TV Eye

Season's Greetings

<i>Battlestar Galactica</i> premieres on the SciFi Channel this fall, but star Edward James Olmos strongly cautions you from watching it.
Battlestar Galactica premieres on the SciFi Channel this fall, but star Edward James Olmos strongly cautions you from watching it.

If it's July, it must be time for the annual TCA gathering. That's the Television Critics Association to TV wonks, a members-only group that is as guarded as the Masons. OK, that's just me being bitter. They won't accept me into their ranks because I work for a "metro weekly." But when you're talking about a twice-yearly romp in sunny California, wining and dining care of networks trotting out their new fall prime-time programming talent, and reams of swag (I'm guessing) ... well, everyone likes to be invited to the party, right?

Actually, I'm over TCA. I got over it when a very fine media critic (and fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan) told me she wasn't a TCA member, and, furthermore, she didn't think it was necessary. She's right. Thanks to the Internet, a few well-placed phone calls, and tips from readers, I expect to have plenty of ripe TV news as the new fall TV season begins to unfold.

Still, I would have loved to have been at the SciFi Channel's TCA presentation for Battlestar Galactica, where actor Edward James Olmos reportedly suggested viewers not watch his upcoming miniseries. According to several sources, including "News & Gossip" from TV Guide Online, Olmos -- cast as Cmdr. William Adama -- said he's been receiving hate mail from die-hard fans of the original 1970s series. "SciFi Channel wants you to think everyone will like this. They won't! So please, don't watch! Buy the DVD of the original series, and when we're on, pop it in instead! I don't want you writing me any more letters." Talk about a publicist's nightmare!

TV That Matters

Wondering what all this redistricting fuss is about? Emmy Award-winner Paul Stekler leads a discussion on the subject with several prominent Texas journalists. The special, In-Depth Analysis of Texas Redistricting, features Paul Burka (Texas Monthly), Carlos Guerra (San Antonio Express-News), Christy Hoppe (The Dallas Morning News), Harvey Kronberg (The Quorum Report), Ross Ramsey (Texas Weekly), R.G. Ratcliffe (Houston Chronicle), Michael King (The Austin Chronicle), and David McNeely (Austin American-Statesman). This is the second topical special led by Stekler. An earlier special reviewing the Texas Legislature aired in May. If this special resembles the former, expect a respectful, meaningful, and informative discussion. The In-Depth Analysis of Texas Redistricting airs tonight (July 18) at 10pm on KLRU.

The second season of Wide Angle premieres with a profile of the Arab news network al Jazeera. Based in Qatar, the news network provided nonstop coverage of the war with Iraq from the front lines. Blasted by critics for being insular and one-sided while hailed by others as providing fair and balanced reporting, this Wide Angle offering promises a behind-the-scenes look at a news organization that may have more in common with Western news sources than first imagined. Exclusive to Al-Jazeera airs Thursday, July 24, 9pm, on KLRU.

What Else Is on?

Saturday: Bill Maher's comedy special, Victory Begins at Home, airs on HBO at 10pm... Teen Titans, the new animated series featuring four peculiarly abled teens (Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven) led by boy wonder Robin (of Batman and) premieres on the Cartoon Network at 8pm.

Sunday: My Trio. Trio, the pop culture network for serious TV watchers launches a quarterly special curated by "icons and arbiters of pop culture" who select their TV favorites for a week of Trio programming. Time magazine columnist Joel Stein inaugurates the special. His choices include Good Clean Porn, a limited three-episode series spotlighting the "craft" of classic porn film acting. Other selections include Battle of the Network Stars, Pink Lady and Jeff, Idiot Savant (a game show Stein was a contestant on), My Mother the Car, and early episodes of Late Night With David Letterman. Stein explains his choices in My Trio: Joel Stein on July 20, 8pm, on Trio. Stein's programming airs July 20-27. Check local listings for details. Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is scheduled to curate the next My Trio special in October.

Wednesday: Reno 911! This laugh-out-loud spoof of Cops and cop dramas is a half-hour, unscripted comedy that plays on all the familiar cop-show situations. The difference is that the cops are as peculiar as the perps. Reno 911! premieres July 23 at 9:30pm on Comedy Central. Encores are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Check local listings.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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Television Critics Association, SciFi Channel, Battlestar Galactica, Edward James Olmos, Paul Stekler, In-Depth Analysis of Texas Redistricting, Al-Jazeera, Wide Angle, Exclusive to Al-Jazeera, Bill Maher, Victory Begins at Home, Teen Titans, Good Clean Porn, My Trio: Joel Stein, Quentin Tarantino, Reno 911!

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