First episode (of new season) impressions: ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Life Unexpected,’ ‘Parenthood’ (TV reviews)

“Gossip Girl” Season 4 (8 p.m. Central Mondays, The CW)

1. The actors who play Dan and Vanessa continue to look like they punch a clock, sleepwalk through their scenes, punch out and go home. What’s particularly strange about this is that I thought both Penn Badgley and Jessica Szohr were good actors when “Gossip Girl” started.

Continue reading “First episode (of new season) impressions: ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Life Unexpected,’ ‘Parenthood’ (TV reviews)”

Hilary Duff has the right stuff for ‘Gossip Girl’ (TV commentary)

Hilary Duff submitted a pilot episode that got turned down this season; that allowed “Gossip Girl”(8 p.m. Central Mondays on The CW) to cast her for — as every report on the subject says — “several episodes” as starlet-turned-student Olivia Burke. Basically, she’s a recurring character whose amount of recurrence is to be determined.

Continue reading “Hilary Duff has the right stuff for ‘Gossip Girl’ (TV commentary)”

‘Gossip Girl’ a welcome break from reality (TV review)

I admire shows that address the recession — it’s part of the fabric of “Medium” and “Friday Night Lights,” and “The Simpsons” had a nice episode about it last year. But I also like shows that are completely oblivious to America’s economic meltdown, to the point where they flaunt how out of touch they are.

Continue reading “‘Gossip Girl’ a welcome break from reality (TV review)”

Fall TV preview: 7 new developments on old shows (Commentary)

Here are seven plot developments I’m looking forward to on old favorites this fall season. (Technically, TV’s best show, “Friday Night Lights,” is a fall returnee — Oct. 28 on DirecTV — but I’ll be blogging about Season 4 next spring when I see the episodes on NBC. I’m very interested to see what Coach Taylor does with his new team.)

Continue reading “Fall TV preview: 7 new developments on old shows (Commentary)”

Happy (day after) Mother’s Day from ‘Gossip Girl’: Brittany Snow returns to TV (Commentary)

It’s appropriate that Brittany Snow spells her name the normal way, rather than “Britney,” “Brittani” or “Britni.” The actress strikes me as an old-fashioned girl, because I first saw her as Meg Pryor in the 1960s-set “American Dreams,” that 2002-05 NBC series where Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” played in the background during every episode.

Continue reading “Happy (day after) Mother’s Day from ‘Gossip Girl’: Brittany Snow returns to TV (Commentary)”