Small Screened

Salt Lake City Weekly | August 12, 2006

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Thursday Aug. 17 (FX)

Season Finale: It’s over; you can take a shower now. TV’s most deliriously offensive comedy (the only advantage South Park has on Sunny is a body count) either survived or thrived on the Season 2 inclusion of “dad” Danny DeVito—depends on whom you ask, as well as their blood-alcohol level. Tonight, Sweet Dee begins receiving mysterious messages via her MySpace profile (Ack! Danger!) from someone claiming to be her and Dennis’ real father (Oh, that should work out fine). Also expect a grand flourish of I Can’t Believe They Said/Did/Had Sex With That! moments, and here’s a note for FX: My brilliant “Seinfeld for Satanists” quote is still available for promos.

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

Sunday Aug. 20 (Sci-Fi)

Season Finale: It looks like a cheesy ‘80s sci-fi show (watch it next to Sci-Fi’s Knight Rider reruns for authentication), which is the key to one of the cleverest, or at least strangest, genre spoofs no one dared ask for. Horror author “Marenghi” wrote, directed, starred in and even whistled the theme song for this faux “lost” cult series about a haunted hospital on a hell-mouth; each week, his brooding Dr. Rick “Dag” Dagless saves the day with occult mastery, martial-arts skills and peerless slow-motion running (inter-cut interviews reveal that episodes typically ran eight minutes short, so slo-mo was used liberally to fill time). The finale Darkplace conflict: cosmic broccoli.


Sundays (Cartoon Network)

In the Aug. 6 premiere of Adult Swim’s latest bizarro entry, Norwegian metal band Dethklok rallied thousands of rabid fans to the North Pole for a concert in which they’d perform just one song—a new jingle for a coffee company (“We’re here to make coffee metal,” said singer Nathan Explosion. “We will make everything metal. Blacker than black … times infinity”). Fans who weren’t killed when the helicopter-dropped stage missed the mark were scalded to death by downpours of boiling coffee in the finale. And you didn’t think a cartoon Norwegian metal band could ever be funnier than a real Norwegian metal band.

Prison Break

Monday Aug. 21 (Fox)

Season Premiere: Michael, Lincoln & Co. are on the lam after breaking out of prison last season (the title totally gave it away); now they’re going after … D.B. Cooper’s stashed millions. Next season: Al Capone’s real vault?


Monday Aug. 21 (Fox)

Series Debut: Fox is pitching Vanished as an amalgam of CSI, 24 and (!) The Da Vinci Code—hell, why not throw in Without a Trace and Knight Rider? Nutshell: A Georgia senator’s wife has gone missing in some hazy national conspiracy, and it’s going to take two grizzled-yet-pretty Feds and one dogged-yet-pretty reporter at least 22 episodes (yeah, wishful thinking) to find her. Fox left you hanging with Reunion last year—don’t get fooled again.


Mondays (Showtime)

America’s favorite pot-dealing suburban mom is back … and sleeping with a DEA agent? Following last Monday’s fairly straight Season 2 premiere, nothing goes as expected in upcoming episodes—this is why Weeds is Showtime’s lone legit shot at HBO-ism (hence the heavy promotional campaign, replete with marijuana-scented magazine pull-outs). Star Mary-Louise Parker continues to shine brighter and warmer than a grow lamp (couldn’t resist), but Justin Kirk—as her brother Andy—is Weeds’ scene-stealer: His hilarious masturbation dissertation in the Aug. 28 ep should rightfully earn him an Emmy. Or at least a Wanky.

Breaking Up With Shannen Doherty

Tuesday Aug. 22 (Oxygen)

Series Debut: Actually, Shannen Doherty helps other couples break up. Splitting with Doherty herself is an entirely different show on the Xtreme Bodily Injury network (Digital XBI, between Jackass reruns).


Rome: The Complete First Season

Rome, the HBO series that screams, “Here’s where all your subscription money went!” The lavishly expensive 52 B.C. epic is a dense orgy of violence, sex, power struggles and indistinguishable haircuts (Caesar crop = Deadwood’s moustaches); DVD is the only way to even begin to follow it. (

Remington Steele: Seasons 4 & 5

Ironically, Pierce Brosnan couldn’t take the role of James Bond back in the ‘80s because he was contracted to this TV show, playing a knockoff. But Remington Steele was cooler than Bond—and better than Moonlighting, too. A must for Stephanie Zimbalist completists … Ha! (


Vacation in a crap-filled Winnebago, with Robin Williams behind the wheel instead of Chevy Chase … sweet Jesus, why? Williams seems to be trailing Steve Martin into Insufferable Brat-Flick Hell (the money’s too good; America’s too dumb), so let’s all wave vigorously, kids. (

Surface: The Complete Series

The Spielberg-meets-seaweed sci-fi conspiracy series that was canceled prematurely by NBC: Not to give the finale away, but The End of the World is a laaame cliffhanger. Still, star Lake Bell angled this fish surprisingly well with only one tank top and two facial expressions. (

More New DVD Releases (Aug. 15)

Hong Kong Fooey: Complete Series, Magilla Gorilla: Complete Series, Playboy: Wet & Wild, The Simpsons: Season 8, Scary Movie 4


Brian Posehn, “Metal by Numbers”

Comedian Brian Posehn is a heavy-metal purist who knows “any idiot” can play Screamo and “Cookie Monster” rock—to prove it, he recorded the hysterical (and thoroughly ass-kickin’!) “Metal by Numbers” for his new Nerd Rage album. The video—available on Posehn’s MySpace page; Headbangers Ball is probably afraid—puts it over the gaytarded top. (

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