Friday, Aug. 10 (Sci-Fi)
Series Debut: Based on the 1930s comics and film serials, the ’50s TV series or the “campy” (read: so gay even the Village People, filming Can’t Stop the Music next door, said, “Oh, puh-leez!”) 1980 movie? None of this ringing a bell? Hello, coveted demographic! Sci-Fi’s new Flash Gordon has recycled Queen’s bombastic (yes, redundant) ’80 theme song for the ads, but the 90-minute pilot has little of the spark or fun of previous incarnations, coming off like a particularly flat episode of Smallville populated with interchangeable Canadians (this Flash is a full-on Canuck production). They even removed “the Merciless” from villain Ming’s name—oh, puh-leez!
The Business, Minor Accomplishments
The Business, which spun-off from IFC’s previous and equally funny series The Festival, is about a struggling independent film company that spun off from a far-more-lucrative porno video company … but it’s still called Vic’s Flicks. For Season 2, the focus is off sleazy boss Vic (Rob DeLeeuw) and hapless filmmaker Rufus (Nicholas Wright) and squarely on exasperated producer Julia (Kathleen Robertson)—smart move. Maybe they took a cue from The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, which has upped its cynic-girl power by elevating Nicholle Tom (of … The Nanny!) to full second-season sidekick status to Laura Kightlinger’s titular Jackie, not that she needed it. If you don’t believe a second of Entourage and like your showbiz comedy blacker than Larry Sanders’ dye job, The Business and Minor Accomplishments are for you. (Now there’s an ad quote, IFC!)
John From Cincinnati
Sunday, Aug. 12 (HBO)
Season Finale: So … what the fuck was that?
Monday, Aug. 13 (Fox)
Season Finale: Admittedly, watching Gordon Ramsay scream his veiny head off at inept chefs is a kick—but for 11 weeks? Apparently so, since Hell’s Kitchen still kills in the ratings, and I’m not going to argue with a reality-competition show that produces something more valuable to society than karaoke clowns and DNA receptacles for Bret Michaels (that one’s for you, Krista).
Monday, Aug. 13 (Showtime)
Season Premiere/Series Debut: Last season, Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) and her suburban pot-dealer crew were riding high (ha!) and flush with green (double ha!), almost to the point where it looked like a PSA for the Mary Jane retail business. Then it all went to hell in a cliffhanger that left Nancy staring down gun barrels, her DEA husband offed by Armenians, one of her sons kidnapped by a crazy woman and the other son busted with a car full of weed. There’s no happy ending in the first episodes of Season 3: Nancy survives, but her business is dead and her family is even worse off than before—which is great TV because, while Parker plays cocky (and everything else) beautifully, she’s in the kill zone as a desperate mom out of options.
David Duchovny, on the other hand, is anything but sympathetic in Californication, where he stars as a narcissistic novelist who gets a dream-state blowjob from a nun before the opening credits and nails a variety of naked women (including Madeline Zima of … The Nanny! What’s going on here?) up to the closing. The return of gratuitous premium-cable nudity is to be applauded—ahem, HBO—but what’s it all mean? And why name it after one of the worst Red Hot Chili Pepper songs ever? At least Californication is rarely dull, offsetting the Heavy Midlife Angst with comic touches—Duchovny’s character’s book, God Hates Us All, was turned into a hit romantic comedy fluffer starring “Tom and Katie,” hence his self-loathing and writer’s block—and the promise of redemption: He wants his ex-wife and kid back … after he nails a few dozen more club skanks. Ah, sweet …
Shia LaBeouf thinks his neighbor is a killer but gets distracted by his boner for the girl next door. Yeah, exactly like Rear Window. (Paramount.com)
The Dresden Files: Season 1
Remember Marvel Comics’ Dr. Strange, the wizard slumming as a private eye? The Dresden Files is like that, minus the mustache. (Lionsgate.com)
The 1980 epic that made Xanadu look like a grim indie-flick, re-mastered and re-gayed! Dun-dun-dun-dun … Flash! Ah-ah! (UniversalStudios.com)
That Girl: Season 3
The last season entirely in the ’60s, before Ann Marie grew out her flip and became an uppity ’70s women’s-libber. Oh, Donald! (ShoutFactory.com)
The Tick develops a gambling problem, loses his arms and once again neglects to include a pivotal episode in his DVD set. Spoon! (Disney.com)
More New DVD Releases (Aug. 7)
Are We Done Yet?, Eight Simple Rules: Season 2, Full House: Season 7, I Think I Love My Wife, Rome: Season 2, Roseanne: Season 8, The Simpsons: Season 10, Soul Food: Season 2, TMNT, Unaccompanied Minors
Start with a lazy title (at least CreatING the Group would have been a better rip-off of MTV’s Making the Band), add David Loeffler (you’re supposed to be impressed that he manages Nicole Richie’s dad) and pretend it’s 2003—it’s Create the Band on KJZZ 14! The Utah-produced reality series doesn’t debut until Sept. 16, but the online trailer promises a hysterically delusional “talent” search for a local girl group to “make it big”—right after they karaoke like heck at a Bees game, apparently. See the next Pussycat Duds at CreateTheGroup.net.
Listen to Bill Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96’s Radio From Hell. Karaoke pussy blogging at BillFrost.tv.