Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

The Roundup: What to DVR, listen to, go see live and buy

Today I'm unveiling an abridged version of what will be a column devoted to TV and related entertainment programming, media, and events. I've been a member of the Television Critics Association for 3 years and have been writing about TV and media for 6 years, mostly at LAist.com, BostonMagazine.com and now here at KPCC. Although I'll be referencing plenty of pop culture I tend to be a cheerleader for non-broadcast TV shows as those shows already have plenty of viewers and column-inches devoted to them every day, with the exception of comedies. This column will not be a regurgitation of the PBS programming schedule; this column will not include recaps although it may occasionally include "spoilers" which will always be precluded by a bold-italicized Spoiler Alert warning; this column will not be covering "reality" or "contest" shows unless to reference them in terms of the business of television; this column will attempt to include humor at every turn and a love of comedy will permeate the column to a ratio not-reflective of television as a whole.


'SouthLAnd' star Michael Cudlitz on the show, sharing a squad car with Lucy Liu and more

TNT's "SouthLAnd" (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.) makes the convincing argument that there isn't a better cop show on TV and there hasn't been one this good in quite a while. The crew for this show is constantly moving from location to location across Los Angeles, bringing recognizable scenes to our TVs every week. This is a show that tells its stories from street level, from inside the squad car and from the homes of the officers and detectives portrayed in the series.

Series star Michael Cudlitz has been there from the beginning, playing the seemingly solid Officer John Cooper, the most experienced character of the ones we follow on the show. "Seemingly" solid because last season Cooper's regimen of self-prescribing medication for a bad back led him to stealing painkillers or scoring them in the lavatory of the local cops' watering hole.

This season, the fourth for "SouthLAnd," Cooper has returned to the force, looking trim and very fit after a stint of physical rehab to repair his damaged back. But Cooper appears very cautious, dare we say vulnerable, as he resumes his duties. He's now teamed up with Officer Jessica Tang, played by Lucy Liu, who joined the ensemble as a handful of characters were written off the show during its most recent hiatus.

As the show airs, you will see Cudlitz on Twitter, week in, week out, promoting his show, just as he has from its first season, and during production Cudlitz continues to tweet away from curbside scenes across Los Angeles. Cudlitz has been vocal about supporting the show, particularly during its somewhat tumultuous transfer from NBC to TNT between the first and second seasons. [NBC made two seasons of the show, but only aired one. TNT bought the show and the rights to air the second season.]


State of the Union taking over TV tonight, so what else is on?


Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama delivers his State of the Union tonight; what else is on TV tonight?

The State of the Union will be delivered tonight at 9 Eastern, 6 Pacific by President Barack Obama. As a political nerd, I'll be following along (and livetweeting the speech at @WithoutABlog), but for those of you who aren't particularly interested in an hour long speech, here are some alternatives.

I'm looking out for both those of us here on the West Coast and those of you on the East Coast, below:

West Coast

  • FX, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reruns of my favorite sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." Then there's "Two And A Half Men" at 7, during which you should immediately turn away.
  • E, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: "Kourtney and Kim Take New York." (I don't know anything about the Kardashians other than that people hate them but want to watch them as much as possible on TV anyway.)
  • Cartoon Network, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Reruns of "Adventure Time." Check out the cult hit surreal animated series and see if it fits your sense of humor or if people who like the show are crazy.
  • Discovery Channel, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Reruns of "Dirty Jobs." (I may just be mentioning this because host Mike Rowe shares my name, except he spells it wrong, obviously.)
  • Spike TV, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.: "Kill Bil: Vol. 2." Go watch pretty/violent Quentin Tarantino pictures and be amused by how it's been edited for cable.
  • Comedy Central, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: If you want to see what's been going on in politics, but just want it to be funnier (intentionally), you can catch up on last night's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report"...
  • Comedy Central, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: ... then watch "30 Rock" reruns to clear your mind of politics until tomorrow's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," which is when they'll probably get around to talking about the State of the Union.


New sketch comedy show 'Key & Peele' taping this week in LA

Key & Peele

Comedy Central's launching a new sketch show later this month called "Key & Peele," and they're taping in-studio segments today through Friday here in Los Angeles at the Nate Holden Theater.

The stars, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, were both cast members on Mad TV. Peele also did a series of popular videos impersonating President Barack Obama.

In an interesting sign of where race is at today, after some of the usual boring meaninglessness of press materials, the official hype ends by noting that both men are biracial and saying that the show will reflect that point of view.

One of the show's executive producers is Ian Roberts, perhaps best known for his work with the Upright Citizens Brigade.

You can still get tickets to the "Key & Peele" tapings by going here; they're taping two episodes a day through Friday.


Can Wonder Woman appeal to a modern audience?

In her 70 year history, Wonder Woman has never made it to the big screen. Wonder Woman almost made it to television this fall, with legendary TV producer David E. Kelley behind it. A pilot was produced for NBC, but in the end, NBC decided not to go with it.

DC Comics recently redesigned Wonder Woman, giving her pants and a jacket to cover up her rather bare classic look. Once the show was dropped, the pants dropped too (no, not like that), with DC having no need of coordinating a look across media properties.

The pilot's leaked out online, so there are reviews available. The consensus seems to be that it was cheesy and not quite there, but that there are the sparks of something, particularly in the actress portraying Wonder Woman (also known for her work on "Friday Night Lights"), Adrianne Palicki. This generation apparently won't get the chance to watch a Wonder Woman TV show of their own.