With road trips, soccer practice runs, grabbing groceries, daycare drop-offs, and more, it's important that your car is economical, built to last, and offers some family-friendly features to make it easier for you to transport your tots. The good news is more car companies are incorporating nifty kid-oriented characteristics into their cars to qualify a vehicle as a family car. And because of this, parents are left with a wide variety of choices to suit their particular needs. Here are some 2011 models that are taking the "kid-friendly" motto to a whole new level.
"What am I going to watch tonight?" Once Fall TV kicks in next week, that question gets more complicated. New series will duke it out with returning favorites for TiVo space, and some of my beloved shows will go head-to-head. Though there are plenty of ways to watch everything eventually, a gal can still only watch one thing at once, so here are the toughest tradeoffs on my schedule — and how I plan to solve them.
No. 5: Dexter vs. True Blood (Sundays, 9 p.m.) — If you have both HBO and Showtime, you're going to have a tough choice come September. Six Feet Under's Alan Ball makes his return to TV with the vampire-themed True Blood on HBO, while Dexter continues his slashing ways over on Showtime. Should you watch what could be the next big cable series — or the one that's a solid hit right now? Verdict: Established Dexter fans should probably stick with that series, but if you're new to the show, I'd TiVo it and watch True Blood live.
For my top four toughest tradeoffs, just read more
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Last week I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall and five that I think are total tossups. Today brings my favorite of the lists: the five shows that I think are most likely to earn a season pass on my TiVo.
5. "Gossip Girl" — Many of you have already gotten a chance to weigh in on "Gossip Girl," which certainly ranks among the fall's most highly anticipated shows. Like "The OC," which made "Gossip Girl" co-creator Josh Schwartz famous, "Gossip Girl" is all about the plight of super-rich kids who drink too much and make bad choices, and if you're not generally a fan of teen shows, "Gossip Girl" probably won't change your mind. But beyond the soapy exterior lurks an appealing (and generally age-appropriate) cast and an immensely popular book series from which any number of tantalizing stories can be drawn. I'm not sure it's the next "OC" quite yet, but the potential is there.
4. "Reaper" — "Reaper," a dude comedy from two women who earned their chops as writers on "Law & Order: SVU," could become one of the CW's first big breakout hits. Kevin Smith's influence can be felt all over the pilot, which showcases leading man Bret Harrison and hilarious sidekick Tyler Labine as a couple of unlikely heroes who work as bounty hunters for the devil. It's an unlikely premise, but it's got smart execution and humor to spare. But maybe the greatest thing about "Reaper" is the casting of Ray Wise as Satan himself; one look at that creepy smile, and I was sold.
For the top three I'll be watching, read more
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Yesterday, I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall, and on Monday, I'll be revealing my top five picks for the season. But today, I'm focusing on the shows that could go either way, just as likely to become megahits as they are to sink like stones.
5. "Bionic Woman" — "Bionic" has seen quite a bit of upheaval since the pilot I saw was filmed. One supporting part (the bionic woman's younger sister) has been recast and reconceived, and — just within the past couple of weeks — one of the executive producers left the show. In the version of the pilot I saw, lead actress Michelle Ryan didn't seem to have the sort of fearless toughness you'd want in an action star, and the whole thing seemed surprisingly low-energy. But now, "Friday Night Lights" producer Jason Katims will be consulting on the show, and NBC has ensured a steady stream of publicity by hiring Isaiah Washington for a guest spot. I'm still not confident about this remake, but I think it has an equal chance of being a breakout hit and a flop.
4. "Carpoolers" — I'm really of two minds about "Carpoolers." On the one hand, the whole idea of inane car banter is why I try not to catch rides with casual acquaintances. On the other hand, this pilot made me laugh surprisingly hard, and I'm finding myself rooting for it. The writing may not be completely there yet, but the comic timing from funny guys like Jerry O'Connell, Jerry Minor, Fred Goss, and potential breakout star TJ Miller gives me hope — as does that Phil Collins video. I'm not sure if I see it getting more than a "Knights of Prosperity"-sized following, but if enough people give it a chance, maybe it will be a small hit.
Three more tossups — plus a brand-new clip of the first few minutes of one of them — so read more
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Today, I'm starting off with five shows that — based on their pilots — you'd be best to steer clear of this fall.
5. "Life" — I was into the premise of this show about a detective who gets sentenced to life in prison and rejoins the police force after his wrongful conviction is overturned. But the show itself was such a bundle of cop-show cliches and random quirks that it was already grating on me by 10 minutes into the pilot. Lead actor Damian Lewis gives his best shot, but if the writers want to create a "House"-style misanthrope, they're going to have to do more than make him wax poetic about fruit all the time.
4. "Viva Laughlin" — I once declared this musical drama the pilot I most wanted to see ... but then I actually saw it. What a bummer. I thought it would be a fun, cheesy, over-the-top hit. In reality, the musical numbers that didn't involve Hugh Jackman fell flat, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. I still hold out hope that it could get better, but I doubt it's going to be on the air long enough to improve.
Three more to be wary of, so read more
"What am I going to watch tonight?" Come the start of fall TV this month, that question gets infinitely more complicated. New shows will duke it out with returning favorites for TiVo space, and some of my favorites will go head-to-head. A gal can only watch one thing at once, so here are the toughest tradeoffs of my fall TV schedule so far — and how I plan to solve them.
No. 5: "Chuck" vs. "How I Met Your Mother" & "Aliens in America" (Mondays, 8-9 p.m.) — "Chuck," one of my favorite new shows, is battling against the underappreciated comedy "How I Met Your Mother," which I've pledged to watch this season, and "Aliens in America," one of the most intriguing new shows. Which has more pull: My goofy TV crush on Zachary Levi, or my curiosity about where "Aliens" will go? Solution: Zach wins, at least so far. I'll watch "Chuck" live and TiVo the other two.
No. 4: "Reaper" vs. "House" (Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m.) — Cranky doctors, or the cranky devil? This one's a tough call. "House" had one of the better cliffhangers of the season last year, ending with House's entire team gone; "Reaper" was one of the most fun pilots I watched. I'll watch them both, but which comes first? Solution: At the start of the season, "House" comes first, but once things get back to normal at PPH, I might switch over to "Reaper."
For the rest of my tradeoffs, just read more
It almost seems unfair that some of the funniest people in Hollywood right now are also in committed relationships with each other. Hilarious, good-looking, totally in love — what more could anyone want? From Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor to Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, there are a ton of fantastic comedy couples out there right now. Here are my five favorites:
No. 5: Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher
Look at them! He's so tall and she's so utterly adorable! In my opinion, this couple absolutely has it all: They're both good-looking, smart, and hilarious, with his Borat-style improv and her Wedding Crashers cuteness. And soon there will be a golden child borne from their funny/beautiful loins. Okay, so maybe I'm a little too excited about Baby Baron-Cohen-Fisher, but come on: The little one will probably spring from the womb looking gorgeous and making inappropriate jokes about religion and politics and third-world countries.
No. 4: Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres
These two are endearing to me for a variety of reasons. For one, they seem to genuinely adore and respect each other. Secondly, they are individually hilarious, yet they rarely — if ever — tend toward gross-out, scatalogical or otherwise cheap humor, which is always honorable in my book. Third, they're an openly gay couple in a society and industry where that's still something to gawk at, and they conduct themselves with grace and elegance. Plus, Portia de Rossi is drop-dead gorgeous and they make a very handsome couple.
To see my three favorites, read more
I've said before that I'm a bit of a sap, and it's never more evident than when I break into tears while watching TV. There are a bunch of moments that always make me lose it — no matter how predictable or silly they are, no matter how many times I've seen them — and so, just in case you're feeling mopey today, I'm counting down a few of the scenes most consistently guaranteed to leave me drowning in a pile of soggy tissues.
No. 5: The final moments of "A Wedding Story"
There was a period in my life when I worked nights and had days free, and so my morning routine went a little like this: Wake up late, make lunch, turn on TLC, cry. The whole "A [Something] Story" block of programming could make me weepy — yes, even "A Makeover Story," in my weaker moments — but "A Wedding Story" was by far the worst. No matter what squabbles the couples had on their way to the ceremony, no matter how many disasters with the caterers or the parents, the couples always made it down the aisle just fine, looking beautiful and ready to say "I do."
No. 4: The crowning of the "American Idol"
It's one of the most predictable events in television, at this point. Most of the time, it's not even surprising to learn which of the final two "Idol" contestants is going home with the crown, and we've already heard the cheesy coronation song at least twice. But there's still something about an overwhelmed teen or 20-something getting showered with confetti and balloons, singing in front of an audience of millions and somehow holding it together despite the overwhelming emotions, that gives me chills — regardless of whether I even like the winner.
Three more, including my No. 1 scene guaranteed to bring the tears, so read more