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Showing posts from August, 2007

Withdrawal Pains: Exploring Human Nature on "Doctor Who"

Not only am I going through withdrawal this week for FX's Damages and Bravo's Top Chef , but Sci Fi has decided to hold off on airing the second half of the Doctor Who two-parter until next Friday, making this a rather cold, barren TV-viewing week in the Televisionary household. If you missed last Friday's episode of Doctor Who ("Human Nature"), you missed one of the third season's very best episodes. In fact, I'll go so far as to say the Paul Cornell-scripted episode is possibly one of my favorite installments, along with "Girl in the Fireplace," in the series so far. Quick recap: the Doctor and Martha are being pursued by some alien baddies called the Family, gifted with the ability to track them anywhere in the universe (consider them the E.T. equivalent of, say, the Furies); with no other options, the Doctor hatches a brilliant--if insane--plan. They'll conceal themselves within the timestream (1913 England) and he will make himself

Casting Couch: Two Caught for "24"

Finally, some additional casting information for Day Seven of FOX's real-time thriller 24 . The network has revealed that it has snagged two actors--Jeffrey Nordling and John Billlingsley--for the seventh season of 24 , set this time in Washington D.C. (rather than the ubiquitous Los Angeles setting), joining Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Janeane Garofalo, Colm Feore, and Cherry Jones. Dirt 's Jeffrey Nordling has been cast as a regular on the series, where he will play an FBI agent named Larry. (Yes, Larry.) Meanwhile, FOX hasn't released any details about the character that John Billingsley ( The Nine ) will be portraying, except for a name: Latham. (Let's just hope he doesn't intend to rob a bank and pretend to be a hero on 24 .) But, Dirt fans, rest assured, Nordling will continue on as Courtney Cox's publisher on Season Two of the FX drama next season. What's On Tonight 8 pm: Ghost Whisperer (CBS); 1 vs. 100 (NBC); Friday Night SmackDow

What is Going on With "Project Runway" Season Four?

For fans of Bravo's fantastic sartorial competition Project Runway , it's been a little bit of a frustrating summer. After all, we've been waiting for ages just for an official release date from cabler Bravo. Then, there was a ray of hope just the other day. Heidi Klum had posted the below update about PR4 on her website, as reported here : Project Runway Season Premiere-November 14th Watch the new season of Project Runway beginning Wednesday, November 14th, only on Bravo (check your local listings). I consider it to be our best season yet! And then, rather mysteriously, the message disappeared from her website . Curious. Could Teutonic goddess Klum have spoken too soon? (Apparently, as Bravo requested she remove the erroneous launch date.) And when, just when, will Bravo then release any information (other than 4th quarter 2007) about when viewers will finally get to see Project Runway 's fourth season? Your guess is, sadly, as good as mine.

What Did the Dunder-Mifflinites Do This Summer?

I don't know about you but I've had a pretty crazy summer. But it pales in comparison to what the gang at Dunder-Mifflin went through during this long, hot summer. Just what did Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the rest get up to? Let's see, thanks, to this new character-driven promo for Season Four of The Office from NBC: Hmmm, so Jim DID leave Karen "crying by a fountain" in New York City, Dwight got an infection from contaminated groundwater, Michael and Jan moved in together (aha!) and Michael found Ratatouille to be a little, er, unbelievable. Teehee. And kudos to Kelly for getting that jab in about Ryan. Season Four of The Office launches with four one-hour installments on Thursday, September 27th, at 9 pm.

Know Your Onion: Why I'm Still Hooked on Bravo's "Flipping Out"

Jeff Lewis is clearly insane. And yet I can't stop watching him. I'm talking about the focus of Bravo's docudrama Flipping Out , which wraps its six-episode run on Tuesday night. I've been a pretty outspoken champion for the quirky (and at times soapy) reality series, which follows the travails of OCD-suffering "real estate investor" (i.e., speculator) Jeff Lewis, his business partner Ryan, and Jeff's troika of long-suffering assistants and lethargic maid Zoila. The reason I am writing today is about onions. Yes, onions. In this week's episode, Jeff flew off the handle at second assistant Bowman because he didn't check the box containing his El Pollo Loco lunch at the "restaurant" (I'll use that term loosely) and was absolutely aghast to discover that it did contain onions, even though Bowman said he had asked for no onions. A cardinal sin, if there ever was one. But what got me the most (besides for the ingenious way that the pro

Damage Report: What Do We Know About Patty Hewes So Far?

Sigh. Am I the only one suffering through complete and utter withdrawal from FX's legal thriller Damages ? I'm still not all that sure why FX decided not to air a new episode of the taut drama last night, but I will say that I got many an email asking me if the series had been canceled. Rest assured, it hasn't, otherwise you'd be getting an earful from me today demanding that the cabler reinstate the series immediately. So while Wednesdays have become a day in which I typically reflect about Damages and the latest clues we've just gleaned from each week's installment, there's no new episode to discuss today. That being said, I thought I'd take a look at just what we've learned so far about Damages ' enigmatic moral black hole, Patty Hewes. Name: Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) Profession: High-stakes litigator; devil incarnate Marital Status: Divorced once; currently married Husband: Phil Grey, prone to frequent business trips to London Son: Michae

Kevin Smith WON'T Direct "Battlestar Galactica," After All

Okay, color me confused. Remember the other day when Kevin Smith was all excited about getting to direct one of the last remaining episodes of Sci Fi's superlative drama Battlestar Galactica ? Well, apparently, Smith won't be getting the chance to live his dream, after all. SyFy Portal is reporting that, due to a "scheduling conflict," Smith won't be helming an episode of BSG anytime soon. (Or, well, ever, seeing as the series is sadly wrapping its run over the course of the next 20 or so episodes.) According to SyFy: Terry Moore, wife of showrunner Ronald D. Moore, told fans at the official SciFi Channel Web site that despite what he said during a recent interview with AOL, Smith of Clerks and Dogma fame will not take the director's chair for Battlestar Galactica . "No he's not," Moore said in a post. "Scheduling conflict." [...] Will the media be in an uproar? "No, they probably won't," Moore said of SciFi Ch

Casting Couch: Slightly More Info Revealed About "Lost" Boy Davies

Is it just me or are Damon and Carlton really trying their darnedest to keep the newly created Lost characters firmly under wraps? We've gotten confirmations of no less than five new players for Lost 's Season Four: Rebecca Mader, Jeremy Davies, Lance Reddick , Jeff Fahey, and Ken Leung but next to nothing has been released about just who these quintet will be portraying. The veil has been lifted, albeit just slightly. The Hollywood Reporter is now, well, reporting that Jeremy Davies has been cast (which you, gentle readers, knew about last week) and indicates beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will be playing a "heavily recurring role" as one of the members of that mysterious freighter from which Naomi arrived on the island. Which leads me to believe that many or all of the newest cast additions will also be the Visitors from the freighter. I still believe that these men and women are most definitely from the Hanso Foundation and have been looking for the islan

Casting Couch: "Lost" Finds Jeff Fahey

With a launch date still more than five months away, Lost has added yet another potential castaway (or Other) to its mix. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have cast actor Jeff Fahey on the series. Fahey, best known for his work in The Lawnmower Man , The Marshall , and Grindhouse , will join the cast of Lost . The news comes on the heels of recent castings that include Lance Reddick, Rebecca Mader, Jeremy Davies , and Ken Leung. Lindelof and Cuse wouldn't reveal just who Fahey will be playing (duh), but implied that they may have created the role specifically for Fahey. (Given that scary Unibomber-style beard in the EW photo, I'm going with... Other.) Of the casting, Lindelof had this to say: "'Fahey is one of those actors who feels like he fits into the Lost model: He's enormously talented and will be vaguely recognizable to some people, but he'll be able to land on our island without most people going, 'Oh, I k

Heidi Klum Reveals Launch Date for "Project Runway" Season Four

It's been driving me mad wondering just when the hell Bravo's style competition Project Runway will be returning. After all, the space between last season (which wrapped in 2006) and next season has seemed interminably long. Bravo claimed that the fashion series would return in "Fall 2007." But they've been saying that for quite some time now. Sure, we've got Top Chef and next month's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style to tide us over until then, but I'm hungry for some backstabbing and arguments about sewing machines now. Worry no longer. Reality Blurred has the story. Heidi Klum, model, host/judge, and executive producer of Project Runway , has revealed via her website that Season Four of Project Runway will hit the airwaves on November 14th: Project Runway Season Premiere-November 14th Watch the new season of Project Runway beginning Wednesday, November 14th, only on Bravo (check your local listings). I consider it to be our best season yet! I

Minear Tackles "Miracle Man" for ABC

Just a day after one Televisionary reader proposed that Tim Minear ( Drive ) take on a relaunch of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise with a new Faith series starring Eliza Dushku, the man himself has turned up in the trades with a new series. Following a fierce bidding war, ABC has won the rights to Minear's latest series, Miracle Man , co-created with Todd Holland (whom Minear worked with on FOX's shortlived Wonderfalls ). The project, from 20th Century Fox Television, has been given a put pilot commitment. Drama revolves around "a disgraced former televangelist, a man of no faith, who finds that God is using him to perform real miracles and change lives, starting with his own." Hmmm, intriguing. The Hollywood Reporter was quick to point out that televangelism is no stranger to Minear, whose father is a radio engineer for religious programs. Minear himself also attended several evangelical schools as a child. Lest you think that the series will portray its

Bionic Beauty: Why Is NBC Downplaying Michelle Ryan's Looks?

I might be the only one out there but I really, really enjoyed Jekyll , Steven Moffat 's take on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which wrapped up its six-hour storyline this past weekend. (Shame on you for missing it!) While I've been fairly effusive in my praise of the BBC's limited series , I was struck by something in watching the taut thriller these past few weeks: why is it that Michelle Ryan--who plays Dr. Jackman's lovelorn psychiatric nurse/companion Katherine--looks so absolutely smoking in this production and so... dowdy in her new NBC series, Bionic Woman ? Sure, her Bionic Woman character, Jamie Sommers, is meant to be painfully average, a true sign of her role as an Everywoman, but does she have to be quite so average ? Our girl Jamie may have just had a significant portion of her body upgraded to bionics following the whole attempted murder/car accident incident, but I am sure she can find the time, between leaping t

Snakes, LD Sidekicks, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches: The "Big Love" Season Finale

Oh my god. I cannot believe we need to wait until next summer to find out what happens next. I had a feeling just about everything would be resolved on last night's season finale of Big Love ("Oh, Pioneers"), but I can't even articulate the wrenching feeling in my gut as we say goodbye to the Henrickson clan for now. I've been saying for weeks now that I thought that the series' writers would kill someone off in this week's episode, but I am extremely glad to see that they didn't go that route. Though between a vengeful Alby, bed-loving snakes, and that poisoner Wanda (now armed with a fresh means of murder thanks to Lois), it's any wonder that someone didn't end up pushing up daisies by the end of the episode. Whew. Best line of the night: "You're smothering me!" - Wanda to sister wife Kathy, after she's been told Kathy layed out fresh underwear for her on the bed. Barb. I was blown away by the fact that Barb outed hersel

Kevin Smith to Helm "Battlestar Galactica" Episode?

Forget about film. Director Kevin Smith is a very, very, very busy man these days... in television. The Clerks creator recently announced that he will write and direct the premiere installment of the Heroes spinoff limited series, Heroes: Origins , and he directed the pilot to the new CW dramedy, Reaper , this past spring . So what's up next for the notoriously foul-mouthed director? Smith will helm an episode of Sci Fi's superlative drama Battlestar Galactica , apparently. In an interview with AOL's TV Tattler , Smith says that he'll do just that: "I'm going to go up and direct an episode of Battlestar Galactica , which I'm kind of stoked about. It's cool, but it is scary because it is like, "What the f---? I can't bring anything to that show." That show is genius and they have a very distinctive visual style. But you are safe as a kitten. If you go in there and say, "I'm going to shoot everything in one big master shot,&quo

Have a Little Faith: Dushku Signs Talent Deal with FOX

Looks like Eliza Dushku might return to a television series sooner than expected. While Dushku's dramedy pilot, Nurses , didn't score a series order this past development season, the girl formerly known as Faith the Vampire Slayer has signed a talent deal with 20th Century Fox Television and FOX network that calls for her to star in a new series project. Dushku's no stranger to either the studio or the network. She was the series lead in FOX drama Tru Calling , recurred on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel , and starred in the Nurses pilot for 20th Century Fox TV. The actress will begin meeting with the studio's stable of writers at this early stage of development for the 2008-09 season in the hopes that something, from comedy to drama and action, will click. "She's a Fox star," Fox Entertainment chief Peter Liguori said of Dushku. "She's rare--an incredibly beautiful and feminine actress with a specific strength and playfulness. I just fin

Missing NBC's "The Office"? How About a New Promo, Then?

It's only a month or so until the season premiere of one of Televisionary's favorite television series, The Office ! I don't know about you but I cannot wait for the Scranton-set mockumentary comedy to return (I've kept busy this summer replaying past episodes and making wish lists for Season Four ). While you'll have to wait a few more weeks for the season premiere, here's a new promo from NBC to tide you over until The Office returns with new episodes (including four one-hour installments up front ), just in case you forgot where things left off last season: The Office Season Four kicks off Thursday, September 27th, at its new time of 9 pm ET/PT. In the meantime, you try getting that song out of your head. And, NBC, please--for the love of Dunder-Mifflin--no more promos with heartfelt montages of Jim and Pam!

DeKnight Tunes Up for "Viva Laughlin"

CBS musical-mystery series Viva Laughlin (based on the superlative BBC skein Blackpool ) has received a rare infusion of fresh blood in the form of a former Joss Whedon staffer. Steven DeKnight ( Angel ), late of Smallville , and Tyler Bensinger ( Cold Case ) have joined the staff of Viva Laughlin as showrunners and executive producers on the series. According to The Hollywood Reporter , there had been rumblings that Sony, BBC, and network CBS that they would insert another producer or two to run Viva Laughlin alongside executive producer Bob Lowry. Lowry will himself stay on board the genre-melding series, which stars Lloyd Owen, Madchen Amick, Melanie Griffith, Carter Jenkins, Eric Winter, Ellen Woglom, D.B. Woodside, and Hugh Jackman. Personally, I think the series needs some major improvements and quickly. I was a huge fan of the original Blackpool but this US remake feels awfully forced and not incredibly likely to catch on with mainstream America. Can DeKnight turn this si

Blood Red Rather Than (Ron) Burgundy: FOX Guts and Kills "Anchorwoman"

Ouch. It's got to sting like hell when a network yanks your series off the air after only one airing . Even more so when that cancellation occurs, not during the regular TV season, but during the typically viewer-light zone of late August. However, that's just what happened to FOX's hybrid comedy Anchorwoman less than a day after the disastrous series premiere. FOX has confirmed that it has canceled the series, a docusoap/semi-scripted comedy in which former WWE diva (or something like that) Lauren Jones moves to a small Texas town to take over as an untrained anchorwoman on the evening news of a local station. There aren't too many failed series that can claim credit to actually receiving cancelation notices less than 24 hours after their launches, putting Anchorwoman in a select club also populated by ABC's recent comedy fiasco Emily's Reasons Why Not , from last season. So what's filling in for the Lauren Jones-led comedy on Wednesday nights at 8 pm?

Casting Couch: "24," "Lost," and "Bones" Add Players

A whole slew of casting notices on this chilly early morning in Los Angeles. John Francis Daley, best known for playing adorable moppet Sam on the still-much-missed Freaks and Geeks , has signed on in a recurring capacity on procedural drama Bones , where he'll play a therapist. (Really, has our little pygmy geek Sam grown up that much?) Daley most recently appeared in the comedy pilot The Call and FOX's short-lived Kitchen Confidential . Elsewhere, Cherry Jones has landed herself a husband on 24 : Colm Feore ( Slings and Arrows ) will play the First Husband. (Wonder if that means that early plans to give the series' first female president both a husband and a child living at the White House will prove to still be valid.) Flipping channels over to ABC, Season Four of Lost has gained three new actors. Rebecca Mader ( Justice ), Jeremy Davies ( Band of Brothers ), and Lance Reddick (HBO's The Wire ) have joined the cast of the drama series, which returns in February

Restaurant Wars Part Deux on "Top Chef"

Okay, I'm depressed now. Sure, I knew that there was only really one way this would play out, but it doesn't help the fact that last night's episode of Top Chef ("Second Helping") was a bitter little pill to swallow. Perhaps it's the fact that the chef I was pushing for the hardest to win isn't there anymore, or it's the feeling that there now isn't a single clear frontrunner in the series. Either way, I really wasn't all that happy with the judges last night, but in retrospect, I suppose it was better that they made good on their promise to send someone home after the second take of Restaurant Wars than to send two people home to make up for last week's freebie. Another Quickfire Challenge that didn't involve any cooking, but unlike the food knowledge challenge (farfalle pasta, anyone?), I did think that this challenge--a timed mise-en-place task--was both interesting and appropriate for the competition. I just really do not know wh

Casting Couch: Pee-Wee to Guest Star on "Pushing Daisies"?

With Pee-Wee Herman making another rare TV guest appearance can former comrade-in-arms Chairy be far behind? (God, let's hope not.) Paul Reubens, who memorably guest starred on 30 Rock last season (and had a multiple episode arc on FX's Dirt ) is set to guest star on ABC's new fall drama (and Televisionary favorite) Pushing Daisies in a role that could potentially become recurring. Reubens is a lock to play "Alfredo Aldarisio, a traveling homeopathic antidepressant representative/salesman," according to TV Guide 's Michael Ausiello . Hmmm, given what Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller told me in my exclusive interview last month at Comic-Con , look for Reubens to appear in Episode Three in which (SPOILER ALERT) Fuller says, "the aunts [played by Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene] will be folded back into the story. Chuck holds true to the threat she made in the pilot by baking anti-depressants into her aunt's food--in the form of Ned's pies.

Turn of the Screw: New Clues and Secrets Revealed on "Damages"

Is it just me or does FX’s superlative series Damages get more and more trippy from week to week? I don’t know about you but the legal thriller has become appointment television for me, a shining beacon of hope in a summertime filled with Pirate Master and Age of Love . In last night’s taut installment (“A Regular Earl Anthony"), we saw the fallout in Ellen and David’s relationship from Katie’s accusation-laced departure from Manhattan. While we weren’t shown exactly what went down between David and Soda Skank (thanks to Televisionary reader Jane for that moniker), things between the lovebirds haven’t exactly been all wine and roses lately (more like whine and stinky cheese, if you ask me). Though it does appear that it’s not Katie’s breakdown and perjury that drives the final wedge between David and Ellen… so is Soda Skank to blame, after all? Katie. Speaking of the liar incarnate herself (you can catch my interview with actress Anastasia Griffith here ), I’m glad to see that

Scary Mother-Blankers: A Look at TV's Meanest Moms

Sure, there are more than a few television mothers who are forces for good: paragons of maternal instincts, positive role-models whose children are well-behaved and look up to them or misunderstood martyrs who are just plain unappreciated. But let's be honest: the TV mothers that are the most memorable tend to play their roles in a no-wire-hangers Joan Crawford kind of way. These moms, sometimes as eeevil as can be, are usually a hell of a lot more fun than their Pollyanna counterparts. So who made my list of TV's most memorable meanie moms? Let's take a look. Name: Julie Cooper ( The O.C. ) Actress: Melinda Clarke Likes: Power, money, powerful men with money, decorating large mansions, blackmail, her daughter's cast-off boyfriends, manipulating everyone around her, Newport Living . Dislikes: Ryan Atwood, downsizing, no-fault divorces, getting jilted, being blackmailed, Chino. Acts of Treachery and Wanton Evil: Sleeping with daughter Marisa's high school sweethea

Casting Couch: Janeane Garofalo to Count Down for "24"

Maybe reality doesn't bite, after all. Following on the heels of the suggestion that there would be no CTU mole this year on 24, rather largely due to the fact that there would be no CTU at all , FOX has finally announced another piece of the casting puzzle that is Season Seven of 24 . Sure, we already knew that Cherry Jones had been locked as 24 's first female president , but who will producers bring in as potential allies and/or enemies to BFFs Jack and Chloe next season? Surprising answer: former Generation X poster girl Janeane Garofalo, that's who. Garofalo will a government agent tasked with investigating what The Hollywood Reporter calls "the crisis befalling Jack Bauer and company." Just what the crisis of Day Seven is remains a mystery but perhaps it's just a subtle dig at 24 's woeful production delays ? What's On Tonight 8 pm: NCIS (CBS); America's Got Talent (NBC; 8-10 pm); Gilmore Girls (CW); Just for Laughs/Just for Laughs