30 Rock Thursday, Oct. 30 (NBC)
nSeason Premiere: It’s too late to cash in on the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin publicity, and even later for the Emmys’ buzz—but NBC must have a master plan, right? Yeah, anyway: 30 Rock is finally back, and since no one remembers the cliffhangers from last season: Liz (Fey) had contracted Baby Fever, Jack (Alec Baldwin) had abandoned his GE CEOship for a government gig, Tracy (Tracy Morgan) was up to some crazy shit, and now we’re all caught up. In tonight’s season premiere, Liz tries to impress an adoption agent (show-stealing Megan Mullally), Jack schemes to take his old job back from Devin (show-stealing-er Will Arnett, who’s sold GE’s “E” to Samsung, now known as Samesung—still not as dumb a corporate decision as putting off 30 Rock’s premiere until late October), and Tracy’s up to more crazy shit. Watch it now at NBC.com.
Mad TV Saturdays (Fox)
nSo what if 20-plus writers can’t produce more than 10 minutes of funny material out of 90? The buzz is still all about Saturday Night Live, the “politically hot” sketch show that somehow can’t find one brown-ish actor in New York City to play a brown-ish presidential candidate (more on SNL in a minute). Meanwhile, Fox’s resurgent Mad TV has such a cast member (Keegan-Michael Key), three women equal to one Kristen Wiig (Nicole Parker, Crista Flanagan and Arden Myrin), the best John McCain (Korean Bobby Lee—no, really) and 30 fewer minutes to fill (not counting the tacked-on Talkshow With Spike Feresten, which not even he does). Vote for real change.
Brotherhood Sunday, Nov. 2 (Showtime)n
n n n
n n n Sustainn
n n n Carryn
n n n n Rejectn
nSeason Premiere: Now in Season 3, it’s not yet Great TV like The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield and the other “The” shows this gritty series borrows from, but Showtime’s Brotherhood—maybe they should have called it The Brotherhood—is getting there. Thumbnail: Irish-American bros Tommy (the politician) and Michael (the mobster) Caffee both take care of their ’hood, just in different ways, and it’s not always clear which is on the up-and-up—hence your moral gray areas, brotherly tension and other highly milk-able drama. What keeps Brotherhood from devolving into a late-night TNT potboiler starring a random Baldwin brother is the intense performances from Jason Isaacs (Michael), Jason Clarke (Tommy) and Annabeth Gish (Tommy’s druggie wife Eileen), and a well-crafted atmosphere in which everything could blow up at any time—not unlike The Sopranos, The Wire and The Shield. Go ahead, set The TiVo.
SNL Presidential Bash 2008 Monday, Nov. 3 (NBC)
nSaturday Night Live’s political “comedy” this season has coasted entirely on Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impersonation—no wonder Fey’s pissed; she has her own show to run (you know, 30 Rock) and these hacks are riding her like a spent nag to the finish line. That said, SNL’s two-hour (!) Presidential Bash will trot out plenty of Fey/Palin flashbacks and, as per NBC, “all-new material and a look back at some of SNL’s recent political satire, including a selection of presidential satire from Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford to Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush.” Great plan: Remind everyone that your “topical” show only had decent “presidents” between 1975 and 2002.
The Daily Show/ Colbert Report Election Night 2008 Tuesday, Nov. 4 (Comedy Central)
nReally, why would you watch any other network tonight? Sure, you can get your blowhard right-wing spin from Fox News, your hysterical (in every sense—Keith Olbermann is as funny as he is agenda-fied) left-wing propaganda from MSNBC, and whatever the hell it is you get from CNN (cramps?), but Comedy Central has it all in The Daily Show and The Colbert Report—and usually more factual. So what if it’s only one live(ish) hour? We’ll all be drunk by then, anyway.
n n n
n n n Futurama: Bender’s Gamen
n In the third and thus-far best Futurama-to-DVD flick, robo-wackiness ensues when Bender drunkenly stumbles into the world of Dungeons & Dragons—which has happened to all of us at one point, right? Just admit it, Aragoth. (FoxHome.com)
n n n Get Smartn
n Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and The Rock don’t suck in the remake-in-name-only of Get Smart, that TV spy-spoof nugget from the ’60s. I’d make a sequel joke about The Nude Bomb, but no one would get it. So never mind. (WarnerBros.com)
n n n Meadowlands: Season 1n
n Showtime’s dark-comic 2007 series about a family relocated to a bizarre suburb where everybody’s in the Witness Protection Program lasted only seven episodes and ended on a major cliffhanger. But hey, so did Season 2 of The Riches. Damn … (Sho.com)
n n n Reaper: Season 1n
n Thanks to his parents pre-selling his soul, a retail drone becomes Satan’s bounty hunter—how could this not be a network hit? Because it’s on The CW, not a network. Catch up on Season 1 before Reaper and/or The CW is canceled. (Lionsgate.com)
n n n n Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks 2n
n So, The Complete Masterworks 1 wasn’t really “complete”? Ha! No Tenacious D compilation will ever be complete, as the Rock Majesty of JB and KG cannot be adequately contained in a single package! So, yeah, here’s more. (Sony.com)
More New DVD Releases (Nov. 4)
nDear Me: A Blogger’s Tale, Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series, JAG: Season 7, Moscow Zero, Primeval: Season 1, Project Runway: Season 4, Return to Sleepaway Camp, Shrek the Halls, Spin City: Season 1, Tori & Dean Inn Love: Season 2, Transsiberian, What We Do Is Secret