Tag Archives: Entourage

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2012 Edition: The Outcasts, Part 3

28 Jan

This is my ranking of shows that I watched in 2012 – for the rules, see the intro;  so far we’re discussing shows that made my last list but not this one.

Here are even more shows that made last year’s list that didn’t make the cut this year.

Entourage

Entourage and Ari

2011 Rank:  25

Never a great show, at times not really a good show, I still never really seriously considered stopping watching Entourage.  Maybe it’s because for the most part it was so light.  I don’t like when shows that should be heavier are needlessly light, but a show like Entourage never made any serious pretensions to reality or big issues and themes.  Of course, Entourage had two dark seasons which I still can’t decide if I liked or didn’t like, but either way, even when the show was kind of bad I never really minded spending half an hour with the gang.  I don’t think the show will be remembered particularly well, but I don’t think it will be remembered poorly either; I think it’s just likely to not be remembered much at all.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge shame, but I think then I’d like to get my two cents in and say, on the whole, I’m glad I watched the whole series of Entourage and I would do it again.

The Killing

Who killed this show?

2011 Rank:  23

Now here’s a show that makes me angry.  I was far too kind to it last year.  Unlike AMC failure Rubicon, which just slowly drifted apart after a promising start, The Killing spectacularly imploded at the end of its first season delivering an impressively terrible 1-2 punch of maybe having the worst final and penultimate episodes of a season of all time.  Yes, it was that bad, and the show jerked every viewer who watched around, leading to an end of season that hopefully will live on as a name of what not to do.  This on top of the fact that the main character had started violating police common sense, even by television standards, and basically after being fairly invested through most of the first season, I had basically no interest in watching the second season.  I watched the second season finale, just because, and it unsurprisingly didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but that’s fine.  I’m glad my chapter, and hopefully everyone’s, of The Killing is finished now.  I want to say it was a good run, but it wasn’t.  The best The Killing can do at this point is be responsible for launching Joel Kinnaman’s career.

White Collar

White Collar, Blue Tie

2011 Rank:  21

The last USA show!  Finally!  White Collar was a tad more serious than any of the other USA shows on this list.  It’s a nice show, and I think the two main actors do a fine job individually and together, but it’s held back, as everything is at USA, by the limitations of what dramas mean there; it’s going to follow a formula, and though there’s room in that formula for entertainment, there’s also a fairly low ceiling.  White Collar hits the ceiling sometimes but doesn’t break out of it.  I’ve also just kind of tailed off watching it as I have with my other USA shows; it’s not bad, it’s just not super compelling either.

Friday Night Lights

The early cast

2011 Ranking: 19

This is a show that I think has a chance to really grow in viewers’ appreciation after it’s already over.  A critical favorite from day 1, the show lagged in ratings, and shockingly was picked up in an unique arrangement by Direct TV for seasons four and five.  Even as the show was coming to a close it seemed like the internet was more and more excited about it.  I like the show; I think it’s a very good one, though I wasn’t nearly as upset as many that the show was leaving.  Stick this is the category of shows I like and admit are good but that I probably just don’t see eye to eye on as far as exactly how good.  The show dealt with interpersonal relationships very well, but it always felt forced and sometimes over the top; there was a lacking of subtlety of plot and dialogue it could have used.  Still, good show, always sad to see a good show go.

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The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Domenick Lombardozzi

5 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Domenick Lombardozzi has made a career out of playing a very different Italian stereotype role than last week’s honoree Lenny Venito.  Like countless actors in this Hall of Fame, Lombardozzi got his start on a Law & Order episode in 1999.  He next appeared in one episode of one season show The Beat in 2000, and in a minorly memorable role in 2 episodes of Oz in 2000, as Ralph Galino, an Italian American contractor who ended up in Emerald City after a building he contracted killed two people.  Galino, a generally law-abiding citizen, didn’t fit in prison, brought a cell phone into the prison, and was killed by The Bikers relatively soon after.  He played Yankee Moose Skowron in the HBO movie 61* in 2001 and appeared in episodes of Third Watch and NYPD Blue the same year.

In 2002, he began his most memorable role as Thomas “Hurc” Hauk in The Wire.  Hurc appeared in every episode of the show, often alongside his buddy Ellis Carver, who both start as competent but disgruntled narcotics officers, and provide comic relief.  Hurc is herded into the Barksdale detail, but gets into trouble when he and Carver make a late-night raid into the housing projects and get bottles thrown at them.  Herc and Carver steal some money later on a drug bust and return to the detail in the second season.  In the third, he works in the Western District and is responsible for leaking the Hamsterdam project to the media.  In the fourth season, Herc sees the mayor receiving oral sex and uses that information to leverage his way to sergeant, but later gets fired after arrested an African-American minister on bad information.  In the fifth season, he works as an investigator for the lawyer Levy but helps out Carver by providing him with Marlo Stanfield’s phone number.

In Entourage, he played incredibly irritating character Dom, an old high school buddy of the gang who came back from prison to try to integrate into their lives, but just didn’t fit anymore.  After disappearing, he got a chance to redeem himself in a later episode where he had mostly turned his life around.  In 2009, he appeared in a Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  In 2010, he appeared in the third hour of the last season of 24, as a New York City police officer who finds a colleague dead and upon seeing Jack Bauer, thinks he is responsible.  Lombardozzi beats up Jack as his partner, who disagrees with this violence, watches, but eventually Jack escapes.  He appeared in a second season episode of Bored to Death and is one of a pair who kidnap Jonathan and demand ransom.

Currently, Lombardozzi stars as Ray Zancanelli on Breakout Kings, an A&E original program, in which, in Mod Squad fashion, a group of criminals are commissioned to help find other criminals in exchange for a reduced sentence.  Zancanelli is a former US Marshal who was fired after he was discovered to have stolen money from a crime season.  He is currently on parole, and unlike the other convicts, is allowed to carry a weapon.

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 25: Entourage

6 Sep

Here’s the funny thing about Entourage. It’s not the best show in the world; there aren’t a whole lot of levels, there isn’t much subtlety, and you’re not going to get layers of deeper meaning on every subsequent viewing (not that these are things you need to be a great show, just some possibilities).  However, I enjoy watching it more than I sometimes enjoy watching shows I think are better.  Now, I admit that sounds wrong at first, and if I always liked watching it more then, well, it probably is better.  Still, I always look forward to a new Entourage.  In today’s world of super awkward comedy and tension filled dramas, there’s room in my life for some popcorn, for a show that, even in the depressing and dark last season is still a total relative joy to watch.  Call it hanging out with the boys, if you will.

If Entourage truly had fallen off, and I think that’s mostly debatable, (I’d say it’s a lot more repetitive than it ever was bad) it had a bit of a boost last season, oddly due to its dark direction for Vince.  If you explained to me that things would go downhill, and not just career-wise but personally and with a drug addiction and all that, I probably would have thought that it would be a bad idea because it would involve taking from Entourage its essence, that it’s an escapist show about fun and good times.  I would have been completely incorrect though. Watching the downward spiral was not just good television, but it was surprisingly watchable for such a objectively depressing situation.  There were a couple of legitimately brutal scenes, including one where Vince hits on Minka Kelly and gets his ass kicked by a couple of NBA players at a party, but for the most part I still got a sense of enjoyment while also treading over ground Entourage hadn’t crossed before.

One note:  Entourage contains an example of a trap that television and movies often fall into when coming up with fictional content.  In the last season, formerly rogue drugged out director Billy Walsh conceives of a cartoon project for Johnny Drama, as a monkey who doesn’t fit in with the world.  In the world of Entourage, everyone absolutely loves this idea, and thinks it’s brilliant.  However, it seems terrible from the little bits that we see.  If you can’t make fictional content good, just never show it.  It’s not that hard.

Also worth saying:  Entourage may do the best job of celebrity cameos of any show around.  Obviously, it has more opportunity than most shows – why would celebrities be roaming around say, Scranton, Pennsylania, or Pawnee, Indiana? (though they manage to grab Detlef Schrempf twice which is super laudable)  Entourage takes advantage of this opportunity and does it well, having celebrities play outsized versions of themselves, or just invented absurd versions, proving to America that they don’t take themselves too seriously – such as Jeffery Tambor as an especially needy client of Ari’s, or John Stamos as so competitive that he can’t accept losing to Johnny Drama in ping pong.

Why it’s this high:  I really enjoy watching episodes of Entourage

Why it’s not higher:  I really do enjoy it, but I don’t crave it, pore over it endlessly, quote it (aside from “I am Queens Boulevard”) or laugh out loud watching it

Best episode from the most recent season:  How about “Bottoms Up” – Vince hooks up with Sasha Grey and begins becoming full-fledged down the vicious cycle that will be seventh season (man, this show has been on a long time) for him, resulting in awkward humor when he brings her to a meeting with Stan Lee.