Will “Amazing Race” pick up yet another Emmy?

There’s not a lot of suspense when it comes time to rip open the envelope announcing the Emmy winner for best reality program.

“Jeff (Probst) and I have sat together and lost together. We’re used to staying in our seats (after the winner is announced). There’s not a lot of cardio after our category” says American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. “Your heart beats for about a minute and then they say Amazing Race and about 100 people jump up on stage.”

The Amazing Race has become the perennial Emmy winner, and with good cause.
Let’s face it. The awe factor’s amped up considerably when people are zip lining off Victoria Falls rather than scooting across a dance floor or warbling to cranky judges. There’s an obvious big budget production scale working here with fabulous locales coupled with the element of strangers trying to navigate in a new environment.

And that doesn’t even take in the soap opera that takes place between the contestants – or between team members. As race fans know, every competition teams two people with an existing relationship (newly dating, father and daughter, married, separated, siblings) – and those relationships are seldom trouble-free.

Here are a few teams you might remember from past TAR seasons:

10. The Cho Brothers – These two sibs spent so much time helping others that they ended up getting cut out of the race early because they keep falling behind in a an effort to boost other teams. The couple they really gave a leg up to was David and Mary.

9. David and Mary – The Kentucky coal miner and his wife didn’t seem like the kind of people who would be able to compete against world travelers, but they hung in for quite a while especially when they got so much help in the beginning from other racers including the Cho Brothers. D and M didn’t win the million bucks, but The View” showered them with presents including a new house and car just for being so gosh-darned nice.

8. Dustin and Kadice – They looked like a couple of ditzy blonds who couldn’t find their way out of a mini-mall, much less exotic locations. But they became fierce competitors. Beware the blond.

7. Chip and Reichen – They insisted on being called married on the show, and then promptly split right after they won the race. The couple claimed the relationship couldn’t withstand the post-race pressure and the glare of the cameras. But soon after Reichen was N’ Synch with Lance Bass. Ah, fame.

6. Charla and Mirna – Please stop the words “Run, Charla run. Run, Charla, run” from looping around my brain. Charla was the little person with massive determination who kept up with her leggier cousin. They ended up cashing in after outperforming the competition.

5. Kynt and Vyxsin – Just how cute is it to have Goths with Kentucky accents and southern manners? Turns out Vyxsin’s dad was some sort of military guy who taught the duo the ropes when it came to those crazy challenges. Kynt insisted on Vyxsin remaining civil at all times and only seemed to slightly lose his cool when she was snappish.

4. B.J and Tyler – Turns out you can be Bay Area slackers and still win a million bucks in a race. In a complete fluke, the team came in last in two legs of the race, but both were non-elimination pit stops. Host Phil Keoghan says they boys enjoyed every moment in the race whether they were first or last. But first was obviously better: At the finish line where the two came in first, Tyler quipped that “If it’s this successful to be hippies, we might as well stay hippies.’’ Woodstock forever, man.

3. Uchenna and Joyce – Viewers loved them, but fellow racer Rob (formerly of Survivor) cried foul when the couple won the race after they were allowed on a flight that had previously been closed to them.

2. Jonathan and Victoria – Has anyone been more universally hated in TAR history than Jonathan? He claimed he was “butchered” by bad editing, but the man called the vilest contestant in TAR history was caught on tape far too often. He actually pushed his wife Victoria while the cameras were rolling. But as contemptible as he was, Victoria’s constant whining could bring out the worst in anyone.

1. Rob and Amber – Cheaters. OK, too hard? Rob and Amber took their Survivor”fame and cashed in on people around the world willing to help the two connivers out as they took unfair advantage. Turned out cheaters never prosper. Or at least they don’t win The Amazing Race.

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“Supernatural” Dean’s back from hell

For someone who has been to hell and back, Dean Winchester is looking mighty fine.

When last we saw the self-proclaimed smart brother, he was being dragged down into the devil’s lair after selling his soul to save his brother Sam. Chest ripped open by the hounds of hell, things weren’t looking good for our boy. Jump forward four months, and he’s clawing through a pine box before digging his way out of a grave. He emerges with a big red handprint on his shoulder marking his savage rescue from Hades’ halls – and more than a few questions about how he escaped and why he can’t remember much about his days down under.

Supernatural pops back on the schedule at 9 p.m. Thursday on the CW, right after the series premiere of Smallville. Brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) team up to fight the forces of evil, with their trusty hunter pal and closest-thing-to-a-father-since-dad-was-offed-by-a-demon Bobby (Jim Beaver).

Who snatched Dean from his living nightmare and why makes for one of the best episodes ever from this always entertainment series embarking on its fourth season. There’s no doubt that while the writer’s strike hurt a lot of people, it seems to have rejuvenated series that could have been heading for a major slump. After last season, fans might have been wondering if Dean’s tumble down to the dark side could signal the beginning of the end of this series.

Instead, it sets up what may be one of the greatest season ever for Supernatural.. First out of the box is a terrific episode written by creator Eric Kripke and directed by Kim Manners (The X-Files).

There are three key plot points the CW has begged reviewers not to reveal, and those points are addressed quite nicely in the not-to-be-missed season opener. But we can tell you that there’s a new man in the boys’ life who will change the course of their adventures in a major way. Castiel (Mischa Collins) is a hottie, and by that I mean he’ll burn the eyes right out of your head.

Sometimes there’s a fine line between good and evil, and that’s the territory Dean and Sam explore this season. Can a demon be saved? Can an atheist believe in God? Can a supernatural being be good and yet allow evil to run amuck?

And there’s a reason why the second, nail-biting episode is titled “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester.” Strap on those seatbelts. It’s going to be thrill ride.

While Supernatural has some cool special effects, Sci Fi’s new series Sanctuary, which airs at 9 p.m. Oct. 3 on the Sci Fi Channel, takes it to a whole new level with green screen sets and a production that comes out of Sin City and 300.

The technology allows the sets to take on a hyper-reality feel, but there’s also a slight disconnect with the actors. Some reactions seem more stilted than with the more easy-going vibe out of Supernatural. The two-hour premiere looks promising, yet doesn’t have that instant connect that Supernatural had from day one with relatable characters and snappy dialogue.

Sanctuary has a concept and a style that takes front-and-center priority. We would have liked a little more personality to the characters, which may evolve later after the shiny wears off of the new tech toys.

This series started out more than a year ago as Internet webisodes, where we were introduced to Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Topping), a scientist after Jack the Ripper. These days, the 157-year-old doctor operates Sanctuary with the help of her new recruit Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), her tough beautiful daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) and tech whiz Henry (Ryan Robbins) dedicate their lives to studying and protecting odd and terrifying creatures that lurk in the shadows.

Some monsters are hideous, others look like every day people but may be the most dangerous of all: Case in point is Magnus’ nemesis John Druitt played by Christopher Heyerdahl (“Stargate Atlantis”).

The script was a pilot written by Damian Kindler(Stargate eight years ago before he and writing partner Martin Wood decided to take it to the Internet.

“(We wanted) to explore ways to shoot it,” Kindler said. “It was decided that we would start with just some R&D on the Web, build an audience, build a technical shooting style.”

Topping says the challenge for the actors was working on this new kind of set.

“It’s just getting your head around the idea of being inside a totally virtual set,” Topping says. “We
talked to our director and our vis effects team, and we often have renderings that we can look at before we actually step onto the stage, so you get an idea of the scope.”

Kindler says the close to four million people who saw it on the Web won’t be getting a rehash.

“(The webisodes) really kind of cut our teeth on how we’d like to try to shoot it,” Kindler says. “The series on television is a complete overhaul, like a re-boot of the concept. Even though it has
the same cast and the same concept, it’s much broader in scope and deeper and the characters are more dimensional. I think it’s far more accessible to a wider audience.”

But Kindler must mean the episodes following the premiere, which is a trimmed down version of the webisodes already online. A few of the minor characters have been recast for the series and a few tweaks have been made. And the premiere actually offers less especially in the back story between Magnus and Druitt.

The webisodes were much more impressive than this two-hour premiere, which doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the 13-episode season.

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Amazing Race kicks off 13th season

Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan likes to tell the story about the kid who came up to him one day and perfectly recited the rules regarding detours.

Mini-Phil quickly rattled off “A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks in order to receive their next clue…” Well, you get the picture. Race fans are rabid.

TAR starts up again at 8 p.m. Aug. 28 on CBS for a 13th go-round with another diverse group of racers, including an aging hippie couple and the requisite nerd team, bimbo team, sibling team and strained relationship team(s). There’s a contestant named Starr Spangler, a former NFL cheerleader. The NFL’s getting a two-fer this time around with former NFL player Ken Greene, who played with the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers.

He also played a lot off the field too. He’s trying to mend his relationship with wife Tina after cheating on her.

The premiere episode took it a little too easy on the teams for my taste, with the most challenging obstacle requiring teams to climb down rope netting from a building Superman could take in a single bound. Let’s hope things pick up in later episodes.

No one team really stood out from the crowd, unless you count the tie-dyed, shaggy gray-haired beekeeper hippies who appeared to sweat a little too much for the amount of exercise they were getting.

While we love the gorgeous locations, the challenges and, of course, and even Phil’s predictable speeches, the heart of this show lies in the teams. We need heroes and villains, the good and the bad, the likable and the detestable. So in that sprit, we look back at our top-10 moments in TAR history.

10. Maybe it’s just because I found Jen and Nate in TAR 12 to be the two most annoying contestants in recent years, but wasn’t it sweet when they got bounced on Jen’s birthday? Perfect gift for a spoiled, whiney witch.

9. In TAR 10, first place team James and Tyler reached what they thought was the pit stop only to discover after James, who has an extreme fear of heights, reluctantly did a 232 foot, face-forward repel or “Angel Dive” down the side of Helsinki Olympic Stadium that they had only reached the midway point in the leg.

8. Poor sweet hippie B.J. almost passed out digging through no less than 117 dirt mounds trying to find some food under the sand during TAR 9. Although he and teammate Tyler arrived first at the challenge, they were the last to leave and would have been eliminated from the race except it proved to be a non-elimination round. The two went on to win the million.

7. No matter how nimble you might be, something can always take you down in a heartbeat. Like a sour little donkey. In a sweet example of karma during TAR 12, nasty Ari early on stole another teams’ cab, boasting “Karma’s a bitch, but I’m a bigger bitch.” Later, karma clamped down on his backside when he and teammate Staella got their come-uppance from a stubborn donkey who refused to cooperate no matter how many times Ari threatened its little bony body.

6. Can a reality competition show really bring out the selfless nature in others? Not usually, but in the case of the Cho brothers in TAR 10, they wrangled a way for last-place team Dave and Mary to get the fast-forward. Not only did team Kentucky coal miner win that leg, but they also won a luxury trip to Tahiti. While the Cho brothers remained in the game that time, the fact that they spent more time saving D&M’s bacon than playing their own game resulted in them being prematurely eliminated from the race.

5. Things got pretty scary when, in TAR 7, when brothers Ron and Kelly flipped their vehicle over, injuring a cameraman. Concerned racers stopped to make sure everything was OK, with Lynn and Alex refusing to leave the team until they knew medical help was on the way. All that concern allowed the unconcerned former Survivor contestants Rob and Amber to gain an advantage as they rolled on past the accident without even asking if everyone was OK.

4. There are always a few teams who take the unethical route, but none did it as blatantly as frat boys Eric and Jeremy in TAR 9. The boys actually canceled the other teams’ cabs so they could get a jump start. If that wasn’t bad enough, they let the other teams think it was MoJo – Monica and Joseph – do did the dirty deed.

3. That cheer from audience all over America came when insufferable dad Ronald got a painful hernia in TAR 12. Ronald rode his sweet daughter Christine like a pack mule, never giving her a minute’s peace. She bore it all with grace and dignity and eventually, it seemed that Ron came around a little in the end.

2. Rascally grandpa Don and his grandson Nick struggled through many trials, but when the two allowed themselves to get matching tattoos in TAR 12, they went above and beyond to get a jump on the competition. And it was a ghastly tat at that.

1. No one will ever forget the day Joyce shaved her head just so her team could get the fast-forward in TAR 7. After hearing those weepy little America’s Next Top Model girls cry over a few snipped locks, it was amazing indeed to see what lengths Joyce would go to get a shot at winning the grand prize.

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Fashion on TV: Coco Chanel to Sex and the City

New York fashion week brings out the kitty claws in some people.

Susan Sarandon’s daughter sniffs that mommy actually wears her gym clothes into the night. Oh, the horror. Just where did Eva Amurri, 23, learn her fashion sense then? She says through her pals in the industry, but we suspect that Eva, like so many of us, learned everything we know about fashion through television.

This week, it’s not just a coincidence that Lifetime is trotting out a miniseries based on the life of fashion icon Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime spinning the tale of the little French orphan girl who becomes a dressmaker apprentice in 1912 Paris before being whisked away by a nobleman who takes her to live at his country estate. Don’t you hate that when that happens?

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Shirley MacLaine as Coco Chanel in the Lifetime miniseries “”Coco Chanel” premiereing at 8 p.m. Sept. 13 on Lifetime.

She struggles. She wins in love, she loses in love. She wins in fashion, she loses in fashion, she makes a dramatic comeback. It’s all there, with Barbora Bobulova playing the young Coco and Shirley MacLaine playing the designer in her later years.

MacLaine says she talked to Audrey Hepburn when the two were making Children’s Hour about playing Chanel.

“(We) were talking about the contradictions, the ambition, the need for love, the search for beauty, et cetera, that fashion designers had because I didn’t know much about fashion, and she told me that I should play Coco Chanel,” MacLaine says. “And I said, “Well Coco Chanel was little and scrunched over and very short.” And she said, “No, but the spirit of the woman is what matches your spirit.” Now, I found Coco to be everything between generous and rude. So I don’t know what Audrey really meant.”

MacLaine says she loved Chanel’s contradiction, her colorful rudeness and her ability to improvise a new outfit in 10 seconds.

“I loved her conflict between love and ambition and her conflict between how to get stuff done and not be hurtful,” MacLaine says. “I think we’re both colorful. I think we’re both rude. I think we’re both spontaneous. We both can’t hold what we feel to be the honest opinion in. “

So once you pass the fashion history class provided by this miniseries, you can move on with your education by watching these top ten TV fashion shows:

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Rich on TV

There’s nothing like a good wallow in big fat vat of rich to make you forget that you can’t pay the rent.

At least, that’s the thinking behind the most recent batch of rich folk shows tumbling out of Hollywood. Actually, it was last year when we all noticed there were a whole lot of shows about the wealthy making the fall line-up. But while some last-season series such as Big Shots and Cashmere Mafia won’t be returning, most have found a spot on the new fall line-up. Dirty, Sexy Money, Lipstick Jungle and Gossip Girl are coming back for a second run after being waylaid by the writer’s strike and even more new shows about rotten rich have rushed in.

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“Gossip Girl” on the CW is just packed with the way-too-rich. Pictured: (l-r) Yin Chang as Nelly Yuki, Amanda Setton as Penelope PHOTO CREDIT: GIOVANNI RUFINO/THE CW

The CW’s Privileged has a hard-working would-be journalist playing sista-momma to two spoiled, manipulative Florida teens. The network also has the remake of Beverly Hills 90210 titled simply 90210 for those with short attention spans.

The CW seems to think that the way to a viewer’s heart is through watching people richer than you who just can’t buy happiness. Both freshman series 90210 and the addictive sophomore series Gossip Girl brought in impressive numbers.

When the financial going get tough, there’s nothing better than feeling superior to those with the green – and we’re not talking ecology.

Here’s look at some rich people we love, or at least love to hate.

10. Simple Life – Ah, the series that brought Paris Hilton into our living rooms. Well, maybe it was the sex tape for some of you, but for most of us it was seeing Paris and former best pal Nicole Richie going from the lap of luxury to the pits of small town America.

9. The Hills – Can you do any top-10 list these days without mentioning the Hills? Think lifestyles of the rich and vapid. Spencer alone could rate a rung on this ratings ladder.

8. Super Sweet 16 – My god, what was that mother thinking when she gave her princess a Lexus convertible the day BEFORE her 15th birthday party, which, you know, totally ruined her birthday. Or how about the rich witch who didn’t want her sister in a cute dress because it would upstage the birthday girl? Watching this show makes every wage earner happy that they don’t have to deal with these people.

7. The Real Housewives of Orange County – Here’s a quote I’ve never quite forgotten, no matter how much alcohol I’ve had. When Kara, the daughter of former Playboy Playmate and OC housewife Jeana Keogh says, “We show our love by buying each other things.” Actually, I think that says, I didn’t care enough to spend any time with you, so I bought you off.

6. Dallas – Nothing said excess like those oil-rich Ewings. J.R. wheeled and dealed his way through life. Sure, he got shot for being such a bastard, but he popped right up again and kept on spreading misery to anyone in his path.

5. Dynasty – Here’s what we loved about this series: You could always count on a good old fashioned cat fight that had these perfectly coiffed ladies splashing around in the water like a spring break wet T-shirt contest. But we really loved the mud wrestling.

4. Beverly Hills 90210 – Sweet Brenda and Brandon Walsh got quite a culture shock when they moved with their family from the Midwest to the 90210. We all jumped into the crazy world of spoiled but neglected Hollywood high schoolers. Poor tortured Dylan, come let us make you feel better.

3. Entourage – Vincent Chase might have a healthy dose of self love, but at least he brings his buddies along to share the indulgent, perk-filled lifestyle being an up-and-coming movie star affords him.

2. Arrested Development – Love the Bluths, especially boozy mom Lucille (“Your father says he wants me to go all the way to Fallujah. I thought he meant that sex act that’s so popular with your generation.”). Although Michael’s trying to be better than this bananas bunch, the rest feed just play out the worst in the stereotype of the wealthy as stupid and self-obsessed.

1. Brothers & Sisters – Don’t we all wish we could have lively political discussions around the pool while sipping grand California wines? This little slice of rich life lets us all wallow in the excesses of the Walker family filled with beautiful smart people who always seems to come up with some vast amount of money out of thin air whenever those financial storm clouds gather.

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Survivor: Gabon – Jeff Probst talks, and we list

Back when Survivor spent its third season in Africa, host Jeff Probst said it was more like spending time in a zoo than being out in the wilderness.

“It’s a preserve and the animals are used to having people around all the time, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to them,” Probst says after his recent return from filming the latest version of Survivor in Gabon. “In Gabon, they told us in advance that this would be completely different. These animals were not used to seeing any body around and if you see an elephant, it’s a big deal because you just don’t know how they are going to react.”

Probst says that during one Survivor:Gabon interview, a giant elephant came within 50 yards of the film crew.

“It was thrilling and scary at the same time,” Probst says. “This elephant will stomp on you. There were moments in the filming when survivors interacted with the animals and it felt like being in a Spielberg movie.”

At one point, a 12-foot python slithered into the camp, and someone had the bright idea of using it as a prop for a promo shot with Probst. The crew tried to reassure Probst they could stop the snake from squeezing him to death if it tried. Heck, the worst thing would be Probst might get a nasty, but not fatal, bite.

“They put the snake around my neck and I was holding the head while it was moving and I kept reminding myself that this was not a quote trained L.A. snake, unquote, but one that just crawled out of the jungle,” Probst says. “I held him for about five minutes while I had flashbacks to another promo about three years ago doing the snake thing with (so-called) trained snake. It bit the trainer, a full on clamp on the wrist. (On our shoot) we got some great still shots of me with the snake, but I wasn’t going to tempt things for too long.”

CBS website has this snake, but not the picture with snake and Jeff Probst for “SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN,” which begins its 17th installment at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Last time Survivor” went to Africa, they called it the most boring cycle every.
OK, maybe that was just me. But with the dry plains instead of those subtropical and beach shots, the series had all the tension of watching paint dry. What more can you say about a series that includes rolling boulders as a challenge? And the contestants? Sleeping pills on steroids.

When the high points include some Virginia farmer named Big Tom Buchanan dong the chicken dance to “chicken in a bread basket picking out dough” or some blah, blah, blah, blah do-si-do stuff, you know you’re in trouble.

Did you miss those golden moments? We’re here to share a few more with you:
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Vamping out over HBO’s “True Blood”

Repeat after me: There is no shame in wearing a red T-shirt proclaiming, “Friends don’t let friends drink friends.”

Moonlight might have been staked, but those of us who like our boys with a little bite can take comfort in the fact that HBO is offering up a tasty new vampire treat on Sept. 7. “True Blood” is based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels about a perky waitress from a backwater Louisiana town that’s lousy with leeches — and we aren’t talking the swamp variety.

Ah, Sookie. There’s plenty of sizzle going on between Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) on HBO’s new series “True Blood.”

Sookie can’t believe it when brooding vampire Bill steps into her backwoods Louisiana diner and orders up a cup of Joe. OK, make that a cup of synthetic Joe blood.

She’s been waiting for this all her life. And vamp fans know exactly how she feels. Fangers may be blood-suckers, but what a way to go. Most of our favorites are tortured souls looking to toss immortality for a sensual relationship with a mortal. Or those mighty queens of the damned. And you can always count on the strong mortals like the spunky Buffys and Sookies to get that vamp blood to boil. While I love curling up on the sofa for a nice wallow in Interview with the Vampire or Lost Boys, the old Dracula movies leave me cold. I like my vampire shows loaded with snark, hold the cheese.

Not since Buffy staked out a place in our hearts has there been a show about vampires we could really sink our teeth into like True Blood. But will viewers tune in? TV history has not been kind to the night dwellers. Check out our top-10 list of TV vamp-centric series:

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel: All hail the creator, Joss Whedon. Both the original series and the Angel spin-off were smartly written and acted. Who can forget when Angel appeared out of the darkness and came into Buffy’s life? Buffy made history with an episode shot almost entirely without dialogue, and also produced one of the best TV musical episodes ever. Buffy was all about girl power, and what just one girl could do. As it said on her tombstone, “She Saved the World. A Lot.” But the excellent spin-off with David Boreanaz as private investigator Angel proved to be a higher ratings grabber.

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“Sons of Anarchy” roars into FX – Here’s some more motorcycle moments

Just for the moment, we’ll disregard the fact that FX’s new series “Sons of Anarchy,” airing at 10 p.m. Wednesday on FX, might actually help swell the ranks of certain unnamed motorcycle clubs, headquartered (let’s say) in Oakland, and running illegal operations (let’s say) in California’s central valley.

Clubs that might refer to themselves by a name that would reflect Lucifer’s fallen status.

Nah, the producers and crew — many of whom came from FX’s The Shield — think of their series about a gun-running motorcycle club that isn’t opposed to murder and mayhem as sort of a take on Hamlet.

Charlie Hunnam and Katey Segal play son and mom in “Sons of Anarchy” on FX

Charlie Hunnam plays sexy bad boy Jax, who has a bit of the poet in him. He’s the Hamlet, with a father who was perhaps murdered by the man who wanted to take over his territory — a man who was also his best friend. That man, Clay (Ron Perlman), took over the gang and married Jax’s mom Gemma (Katey Sagal). Gemma’s one tough momma who loves her son, yet sees him as a threat and isn’t sure how much of his dad is in him.

Like The Sopranos, it’s all about family values. But this family mostly values criminal activity, wrapped up in an odd code of honor that allows despicable acts in the name of solidifying the family.

FX proudly claims that this is the first TV series to center on the motorcycle club subculture, although many films have used the theme. That’s true — even as HBO is trying to get 1% off the ground despite a lawsuit launched by Hell’s Angels leader Sonny Barger — but motorcycles have played an important (if not central) role in other shows. We offer our top-10-bikes-on-TV list:
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Best Moments from “The Shield”

The Mack is back

The ends justify the means in Vic Mackey’s book, and from the first time we met him we knew this wasn’t just another cop on the beat. The Shield brought FX up to the big leagues, with an edgy cop drama unlike anything else on television. You secretly cheered when Mackey, leader of L.A.’s elite, and morally decayed, Strike Team tortured child molesters, drug dealers and other scum bags. But like a mad dog, you never knew when way he was going to turn.

“Good cop and bad cop left for the day,” Mackey says in one episode right before he begins beating up a pedophile to discover where he was hiding a young girl slated to be sold in slavery. “I’m a different kind of cop.”

THE SHIELD: Episode 2: “Snitch” airing 9 p.m. Tuesday on FX. L-R: CCH Pounder and Michael Chiklis. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX

And now, judgment day may finally be at hand for Mackey as The Shield begins its final season at 10 p.m. Sept. 2 on FX. Just to catch you up to speed, Mackey’s still miffed at Det. Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) for killing Strike Team guy Lem (Kenneth Johnson), but then everyone thought there was a good chance Lem would turn them all in. Mackey’s in trouble with the Armenians for that little robbery in Season 2, and he’s getting ready to lose his badge if he doesn’t figure out a way to get back into the good graces of the higher ups.

This was FX’s first scripted drama, and it blew the doors off of the competition and opened up the basic cable landscape. Creator Shawn Ryan says he wanted to give FX an ending that the network could be proud of and would set a template for other series.

CCH Pounder, who plays Captain Claudette Wyms on the show, says it’s the greatest finale every. Period.

“Hands down, blew my socks off. I’m not a great fan of The Shield as a watcher in the sense of I’m like a cringy person. I’m a bit of a chicken even though my role is so huge and non-chicken-like, “Pounder says. “But this finale is what Vic Mackey deserves.”

Does he get what he deserves?

“What thrills me about the finale is you will not see this coming,” Michael Chiklis, who pays Mackey, says. “When you look back at you’ll go, holy cow, yeah, that’s exactly right. I think he’s a man who is plagued by regret and the fallout of his actions starting from pretty much day one of the series, and all of those actions have led to other actions and created a sort of course that, as C.C. probably would agree, leads him to where it ends up.

“He’s definitely become a guy that understands that there is tremendous consequence, not just for himself but everyone around him, for the decisions that he’s made.”

Some strands from previous seasons will be picked up, others will never be resolved. Ryan says he took a crash course in The Shield history prior to working on this final season.

“There are a couple of characters that are a blast from the past that we bring back and wrap up in some ways,” Ryan says.

As Catherine Dent, who plays officer Danny Sofer, says, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in the final score that you miss a really great game.

“It’s going to be a great game and you’re not gonna want to know how it ends,” Dent says. “You’re going to want to watch every quarter because it’s so intense.”

For the next 13 episodes, of which I’ve seen eight so far, it’s edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that promises to be one of the best season’s ever. Here’s a top-10 look at some unforgettable moments in The Shield history.
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Survivor: Gabon – Here’s the cast

Jeff Probst calls this return to Africa one of the wildest adventures of his life.

“This isn’t like the last African Survivor,” Jeff said in an interview after he returned from shooting the series last month. “These aren’t wild animals who are used to seeing people around. This is really out where it’s dangerous.”

Jeff Probst, host of SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN, is pictured on the new tribal council set for the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series, which premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Today, CBS released the cast of “Survivor: Gabon” as well as this Survivor clip.

The 18 castaways will compete on “Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden” in a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS.

“In a strange coincidence to Earth’s Last Eden – good vs. evil emerges as a major theme this season. I think the audience will quickly identify with one group or the other,” host Jeff Probst teases in the press release. Will the group of deceitful castaways outlast those individuals who play from their heart or will the forces of evil prevail? Will temptations interfere with logical decision-making? More importantly, which side will come out on top?

This season, for the first time, the show will be shot in HD.

“Shooting in HD is like adding another character to the show,” Probst says in the press release. “The detail is so sharp you can’t help but feel as though you are experiencing the adventure yourself.”

(Back Row-Standing) Michelle Chase, Charlie Herschel, Paloma Soto-Castillo, Corinne Kaplan, Crystal Cox, Dan Kay, Jessica Kiper, Ace Gordon, Jacquie Berg, Kelly Czarnecki, Marcus Lehman, Matty Whitmore and Bob Crowley, (Front Row-Kneeling) Gillian Larson, Susie Smith, Ken Hoang, Randy Baily and Danny Brown are the 18 castaways set to compete in SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN when the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Castaways competing on SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN (in alphabetical order) are:



Eagle Rock, Mo.

Wedding Videographer



Santa Barbara, Calif.

Medical Sales



Portland, Ore.

Maintenance Man



Los Angeles

Music Production Assistant



Durham, N.C.

Former Olympic Gold Medalist



Portland, Maine

Physics Teacher



Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Retail Sales



Naples, Fla.

Jewelry Sales



New York




Westminster, Calif.

Professional Gamer



Los Angeles

Pharmaceutical Sales







Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pin-up Model



Temecula, Calif.

Retired Nurse







Charles City, Iowa


CBS Television…4



Downey, Calif.




Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Personal Trainer

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