Favorite TV Chicks: Pailin and Natalie, Amazing Race Asia

from the couch of Renzie Baluyut

On today's feature on Favorite TV Chicks, we turn the spotlight on two of the prettiest contestants to ever sign up for The Amazing Race: Asia. For those of you who have been checking out the show on AXN, you know what I'm talkin' about: the two lovely ladies of Team Thailand: Pailin and Natalie.

Just what the show needs- some serious weekly eye-candy. But if you caught last night's episode, you probably already know how my favorite team fared.

Maybe it was the heat, the sleep deprivation, or just the race itself, but it seemed that Natalie's spirit had begun to give, despite Pailin's best efforts to keep her going. And as luck would have it, this week's leg ended in an elimination.

Who would've thought, right? They look great, they're most likely in top shape, and definitely in a good mood when the race started out. Then again, whoever's going to win any cycle of The Amazing Race- Asia or otherwise- is really going to need more than just physical prowess, endurance, charm and luck. It's really more about a strong desire to win. They have to want to win more than any other team on the competish.

It was truly disappointing since I was really looking forward to seeing more of the two every week on The Amazing Race: Asia.

Here's Pailin and Natalie's write-up from the Amazing Race: Asia website:

No Amazing Race season is without its resident eye candy but with leggy beauties Pailin and Natalie, their team has one credential none of the previous good looking teams in race history ever had – being in a Miss Universe pageant and winning one!

25 year old Pailin Rungratanasunthorn was the first runner up in 2006 Miss Thailand Universe and represented her country as Miss Thailand Earth 2006 as well.

As for her good friend Natalie Glebova, the 26-year-old actually was a Miss Universe. Natalie took home the gleaming crown and title from the competition held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005. The Russian Canadian beauty originally from Tuapse, Russia represented Canada in her winning event and is the second Canadian to claim the title.

It is no wonder that beauty pageants are part of their blood, having met in the 2006 Miss Thailand Universe pageant and becoming fast friends after that. Pailin was also one of Natalie's bridesmaids when she married Thailand's highest ranked tennis player, Paradorn Srichaphan, in November 2007.

But beauty is not the only thing that links the Thailand team together. Both have acute business sense as they are running their own business. Pailin's company makes toys, t-shirts and gifts for sale online, while Natalie's company sells beauty products across Thailand.

Describing herself, Pailin notes of her decision to participate in The Amazing Race, "I am really competitive and I want to do something where I can put my energy in it."

Agreeing, Natalie adds, "We're both very competitive and cannot stand to lose. We love to travel, love to do adrenaline like things, love to experience new cultures and learn."

And with both their credentials, travelling has become second nature to them. Pailin has travelled to Japan, China, South Africa, and Egypt while Natalie, other than gracing beauty pageants around the world, has attended the G8 Summit in New York, and as a HIV/AIDS awareness advocate, has travelled extensively to India and Africa.

Having spent their formative years in the beauty circuit, the damsels know a bit about what it takes to stay ahead. And having seen the show on television, the duo is also gunning to experience the thrills and tumbles that only the race can deliver. Exclaims Natalie, "We love to try new things. Give us bungee jumping, parachuting, paragliding and parasailing any day!"

She adds, "We are competitive, we're in shape and we're going to kick ass."

The girls have started preparing for the trek around the world based on what the previous Amazing Race Asia seasons were like. Surprisingly, their strategy for winning is to be the underdog and "fly under the radar". "Let's hope that no one will take us too seriously so we won't be recognized as a threat until it's too late!"

Well, so much for those two. But even if they did get eliminated, they still have a fan in me. Just look at those two- absolutely gorgeous :D

You can check out the rest of the teams, team photos and even interact with other fans of The Amazing Race: Asia on the official AXN Asia website.

As long as TV keeps coming up with delicious eye-candy, this blog's feature on "Favorite TV Chicks" will be on hand to get to know more about our fine female performers who make our TV shows a little bit more interesting. Only on "Too Much TV | Renzie on TV!"

Cheers, everyone.

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Favorite TV Chicks: Anna Torv, Dania Ramirez and Mädchen Amick

from the couch of Renzie Baluyut

With our old favorite TV shows coming back for new seasons, we can definitely expect a lot of great viewing these next few months. There will be surprise hits and flops, drama on- and off-cam, and of course, new chicks on TV!

So far, I have my eye on three great-looking women: Anna Torv of the J.J. Abrams FOX drama Fringe, Dania Ramirez, the deadly Maya from the hit NBC show Heroes, and then we have Mädchen Amick, who plays Nate Archibald's new cougar love interest on Gossip Girl on The CW.

Lets get to know them a little better, shall we?

Anna Torv of Fringe

As special agent Olivia Dunham, Anna Torv kicks ass every week on Fringe. And just like any other FBI field operative, she's chasing down criminals on foot, or vaulting over cars, or even across buildings.

What makes Dunham's character so bad-ass is the kind of crooks she hunts down: you'd think they're regular serial killers or terrorists, but these miscreants are actually part of some much larger, much more elaborate conspiracy she's still trying to figure out.

Anna Torv's character is forced to confront the systematic spread of weird, paranormal occurences (called 'The Pattern' on the show), and I have to say that Anna is doing great playing Olivia Dunham.

Anna is an Australian actress, with a few movies and TV shows to her credit, but this is the biggest role she has thus far, and I say good luck on this endeavor. She's doing a great job, and I can't wait to watch the next episode to see how The Pattern unfolds.

J.J. Abrams' Fringe is this season's new sci-fi action/thriller. I'd describe it as the new X-Files, though there are people who also see a little bit of Dark Angel, Twilight Zone and Lost in it.

Dania Ramirez of Heroes

We've actually seen Dania Ramirez's character, Maya, last season on the NBC hit drama. Remember that Mexican chick who'd always be crying black tears and then everyone in a hundred-foot-radius would suddenly drop dead?

Well, Maya is back this season, and while we didn't see much character development the last time she was on Heroes, she promises fans this time, "I cry a lot less this season and make out a lot more."

We can all appreciate that. Thank you, Dania.

Dania Ramirez actually came from the Dominican Republic, and has had a recurring role in The Sopranos' final season. You also may have caught her on the last X-Men movie (X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006) and on a music video here and there.

As for Dania's character on Heroes, well, we've seen some more of that "making out" the other night. That, plus more revealing clothes. Still no idea how her powers work though. Is it psionic in nature? Does she exude some kind of airborne nerve toxin? A fast-acting disease perhaps?

I suppose we'll have to find out in the next several episodes of Heroes. And I wouldn't mind seeing more Dania Ramirez in the process.

Mädchen Amick of Gossip Girl

Her name Mädchen means "girl" in German, and is pronounced mayd-shyen- remember that. You probably remember her as Shelly Johnson from the old TV drama Twin Peaks, or that chick in the Stephen King movie Sleepwalkers (1992).

OK, so she also had recurring roles on a lot of other shows including Gilmore Girls, E.R., Jake In Progress and Joey- that plus a number of movie roles and other gigs. So you get the idea: she has been around for quite some time, and now Mädchen is back, for the appreciation of a totally new audience on Gossip Girl.

Mädchen Amick plays the role of Catherine Mason, one of this season's new characters. She has a summer fling with Chace Crawford's character of Nate Archibald, which of course goes on to extend for several episodes just for fun.

We also find out later on that Catherine Mason is stepmom to Blair Waldorf's (Leighton Meester) love interest, Marcus. With all the characters running around, up to their usual Upper East-side scheming and shenanigans, you know that this makes for great Gossip Girl drama, and it can only be a good thing for viewers, right?

There will definitely be more Mädchen Amick and Catherine Mason this season. You know you love her.

Hey, you can check out our featured actresses on their own respective profiles on the Internet Movie Database: check out Anna Torv's here, Dania Ramirez's here, and Mädchen Amick's here.

As long as TV keeps coming up with delicious eye-candy, this blog's feature on "Favorite TV Chicks" will be on hand to get to know more about our fine female performers who make our TV shows a little bit more interesting. Only on "Too Much TV | Renzie on TV!"

Cheers, everyone!

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Seems Our Heroes Have Their Work Cut Out For Them

by Renzie Baluyut

You've probably been waiting for it all year- the third volume of Heroes finally made its premiere last night. I caught it myself, and liked it. I'm sure a lot of my friends did too. But in the business of television, buzz is good, but ratings ultimately matter. The question is: was the NBC drama able to hold up well enough against the fierce Monday night competition?

Not quite heroically enough, according to a report on TV.com. In fact, according to figures from The Hollywood Reporter, viewership of Heroes: Villains is rather disappointing- down 25% this season, based on ratings of the third season premiere last night, pulling in only 9.9 million sets of eyeballs.

Which meant one in four who saw the second season premiere last year was probably watching something else, leaving it up to the DVR to record the show, or just busy doing other stuff. Heroes overload, perhaps?

We had three hours' worth of Heroes last night: a 1-hour clip show at 8pm, which pretty much just brings us up to speed with what went down the past couple seasons, then you had Episodes 1 and 2 of the "Villains" volume: "The Second Coming" at 9pm and "The Butterfly Effect" at 10pm.

Understand, however, that in my case, I also want to catch my other favorite Monday night shows- specifically: Gossip Girl (on The CW, at 8pm), How I Met Your Mother (on CBS, at 8:30pm), The Sarah Connor Chronicles (on FOX, at 9pm). So thank Bob for DVR's.

Now that's just MY demographic. What about the rest of Monday night primetime-viewing America? It seemed that ABC's Dancing with the Stars pulled in 21.1 million viewers- more than twice the number of Heroes' viewers- at 9pm, and then CBS kicks NBC's ass at 10pm with David Caruso's screaming hot shades with CSI: Miami's 16.9 million viewers.

The biggest draw for Monday night however, seemed to have come from Monday Night Football, with the return of Bret Favre, so all around, even the other Monday night shows got hit: The Sarah Connor Chronicles only had 5.8 million viewers, Prison Break (also on FOX) also took a slight dive, and so did Gossip Girl, which saw 20% less viewers compared to last week.

Possibly impressive: comedy newcomer Worst Week garnered more than 11 million viewers last night- still at least a million more viewers than the Heroes season 3 premiere.

I'm still hoping that our heroes (and villains) would rally by next week. Sure looks like the Petrellis have some hustling to do.

Cheers, everyone!

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You Know Tina Fey Just HAS To Do a Sarah Palin, Right?

You already knew this was coming. Tina Fey is just going to be so all over Sarah Palin.

Exactly what I thought when I first saw Governor Sarah Palin, running mate of Republican presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain, on TV at that Republican Convention a few weeks back. She does look so much like Tina Fey, doesn't she? Check their photos out right here.

The resemblance is uncanny, wouldn't you agree?

In case you didn't know, Tina Fey is best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and on 30 Rock, both on NBC. On a recent airing of Saturday Night Live, the show opens with Tina Fey (as Gov. Palin) alongside Amy Poehler (as Sen. Hillary Clinton) as they address the nation. In true SNL form, the sketch just completely bowled me over. Watch and enjoy.

Special thanks and shout-out to Erin P of The Life of Erin for leading me to Truveo- a virtual treasure trove of great video gems from all over the net, including a lot of classic (and new) SNL skits and sketches. Video originally from the NBC official website.

Cheers, everyone!

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Renzie Watches Burn Notice

Probably one of the more underappreciated shows that came out in the past couple years is the USA Network's Burn Notice. The new season came out last July 10- just after I flew back to Metro Manila from Los Angeles, and I gotta say- the show just keeps getting better and better.

Burn Notice first came out in the summer of 2007. The title refers to a memo of sorts issued by intelligence agencies that pretty much dismisses and discredits agents, operatives or other assets as unreliable, and are therefore, blacklisted from any project thereafter. So spies don't get pink slips, they get burn notices.

Our show follows the misadventures of Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan), an international covert-ops operative, who got inconveniently burned in the middle of an assignment, and is trying to figure out why he got burned, and who got him blacklisted and flagged on just about every government watchlist to begin with.

Finding his assets frozen, cut off from his network and waking up in a sleazy motel in Miami, Michael sets off to redeem himself. So he takes on just about any job he can get his hands on- small-time stuff, really, for someone of Michael's caliber- but hey, as long as it pays the bills, takes care of the rent, with enough leftover for blueberry yogurt and beer, it's all good.

So what's an ex-spy supposed to do? Get by with a little help from his "friends", that's what.

Michael then reluctantly enlists the aid of a couple of "friends": a trigger-happy ex-girlfriend, (Fiona, played by Gabrielle Anwar) who just so happens to be an IRA-trained demolitions expert and sharpshooter, and a former Navy SEAL and Military Intel Operative (Sam, played by Bruce Campbell) who's seen better days and too many sugar mommas and mojitos.

Then of course, there's Michael's mother, who's just happy to have her son back in town (after not hearing from him in 10+ years), and calls him up 20, 30 times a day, often asking for Michael to attend to some errand or help out with some problem at home.

The show is really a first-person narrative from the viewpoint of Michael, offering some interesting insights and nuggets of wisdom in espionage and covert ops. The show has an entertaining mix of action, suspense and comedy, fun and memorable characters, and ultimately a good storyline.

I just finished a Season 1 marathon, and now I'm watching the Season 2 episodes I've had recorded- and it's great stuff. Check out the Season 2 promo they had airing on the USA Network:

Wanna catch more Burn Notice? Visit the show on its official website, or on its entries on TV.com, on IMDb.com and on Wikipedia.

Cheers, everyone!

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Just A Regular Dude Watching TV

I might be a media guy, but my field is really more into radio and marketing more than anything else. For the most part, it means that what I know about television is pretty much stuff just about anyone can know- so don't expect me to go technical or anything.

I'm just a regular dude who just happens to appreciate me some good TV.

TV has so much to offer- a show I like might not exactly appeal to your tastes and vice versa. And that's the beauty of it all- with just so much TV going on, there's definitely something for everyone out there. We even have our own guilty pleasures- and that's just all good.

Feel free to share your thoughts on whatever TV show you like (or don't like). As long as you're all mature about it, with a genuine desire to inform, educate, or just someone with an honest opinion- come, sit and let's talk about TV.

Cheers, everyone.

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