Pop Rocks: My New Fall Shows Update and a Night-By-Night Rundown of the Fall TV Season

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Gracepoint is outstanding even if it hasn't done well in the ratings.
In September, I gave a rundown of the five new fall shows that were locked into my DVR and the chances they would remain in the DVR for the entire season. Just about a month in seemed like the right time for an update and to note a few shows that have been added to the list. Generally, the new fall season has been interesting with more ups than downs and a couple of real surprises.

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Pop Rocks: My Five Favorite TV/Movie Clowns

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Was Bozo creepy? Damn right he was. But he was wholesome.
I think we all know that clowns are creepy. Even when they weren't supposed to be, in the days where they had their own TV shows and piled out of tiny cars at the circus, we all knew the truth. It took only a few decades of exposure to clowns in film and television for someone to turn them into the manifestation of all things evil. Now, we have clowns randomly wandering around small towns from England to California looking menacing and hanging out on the streets at night. My friend, who is deathly afraid of the foam-nose wearing devils, once saw someone in a clown mask in the drive through at Shipley's late one night, no doubt buying coffee so he could stay awake and scare the crap out of people.

I, for one, prefer the clowns as, you know, clowns, pranksters and goofballs who make us laugh because they are silly, not terrifying. At the very least, let's make them intelligent and not mime-like, with their silent stares and desire to spill blood. Here are five of my favorites that fit the bill.

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Pop Rocks: Where the Ladies of Twin Peaks Are Today

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Where are they now?
David Lynch's twisted noir crime drama set in the Pacific Northwest will return to television on the 25th anniversary of the series finale with a special batch of episodes on Showtime in 2016. Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost will helm the new show which will update the series a quarter century later with a return to the creepy forest town.

The show, which released a gold box DVD set in 2007, continues to be extremely popular amongst Gen Xers who saw the original series on ABC when it aired in the early '90s, and with a return to pay cable, it would seem the show could be weirder than ever.

But what of the ladies of Twin Peaks, all of whom were more mysterious than their Breastraunt counterparts of today, and most of whom were more attractive. No word yet on who will return to reprise roles, but we'll run down the list and see where the actors are now.

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Pop Rocks: ABC Turns Thursday Nights Into Must-See Shonda With Trio of Rhimes Dramas

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Viola Davis is Shonda Rhimes's latest strong female character.
Let's be clear, there are few things as ridiculous as a Shonda Rhimes plot. Her wildly successful shows, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and the talk of the new fall television season, How to Get Away with Murder, are part soap operas and part romantic dramas with some Aaron Sorkin-like holier-than-thou speech-making and as close as you can get to softcore porn on network television thrown in for good measure. These are shows that stimulate the most base instincts of the brain but manage to engage the critical thinking part just enough to make them some of the most insanely compelling and entertaining stuff ever to fit into a one-hour time block. It's intelligent fluff, so long as you don't dwell too long.

In this way, Rhimes shares some interesting space with science fiction. There's no question that what you are watching is batshit crazy, makes no sense and is nearly as confusing as a Stephen Hawking text, but who cares? That is why it is called suspending disbelief. As Captain Janeway, a strong underrated female character from Star Trek: Voyager (much like Rhimes's heroines), once said of time travel, "I find it's best if you just don't think about it."

With two of the most popular shows on television from Rhimes and her latest smash success -- if tweets and stories after last week's debut of How to Get Away With Murder are any indication -- airing back to back to back for ABC Thursdays, the network has clearly gone all-in on Must-See Shonda, and chances are, they are going to win.

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Pop Rocks: TV Fall Premiere Week Gets Rolling With Gotham

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It begins at the beginning.
Monday night not only marked the first night of fall, but the first night of the new fall television season. My DVR was loaded with three new shows by the end of the night along with the season premiere of a favorite from last year, The Blacklist, which did not disappoint. The others included yet another Sherlock Holmes-esque redo in Forever, which has moderate promise; the insanely unbelievable (yet mostly accurate from a nerd standpoint) genius/geek fest Scorpion; and the prequel to the entire Batman saga, Gotham.

My wife isn't a fan of superhero-type movies and TV shows. Even though I didn't really grow up reading comic books or graphic novels, I love a good film or television series based on DC or Marvel. I tried to convince her that even though Gotham is a series about the birth of the Dark Knight (and all his eventual nemeses), it was primarily a cop show. "Batman was a cop show," she replied. "Batman was a superhero; there's a difference," I said. "Is there," she asked incredulously, "Is there?"

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Pop Rocks: 5 New Fall Network TV Shows Already Locked Into My DVR

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Creepy and comic book-y.
With the fall comes cooler weather, fewer hurricanes -- a worry for those of us along the Gulf Coast, especially -- and new TV shows. Television has become rich with quality programming over the last decade, for all intents and purposes surpassing films in practically every way. Now that cable-only networks, subscription outfits like HBO and streaming services like Netflix have entered the fray, new, outstanding shows are popping up all over the place.

The big networks may not always come strong with the kind of quirky, dramatic programming to be found on Showtime or Amazon, they still know how to deliver in a big way. It makes sense. Ultimately, almost every creative would love for his show to end up on a network. They pay the most and offer some of the largest budgets. Maybe you can't make True Blood on NBC, but Scandal seems tailor made for weeknight network programming.

With quite a few decent new shows premiering this fall, my DVR is already loaded and the big networks are well represented.

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Pop Rocks: Prince William and Kate Expecting Again...Yawn

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For the carriage.
I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist. I tend to view such things through the lens of what my father often referred to as a "finely tuned bullshit detector." But, if I were going to believe in things like faked moon landings and second shooters, I might look for ways people in power were able to disguise those events. How could they possibly keep us from knowing about mind control drugs released in the contrails of airplanes or aliens at Area 51? If I had a hunch, it would be via celebrity gossip.

Why else would an entire world sit rapt by the daily lives of the British royal family?

On Monday, it was revealed that the former Kate Middleton and her husband, the would-be King of England, were going to have a second child. Thrilling news, I'm sure for them and their family. Yet, every news outlet on the planet reported it and tweets of congratulations hit the twitterverse from Dr. Oz to the Kardsashian kids -- you think I'm joking.

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Pop Rocks: Latest Celeb Naked Photo Leak a Reminder That Data Is Never Truly Safe

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Not as safe as they thought.
It was revealed over the weekend that compromising photos of numerous celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Rhianna, Kate Upton and others had been swiped and posted online, mostly on the 4Chan message boards. Hackers managed to get into victims' iCloud accounts through some type of vulnerability. Prior to the latest version of the iPhone, photos were not able to be synced across devices like phone numbers, emails and notes. Now, they are and these are the kinds of things that can happen.

And this was not some vindictive ex who decided the whole world should see his old girlfriend's boobs for spite. These were hackers who deliberately wormed their way into protected databases so they could exploit people, which is why no one should be blaming the victims. It's like blaming someone who got burglarized because he forgot to turn his alarm on. He should be able to leave his doors and windows wide open all day and night without incident because the thieves are the assholes here.

Having said that, this is a cautionary tale for anyone who has ever thought it was a good idea to text a naked photo to someone or have a Skype session that includes more than just talking. Even chat transcripts can be used against you, particularly when you are famous.

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Pop Rocks: It's a Miracle Any Celebrity Marriage Survives

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Hard enough without celebrity.
When I read recently that Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon were separating, my first thought was, "I'm surprised they made it this long." If more than half of marriages end in divorce, my guess is that celebrity marriages are skewing that towards the upper end. It's frankly a miracle any married couple working in showbiz makes it longer than a few months together.

But, I don't put the blame on Hollywood's loose morality or the disposable nature of celebrity. In truth, marriage is difficult enough without the complications that accompany being famous. Billy Joel once said of people wanting to be rich and famous, "Try the rich part. See if that doesn't do it for you."

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Pop Rocks: Binge Watching Scandal Is Not a Good Idea

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Lena Dunham's SNL parody of Scandal is how I felt about 15 episodes in.
I had heard a lot about Scandal, the ABC political drama starring Kerry Washington as a D.C. fixer who is involved in an affair with the President. I was never certain if I wanted to watch it, but there it was staring my wife and me in the face on Netflix in the middle of a boring summer of reruns. And I had recently seen the hilarious parody skit on SNL featuring Lena Dunham from Girls as the confused new "gladiator," and figured what the hell.

It wasn't until I was three or four episodes in that I realized Dunham and I had the same problem.

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