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The Best of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist

For a show that helped change Comedy Central from something other than a clearinghouse for “Saturday Night Live” reruns, “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” hasn’t been particularly well-remembered by its corporate parents – aside from a quickly aborted series of season sets and an absurdly expensive, 13-DVD complete collection, fans of the show have had few options for reliving its 1995-99 run, even on a network that finds room for repeat airings of virtually everything it’s ever aired. That changes – sort of – with the 110-minute “The Best of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist,” but despite offering a decent cross-section of the series’ best bits (including appearances from Dave Chappelle, Conan O’Brien, Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and Janeane Garofalo), “Best Of” still manages to fall short of its title, thanks to the producers’ decision to trim the included episodes down to the bits that center on Katz’s sessions with his celebrity clients, forsaking the storylines that focused on supporting players Ben Katz (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and receptionist Laura (Laura Silverman). For people who just sort of vaguely remember “Katz,” this won’t be any great loss – but those people probably aren’t going to spend $20 on this DVD, no matter how many celebrity names appear on the front cover. Still, these clips – divided among 18 of Katz’s best-known “clients” – offer a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours, and the show’s deadpan humor is still just as effective as it was in the ‘90s. Of course, that squiggly animation is just as distracting, too – but again, if it bothered you in the first place, you wouldn’t even be reading this. All in all, not a bad stocking stuffer for someone who doesn’t rate the $100 it’ll cost you to get the complete set.

Click to buy “The Best of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist”

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A Chat with Robert Fuller (“Laramie,” “Wagon Train,” “Emergency”)

If you’re a Western fan, then you know him from his work on “Laramie” and “Wagon Train,” but if you grew up in the ’70s, then you’re more likely to recall him as Dr. Kelly Brackett on “Emergency.” Either way, you have to give it to Robert Fuller: the man had some of the best sideburns in the business. Although he’s since retired from acting in favor of a life of leisure, Fuller is hopping back on the publicity trail to offer his praise for the release of “Wagon Train: The Complete Color Season,” which gave us the opportunity to chat with him about the various films and television series he’s worked on throughout his career.

Get ready for…

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Dragon Ball Z: Season Seven

The seventh season of “Dragon Ball Z” is a bit of an odd duck compared to the rest of the series, as the lack of a major villain makes it seem like nothing happens. In fact, some have even compared it to the mini-arc of filler episodes better known as the Garlic Jr. Saga, but whereas those episodes did little to further the story, Season Seven serves as the buildup to the big finale. It’s also a nice break from the exhausting Cell Games, and it makes some great strides in the development of the Z Fighters along the way. For starters, Gohan has finally become a teenager, and when he’s not getting into trouble with classmate Videl (AKA Mr. Satan’s daughter), he’s moonlighting as the superhero called Great Saiyaman. Goku, meanwhile, takes part in an Other World Tournament for the chance to train with the Grand Kai, and when he finally returns to Earth to fight in the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament, he discovers that he also has a new son named Goten. Though it may seem a bit counterproductive to age Gohan and then create a brand new character who’s just like him, this time around, they’ve given the little tyke someone to play with (young Trunks), making them both that much less annoying from the get-go. Plus, with two tournaments worth of fighting and the hilarious return of Mr. Satan, how could anyone call Season Seven filler? It might not be as epic as past sagas, but you better believe it’s just as good.

Click to buy “Dragon Ball Z: Season Seven”

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Day of the Dead

First Look Studios is one crafty little company. Attempting to piggyback on the success of Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead,” the indie label greenlit a remake of George A. Romero’s third zombie flick, “Day of the Dead,” and even went so far as to cast Ving Rhames in a supporting role. It was all done in the hope that fans would believe the film was a follow-up to the 2004 remake of “Dawn,” and since it’s a pretty shady move on their part, I have no problem spoiling the fact that Rhames (playing a completely different character) dies within the first 20 minutes. The rest of the film is spent following a group of soldiers (led by Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon) around a small Colorado town trying to escape a virus outbreak that has turned certain people into flesh-eating zombies. Passed around like a bad cold, the new virus angle may sound like an interesting twist to a familiar tale, but it’s actually much worse. Somehow, this outbreak is only affecting one city, and though some victims turn into zombies after being bitten, others don’t. WTF? As for the zombies themselves, director Steve Miner has decided to stick with the newer, faster versions, but in order to produce their superhuman speed, he resorts to amateurish tricks like speeding up the tape. It’s all pretty lame stuff, and though an action sequence midway through offers gory headshots aplenty, it’s the only shining moment in a poorly made cash grab more than deserving of the direct-to-video treatment.

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The Biggest Loser: Revenge Doesn’t Taste Sweet

So last week I said that Amy was making a big, big mistake by not voting Vicky off the ranch on “The Biggest Loser: Families”…..and I was right. Amy voted off Vicky’s husband Brady the week before, and last week, instead of pulling the trigger on kicking off evil Vicky, she plucked Coleen off the ranch.

Last night’s episode began by showing Michelle and Renee, the remaining black team members, commenting that Amy had made a mistake and then trainer Jillian Michaels saying, “Vicky is going to get Amy.” Vicky’s pal Heba agreed, and Vicky even said she still doesn’t trust Amy. Oh, how I wish you would have pulled the trigger last week, Amy.

Anyway, it was an NFL-themed week since it’s the week of Thanksgiving, and the first challenge featured former NFL stars Jerry Rice and Steve Young Read the rest of this entry »

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The Shield 7.13 – Family Meeting – Series Finale

Another one of television’s great dramas has come to a close, and if I were to rank the series finale compared to some of the other big ones from the past year or so, it would probably fall somewhere between the disappointing conclusion to “The Sopranos” and the pitch-perfect ending to “The Wire.” It wasn’t great, but it was certainly satisfying, and it wrapped up just about every loose end other than Aceveda’s bid for mayor. Fans of the series have been following these characters for seven years now, and instead of just running through the episode as usual, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to discuss the fates of each character one at a time.

Vic Mackey:

For as much bad shit that happened throughout the episode, this was probably one of the more shocking of the bunch. A lot of people didn’t think it was possible for Vic to get his comeuppance without death or incarceration, but when you consider the kind of person that he really is, it made sense. Vic only needs a few things in life – family, friends, and a badge – and the fact that he no longer has any of them is kind of like sentencing him to his own personal hell. Olivia said it best after Vic begged her to tell him where his children were: “You said goodbye to them the minute you shot another cop in the face.”

The Shield 7.13

All of Vic’s friends are gone, Corrine has put his kids into witness protection, and his new gig at ICE is a boring desk job typing up weekly analysis reports on gang activity in the city. Some might say he’s got it good compared to what could have happened (after all, he’s only obligated to work at ICE for three years and he’s a free man), but the look on his face when he was being shepherded through the mandatory tour of the facilities said enough. That last moment when he grabs his gun and walks out of the office seemed to indicate that he might actually be okay with the cards he’s been dealt, but if that’s the case, then it doesn’t seem like he’s really paid for his crimes at all.


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Prison Break 4.12: “Selfless”

Sometimes this show is a victim of its own format.

We’re just past the midpoint of the season, so once the gang passed Scylla off to Don and started in with all the premature celebration, it was obvious that something was going to happen to Don and/or Scylla before it reached the FBI’s (or the Senator’s) hands.

Honestly, when I saw the title of this episode, I thought Don was going to die trying to keep Scylla out of Company hands. Considering the way that Don’s boss was acting, he looked like he might very well be a Company mole. But when the General threw up his hands after being asked what his orders were, it sure seemed like he was out of options, FBI moles included. As soon as Don rendezvoused with Trish Ann – she will always, always be Trish Ann to me – I finally figured out that he was going to go rogue and try to sell Scylla on his own. The writers deserve credit for keeping things fairly unclear that long.

“Did you have onions for lunch?”

Every so often this series has an episode that spins it off into a completely new direction. Sooooooo much happened this week that it’s hard to keep track of it all. And anytime the writers try to cram this many plot points into one hour, there is bound to be some oversights.

For example, why in the world would Gretchen insist that the she and T-Bag wait in his office for Michael and the gang to emerge from the basement with Scylla? T-Bag’s office has glass walls – wouldn’t it be a little conspicuous to try to force them to give up the hardware at gunpoint when everyone at Gate could see them? Why not just wait in the closet? I’ve said before on this blog that I hate it when (supposedly) smart characters do dumb things and this is a great example. These two probably have a combined IQ of 260 and their decision to wait in T-Bag’s office created the situation with his boss, which created the hostage standoff. That is “manufactured conflict” at its very best.


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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.10 – I am trying to break your heart

It’s one of those moves that we felt like we should have seen coming, though we had no way of knowing, because the writers were holding all the cards. And what few cards they played before tonight’s Big Reveal were blatant misdirections that make no sense in retrospect. You know, kind of like a “Saw” movie.

Jesse finally, allegedly, comes clean to Derek. She claims to be working for the resistance to keep John on the righteous path; Future John is apparently getting too close to Cameron, and behaving erratically. Jesse’s mission: seduce Present John into taking out Cameron with live bait…live bait named Riley. Of course. That’s why we never her saw her family before now – so we wouldn’t know she was a “foster child.” Pretty sneaky, sis.

Credit must be given to genius “Terminator” commenter Eddie Offerman – seriously, read his blog on transform matrices, it’ll make your head spin – who laid out his “splintered universe” theory of time travel as an explanation for Reese not remembering Charles Fischer while Jesse did. I wasn’t convinced at first (I’m a fan of Occam’s Razor, myself), but after Jesse’s comments to Derek this week, it makes sense. Take Cameron out in the past, and get your savior back. This assumes, of course, that Jesse is telling the truth about anything, which is a bet that I’m reluctant to take at the moment.

“Hey robot, is it possible to get a blood stain out of silk?”

But now I have a new question: if Jesse and Riley’s mission is successful, what happens when Future John meets Allison, the girl that the machines duplicated and then killed to create Cameron in the first place? Personally, I’m betting that Future John locks her away the second he meets her so that she never gets caught, since she would literally be his lost childhood in the flesh. Man, what kind of splinter in time would that create, and wouldn’t that screw up Future John even worse than having Cameron around? Also, what happens to the people in the future when one of their own is sent back to change an event? How is reality altered for them? Will John just suddenly start acting differently right before their eyes? Would Future Cameron disappear if she’s terminated in our time? Help us, Obi Wan Ken-Eddie. You’re our only hope.


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Heroes 3.10 – The People with the Answers Won’t Tell the People with the Questions the Answers

When a music geek is handed an episode with a title like “The Eclipse,” you’re given a lot of different choices for lyrical references as the title of your blog entry. Should I go with Pink Floyd (All that you slight, everyone you fight…), or should I go with Bonnie Tyler (Once upon a time, there was love in my life…)? Instead, I went with a relative obscurity – a line from the closing track of the Beta Band’s Hot Shots II – but given the way the series has been going, it seemed rather appropriate.

Let’s split this week’s blog into two parts, shall we?

Before the Eclipse:

Arthur has just been a sketching fool since taking on the power of poor Usutu, but, wow, he’s really let his people skills drop off. Really, though, can you blame him? Thanks to his new abilities, he knows what’s coming…and, yet, he can’t seem to do a damned thing to change it.

The relationship between Sylar and Elle turned darker this week than I expected. I mean, I know I made a comment a few weeks ago about how Sylar’s so freaking wishy-washy that he’ll probably switch sides half a dozen more times before the end of the season, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that he left his touchy-feely side behind, but I just didn’t expect Elle to be the one who turned him. She’s a complex character, that one. (Her throwaway description of HRG as “Glasses himself” was hilarious.)

Mohinder really just isn’t a very good scientist, is he? “I, uh, didn’t think the eclipse had anything to do with it,” he mutters. Whoops. From there, it was back to “Return of the Fly,” unfortunately.

Matt and Daphne’s quest to find Hiro turned out to be a short one when he and Ando turned up, courtesy of their comic book intel. I loved the interplay between Ando and Daphne, not to mention Hiro and the turtle, but I’m wondering how long this whole back-and-forth thing between Matt and Daphne is going to go on. That said, once the boys followed Daphne to Lawrence, Kansas, I had to laugh at Hiro’s exclamation: “Holy crap!”

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Entourage 5.12 – Return to Queens

Apart from the end of last season, I can’t think of a lower point in Vincent Chase’s career than where it stood at the beginning of tonight’s episode. After being fired from “Smoke Jumpers” only to discover that the entire film was being shut down due to the fact that it was “over budget and overcomplicated,” Vince went on “vacation” to New York and is now living at home with his mother. Though Vince isn’t taking the whole “out of work actor” thing as seriously as he probably should be, Ari and Eric are still busy trying to find him another job. When Vince’s mom tells him that Gus Van Sant is looking for a replacement for the new movie he’s shooting in town, Eric suggests he audition for the part. Ari, however, is quick to inform them that he’s already spoken with Gus, and though he likes Vince’s work, he doesn’t feel that he’s right for the role.

Never one to take rejection so easily, Eric heads to Gus’ office to meet with him about reconsidering. He’s even managed to convince Ari to have Dana Gordon send over some dailies from “Smoke Jumpers” for Gus to check out, but though the director seems sincere about the fact that he really does like Vince as an actor, he still doesn’t want him for the role. Clearly embarrassed and feeling like a failure in front of his friends, Vince blows up at Eric for not trusting Ari, and relieves him of his duties as manager. Personally, I don’t think Vince had any right blaming Eric for his problems, and he came off looking like an ass for doing so. Eric may have made some mistakes in his days, but they’ve been trivial when compared to the things he’s done (or at least tried to do) for Vince’s career. Heck, it was Eric who tried to warn Vince about “Medellin,” and look how that turned out.

Entourage 5.12

Eric has better things to do than sit around and take that kind of shit from Vince, so he heads back to LA to take care of his other clients – namely Charlie, who’s still shopping his pilot around town. I actually thought they already found a studio to produce the show, but maybe things fell through after Charlie sucker punched Seth Green in the waiting room. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see where this subplot goes next season, as it certainly has the potential to take Eric’s career to the next level. Unfortunately, he’s not around for the big news that Ari brings with him to New York, and it’s in the form of a very important phone call that he just knows Vince is going to want to take. And no, it’s not Gus Van Sant on the other line, but – wait for it – Martin fucking Scorsese!


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