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Entertainment Weekly's Picks of the Week

  • Story Highlights
  • EW's top pick of the week: Conan O'Brien's first "Tonight" show
  • "Land of the Lost" is out Friday; Marty Krofft approves
  • New albums include entries from Dave Matthews Band, Elvis Costello
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Entertainment Weekly

(Entertainment Weekly) -- Out with the old, in with the new.

Conan O'Brien says he isn't going to "just dust off the 'Late Night' show and move it to 11:30."

For the first time in 17 years, there will be a new face behind the "Tonight Show" desk, and we'll be eagerly waiting to see what will happen on Conan O'Brien's first night in the big-boy chair (June 1, NBC, 11:35 p.m. ET).

Does he let the Masturbating Bear run wild all over his shiny new Los Angeles,California, set, just to show the world that his absurdist sensibilities aren't about to go into hibernation? Or does he play it safe with a new segment EW's Dan Snierson made up called TrafficConan, in which he talks with drivers stuck in rush-hour gridlock? (We strongly vote for the first one.)

Whatever the case, a familiar face will aid him in his quest to build on the Allen/Paar/Carson/Leno legacy: That would be former "Late Night" sidekick Andy Richter, who'll serve as announcer (and partaker in comedy bits). First guest/Conan pal Will Ferrell should put our host at ease -- or at least make him appropriately uncomfortable -- before Pearl Jam plug in as the musical guests.

Good luck, Mr. O'Brien: May you have this big gig all the way until the year 2000.

Here are more EW Picks for the week of June 1:

"I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" season premiere (Monday, NBC, 8 p.m. ET) Stephen Baldwin, Janice Dickinson, Sanjaya Malakar and seven other D-listers abandoned in a remote Costa Rican jungle: dream come true? More like a reboot of the 2003 celebrity reality show. "I love the fact that I'm going to be shooting spitballs at Sanjaya and pushing Janice's buttons," says Baldwin, who's traveling with underwear, socks and a Bible. "I'm praying the American masses will enjoy the antics of Stevie B."


"Land of the Lost" (out Friday). Like many children of the '70s, Will Ferrell was powerfully affected by the trippy kiddie sci-fi TV series from which this film is adapted, about a family transported to a bizarro world of dinosaurs, cavemen and menacing lizardlike creatures called (all together now, Gen-Xers!) Sleestaks. "It was creepy and weird, but at the same time I wanted to live in that world and wear the clothes they wore and fight off Grumpy the dinosaur with a stick," Ferrell says. Now, he has his chance in this big-budget comedy-adventure reboot. Series co-creator Marty Krofft says purists will be pleased: "We've got the Sleestaks, Chaka, the theme song. If we hadn't honored the series, the fans would have been totally pissed off."

"Away We Go" (out Friday). "The Office's" John Krasinski is Burt, who joins his pregnant girlfriend, Verona (Maya Rudolph), on a cross-country search for the right place to call home. Director Sam Mendes' supporting cast includes such character actors as Allison Janney and Catherine O'Hara, but Krasinski says the film's highlight is Rudolph's turn as a tender woman adrift. "Every day on set she'd say, 'I'm not an actress!' " the actor recalls. "But she turns in one of the best female performances I've seen in years."


"Neil Young Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972," Neil Young (out Tuesday). Obsessives expecting a trove of unheard songs might be disappointed in this endlessly delayed eight-CD set. There's only a smattering of truly new material here, some of it more interesting than essential. Spring for the pricey DVD or truly extravagant Blu-ray versions -- each a whopping 10 discs -- and you'll also get a warehouse's worth of photos, lyrics, and audio and video clips. An impressive package, but fans will be paying big bucks for a lot of stuff they already own.

"Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King," Dave Matthews Band (out Tuesday). Dave Matthews Band have faced the sudden loss of a founding member: Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died in August from injuries incurred in an ATV accident, midway through the recording of their latest album. His spirit -- and his sound -- looms large, however, on "Big Whiskey." The GrooGrux King of the title references Moore, as does the figure at the center of Whiskey's intricate cover art (drawn by Matthews himself); his sweet, solitary sax flourishes even bookend the album. Throughout, the spectre of death rarely recedes, but life -- embodied by the proto-DMB revelry of "Why I Am" -- still prevails.

"Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane," Elvis Costello (out Tuesday). Elvis Costello sounds downright frisky at times on this acoustic set, which musically calls to mind 1986's sublime, countryish "King of America." (The two albums share producer T Bone Burnett.) "Sulphur to Sugarcane" in particular is a lusty delight, pinpointing the notable (alleged) qualities of ladies from different locales ("The women in Poughkeepsie/Take their clothes off when they're tipsy ...").


"Defiance" (out Tuesday). In this true story of a WWII siege met with courage under fire, director Edward Zwick drops us into the Lipicza´nska Forest in Belorussia in 1941, just after the Nazis have invaded. Daniel Craig, with his craggy squint of pain, and Liev Schreiber, all stocky, bottled rage, are Tuvia and Zus Bielski, who decide to save themselves with an innovative strategy: They fight back.

"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" (out Tuesday). Joss Whedon's musical about a lovelorn would-be supervillain and the video blog he records in his home doesn't exactly scream surefire hit, but it took the Internet by storm last summer. This sweet and sinister tale about the eponymous mad scientist (Neil Patrick Harris) who battles his arch nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, of Whedon's dearly departed "Firefly"), for the affections of the crusading civilian Penny (Felicia Day) shot immediately to the top of the iTunes video chart, and was viewed over 2.2 million times in its first week. If you missed it then, here's your chance to discover it. EW: An oral history of "Dr. Horrible"

"Raising the Bar: Season 1" (out Tuesday). In anticipation of the June 8 return of Steven Bochco's TNT drama starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar as a public defender with plenty of heart (and hair) the inaugural set of episodes are collected for your catch-up sessions. EW: Mark-Paul Gosselaar looks back at 10 favorite roles


"The Strain," by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan. The director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" films -- now working on "The Hobbit" -- co-authors this sci-fi vampire opus that's a cross between "The Hot Zone" and "Salem's Lot" with Chuck Hogan, whose résumé is largely composed of mass-market thrillers. It's a competently constructed piece of entertainment, and we'll give it bonus points for shaking up some vampire clichés. But the novel could have used a little less Hogan and little more del Toro.

"My Father's Tears and Other Stories," by John Updike. A posthumous short story collection from the beloved author, who died in January 2009.

For pop culture picks for today, click here, plus see what's new this week in movies, music, TV and more.

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