Don’t let TBS’s “Glory Daze” pass you by

When it comes to TBS’s original programming, I was never afraid to indicate my disappointment with the way the network perpetually left the late, great “My Boys” floundering on their schedule without any other series that matched its comedic tone, and having watched the pilot for their new series, “Glory Daze,” an hour-long comedy which looks at life in college circa 1986, I have an immediate fear that I could well see history repeat itself…and that would be very disappointing, indeed.

Not that it’s necessarily the most original concept in the world, you understand. Even if you were to set aside the not-insignificant number of college-life movies that exist, from “Animal House” and “Back to School” to “Van Wilder” and “Old School,” you’d still have several top-notch TV series which have tackled the same topic, including “Greek,” “Undeclared,” and…wait, “The Paper Chase”? Who put that in here?

Well, anyway, you get my point: “Glory Daze” is not the first show about college to come down the pike…and, yet, I was immediately intrigued by the twist of having the show take place in 1986. I admit, the predominant reason it intrigues me is because I actually started college in the fall of ’87 (although if I find out that at least half of the writing isn’t over the age of 40, I shall disassociate myself from the program post-haste). That, and the fact that I heard “Make a Circuit with Me” by the Polecats played during the pilot, which earned the show some serious street-cred points.

Here’s what TBS’s press release on the show has to say:

Big hair, New Wave music and acid-wash jeans – TBS is returning to 1986 fo the new, one-hour comedy series “Glory Daze.” Set on an Indiana college campus, “Glory Daze” features a cast fresh faces, including Kelly Blatz (“Aaron Stone”), Callard Harris (“Sons of Anarchy”), Matt Bush (“High School”), Drew Seeley (“Freshman Father”), Hartley Sawyer (“Killian”), and Julianna Guill (“My Alibi”). Tim Meadows (“Saturday Night Live,” “Mean Girls”) also stars as a recently divorced, very liberal professor with a chip on his shoulder.

“Glory Days” premieres on TBS Tuesday, November 16, at 10 PM (EST / PST). “Glory Days” follows the fun – and awkward – misadventures of four freshmen as they navigate college life, trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Joel (Blatz) is a typical guy next door who is determined to keep his focus on pre-med, at least until he meets his unattainable dream girl, Christie (Guill). Eli (Bush) is a virgin who desperately wants to be cool. Jason (Seeley) is a buttoned-down conservative, attached at the hip to his preppy girlfriend. Brian (Sawyer) is a star baseball player strugglign to get out of his father’s shadow. Together, the guys agree to check out fraternity houses, finally coming to the steps of Omega Sigma, where they are greeted by pledge recruiter Reno (Harris). Intrigued by the fraternity’s cool factor, their fate is sealed. They begin a journey that will make a lifetime of memories.

Yeah, I have a bad feeling that the show could well slip into the trap of making too many jokes about things that haven’t yet happened – there’s already been a moment where two students make disparaging comments about the concept of “electronic mail” – but having just suffered through the excruciating experience of watching “Blue Mountain State: Season One,” I am hard pressed to dismiss any college show which appears to be more interested in focusing on the bonds of friendship rather than sex, drugs, and binge drinking.

Not that there won’t be plenty of all of those things going on in “Glory Daze,” too. I mean, hell, it is a show about college.

And speaking of that, now it’s your turn to participate: what are some of your own favorite college memories? Leave ’em in the comments section below…and, remember, you get bonus points if the memories in question originally took place between the years 1986 and 1991!

  

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Conan lands on…TBS?

Can’t say as I saw that one coming, but, hey, fair enough: I always knew I’d watch him wherever he turned up, and it’s not like there’s anything inherently wrong with TBS…well, not anything that a purge of any and all series containing the words “Tyler Perry’s” in its title couldn’t fix, anyway.

Here’s the story, straight from TBS:

Comedy icon Conan O’Brien is joining TBS to host a late-night talk show that is expected to debut in November. The Emmy-winning comedian’s new program will be followed by “Lopez Tonight,” which will shift to a midnight time slot.

O’Brien began talks in earnest with TBS just last week, after George Lopez personally called him to ask that he consider joining the network’s late-night line-up.

“I can’t think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in,” Lopez said. “It’s the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.”

Said O’Brien: “In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly.”

O’Brien and Lopez will give TBS a dynamic lineup in late-night television. TBS – which has built a programming slate that appeals to a young, diverse audience – expects O’Brien to be a long-term addition to the network’s late-night landscape. O’Brien will host his hour-long, yet-to-be-titled show Mondays through Thursdays at 11 p.m. (ET/PT).

“Conan has been the comedic voice for a generation. TBS already has a huge audience of young comedy lovers, and Conan’s show will give these fans even more reasons to watch our network,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks.

With the addition of O’Brien’s show, TBS will establish two hours of late-night talk. “Lopez Tonight,” while just a few months old, has already become a destination show for a diverse audience. The “Lopez Tonight” audience is young as well, with a median age of just 34.

“For decades, late-night TV has been dominated by broadcast television,” Koonin said. “Now, with a young audience and a growing late-night lineup, TBS is set to be the choice of comedy fans for years to come.”

So what are your thoughts on Conan’s move to TBS? From my perspective, it was becoming increasingly clear that Fox was never going to successfully clear the hurdles set by their affiliates, and even if they had, they probably wouldn’t have been nearly as tolerant of fluctuating ratings – huge numbers upon his return, a probable big drop immediately thereafter, then middling out as people figure out which host they want to watch regularly – as TBS almost certainly will be. TBS can afford to let Conan build a presence on their network, whereas Fox…well, I think we all know how forgiving Fox is with their low-rated series.

  

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TCA Tour, Day 1: “Lopez Tonight”

I like George Lopez. I didn’t much care for his sitcom, “The George Lopez Show,” but after watching the PBS documentary, “Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream,” I realized just how funny the guy was. I mean, when he talked about his battling with ABC over his attempts to portray a typical Latino-American family on television (“They said, ‘There’s nothing here that indicates that a Mexican family lives here. There’s not a tortilla maker.’ I said, ‘My tortilla maker was my grandmother!’”), it made me laugh harder than I ever did at an episode of his actual sitcom. As such, the idea of seeing Lopez in a situation where he’s able to be himself rather than a scripted character is one that intrigues me, and after seeing the way he handled himself in front of an audience of jaded TV critics, I have no doubt that his wit is quick enough to serve him as the host of his very own TBS talk show, “Lopez Tonight.”

Of the clips which were offered up of the show, the best was unquestionably the one that featured a filmed conversation between Lopez and President Obama.

And, yes, it’s real.

“I supported Barack Obama during his campaign,” said Lopez. “He spoke to me, and he said that he needed the Latino vote, never thinking that, in the Presidential candidate, those 38 votes would mean the difference between a Democratic president and a Republican president. He called me three weeks ago, and we had a very lovely conversation, a little bit about the kids and a lot about Iran. He is a great guy, and I can consider the 44th President of the United States a close friend of mine. Thank you. And I grew up poor.”

So does that mean that we can expect to see the President turn up on “Lopez Tonight” as a guest?

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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Old Show, New Season: “My Boys”

As you may recall, Season 2 of “My Boys” ended with Bobby running to PJ’s room to tell her, “I think I’m marrying the wrong woman,” only for him to see his brother standing behind her, his shirt half-unbuttoned. Unfortunately, when it comes to previewing the Season 3 premiere, TBS has put TV critics in a bit of a difficult spot by offering the following request at the beginning of the episode:

“We respectfully ask that you refrain from mentioning the outcome of the wedding and the last scene of the episode. We hope that you agree that this is the best way for the audience to experience the full impact of the moment in this episode.”

Well, of course it is. But given that the outcome of the wedding is determined well before the halfway point of the episode, it also makes it a little bit difficult to tell you too much about what to expect from the proceedings. Fortunately, there is no such embargo on the other key part of the episode, so here are the three words which will demand that you tune in:

MUSTACHE GROWING CONTEST.

There are a few other tidbits to be had throughout the episode that longtime viewers will enjoy, including Mike’s ongoing chatter about Maggie and a quicker dismissal of Andy’s newborn child than anyone could’ve imagined. (Seriously, as a sitcom geek, I almost felt like I should applaud. The writers aren’t pretending for a second that it’s going to impact the show.) And, yes, TBS is right: it’s a fine ending, indeed. But years from now, when you consider your favorite “My Boys” moments of all time, you won’t be picturing the ending. You’ll be picturing the boys sitting around the poker table, sporting some of the greatest facial hair you can imagine, and you’ll be hearing the various new nicknames they have for each other.

Oh, and you also might still be laughing at Reid Scott’s impression of Burt Reynolds’ laugh, which is uncanny in its precision.

Tune in to TBS tonight at 10:30 PM EST and get your first “My Boys” fix of 2009…and if you need to play catch-up before then, just look below:

  

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“My Boys” is returning to TBS on March 31st!

C’mon, who else out there is a “My Boys” supporter?

I swear, I think I’m the only one within the Bullz-Eye / Premium Hollywood corral of contributors who has a full-on love for this show, but the camaraderie between P.J. (Jordana Spiro) and the boys (Jamie Kaler, Kyle Howard, Reid Scott, Michael Bunin, and the inestimable Jim Gaffigan) feels as real as any sitcom ensemble this side of “How I Met Your Mother,” as does the back-and-forth between P.J. and Stephanie (Kellee Stewart)

If you haven’t seen the show yet, it won’t surprise you that I heartily endorse the Season 1 DVD set, but if your wallet’s about as empty as mine, then you can at least check out this quick but effective wrap-up of Season 2’s events in time to prepare for the March 31st premiere of Season 3:

  

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