW prexy Dawn Ostroff worked every angle to bring Veronica Mars back for a fourth season, but the math never warranted it. They paired the show up with the network smash Gilmore Girls, and VM couldn’t retain enough of the audience. They paired the show up with advertisers to stem the production costs, but that didn’t take. Posters were put in schools and in malls. Guest stars were brought in (Harry Hamlin, Patty Duke, Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon). Nothing worked. The CW even asked series creator Rob Thomas to alter the serial format of the show and do stand alone mysteries in an attempt to bring in new viewers. The shows were bad and the new viewers never showed. The show was lucky it was on the air for as long as it was, and it’s a testament to its quality it made it past the first season at all, let alone the second. And the same goes for Arrested Development. Fox desperately wanted that show to be a hit. It would have given them artistic credibility and their first real chance at a Best Comedy Emmy. But it didn’t take. America as a whole just did not care for the Bluth family.

And we’re just gonna have to live with it.

Television shows come and go. They are transitory by nature. You enjoy them while they are there, mourn them for a time when they are gone, and then find a new show to love. This season alone I lost three of my top shelf favorite shows (Veronica Mars, The Loop & The OC), and saw the abrupt cancellation of no less than seven shows I enjoyed (Studio 60, The Class, Six Degrees, The Winner, Raines, Kidnapped, Andy Barker P.I.). Last year I lost The West Wing, AD and That 70’s Show. And this coming year I’m gonna have to say goodbye to Scrubs. Such is life as a TV watcher. You let the good ones go. You let them go because they were too good for their own good. Perhaps if Arrested Development had been dumber, Veronica Mars less complex, Wonderfalls less irritating, Firefly less overtly geeky, they would all be gearing up for their fall premiere. But if that had been the case, we would not have loved them in the first place. It was those exact qualities (brains, complexity, wit, defiance) that made them worthy of our time.

JerichoThis all leads to my thoughts on the successful campaign to bring back CBS’s nuclear fall out thriller Jericho. I watched the premiere, laughed at the notion of Skeet Ulrich carrying a network drama and promptly judged the show as mediocre. I never watched it again, but apparently many people in the fall did. It was a modest hit with the potential to break out. However, CBS pulled it from the schedule for four months, a big no-no for serialized shows (just ask Lost), and on its return the audience shrunk faster than the second weekend box office for The Matrix Revolutions. CBS promptly canceled the show, and that’s when the nuts started arriving. Fans of Jericho swarmed CBS offices with bags of nuts, an in-joke from the show, in an attempt to prove that Jericho was worth saving. After a few metric tons of nuts showed up CBS gave in and renewed the series for an eight episode second season. This was a mistake.

Jericho’s ratings will not improve. The show is too insular for it to be a breakout hit, and the mythology of the show is on the verge of becoming too dense for new viewers to wade through. Plus, hello, Skeet Ulrich is the series lead. If Jericho was as good as these crazy nut senders would lead you to believe, than the drop-off from fall to spring would not have been so severe. Lost was still a hit after taking three months off, last season. 24 and American Idol continue to do well despite having a nearly seven month layoff between seasons. Good shows that people like do well regardless of the timeslot or disparity between new episodes. Take Moonlighting, a show that never aired more than 16 episodes in a nine month season, yet won a slew of Emmy’s, made a star out of Bruce Willis and aired for five years.

CBS flinched at the overwhelming viewer response because they haven’t had a show worthy of such an act in decades. Nobody is freaking out if NCIS gets canceled, know what I mean? Aside from How I Met Your Mother, Jericho is the only young skewing show on their network, and young viewers are quite easily made mental (just ask the Fox Network); heck the campaign probably started because people were so shocked that CBS was airing such a hip show and didn’t want that to end. Similar campaigns worked for Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls in seasons past because their network didn’t have a good enough replacement, and because their target demographic was the exact same people leading the charge. Campaigns for Wonderfalls and Firefly didn’t work because FOX had replacement junk at its beck and call. They go through shows like Mandy Patinkin goes through TV series’. Jericho will fail on its return and CBS will never again bring back a struggling show with a tenuous plot concept. The Nuts-heads have effectively ruined the chances for any future big three drama that is even minutely difficult. Way to push your chips in for the star of Chill Factor, dicks.

Pushing DaisesLet these shows go, kids. No less than 60 shows are set to debut in the next four months, and that doesn’t even include cable. Pushing Daises, Bionic Woman, Private Practice, Chuck, Journeyman, Viva Laughlin, Moonlight, Reaper, K-Ville, The Sarah Conner Chronicles; these shows need our help now. Forget the Jericho’s and The Nine’s and the Andy Barker’s and the What About Brian’s. They had their shot and they blew it. Nobody wanted them around. It’s time to give the new kids a chance. Because maybe one of them will turn out to be the next Arrested Development or Veronica Mars. Maybe your favorite television show of all time hasn’t even aired yet. Isn’t that more worth your attention? Let’s not bemoan the loss of shows that had multiple chances to succeed, and instead enjoy the new batch of pilots and put all our efforts into keeping the good ones from failing.

I will miss Veronica Mars for some time. But in the end, maybe it’s just for the best. When the Ben Stiller Show was canceled Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo became movie stars, and head writer Judd Apatow became Judd Apatow. Bryan Fuller failed on Wonderfalls but is getting a second chance with the infinitely better (and more precious) Pushing Daises. The failure of Sports Night led to The West Wing. Bill Lawrence bombed on Spin City and came back to give us Scrubs. Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Michael Cera are all top-lining movies now. And I look forward to seeing what will become of Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas. I predict they’re going to be giving us quality entertainment for many years to come. Their show may be dead, but the mark left by the show on the industry will linger for years to come.

And that’s the real lesson for why good shows get canceled before their time. So that the makers can go on to make better shows. Speaking off, if you’ll excuse me I need to go catch the new David Duchovny tittyball show on Showtime, created by Tom Kapinos, a guy who used to produce a little show called Dawson’s Creek. From the ashes of poorly written teen angst cancellation, to the phoenix-like rebirth of soft-core Duchovny cable porn. TV, it’s a beautiful thing.

The Verdict: Renewal is a waste, bring on the newbies.

Bangarang!

The CW is SMRT

Veronica Mars Ad PosterWilliam Goldman’s classic adage about the intelligence of Hollywood, “Nobody Knows Anything” needs to be changed. In light of recent events, the quote should now read “Nobody Knows Anything. Especially Network TV Executives”. How else can you explain the rash of inexplicable scheduling changes this season?

From ABC moving Lost (a perfect 9pm show) to the dreadful 10 spot (where viewers have already sat through two hours of programming, not to mention a full day of work, and are in no condition to sit through the mindfuck that is The Further Adventures of Oceanic Flight 815.). Or Fox’s decision to promote Drive ad nausea for two months only to announce days before the premiere that the show would only air five times instead of 13? Why would we choose to invest in a show that will only be around for a month? And let’s not even get started on NBC’s decision to take Heroes and The Office off the air for six weeks this Spring, and delay Scrubs till January only to pull them for nearly a month in February to launch Andy Barker P.I. which was then pulled after two (!) airings even while it was getting the best reviews of any new show of the mid-season.

But by far the most agonizingly dense decision by any network has been the continued abuse of their critical jem, Veronica Mars. Veronica Mars has clawed, scratched and fought its way on the air for two seasons. Critics drool over the show, there is a small but rabid fanbase, the DVD’s sell well and Kristen Bell is a bonafide star-in-the-making. It has all the pieces in place to be a fixture on TV for at least five seasons, except the one thing that truly matters: network support. The CW, in their infinite collective wisdom of being on the air all of six months, decided to pull the show off the air for six weeks in the middle of the season and run a Pussycat Dolls reality show in its place.

This would be OK for any non-serial, as most shows of that nature can go away and come back and no one would be the wiser (hell, the Law & Order franchise practically has a patent on this move), but Veronica Mars is a series that benefits from continuity and stability. It’s a show that actually strives for complexity, a true rarity in an era of dumbed down television; fans are rewarded for their loyalty by getting complex storylines that pay off so far down the road it would make the Lost Writers Room bow their heads in shame. Much like the aforementioned Lost, Veronica Mars needs to be on television as much as possible to help guide the viewers through the season. It’s nearly impossible these days to follow a series from premiere to finale without missing an episode, and Mars might be at the top of the list of hard to follow shows.

The Cast Of Veronica MarsHowever, and it’s a significant however, the journey is worth it. And I just don’t understand why The CW doesn’t recognize that.

They chose to keep VM in the WB/UPN merger, so they must have seen the potential of the show at some point. They must have received the thousands of fan letters begging them not to cancel the show. They must have noticed that the show has been nominated for a WGA award, and that Kristen Bell has been nominated for a string of awards, as well. But most of all, at some point, they had to know it was the best show they had.

Gilmore Girls is a dying ship. 7th Heaven is on its last rites. Smallville is bloated and tired. Supernatural is just as poorly attended. One Tree Hill is a second-rate Dawson’s Creek with the most unbelievable “young” high school students this side of Ian Ziering. America’s Next Top Model and WWE Smackdown are reality shows and fake spectacle, respectively, and shouldn’t be compared to the drama slate. And NONE of the sitcoms have shown any traction in the nation consciousness (I challenge you to name be even ONE cast member from All Of Us). Veronica Mars, on the other hand, is well-written, superbly acted, young, hip, and given the chance, eminently marketable.

How difficult would it be to put Kristen Bell in the same marketing league as Felicity’s Keri Russell? She’s going to start developing an even wider fanbase once Fanboys and Forgetting Sarah Marshall come out, and greater critical acclaim once Roman and Flatland are released. She’s pretty, smart, a great interview and fiercely loyal to her show. She’s not gonna give you salary headaches like a certain beeyotchy Gilmore Girl, or try to distance herself from her show like a certain eight-headed, former resident-Capeside douchebag. I’d be willing to bet Kristen Bell would do Veronica Mars for a decade, if given the chance. She’s a star on a network that is sorely lacking in them. It’s beyond me why The CW is choosing to ignore this fact.

Veronica MarsThe ratings of the show seem to be the only real mark against renewal. I can understand the notion that a network should never settle for mediocre numbers, but when the entire network slate is one giant mediocre Nielson rating, landing in the 110th as opposed to 117th spot on the chart is splitting hairs. Veronica Mars airs Tuesdays at 9pm, opposite the Dancing With The Stars results show (already a built-in audience), House (with American Idol’s ginormous lead-in), The Unit (taking away the entire male 31-49 demo), and the bastard Law & Order spinoff, Criminal Intent. That’s four huge shows with marketing support dwarfing that of The CW, on networks that are more widely watched and even more widely available than The CW. At what point were the expectations of this show so high that they were expected to topple anything the Big 4 put out?

The average rating for a CW show is 2.1 million people. Top Model and Smallville regularly hit twice that number, while the sitcoms role at or below the average. For the 2006-2007 television season Veronica Mars has averaged about 2.5 million viewers, well above the network average. It hits very near the same numbers as 7th Heaven, a show that’s MUCH more expensive to produce. With this in mind, I can’t really understand the argument that the ratings aren’t good enough to warrant a fourth season.

Last year Veronica Mars was on opposite Lost at a time when the ABC drama was a real ratings behemoth, and yet, VM’s ratings went up. The main reason for this? It had Top Model as it’s lead-in. The key thing to remember here is that viewers were willing to choose the show over Lost, assuming they had a reason to be on the network before Lost began. This year, with a sub-par Gilmore Girls as it’s lead-in, VM is stagnant in the ratings. The key here is that the fanbase will always be there for the show, but if The CW wants more viewers they have to support the show with a better lead-in. And that point is the same for any television show, not just VM. Look at what CSI did for Without A Trace, or Friends did for Will & Grace or going back to The CW, what Smallville has been doing for Supernatural (namely saving it’s life). Very few primetime network shows can survive on their own without help; even fewer can do it on a network that’s watched by less than half its competitors. Throughout it’s run Veronica Mars has shown that given the opportunity, it can do just as well as anything else the network puts out, and in some cases, even better.

Kristen BellMost cult / small shows need a few seasons to get going. Take Cheers, Seinfeld or Buffy as examples. All were ratings-poor in the first few seasons, but took off by their 3rd and 4th seasons. Shows that are more difficult to watch or are non-traditional need support and longevity to sell their premise. A teen private eye is not an easy sell in a time when the other personification of teen life on television is My Super Sweet Sixteen. Moreover, noir is not a particularly popular genre. Lost is just as labyrinthine, but it’s base genre is epic sci-fi, which has traditionally sold very well on TV (think The X-Files, which I’d like to point out, also took four seasons before it became a phenomenon).

I just can’t understand the logic behind dumping a brand you put three years into building solely for an intangible potential a new brand might show. What is harder, building an audience for Veronica Mars, a show that has already established a presence in the national consciousness and only needs a good marketing push and a prime time slot to shine, or a COMPLETELY new presence that may or may not find an audience? Let’s go further… if you were a betting man, which show would you say has a better chance for longevity, Veronica Mars or the soon to be aired Hidden Palms? On the one hand you have a critically acclaimed drama starring a gorgeous and talented star on the rise and on the other you have a trashy teen soap that was pulled from the Fall line-up because it didn’t test well enough and stars the most hated actor in the history of television (that would be Taylor Handey, who played the loathsome Oliver on The O.C.)? I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the cute, sassy blonde girl that takes down former Clash of the Titans actors.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has been wonderfully vocal about the state of the show. At times he has said there’s a 60/40 chance for renewal, other times he has said that the future of the show rests on the ratings of that execrable Pussycat Dolls show (and thank god that show dropped off the face of the Earth. Go grease a pole at the Forty Deuce, whores!). And to their small credit, The CW has given the show ample opportunity to potentially continue. They asked Thomas to make the final five episodes stand alones, which may attract viewers that were too afraid to jump into the series because they hadn’t been there from the beginning. And they asked Thomas to pitch multiple potential story arcs for Season Four, should the network think the show could do better with a slightly modified premise (for the record, I would rather they continue the college years than jump forward to Veronica as an FBI agent. Trying to explain away half a decade of Veronica’s life would be far more difficult than just making the college years more interesting. Hell, I could do that one right now. Kill off Logan, make Wallace and Mac into Veronica’s personal Scooby gang, and introduce a Big Bad that she needs the whole season to take down (a la Buffy). There. Done. I just bought the show another half million viewers.). There have been both good and bad signs on the road to renewal, but the next five weeks are the most crucial.

Veronica MarsIf the show can show some improvement it would do wonders for its chances of survival. It just needs a little help. It’s an underseen diamond in the rough; a television show that works hard to be great and asks a lot of its viewers. It never panders and it never dumbs itself down. It doesn’t introduce cute babies or have gimmicky weddings. It’s not stale and crusty like half the CBS dramatic line-up and it’s not trashy like the majority of the FOX line-up. Veronica Mars is a quality show in an era of lesser standards. And if The CW can’t understand that, then I’ll live with it. But I won’t have any reason to watch their network, either (I’ve gotten over my Kristin Kreuk crush, too).

I’ve gone over time on my frustration of this topic. Of my continued annoyance on the part of network executives fucking with my favorite TV shows. And I could go on even more about what needs to be done to fix the situation. But really, I just want to convey one thing. One crucial thing… Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, just give Veronica Mars a chance. I need Kristen Bell on TV every week for my own well-being. So help The Jay stay sane and give me this one thing. Give me a Veronica Mars Season Four.

Bangarang!

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