Community Returns March 15th! (The Preview)

Bahhhh! If you weren’t watching The Soup last night (or watching the web today), you may have missed the new preview of the return of Community. And man, is it good.

Man, is it good!

Check it out below:

Not only does it look, well, kickass and hilarious, but did I see a massive pillow fight in there?! Huzzah!

Ok, all awesomeness aside, there’s one thing to note: WATCH IT LIVE ON NBC. If you didn’t get that message, let me reiterate: Do you want NBC to renew Community? Do your part. Watch it live. Clearly, if NBC’s touting that message at the end of its promo, it’s an important thing to do. Not sure how they’ll be making their renewal decisions, but one thing’s for sure: Live watching counts.

So watch the return of Community (and all those thereafter) on March 15th. It’s only a week away! And I can hardly contain my excitement.

NBC’s “Brotherhood of Man”

You can’t say NBC doesn’t take advantage of hosting the Super Bowl. In honor of the night, NBC’s got a great new commercial for it’s shows (even the ones not currently on the air, grrr.) Nonetheless, it’s nice to see some of our favorites display their musical talents — and revisit our community at Community after too long of a break.

Enjoy the “Brotherhood of Man.”

This is a shortened version, but if you want to see the full video, check it out here.

 

The 2011 Awards: Part 3

As we come upon the final day of 2011, it’s our last chance to share some more award winners! And I’m glad we are. We had some other last-minute nominations, and as always, these reader nominees are marked with an asterisk (*).

If you haven’t already, check out Parts 1 and 2. And then read below to find out our final winners!

The 2011 Awards

The Finally Forgiven Award: Jennifer Morrison. After being the girlfriend we hated in How I Met Your Mother and single-handedly bringing the series down, it was hard to give Morrison a second chance. But we’re hooked on Once Upon a Time. It’s a role we can be pleased to watch. Morrison, you’re forgiven.

*Best Overseas Adaption: Wilfred. Having not seen the Australian version, this show is still very well put together. It’s dark and funny, and the way Jason Gann acted in the dog suit can’t be beat!

Best Show Based on a Book: Game of Thrones. I don’t think I even have to defend this.

Worst Show Based on a Book: The Secret Circle. The plotlines are a little blah, and the acting overall could use a lot of work. Overall, I wish they would have just stuck with a similar storyline to the books and then spun off into the new and different (a la The Vampire Diaries), instead of whatever I’ve been watching.

Star-Cross Lovers Award: Emily/Amanda and Jack, Revenge. Can’t these crazy kids just get together already? Can’t Amanda (the real one) just give up her vengeful plan and fall into the arms of her childhood sweetheart? Can’t Jack finally look her in the eyes and see who she really is? Doesn’t the dog’s unconditional love mean anything?!

Favorite Couple Award: Leslie and Ben, Parks and Rec. They just make me so happy! Seeing them together then torn apart (with a crying Batman to boot) was so hard. And now we have them happily together again. The final episode this year was just so heartwarming and happy. Love them.

*Most Promise, Least Results: Terra Nova and The Killing. It’s a tie! Actually, this category was suggested to me with a winner (Terra Nova), but I couldn’t let it go without tossing in another lament about The Killing finale. First, Terra Nova. The premise definitely had promise — going back in time to build a new society — but instead of spending time developing the rebuilding, we got another monster-of-the-week/separatist show with little character development. The Robinson Caruso aspect was missing. As for The Killing, well, from the best episode this year to the worst. Red herrings distracted us. There were too many characters. And we spent too much time with a political campaign that no one cared about. And do we need to spend more time discussing that finale?

*Worst Running Gag: Sandwiches, How I Met Your Mother. It was funny the first time. Real funny. But as the years have gone on, the occasional reference to “sandwiches” has become less and less of a recurring joke and more and more of a recurring reference to a joke someone told once. Not to mention that as adult Ted tells his kids more and more inappropriate stories about people hooking up and/or getting really drunk, the idea that he would be hiding any mention of marijuana (especially someone else’s use of it) seems more and more odd.

Best Competition Show: The Amazing Race. This might be one of the few times I agree with Emmy winners, but it’s sure fun to watch. I was laughing out loud a few weeks ago, seeing these teams dress up and do muscle man poses. Even the grandparents looked good!

Best Food Competition Show: Chopped. A new favorite. Just creative and interesting to watch. Plus, it’s nice to see a rotating group of contestants for a change.

Worst Food Competition Show: Top Chef. It’s past its prime and just needs to go.

Favorite Glee Musical Number: The Adele Mashup. I don’t watch Glee regularly, but they cast has always been talented in their musical numbers. Their 300th performance was no exception, and I’m impressed that they can even make an overplayed artist sound fresh and new.

Most Unbelievable Glam Job: Kate Beckett, Castle. I don’t watch the show, though I hear I should. There are two reasons: 1) The first couple episodes weren’t great, and 2) hard-as-nails Kate has now been glammed up as a supermodel. Somehow, I just can’t take her seriously anymore, even if it did increase a fan base.

Biggest Scheduling Faux-Pas: NBC’s Treatment of Community. Once again, something I don’t need to justify. You can just read my post here.

Biggest Overuse of the Word “Event”: ABC Family Channel. ABC Family Channel doesn’t have TV shows. Or episodes. Nope. They have events. Every day. Every week. Every commercial.

Biggest “Spoiler”: Sheriff Graham’s Death, Once Upon a Time. Dear E!, next time you want to write an article about a potential death in a series weeks in advance, don’t title it, Once Upon a Time Spoiler Game: Whose Big Death Won’t You See Coming?” After reading this headline alone, I watched every episode with the expectation that someone will die (and guessing, in each episode, who I thought it’d be). Therefore, there was no surprise in the sheriff’s death. Plus, once you suspected a death was coming, the foreshadowing in the episode itself was more obvious than ever.

Worst Blind Spot: Ben Harmon, American Horror Story. Ok, seriously. He saw Hayden get hit in the face with a shovel and buried her body. Then built a gazebo on top. And yet he still thinks she’s alive and it was all a plot against him? Seriously?

One to Keep Your Eye On: Vanessa Marano. From humble beginnings in Gilmore Girls (where, frankly, I couldn’t stand her) to a short part in the best season of Dexter, Marano is making a name for herself. And in a show I thought had little promise until I watched it, she shines as Bay in Switched at Birth. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Longest Living Animal: Sammy, Revenge. I’m not the only one who’s noticed that a dog that was given to Amanda as a child is still alive, well, and active 17 years later. In fact, JC noticed it in episode one. Either way, I still love him.

Best Old Stand-bys: The Team from Leverage. Not sure what to watch? Go to Leverage. It’s a strong, entertaining show that’s always a good stand-by. Every character on the show is fantastic, and if that’s not enough, the adorable relationship between Parker and Hardison is probably one of the best on TV right now.

The 2011 Awards: Part 1

It’s that time of year. I asked for some nominees from you, the readers, and now it’s time to announcing the winners of the 2011 Awards here on Raked. We’ve got a good mix of shows presented (and I hope you’ll agree), and just like last year, if you see a suggestion marked with an asterisk (*), that means that one of our readers suggested it for the list.

So enjoy Part 1 below. I’ll be following up tomorrow with more award winners!

The 2011 Awards!

Best Cliffhanger: Peter’s Disappearance, Fringe. This is one storyline that kept me going all summer long. And then the teasers, where you didn’t see him, and his voice just kept cutting in and out — that gave me goosebumps of anticipation! Come on, it even had it’s own tagline. That reminds me…

Best TV-Related Tagline: Where is Peter Bishop?, Fringe. Hell yes. Seriously. I think I still want this printed on a T-shirt or sweatshirt that I can wear in public.

Most Inventive New Show: American Horror Story. Sure, it had its flaws (Dylan McDermott for one; the antichrist for another), but when you can’t name another show like it and it gets consistent ratings, it’s certainly one to check out. This one has to be one of the most inventive new shows of the year, making me wonder most: What will next season be like?

*Creepiest Family Relationship: James and Angela Darmody, Boardwalk Empire. We had two gross examples of incest this year, both on the same network! Jaime and Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones, and James and Angela Darmody of Boardwalk Empire. I think the award has to go to the Darmody’s though, because even if it only happens once, having sex with your mom is way more disgusting than having sex with your sibling.

#1 Character I Still Don’t Care About: Stefan, The Vampire Diaries. The idea of Stefan becoming a baddie seemed like an interesting idea. But the implementation was sloppy, and he’s certainly no Angelus. In the end, I never really cared about him anyway, so bad or good, I just don’t care.

Best Hair: Bridget, Ringer. Considering that she went from drug addict stripper forced to come clean after witnessing a murder and going into police detection, she sure knows how to make a neat chignon. Kudos.

Worst Hair: Bridget, Ringer. That ponytail with hair extensions in one of the early episodes was an awful mistake.

Most Annoying Teenage Character: Josh, Terra Nova, and Haddie, Parenthood. It’s a tie! I couldn’t just pick one. Falling in the footsteps of Tyler from V, we have two fantastic characters that bring down a show with something as small as a roll of their eyes. Whining, pitching fits, running away — you name it. These kids make us wince when they come on the screen — and make us change the channel when an episode is dependent on their plotline.

Best Standout Episodes: How I Met Your Mother. From Marshall’s dad’s death to Barney’s discovering his father to Robin’s discovery that she can’t have kids, How I Met Your Mother has brought us some fantastic standout episodes in 2011. Sure, there may have been weak ones in between, but these are the ones that make us keep watching.

*Best Newcomer Actress: Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones. She was given the most difficult role of any of the kids. Sansa could play the lady at court, which isn’t easy, but it’s not particularly hard; Bran could play the broken kid; but she had to play the line of the willful tomboy girl without making it seem out of context given the setting. Also, the work she did in Ned’s final episode was just awesome. Plus, it’s a rather physical role, given the left-handed fencing (and I don’t think she’s left-handed either).

*Best Newcomer Actor: Joel Kinnaman, The Killing. He did a great job showing the audience a conflicted, unexpectedly deep character. Despite how they screwed him up at the end that somehow he was a traitor, his acting performance was still well-done.

Best Musical Episode: “Regional Holiday Music,” Community. Oh, sure, many of you are probably upset that Community won over Glee. I agree. I do have a big soft spot in my heart for Community, and to be fair, everyone expects Glee to have song and dance numbers. People never know what to expect with the gang at Community, which is why I give the award to the Greendale crew for their festive, musical Christmas episode.

Best Musical Performance: Michael’s Song, The Office. Again, Glee could have had a shot here, but it’s missing the sentimentality that The Office had as they gave Michael a final musical number before he moved to Colorado, which even became a Moment of the Week here at Raked.

Cutest Reaction to Pregnancy News: Booth, Bones. That smile that filled his entire face at the end of last season? I think it’s what any single girl telling the father of her accidental unborn child hopes for.

Best Episode of the Year: The Pilot, The Killing. The show flunked in its finale, but the first episode was probably one of the most well-done episodes I’ve ever seen. Michelle Forbes alone was incredible. This was the one show I recommended to anyone I saw after the first episode. (If only I knew how the season would end; perhaps I would have altered that recommendation.)

*****

And there’s Part 1!
Check back tomorrow for more 2011 Award Winners!

Christmas Challenge: Community

COMMUNITY: 2.11 “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”

Troy and Abed in Stop Mooootion!

This can’t be any surprise. Community really broke all rules last year but producing their either Christmas episode last year in stop motion. Right along the lines of Rudolph, Frosty, and other iconic characters, the entire team was made into Claymation characters. Not only that, but they were transformed into holiday versions, walking in a holiday realm, in an attempt to get to the North Pole and find the true meaning of Christmas.

I love it. What I love more, though, is that things aren’t always what they seem. This isn’t your usual Christmas story. The gang is there because Abed seems to have gotten himself wrapped up in a fantasy that they are trying to break him out of. Some sort of mental breakdown.

But Abed won’t let them break his journey. Between songs and jokes, various members of the group are evicted, some picked away by humbugs and others stolen by the Christmas pterodactyl.

But in the end, Abed finds his answer. Well, maybe not. The meaning of Christmas is the first season of Lost, representing lack of payoff (I adore this joke and will do so for years to come), and the team comes to his rescue against the evil wizard, singing a happy song (with weaponry, of course).

What’s wonderful about this episode is not only the jokes, but also just how much time the team behind Community spent on the smaller details. The fact that as people enter and leave Abed’s world, you can see rips in the scenery that depict the study room that they just were. The fact that there are flowers that just sing Christmas carols. And even the costumes that each of the Community group were dressed as — Annie, a ballerina; Britta, a robot; Jeff, a jack-in-the-box (which squeaks for every sarcastic comment); Shirley, a baby doll; Troy, a toy soldier; and Pierce, a teddy bear. It’s just so creative and unlike anything you’ve seen any other TV series do.

I love it.

Recommendation: A must-watch that should be on your viewing list every year, alongside the real stop motion classics. If the creativity doesn’t grab you, just wait for the heartwarming end, and after they all watch a holiday special together, in the reflection of the clay-made TV, you can see the real team gathered there, as a holiday family.

Aaaaaaand Christmas pterodactyl!

‘Whitney’ Is the New ‘Outsourced,’ and NBC Sucks

When I heard last night that NBC announced its new midseason schedule, for some reason, I was excited. After all, it’s a time to react to the crazy shifting of schedules, see what’s starting (like Smash) and find out what’s new after the new year.

So when I glanced down the list, I didn’t react that much. Ooh, Whitney‘s moving to Wednesday to couple with Are You There, Chelsea? Well, that makes sense, they both suck. Up All Night‘s moving to Thursday? Well, that makes sense anyway.

I didn’t actually look at the rest of Thursday night. Why would I? Why mess with a good thing?

In fact, it wasn’t until JC looked at the schedule and read the many reactions to it that we realized something was wrong. No, it wasn’t because Awake wasn’t included (though I am upset about that). Nope, it was because Community was absent.

No, no, it’s not cancelled, they say. They will air the remaining season…once a slot opens up. That’s certainly not helping anything. NBC has basically just signed an executioner’s notice for our beloved Community.

And for what? To save Whitney? To be honest, I’ve never seen Whitney. I never wanted to. There’s been no part of any advertisement or description of the show that has made me want to see it. Whitney herself is incredibly unfunny. The guy playing her boyfriend/fiance/husband/whatever seems to have a decent sense of humor, but when every scene includes an annoying Whitney, I really don’t want to watch. In fact, I consider changing the channel every time a promo comes on at all. It’s just not funny.

In fact, I can’t name one person who watches Whitney. Shout out if you do. But for some reason, Whitney has become NBC’s current case to prove themselves. It’s the one show they’re rallying themselves behind. In fact, it’s the Outsourced of this season.

Does anyone remember Outsourced? I’m sure you do. This one, I did watch — and I learned my lesson. Just as unfunny and frankly, rather insulting and stereotypical, this was a nonsensical “comedy” that for some reason NBC decided to use to prove themselves as the network that brings you quality entertainment. Instead of throwing it to the wolves as so many viewers hoped and prayed they’d do, they kept it going for way too long, single-handedly ruining their Thursday night lineup in the process. Whitney seems to be that today.

Now, I fully expect that Are You There, Chelsea? will be a complete bust and flunk Wednesday night. At that time, either Community will take its slot, or they’ll move Community back to Thursday and give Up All Night it’s Wednesday home again. But all those moves and that “plan B” is certainly not going to help a quality show like Community, which as an incredible fanbase. It’s one of the few smart comedies left on TV, let alone NBC.

So here’s my plea, NBC. Stop sucking. Give us back Community and stop making a case for your failing newcomers. Look at what the people want, not what they don’t. Get rid of the trainwreck that is Whitney and give us back Community. And while you’re at it, tack on a season or two. Because if you don’t, I guarantee you’ll be saying good-bye to a bunch of your viewers.

I refuse to say my last good-bye to Community just yet.

Moment of the Week: A Fistful of Paintballs

I was a little scared when I heard Community was going to revisit the site of it’s greatest triumph: a paintball episode. I shouldn’t have been worried though, because it was great. I loved the music, the western focus, and for nostalgia’s sake, it was great to see Josh Holloway on screen again.

So anyway, here it is. Our Moment of the Week (or maybe more like 21 minutes and 33 seconds of the week): Paintball at Greendale, the Sequel. Watch the whole thing at Hulu.

image from sidereel.com

2010 Awards, Part 1

Ok, guys, we’re nearing 2011. That means it’s time to honor those best and worsts of 2010. With the help our readers, I present to you the first part of the 2010 Awards here on Raked.

As you can see, we’ve got a good mix of reader nominations (marked by an asterisk*) and my own. For the most part, I tried to keep the reader’s reasoning with the award, but if nothing was there (or if I have my own thoughts), I did add a little myself. Keep in mind that this is just for 2010, shows that aired during that time period. Unfortunately, that put some good shows out of the running that might’ve ended before the cutoff last year–but it also gave us a good selection of bad shows to destroy, too.

So without further ado…

The 2010 Awards!
Part 1

Best Use of an Underused Character: Caroline, The Vampire Diaries. Caroline was a pathetic, superficial, shallow sidekick in last season’s Vampire Diaries. Now she’s a badass vampire who’s gained confidence–and screen time. Definitely worth the transition.

* Best Animation: Community’s stop motion Christmas special. Can’t argue with this reader’s pick. A mixing of humbugs, humor, song, and creativity provided us with one great holiday treat.

* Best Leave of Absence: Olivia Wilde, House. I’ll leave this explanation to our reader: “I call this the best because she is left to do some awesome scifi movies [Tron Legacy, Cowboys and Aliens, Now aka im.mortal], and also it allowed Amber Tamblyn to take her spot for a bit.” As for me, I second this, if only to get Amber Tamblyn back on TV.

Best Badass I Should Be Watching: Nikita, Nikita. I’ve heard good things, and the commercials are really tempting. Why am I not watching? I have no reason.

* Best Zombies: The Walking Dead. A reader’s pick, and to be fair, I can’t help but agree. But in the interest of complete transparency, I also don’t know what other shows had zombies this year. 😉

* Best Guest Star: Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee. As much as I’m tired of hearing about her, I can’t deny that people loved Gwyneth on Glee.

Read more awards after the jump! Continue reading

Thursday Open Thread: Holiday-Themed Episodes

It’s that time of year again. The time where we cozy up in blankets in our living room, ready to watch our favorite shows…only to seem then donning colors of green, red, and blue. It’s the holidays, and I’ve got a question for you:

Yay or Nay: Do you like holiday-themed episodes?

Note that I did say holiday-themed. Don’t think that I’ve forgotten those Disney Channel favorites like Even Stevens, where they did try their best to bring Hanukkah to the eyes of children (you know, the one episode out of ten that didn’t go Christmas crazy on the Disney Channel).

Personally, I think Christmas episodes make sense for some shows. I enjoy seeing them on sitcoms. I’m super excited about tonight’s stop-motion episode of Community, and the first few seasons of The Office and Friends had some good Christmas episodes, too. Some dramas can fit in the holiday spirit. In fact, one of my favorite episodes of Bones was the first season Christmas episode. I guess they’re really just fitting for those shows that don’t have a strong story arch where a holiday episode might get in the way.

Kinda like Leverage. As much as I love the show and am thrilled to see it return on Sunday, it’s returning with a Christmas episode. Now, I enjoyed the episode when I saw the screener, but it just seemed out of place.

So for me, if it’s a show that has one-off episodes that can fit in a holiday episode without raising eyebrows, go for it. I’m quite happy to see more than just holiday commercials when I turn on the tube. But as for some shows, just push them aside, and stay with your strength.

What do you think?

Seriously, tonight’s Community is going to be so fun!

*images from TNT and NBC

Thursday Open Thread: Guest Stars

Pardon me if I’ve already went with this post already, but it’s something that’s been on my mind recently.

Does anyone feel like they’ve just been inundated with guest stars recently? It seems like every time I turn on a show, I see an old, familiar face playing a brand-new character. It feels like guest stars are the new black.

Thumbs up or thumbs down: What do you think of guest stars?

I think guest stars can be a fun surprise sometimes, but nowadays, you know months ahead of time that stars will be on a particular series. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I help with the buzz a bit (I had a special post on Summer Glau being on Big Bang), but now they’re everywhere. Big Bang is certainly takes advantage of having people like Eliza Dushku, Wil Wheaton (repeatedly), and other guest stars all over it, and Glee is another. Heck, even How I Met Your Mother is a cuprit.  It did bothered me that Community got a wee bit harped on for bringing Betty White on in its premiere, and yes, Community has had its share of stars (something that makes sense for something that leans so much on movie jest), but I don’t think that show is nearly as bad as others.

I just wonder why people can’t depend on their cast anymore. Are they not pulling the audiences anymore? Do they just not have the talent? They’re now used as publicity ploys that bug me a lot. Instead of seeing a conveyor belt of guest stars, I’d much rather see a quality show that can depend on its main contingent.

But what do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?

image from nydailynews.com

See? There you go. Two in one! Though, Stella was really a recurring character, so maybe she doesn’t count…