TV Gal Takes '24' Too Seriously

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I've talked to you all about this issue before, but recent events have made it necessary to bring this problem to your attention again. There are times when I realize I care a little too much about TV -- perhaps more than any TV critic should.

For instance, when I was watching Sunday night's premiere of "24," I actually exclaimed out loud to my TV, "Oh, I'm so happy that Karen Hayes and Bill Buchanan got married." I was actually clapping. I was happy like I knew them -- as if two dear friends of mine had found love.

If you ever feel I'm in need of an intervention, I do hope you'll let me know.

By the way, if you haven't watch Sunday's premiere of "24," stop reading and go immediately to my "Quotes of the Week" section. The series is too good to ruin any surprises.

The first four hours of the sixth season really reminded me of the genius of "24" –- amidst the required willing suspension of disbelief (Jack never charges his cell phone, his technology always works, there's never traffic, he can jet around LA in minutes, Jack who has been tortured for two years can still kill a man with his teeth, perhaps the ickiest death ever on "24"), the series has created characters I truly care about.

And I'm curious about what has happened to them since we haven't seen them. Chloe's back with Morris and she seems to have done a stint on "What Not to Wear." Long lost Milo is now a manager. Wayne is president (so happy to have DB Woodside as a regular cast member this season). The show is also able to seamlessly introduce new characters who immediately pull me in –- Kal Pen as Ahmed (I call him the anti-Behrooz), Peter MacNicol as the take-no-prisoners chief of staff, Regina King as the president's sister. While I anxiously await the return of some of my favorite "24" folks (can't wait to see Charles and Martha Logan). And I still have lingering questions from last season -- the biggest of which is Christopher Henderson really dead?

But a series like "24" can't survive just on great characters. We need a good plot. And while the first two hours weren't as explosive as last season (how can you top the assassination of President Palmer), the series is off to a compelling start. And for those of you who thought not enough happened Sunday night, trust me when I tell you, you won't feel that way by the end of Monday night. I've barely recovered from the shock.

Now I'm off to buy Karen and Bill a wedding gift.

What did you think of the sixth season premiere of "24?" Talk about it on the TV Gal message board.

Quotes of the Week

"Mom, if you're trying to drive me crazy, I can walk from here." Sarah to her Mom on "Brothers & Sisters." Thanks to Peter for the quote.

"Hey, you just lost your I loveyouginity." Ted to Robin on "How I Met Your Mother." Thanks to everyone who submitted this very popular quote.

"Lots of hair, too many women, enjoys elevators and long walks on the beach." Dr. Bailey to Dr. Torres describing McDreamy on "Grey's Anatomy." Thanks to Kate for the quote.

"Fool me once, strike one. Fool me twice, strike three." Michael discussing Dwight's potential betrayal on "The Office." Thanks to Will for the quote.

"Today I can die for something. To be honest with you, it will be a relief." Jack to Bill on "24."

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

It was a familiar faceapoolza on "24." Let's chat about the less obvious ones. Raphael Sbarge, Jake on "The Guardian," was the neighbor who defended Ahmed. Michael Angarano, Jack's son Elliot on "Will & Grace," is his son and Megan Gallagher, Catherine on "Millennium" and Rose's mom on "7th Heaven," is his wife. Kal Penn is Ahmed. Penn was Kumar in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and Taj in not one, but two, "Van Wilder" movies. Henry Lennix, Jim Gardner on "Commander In Chief," is Walid Al-Rezani. Scott William Winters is the FBI agent investigating Walid. Winters was Cyril on "Oz" and the dastardly Detective Hatcher on "NYPD Blue." He's also the brother of Dean Winters ("Rescue Me").

It was somewhat of a "Good Morning, Miami" reunion on "Boston Legal." Constance Zimmer joined the cast this season and Matt Letscher guest starred as the New Orleans prosecuting attorney.

Jeannette Brox was the hostile patient in group therapy with Justin on "Brothers & Sisters." Brox was Dex on "Brothers & Sisters" and Lexi on "Saved."

DJ recognized Ryan Pinkston played the boyfriend of Robin's sister on "How I Met Your Mother." He was Patton on "Quintuplets." We also saw the "Punk'd" star on "Veronica Mars" earlier this season.

Michelle recognized Frank Grillo as the missing air traffic controller on "Without a Trace." Grillo was Nick Savrinn on "Prison Break" and Detective Marty Russo on "Blind Justice."

Mary and Joe recognized Currie Graham as the police supervisor on "Men in Trees." Graham was Lynette's boss last season on "Desperate Housewives," Stacy's husband Mark on "House," Lt.Thomas Bale on "NYPD Blue," A.D.A. Frank Ginsberg on "Boston Legal," and, of course, Nate on "Suddenly Susan."

Mae Whitman was the teenager with the severely curved spine on "Grey's Anatomy." Whitman was Julie's friend Sarah on "Desperate Housewives," Tammi on "Thief," the fabulous Ann on "Arrested Development" and Emma on "State of Grace."

And I should have mentioned this one a long time ago. Kevin Rankin is Herc, Jason's quadriplegic friend on "Friday Night Lights." Rankin was Doc on "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star," Lucien the RA on "Undeclared," and we saw him last week as the husband of the murdered woman on "CSI."

Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for January 15 to 21

The award show season kicks off with "The 64th Annual Golden Globes" (Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC). Drinks flow freely at this shindig thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which means the acceptance speeches are usually very entertaining. Although I wonder if anyone can top the positively hilarious speech Steve Carrell delivered last year. I love all the actors nominated for Best Actor in the Comedy or Musical category, but it would be great to see Alec Baldwin or Zach Braff win. I'm also rooting for America Ferrera, Kiefer Sutherland, Kyra Sedgwick, "Lost" and "The Office." Who would you love to see win? Talk about it on the TV Gal message boards.

"American Idol" returns with a two-night, four-hour premiere (that seems to be FOX's signature these day) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The parade of horrific singers that kicks off each season is definitely not my favorite part of the show. I know people signed up for the auditions but I still get so embarrassed for them when they screech and indignantly think they sound awesome. "American Idol" doesn't really start for me until we get to Hollywood Week.

So I'm kind of having a love affair with "Friday Night Lights" (Wednesday, NBC, 8 p.m.). The show keeps getting better and better. What I particularly like is its fluid story telling. Each episode seems to drop in and out on the characters without a defined beginning or end. And it's becoming more and more challenging to play predict-a-plot with the series. What will become of Matt when his father goes back to Iraq? What about when the Smash's mom discovers his steroid use? Can Jason and Lyla survive all the challenges facing their relationship? This is such good stuff. Also a special shout out to Kyle Chandler who continues to bring such humor to the best role of his career (and that's saying a lot because I've liked him in every TV show he's done).

Over the holidays I was lucky enough to see William Petersen in the play "A Dublin Carol" at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island and he was fabulous. It was definitely one of those "Oh, that's why they call it acting" moments. If I hadn't known that I was watching Petersen, I never would have known I was watching the same man I see on "CSI" every week. But anyway that's why Grissom took a temporary leave of absence from "CSI" and why Liev Schreiber has joined the cast. But fret not, Gil will be back in Las Vegas soon. My big question is how his absence will affect his relationship with Sara. And if it does affect their relationship, will viewers even get to know about it?

I definitely didn't think "Pepper Dennis" got a fair chance last season so I'm thrilled that Rebecca Romijn joins the cast of "Ugly Betty" Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC. Also Hilda starts a cupcake-making business -- an extremely popular enterprise on TV (see "What About Brian" and "What I Like About You"). So I need to know do you know anyone who actually has a cupcake-making business or is this merely a TV fantasy?

I cannot tell you how relieved I am that Callie has a new hairstyle on "Grey's Anatomy" (Thursday, ABC, 9 p.m.). She's one of my favorite characters and I'm so happy about her new look. I'm getting a little tired of the Christina/Burke stand off on "Grey's." They have the most interesting and complex relationship on the series, let's not turn them into a cliché.

Oh the joy I felt over Callie's new hair was immediately crushed by Ray's mustache on "ER" (Thursday, NBC, 10 p.m.). What the heck is going on with that? If he wants to win Neela over, he's going to have to shave that thing off. You'll have to wait to find out the resolution to last week's cliffhangers (Alex starts a fire, Curtis Ames inside Abby and Luka's apartment). This week NBC repeats the season premiere when John Stamos joined the cast.

Andy Richter guest stars as Adrian's new best friend when "Monk" returns Friday at 9 p.m. on USA. Ashley Williams and Kurtwood Smith guest star on the return of "Psych" Friday at 10 p.m.

As NBC promised, "Crossing Jordan" finally returned on Sunday. But with "24" and the return of "Rome" you may have missed it. Fret not. NBC repeats the premiere Saturday at 9 p.m.

"Battlestar Galactica" moves to Sunday night at 10 p.m. on the Sci Fi Channel.

Marion Ross guest stars as Saul and Nora's mother Ida on "Brothers & Sisters" Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC

I'm off to the January Television Critics Association Press Tour. But I'll be back next Monday to tell you everything I've learned while I was there. I'll also have to discuss the return of "Heroes," "Prison Break," "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars" and much, much more. Have question, seen a familiar face, have an inside scoop or want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.

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