Screen Junkies » Once Upon A Time Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 06 Aug 2014 19:50:13 +0000 en hourly 1 Why In The Hell Are These 5 TV Shows So Popular? Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:18:03 +0000 Penn Collins Who's watching these shows? Please come forward. I'm not going to get angry, I just want to know.

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What the hell were people watching last week?

Earlier today, I read that NCIS just aired its 200th episode, which didn’t really come as a surprise, because I always knew NCIS to be one of those shows that flew below the my radar, but still managed to be one of the most popular shows on TV. Wondering if there are any other shows that fit that description, I decided to take a gander at last week’s Nielsen ratings to see what America at-large (as opposed to the America that posts on messages boards and runs the internet) was watching these days.

Now, being only one person, (albeit one who works reporting TV news) I understand that there are many popular shows that I don’t have the bandwidth to watch. I also understand that every show isn’t Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, or Breaking Bad, but I still feel entitled to ask the question: Why are some shows as popular as they are?

Before we go much further, here are the network ratings from last week:

A list of the twenty most popular programs in the country contains three American Idols and two special events (Pro Bowl and Pro Bowl pregame, which is downright baffling, but whatever, it’s football and football gets high ratings), meaning that among the fifteen most popular, non-Idol shows last week were:

Undercover Boss

What I think I know about Undercover Boss: This show has big important execs go undercover at their own companies to perform front-line tasks for some reason. I’m pretty sure I got the premise on this one from both the name of the show, and the fact that it’s constantly promoted while I watch football.

What Undercover Boss is actually about (from Wikipedia): Each episode depicts a person who has a high management position at a major business, deciding to become undercover as a entry-level employee to discover the faults in the company.

My reaction: Ok. So the endgame is to find faults in the company. This strikes me as a feel-good show, which always prove a LOT more durable than I would guess, as was the case with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It’s a gimmick that I view as similar to Wipeout! in that you watch it once, go “huh,” then forget about it entirely.

Why it is popular: My theory here (this article consists largely of bullshit theories and generalizations about TV audiences at large; caveat emptor) is that “middle America,” you know, the guys with the ties and the short-sleeved shirts and the coveralls, enjoy watching the upper crust eat shit at jobs supposedly “beneath” them. This is perhaps the only show on television where low-level employees aren’t just treated like human beings, but actually appreciated for the work they do. There are probably a lot of people interested in seeing that week-after-week, regardless of the context.

The Mentalist

What I think I know about The Mentalist: Simon Baker is a “mentalist” which means he uses his mind to solve crimes.

What The Mentalist is actually about (from Wikipedia): It follows the fictional story of Patrick Jane who, as a paid consultant, uses unorthodox methods to aid a fictional unit of the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in homicide investigations.

My reaction: Ok. So it’s one of those procedurals that you can just sort of drop in and out of without really investing yourself. I know the star of the show is Simon Baker, who I believe is British and who I know is handsome.

Why it is popular: As with so many procedurals, the plot, while not incidental, is fairly rote, and the only point of differentiation between this and a show like CSI or NCIS or Cold Case or Without a Trace is that it has Simon Baker, who is very handsome and probably British. It’s popular because these shows are universally popular on CBS. Also, the fact that he works for the “California Bureau of Investigation” suggests that the audience for The Mentalist might be extremely patient and forgiving.

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Fall TV Tips: Fairy Tale Dramas Mon, 08 Aug 2011 18:21:20 +0000 Skippy Networks are taking a chance on fairy tales this year. Will their wishes for viewers come true?

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We’ve covered guys sitcoms and girls sitcoms, now let’s take a glance at something different. And for TV, this is something quite different. The TV powers must be looking to cash in on the recent wave of fairy tale-related material in production for the big screen, because they have scheduled two such shows to air this fall.

Both shows mix fairy tale shenanigans into a contemporary setting and the result is a world in which every nerd wants to live.


Once Upon a Time (ABC), Premieres Sunday, 10/23 at 8 pm (ET)

This show gets the nod for a few reasons. 1) The preview is better 2) Ginnifer Goodwin is in it and we’ve seen her naked on Big Love 3) Jennifer Morrison is the lead and is kinda’ hot; 4) Some of the writers from Lost are behind the show.

The story is about a woman who comes to the small town of Storybrooke and soon finds out that fairy tales and all their magic are actually happening for real and she has a connection to all of it. Seems a little dorky, but the preview promises enough geek thrills — like a horse drawn carriage racing through a creepy forrest — to beg for a watch or two. And who knows, it might shape up to be a guilty pleasure you can record and watch when your girlfriend is at work. Don’t laugh, I’ve done that sort of thing more than once.


Grimm (NBC), Premieres Friday, 10/21 at 9 pm (ET)

Grimm debuts two days before Once Upon a Time, but it’s a Friday show and you all know what I think about Friday primetime shows (hint: they suck). The preview is dark and ominous but lacks name actors like its competitor — I forgot to mention that the uber-cool Robert Carlyle is also in Once Upon a Time — and also has a weaker premise. Yes. A weaker fairy tale premise than the other show about fairy tales.

This one’s about a detective that begins to have visions and discovers that he’s one of the last Grimms of the famou Grimm family. All the visions turn out to be true, like the man that morphs into a wolf and goes after the female jogger in the woods that happens to be wearing a red jacket with a hood. Subtle stuff like that. This show will probably do okay with the Buffy crowd because they share the same executive producers and have a similar feel. But I say if you only have time for one fairy tale show this year, this shouldn’t be the one to make time for. Trust me. I’m a friend.

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ABC Now Stands For All ‘Bout (Drama) Clips Tue, 17 May 2011 16:48:28 +0000 Joseph Gibson They're so dramatic.

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Fall will be here in only a few short months, and the TV networks are buzzing in anticipation. Today, that includes ABC releasing short videos, called “clips,” from their new shows. And you can watch them here. You’re welcome.

Pan Am”

A 60s”Mad Men“-like drama about stewardesses starring Christina Ricci, who weirdly isn’t in this clip. Maybe she’s in the bathroom?

Once Upon A Time

Yeah, I dunno. But it doesn’t look good. Something about Snow White, I think.


An updated version of The Count of Monte Cristo starring Madeline Stowe, Emily VanCamp, and other people who probably haven’t read it.

Charlie’s Angels

You know “Charlie’s Angels“? This is that.

The River

Some kind of supernatural horror thing. Not based on the Jean Renoir film of the same name.


A show about publicists starring Shonda Rhimes.

Well, there you have it. In case these clips have piqued your imagination, here’s the fall schedule for dramas. You’re welcome again.


8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”

10:00 p.m. “Castle”


8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing” [New Show]

8:30 p.m. “Man Up” [New Show]

9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”

10:00 p.m. “Body of Proof”


8:00 p.m. “The Middle”

8:30 p.m. “Suburgatory” [New Show]

9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”

9:30 p.m. “Happy Endings”

10:00 p.m. “Revenge” [New Show]


8:00 p.m. “Charlie’s Angels” [New Show]

9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”

10:00 p.m. “Private Practice”


8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”

10:00 p.m. “20/20”


8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”


7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time” [New Show]

9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”

10:00 p.m. “Pan Am” [New Show]


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