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Saturday, May 30, 2009

We're moving

The Channel Surfing blog is moving to a new platform as part of our beefed-up entertainment coverage. Don't worry, we'll still offer the snarky commentary and animated discussions of all things TV that you've come to expect. And we'll keep this page around as an archive.

More on the expanded entertainment content to come, but for now, find us at

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Breaking Bad" finale: The transformation of Walter White

(Warning: this post contains minor spoilers.)

Congratulations, Walter White: You’ve officially made “Breaking Bad” viewers hate you.

One of the most complex anti-heroes TV has seen in a long time, White (played by Emmy award winner Bryan Cranston) needed the better part of Season 2 to officially join the Tony Sopranos of the world on the coldhearted (expletive) list.

Except it never used to be so cut-and-dried since by trade, Tony played a ruthless mobster and Walt … well, Walt is a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who only recently began to experience the highs of his criminal dark side.

Back in strike-shortened Season 1, viewers discovered that Walt was dying of lung cancer. In order to pay mounting hospital bills and not saddle his pregnant wife and disabled son with debt, he decided to use his scientific know-how to cook the most pristine crystal meth on the planet.

With the help of Jesse (Aaron Paul), a dim-witted former student, the two became embroiled in one dangerous mishap after another before creator Vince Gilligan broadened Season 2’s scope by delivering the kind of soul-crushing darkness that viewers will feel guilty for embracing.

Through cryptic black-and-white flashbacks, all season the groundbreaking AMC series has teased the eerie image of a mangled stuffed animal fished from the White swimming pool. Viewers have also seen a shattered windshield, guys in HAZMAT suits and two body bags in the driveway.

The payoff should finally come in Sunday night’s season finale, with Walt and Jesse also set to deal with the emotional implications of an unexpected death that both could have prevented if their heads had been screwed on straight.

Yet it all comes back to newly menacing Walt, a pushover viewers used to feel tremendous sympathy for, but has since lost his grip on reality — and even worse, become empowered by it.

So again, a round of applause for Walt — officially a member of the “Very Bad Dude” club.

Even bigger congratulations for being part of television’s most captivating drama.

The Season 2 finale of "Breaking Bad" airs at 9 p.m., Sunday on AMC.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Will the real Slim Charles please stand up?

Oh man, I totally just revealed how big a "Wire" geek I am with that title.

Then again, it turns out I'm not alone. posted a fun report on Eminem's obsession with "The Wire" (who knew he had something in common with Barack Obama?) and how Dominic West, who played Jimmy McNulty, is the first voice heard on Slim Shady's new album, "Relapse."

Now, I don't plan on buying "Relapse." I don't even plan on hearing "Relapse." But anyone who goes out of his way to include Dominic West on an album (yes, you're forgiven for "Punisher: War Zone," Dom) earns some serious props from this "Wire" fanatic.

"He's an obsessive fan of "The Wire," which is quite encouraging," West told EW. "He's seen the whole lot four times, he told me the other day!"

This month, West and Eminem also met in person while Em was in the U.K. taping television appearances.

"We had a good chat," West said. "Clarke Peters, the guy who plays Lester Freamon in 'The Wire' came out as well, so we talked 'Wire' all night ... The directors and writers of "The Wire" would always put in little bits and pieces that only the most vigilant viewers would notice. Marshall got them all."

So, Eminem is two full viewings ahead of me when it comes to television's all-time greatest show. But is he a "Breaking Bad" fan ... because then I just might have to write him a "Stan"-like fan letter after all.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spellbound: Who will be tonight's Spelling Bee C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N?

There's nothing quite as satisfying -- or quite as demoralizing -- as watching a 12-year-old spell a word you've never heard of.

Tonight ABC will air the championship round of the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. If you've never watched, you might wonder why I'm imploring you to watch a bunch of kids way smarter than you'll ever be battle it out over words that mostly seem made up. Well, it's reality TV at its finest and most exciting.

Just one word, one letter incorrectly J-U-X-T-A-P-O-S-E-D (check out my mad spelling skills!) or one flub that'll destroy the dreams of a smartypants 10-year-old who has spent most of his or her young life studying the dictionary. It's brilliant. It's "Survivor" meets the Super Bowl with all the drama of "Grey's Anatomy" in the course of two hours. Winning words have ranged from fairly commonplace such as knack in 1932 to head-shakingly rare such as guerdon (noun: a reward) last year.

Sadly, we only had one contestant from Wisconsin to cheer for -- Andrew Grose from Sheboygan -- who did not make it to the semifinals round. (Only 41 of the 293 make it, so let's not give Andrew too much grief). There are plenty of other geniuses to cheer for -- the ESPN-like commentary gives you back stories on all the contestants and their reason for competing -- so pick a wizkid to root for and get ready to get your socks spelled off.

The championship round of the Scripps Spelling Bee airs tonight on ABC at 7 p.m.

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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Jukebox TV: 4, 3, 2, 1 ...

If there's a downside to DVR's -- and this is the only one I can think of -- it's that flying past commercials isn't always the best move. Some spots are actually worth watching because of the music. Because God knows you can't discover anything new by watching MTV or listening to the radio.

Anyway, with a regular blog feature called Jukebox TV, I attempt to track down my favorite ear candy on the boob tube. If there's an ad you want me to check out or try and identify by song, I'm game. Leave a comment or e-mail me. I'll do my best to post about it down the road.

Shiny Toy Guns (Peter Schilling cover): "Major Tom (Coming Home)"

I can't tell you much about Shiny Toy Guns, but their mechanical approach to this song seems to fit a fast-moving, futuristic car commercial pretty well. Peter Schilling's version, on the other hand, is a quintessential '80s track -- and in recent years, has become frustratingly hard to track down in its English form. (Go to iTunes ... all you'll find is the German version. If you want to snag it, look at used '80s compilations on Amazon like VH1's 'More of the Big 80s' disc). Schilling's only stateside hit in 1983, "Major Tom" is a retelling of David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity" and a wonderful synth-pop gem that, hopefully, more people will have heard now that it's been covered prominently. I still listen to it as often as I would have at the birth of MTV.

New Young Pony Club: "The Bomb"

An interesting neo-New Wave band out of London, New Young Pony Club's "Ice Cream" (a bratty double entendre song that has a direct sibling in the Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like") has also been featured in past commercials and TV shows. "The Bomb" comes off "Fantastic Playroom," a brash debut from 2007 that functions like Gang of Four meets Elastica with some Blondie tossed in for good measure. "The Bomb" is one of my favorite tracks off the album, and honestly, this commercial made me give it a spin on my iPod again.

Biz Markie: "Just a Friend"

I'm usually not a fan of well-known novelty songs being used in that "oh, a bunch of drunk people are stumbling over the words ... how silly" kinda way. But I have to admit, I laughed when the old cab driver started busting out The Biz. Everyone knows this Biz Markie one-hit wonder from 1989. If you don't, shame on you. Still, nothing will ever top Dennis and Dee's rendition on the welfare episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

The Dodos: "Fools"

A nice find by whoever puts Miller's ad campaigns together. "Fools" is off last year's "Visiter," a largely overlooked indie-folk album by The Dodos out of San Francisco. A blend of blissful melodies, boyish vocals and the occasional tribal rhythm, "Visiter" is crisp, delicate and mellow -- or a nice pairing with a "Chill" lite beer, I suppose. There's something sweet and summery about this sound. I'd recommend it for people who wish Animal Collective were a little more accessible.

Pernice Brothers: "The Weakest Shade of Blue"

I asked Adam, a fellow Pernice Brothers fan, to put two-and-two together on a Sherwin Williams paint campaign featuring the band and he immediately figured "The Weakest Shade of Blue" had been co-opted. Pernice fans worship at the altar of Joe's lyrics, and it's probably safe to say he wasn't thinking of Turquoise, Paddington Blue or the Blue Man Group when he wrote this track off 2003's "Yours/Mine/Ours." But hey, the title line works as a literal interpretation, and you can't really complain about its sunny, splashy vibe. I mean, what else can you do for a freakin' paint commercial? (Except go the J. Geils Band route and play with the reverse/rewind button like they did in "Freeze Frame." Seriously. Go find that video on YouTube right now. It's awful.)

It's still a surprise to see one of Joe Pernice's songs used like this. I'd have guessed "Amazing Glow" would be the first one stolen for some sentimental Hallmark commercial.

The Human League: "Don't You Want Me"

Conversely, in the not-so-surprising department, we have Human League's '80s New Wave standard, "Don't You Want Me," being used in ANOTHER lame ad. This one -- unlike Swiffer's horrid take on Devo's "Whip It" -- at least attempts to make fun of the dated '80s (Flock of Seagulls haircuts are THE go-to gag for the decade), because apparently dusty old brooms are as relevant as Phil Oakey's hair and makeup. Still, like its use in a recent Chips Ahoy commercial, the cold, robotic vibe of the Human League really doesn't fit the feeling of humorous abandonment Swiffer is aiming for. I detest this lack of creativity. Also, "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" is an awesome song and should be used in a movie or TV ad somewhere.

Petra Haden: "Let Your Love Flow"

Apparently, Petra Haden was commissioned to do three Prius ads -- including this spot with the Bellamy Brothers' 1976 single, "Let Your Love Flow." Haden's a cappella songs are unmistakable and a brilliant grab by Toyota since the "instrumentation" by her voice is so captivating and unique. Track down her cover of "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys and her a cappella interpretation of "The Who Sells Out" album. She's also on releases by The Rentals and That Dog -- both on my iPod somewhere. Petra Haden makes me feel very happy. I'm sure other people feel the same way hearing her for the first time.

Matt & Kim: "Daylight"

Supposedly, the new Matt & Kim album, "Grand," is a mixed bag, but the two tracks I've snagged online -- "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare" and "Daylight" -- were pretty strong. A nice, bubbly mix of punk and dance, Matt and Kim are also Pitchfork-approved since they'll be playing the Chicago festival in July. Good beer commercial, party music for spazzy hipsters. And is that Jake Gyllenhaal in the commercial or a look-a-like?

TV on the Radio: "DLZ"

I wrote about this track being used in a "Breaking Bad" episode earlier this month, but I wanted to include it so this feature could expand beyond only commercial music. The impact TV on the Radio's pulsating and cryptic "DLZ" has on this closing scene is remarkable ... probably the best use of music I've witnessed in an episode since "I'm Alright" by Steve Earle was used for Season 5's finale "Wire" montage, or "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash to track criminal patterns in Season 2 of the same show.

Rarely do I immediately hunt down lyrics after hearing a song in a TV show, but I did with this scene involving Walt White (Bryan Cranston) exerting his muscle ... and man, it's like TV on the Radio wrote it solely for the show ("Never you mind death professor/Your structure's fine/My dust is better/Your victim flies so high/All to catch a bird's eye view of who's next.) Pure genius.

Nothing more needs to be said ... except the song just came up on my iPod while writing this. That's pretty creepy.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On vacation and on location: a Television Tour of the Big Apple

Chances are at least one of your favorite shows is either set or shot in New York, even if all you watch is TV Land. The Big Apple plays a significant role in any number of iconic shows because producers and writers love using it to represent the mythic "city." And, why not? After all, would "Seinfeld" be the same had it been set in Omaha? Would we glamorize the girls of "Sex and the City" if they lived in San Diego instead of Manhattan?

With a week to kill in New York -- yeah, I know, it's exhausting to be me -- I decided to go on the mission to find a few of the places I had only ever seen on my 20" TV. Given the depth of pointless information on the Interwebs, it wasn't hard to find locations and addresses, but I decided to one step further and rate my initial reaction on a scale of one to five. Was I wowed at seeing the famed Monk's Diner from "Seinfeld?" Would the hallowed steps of the New York Supreme Court, so often seen on "Law and Order," make me look over my shoulder for Jack McCoy? Read on and find out.

Tom's Restaurant, 112th and Broadway
You've Seen It In: "Seinfeld" as Monk's

Just a few blocks south of Columbia University, this was my first stop on my self-guided TV tour of New York. Only the exterior of Tom's was used on "Seinfeld" -- most of the interior shots of Monk's Cafe were done in a studio -- so there's no 70's-style diner decor when you peer in. As one of the few 24-hour joints in the area, Tom's is always hopping, but I didn't feel obliged to go in and order a big salad.

Rating: Three

160 Riverside Drive
You've Seen It In: "30 Rock" as Liz Lemon's apartment

I didn't get a chance to head up to Apartment 3B, where Tina Fey's semi-fictional Liz Lemon supposedly resides, but I'm pretty sure the grim looking dude I assumed was the doorman wasn't going to let me in even if I tried. Plus, they're apparently remodeling. Because of said doorman, I had to take this photo sneakily from the side, rather than from across the street as is most often the shot we see on "30 Rock." Either way, this is a great neighborhood to live in -- with vantages of Riverside Park and the Hudson River -- and I am inclined to feel less sorry for Lemon now that I've seen where she lives.

Rating: Two, but only because of aforementioned possible doorman and construction

232 E. Broadway
You've Seen It In: "Flight of the Conchords" as the New Zealand Consulate

Thanks to the folks at (an online travel guide), I was easily able to locate the center of the "Flight" universe -- the New Zealand consulate. Actually, this fine building is home to East Broadway Medical Associates, but I half expected an impromptu band meeting to occur. With the real Kiwi consulate in another part of town, this Lower East Side location took to me to a part of New York I had yet to explore and the possibility of getting my annual physical if I had some time. The building looks exactly as it does on the show, perhaps even a bit more rundown, and the folks in the neighborhood are almost exactly like those you see in the show. Minus the racist fruit vendor, sadly.

Rating: Four

New York Supreme Court, 60 Centre St.
You've Seen It In: "Law and Order," "Law and Order: SVU" and other members of the Dick Wolf family of shows

Maybe you just have to be an "Law and Order" fan, but I felt like I was stepping on hallowed ground as I ascended the steps of the Supreme Court. Since it was a Tuesday afternoon, lawyers and their clients poured out of the doors, many of them stopping on the columns to take phone calls or chat with other lawyers about motions (hopefully not bowel-related) and dismissals. I half expected Jack McCoy to come bursting through, followed of course by one of his female ADAs and perhaps Jerry Orbach's Det. Lennie Briscoe, fuming about a judge's decision to withold evidence. It was pure, unadulterated, dhung-dhung bliss.

Rating: Five

By no means is this an exhaustive list. I didn't make it to the Greenwich Village house that served as the Brooklyn residence of the Huxtables on "The Cosby Show." I didn't get a chance to stuff my face with cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery as Carrie and Miranda did on "Sex and the City." I didn't stop by the New York Palace Hotel for cocktails with the Van der Woodsens. And, no matter how hard I tried to get into every minivan-taxi between Harlem and Battery Park, I didn't get a chance to be on "Cash Cab." I did, however, get a brief glimpse of Leah Cohen of "Top Chef" fame in the kitchen of her West Village restaurant. Let's hope she wasn't serving fish.

Now it's your turn -- has anyone else seen places from any of their favorite TV shows? Did it live up to your expectation?

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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Did someone say train wreck?

Remember when "Jon and Kate Plus 8" was a cute little show that emphasized adorable sextuplets and the antics they got into as they grew up in front of TLC's cameras?

Those days are gone.

What's left is a pitiful, awful and uncomfortable train wreck of a couple who has seemingly lost sight of what they're doing on TV. And sadly, it's become television gold.

While I didn't watch Monday's premiere of the show, I've heard and read enough to wonder if I could even stomach it. After strolling through the grocery store and seeing Jon's face (plus a 23-year-old mistress, or whatever she was) or Kate's tearful doe eyes pasted on just about every cover, it seems the show has become something I may not be interested in any longer.

Everyone seems to have their opinion about the new limelight couple with comments and blogs stating everything from "Jon should leave rude, controlling Kate ... and take the kids, too. She got what she deserved" to "(Kate) is disgusting, and both of them are disgusting for selling their privacy to the highest bidder."

What I think is sometimes forgotten with these types of reality shows is that these are real people. OK, so Jon has TLC-purchased hair plugs -- and between Kate's fake tanner and "volcano" hair (coined as an "explosion in the back and lava down the front") -- these two aren't really resisting the urges of new found fame. Nor are they complaining about their $75,000 per episode paychecks. But point is, it's still a family -- or at least it used to be a family.

There are eight kids living in this mess. Eight kids that no doubt are probably already messed up from living with cameramen and who are forced to not only hear mommy and daddy bickering at each other but see it later on TV. Most of the kids are probably too young to know exactly what's going on but I'm sure the older twins can put two-and-two together when their friends tell them they saw their dad on People magazine getting into a car with someone that wasn't their mommy.

Because of this and so much more, I'm still undecided if I will tune in. The deterioration of last season and the bickering that just got worse and worse -- not to mention all the appearances, book signings and milking of the 15 minutes of fame that occurred in between -- has me deeply saddened and annoyed for what this family has become. I found that tuning in last season was more sad than anything else and as much as drama is good TV, there comes a point where it's just uncomfortable and awful.

It's like watching "The Bachelor" episode where how-could-you-be-so-heartless Jason broke up with Melissa on live TV -- except with "Jon and Kate Plus 8" its stretched out for an entire season. On-air, edited and ratings-promoting divorces are where I draw the line.

Don't confuse that for sympathy for the family -- I'm one that believes they brought this on themselves, not that they deserve what they got, but c'mon ... they signed the contract, they let the cameras into their home and they publicly talk about their failing marriage. You can't have it both ways. You can't get your pay check from book sales, magazine covers, etc., and then complain about how the media is ruining your life. It doesn't work like that.

And honestly, I hope the best for the Gosselin's. I hope they realize if they stop everything -- the cameras, the insider interviews -- they could possibly return to normal life. Sure, there won't be TLC-purchased homes, hair plugs or hairstylists but there could be a chance to actually be a family again. Or at least raise eight children in an environment that won't lead to years and years of therapy.

So did you watch? Will you watch? What's your take on the Gosselin situation?

-- Sara Boyd,

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A simpler time in the "Land of the Lost"

I can't say I'm particularly nostalgic for a "Land of the Lost" film adaptation starring Will Ferrell -- though certainly there are worst TV re-makes ("Dukes of Hazzard" and "Fat Albert" come to mind) that have tried to cash in on pristine childhood memories.

Though I was technically born in 1979, I'm not a child of the '70s. So because "Land of the Lost" had its Saturday morning TV run from 1974-76 and likely re-aired throughout the early '80s, before this weekend, I couldn't have told you much of a plot beyond some really crappy looking dinosaurs and a crazy monkey kid running around spewing crazy monkey nonsense.

So I was a bit pleased to discover that the Sci-Fi Channel ran a "Land of the Lost" marathon yesterday, if only because I like gazing in wide-eyed wonder when things look so cheesy and dated. Then again, "Land of the Lost" was a Sid and Marty Krofft production, and if you know anything about those two trippy dudes, there's a kitschy, bizarre charm that really makes you feel part of a special era in children's programming.

And that's how I felt watching "Land of the Lost" yesterday. I probably watched five episodes during the entire day's marathon and as ludicrous as the whole production seemed, I was pretty entranced at times. A lot of that is because I'm a music video aficionado, so I have a soft spot for early '80s MTV where you could see cameras or lights in the background, or the ambitious (read: cornball) effects are completely whitewashed or nonsensical because they truly were inventing the rulebook.

"Land of the Lost" had a similar creative spirit and I had to remind myself several times, yeah, that stop-motion dinosaur probably looked really, really scary in 1974. Or maybe it didn't. I don't know ... I guess that's what made watching it so fun.

For those who aren't familiar, but may check out the Ferrell movie, the plot of "LOTL" is as follows: While rafting, Rick, Will and Holly Marshall get caught in an earthquake and are trapped in an alternate universe called the Land of the Lost. There, they live in a cave and befriend primate-like creatures called Pakuni, attempt to avoid dinosaurs and run like hell from scary-ass humanoid-lizards called Sleestak.

A dimension portal seems to be the guiding force of the show, though to be honest, I was beyond confused at some of the episodes and what the "plylons" and such meant. In one episode (pictured at right), some crazy crystal console is responsible for the Marshall family seeing themselves plunge off the waterfall, and its explained that they never entered a time portal after all. They should be dead. So after some time paradox talk, they're allowed to go back to Earth through a mystical door as long as three more people are brought back to the Land of the Lost. And it turns out to be them ... on the raft ... just as before ... so the cycle repeats itself. Here's a bet that "Lost" creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof were fans of the show, because it was more confusing than what's going on with Oceanic 815 these days.

Anyway, just catching a few of the old episodes was a fun trip down memory lane. First, there was a very real sense of life-and-death peril that made for some cheesy-yet-creatively captivating viewing. I can only imagine what would have been like as a child of the '70s. After all, I'm an adult, and Cha-Ka scares the crap out of me. I was also particularly amused by a scene where Holly (who always wore that same plaid shirt) and Cha-Ka fall down a hole that magically opens in the ground. Rick (why is he called Marshall in the theme song if that's his last name?) follows and the three are suspended in space around a giant, pulsing heartbeat that looks like a glowing popcorn ball. What was most amusing, however, is that the special effect of each character falling down the hole was nothing more than a Barbie doll spinning lower and lower on a wire. I'm telling you, it was absolutely hilarious.

Conclusion: sometimes things are so bad, they're good. "Land of the Lost" certainly fits that bill and could make the movie version (out June 5) slightly interesting if they know how to have fun with the show's history. Also, a complete set "Land of the Lost" lunchbox set comes out in stores today for around $70 (Amazon has it for $52.) Buy it for the sci-fi geek or crazy monkey kid in your family. And remember, always beware of Sleestak!

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

The visitors are coming ... and they have a trailer

A few months back, we told you about ABC's efforts to revive the '80s era sci-fi miniseries "V" with a new series. And then we promptly forgot about it. (Hey, "Lost" was on.) Every now and then it's blipped back up on the radar, but only when it crossed paths with "Lost" — like when it was announced that Elizabeth Mitchell (the maybe dead but definitely hot Juliet) had been cast in the pilot.

During Tuesday's ABC upfront — you know, the meeting where network hacks show off previews of their fall season to advertising stooges — they debuted a nearly three-minute trailer for the spanking-new "V," and I gotta say, it looks pretty decent. Mitchell is still in action-mama mode as an FBI agent and mother, and "Firefly" veteran Morena Baccarin's lovely countenance hangs over an entire friggin' city on the belly of a spaceship as one of the head aliens. "Party of Five's" Scott Wolf (hey, Matthew Fox was on "Party of Five," too! That means this is going to be just as good as "Lost," right!? THEY BOTH HAVE LAST NAMES OF WILD DOGS!) also stars as a young buck TV reporter.

The trailer isn't that careful about not giving too much of the plot away (although of course the aliens have ulterior motives and of course they're going to be giant slimy lizards under that fake human skin — doy), and it's not clear if anything about this remake is going to be different from the original, not to mention how they're going to stretch it into a series. Still, I'm officially looking forward to it.

According to Variety, "V" is set for a midseason bow. No prizes for guessing which show they're going to pair it with.

Adam Reinhard,

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'So You Think You Can Dance?' ... Prove it

The wait is finally over.

The screeches of drunk ol' Mare and borderline sexual harassment remarks by Nigel are headed our way beginning tonight.

That's right. "So You Think You Can Dance ... dance, dance, dance" premieres its new season with a two-hour special at 7 p.m. tonight on FOX. If history has shown us anything with this show, it's that every year it seems to get bigger and better. Even if you don't like dance-themed shows, you have to tune in for the auditions -- it's like "American Idol" auditions but with less muting of your television and more opportunities to watch people fall down. And really, who doesn't love to watch people fall down? It's the reason why "America's Funniest Home Videos" is one of the first shows to be renewed every year.

So to welcome "So You Think You Can Dance" back to television, I give you my top performances over the last four seasons ... (Sorry Season 1, I couldn't find any good videos from back then.)

Sexyback dance, Season 2

Bleeding Love dance, Season 4

Hummingbird dance, Season 3

Ramalama dance, Season 2

Watch the "So You Think You Can Dance" premiere at 7 p.m. tonight on FOX and come back tomorrow to post your favorites so far!

-- Sara Boyd,

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The Madness is over

If you made it through the two-hour spectacle also known as the “American Idol” finale without flipping the channel — and/or vomiting on your television screen — then you are a better person than I.

I only watched parts of the grand finale but from what I can gather it was more of a washed-out musician fest than anything else. From Old Fogey Rod Stewart to KISS and even Cyndi Lauper, it seems the recession has finally hit FOX. In order to fill up a two-hour long crapfest, they had to search the clearance bin for celebrities.

It’s shocking to me that they were able to stretch a 30-second announcement into two hours … or perhaps what’s more shocking is that probably 30 million viewers tuned in for the full two hours.

But the news we were all waiting for finally came at the last seven minutes of the show … or should I say, first seven minutes of the next show. Damn “American Idol” … what? Two hours wasn’t enough time to squeeze the winner announcement in?

And of course, as we’ve all heard — been texted, tweeted or saw on facebook — Kris With a K Allen is the new American Idol, leaving Adam Lambert desperately trying to dry his eyes before the pounds of mascara came a-tumblin’ down.

So what did you think about the finale? Were you happy that Kris won? Do you think Fergie should stop wearing pleather? Are you as thankful as we, the Channel Surfers, that "American Idol" is finally over??

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your favorite show: Is it safe?

The TV season is winding down like a 6-year-old with ADD coming off a sugar high, and we have a long, joyless summer of warm weather and family togetherness to suffer through. But at least we can take comfort in the closure of knowing which of our favorite shows have been officially renewed ... or kicked to the curb.

Networks are just about finished piecing together their fall lineups, and that means plenty of popping for all those on-the-bubble shows that had left us hanging.

For a full list of shows, Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has probably the most complete, compact rundown you're likely to find. (It's also where I've been turning to for updates.) Here, however, are a handful of shows that I raised concerns about in a previous On the Bubble post, plus some others you may find surprising.


Better Off Ted (ABC)
Chuck (NBC)
Castle (ABC)
Cold Case (CBS)
Dollhouse (FOX) (Probably the most amazing pickup of the bunch. The show's dismal ratings haven't kept Fox from giving creator Joss Whedon 12 more episodes.)
Gary Unmarried (CBS) (We saw that double take. No, you're not imagining things. This crapfest has been renewed. Sorry, Boyd.)
The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
Scrubs (ABC)


Cupid (ABC)
Eleventh Hour (CBS) (Still no idea what this is. Anybody?)
Everybody Hates Chris (CW)
The Game (CW)
Life (NBC)
Medium (NBC)
My Name is Earl (NBC)
Privileged (CW)
Reaper (CW) (Uh, does the CW have any more shows left?)
Samantha Who? (ABC)
The Unit (CBS)

Any surprises? Disappointments? Devastated that we'll never find out who the hell Samantha is? Drop us a line.

-- Adam Reinhard,

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"24'' finale: Just when it looked like it was bottoms up for Jack

Sorry for the late post on the "24'' finale, but I was all teared up.

In case you didn't notice, there was a lot of that going around on Monday night -- from Freckles (Queen of the Crocodile Tear) to Jack to the Prez to the Prez's hubby, Hank, to Tony (rage-fueled tears) to Kimbo (just barely).

"24'' did a lot of things well this season, but tear-filled emotion, eh, maybe not so much. It might be that I'm too calloused from 24 hours of watching Tony going bad, but none of the scenes suddenly meant to go all "family drama'' on us in the last two hours seemed to ring particularly heartfelt or sincere (although I thought Jack calling in Muhtadi for his death-bed conscience-clearing was a nice touch.)

There's just something about starting out the show with the "H'' word -- as in the uber creepy "We have Jack. We'll be able to HARVEST everything we need from his body'' and jamming a syringe the size of the Space Needle into his spine -- that makes it tough to buy what was supposed to be a tender face-touching moment between Jack and Freckles when he gave her the ol' "Don't say anything at all'' before he was rolled away. Freckles is millions of brain cells above Audrey, but it had the same awkward, hollow feel of the scene last year when he paid the Pale One a bedside visit. Apparently 24-hour sexual chemistry isn't Jack's strong suit, but then again, he's not feeling well.

That said, nobody can accuse the writers of not packing a lot in to the final two hours. A few notable recaps on our favorite characters:

Tony: See ... he wasn't totally evil after all!!! He was whacked, which was worse. He was apparently playing both sides as part of his own personal scheme to avenge the death of his dear, departed, doe-eyed Michelle, who we learn was pregnant when she died in the explosion. (Refresh my memory: That was news, right? It was never revealed previously that there was a Lil Tony on the way, was it?) Still, it felt like a bit of a ripoff to have Tony go all demented on us. But hey, at least he finally wiped that blood off his face that was making him look like something out of a horror movie.

Favorite Tony line of the night:
When he pulled up an eyelid on a sedated Jack, who was bottoms up on the gurney, and announced casually, "He doesn't look too good.'' Really? You think so?

Kimbo: Well, we can't be calling her the victim anymore, can we? In the words of Coach from "Survivor,'' it looks like Kimbo has finally ''slayed the dragon'' -- or the cougar. In a total like-father-like-daughter move, she used a ballpoint pen to escape from the terrorists at the airport to go clomping around in her high heels in pursuit of the shaggy-haired terrorist down in the depths of the baggage department. Not only did she tip Freckles off to his whereabouts, when his car crashed and exploded, our Kimbo went right into the fiery wreck and retrieved his laptop, knowing there was crucial info on there. Some would say the writers missed their big chance there.

Favorite Kim line of the night:
When her cell-phone battery went dead (which we knew it would): "Damnit!''

Prez's daughter: Busted! Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! Aaron and Ethan (our favorite new tag team) brought her down by retrieving the data card from the digital recording system in her office. Weird that Ethan still had clearance to the system after resigning as Chief of Staff, but OK, we'll buy it. Maybe White House IT is slow. And didn't you just know that it wasn't going to be the real data card that turned up when the Prez's daughter had him searched? Too easy. But let's be thankful Ethan didn't have to be "strip searched'' like originally threatened. Nobody wanted to see that. When "Livie'' confessed to her parents what she did, Mom yelled a lot -- yet still called her beee-otch of a daughter "darling'' -- but ultimately did the right thing by her "sworn duty'' and refused to cover up her hit on JoHo. Four more years of the Prez, please! Too bad her hubby turned out to be such a wienie, not helped at all by that bathrobe.

Freckles: In a move that would've made Larry Moss proud, she swooped in with the chopper just in time to save Jack before Tony pushed the button that would've made him go boom. And even better yet, she just happened to know how to disarm the bomb strapped to Jack's battered body. After having a heart to heart with Jack about staying within the boundaries of the law or going rogue and resorting to torture to get Alan Wilson (the new villain with the insurance agent name) to talk, she decides to go over to the dark side as she put her badge down, yelled at Janice to leave the room (loved it) and went, we assume, to "talk'' to Alan. And the new female version of Jack Bauer is born.

Jack: Yikes, a rough two hours. Tony & Co. decided to harvest the pathogen from the bio weapon that's in his body, which put Jack face down, twitching and out of it while (thankfully, not drooling) as they started poking around. But give a handcuffed, drugged Jack a scalpel and he's outta there. That whole scene with him by the taxis with the leaking gas and a handy flare within reach and Tony going gonzo on a forklift pushed the boundaries of ridiculousness, even for "24.'' But perhaps the most touching scene of the night was when, with death before him, Jack expressed regrets for all that he has done and Muhtadi reassured him that he saw a man before hims with flaws and goodness and all is forgiven. Just when it looked like it was time for the silent "24'' clock on our hero, Kimbo FINALLY decided to go along with that stem-cell procedure that could save his life and put hers at risk (note that last word). "I'm sorry, Daddy, but I'm not ready to let you go.'' Nothing like waiting to the last minute -- literally -- but hey, that's our Kimbo.

-- Kendra Meinert,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who's up for some jazz hands?

Everyone's writing about new Fox show "Glee" as if it's some cataclysmic event that we should all be aware of in TV land. Honestly, it must be the post-"American Idol" time slot, because the number of stories I've seen on the Web and wire have been pretty alarming.

Anyway, I'd normally be dismissive of the premise -- anything that resembles "High School Musical" or features hyperactive show choir kids at the center of each episode wouldn't seem to be up my alley -- but so far, I've read comparisons to a favorite TV show ("Freaks and Geeks"), a favorite movie ("Election") and have been teased with a future appearance by the darling Kristin Chenoweth. Apparently, these reviewers know how to evoke a Pavlovian response from me.

Of course, those could all be super lazy comparisons considering "Glee" is set in a high school, but based on what I've read, I'd be interested enough to find out. (Plus, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, who I don't always agree with, makes a pretty compelling argument with his enthusiasm for the show.)

So I may or may not TiVo "Glee" just for kicks. After all, it's only a one episode investment. In a somewhat unprecedented move, Fox is airing the pilot after "Idol" -- and will probably get a huge spike because of that -- then saving the remaining episodes for fall.

Want to know more? Well, it's by the "Nip/Tuck" guy, Ryan Murphy. It's on whenever "Idol" wraps up its karaoke-fest tonight. Also, no one at the show apparently got the memo that Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" has been run into the ground.

Read the abundance of articles from the AV Club, Alan Sepinwall's blog and Mo Ryan of the Chicago Tribune for further details. Also worth checking out: the AV Club did a "Random Roles" interview with "Glee's" Jane Lynch, who seems to be in every major comedy project these days.

Watch it and report back to us tomorrow with your thoughts!

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Who Will Win?

It's a week full of finales ... and it's coming our way. And it's not just show finales we're talking about, but finales where YOU, the American viewing public get to vote for the winner! Hooray, democracy!

So we want to know ... who are you voting for?

American Idol
Adam Lambert ...

Sometimes referred to as Lamby Lamb, Adam is mostly shown by tonsils only. He beat out the Gokester, but can he win when most 15-year-old girls are still confused by his sexual preference?

or Kris Allen?

He spells his name with a 'K.' He's most likely second cousin's with Mickey Mouse. And I'm not sure, but I think he's like 4'3". Kris' dad cries. A lot. And with contestants like David Archuleta, we've seen what a weird dad can do to an "American Idol" finalist.

Dancing with the Stars

Gilles and Cheryl ...

or Shawn and Mark ...

or Melissa and Tony?

Who do you want to win? Tell us now!

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Why '30 Rock' May Be the Best Show on TV ...

Recently I came down with bronchitis (I said bronchitis, not swine flu ... just to be clear) and had the pleasure of re-watching Season 1 of "30 Rock" for two straight days while I recovered.

In my sick and extremely drugged-up state, I had an epiphany. It just doesn't get better than "30 Rock."

I'll admit, I'm a latecomer in the "30 Rock" fan base, only catching on after "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was quickly cancelled. Clearly, I had chosen the wrong NBC show about the production of live, sketch comedy. My bad.

Having seen the error of my ways, I'm now completely on the bandwagon. Me love "30 Rock" long time.

I didn't realize how great of a show it truly was until I went back to the beginning. Now, I don't believe I've ever said this next statement -- not even for my all-time favorite shows -- but traveling back in time to where it all began, I have to admit even the pilot was spot on. It had a frumpy Liz Lemon who was all about the show's credibility and writing for the fans, not the fame. It had a new Jack -- one who brazenly stormed in to shake things up and rip on Lemon's fashion sense, or lack there of. It was funny -- which is tough to say for a pilot -- and it had a lot of potential, even early on.

Here's why the show works:

-- It's a comedy about sketch comedy that's written by a previous sketch comedy actress. Brilliant.

-- Would Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Adam Levine, Cyndi Lauper, etc., etc. all guest star on one single episode if the show wasn't the greatest thing on TV? I think not. Well, maybe Clay Aiken would.

-- It has a clear purpose: to make people laugh. Whether that's through odd plotlines, poo jokes or Liz Lemon's sound effects (remember "Blargh?"), it's all about the laughs. They won't try to get all sentimental on you -- not when Jack's father is suffering from kidney failure, not when Floyd and Liz break up, not even when Kenneth creepily talks to his skeleton mother.

-- Two words: Tracy Jordan. I remember watching Tracy Morgan on SNL and I never recall him being so spot on as he is with Tracy Jordan. Perhaps that's because it's just an alter ego of his actual personality but whatever it is, it's working. I laugh every time he calls his doctor "Dr. Space Man" and find his slight retardation and self-deprecating racism to be hilar.

-- Kenneth the Page can do no wrong. Honestly, Kenneth could read the phonebook and I'd be in tears laughing.

-- Who doesn't want to be Liz Lemon? Sure, she forgets her own birthday and tends to wear clothing only meant for homeless people or petite men, but Liz Lemon's the coolest. If your man says he wouldn't want you to be like Liz Lemon ... that's a dealbreaker, ladies!

-- Why did Alec Baldwin ever do serious roles? I'm seriously asking. This man is a comedic genius and it pains me to think of the years he wasted as an actor that took himself seriously. Remember that phone call he made to his daughter? Hil-ar-i-ous.

-- It's made it past the third season curse with flying colors. There are a number of shows that have a solid first season, hit a stride in the second season then tend to drift in the third before hopefully regaining strength in a fourth season. "30 Rock" is not one of those shows. It can't miss.

Think I'm full of it? Have a show that you think tops "30 Rock?" Sound off now!

-- Sara Boyd,

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Punishment over

Much like waterboarding a suspected terrorist 180 times, Channel Surfing is ready to declare its punishment methods a smashing success.

It's why in breaking news delivered today at his desk, the Powers That Be have absolved Adam Reinhard from his "American Idol" Punishment Pool duties this week.

That's right. Unlike former Vice President Dick Cheney, we have a heart.

As regular readers will recall, Adam has already taken the bullet four times and was scheduled to watch this week's final installment featuring the ballyhooed (yawn) Adam Lambert (yawn) Kris Allen (yawn) showdown. Except Malavika Jagannathan -- who was supposed to suffer for the first time thanks to Kris with a K ousting Danny "Milwaukee's Hero" Gokey last week -- is OH SO CONVENIENTLY on vacation this week. Which means Adam would be on his own again.

Since MJ gets to duck out of her patriotic duty to the blog, we feel its only fair to give Adam his Tuesday nights back so he can watch "Dancing With the Stars" instead. Yeah, we're big softies that way.

So there you have it: the end of our first ever "American Idol" Punishment Pool. Until our ears bleed again next year, here are Channel Surfing's five favorite lines from Adam's torture-a-thon these past few months.

* Paula has picked "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'Arby. Wow, really? What, did Maxi Priest and Simply Red want too much for royalties? You had to break out the D'Arby's roast beef crapwich?

* Suggestions for themes/Kurt Cobain night — everyone/shoots themselves in face

* Yo yo yo yo yo/Yo dawg, yo dawg, check it out/Dawg dawg dawg dawg dawg

* His entire conversation with Satan

* "Know who else had fans? Adolf Hitler. Yeah, they were called Nazis."

It was a good run, Adam. But at least you didn't have to stomach this during one of your weeks.

-- The Channel Surfing staff

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Lost" Quick Thoughts: What's Black and White and Dead All Over?

Sometimes there's just too much television for one Channel Surfing blogger to handle. And sometimes there's not enough time to talk or write about said television ... which is why we're opting for "Lost: Quick Thoughts," a condensed, rapid fire form of the day-after discussion you so love to dive into with your fellow "Lost"-minded friends. As you'd expect of a "Lost" season finale, "The Incident: Parts 1 and 2" provided several game changers before the sixth and final installment, none more appealing than the appearance of Jacob and his black-clad, unnamed adversary. Thomas Rozwadowski and Adam Reinhard may as well have been slammed in the back of their skulls with flying toolboxes, last night was so mind-bending. It hurts so good, though ...

* We finally meet Jacob and boy, it did not disappoint. On first viewing, it was hard to get the full impact of the first five minutes -- the emotionally direct conversation between two adversaries who apparently have no problem looking each other in the eye despite "the war" between them. Part of it was because we didn't know what we were looking at until the Man in Black calls the Man in White by his name -- Jacob. After a second, more thoughtful viewing, I came away convinced that it was one of the best (and probably the most pivotal) scenes in "Lost's" incredible history.

Man in Black: You're trying to prove me wrong.

Jacob: You are wrong.

Man in Black: They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.

Jacob: It can only end once. Everything before that is progress.

It would otherwise be preposterous to add two principal characters, two whose entire feud usurps everything we've seen at this point in the timeline (Ben/Widmore, Locke/Jack, Sawyer/Jack, Others/Dharma). Unless Jacob and the Man in Black represent Free Will and Fate, which is what "Lost" has been about since day one. The island is their chessboard; Man in Black actually accuses Jacob of summoning the ship (we'll presume The Black Rock) to the mainland. Quite a revelation: this is the war that has been referenced all along. Now we see the two physical manifestations of the island's great, seemingly endless conflict.

* The shades of black and white are, again, wonderful masterstrokes. The seed was planted on day one with Locke's backgammon game. Makes you feel as though -- despite the inherent wackiness of 1977 time travel -- Team Darlton had this master plan all along. Have to trust them for Season 6's end game.

* Obvious and unanimous observation of the day: Jacob touched everyone but Juliet in the flashbacks. It was initially alarming to see these occurrences happen at various stages of the castaways' lives: Sawyer and Kate as children, Jack and Locke as adults, Jin and Sun at their wedding, Sayid and Hurley after they'd already been on the island. But if you think about those moments and then begin to process the chess match between Jacob and his adversary, it would appear that the framework for each stage of his arrival is especially crucial to the character archetypes established in Season 1. How that impacts the show going forward is unknown to me (I'd love to hear your theories!), but it would appear that Jacob can ultimately win if the castaways make the "choice" to change their view of life from the point they were touched.

* "They're coming." Gotta be those touched by Jacob, right? Bizarro Locke looked like he was about to crap his pants.

* Perhaps Jacob had to die like a certain Biblical figure we know. That it came at the hands of Ben, all part of the master plan?

* Crocodile statue head? Has Lacoste been on the island? As Adam and I were discussing in person, I don't like to analyze this stuff to death. It's way beyond me, but I still enjoy the mythology. I may, however, go pick up Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge."

* How did Juliet not die on impact? How did the bomb not go off when thrown into the shaft? I think lazy writing is out of the question, so we'll have to go with some type of magnetic force allowing for a less-harmful face plant.

* The answer to "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Alpert's (Ricardus? Ricardos?) Latin translates to "He who will protect/save us all."

* No Desmond. Boo.

* Worst part of the night: Jack's rationale for wanting to detonate the bomb. Kate? Are you kidding me? That said, the acknowledgment that he and Kate will be strangers if Oceanic 815 lands safely ... but if it's meant to be ... indicates a belief in something destiny-laden. That's new territory for Doc.

* Can't see a Season 6 opening in LAX. I just can't.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

* Two big callbacks to dearly departed Charlie Pace: Sun discovers his Drive Shaft ring (given to him by his slightly evil brother -- hint hint?), and Jacob supplies Hurley with a guitar case that, granted, we can only assume belongs to the former rock star. But while we're assuming, let's plow right ahead and say that the guitar case contains Charlie's immortal, glowing soul, a la "Pulp Fiction," and that his sacrifice back in Season 3 still has a pivotal part to play, whether or Dominic Monaghan reprises his role or not.

* I think we can all agree now. Rose and Bernard = Adam and Eve skeletons. (We can also agree that Bernard looks fantastic in that shaggy beard.) One nagging question, though: What happens to Vincent? Does he just curl up in front of their cave like Seymour in "Futurama"?

* So who, after all that build-up, was the "major death"? Can't have been Juliet, since she didn't, you know, actually die. Could it be Jacob? We only just met him as a full-bodied person last night, but he's definitely been a presence on the show since around Season Two. But we're more inclined to finally put the nails in the coffin (or take the nails out of the coffin, as the case may be) of John Locke. After tumbling out of the Statue Cult's ark-of-the-covenant box, we discovered that the walking, talking, mango-eating Locke who was having so much fun torturing Ben and plotting Jacob's death, wasn't Locke at all, but some kind of incarnation of Jacob's black-shirted nemesis from the first scene. Odds are Locke is gone for good, which is kind of sad in a way, since he was such a major presence throughout the series, and his presumed resurrection this season was all a trick -- he really did die at the hands of Ben's extension cord in that dingy hotel room. A sad end indeed..

* What is mercenary Statue Cult chick Ilana's relationship to Jacob? During her flashback -- where she's covered in bandages in what looked like the same hospital Locke was brought to after zapping into the Tunisian desert -- Jacob's talk with her betrays a certain level of familiarity. And what does he need her help with? Hmmm ... intrigue

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Punishment Pool: Brett Favre watches "American Idol" — then quits watching, then starts watching again

In a Channel Surfing exclusive, we asked former Green Bay Packers quarterback, former New York Jets quarterback, possible future Minnesota Vikings quarterback, and capricious "American Idol" fan Brett Favre if he'd like to share his thoughts on last night's episode. He reluctantly agreed, but only because it would get him out of doing chores around the house.

All right, so here we go. "American Idol" night, man, let's do this. This is more exciting than playing in a Monday Night Football game. Well, maybe a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. But yeah, I've been a fan of "American Idol" for years, man. I mean, I don't know the first thing about music, and I don't even really like music — which I guess makes me the ideal audience for a show about glorified karaoke.

So they're down to the last three dudes after kicking off that little troll-girl last week. It's Danny, Kris and that freaky looking Adam guy. (Is he wearing mascara? Must be a music thing. You'd never catch a football player with dark black lines under his eyes.)

Ryan Seacrest is introducing the show, which as it turns out is their 300th episode! Whoa, that's like one hundred episodes for each of my MVPs, man! It's also probably Simon Cowell's 300th white V-neck t-shirt. For real, he only ever wears white t-shirts on this show. Ever heard of style, Cowell? Do like I do, man — try rockin' a sweet flannel shirt one of these nights. You'll look awesome. Anyway, congratulations, "American Idol."

Tonight is the Judge's Pick/Contestant's Pick night. The judges will pick a song for each singer that they think suits him best. Kinda like a head coach calling plays for the quarterback. And then the contestant gets to pick a song for himself, which I guess is like the quarterback calling an audible. (Sorry, didn't mean to get so technical there. I'm just always seeing life through my prism of football. Like yesterday, Breleigh brought home her report card from school, and I immediately said, "Hey look, it's just like a football report card!")

That Milwaukee kid, Danny Gokey, is first up to the line of scrimmage. Uh, I mean stage. Paula has picked "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'Arby. Wow, really? What, did Maxi Priest and Simply Red want too much for royalties? You had to break out the D'Arby's roast beef crapwich? All right, whatever. Danny does it OK, I guess, but man — dude has to lay off the dance moves. He looks like John Madden in line at a Port-A-Potty after too many nachos. Then he starts scatting on top of that. Who scats these days? You'd never hear a real R&B singer scatting. You'd never hear Robert Brooks scatting.

The judges like him well enough, but Kara calls him out on his dancing. Simon rebuffs her, saying this isn't a dance competition, it's a singing competition. Paula then tries to say something and Simon frickin' grabs her in a headlock! He just intercepted Paula Abdul's gulldurned head, man! That was some hilarious stuff. I love this show, man; I hope I can watch it forever.

Kris comes out next, and Randy and Kara have picked One Republic's "Apologize" for him to sing. Oh, snap! I can't believe it. This was the song running through my head all last year whenever I thought about Ted Thompson. I got so excited when Kris started singing it, I just had to text Trent Dilfer over at ESPN to see if he was watching too. I mean, those lyrics just encapsulate everything I wanted to say to Ted at the time. "It's too late to apologize / It's too laaa-aaa-aaate! / It's too late to apologize / It's too laaa-aaa-aaate!" Yeah, suck on THAT, Ted!

So now Kara is criticizing Kris's performance. Helloooo, Kara, you picked that song for him! You made a commitment to that song! You can't just decide you don't like it. It's like signing a contract — you can't quit and hope they'll release you from your contract so that you can go pick another song. It doesn't work that way in real life, Kara! Sheesh, the nerve of some people!

Now it's Simon's turn to pick for Mr. Mascara, and he's going with U2's "One." What a jerk, he's going on and on about how he had to call U2 to get permission, and how Bono personally called him and said it would be OK. Oh, la-dee-dah, Simon Cowell, Bono personally called you! Big freaking deal. I got to make out with Cameron Diaz! Back when she was hot! So there! Who's the big shot now? Man, I'm starting to get really cheesed off at these people.

So Adam starts singing, and wow, this guy can really sing. He's putting a lot of emotion into this, and he's all quiet and heartfelt, and OH SWEET JESUS WHAT IS HE DOING? He's gone up, like, 1,000 octaves! I think he just shattered my Super Bowl ring, man! Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!

That's it, I quit. I can't take this anymore. TV ... off!

Oh shoot, I just remembered that Deanna wanted me to take out the garbage once I finished watching TV. Man, I just got into a really comfortable position on the couch, too — it'd be a shame to get up now. Plus I'd really like to hear which songs the contestants pick for themselves, to get a better idea of who they are as artists/corporate tools.

OK, TV on.

Whew, just in time, too. Danny's up first again, and Seacrest just called him "the pride of Milwaukee." (Wait, since when am I not the pride of Milwaukee? I'm the pride of the whole dang state, man! Am I going to have to join the Brewers now just to regain my title?) Anyway, he's asked which song he picked, and he says he thought long and hard, and went back through all his influences and musical heroes, and settled on ... Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful." ...Dude. That ... is ... AWESOME. This is the song I sang to Deanna at our wedding! And then I sang it to Mike Holmgren after we won the Super Bowl! I LOVE this song! I totally want Danny to win now.

Oh, but wait, here comes that scrawny little Kris kid — what's he going to do? He already sang my frickin' soul earlier tonight with "Apologize" ... can he do it again? And the answer is ... yes. He's doing "Heartless" by Kanye West, which, lo and behold, is the other song I associate with Ted Thompson, that mean, heartless, David-Byrne-looking jerk. Kris, you are my soul brother, little dude. I totally want you to win now.

I'm so glad I started watching this show again. In those five minutes I was away, I realized how much I love it. "American Idol," I will never quit you again.

And now Adam Lambert, the Mascara Maestro, retakes the stage. Man, this guy is like Donald Driver — he may be a little funny looking, but the dude's freaking unstoppable. I already want Danny and Kris to advance to the finals, so Adam's gonna have to pull off something amazing. Here are my heartstrings, you beautiful freak! Tug away!

And he does it! "Cryin'" by Aerosmith! He may as well have been singing "Amazing" by Aerosmith, because that's what he was: amazing. This totally makes up for his "One" disaster, which I now blame on Simon Cowell and his Mike Sherman-level coaching abilities.

Now the part of the night I always dread: Deciding who to vote for. I've got my cell phone in front of me, and my texting fingers are all warmed up. But man, this is one tough decision. This is like 4th and long, 2 seconds on the clock, down by 6, terrorists have my children, I shouldn't have eaten that burrito before the game tough. Should I pick hometown boy Danny? Magical pixie Kris? Or rather-sexy-now-that-I-look-at-him Adam? What to do, what to do. I'd hate to disappoint anybody, but I have to do what I think is best for me. Hmmm...

I think I'll ....

Oops! Deanna's calling me again! I'd better go take out that trash. I'll have to decide later. Yeah, that's for the best. Let it percolate in the ol' helmet for a while. No need to rush it. I'm sure you understand.

Favre out!

Adam Reinhard,

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Tonight! Someone will die! Today! We predict that someone!

We've asked a lot of questions about "Lost" in Channel Surfing's short history (according to blog tags, we've written about "Lost" 55 times ... huzzah!)

Some have been adequately answered. Most have spun into new questions that will likely carry into the show's sixth and -- hopefully glorious, time-tempered -- final season (we're Bee-Gee'd out and ready to move beyond 1977). Yet there's a pressing question that uncomfortably hangs in the air. And quite honestly, it feels like it should be one of the most important in "Lost's" mystical, smoke-filled annals.

Thanks to cryptic spoilers, there's been a dark cloud looming all season long. Someone major is supposed to die tonight, and no, not even insiders like Doc Jensen or Michael Ausiello know who's about to get tapped on the shoulder by Mr. Black Hood and Sickle.

Thanks to Ma Hawking's itchy trigger finger, Daniel Faraday has seen better days (anyone else think it's weird that Doc Shephard hasn't even tried to save his life?), though we can't imagine ol' Twitchy won't resurface in some form going forward. Yet as a character who was only introduced in Season 4, we're not sure Faraday constitutes the MAJOR (see the bold letters!) death "Lost" has been promising. We also know that Locke is on a mission to take out the Almighty Jacob tonight, but again, that's seems to be a bit of a red herring ... especially if my wacky theory about Locke being a trapped Jacob is really true.

So while yes, dead doesn't always mean dead on "Lost," both Matthew Fox and Michael Emerson have stated in separate interviews that tonight's cliffhanger is a huge one. I'm taking that to mean I'll be blown away by a crucial death sequence (sorry Phil, you don't count. Not even you, Miles, make Channel Surfing's list of truly important cast members).

Nope. This one better be earned. I better be so distraught, upset, angry or emotionally spent that come tomorrow morning, I won't want to get out of bed and slog to work (OK, more than usual.)

Which is why I'm moving ahead with this question as though a Charlie Pace-like death -- and not a phony Locke as Jeremy Bentham death -- is imminent.

But enough blather. Here are my best guesses. Your prognostication is welcome, as well.

1. Juliet Burke: Maybe I'm biased and don't find the Kate-Juliet-Sawyer love triangle all that tantalizing (well, in some ways I do), but it seems that Juliet's sole purpose on the show has transformed into what my wife and I have dubbed "the cold stare." In any given moment -- serious, funny, insanely dangerous -- you can count on the camera to capture Juliet's all-too assuring dead-eye gaze and pouty lip quiver from afar. TRY AS YOU MIGHT, YOU CANNOT SHAKE HER WILL!

But that's not why she's a good candidate to bite it. Inevitably, there's too much built up with Kate and Sawyer to allow Juliet and LaFleur to play kissy-face in Season 6. Sawyer needs to get some edge and righteous anger back -- his good riddance to the island fits his redemptive arc, but came off as weak sauce -- since his role as head of 1977 Dharma security fizzled worse than Mike Brown's stint with FEMA ("Heckuva job, Jimmy"). I think the "Lost" audience cares enough about Juliet at this point to be saddened by her death (or at least the creators have tried to make us feel that way in order to score an emotional payoff from a Sawyer-Juliet farewell), but most important, I'm not sure she serves a greater purpose anymore. I mean, every time someone asked her about "The Others," she'd reply with a "they didn't tell me that" shrug of the shoulders. Well, what good are you then! Plus, Josh Holloway totally has an Emmy-worthy goodbye scene in him. Then it's time to make way for some Season 6 resentment/mixed emotion garbage toward old flame Kate. Yep, Juliet's a goner.

2. Benjamin freakin' Linus: Only because the conspiracy theorist in me is intrigued by all the press Michael Emerson has been doing as a lead-up to the finale. Let's be honest: there'd be no bigger bang for this hyped-up finale than to kill Ben. Bug-Eyes has become a wholly separate "Lost" entity and simultaneously beloved/despised uber-villain, so while I'm fairly certain they'll need him around for the inevitable Charles Widmore showdown, it's fun to speculate since he's THE GUY to knock off for the best next-day water cooler buzz -- especially if he does something selfless in death.

Though Ben seems to be wandering somewhat aimlessly since Locke assumed post-death power, the dude has to be silently plotting his next move. I also thought it strange that Baldy informed Ben of his plans to kill Jacob. What purpose did that serve other than to tip Ben off (or lord it over him)? Anyway, it probably won't be Mr. Linus, but if it is ... it's going to be a loooooong layoff until Season 6.

3. Sayid Jarrah: The one-man Iraqi wrecking crew used to be one of my favorite characters. Now he's kind of an afterthought, so much so that when he popped out of the jungle last week, it was like seeing Boone or something. "Oh, that guy! Yeah, what's HE been up to?" Thanks to his charitable Habitat for Humanity background, Sayid seems like the sacrificial lamb type, especially now that he's part of the team tinkering WITH A HYDROGEN BOMB. He's also a fugitive having tried to kill Young Ben, so the target from Dharma is squarely on his back -- and you know psycho Radzinsky would love to pop off a few rounds. Then again, there hasn't been much build-up for his death -- the guy's been AWOL in the jungle, after all -- so perhaps he's still an important piece of the puzzle. I'd be sad if he perished, but it's something I'd also understand.

The two-hour finale of "Lost" airs tonight at 8 p.m. A one-hour recap precedes it.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,