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TV Gal Is Haunted by 'Damages'


As we've discussed last week, I've been watching a lot of TV lately.

But a wonderful thing happens when you are continuously watching new shows. The excellent ones really stand out. They pop.

That's what happened when I watched "Damages" (which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX); I couldn't stop thinking about the show. Days later it was still haunting me. I was thinking about the characters, the plot and the crime.

Glenn Close stars as litigator Patty Hewes. She'll do anything to win her case. Yes I know you've heard a premise like that before. Heck every legal show seems to have that premise. But "Damages" is different. The show starts off with a bloody Ellen (Rose Byrne) wandering the streets of New York. What happened to Ellen and what lead up to this moment propels the story forward. "Damages" weaves in and out of a six-month period. Flashing back to when Ellen first started working for Patty and flashing forward as detectives try to get to the bottom of what led Ellen to her current state.

"Damages" (and the title definitely has a double meaning) is instantly arresting, you won't be able to stop watching. And Close, who returns to FX after her season on "The Shield," is phenomenal. Patty can appear supportive, even kind, until she goes in for the kill. You won't trust her. But you won't know exactly what she's up to either.

The rest of the cast is equally stellar. Ted Danson, an actor who effortlessly vacillates between drama and humor, is Arthur Frobisher, a CEO who has robbed his employees of their retirement. Tate Donovan (Marissa's dad on "The O.C.") is Patty's right-hand man Tom Shayes and you won't quite know what he's up to either. Byrne is fantastic as the woman who somehow (and we'll find out over the course of the season) goes from wide-eyed innocent to hardened lawyer. This is a show where no one is who or what they seem.

So you must watch, watch, watch but don't watch it right before you go to bed. I made that mistake and didn't sleep that night.

After you've checked out the show, write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com and let me know what you think.

Tales From Press Tour

I'm here in Beverly Hills (a fun sentence to say in general) for the semi-annual Television Critics Association Press Tour. It's a time when CBS tries to convince me that "The Big Bang Theory" really is a good show. A time when I wonder how many pilots can feature KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See." A time when I am surrounded by waaay too much food (including the very same nuts used to save "Jericho."). And a time where you can exist in a place where it seems like TV really is the most important thing in the world. All in all, it's my kind of place.

There's still a lot more of press tour to go (so next week expect me to go on and on about "Dirty Sexy Money," "Reaper" and other early favorites) but here are some reports from the first week of press tour:

I got to discuss with "How I Met Your Mother" executive producer Craig Thomas some fun facts about next season. He said the first episode of the third season will finish the word Barney started in last season's finale and that the episode will be a little like a "Wingman Reunion Tour" with Barney and Ted going out on the town a la "Swingers" or "Wedding Crashers." They're looking to cast some fun actresses to play some of the women Ted dates and they've got someone in mind for the actress who will play the woman Barney lost his virginity too (the show will flashback to this again). And he said to look for new catch phrases this season. But this is the really wild part, Thomas told me that since they've known the end of the series, they've already shot some of the series finale. How trippy is that?

I talked to Jason Dohring about his new role Josef on CBS's "Moonlight." He describes his new character as "Logan on steroids." Apparently, Josef is not as redeemable as Logan. And here's a fun tidbit: the first episode of "Moonlight" will reference Hearst College as a little nod to "Veronica Mars" fans.

DB Woodside is on CBS' new series "Viva Laughlin" but I did have a chance to talk to him about President Palmer's fate on "24" (as you recall he's still in a coma). Woodside wouldn't say whether on not we'd see Wayne Palmer again but he did say that in the world of "24" the only characters who don't come back are dead and that Wayne Palmer is not dead.

I'll have much more to tell you about next week.

Stop. Emmy Time

Well you have to get up pretty early in the morning to watch the Emmy nominations in LA. Maybe it was the jet lag or the early hour but it took me a full 10 minutes to realize that "Lost" had virtually been ignored. And I wasn't nearly as mad as I thought I would be. Not because I don't think it's absolutely ridiculous that there was no love for "Lost, but because I think I've reached the final stage of grieving over the Emmys ... acceptance.

I no longer am in denial (of course Lauren Graham will receive some recognition for her final season). I'm past the anger (gone are any unkind thoughts I might have had about "Scrubs," "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "How I Met Your Mother" not being nominated for Best Comedy). I'm through with bargaining (if "Friday Night Lights" gets recognition, I will accept as many nominations for "Boston Legal" as you see fit). And I've recovered from the depression I always feel that the Emmys and I are not on the same wavelength (seriously how can "Lost" not be nominated for best drama?).

As always, the Emmys giveth (The fact that Neil Patrick Harris got a nomination is overflowing with awesomeness) and taketh away (Kyle Chandler is giving the performance of his career and the Emmys don't seem to care.) It's like they want you to be happy but not too happy. So I've come to accept them for what they are: what some people think is the best of television.

But I would love to know what you think. Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com and give me your thoughts on the Emmy nominations.

Quotes of the Week

"Why don't we just say what's really on all of our minds? How can they cancel 'Gilmore Girls'?" Cappie on "Greek." Thanks to Robert for the quote.

"You can't spell America without Eric." America's player Eric in the confessional on "Big Brother." Thanks to Jeff for the quote.

Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for July 23 to 29

It's a very fun episode of "Greek" Monday at 9 p.m. on ABC Family. The show has two of my favorite things going for it: the use of inside jokes and referencing other popular shows. This episode finds Casey (Spencer Grammer) watching a familiar TV show (I won't ruin the joke here) and other characters referencing "Grey's Anatomy." And Plain White T's perform their positively addictive song "Hey There Delilah." This show is so growing on me and has been added to my TiVo. Remember if you don't get ABC Family, you can catch the show Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

You know I just didn't really like "Saving Grace" (which premieres Monday at 10 p.m. on TNT). Holly Hunter stars as hard-drinking Oklahoma City police detective Grace Hanadarko. She's giving a great performance but Grace is not a character I want to watch week in and week out. But I want to know what you think after you watch the show, so be sure to write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com and let me know.

Homer Simpson is a guest on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. on FOX. It's all to promote "The Simpsons Movie" which opens this Friday.

That's all for today. I'll be back next week with more tales from press tour (CW, FOX and ABC), a review of the new season of "My Boys," the oh-so-brief return of "The Nine," and you'll hear all about my visit to the set of "Bones." Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.

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