Star Scores

Salt Lake City Weekly | September 29, 2006
Star Scores

Cylons, Birdmen, Brian and Tina.

Battlestar Galactica

Friday, Oct. 6 (Sci-Fi)

Season Premiere: This could be the year where Battlestar Galactica finally breaks out of the sci-fi geek ghetto and penetrates the mainstream as a legit political drama. But then again, the mainstream’s not all that bright, so probably not. As if the dense layers of storylines and characters weren’t already enough to keep straight, BG ended the previous season by jumping ahead a full year after the colonization of New Caprica, just in time for a surprise Cylon invasion (yeah, we’ve lost the newbies already). Season 3 begins with another jump, three months after the Cylons’ rediscovery of humanity’s remnants (note to self: great band name), and the occupied-country parallels to our own reality are none to subtle—insurgents, suicide bombers, sketchy leadership, et al. And yes, Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff, playing out a freaky-funny Spy vs. Spy scenario with her Cylon captor Leoben in the season premiere) keeps the long hair for a few episodes, fanboys. If you dare dive in now, catch the Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far recap special running on Sci-Fi, as well as, iTunes and soon (if NBC/Universal keeps up its current tech pace) a GE receiver chip in the base of your skull. Frak Lost—Battlestar rules.

Harvey Birdman, 12 Oz. Mouse

Sundays (Cartoon Network)

Both had their current season premieres already; I was too caught up in glamorous network matters to keep up with the late-night cartoons, sorry. Of all the series on Adult Swim (and it’s getting packed in the pool), long-timer Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is easily one of the most linear and consistently satisfying: Superhero becomes lawyer, represents other famous-to-obscure cartoon characters in court, case always closed in 15 minutes—like Boston Legal minus the other 45, plus Peter Potomus (“Did ya get that thing I sent ya?” = “Denny Crane!”). As for 12 Oz. Mouse … has anyone ever watched this without liquid, pharmaceutical or herbal assistance? Just curious.

What About Brian

Monday, Oct. 9 (ABC)

Season Premiere: It barely left an impression last spring, but compared to newer ABC crapola like Six Degrees, Monday-night returnee What About Brian smells like genius. Then, Brian (Barry Watson, and his hair) was the lone Single Guy in a group of couple-friends who were all experiencing oh-so-L.A. relationship troubles of their own—not the least of which being Brian’s simmering secret crush on his best friend’s fiancée, Marjorie (Sarah Lancaster, and her hair). The story left off with everything blowing up; it now continues six months later with a whole lotta scrambling and patching—like no one expected Season 2. It ain’t bad, but Brian is nowhere near as gleefully dumb as Grey’s Anatomy … and therein lies the problem.

30 Rock, Twenty Good Years

Wednesday, Oct. 11 (NBC)

Series Debuts: By now, you’ve realized that Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a drama—and a damned fine one at that. Now comes that other NBC show about a fictional-but-not-really late-night TV series—30 Rock is a comedy, and a damned fine one at that. Former Saturday Night Live head writer Tina Fey stars as—who else?—head writer Liz Lemon, working for a seemingly demented new corporate boss (Alec Baldwin, almost stealing the show) who corners her into casting a very demented movie star (Tracy Morgan, definitely stealing the show) to juice ratings. The smart-but-safe pilot episode hints that 30 Rock could, given a full season to get weird, eventually equal NBC’s unlikely comedy kings My Name is Earl and The Office. And its lead-out, the John Lithgow/Jeffrey Tambor geezer romp Twenty Good Years? Wasn’t Third Rock From the Sun canceled for a reason?


Andromeda: Slipstream Collection

The 2000-05 sci-fi series Andromeda slowly morphed into a Rush concept album, and Season 5 (the last) was the fallout after the drum solo. Firefly achieved more in 15 lean episodes than this did in 110, but that gritty final stretch nearly redeemed Hercules in Space—and Firefly didn’t have Lexa Doig (oh yeah, the geeks know). (

Medium: Season 2

Season 3 will get underway whenever NBC runs out of game shows—nice way to treat a hit. Patricia Arquette’s psychic soccer mom solves more crimes than that weepy Ghost Whisperer, and risks more creative chills: Season 2 actually cast Kelsey Grammer as Death, and pulled it off! (

Thank You for Smoking

Aaron Eckhart finally nails the Leading Man thing as a tobacco company spin-meister falling into a moral quandary—but he’s far more charming pushing the death sticks. As are his big-name costars, all keeping this smart-dark comedy clicking. But then there’s Katie Holmes … what exactly did we ever see in her? (

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Sure, X3 sucked in theaters, but the DVD has three different endings—maybe one of ‘em comes with a refund. Brett Ratner’s mutant dumb-over isn’t all bad: there’s action galore, plenty of Famke Janssen, it isn’t Fantastic Four, etc. Plus, the immortal “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” (

More New DVD Releases (Oct. 3)

Confidence, Edmond, Lewis Black: Red, White & Screwed, The Little Mermaid, Penn & Teller: Bullshit: Season 3, South Park: The Hits Vol. 1, Stargate SG-1: Season 9


CSI: Ay: Ay:

Thank god for YouTubers with too much time on their hands: CSI re-imagined as a steamy telenovela, complete with a mariachi version of the theme song. Muy caliente, Gil! (

Bill Frost (

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