Monday, October 11, 2010


New York Comic Con & Anime Fest
Jacob K. Javits Center, October 8 - 10, 2010

There were a lot of bleary-eyed geeks all over the metro area today in the wake of New York Comic Con & Anime Fest, the largest East Coast pop culture convention. Over 75,000 people --many in costume -- attended the event last weekend which showcased over 500 different events over three days.

Couch Potato Cop even got off the couch to get his geek on and fought through the throngs at the annual sensory-overloaded pop culture potpouri.

Due to the tremendous turnout, it took some Con-goers 45 minutes just to enter the Javits. But few compained. Bags of swag [ free convention goodies ] go a long way towards putting people in a good mood.

Guest of honor was Stan Lee, creator of Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk and nuerous other iconic characters. Lee was at the Con all 3 days, and signed hundreds of autographs for fans, some of whom waited in line for hours.

Here are some noteworthy highlights from the extravaganza:

ABC's space alien reboot of the V franchise will be returning in November. Star Morena Baccarin [Anna] and cast members conducted a Q&A panel discussion with fans and also screened new scenes from the upcoming season.

Spoiler alert: we're about to give away a big reveal from Season 2.
Original V diva queen Linda Badler makes a surprise turn as Anna's mother --and their relationship is toxic, to say the least. Anna keeps her mum locked away somewhere on the mothership for reasons that are still unclear, but we'll have to wait for Season 2.

Kudos to the cast for flying in from the West Coast and patiently signing free autographs for about 600 or so fans afterwards.

The cast of CW's Nikita also brought footage of future eps. Couch Potato Cop gave Nikita a lukewarm review when it premiered, and seeing the unaired scenes, I'll stand by my review.
But cast members Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca and Shane West gamely answered viewers questions and signed promotional posters after the event.

Corey Feldman showed clips from his direct-to-video opus 'Lost Boys: the Thirst'. You may recall Felman played one of the original vampire-fighting Frog brothers in the '88 film 'Lost Boys'. But he and brother Alan Frog are the only players left from the original franchise.
The new sequel has the embattled Frog Brothers taking on an alpha vampire, who is looking to establish vampire broods of rave-going, club-hopping kids in major cities all over the world. Hey, I don't make up the plots, I just report. The movie was done on the super cheap, but there's enough creepy chills, gore and humor to satisfy most genre fans.

Couch Potato Cop also learned a fare amount about the character the Green Hornet, the star of a major motion picture with Seth Rogan set to unspool in January 2011. The Green Hornet is one of those super heroes way down the pecking order, maybe a notch above Diaper Man. Put it this way: if he showed up at a club in the Meat Packing district, the bouncers wouldn't let him in.

Still, I've always been a little fascinated with the Green Hornet, because here's a super hero that is driven around by a chauffeur. There's, anti-heroic about having a man-servant.

Here's something: the Green Hornet was created by the same man who created the Lone Ranger. In the lineage, GH was Kemosabe's grandson. Bet you didn't know that.

On the Anime side, Japanese voice actress and singer Minori Chiabara made her first trip to New York and gave a free standing-room-only concert at the IGN Theater for thousands of high school and college age fans.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


FOX' "LONE STAR" has ridden off into the sunset. The low-rated drama had the dubious distinction of being the first show cancelled in the 2010-11 television season after only two episodes.

The show was about a roguish Texas hustler juggling two families while wheelin' & dealin' at a big oil company [think modern-day "Dallas"].

"Lone Star" had gotten mixed to good reviews, with TV Guide's Matt Roush telling an NPR audience that it was one of the show's to watch this season.

However, Fox executives didn't do the show any favors with its time slot: Mondays at 9 pm. This put it against two well-established ratings juggernauts: CBS' "Two and a Half Men" and ABC's "Dancing with the Stars". Good luck with that.

Further slicing up the ratings pie were NBC's ultra-hyped "The Event" and ESPN's "Monday Night Football".

Poor promotion and a highly competitive time slot were too much for a new series to overcome.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HAWAII FIVE-0 **** 4 stars (out of 5)

HAWAII FIVE-O; CBS, Mondays 10 pm
Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park

Couch Potato Cop is a traditionalist. I bristled when baseball adopted the Wild Card, realignment and inter-league play.

I prefer Classic Coke to New Coke.

When there's a remake of a classic TV or movie franchise, I almost always like the original better, almost on principal.

So I was ready to hate on the "Hawaii Five-O" reboot.

But I'm here to testify that the "HFO" pilot rocked.

Written by the folks who re-imagined the "Star Trek" mythos in the 2009 film, "HFO" is unrecognizable from the Jack Lord original that ran from 1968-80 and 279 episodes. The only things you'll recognize are the iconic theme song [played twice] and the characters' names.

"HFO" soars over the numerous other cop shows on the TV landscape with over-the-top action sequences that look more cinematic than small-screen. CBS broke the bank with an opening hostage-exchange gone bad set in South Korea [but also filmed in Hawaii] complete with state-of-the-art army tanks, black hawks and paratroopers.

The pilot breathes freshness in the time-weathered cliche of the newly partnered cops who can't stand each other but learn to respect each other. Alex O'Loughlin [McGarrett] has kicked around in a number of failed shows ["Three Rivers", "Moonlight"], but he's poised for stardom here. Scott Caan's Danno is a roguish New Jerseyite who moves to the rock to be closer to his young daughter.

Some might chafe at the notion of McGarrett & Danno being relative equals in this reboot--after all, Jack Lord was the man. But just go with it.

Daniel Dae Kim is Chin Ho Kelly, an ex-cop forced to resign under pressure after being falsely accused of taking a bribe. Few people know the island the way Kelly does, so McGarrett offers him his shield and a chance of redemption.

Side note: actor Daniel Dae Kim just spent 6 years in Hawaii filming "Lost". The guy literally can't get off the island.

Rounding out the cast is Grace Park, a tough and sassy rookie cop who could have been a champion surfer if it weren't for a knee injury.

Hawaii Five-O opened huge, with 14 million viewers for the pilot.

Those traditionalists who pine for the beloved original can take solace with a Netflix membership and the occasional marathon on Spike TV.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Thursdays @ 10 pm

Man, times are tough. I hear Johnson & Johnson just laid off a Johnson [rim shot].

The tough economic times are reflected in the new season of "The Apprentice", in which most of the contestants are either unemployed or working in jobs they can't stand.

Welcome to the first non-celebrity edition of "The Apprentice" in 3 years.

And just when we thought that we had our fill of The Donald & Co., the new season's pilot is chock-filled with enough conflict & hissy fits to keep us coming back.

The bad economy gives the reality show an added urgency; some of these contestants' lives are on the brink. But here's some bad math: 15 of the 16 will be fired.

In the pilot, among the first contestants we meet is David, an unemployed Sales Rep from Michigan. We really wanted to feel bad for him when we learned that he has 5 kids to support. And then his wife leaves him after he loses his job. David tells The Donald in the boardroom that one reason he wants to win The Apprentice is so that he could put his family back together. Cue violins.

But we quickly learn that dude has an anger management issue. Big time. David shocks his teammates by instigating two separate and silly confrontations. Things almost got physical, but don't worry, the season is still young.

Mahsa, an ADA in Brooklyn, is shaping up to be the Omorosa of the group. On the NBC website, she issues this challenge: "Bring it on, ladies. And yes, I'm referring to the male contestants as well." ooooooh

Mahsa challenges her Project Manager from the get-go and seems to relish in confrontations.
Even Ivanka was taken aback by Mahsa's aggression. Can't wait to see her lock horns with David.

Then there's Nicole, an unempolyed lawyer who was a runner-up in the Miss California USA pageant. Pretty but passive, Nicole was like a lamb being led to the slaughter in the boardroom.

The one notable thing about this season is how quickly things have turned nasty. There was no usual "feeling out" period. Hey, it took Joan Rivers and Annie Duke a good 6 or 7 episodes before their feud got festering.

Fans of "The Apprentice" can rest assured that the show still has the same zip. Uber producer Mark Burnett can edit footage from a State Fair pie-eating contest and turn it into a watchable hour of television.

The celebrity edition returns in the spring.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two and a Half Men -- Season 8 Preview

Two and a Half Men; CBS Mondays, 9 pm

Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Jennifer Taylor, Holland Taylor

Season Premiere: September 20

WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Charlie's hope of reconciling with Chelsea crashes and burns when he's arrested for DUI. He's sentenced to community service picking up trash. Meanwhile, Alan entered a relationship with a frazzled single mom Lyndsey (Courtney Thorne-Smith), whose son happens to be a schoolmate of Jake's.

It's hard to believe, but "Two and a Half Men" is entering its eighth season. Despite Charlie Sheen's real-life legal woes--and threats to quit during hiatus-- it's the returning sitcom we're most looking forward to.

Credit the shows' writers for keeping TAAHM fresh and funny, even after 7 years and 161 episodes. Cleverly referencing Charlie Sheen's legal woes in last season's finale was a stroke of genius.

One major storyline thread that needs to be addressed: do Charlie and Chelsea get back together ? We're guessing 'no'. At least in the short term.

Is Alan the father of Judith's baby ? We're guessing 'yes'. [He seems to think so.]

The only thing we know for sure is that producers are looking to focus more storylines on Jake and that everyone's favorite stalker, Rose, will make some return visits.

That "Two and a Half Men" hasn't shown its age --let alone jumped the shark-- after all this time is a major accomplishment. We're hoping that the show doesn't become a victim of its own success, to wit: over-exposure. The show was recently picked up in syndication by FX, and has already been in reruns in most major markets for years. It seems to be always on.

Another possible concern is that Executive Producers Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn are busy working on the new "Mike and Molly" and might be spreading themselves to thin. Hey, we wish them all the success with the new show, but guys, don't neglect your main franchise.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MTV Video Music Awards

MTV Video Music Awards
September 12, 2010 -- MTV

The MTV Video Music Awards are the one awards show where it doesn't matter who wins; it's all about the water cooler moments.

In that regard, last night VMA's were lacking: no one Kanye-ed the stage. There was no buzz-worthy moment, unless one took offense to Lady Gaga's Meat Dress.

But stand-out performances by Eminem & Kanye West, plus the anticipation of a never-to-materialize Kanye-Taylor Swift reunion, were enough to lure 11.4 million viewers.

We've never been big fans of first-time host Chelsea Handler, but she was on her game. She peppered the MTV reality stars from "Jersey Shore" with herpes and unwanted pregnancy jokes. Handler's best line of the night was when she pointed out that she was the first female host since 1994, "when 'The Situation' was just a classy way to refer to a teenage pregnancy & Justin Bieber's mom had just given birth to her 401K Plan."

Swift sang a song that supposedly was inspired by last year's Kanye acceptance speechus interruptus. Couldn't make heads or tails out of the song, except the chorus where she kept singing 'you're still and innocent' over and over. Cryptic and opaque.

It's been a year already, and Kanye has apologized 4,000 times. It's time for Taylor to let it go.

Lady Gaga won a bunch of awards, but we forgot which ones. We were too mesmerized by that darn Meat Dress.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The Jets & Giants kick off the NFL season from radically different perspectives and it's kind of a role-reversal. The G-Men, as it seems to be forgotten, won an historic Super Bowl just 31 months ago. But that seems like ancient history as they creep into this season, seemingly in a Witness Protection Program. No one's talking Giants football.

Meanwhile, the Jets, who haven't won a Super Bowl in 41 years and who have broken their fans' hearts time and again--inspiring the phrase "same old Jets"--have become media darlings and kings of trash talk. A deep playoff run--even a Super Bowl appearance--seem a given.
And looking at the rosters, yeah, there's a reason for the team's respective expectations.

The Giants haven't been the same on defense since the loss of Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnola and the retirement of Michael Strahan. The pass rush that won 'em Super Bowl LXII has rarely been seen. The offensive line, so solid through the 2008 season, wilted last year. The vicious hit Eli Manning took in the pre-season opener vs. the Jets doesn't inspire confidence in the OL. Plus the G-men are playing in was is usually the toughest division in the NFL. There are those who suggest that Coach Tom Coughlin needs a winning season to avoid the hot seat. I don't think that's true as the Giants are a very conservative organization & Coughlin's Super Bowl ring has bought him some time and equity. He'll need that as it sez here that the G-men go 5-11.

Has any coach in pro sports talked more trash than Rex Ryan ? Obviously he doesn't subscribe to the theory "Speak softly and carry a big stick." While confidence is good, trash talk and guarantees never seem to work in sports. Remember Patrick Ewing ?
Of course, it all works out if the Jets win; not so much if they have an underwhemling 8-8 season. Rex kind of painted himself into a corner. Regardless of injuries or blown calls by referees, the Jets kinda have to win. The league is rooting for them to fall on their face, and their are no moral victories.

QB Mark Sanchez threw a ton of interceptions last year and will continue to chuck 'em this year. LaDainian Tomlinson has a ton of tread on his tires. But the Jets are not about their offense. Their defense aspires to be as good as the '85 Bears & the '00 Ravens. Both of those teams won Super Bowls.

We're picking the Jets defense to dominate enough games to take 'em to a 12-4 record and first place in the division. We'll make our playoff picks down the road.

A new era of sorts begins also with the first regular season game of the [still unnamed] new Meadowlands Stadium, which will host the Super Bowl in February 2014.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: CW's NIKITA: ** 2 stars

Thursdays @ 9 pm
Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca, Xander Berkeley

The CW has been hyping Nikita for months, but the show's pilot has little zip & seems like something we've seen before. That's because we have: this is the 4th incarnation of the "Nikita" franchise in 20 years (2 films & a USA series).
The challenge to the show's producers was to come up with something fresh. The end result is something you'd likely see on the Syfy channel at 3 am.
The basic premise in this uninspired reboot remains the same: Nikita [Maggie Q] is taken into custody by a secret government agency that erases her memory and trains her to be a deadly assassin. Trouble is, no one knows if this agency [referred to as "The Division"] is good or bad.
Before the first commercial, Nikita goes rogue & now the Division is after her.
"Nikita" aspires to one modification in the franchise: more killing, less clothes. Indeed, there are about 15 or so kills, although we lost count. And in the "less clothes" department, Maggie Q sports a red one-piece bathing suit while snapping the neck of a bad guy in a jacuzzi. Don't know what the dude did to receive an "unhappy ending", but "Nikita" doesn't hammer you with exposition.
A subplot in the pilot is the introduction of Alex [Lyndsy Fonseca], a wayward youth who also is captured by the Division to become an assassin. The smart money is that Alex will serve as a protoge to Nikita in future eps.
Hawaiian-born actress Maggie Q [nee Margaret Denise Quigley] first came to our attention in 2007's ping-pong epic "Balls of Fury". At 85 pounds, some of the weaponry she uses in "Nikita" is half her body weight. But she looks good.
The production as whole looks like it was done on the cheap. Yeah, I mentioned it has Syfy network stamped all over it.
"Nikita" also loses style points for being shot in Toronto and trying to pass it off as New York.
Here's hoping that the producers offer fomer-Nikita Peta Wilson a cameo. She could use the work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


ABC, Season Premiere: 20, 2010; 8 pm

ABC's paella of spray-tans, sequins and flop sweat returns for its 11th season. While this season's roster is clearly a notch or two less stellar than that of past season's, we still can't get enuf.

Here is a handicapper's guide to this year's field:

Bristol Palin with Mark Ballas; Vegas odds to win: 35-1.
Palin is neither a performer nor an athlete, and folks in that category don't usually excel. (Kate Gosselin's horrendous performance last season is the best example). And Couch Potato Cop was further disheartened to see Bristol display absolutely no rhythm during a guest spot on Jay Leno. Even during the ABC press conference announcing the new cast, she appeared stiff and uncomfortable. One bright spot: she was paired with two-time champion Mark Ballas, who is a master of hiding his partner's short-comings. It will be interesting to see if the voting falls under Red State/Blue State lines.

Kyle Massey with Lacy Schwimmer; Vegas odds to win: 30-1. Massey is largely unknown to anyone over age 12, as he appears on some Disney Channel Show. The kid displayed some moxie during the ABC press conference by throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Michael Bolton & David Hasselhoff. Hey, you don't hassle the Hoff !

Margaret Cho with Louis Van Amstel, Vegas odds to win: 25-1. Cho is easily the most fascinating member of the cast, filling the 'edgy comedian / Adam Carolla' role. It will be interesting to see if the outspoken, bisexual gay rights activist tones down her schtick in deference to the broad "DwtS" demographic. I'm guessing her introductory package in the premiere will downplay her edgy act and we'll get more wholesome clips from Cho's squeaky-clean '94 ABC sitcom "All American Girl". We're also guessing that Cho will present a PG-13 version of herself, much like Carolla did.

Audrina Patridge with Tony Dovolani; Vegas odds to win: 20-1. Patridge is known for MTV reality show 'The Hills' & a Carl, Jr's TV commercial. Oh, and there were a few nude photos that turned up on the 'net. Not quite a star, but 'DwtS' takes what it can get. Tony Dovolani has to be happy to be paired up with anyone not named Kate Gosselin.

Kurt Warner with Anna Trebunskaya; Vegas odds to win: 16-1. NFL stars have a better-than-solid track record: Emmit Smith, Jerry Rice, Warren Sapp & Jason Taylore all went deep into the competition. Warner himself acknowledged this, but noted that he is the first quarter-back on 'DwtS' and doesn't consider himself the athlete his colleagues were. Fair enough.

Florence Henderson with Corky Ballas; Vegas odds to win: 15-1. Seventy-four year old Henderson obviously fills the 'Cloris Leachman' role in the cast, with the obvious difference that Henderson has a song-and-dance background. Interesting to note is that Henderson campaigned for a spot on the show with 'DwtS' producers for several seasons before finally making the cut. It seems that there's a quota of exactly one senior citizen per season.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino with Karina Smirnoff; Vegas odds to win: 11-1.
Sorrentino, famous solely for "Jersey Shore", is extending his 15 minutes, which is absolutely the right play. Hey, the guy isn't an actor, singer, dancer or writer, so might as well grab anything while the iron is hot. His pairing with the sassy Karina Smirnoff is guaranteed to cause fireworks.

Michael Bolton with Chelsie Hightower; Vegas odds to win: 9 to 1
I had purged from my memory the fact that Michael Bolton ever existed; now I gotta wrap my head around the fact that he's still out there. yewww ! The fact that he'll be paired with the lovely & spunky Chelsie Hightower will make it a little less bitter pill to swallow.

Brandy with Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Vegas odds to win: 7-1. A musical background and being 30- to 40- years younger than her main competitors makes Brandy a clear favorite. Being paired with the Badboy of the Ballroom doesn't hurt.

David Hasselhoff with Kym Johnson; Vegas odds to win: 6-1
If Germany rocks the vote, the Hoff can walk off with the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Jennifer Gray with Derek Hough; Vegas odds to win: 5-1
I don't put too much stock in the fact that Gray starred in "Dirty Dancing" so therefore she has an edge. That was a quarter of a century ago. Plus, it was a movie -- multiple takes til you get it right. She does have a great partner in the tw0-time champion Derek Hough.

Rick Fox with Cheryl Burke; Vegas odds to win: 4-1
Fox has been deemed by Vegas as the favorite, based soley on his NBA career. But as we've seen with Clyde Drexler a few seasons ago, being a hoops star doesn't necessarily translate to the tango. Still, Cheryl Burke will be a drill seargent during rehearsals.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Couch Potato Cop: Upcoming flicks

Couch Potato Cop: Upcoming flicks: "...gee, I thought Lindsay Lohan should have been arrested for HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. Doesn't the Angelina Jolie movie SALT kinda look like th..."

Upcoming flicks

...gee, I thought Lindsay Lohan should have been arrested for HERBIE: FULLY LOADED.

Doesn't the Angelina Jolie movie SALT kinda look like the Angelina Jolie movie WANTED ?

I love Steve Carrell in THE OFFICE, but DINNER FOR SCHUCKS looks like a dud. There are 3 different commercials for this flick, and not a laugh in any of 'em.

And hot on the heels of the disastrous MARMADUKE just a month ago is CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE. Gee, another talking pet movie. This one will be long forgotten before Labor Day.

Lighten Up Brooklyn

Couch Potato Cop got off the couch yesterday to participate in the launch of Lighten Up Brooklyn. At the official weigh-in, I checked in at 255 lbs., a far cry from my "fighting weight" of a svelte 187 from way back when in the Academy. To show my total commitment, upon leaving Borough Hall I walked past Arby's & White Castle and had my first salad since the Bush Administration.
Credit the always energetic Boro Prez Marty Markowitz for coming up with the program about a decade ago, long before THE BIGGEST LOSER, LOSING IT WITH JILLIAN & CELEBRITY FIT CLUB.
for more info on Lighten Up Brooklyn, go to

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

RIP, Peter Fernandez

A note on the passing this week of Peter Fernandez at the age of 83. Mr. Fernandez was an extraordinarily talented voice actor, most known as the voice of SPEED RACER, the mother of all Anime [before that term was widely known in America]. Mr. Fernandez gave voice to not only the title role, but also Racer X and many other characters. He also wrote the English-language lyrics to the theme song, which for my money is the best cartoon theme song ever. Genre fans also appreciate his work in other Anime imports.
I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Fernandez at an Anime convention in NYC in 2007. He struck me as a true gentleman. I didn't realize that he was 80 at the time, as he appeared much younger.
I know he must have enjoyed appearing in the big-screen live action version of SPEED RACER in 2008. [He played one of the racing announcers.] That SR is fondly-remembered today is a testament to his talents.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jersey Shore thing: what's next for Snookie ?

Rhetorical question : will anyone remember who Snookie is 5 years from now ?
I mean, she can't sing, dance or act. But then again what do I know?
So, I put this question out in the blogosphere: 5 years from now will Snookie be
a) a cherished American icon
b) a forgotten pop culture footnote ?

"All About Steve" now on HBO in heavy rotation

Sandra Bullock won a Razzie for last year's ALL ABOUT STEVE. This clunker tanked at the Box Office, but it's now finding a wide audience in heavy rotation on the premium cable channels.

I gotta say...yeah, it's bad. But while it's a failure, it's a fascinating one.

The movie has been accused of being misogynist; anti- mentally disturbed; and even anti- pro-life. But I don't think any of those criticisms are valid. The movie has its heart squarely in the right place. One message of the film is that there's a place in the world for a square peg.

And Sandy Bullock is totally committed to a character who should be ...totally committed !

ALL ABOUT STEVE is a watchable bad movie. In fact, it's so bad, it's [almost] good. It's certainly more entertaining than other iconic clunkers: ISHTAR, WATERWORLD or HUDSON HAWK.

The narrative has enough momentum that you don't have time to be bored, and you kinda wanna see how it will turn out.

To be clear: I'm not saying it's a good movie -- I would lose any credibility.
But it's a goofy bad movie that would be fun to watch with a group with each person taking turns shouting witticisms at the screen.

I've seen worse, that's all I'm saying.

Couch Potato Cop is now on the beat

Hey y'all,
This first blog is to introduce myself, the Couch Potato Cop. I'm a former big city cop, who's now retired. The beat I cover now is my couch and I turned in my shield in exchange for a television remote. I did enough running around in real life; let the young bucks do that.
I've always been a bit of a pop culture maven: sitcoms, movies, pop music, Broadway shows. I've always had strong opinions on what was out there, and now I'd like to share that with you, gentle reader.
Don't know how often I'll post...I guess real life will dictate that. But there's a ton of bad TV out there, a lot to discuss fer shure. Until the next post, happy channel surfing.