benmckenzie southland 290 'Drop Dead Diva' saves me from my cancellation bluesLet me just warn everyone right now: I’m mighty cranky today. I’m talking the kind of cranky where no amount of dark chocolate peanut M&M’s can comfort me.

Why?

Because NBC has cancelled “Southland” before the show even premiered. The show was scheduled to return to the schedule for a second season on Friday, October 23. Instead we’ll be treated to more episodes of “Dateline.” Apparently the show was deemed too dark for the 9 p.m. hour, an excuse I don’t tend to believe at all since NBC airs “Law & Order: SVU,” not exactly a particularly cheery show, in the 9 p.m. hour. What will become of the six episodes that have already been shot for the second season? One can only hope that a cable network picks up the show (seems perfect for FX, doesn’t it?) To me this feels like the final straw with NBC. If it wasn’t for “The Office” and “30 Rock,” I think I’d be ready to let the whole network go. Why should we even listen to networks anymore? They pick up shows they never air. Renew shows that don’t come back. Announce premiere dates that are continuously moved. Like I said, I’m so cranky.

Therefore, let’s move on to happier topics. Like the season finale of “Drop Dead Diva,” this Sunday at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. “Drop Dead Diva” was perhaps the most delightful show of the summer and the rare show that I thought got better with every episodes. Who knew such a wacky, completely improbably premise could be so enjoyable? I’m kind of loving everything about Brooke Elliot’s performance as Jane (yes even her distinctive walk and the way she flips her hair). And I love how the Grayson/Jane relationship has evolved, particularly how we now understand what he saw in Deb and how in love Deb and Grayson were. The show also has done a great job of making Kim not simply a completely bitchy character and Stacy not your typical dumb blonde. Credit goes to the writers and the actors for ensuring that none of the characters devolved into one-note clichés.

The best thing about “Drop Dead Diva” is that it ends its first season with several cliffhangers looming especially Grayson and Jane’s relationship which gets a quite a bit screen time. The big reveal to me seems a little forced and unnecessary but that’s a small complaint about an otherwise completely enjoyable hour. Alas we won’t see Fred (Ben Feldman) on Sunday but according to my friends at Lifetime, he’ll be back in a big way in season two.

Before the season finale of “Diva,” you can catch the third season finale of “Army Wives” at 9 p.m. on Lifetime. You know how I’ve been complaining that not enough happened on the show this season (Roxy doesn’t like the dog! Pamela gets a new house!). Well it seems that the showrunners saved everything for the season finale because A LOT happens – both good and bad– and nothing is really resolved at the end of the hour. The most believable plot developments happen between Pamela and Chase. I had to look up what happened in the second season finale because Michael being relocated to Europe just didn’t pack that much of punch. I think this is a season finale fans will remember.

Are you excited for the season finales of “Drop Dead Diva” and “Army Wives?” Talk about it below.

The Vampire Diaries

So I have to confess I’m liking this show much more than I thought I would. I’m still giving the majority of the credit to Ian Somerhalder’s deliciously evil Damon. A vampire show needs a good villain and Damon definitely is one. But I think it’s Nina Dobrev’s Elena who has really sold me on the show. She’s got some spunk and one of my pet peeves with shows like this is when the damsel in distress is so clueless (see Lana Lang on “Smallville”). I like that Elena is already all “What the heck is up with your secrecy?” and starting to put together the clues. I think the show would be stronger if more people knew Stefan’s secret — a main character continually and improbably keeping a secret can get really old, really fast. I’m with all of you who think the drug storyline with Jeremy and Vicki is a little tired. I’m not quite sure the show needs this particular angle. But other than that I’m enjoying the mix of teen angst, romance, quip dialogue and horror. How about you?

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Diane was the first to recognize the slew of familiar faces on “Castle” this week. Julian Sands played the fashion designer Teddy. Over the summer, Sands was Reg Hunt in “Bollywood Hero.” Among his many TV roles, Sands was also Hector on “Lipstick Jungle” and Vladimir Bierko during the fifth season of “24.” Diane remembers him most as George on “A Room with a View.” Torrey DeVitto was the model. DeVitto was Karen on “Beautiful People” and played the psycho Nanny Carrie on “One Tree Hill.”

Myra recognized James Frain as the schizophrenic patient who was in a car accident with his mother on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Frain is Thomas Cromwell on “The Tudors” and we recently saw him on “In Plain Sight” as the man who had assumed the identity of his college friend. He was also Audrey’s husband Paul during the fourth season of “24.” For some reason, I’ll always remember Frain as Forney in the movie “Where the Heart Is.” Adrienne Barbeau was his mother. She was Ruthie on “Carnivale” and, of course, Carol on “Maude.”

Gordon recognized David Marciano as Wilson’s neighbor on “House.” Marciano was Detective Billings on “The Shield” and Ray on “Due South.”

Katie wanted to make sure we all know that Marguerite MacIntyre, Nicole Trager on “Kyle XY,” is the sheriff on “The Vampire Diaries.” And Elizabeth wanted to make sure we know that we can catch Matt Dallas, Kyle XY himself, as Chad on “Eastwick.”

Kristoffer Polaha was the man who hired Echo to be his wife on “Dollhouse.” Polaha is also Carlton Hanson on “Mad Men” – remember he’s married to Betty’s friend Francine (Anne Dudek). He was also Tim on “Miss Guided” and Danny on “Valentine.” We’ll see him soon in the upcoming CW series “Life UneXpected.”

Jessica Collins was the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case against Alicia’s client on “The Good Wife.” Collins was the miniature killer Natalie on “CSI” and Lizzie on “The Nine.”

Max Greenfield was the real estate agent who accused Jonah of stealing a client’s necklace on “Melrose Place.” He also appears in the online campaign promoting the show. Greenfield was Nick on “Ugly Betty,” Michael on “Greek,” and Leo on “Veronica Mars.”

Brooke Burns was the famous model accused of murdering her husband on “Drop Dead Diva.” She’s currently playing Michael Mancini’s wife Vanessa on “Melrose Place.” She was also Lisa on “Miss Guided” and Kathy on “Pepper Dennis.”

Quotes of the Week

“The human mind is like Van Halen. If you just pull out one piece and keep replacing it, it just degenerates.” Topher to Barry on “Dollhouse.” Thanks to Barry for the quote.

“Oh my god. It’s three years ago. Does that mean I’m still crazy?” House when Cameron and Chase walk in with Foreman on “House.”

“I’m not going to be one of those pathetic girls whose world stops spinning because of some guy.” Elena to her aunt on “The Vampire Diaries.”

“You can’t eat me. See, I’m not a Paris Hilton BFF. I’ve never even seen House of Wax.” Dean to the Paris Hilton lookalike pagan god on “Supernatural.” Thanks to Sandy who particularly liked this quote because Sam is played by Jared Padalecki who starred in “House of Wax.” 

Exchange of the Week

“What are you doing?” Oscar to Kevin on “The Office.”

” I’m trying to decide if I have time to pee.” Kevin’s response.

“How long do you take to pee?” Oscar

“The peeing is fast Oscar. It’s getting my tie back on.” Kevin. Thanks to Josh for the exchange.

That’s all for today. I’m back on Monday with a review of the return of “30 Rock” and a list of characters we need to see more of (how much do we miss Joan on “Mad Men”) and those we see too much (I’m talking to you Ryan Walker). Also coming next week a review of the premiere of “Ugly Betty” (assuming ABC doesn’t move the premiere again. I trust no one these days). Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for conversation? Write me at mailto:amytvgal@zap2it.com or follow me on Twitter. Have a great weekend. Talk to you on Monday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal

Posted by:Amy Amatangelo