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Showing posts from March, 2006

"Office" Prank for April Fool's Day

Astute viewers (or at least those that don't use TiVo to fast forward through the commercials) may have caught the fake PSAs that the gang from The Office shot for April Fool's Day, covering a number of topics ranging from office romances and bear attacks to the definition of average height. My personal favorite of the bunch remains the dueling messages of the office romance PSA, delivered with deadpan accuracy by writer-actors B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling (who play star-crossed would-be lovers Ryan and Kelly), each of whom shares a contradictory feeling about the good/bad of an office crush. NBC.com is hosting these and the other hilarious Office PSAs that are currently airing on the network, along with a plethora of online exclusive ones. Check out Ryan's admonition not to film yourself having sex or Jim's feelings about how good of a movie The Fugitive is. Never has April Fool's Day been funnier. And for once, I found a (fake) commercial I would actually

"Lost" Walt Found in Camden County

You can call off the search party, Michael. Missing Lost castaway Walt ( Malcolm David Kelley ) has been found... in Camden County. Well, not quite. But phenom Malcolm David Kelley did show up last night on a new episode of Thursday night favorite My Name is Earl , in an inspired bit of guest casting. (Whoever does the casting for Earl deserves a medal... or at the very least a commendation from the viewing public; the guest shots never seem gratuitous--cough, cough, Will & Grace , cough, cough--or forced.) In last night's episode ("Boogeyman"), Kelley played Alvie, a rich kid terrified of the dark. Back in his thieving days, Earl traumatized him by hiding under his bed while trying to rob his house, an act Alvie has never recovered from. And this being Earl , there's a twist: Earl first makes it up to Alvie by being his personal slave for a day but ends up liking the kid and talks with him each night. Slowly, Alvie begins to be afraid less and less as they kee

Channel Surfing: 3.31.06

Fox Scurries onto "Vantage Point" Variety is reporting that Lost 's resident holier-than-thou doctor, Matthew Fox (Jack Sheppard), has signed on to co-star with Dennis Quaid in the feature film Vantage Point . Pete Travis ( Omagh ) is directing. The film is described as a " Rashomon -style thriller that depicts the attempted assassination of the president from five different points of view." Quaid and Fox will both portray secret service agents. This is the second feature that Fox has signed onto; he's currently in pre-production on the Warner Bros. football movie We Are Marshall , which also stars Matthew McConaughey. No word on whether the assassin is a creepy, black-smoke monster that can see into your past. Midseason Network Scorecard #1 For those of you who are keeping score of series either picked up, cancelled, put on hiatus, or burned off, here is the latest: Hit FOX procedural series Bones has received an early pickup. The series, which

Facing Ratings Road Block, "Amazing Race" Shifts to Wednesday

Faced with declining ratings this season for the classiest of reality shows, CBS is pushing The Amazing Race to Wednesdays, reports Variety. Beginning as early as next week, Amazing Race will leave its current Tuesdays at 10 pm timeslot for a new, earlier, family-friendly timeslot on Wednesdays at 8 pm. CBS claims that the shift is in due to viewer complaints that the show airs too late for family viewing. (While I don't have a kids to worry about, my girlfriend and I are always complaining that we preferred when the show aired earlier in the evening. Yes, we're getting old.) The move is expected to increase the ratings of Amazing Race , though the series faces tough competition from NBC's bizarro game show Deal or No Deal and the return of ABC's Alias in three weeks. And, no, Race contestants Eric and Jeremy won't seem any less annoying at the earlier hour.

I Heart "Veronica Mars": The "Arrested Development" Edition

As if I didn't love Veronica Mars enough. Rob Thomas, writer John Enbom, and the entire Veronica crew not only turned in a simply fantastic episode last night ("The Rapes of Graff"), but also managed to snag Arrested Development 's Alia Shawkat (Maeby Funke) and Michael Cera (George-Michael Bluth) in guest starring roles. Which was especially comforting to me coming on the heels of yesterday's official announcement from 20th Century Fox Television that production would not be resuming on a fourth season of Arrested Development . So it was a particular pleasure then to see Arrested 's kissing cousins George-Michael and Maeby on Veronica Mars last night. Michael Cera was wonderful as affable-yet-bumbling Hearst College tour guide Dean and it was fabulous to see Alia Shawkat in a dramatic turn as rape victim Stacy. Theories abound on whether or not she actually shaved off her magnificent mane, but I can't see Shawkat allowing herself to be sheared; it h

Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #5

Last night's episode of Lost ("Lockdown") turned up the suspense and drama as writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse gave us some new mysteries to ponder while simultaneously drawing others to a close. This week, Jack and Sawyer discover a mutual interest in card games, Ana-Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie go on a stroll in the jungle, and Locke bonds with the captive. Oh and the station seems to go crazy. Almost forgot about that. Picking up where we left off last week, Ana-Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie continue to hunt for their prisoner Henry Gale's smiley face balloon, following a map that he drew. A map that might just lead them into a trap. However, the troika manages to find the balloon, caught up in the trees, exactly where Henry told them it would be. And just beneath it, a marked grave where Henry said that he buried his wife after she died. So then Henry Gale isn't an Other, right? His story checks out. Well, more about that later... Meanwhile, back at camp, H

R.I.P. "Arrested Development"

For fans of Arrested Development , it looks like the fat lady just sang. Or at least the spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television. The studio behind Arrested Development issued a statement earlier today that confirmed that the brilliant-but-not-yet-cancelled comedy about the exploits of a certain dysfunctional Orange County family would now unfortunately be referred to as merely brilliant-but-cancelled. A 20th Century Fox Television spokesperson told Variety this morning that the studio had no plans to continue production on the show, which ignominiously ended its third-season run last month with a glorious two-hour death that unfortunately no one watched as it was on up against the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (shame on all of you!). In an official statement printed by Variety, a studio spokesperson tried to cast some doubt that this was in fact the end of the road for the beseiged Bluth family: "While there are no plans to resume production at this time, we know al

Rewind: "Dark Shadows"

I was planning on writing this column for a while now but with the recent death of Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis on Monday, I figured that now would be the best time to take a look back at one of television's most seminal shows, Dark Shadows , and its many incarnations over the years. After all, what other television series can boast a long-running daily soap, a nighttime drama, two features, and a pilot among its checkered past? I first discovered Dark Shadows in its 1991 incarnation, a nighttime drama for NBC that had the unfortunate distinction of airing--and getting preempted--during the network coverage of the Gulf War. I immediately fell in love with the show and its blend of campy horror and soapy drama and set out to immerse myself in the show's lore, seeking out VHS tapes of the original serial from the 1960s and 1970s and scouring the bookstores for books about the series. And later, while watching Buffy 's resident vampire-with-a-soul Angel struggle with hi

"Arrested Development" Deal D.O.A.?

Variety is reporting today that Arrested Development showrunner Mitch Hurwitz would not continue with the show, should a deal between studio 20th Century Fox and Showtime go through, putting a spanner in any potential deal to save the beleaguered comedy, which recently concluded its (truncated) three season run on Fox. Showtime president Bob Greenblatt had said in the past that Hurwitz was a crucial part of any deal involving Arrested Development . If Hurwitz is no longer part of the package, then there's no possible way for any deal to go forward at Showtime. The reason behind the split? According to Hurwitz, the decision was based on both financial and creative concerns. (Why, Mitch, why?) Hurwitz told Variety: "The fans have been so ardent in their devotion and in return... I've given everything I can to the show in order to try to live up to their expectations. I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn't continue to deliver that on a weekly basis. Of cour

"No Reservations" About Watching Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is commonly referred to as the enfant terrible of the culinary set. The author of the critically acclaimed foodie memoir "Kitchen Confidential" (itself the basis for an unfortunately failed FOX single camera comedy this season), Bourdain is a chef (at the world famous Brasserie Les Halles restaurant in Manhattan), writer, critic, and life-long cynic. He's also the host of the Travel Channel's brilliant series No Reservations (gotta love that culinary pun). No Reservations isn't a cooking show or a travel show. Really, it's a travel show about cooking. But even that designation doesn't really capture the essence of the show. Bourdain's previous show, A Cook's Tour , on the Food Network also depicted Bourdain traveling the world in search of exotic foodstuffs. But that series relied more heavily on the shock value of witnessing Bourdain eat anything that came his way (see Anthony eat a still-beating cobra heart!) than No Reservat

Ricky Gervais Serenades "Simpsons" Viewers

I was more than a little impressed by how much I enjoyed last night's episode of The Simpsons . But then again, considering it was written by (and guest starred) comedy legend Ricky Gervais, I shouldn't have been all that surprised. He is, after all, the man who brought us David Brent, HBO's Extras , and a certain Guinness Record-holding weekly podcast. (First off, I have to take a moment and just gush about the live-action opening that Fox used last night for The Simpsons . In an episode featuring one of Britain's top comedians, it's only fitting that producers used the live-action opening sequence created by a bunch of Brits for a promo that aired on the UK's Sky network. From the opening images of the nuclear plant's smoke stacks to baby Maggie getting scanned at the grocery check-out and little Lisa whailing away on her saxophone, it was sheer genius. Every moment tracked beautifully and in three-dimensional brilliant color. Having seen it online, I had

"Doctor" in the House

Somehow I've managed to miss out on the Doctor Who craze for most of my life. I've caught a few episodes here and there of the Tom Baker incarnation and of course I am familiar with the Doctor's most famous villains, those salt shaker-shaped aliens called the Daleks. Yet, I've never really connected with the character or the show (that might have something to do with the way sub-par special effects). So I was wary but open-minded about the BBC's new Doctor Who series, which premiered in the States last week on the Sci-Fi Channel. Re-envisioned by Russell Davies (creator of the original British Queer as Folk ), this Doctor Who is several worlds away from the original 26-year-running cult series. Managing to retain the original's sense of camp and whimsy, the new Doctor Who features Christopher Eccleston as the latest incarnation of a being known only as the Doctor, the last of an alien race called the Time Lords. He travels through space and time in a ship

UPN Ships "Veronica Mars" to Old Home on Tuesdays

Zap2it is reporting today that UPN is moving mystery series Veronica Mars (and one of my personal fave programs) out of its Wednesday night berth and back to its original home Tuesday evenings at 9 pm, essentially moving the show out of direct competition with American Idol (and Lost as well). Beginning as early as next week, Veronica Mars will now be sleuthing on Tuesdays while UPN will air repeats in the show's former Wednesday night timeslot for the next two weeks anyway. What will happen after that is anyone's guess. Unfortunately, relocating the show to a new night also removing the show's strong series lead-in in the form of America's Next Top Model , which had given the series a bit of an uptick in the ratings department. The move comes at a dangerous time for the show as UPN and the WB decide their combined fall schedule for the new CW network. While Veronica 's name had been thrown about as a strong possibility for making the jump come autumn, this m

Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #4

In last night's fairly lackluster installment of Lost ("The Whole Truth"), the writers didn't give us very much to go on. In fact, the entire episode, felt like we were treading water before a big wave breaks next week... with only two more episodes to go before sweeps, something better start happening and soon. Meanwhile, this week brought us a glimpse of reclusive couple Rose and Bernard (you could almost forget they're on the island), a secret that Sun had been concealing, and a wild goose chase in the jungle. Back in Korea, Sun and Jin unsuccesfully tried to conceive a child and that their fertility doctor blamed Sun for their problems, but in reality it was Jin who was infertile. Meanwhile, we also learn in flashback that Sun's English tutor was none other than her former paramour, the son of that luxe hotel owner. While we never see the two consummate their star-crossed romance, it lends credence to the thought that Sun's pregnancy might not be the

Development of "Arrested Development" DVD is, er, Arrested

Like the Bluth family, it seems like fans of Arrested Development can't catch a break either. Just a day after a Hollywood Reporter article made it seem as though saying a deal had been reached between Showtime and Mitch Hurwitz would be a stretch, TVShowsonDVD.com is reporting that the third season DVD release of the beleaguered sitcom has been postponed. While the Arrested Development DVD release hasn't been cancelled (thank you, 20th Century Fox, for that), the release of the third season has been pushed from its scheduled berth in June to an as-yet-undetermined date. While I can only keep pleading with Showtime to pick up the show for those 26 episodes (over two years)--and with creator Mitch Hurwitz to sign the deal--it seems as though dark clouds are gathering over the horizon for the show, which has in the past managed to escape death several times already. If that is the case, then all we AD fans have left are those treasured DVD releases. And with only thirteen e

From Across the Pond: "The Robinsons"

Every once in a while, BBC America will re-air a recent program that you may have missed the first time around... or one that you'd like to TiVo as the wait for DVDs here in the States seems inexoribly long lately. One such show is the family dramedy The Robinsons , a zany and often madcap series about a long-suffering family and their even more long-suffering son. Think of it as Arrested Development Lite, but without the money and furs and carnivorous seals. As the series opens, Ed Robinson ( The Office 's Martin Freeman, here channeling a slightly more downtrodden version of Tim) is in a state of freefall: his wife ended their marriage by telling him he was useless in bed, he hates his dull job as a re-insurance agent for the marine industry, and--with nowhere else to go--he moves into his aunt's dreary apartment, while she is away on an extended vacation. When Ed begins an affair with a co-worker who gets promoted over him, she ends up dumping him as soon as she is pro

"Four Kings" Put Back in the Deck

They shouldn't be smiling. The Futon Critic is reporting that NBC has pulled troubled freshman sitcom Four Kings from the schedule immediately, replacing the series with repeats of My Name is Earl , which will begin airing in the vacated timeslot this Thursday. The move hardly comes as a surprise to insiders who had pegged the show for cancellation. The series was averaging a dismal 7.47 million viewers, making it NBC's lowest-rated program on Thursday nights. No official replacement for the timeslot has been announced yet. My guess would be either that NBC continues to use it to house repeats of Earl or Will & Grace or they move their new sitcom Teachers (a bad American remake of a so-so British dramedy) into the slot. Meanwhile, people who watch My Name is Earl and The Office on Thursdays breathed a sigh of relief due to the news, as they finally won't have to be afraid of their TiVo's switching over early to NBC and forcing them to catch a glimpse of

While There's Nothing New About "Old Christine," I Like Her

I can't believe I am saying this, but I have a little bit of a crush on Old Christine. Okay, first of all I refuse to call the show by its complete title. The New Adventures of Old Christine? Way too much of a mouthful. I'll call the new Julia Louis-Dreyfus vehicle by what I am sure will become its abbreviated moniker, Old Christine . Is the show anything entirely new or fresh? Certainly not. But there is something comforting and rewarding about seeing Louis-Dreyfus take on a new role in a show that is comedically far ahead of fellow new coms Free Ride , Courting Alex , or The Loop . Even if there is still a laugh-track. The premise is simple: the Christine of the title is a divorced mother of an adorable eight-year-old boy Ritchie ( Trevor Gagnon ) who has managed to remain friends with her charming ex-husband Richard ( Clark Gregg ), who two years after their divorce still drops by and acts like her best friend. She lives with her slacker younger brother Matthew ( Hamish Lin