The CDP 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview.

Ladies and gentlemen, Nerd Easter is finally here. And unlike the Christian Easter we’re all so fond of, my savior (the Almighty Television) actually does resurrect itself annually to save us from the banality, fear and confusion of an unstable and depraved planet. Lift ye hands to the Digital Lord and give thanks, Brothers and Sisters; the massive CDP 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview has finally arrived!

For the astounding fifth year in a row, we’re back to share with you the scoop on over 80 new, returning and canceled television shows, spanning well over 75 hours of tube-watching entertainment, complete with over 40 photographs for your eyeballing pleasure. For you, it’s a chance to see what I’ll be devoting the bulk of my time to, and for me, it’s a chance to once again hopelessly indulge in my vices and get just that much dumber-er.

And just for the record, I dig Easter. Cadbury Cream Eggs are proof enough of God. All posted times are for the Central Time Zone; try to keep up.

MONDAY

I Will Be Watching…

7:00-8:00 – House, M.D. (FOX)
7:00-8:00 – Ring Of Honor (HDNET)
7:00-8:00 – Antiques Roadshow (PBS)
7:30-10:30 – Monday Night Football (ESPN)
8:00-10:00 – WWE Monday Night Raw (USA)

And Here’s Why…

Monday night at CDP Headquarters is…eclectic to say the least. In addition to watching the premiere sports event of the week (Monday Night Football) and the most popular medical drama on the air (House, M.D.), me and the Missus will take in three hours of Sports Entertainment in the form of WWE Monday Night Raw (the most popular show on cable television) and the up-and-coming talent explosion of Ring Of Honor.

And if all that seems just a little too masculine and white-trashy for you, we toss in the majesty of Antiques Roadshow for a touch of class. In hindsight, this isn’t really eclectic at all; they’re more or less the most popular shows on television Monday night, and we just happen to watch all of them, demographic information and studied viewing habits be damned.

After removing myself from House, M.D. for a season, I’m coming back to see how things have been, welcome Chase and Cameron back into the fray and remind myself why Hugh Laurie is the best dramatic actor on television. As a ‘smart’ pro wrestling fan, I was tickled pink when HDNet decided to give the indie promotion Ring Of Honor their own television show. If you’re one of these folks that haven’t given a crap about pro wrestling since you were a kid or teenager, you’ll be absolutely blown away by the talents of some of these young upstarts.

WWE Monday Night Raw, while sorely lacking in star power and anything resembling a decent storyline, is still the flagship show for Vince McMahon’s empire, and the live feel within the sold-out arenas is always a fantastic thing to check out. Same goes for Monday Night Football, although I’m probably the only guy in America that’s going to miss Tony Kornheiser. Antiques Roadshow never gets old; my reactions to mind-blowingly expensive items are just as animated to the ones that are worth exactly nothing.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

7:00-9:00 – Dancing With The Stars (ABC)

I’ve never watched a season (or more than a full minute) of Dancing With The Stars, but they might have pulled off the nearly-impossible task of roping me in due to the inclusion of Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell in this season’s celebrity roundup. Liddell, who went on a tear in the UFC the likes of which we’ve never seen, is privately noted for his dancing abilities, but might also KTFO a judge that says anything negative about his style. Tom Bergeron ahoy!

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

The Entire CBS Prime Time Block (CBS)
(How I Met Your Mother, Accidentally On Purpose, Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and CSI: Miami)

Also known as ‘The Block Your Mom Watches,’ CBS continues to attempt revival of the dying dinosaur that is the Studio Audience Sitcom. I understand the raunchy, silly popularity of shows like Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, and I’ve actually heard positive words about The Big Bang Theory, but it just isn’t enough to right a ship that I abandoned years ago. Furthermore, throwing a new Jenna Elfman comedy (Accidentally On Purpose) into the mix is more than enough reason to keep me thoroughly repelled.

TUESDAY

I Will Be Watching…

8:00-9:00 – Dirty Jobs (DISC)
8:00-9:00 – The First 48 (A&E)
9:00-10:00 – ECW (SYFY)

And Here’s Why…

Tuesday is a quieter night at Headquarters; normally a chance for me to catch up on my programming, clear out the DVR a bit and maybe watch a movie or two. Of course, when I say ‘quieter,’ I mean ‘only 4-5 hours of new television to take in.’

Dirty Jobs is a Discovery Channel mainstay; host Mike Rowe is the most masculine, charming dude on television, and I’m begging someone to take notice and give this guy his own talk show. The First 48 is, hands down, the best True Crime show on television, and that’s saying a lot considering the saturation point of the competition. Word of warning, though; they pretty much give you access to everything and censor almost nothing, so be prepared to have your brain scarred. Rounding out the night is more WWE action on ECW.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

7:00-8:00 – Shark Tank (ABC)

I’m probably going to throw Shark Tank into my weekly rotation, not at all because I enjoy the idea of jackass billionaires waving proverbial carrots in front of the noses of talented inventors and entrepreneurs, but because I like to see new ideas from people that want to change the world.

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

The Biggest Loser (NBC)

The idea that morbidly obese people are sitting at home, eating snacks on their couch and rooting for other, even more-morbidly obese people to lose as much weight as possible, to me, would be hilarious if it wasn’t so exploitative and disgusting. It makes sense that the only reason NBC would ever put an overweight person on any of their shows would be in this sort of cringe-worthy fashion.

WEDNESDAY

I Will Be Watching…

7:00-8:00 – Time Warp (DISC)
7:30-8:00 – The Middle (ABC)
8:00-8:30 – Modern Family (ABC)
8:00-9:00 – Mythbusters (DISC)
8:00-9:00 – Ghost Hunters (SYFY)
9:00-10:00 – Destination Truth (SYFY)
9:00-10:00 – The Ultimate Fighter (SPIKE)

And Here’s Why…

In TV terms, Wednesday is the best night of the week at CDP Headquarters. This is our Family Night. Our TGIF. Our SNICK, if you will. We have the friends over, crack a few beers and pie, and watch a whole buttload of awesome television. We do this mainly because the bulk of our favorite Wednesday shows are on cable, which none of my friends have for some reason. Anytime you happen to be in the Madison area on a Wednesday night, give me a call and you’re more than invited. But seriously, bring pie.

My favorite part of Wednesday (when Lost isn’t on) is the FIVE FULL HOURS of non-fiction, documentary-esque and quality reality programming we get. On Discovery, we get the one-two punch of Time Warp and Mythbusters, two of the most informative and fun shows anywhere on the dial. Over on SyFy, we get the Skeptic vs. Believer block with Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth.

And seriously folks, anyone that gets any sort of enjoyment out of my page and my voice should check out Josh Gates on Destination Truth. You will not be disappointed. Each week, he hops in a plane and goes searching for mythical creatures, like Nessie and Bigfoot, hitting ridiculous pitfalls along the way (lying natives, faulty equipment, problems of all sorts). The joy doesn’t come in what little evidence he manages to scrounge, it’s in the hilarious journey.

Over on Spike TV, we get a returning season of The Ultimate Fighter. This show is a must-watch for not only established Mixed-Martial Arts fans, but anyone that’s interested in getting their feet wet. In standard Reality Show function, we take 16 wannabe MMA fighters, stick them all in the same house, and watch as they train, develop and pummel the snot out of each other for the hopes of snagging a contract with the UFC.

Last but not least, we get two brand new ABC comedies in the form of Modern Family and The Middle. Every season a show or two like this comes along with high hopes and critical expectations, and here’s to their plight. Modern Family looks very similar to the ill-fated (but amazing) Sons & Daughters, and The Middle will have to live up the wacky Gold Standard of Malcolm In The Middle. I have faith; so should you.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

8:00-9:00 – Glee (FOX)

…Although I don’t really know why. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding this show, and it shouldn’t have a problem finding an audience after their wildly-successful post-American Idol debut last season. Whenever the United States is in the crapper the most, entertainment fans are more willing to turn to fantasy and musicals as an escape. This perfectly explains True Blood‘s inexplicable rise to HBO immortality (mind the pun), and also why Glee seems to be the breakout hit of the season.

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

Cougar Town (ABC)

The name alone sounds like a fake title created for a SNL sketch or Tracy Jordan film on 30 Rock (MILF Island?). ABC should know by now that sleaze-light, soap-y shows (even presented in sitcom form) aren’t really the things that fans are clamoring the most for (and Desperate Housewives was a fluke). Furthermore, when it comes to sleazy and soap-y, nothing on national television can compete with premium cable and the FX network. Hey, blame the censors, not me.

THURSDAY

I Will Be Watching…

7:00-8:00 – FlashForward (ABC)
7:00-8:00 – WWE Superstars (WGN)
7:00-7:30 – SNL Weekend Update/Community (NBC)
7:30-8:00 – Parks And Recreation (NBC)
8:00-8:30 – The Office (NBC)
8:00-8:30 – Tosh.0 (COM)
8:30-9:00 – Community/30 Rock (NBC)
9:00-9:30 – Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory (MTV)

And Here’s Why…

Thursday is another huge TV night at CDP Headquarters, with another five hours of new programming to ingest through our cerebrum. However, unlike the non-fiction interest of Wednesday, Thursday typically brings more ‘Ha-Ha!’ than ‘Hmm-Hmm?’ And no, I have absolutely no idea what I just said, either.

The Crown Jewel of Thursday night is the ‘Must-See Thursday’ on NBC. Returning heavyweights The Office and 30 Rock return to stake their claim as the funniest shows on television, while the shaky Parks & Recreation tries to hit their stride in Season 2. SNL Weekend Update Thursday will pull some slack for the first half of the season (replacing the canceled My Name Is Earl), and the debuting Community will replace the craptacular monstrisity that was the American remake of Kath & Kim. Between you and me, I like Joel McHale, but Community looks…well, how should I put this? Not funny at all. Hey, maybe I’m wrong, though; it’s certainly worth a crack.

The third of four WWE programs during the week, Superstars, enters their second season on WGN America. Superstars is very similar to the Saturday morning Superstars you used to watch as a kid, only you no longer recognize anyone and feel very, very old. Hey man, deal with it. Getting back into pro wrestling is a lot like drinking beer; you’ll be disgusted the first few times, but soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I’m not kidding.

Another new and promising drama is ABC’s FlashForward. Following the Lost-influenced tradition of Invasion, The Nine, Six Degrees and at least a dozen others, FlashForward looks to buck the ‘instantly-canceled’ trend and bring forth something new and interesting. Time will tell.

Rounding out Thursday night are the two cable comedies Tosh.0 and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. Comedian Daniel Tosh runs us through the disturbing, voyeuristic and always entertaining world of Viral Videos with his usually-fantastic wit, and Rob Dyrdek…pretty much does whatever the hell he wants to within the playhouse-esque world of his company warehouse.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

8:00-9:00 – Supernatural (CW)
8:00-9:00 – Fringe (FOX)

I’ve been on and off with Supernatural for years. It’s a good show. It’s hip, genuinely suspenseful at times and generally captivating, but tends to get lost in the shuffle of all the other good programs aired on Thursday. Same goes for Fringe, a show that held their own quite well in Season 1, and should take that clout seriously come Sophomore year.

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

Vampire Diaries (CW)

Why does this wave of interest in Vampires show up once or twice each decade? Oh wait, I know why (see my above social commentary on True Blood for the answer). Nevertheless, I’m not, nor will I ever be, on board. Vampires aren’t real. They don’t exist. And why are women so enthused and turned on by the eroticism of Vampires, when females are nothing but brutalized and dominated in the novels, movies and TV shows? I DON’T GET IT; NO STARS. Well, maybe I actually do get it, but to accept the reality that most women enjoy being dominated is a little too much for this pale little boy to wrap his dainty, nonthreatening fingers around.

FRIDAY

I Will Be Watching…

7:00-9:00 – WWE Friday Night Smackdown (MYNET)

And Here’s Why…

Friday nights, for me, mean one of two things. One, I’ll be drinking outside of the house, or two, I’ll be drinking in front of the television. Because of this option, I don’t watch a lot of new TV on this night; I either catch up on stuff I’ve recorded, or I actually partake in mingling with the remainder of the human race. Nobody ever said this life was going to be easy, kid.

If you’ve been following along from the beginning, you’ll see that World Wrestling Entertainment has six hours of original television programming time a week, not counting their monthly Pay-Per-Views that are three hours a pop. Even if you don’t think pro wrestling is worth your time, you have to respect the constant work, touring, production and writing that takes place each week in the WWE Universe. For my money, Smackdown is the best of the bunch, retaking their throne after years of Monday Night Raw dominance.

Either that, or just watch nothing. See if I care.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

8:00-9:00 – Dollhouse (FOX)

When it comes to Joss Whedon, you can bank on a few things. Critical darling. Cult Following. Can do absolutely no wrong. Almost instantly canceled (okay, maybe not all the time). Fanboys bitch and quote until the end of time. Hey, speaking of which…do Joss Whedon fans ever think that their excessive worship and constant reverence of the man just might be the same reason why his work doesn’t seem to attract a mainstream audience? Just a thought there, kids.

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

Brothers (FOX)

Michael Strahan, a professional football player, deserves a television sitcom almost as much as Emeril Lagasse, a professional cook, did (remember that?). However, I’ve always admired FOX’s devotion to taking such wild, stabbing chances at something that’s so obviously a steaming, smoking ball of digital shit.

SATURDAY

I Will Be Watching…

7:00-8:00 – Cops (FOX)
7:00-8:00 – Dateline (NBC)
10:30-12:00 – Saturday Night Live (NBC)

And Here’s Why…

Saturday, like Friday, should be your night out of the house. Go out to dinner. Hit the movies. Stop off for a drink. Stumble home and maybe, just maybe, indulge in a wee dab of intercourse. If you’re me, however, you prefer to order dinner in, dislike movie theaters, own a fully-stocked bar and have been with the same woman for 10 years. For guys like me (and maybe guys/gals like you), there’s still plenty of decent television to look forward to.

Cops is my rock. My confidant. Where I go when I’m sad and need an emotional boost. I can’t imagine television without it (seriously, it’s been on the air since I was 7). Same goes for Dateline, what with their sting operations, true crime stories and pedophile dragnet-arresting ways. Saturday Night Live; same deal. Always there for me. Something to look forward to. It is in these ways that Saturday night television is the macaroni and cheese of entertainment; safe, comforting and always there when you need it.

And hey, if there’s still time, you can always sneak in some sex during the nightly news.

And I Might Take A Chance On…

Nothing!

If anything, I’m watching the 60 hours of television I have stocked up on the DVR; usually the stuff that’s in what I like to call ‘TiVo Limbo,’ that gray area where a show is too important to delete without watching, but you couldn’t bring yourself to actually sit down and watch it unless your life depended on it.

In fact, allow me to tell you what’s currently sitting in my own Personal TiVo Limbo:

Tales From The Crypt – 14 Episodes
Freddy’s Nightmares – 7 Episodes
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Freaks
Burn After Reading
Torchwood: Children Of Earth – 5 Episodes

25 hours of stuff I’m almost certainly never watch, but cannot delete. Be honest with me; am I a DVR Hoarder? I’ll let you ponder that a second while I move on.

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

Everything Else!

Seriously, there’s nothing on Saturday night but college football and Slap Chop commercials. “You’re gonna love my nuts!”

SUNDAY

I Will Be Watching…

6:00-7:00 – America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
7:00-7:30 – The Simpsons (FOX)
7:00-11:00 – Sunday Night Football (NBC)

And Here’s Why…

Do I even need to explain why I’ll be watching AFV and The Simpsons? They’re like the Citizen Kane and Plan 9 of television shows; two yin-and-yang works of art that have endured the test of time as classics in their own special way. One, being the smartest, funniest, most brilliant and time-honored work in the history of the medium, and the other a cesspool of vomiting babies and decimated testicles.

Sunday Night Football cleanses the palate, so to speak, although I don’t want to even refer to Chris Collinsworth in the same sentence as the word ‘palate.’

And I Might Take A Chance On…

7:00-8:00 – The Amazing Race (CBS)

…But honestly, I probably won’t. Is this a show about Aryans?

But I Will Avoid At All Costs…

Anything By Seth MacFarlane (FOX)
(Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show)

Well, FOX is sure attempting to get their money’s worth out of this guy. Considering all of the cash, cast, crew, writers, producers, sponsors and viewers that solely depend on Mr. MacFarlane’s health and well-being, I’d almost, almost, like to see the guy get hit by a bus just to see how FOX would have to scramble.

Almost.

So, there you have it. A week’s worth of new and retuning television shows, guaranteed to intrigue, enlighten and tingle the pantaloons. But hey, don’t go anywhere, because we’re not even close to done here!

TOP 10 NOTABLE MIDSEASON SHOWS

Just because it’s not premiering in September doesn’t mean it’s any less important (well, in some cases it does). Here’s a spotlight on 10 new and returning shows that will catch up with us at the very end of 2009, or near the beginning of 2010.

#10 – Scrubs (ABC)
The Rasputin of shitty comedy rises again! Zach Braff is clearly Satan.

#9 – Important Things With Demitri Martin (COM)
This show is hit-and-miss, but any fan of Demitri Martin will enjoy his hipster one-liners and meta sketches.

#8 – American Idol (FOX)
The only thing that will get me to return to this struggling franchise is the departure of Paula Abdul, so I’m keeping Idol on my radar come January.

#7 – Happy Town (ABC)
Trying hard to remind us of Twin Peaks (but actually more reminescent of Picket Fences), Happy Town looks to be an interesting, quirky and mysterious drama that drops sometime later in the year.

#6 – Better Off Ted (ABC)
I’ve been told that this is a good show by people who’s opinions I trust. This is the only information I can relay to you at this time. Please stay tuned, however, for further bulletins should information change.

#5 – V (ABC)
Here is the official synopsis of this sci-fi remake from ABC: “Giant spaceships appear over all major cities of the world, the alien “Visitors” claiming to come in peace. As some humans begin to doubt the sincerity of the Visitors, Homeland Security agent Erica Evans (Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers that the aliens have spent decades infiltrating our governments and businesses and are now in the final stages of their plan to take over the planet.

Boom! Juliet gets her own show! And it’s a remake of an already-awesome show! I’m there!

#4 – Day One (NBC)
In recent years, NBC cannot do post-apocalyptic sci-fi to save their lives (or really anything even remotely resembling the genre), but if they succeed with the ‘Last People On Earth’ premise of Day One, it could be a fitting, suitable and long-lasting replacement for the constantly-faltering Heroes.

#3 –Metalocalypse (TOON)
Brendon Small is my Joss Whedon. I love everything the guy puts his hands on. After Home Movies alone, he can do absolutely no wrong in my book. The long-awaited third season of Metalocalypse will continue our journeys with Dethklok, the Most Popular Band In The World, and their swath of ineptitude and metal across the planet. Absolutely hilarious; maybe the funniest animated series on TV right now, giving the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block a much-needed anchor.

#2 – Friday Night Lights (TV101)
Okay, now we’re getting serious. Friday Night Lights, a show that almost nobody thought would last more than a single year, is now entering their fourth of at least five guaranteed seasons of astoundingly brilliant and groundbreaking television. This comes at a bit of a cost, however, as new episodes will once again air first on the DirecTV-only ‘TV101’ Channel, before airing on NBC at a later date. Speaking as a guy that did not have DirecTV during Season 4, waiting for NBC to air your favorite show knowing that it has already aired elsewhere, is torture. Speaking as a guy that now does have DirecTV, I’m piddly-pantsed with anticipation.

#1 – Lost (ABC)
It’s come to this. After over 100 hours and six years of what could be the best undefinable-genre show of all-time, we’re down to just 18 more episodes to see how many answers can be wrapped and stuffed into such a seemingly small package. Not airing until at least January of 2010, Lost will arrive in a bittersweet fashion, with fans knowing that this will be the last go-round for the series that has captivated and obsessed them since 2004.

TOP 10 NOTABLE CANCELLATIONS

Take off your hat, tip a 40oz. and show some respect for the shows that are no longer with us this year. Some left us too soon, some left us after a long and illustrious tenure, and some had no business being here in the first place.

#10 – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)
Apparently, I saw this coming long before anyone at FOX did. That sort of worries me.

#9 – Reaper (CW)
I’m assuming this was a documentary series following Blue Oyster Cult.

#8 – Samantha Who? (ABC)
Exactly.

#7 – Sit Down, Shut Up (FOX)
I had no idea that Mitchell Hurwitz was capable of creating something so crudely unfunny.

#6 – Everybody Hates Chris (CW)
After a good, long CW run, Chris Rock can now go back to being the funniest stand-up comedian on the planet. Come home; we’ve missed you.

#5 – Prison Break (FOX)
You have to hand it to them, they squeezed a lot of storylines out of such a weak and brief premise.

#4 – Kath And Kim (NBC)
Congratulations, Selma Blair. You are officially the Most Annoying And Unbearable Television Character That I Have Ever Had The Horrid Misfortune Of Viewing For An Entire Inexplicable Season. And yeah, I understand that means you did your job and succeeded as an actress to make this completely irredeemable bitch of a woman come to life before my very eyes, but that doesn’t make the pain go away any faster. It hit way too close to home.

#3 – Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Such a shame. It was so funny! So beautiful! So quirky, demented and unique! It’s a shame that not enough people understood it and gave it a chance.

Wait; who am I kidding? I didn’t watch a single episode of this show, and neither did you.

#2 – My Name Is Earl (NBC)
Jason Lee, a proud Scientologist, serves on the Board of Advisors for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an organization founded by the Church of Scientology, ‘dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric violations of human rights.‘ Basically, that same anti-psychiatry hogwash that Tom Cruise spouts about mental illness not being a legitimate medical disease, and that the use of any medication is a destructive and unnecessary practice.

In short, Jason Lee is a head-shakingly ignorant and egotistical moron, and I won’t miss him one bit. This is the same mindset that tells parents to pray for their sick, diabetic children, instead of taking them to a hospital for an actual solution to their problems. Sorry to editorialize here, but…seriously, screw that guy. If you don’t think there’s at least one person on this Earth that wouldn’t benefit from a therapy session and a bottle of pills, then there’s really nothing I can do for you.

#1 – King Of The Hill (FOX)
On September 13, 2009, FOX will air the final two episodes of King Of The Hill, the second-longest running animated series of all-time. A series that managed to out-do even The Simpsons in brilliance from time to time. A Mike Judge symphony of the mundane, understated, subtly satirical and genuinely heartwarming. TV royalty, and one of my favorite shows ever. You will be greatly missed.

TOP 5 NOTABLE WEEKNIGHT SHOWS

When it comes to new, quality programming, it’s not all weekly stuff you should be paying attention to. Here’s just a handful of daily entertainment that are all well worth a place in your DVR Series Recording schedule.

#5 – The Jay Leno Show (NBC)
As a lifelong late-night talk show fan, I’m interested to see what’s planned for Jay’s move to the pre-nightly news timeslot. Hell, it might even help out Conan’s slumping ratings, too.

#4 – Pardon The Interruption (ESPN)
The best (and only) show on ESPN that you should make a point to watch, PTI combines every aspect of asinine debate, shoddy journalism, Deadspin-esque satire and the idea that maybe- just maybe– hosts Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser couldn’t give a shit less about sports. I admire that immensely.

#3 – The Colbert Report (COM)
Look, everyone knows that Colbert’s character is genius, but the one thing that sticks in my craw is the way he handles interviews. Going solo, Colbert’s blowhard voice makes perfect sense, but it tends to be overbearing and overshadowing to the usually very interesting guests he invites onto the show. This is why I normally only watch the first two acts of The Colbert Report; it just gets too annoying when the very thing he’s trying to satirize gets in the way of the actual point.

But yeah, we all know it’s a great show. Check it out.

#2 – Attack Of The Show! (G4)
I’m a Tech TV guy. Loved The Screen Savers, loved Call For Help. Loved Leo Laporte, Cat Schwartz and that other fat guy that was always around. So when the computer-savvy, yet user-friendly Tech TV morphed into the Spike TV-esque G4, I essentially turned into a grumpy old man. What was once a place where technology fans new and old could congregate for information, tips and entertainment, had now turned into a haven of inside jokes, misogyny and programs where you make money by not throwing up.

It’s still like that, but their flagship program, Attack Of The Show!, is still worthy of your time. Rounding up the best (and worst) of the Internet, gaming and computer news, DVD and movie reviews, gadget releases and retro throwbacks, AOTS! becomes the closest thing to an oasis of sanity than anything else on this smoldering wreckage of a once-respected network. Scathing!

#1 – The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (COM)
I’ll be the first to admit; The Daily Show is not for everybody. It certainly has a Liberal, anti-FOX News Conservative slant that attempts to hack through the perceived hypocrisy and lunacy between both sides of the political aisle. It could easily be seen as Left-Wing propaganda, especially if you’re completely rat shit insane and not a friend of mine.

For everyone else, this is the best show ever.

I came to the conclusion last week that The Daily Show is potentially the most important show on television right now. Not because of their conservative, Christian and Republican bashing, but even more so for their current criticisms of Barack Obama. Where networks like FOX News and dudes like Limbaugh and Beck shout defamatory buzzwords (Nazi, Socialist, Grandma-Murderer, etc.) with absolutely no fact or journalism to back them up, Stewart and the Daily Show crew call Obama and the Democratic majority to the curb in a direct and tough-love manner, almost as if to say, “Hey, we worked really hard to get you guys into office, can we please try not to mess up our chance, here?” Lots of right-wing pundits are more than critical of the current administration, but The Daily Show– the freaking Daily Show of all places- is the only institution that seems to be doing it with the most logical concern.

TOP 5 NOTABLE LATE NIGHT SHOWS.

Pop some kettle corn, crack open a cold Coors 16-ouncer and take your pants off, because we’re staying up late tonight! Here are five of the best Late Night shows on the tube right now. No big surprises here, but still worthy of a mention and a spot on your DVR.

#5 – The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS)
Since Conan O’Brien took over the Tonight Show, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson have been beating out Conan and Jimmy Fallon in the ratings. Personally, I feel that Craig Ferguson is proof positive that it’s almost impossible to get fired from a late-night hosting gig, but he seems far more comfortable in his role than a few years back, and for that, I commend the jittery man.

#4 – Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
For Jimmy, just substitute all the stuff I said about Craig Ferguson, but replace ‘jittery’ with ‘pudgy.’ I appreciate that; you just saved me about five minutes of writing and funny, funny jokes.

#3 – Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Going back to his days on SNL, I would have pegged Jimmy Fallon as the absolute last pick to host an interview show, somewhere between Terri Schaivo and Gary Busey. I mean, he talks too fast, laughs at everything, can’t carry on anything that isn’t an ADD-fueled conversation and more or less acts like he’s gacked to the rafters on blow. That being said, he’s such a lovable and seemingly-genuine guy that you had to at least give him a chance, and I’ll be damned if he hasn’t come through in a big way.

I enjoy Fallon’s program for a number of reasons, but what I find the most brilliant and adjacent to what his competitors are doing is his embracing of the technological and Social Networking age. He Tweets constantly, keeps in touch with his fans at a feverish pace, posts monologue jokes on Facebook and asks for feedback from the public; that’s all pretty cool stuff coming from a late-night host. Can you imagine Letterman, Carson or Leno even considering a thing like that? This has rightfully earned him a dedicated ‘cult’ following (although I’m hesitant to call it that) and a certain intangible bond with his audience that he seems to fully embrace. It’s genius, and it’s something that Lorne Michaels must have seen in him many years ago. That new way of thinking alone is worthy of appreciation and viewing.

#2 – The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
David Letterman isn’t the new ‘King of Late Night.’ He always has been the King, regardless of whether or not his ratings were usually underneath Leno’s. With Leno’s departure early in the year, we were left with only one grizzled veteran in the game, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t all the more enjoyable to watch. Last week, he turned a street hose on a pregnant woman.

#1 – The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (NBC)
Conan O’Brien in the ultimate success story. Proof that, if you’re funny enough, you can do anything you want to do. From Harvard, to the Lampoon, to SNL, to The Simpsons, to Late Night and now to The Tonight Show, Conan has always been the funniest guy in the room on his amazing upswing into immortality, and nobody can tell me he doesn’t deserve it.

THIS CONCLUDES OUR BROADCASTING DAY.

…Aaaaand that’s going to do it, kids! This is your 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview; use it wisely and consult it as necessary when the premieres begin to air in the next few weeks. It’s been a blast compiling this thing for you; it took me a week and approximately a half-bottle of Jameson, but it feels good to hit the ‘Publish’ button and walk from the computer to the television, where I shall be until May of next year.

Oh, and on a bit of a personal note, this also happens to be CDP POST #1000, a huge blogging milestone for yours truly that makes me happy and more than a little sick to my stomach.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has been with me since Post #1 (approximately none of you, I reckon), everyone who buys my books, laughs at my essays and sends me day-making e-mails. When I’m up in my office, wrestling some silly story to the ground at 3 in the morning when I really should be in bed with my wife, you guys are the only thing that keeps me awake sometimes. When it’s not fun, you make it fun. And when it is fun, you make it more fun. The writing opportunities and social connections I’ve made over the last six years are more than I’ve ever expected, and I have most of you to thank. The check is in the mail.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Talk about the upcoming TV season, Post #1000, or anything else that happens to be on your mind. Thanks much.

The Holy Trinity Of Awesome.

1. On Monday, the CDP returns with our 5th Annual Fall TV Preview. An absolutely massive compendium, it contains information on over 80 new and returning TV shows, covering nearly 75 hours of entertainment with over 40 photographs. Speaking as someone who’s cobbled together four of these previews in the past, this one is easily the best yet.

2. And hey, if that ain’t enough for you, the Fall TV Preview will also mark the Communist Dance Party’s 1000th Post! Even if you’re some tar-paper shack-living hermit that couldn’t care less about television shows, at least stop by to wish this old place a happy 1000th.

3. And last but certainly not least, The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade will make its long-awaited return this September! Start thinking ahead if you want to participate; this theme is going to be rad, and we’ll once again be giving away prizes.

Okay, enough good news for today. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and get ready for a heaping helping of awesome over the next few weeks here at the CDP.

CDP Wayback Machine – Hipster Bitchslap Edition.

Look At Me, World! I Can Use A Computer!
(Originally Published 08/27/08.)

ACT I.

I’ve never fully understood why people venture to public places for the sole purpose of using their laptop computers. For about a decade now, and in virtually every coffee house, bookstore, food court and wi-fi compatible strip club, people are meandering out of their houses and surfing the web. “Why aren’t these people at home?” I would always wordlessly mumble as I looked for a seat. After I was assured by the Missus that these people were all business travelers and were doing extremely important and potentially life-saving work on the fly, her argument was almost instantly shot down when I noticed that damn near everyone using the Internet in public was on Facebook. To me, it seemed completely unnecessary in every way; a mere status symbol, and an excuse to hang around a Barnes & Noble without actually having to purchase anything. Silly, really.

If you remember from way back in the CDP archives, I was a bartender for about a year in 1997. Some quick math will also remind you that I was 15 years old at the time, but that story has already been told. Regardless, as a bartender, I was trained to know that non-paying customers were poison, and simply got in the way of the natural flow of business and commerce you’d want in an establishment that exchanges goods for money. If someone had been sitting on a barstool for more than a half hour without buying something, they were asked to move. It’s simple economics, really. If you walked into a gas station and wandered around the aisles for two hours, you’d either raise suspicion or get arrested, and your weird ass would deserve it, too. Why were the public Internet-surfing trolls exempt?

Nowadays, most atriums and Wi-Fi ready locations are loaded with freeloaders; jackasses that buy a small vanilla Latte and camp out for a length of time rivaling that of the entire Korean Conflict. If I were the manager in a place like this, what would be the point in letting these people hang around? Ambiance? Hipster status? Fear of lawsuit? This is one of those seemingly insignificant things that really bothers me when I go out; “What are you doing here? Got sick of playing Scrabulous at home? Needed to feel like you were actually interacting with a non-virtual environment?

The Missus told me I was being an asshole (I am, and an unreasonable one at that), and reminded me that for a lot of people, they don’t have Internet access at their homes, and if they had to walk down the street to the coffee shop to check their mail and research an important term paper or report, then they should do so. My response to that is Internet access can be obtained in your home for about $10 a month now. Make the phone call, and stop making me wait for a seat at Gloria Jeans so I can enjoy my hot chocolate like a nice, paying customer should. In 2008, a home without Internet access is like a home without a toilet. You’re nothing but in my way.

In an attempt to clear my head, I stepped away from my unnecessary rage that consumes me on a minute-by-minute basis and considered the weight of the situation. I wanted to see both sides of the “public web surfing” argument, so I decided to join the unwashed masses and try it out for myself. The Missus was throwing a dinner party one day (the ruthless cult known as Pampered Chef has sunk their potpourri-scented claws in), and I took it upon myself to get as far away from CDP Headquarters as I possibly could for the next five hours. In doing so, I threw my laptop into The Wild Stallion v4.0 and headed off to Borders, where I was to become everything that I’ve ever hated.

ACT II.

I ordered a Latte and a chocolate chip cookie that was about the size of a personal-pan pizza, and took a seat next to four other computer-pecking guys that had clearly been here for awhile. Maybe since the place opened; I don’t know for sure. One guy had ordered nothing, it appeared; a nerdy looking fellow that was probably about 30 years old (nerdier-looking than even I). The guy next to him meant business; a chubby hick sporting a trucker hat with important newspapers and documents strewn across his table. He was sucking on an energy drink that they didn’t sell within the confines of Borders, which meant that he brought it in himself. Christ.

The third guy was tucked in the corner, looking very shifty and strung out. Clearly, he was looking at something that he didn’t want anyone else to see. Corpse Porn*, probably. The fourth guy packed up and left before I even had a chance to set up my computer. Again, he was certainly up to no good.

(*I’ve heard about people that are into the idea of Necrophilia, and to accommodate their curiosities in a legal way, they have their significant others soak in near-freezing water for a length of time, and remain corpse-like and limp back in the bedroom, essentially simulating a dead person during the intimate act of their choosing. While I’ve never participated in this, no doubt interesting, activity, I will say that if you’re fortunate enough to have a mate that will do that for you, hang onto them for all they’re worth. That’s a man or woman that will go through hell for you later down the road.)

Anyway, I set up my equipment in the last open table and got down to business, beginning to write the essay that you’re reading right now. Almost instantly, I realized how distracting it was to be creative in public. I’m typically so focused on not tripping over things, spilling my drink into my lap and getting robbed that I have no time to worry about writing something worth reading (this essay is potentially Exhibit A). I was constantly looking over my shoulder, people-watching and gently nibbling on my embarrassingly-large pizza cookie with two hands, much like a scavenging raccoon; my laptop was an afterthought.

I’m used to my own private office, mood lighting, toys and ambiance; this was like an exercise in futility. The constant screeching of the barista’s blender, the hopeless, brittle, Tupperware party-throwing bitches at the table next to me rambling on about how much better the planet would be if they were the President (“No more Olympics cutting into my Soap Operas; Haw-haw!“) and the lingering thought that a bunch of my Wife’s friends were simultaneously touring my home and pawing my breakables with Mojito-sticky hands was almost too much for me to handle. I figured that if everything around me was succeeding in hindering my creativity, I’d do the same thing for the sake of my own entertainment. I broke kayfabe and started talking to the fellow web-surfers around me.

Hey, what’cha working on?” I asked to the weiner-looking guy to the left of me.

Resume.” He replied kindly, kneading his forehead with his fingertips in a feeble attempt to calm the hell down after digesting approximately eighteen gallons of coffee. It appeared that he really was working on something important, although I still wondered why he would work on something so important in a place so capable of breaking concentration. I didn’t ask a follow-up.

On my right, I got the attention of the large, trucker-hat guy with all the papers and documents.

Hey man, what’cha working on?

Online exam.” As fate would have it, he was working on one of the many State Examinations that I worked with the Wisconsin State Board to help create. Poor guy; those things suck. He then surprised me when he turned the tables and asked me what I was working on.

Well…um, I’m writing an essay.”

Cool. What about?

I stammered and thought of anything besides the truth. “I’m writing about how much I think I hate guys like you” seemed to be a little counterproductive and practically begging for a boot to the yamsack.

I…am working on…um…book. A book, I mean. I’m working on a book.” Technically, I was sort of telling the truth.

Wow, a book, huh? Good for you, man.”

Hey, thanks. The answer to Number 23 is ‘Connective Tissue,’ by the way.

Awesome, thanks, buddy.”

This research conflicted me, as these guys were legitimately there for business. Regardless of how I felt about it, they had every right to do so. Hey, maybe the annoying buzz of the downtown Borders was still a more tranquil and peaceful location than their home. This is almost certainly true of a household containing any more than zero children or dogs.

(NOTE: Borders charged $6.95 for a Wi-Fi subscription, so the argument that people go to these places for free Internet is not always true. That, to me, almost completely negated the purpose altogether.)

ACT III.

After nearly an hour had passed and my coffee and pizza cookie were gone (both delicious, if you were wondering), I was entering uncharted territory I had forced myself to venture towards. Just how guilty was I going to feel sitting here without buying anything else? I mean, how much longer did a seat in a coffee house belong to me once I was done enjoying their delicious, sugary products? In any case, I had at least another hour to kill before the dinner party started to wind down, so I dug in and went for it.

Suddenly, an unexpected thing happened. The latte, a caffeinated drink that I seldom suck back except for cases of extreme loneliness (much like brandy Manhattans and turpentine), began to take its toll on my colon in a dangerous and, quite frankly, unpredictable way. I had to use the bathroom, and fast. But what was I going to do about my computer? My saved seat? This was something that I never thought of. What if someone takes my notebook? What if someone takes my spot? Do I take all of my stuff into the stall with me? Should I just stake my claim and mess my pants? What was I going to do?

I deliberated for a few minutes until I reached critical mass in my small intestine. A decision had to be made, and quickly. In lieu of asking the guy next to me what he happens to do in these situations, I decided to leave everything where it was and make a beeline for the can. I didn’t want to, and I can assure you that I took the fastest poop of my life, but it was something that needed to be experienced for the good of my vital research. And so far, the theory of using a computer in public wasn’t worth the trouble; resume, exam or otherwise. I missed my office, I missed my bathroom and I couldn’t ignore the fact that, for a place that’s supposed to be hip and ambient, these places tend to destroy your will to concentrate. It felt like I was trying to recite a Shakespeare play from memory while running through the ‘Slopsticle Course’ on Double Dare.

Good,” I thought to myself; “This is telling me exactly what I need to know. Public web surfing is bad for your brain.”

About a minute later, the Missus called me up and told me that the dinner party was over. Like a shot, I gathered my things and made a beeline for the door. On the car ride home, I tried to come to some sort of finality or official word on how I felt about public web surfing, but surprisingly, couldn’t. While I still stand firm that owners of these places have no reason to let web surfers hang around without making regular purchases, I have no question that a coffee shop or bookstore can sometimes offer something that your home cannot (coffee and books, for one). In one way, it made me happy to know I have such a tranquil home life, but in another way, made me feel like my research still isn’t over.

That night, as I was soaking in freezing cold water while the Missus blared the Funeral March from the Master Bedroom and put on her favorite black dress, I still couldn’t understand why people are so damn weird.

NEXT: POST #1000.

Pitchfork? More like Suckfork!

I’m still working hard on next week’s 5th Annual CDP Fall TV Preview, so I come to you today with information in the hopes of starting conversation. Pitchfork recently released their list of what they believe to be the Top 500 Tracks of the 2000’s, the Top 50 I have republished here. My question is: What do you think?

50. Basement Jaxx – “Romeo”
49. Sufjan Stevens – “Chicago”
48. Panda Bear – “Bro’s”
47. Burial – “Archangel”
46. Robyn [ft. Kleerup] – “With Every Heartbeat”
45. Hot Chip – “Over and Over”
44. Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
43. UGK [ft. Outkast] – “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)”
42. Battles – “Atlas”
41. TV on the Radio – “Staring at the Sun”
40. The Avalanches – “Since I Left You”
39. Modest Mouse – “Float On”
38. T.I. – “What You Know”
37. Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
36. Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
35. Animal Collective – “Fireworks”
34. M.I.A. – “Galang”
33. Spoon – “The Way We Get By”
32. Amerie – “1 Thing”
31. Jay-Z [ft. UGK] – “Big Pimpin'”
30. The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
29. Hot Chip – “Boy From School”
28. Antony and the Johnsons – “Hope There’s Someone”
27. Clipse – “Grindin'”
26. Justin Timberlake [ft. T.I.] – “My Love”
25. Rihanna [ft. Jay-Z] – “Umbrella”
24. Radiohead – “Everything in Its Right Place”
23. Daft Punk – “Digital Love”
22. LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great”
21. Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
20. The Walkmen – The Rat
19. R. Kelly – Ignition (Remix)
18. Hercules and Love Affair – Blind
17. Annie – Heartbeat
16. The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers
15. The Knife – Heartbeats
14. Jay-Z – 99 Problems
13. LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge
12. OutKast – Hey Ya!
11. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
10. Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
9. Animal Collective – My Girls
8. Radiohead – Idioteque
7.Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
5. Daft Punk – One More Time
4. Beyoncé [ft. Jay-Z] – Crazy in Love
3. M.I.A. [ft. Bun B and Rich Boy] – Paper Planes (Diplo Remix)
2. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
1. OutKast -B.O.B.

Now, you can fully expect to see my own personal list of favorite albums and tracks of the decade as 2009 starts to draw to a close, but I’ll give a few secrets away for the time being. When I first started thinking about what the ‘Top Track of the Decade’ would be, the only thing that even remotely popped into my mind more than once was OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ With that being said, all that normally matters with these countdowns is who comes in at #1, so as long as it was any OutKast track (and a fitting and deserving one at that), I’m a content man. I also appreciated the love for Arcade Fire and Antony & The Johnsons, two defining indie acts of the last 9.5 years.

Sound off in the comments section, voice your opinion and enjoy your day.

I Have A Black Belt In Armchair Jiu-Jitsu

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take in my first-ever live MMA event, when I attended the Madtown Throwdown here in Madison, Wisconsin. The show was fantastic, the production and talent were top-notch, and I honestly think that we have an awesome group of up-and-coming fighters that could potentially make waves worldwide in the next few years.

The Missus had a prior engagement that night, so I flew solo for the event. This caused a slight bit of discomfort, as I was given a bleacher seat wedged between two of the fattest dudes I’ve ever seen outside of the Guinness Book of World Records. I’m a small enough guy, but it was a tight fit to say the least, and the event itself lasted for somewhere in the neighborhood of six hours. Still, I faught through the pain; they were nice guys and took great pleasure in drunkenly shaking me back and forth whenever they delivered the punchline of a sexist joke. Good people.

As I sat there and attempted to immerse myself in the action taking place inside the cage, I began to hypothesize (absurdly so) about my own potential talents as a Mixed Martial-Artist. I mean, I’m in good shape, adequate height and weight, good diet, lots of energy, free of cigarrettes and drugs, great knowledge of the MMA game and all it entails. Hey, why not me?

Who’s to say that after a solid year or two of serious gym training and getting whipped into fighting shape, that I couldn’t step inside the Octagon and have an honest crack at knocking some bitches out? I’m smart, I’m tough, I’m dedicated and I love the sport! Yes…YES! I’m going to peel myself off of the proverbial Couch of Life and GO FOR IT!

This epiphany had made me quite hungry, so I decided to take a break from the previous four hours of decrepit, fetal bleacher seating and grab some nachos. Without stretching and with an unnecessary amount of upward propulsion, I squirted myself free from the crushing Black Hole of the huge guys on my left and right, took a big step forward and promptly pulled my groin.

Read that again. I pulled my groin at the Madtown Throwdown…as a spectator…because I stood up too fast to get nachos.

I tapped out to nachos. It finally went away entirely early this week, but it taught me a very important lesson about not only the ravages of age and mortality, but that I should never, under any circumstances whatsoever, try to fight for a living.

God is imaginary.

AUGUST 31 – SEPTEMBER 4:
The 5TH ANNUAL CDP FALL TV PREVIEW!
(2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

It’s A Brassicaceae Massacre! Evacuate At Once!

What I Said To Anyone Who Would Listen To Me:

I smell gas! I’m telling you, there’s a gas leak in this office! We need to call the Fire Department and get everyone out of here! There’s no time to speculate, this place could blow at any minute!

What The Building Supervisor Said To Me:

Yeah, I found your ‘gas leak.’ It was actually some cabbage that was left in the break room over the weekend.

What I Said In Return:

Thank you for your time.

God is imaginary.

An Incontinent Truth.

What The E-Mail I Sent To The President Of The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board Was Supposed To Say:

Sorry for the inconvenience.

What The E-Mail I Sent To The President Of The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board Said After I Auto-Corrected My Spelling Errors:

Sorry for the incontinence.

God is imaginary.