Saturday, December 29, 2012

Steve Burton is going to CBS -- what does this mean for 'General Hospital'

The hearts of soap fans everywhere were broken this week when news leaked that former ‘General Hospital’ heartthrob Jason Morgan would be heading to ‘Young and the Restless.’

The news came as a surprise to a lot of people, mostly because when Burton quit the soap that had made him famous – and been his home for more than two decades – a few months ago, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family in Nashville.

To be fair, though, there were rumors of this very thing happening months ago.

Jill Farren-Phelps, executive producer for Y&R, is the former executive producer for GH. She is, in a lot of ways, responsible for Burton’s character Jason Morgan taking over the entire soap.

Reportedly, Farren-Phelps and Burton are quite close. It hasn’t been confirmed which role Burton will be taking over – but most people believe it will be Avery’s ex.

From what I’ve been seeing on message boards, Burton’s fans aren’t exactly taking the news well.
A lot of them are mad because they believe he lied to them.

Others are mad because they believe he abandoned them.

Ironically, a lot of GH fans are sending Y&R fans their condolences – but more on that in a minute.

The truth is, Burton doesn’t owe anyone anything. If he thinks a move to Y&R is what is best for him and his family – then more power to him.

I’ve seen a lot of people dreaming up conspiracy theories about Burton being mad about his cut in airtime under the new GH regime and only agreeing to go to Y&R if he’ll be the lead.

While I don’t doubt Burton probably wasn’t happy with the cut in his airtime, I do doubt that he’s going to get as much airtime as others seem to be theorizing on Y&R for one simple reason: Eric Braeden.

Braeden is a notorious, um, tool (for lack of a better word). He doesn’t get along with most people and he won’t sit idly by and let Burton supplant him. It’s not in his nature. (Note: On Twitter, he denied even knowing who Burton was)

For Jason Morgan fans that are despondent over this development, I want to remind them that Y&R is notorious for signing big name talent and then cutting them loose a few months down the road. Just ask Maura West, Genie Francis, Tristan Rogers and Eden Riegel.

I’m not saying that I think Burton will be cut – especially since Farren-Phels and him are so close – but I don’t necessarily believe he’ll be on the show for the long haul either.

I should point out, to my knowledge, there has been no confirmation about the length of the contract Burton signed with Y&R either. It could be a short-term gig.

Finally, as a GH fan, I have to side with the snarky posters that are offering Y&R fans their condolences.

I think Burton is talented – when he wants to be. I thought he was wonderful in ‘The Last Castle’ and ‘Taken.’ He was also strong in the first five years – or so – of his GH run.

Over the past 15 years, though, Jason Morgan has become a character I despite. I have nothing against Burton, mind you, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. But Jason Morgan is another story.

Jason Morgan was a thug in angel’s clothing – and I couldn’t stand the way GH elevated Saint Jason of the Docks.

The best thing that ever happened to GH was Burton leaving – and the killing off of Jason.

I’ve seen some fans shift their attention to recasting Jason – but I think that would be a mistake at this point.

Jason isn’t important on the canvas right now. He’s not needed. Why not just sit back and wait and see how Burton’s tenure on Y&R goes before making a big decision. Nothing has to be decided right away.

Quite frankly, I hope Burton succeeds on Y&R – because that means he won’t be returning to GH in the near future. Does that make me snarky? So be it.

What do you think? Are you glad Burton signed with Y&R or are you devastated?

What mid-season shows are you excited for?

We’re basically approaching the second half of our television season. It's getting to be crunch time, people.

After the networks have tried – and dumped – about half of the shows they debuted this fall, it’s time for viewers to taste a sample of what they held back for mid-season replacements.

Looking at the list, there’s very little I’m interested in here.

That being said, there are two shows I’m looking forward to a great deal and a handful of others I will check out while I’m waiting for my regular television schedule to resume after the holiday break.

This year’s mid-season replacements include:

1600 Penn: The show focuses on the first family – aka the president, his wife and their offspring. In this case, Bill Pullman takes up presidential duties (again). His wife is played by Jenna Elfman. I’m on the fence on this one. I love Pullman, but this will probably be pretty uninspired. It premieres at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 10 on NBC.

The Americans: Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) and Keri Russell star as Russian operatives in the Reagan-era 1980s spy extravaganza. The longer they’re on assignment, the more real their arranged marriage seems. And what about those kids? FX has quality television. And who doesn’t want to see Mad Mags herself, Margo Martindale in another FX drama? The show premieres at 10 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Banshee: If cable is the home for quality television, then Cinemax is the exception. The pay channel's shows are usually pretty bad. This one looks no different. It’s from Alan Ball (True Blood) and Greg Yaitanes (House). It stars Anthony Starr as an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of a small town sheriff. Starr is attractive, but this looks too stupid for words. It premieres at 10 p.m. on Jan. 11.

Boston’s Finest: Even if TNT weren’t dead to me after cancelling ‘Leverage,’ I wouldn’t care about this reality show about police officers in Boston. It debuts at 9 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Buckwild: MTV continues rotting the minds of today’s youth with backwoods young adults. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Jan. 3.

The Carrie Diaries: I loved ‘Sex and the City’ and I’m actually a fan of AnnaSophia Robb, but this show has train wreck written all over it. Even if it’s bad, though, I have a feeling it will live to get a second season. It debuts on the CW at 8 p.m. on Jan. 13.

Celebrity Diving: The only way I would watch this is if it was D-list celebrities jumping out of planes without parachutes. It debuts at 9 p.m. March 19 on ABC.

Continuum: This futuristic series stars Rachel Nichols and Erik Knudsen. It’s about a group of eight terrorists who are facing execution when they manage to flee – by going back in time. Syfy is hit or miss with television. Still, I might at least give this one a shot. It debuts at 8 p.m. on Jan. 14.

Cult: This is one of the few shows I’m genuinely interested in. It stars Matt Davis as an investigative journalist looking into the fans of a television series which may or may not be recreating the crimes seen on the program in real life. Jessica Lucas and Robert Knepper also star. It’s on the CW, though, which probably means it’s bad. It debuts at 9 p.m. on Feb. 19.

Deception: I would watch Victor Garber read the newspaper. Still, this NBC rip-off of ‘Revenge’ is probably going to be a big old dud. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Jan. 7.

Do No Harm: This is an update of Jekyll & Hyde, staring Steven Pasquale. Apparently, one of his personalities is just great and the other is a sociopath. This has cancelled after three episodes written all over it. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Jan. 31 on NBC.

The Following: This is the show I have the most interest in this mid-season. Kevin Bacon stars as a retired FBI agent who is called back when a serial killer – James Purefoy – escapes and starts killing again. This show is kind of a mystery. I’ve heard different things – including that it’s set up to be a limited run series right from the get-go. Either way, I love serial killer stories and I love Kevin Bacon. I’m in. It debuts at 9 p.m. Jan. 21 on Fox.

Golden Boy:  Walter William Clark Jr. stars as the youngest police commissioner in the history of New York City. Sounds like ‘Doogie Howser’ – without the ironic acceptance. This won’t last beyond a couple of episodes. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Feb. 26 on CBS.

House of Cards: This is an interesting situation. This is a Netflix show. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright adapt this BBC drama into a modern political tale. It sounds interesting – but I honestly don’t know if it will work. It debuts Feb. 1.

King of the Nerds:  This just looks stupid. Its 11 contestants vying for $100,000 and the title of the greatest nerd of all time. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Jan. 17 on TBS.

Legit: I like FX, but I don’t have a lot of interest in this. This story uses Jim Jefferies as a comedian who makes a lot of misguided attempts to become legitimate. It debuts at 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 17.

Monday Mornings: This is a medical drama that follows the lives of doctors – including Ving Rhames and Jennifer Finnigan. It sounds boring. Although, to be fair, I’m over medical dramas for the time being. It debuts at 10 p.m. on Feb. 4 on TNT.

Red Widow: Radha Mitchell stars as a mother of three dealing with the death of her husband, a marijuana dealer. Now, the character has inherited a mountain of debt and an FBI problem. Goran Visnjic also stars. It debuts on ABC at 9 p.m. on March 3 – and I can already hear people complaining that ABC cancelled ‘Last Resort’ for this.

Ripper Street: This is the other mid-season show I’m completely interested in. It’s done by BBC America – so you know it’s better quality than most shows. It stars Matthew Macfadyen and Jerome Flynn as two British police officers caught up in the Jack the Ripper murders. It debuts at 9 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Zero Hour: This ABC show – taking the time slot of ‘Last Resort’ – is kind of like the ‘Da Vinci Code.’ Anthony Edwards stars as Hank Foley, a magazine editor that gets caught up in a centuries-old conspiracy after his wife is kidnapped. It debuts at 8 p.m. on Feb. 14.
What do you think? What are you looking forward to the most?

YEAR IN REVIEW: Biggest entertainment disappointments

With the good, comes the bad.

Every year, fans are inundated with lists.

Best songs. Best books. Best movies. Best television shows.

I love lists (obviously) – but I also like lists that point out the bad, as well as the good.

Instead of focusing on just one genre, though, I decided to incorporate a couple of them – including books, movies and television.

This year’s biggest entertainment disappointments were:

10. Liz and Dick – Lifetime movies are never good. They’re a guilty pleasure (at best). No one thought this was going to be some amazing flick that belonged on the big screen. I don’t think anyone thought it would be the train wreck it turned out to be, though. I remember when Lindsay Lohan was a good actress. I love that ‘Parent Trap’ remake – and ‘Mean Girls’ was a great teen movie in the vein of ‘Heathers’ and ‘Clueless.’ Lohan clearly has a host of demons to conquer. This movie was supposed to save her career. As the debut of the movie grew closer, whispers about how bad it was started to surface. I don’t think anyone could have realized just how bad the movie was, though. It was like an inadvertent comedy. I hate to kick Lohan while she’s down (okay, I don’t) – but maybe she should retire and get some professional help. Anything is better than stuff like this.

9. TNT – I used to think of TNT as a quality destination for television. A network that gave smaller, quality shows a chance. A network that was on top of the creative heap when it came to developing talent. Yeah, well, my love affair with TNT is over. Despite the fact that it launched a hugely successful and highly entertaining reboot of ‘Dallas’ this summer, TNT also slapped ‘Leverage’ fans in the face last week when it unceremoniously dumped its longest running scripted drama. ‘Leverage’ was never going to win any Emmys. However, it was consistently charming and all five actors had a charismatic rapport with one another. TNT has obviously decided to go the more boring procedural route – dumping anything they have that’s different and inspired. I am not one of those fans who will make empty promises and say I’ll never watch TNT again. I will continue to watch ‘Dallas’ and ‘Falling Skies.’ Saying otherwise would be a lie. I will not, however, check out any new shows from TNT. Not only did they treat ‘Leverage’ show runners and fans abysmally – by not giving the writers a chance to craft a proper goodbye season – but they also told everyone right before Christmas they were out of a job and basically to get over it. Bah humbug.

8. Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris was one of the first. The first what? The first quality author to create a paranormal world that both spoke to readers and inspired their imaginations. This was an accessible world that readers would want to be a part of. It was an exciting world filled with hot, soulful vampires, shirtless werewolves and strong, capable heroines. So, where did she go wrong? Like a lot of authors, this series should have ended a long time ago. Harris just can’t sustain the suspense the series used to have. I think one of the biggest problems came with all of the faerie stories. After awhile, the faerie wars were just too boring and obnoxious to make the average reader care. Sookie was once a charming and encompassing heroine that made me want to learn more about her. Now I just want her to shut up. All this being said, Harris has set an end date for her series. We have one book left. I give her kudos for realizing the series was waning. Now, if only she could talk to Janet Evanovich.

7. Battleship – I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but they should be barred from Hollywood forever. I think just about everyone in the viewing public – whether they’re a casual movie watcher or a fanatic – knew that this was going to be a big flop. I expected more from Liam Neeson – who is a true talent – but the rest of the cast should have been a tip-off. Taylor Kitsch is now, officially, the King of the Flops. Rihanna should stick to singing. And Alexander Skarsgard? As much as I find his Eric charming on ‘True Blood,’ he’s just not a good enough actor to be a leading man. This whole ensemble was a hodgepodge. The script was a mess. And the special effects? Even they felt flimsy and forced. Just a tip: Board games are NEVER going to make good movies.

6. The Newsroom – As someone that’s in the news industry, I was understandably excited about this show. Not only does it star Michigan native Jeff Daniels, but it’s on HBO. That had to mean it would be great right? Wrong. The first episode of the show as really good. I’m not denying that. It was solid. It was well thought out. It was nicely paced. After that, though, the show fell apart in record time. Daniels is a likeable actor. Too bad they didn’t give him a likeable character to play. The rest of the cast – which is solid – also is stuck with vapid characters that can’t seem to break out of their staid little boxes. I think the word that best describes this show is pretentious. I expected so much more from this show. In the end, I gave it up after five episodes. Heck, I stuck with ‘Gossip Girl’ until the end and I couldn’t stick with ‘The Newsroom’ for a season. That’s a little disconcerting for everyone, I’m sure.

5. Notorious Nineteen – Janet Evanovich created a genre busting character when she penned Stephanie Plum. And, for 12 books she managed to delight fans and entertain them with a danger magnet character and her weird menagerie of slapstick sidekicks. Something was off in books 13 and 14 – but they were still entertaining. Then, book 15 was such a convoluted mess fans everywhere started to take notice. Just what was going on here? This 19th installment isn’t improving. In fact, the past seven books are kind of an insult to the genre that Evanovich built. Stephanie has went from a conflicted character to a total whore – sleeping with two guys at the same time and leading them both on. Quite frankly, I can't figure out why either one of them would want her. She’s shown no personal growth – and the dialogue in these books is actually starting to falter. There’s a rumor that Evanovich’s kid is now ghost writing the books for her. If it’s true, Evanovich needs to come out of retirement and save her franchise. Either way, it’s time to put this franchise to bed. For good.

4. Dark Shadows – Casting Johnny Depp as Barnabus Collins was an inspired move. Turning ‘Dark Shadows’ into a parody was a big fat slap in the face to soap opera fans everywhere. This was a beloved show, after all. It had a rich mythology. It had a devoted following. You pretty much had a guaranteed hit. Then, instead of playing it straight, Tim Burton turned it into a slapstick comedy with tired jokes. I bet Burton learned a valuable lesson from this, though: Never mess with soap opera fans.

3. American Horror Story: Asylum  I’m not sure this was really a disappointment. I expected this to go the way of all Ryan Murphy shows and devolve into general crap right from the beginning. That I was proven right still stands as a disappointment for me, though. I love horror, so I wanted a quality horror show that I could watch on television. The first season of ‘American Horror Story’ started out strong and then fell apart in the end. I still decided to turn into the second season. I was hopeful that Murphy would learn from his mistakes and fix what he broke. After all, it had a terrific cast. The season started out strong (again). The horror was uncomfortable. The characters were richly drawn. The asylum was atmospheric. Then, just like everything associated with Murphy, he started throwing everything at the wall to see what would stick and he ruined his own invention (again). You’d think he’d learn at this point. You'd think I would learn, too.

2. 50 Shades of Grey – I generally love it when a book franchises takes off and grabs the attention of readers. More often than not, the written word is cast aside in favor of glossy movies and video games. This trilogy is a travesty, though. I’m not a prude, and I like a little sex in my books. These books seemed more like fan fiction than anything else, though. They weren’t well written and they weren’t well plotted. The prose was akin to a 12-year-old waxing romantic in a diary. As a story, the books failed as general fiction. And, as erotica, the books failed because they weren’t hot. I think this trilogy is an example of telling readers something is cool and them believing it just because someone told them to.

1. The Dark Knight Rises – Maybe I had expectations for this film that couldn’t possibly be fulfilled. Maybe, like everyone else, I had elevated ‘The Dark Knight’ to such lofty levels that no comic book movie could ever attain them again. Still, when I sat down to re-watch the film a few weeks ago, I realized my initial assessment was spot-on. This just wasn’t a good movie. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy really is something comic book movies should aspire to. And, the truth is, perhaps ‘The Dark Knight’ gets more accolades than it deserves because of Heath Ledger’s untimely death. Still, ‘The Dark Knight’ rises was supposed to be the best movie of the summer. It wasn’t even in the top ten. Nolan should be proud of what he accomplished. When he looks back, though, I wonder if he’ll think Bane was a good idea for a villain. And, even if he stands by that decision, would he go back and make it so you could understand him? Still, Bane isn't even the biggest problem. That would be pacing.

Honorable mentions go to ‘John Carter,’ ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2,’ ‘Cloud Atlas,’ ‘Last Resort,’ ‘Smash,’ and ‘666 Park Avenue.’

What do you think? What were the biggest disappointments of 2012?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Port Charles residents make their New Year’s resolutions

Note: This is just for fun -- so no one freak out.

AJ Quartermaine: I will not fake my own death . . . again.

Mac Scorpio: I will get a storyline of my own -- and take my shirt off more often.

Anna Devane: I will learn what latex feels like.

Robin Scorpio-Drake: I will escape from one of these maniacs on my own.

Johnny Zacchara: I will not marry anyone with multiple personalities . . . again.

Carly Jacks: I will at least attempt to have better taste in men.

Luke Spencer: I will not disappear just when my story is getting good.

Elizabeth Webber: I will sleep with someone and not get pregnant.

Laura Spencer: I will return to town and reclaim what is mine.

Monica Quartermaine: I will stop making excuses for the fact that I raised two criminals.

Patrick Drake: I will realize when I’m being manipulated.

Nikolas Cassidine: I will return to town and claim my birthright.

Tracy Quartermaine: I will stop alienating everyone around me.

Alexis Davis: I will attempt to have better taste in men.

Starr Manning: I will stop breaking out into song when the mood strikes.

Michael Corinthos: I will stop letting everyone in my life manipulate me.

Todd Manning: I will stop letting others blackmail me.

Sam Morgan: I will stop being a walking doormat for men.

John McBain: I will join the 21st century and cut my mullet.

Duke Lavery: I will learn a remedy for bed sores.

Robert Scorpio: I will learn how to say Robin instead of her.

Sabrina: I will grow a personality.

Britt: I will realize that I’m being written as a crazy person and not expect to survive much longer.

Heather Webber: I will stop calling the son I sold on the black market by his first and last name.

Steve: I will stop being so boring.

Olivia: I will check into Shadybrook and not come out until I’m cured.

Dante: I will not let a child cut my hair again.
Lulu: I will never convince myself that giving Maxie an important job is a good idea.

Milo: I will take my shirt off more often.

Spinelli: I will realize that I have no place in this town and move.

Ellie: I will find something to do other than Spinelli.

Maxie: I will chase someone I actually have chemistry with.
Kate: I will have myself institutionalized for the next 12 months.

Connie: I will hire a personal shopper/stylist and not consider myself a "super villain" just because I stole a 13-year-old's manuscript.

Helena Cassidine: I will get better locks for Windemere.

Jerry Jacks: I will pick a plan, and then do exactly the opposite of what I originally planned. What? It can't hurt.

Jasper Jacks: I will return to town and reclaim what is mine.

Lucky Spencer: I will return to town and explain that I have been held captive --  not going to the Frisco Jones School for Loser Parents.

Molly Lansing: I will seek parental guidance before leaving the house.

Shawn: I will take my shirt off more often.

Sonny Corinthos: I will stop calling myself a “coffee importer” and own my misdeeds -- even if there are not enough bar glasses in the world to control the amount of "fits" this will cause in my house.

What do you think? What New Year’s resolutions should we hear in Port Charles this year?