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The Office: Party in 308!

So Pam is ready to date, only she’s just not ready to date Jim. Michael assumed that Jim left Scranton because of him, but Jim explained that he left because Pam shut him down…twice. It’s obvious that Jim is pretty hurt by that and I think Pam is going to have to make the first move, because he has to be a little gun shy at this point.

I was wondering how they’d get Jim involved with his old office, and the paper conference was the perfect opportunity for Michael and Dwight to interact with their old co-worker, to typically uncomfortable results. Michael was insistent about hosting a party in his room, but it never really happened – people kept “filtering in and out.” I was hoping for some more awkward interaction with Jan, but since he’s got a girlfriend, he’s no longer on the prowl.

Pam’s date was a complete bust, which really isn’t a surprise considering Kelly was the one who set her up. At what point does Pam break down and call Jim? It turns out that Toby – the HR guy – has a work crush on Pam, but he wasn’t able to pull the trigger and ask her out. On a side note, it’s always great to see Kelly and Ryan in a non-office setting – he still hasn’t been able to extract himself from that relationship, and I hope he never does. His expressions are just too funny when they’re together.

Dwight and Angela provided a few laughs this week with all of their “monkey” talk and Angela’s visit to Dwight’s hotel room (much to the surprise of Jim who secured a key to Dwight’s room in the hopes of pranking him, but instead caught an eyeful of Angela on the bed). Viewers who stuck around for the tag caught a treat when Dwight and Michael turned on the black light in the hotel room. There was fluid everywhere. Dwight said, “That’s semen, blood or urine.”

Michael replied, “God, I hope it’s urine.”

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TV DVD QT, Vol. 1

With multiple seasons of TV shows coming out on DVD, it’s gotten to the point where there’s only so much you can say. I mean, is “What’s Happening: Season 3″so dramatically different from Season 2…? Since we don’t want to let these releases go by without a mention if they’re being sent to us, however, it just makes sense to start up a new feature on Premium Hollywood: TV DVD QT.

Let’s get rolling, then, shall we…?

Hart To Hart – The Complete Second Season: Self-made millionaire Jonathan Hart (the ever-suave Robert Wagner) and his super-hot wife, Jennifer (Stefanie Powers), manage to get wrapped up in more thefts and murders than any normal couple ever would, inevitably solving every mystery that crosses their path…with the help of their stogie-smoking manservant, Max (Lionel Stander), of course. The plots are often ridiculous, but the chemistry between Wagner and Powers makes the show consistently fun to watch. No special features. Booooooo!

Bewitched – The Complete Fourth Season: Few people fell in love with the “Bewitched” film starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman, but at least it kickstarted the release of the original TV series on DVD. The fourth season still has Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery) teamed up with her original Darrin (Dick York), and their daughter Tabitha (Erin Murphy) continues to grow up…and cause mischief with her powers. This is the last season we see Aunt Clara, due to actress Marion Lorne’s passing. Best episode? As ever, it’s one featuring Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur: “The No-Harm Charm.” No special features. Hisssssss!

The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Fourth Season: What else do you need to know besides the fact that it stars Bob Newhart? Well, how about the fact that most of the original cast comes back to do audio commentary…? Newhart and his TV wife, Suzanne Pleshette, do commentary on “The Longest Good-Bye” with guest star (and Pleshette’s husband) Tom Poston, while Newhart and co-star Marcia Wallace (she played Carol the receptionist on the show…but you may know her as Edna Krabapple on “The Simpsons”) chat on “Who Is Mr. X?” Even one of Newhart’s most famous patients, Mr. Carlin (Jack Riley), shows up to talk about “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Good times and funny stuff.

The Flintstones – The Complete Sixth Season: It’s the last season of this venerable animated sitcom, but you’ll know it as “the one with the Great Gazoo.” Still, you can’t say it was an example of jumping the shark; even in its last year, “The Flinstones” still had several brilliant episodes, including appearances by Tony…sorry, Stoney Curtis and, as it happens, both Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York from “Bewitched.” It’s also the year of the Way-Outs, as well as when Pebbles and Bam-Bam sing “Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In.” No booing or hissing here; this set does have special features – a featurette on the series and its tie to popular culture, as well as one about the history of the Great Gazoo – but you probably won’t watch either of them more than once.

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And the role of Iron Man will be played by…

Robert Downey Jr.?

That’s the word on the block, anyways, and while I don’t particularly think it’s a great choice, it’s definitely an interesting one.

Based upon Marvel’s iconic Super Hero, Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to America, Tony must come to terms with his past. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

Downey has proven himself versatile many a times, and it looks like Marvel is really looking to make a splash with their first independently produced feature film. Jon Favreau is set to direct, with a summer 2008 release date.

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Spider-Man Vs. Spider-Man!

Which Spider-Man do you prefer, the classic original American version, or the tricked-out Japanese model? Let’s take a look at both, won’t you?

Here’s the American ’70s Spidey. I remember watching this show and thinking that the eyes on the mask were just completely wrong. And of course, that opening theme is totally marred by the sleazy sax line over the funky disco groove. Still, as you can see, this Spidey is true to the origin and overall tale. Nicholas Hammond, as you may recall, was in The Sound of Music as well as being in the infamous “Brady Bunch” episode, “The Subject Was Noses.” I also recall his part in “The Martian Chronicles.” He’s done a lot of b-list TV work since the heady days of Spidey.

And here we have Japan’s late-’70s Spidey. That theme kicks ass! How could you not have “Hey, hey, hey…WOW!” stuck in your head for hours after hearing it? I don’t know how true to the original Spidey this is. It looks like the Peter Parker character likes to ride around on a motorcycle. But then…what’s with that huge robot?!! Ah, the Japanese and their love for giant mechs. Also giant is Spidey’s web shooter. Man, that thing looks like it weighs about three pounds.

So there you have it…Classic American Spidey or motorcycle ridin’, giant robot befriending Japanese Spidey? You decide!

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Jericho, Episode 2: Fall On Me

WARNING: If you missed this episode, head over to CBS’s Innertube and watch it now. Otherwise, we’re getting ready to spoil it all to hell for you.

I won’t lie to you, it never occurred to me that, when Episode 1 ended, Emily had run out of gas; I thought she was just freaked out because she’d come across a road covered with dead birds…but given that Episode 2 begins with her walking down the road with a gas can, I guess she HAD hit “E.” Anyway, Episode 2 is full of a few too many coincidences for my liking, but let’s look at the highlights before I start bitching too much.

Jake and Robert realize simultaneously that the townsfolk are gonna need fallout shelters…and fast. The radiation’s blowing in from Denver, and it ain’t gonna be good when it gets there. But Robert knows a rather suspicious amount about radiation…so much so that it’s clear that at least a few people are getting skeptical of his claim that “I was a cop in St. Louis, and we got a lot of training after 9/11.” Sure, dude. In no way does that sound fishy. (We do discover that he’s got a wife and kids, though, so whoever he is, at least he’s got a relatively stable home life.) It’s clear that a rain storm filled with lots of radioactive material is gonna arrive in about two hours time, and anyone who’s not undercover is gonna be in serious trouble. (Although “Jericho” isn’t by and large a funny show, there’s at least one laugh to be had when it’s discovered that there isn’t a single piece of information about radiation or atomic bombs anywhere in town that isn’t dated circa 1957. Nice pamphlet about “The Dangers of Fall-Out”!) Much of the episode is spent trying to figure out how to fit everyone in town into the two shelters, one under Town Hall and the other under the medical clinic…and it gets even worse when the one under the clinic turns out to be uninhabitable due to lack of ventilation. The only viable alternative is to have people go deep into the town’s salt mines, then dynamite the entrance shut and have someone come by post-storm and help them get out again. And on the topic of people knowing a suspicious amount about certain things, Jake sure knows a lot about how to set up explosive charges…

The local bar provides us with a few bits of information this episode. The accountant who was in town to audit a local farmer – yeah, she was in the first episode, but not even long enough for me to reference her appearance – asks the bartender of her being stuck in Jericho post-bomb, “Do you think God hates me?” Jake’s brother, Eric, finally gets to say something besides “sounds good, Dad” when he shows up and informs several pool-playing yahoos of the wonders of death by radiation poisoning; we also discover that he isn’t as happily married as we might’ve thought when he locks lips with Madame Bartender. We also get a few minutes here and there with young Dale, who’s apparently got the hots for his snooty classmate, Skyler…and while it might not be entirely mutual, by episode’s end, it looks like they might have more in common than they used to. And Jake’s dad suffers some sort of attack, but it’s not clear what kind.

Emily gets a lot of screen time when, during her stroll for gas, she’s picked up by the two escaped convicts masquerading as sheriff’s deputies. (Turns out the real deputies are in the trunk.) I’m pretty sure most real law enforcement officers don’t have handlebar mustaches like one of those guys did, but whatever. Emily eventually does figure out they’re not the real deal, courtesy of one of the aforementioned too-convenient coincidences; they leave her alone in the car, and while she’s by herself, someone in the sheriff’s department just happens to say over the radio how two convicts are on the loose and might have stolen a vehicle. Once she hears this, though, she begins to develop a plan, taking them to the Richmond farm, where Bonnie Richmond – who’s deaf but can read lips – assists her in getting a gun and sneaking out an upstairs window, eventually making her way back to the patrol car to use the radio and call for help. The good news: one of the channels she broadcasts on is being listened to by Jake, who bails out of the mine and sets off the explosion to seal them in before heading off to save Emily. The bad news: another channel she uses is being listened to by the fake deputies. Fortunately, right about the time they hear her, Jake arrives, and between the two of them, the two guys get dead real quick…and just in time for Jake, Emily, and Bonnie to get into the basement before the storm hits.

The ending of the episode provides a moment just as chilling as the one provided in the first episode. It’s set up when Robert, who’s manning the radio, picks up a message in morse code…but instead of telling anyone what he’s heard, he pretends to have heard nothing. Later, however, he puts a map of the U.S. on the wall, and he begins by placing tacks on both Denver and Atlanta, indicating the sites of known bombs…but, then, he places a tack on Chicago…and one on Philadelphia…and one on San Diego. As the episode fades out, we’re on a close-up of his hand, reaching in to get another tack…and another…and another.

Yikes.

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