Nominations for the 2008 Emmy Awards were announced last week, and AMC’s Mad Men and FX’s Damages made history as the first basic-cable series to ever score Best Series recognition. Mad Men, sure—but Damages? Really? Over HBO’s The Wire, which got screwed yet again? More weirdness in the Drama category: Fox’s House, which is more of a comedy than Scrubs ever was/is. Speaking of Comedy, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords was snubbed by the Emmys, but not Two & a Half Men—granted, sneaking 85 dick jokes per episode into the CBS “family night” is an art form, but come on. Also, on the shockingly overlooked comedy front was …
Rock of Love … 3?!
Yes, “work schedules” have split up Bret Michaels (touring rock star, bandana enthusiast) and Ambre Lake (uh, Vagisil spokesperson?), the oddly age-appropriate couple ordained at the end of Rock of Love 2 waaay back in April. The good news for VH1, skanks with alert agents and a viewing public starved for something slightly less rash-inducing than A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila, is that this means Rock of Love 3! Already miraculously in pre-production! This time, Bret will be taking it (meaning, the show) out of the mansion and onto the tour bus for a month on the road! Sadly, this announcement has also shut down VH1 talks for a possible replacement series, Ride the Whitesnake With David Coverdale.
EliteXC Saturday Night Fights Saturday, July 26 (CBS)
Not all mixed-martial-arts organizations are the same—nor do they even get along. Take EliteXC, slagged off by other MMA groups like Ultimate Fighting Championship (the biggest, seen most on Spike TV) as flashy “freak show” more concerned with controversy and ratings than technical skill and cred as a “real” sport. For EliteXC’s debut CBS special in May, the main bout was Kimbo Slice (a former homeless street fighter and porn starlet bodyguard) vs. James Thompson in a sloppy, drawn-out slugfest that ended with Thompson’s cauliflower ear exploding like a blood balloon (and now, your local news). For this Saturday Night Fights, it’s the duller—but more technically proficient—top card of Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith. Me, I’d be less suspicious of the EliteXC/UFC rivalry if CBS and Spike weren’t both owned by … Viacom.
Mad Men Sunday, July 27 (AMC)
Season Premiere: Despite the avalanche of press and buzz about Mad Men, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of media and hipster circles who’s actually seen the series. Go ahead, ask around the office; all you’re going to get is blank stares and “Is that on after America’s Smartest Babies?” Which makes setting the bound-to-be-more-scrutinized second season nearly two years after the first an even ballsier move than producing a drama devoid of lawyers, cops and doctors to begin with. Picking up in February 1962, the times are a-changing even more rapidly than before, with a new “think young” mindset that makes no sense to traditionalists like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and the rest of the Sterling Cooper ad agency—what kind of world prefers Pepsi to coffee? The Only TV Column That Matters™ could list the dozens upon dozens of reasons that Mad Men is one of the deepest, best-executed shows on TV right now, but this might sum it up more efficiently: If you’re still whining about the loss of The Sopranos (which you didn’t get into until Season 3, anyway), shut up and locate AMC.
Eureka Tuesday, July 29 (Sci-Fi)
Season Premiere: Since the Sci-Fi Channel hasn’t sent an advance preview of the Season 3 premiere of Eureka yet, I’m going to guess that it’s as quirky, sweet, mildly funny and peripherally scientific as before. Oh, and that the sci-fi geeks still hate it. Do I win?
n n More New DVD Releases (July 29)
Post-Apocalyptic zombies and Rhona Mitra kickin’ ultra-violent ass—apparently, the title Mad Max Escapes From New York 28 Days Later was too long for the poster, as was Most Fucking Awesome Movie Ever! Yeah, I’m sold. NBCUni.com
n The Hills: Season 3
As much as I refuse to believe that anyone actually wants to own 28 episodes of vapid morons doing absolutely nothing (scripted, no less), I also realize there are a whole lotta vapid morons with too much time and money out there. Enjoy. MTV.com
n Lost Boys: The Tribe
Corey Feldman and Corey Haim are back! OK, mostly Feldman. Other than that, and the complete lack of stars, budget and coherent story as well as Vancouver subbing as the vampires’ Cali beach, it’s just like the original Lost Boys! WarnerBros.com
n Never Back Down
The Karate Kid meets Fight Club meets oiled-up twink porn in the flick that puts the “Mm!” in MMA (mixed martial arts, dude). All this, and tunes by Trapt, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit and other classic artists of the ’90s! Faaa-bulous! Summit-Ent.com
n Shine a Light
The Rolling Stones and Martin Scorsese make the best concert film about senior citizens since Young@Heart, with guest appearances by Christina Aguilera, Jack White, Buddy Guy and Bubba the Wonder Wang (aka Bill Clinton). Paramount.com
Antisocial Behavior, The Band’s Visit, Beverly Hills 90210: Season 5, The Deal, Extasis, Ghostride the Whip, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Hopeville, Law & Order SVU: Season 7, Stargate Continuum, War Games: The Dead Code