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Showing posts from October, 2007

Televisionary Comes in Third in Best TV Blog Contest

Aw, I'm blushing. Televisionary came in third place for best TV blog in first annual Hey! Nielsen TV Blogger Contest , a title shared with the fantastic gang over at TV Squad and TV Over Easy. To everyone that voted, thank you and thanks for your continued support of this little blog and thanks to Nielsen for recognizing this site. I started Televisionary nearly two years ago now just as an exercise to flex my writing muscles and I've loved writing and interacting with you during that time. I can now say that thousands of readers to flock to the site on a daily basis from around the world. I love hearing stories about series that they may have started watching because of a positive mention or review on this site. To those of you that I've met or exchanged emails with (and those of you that haven't yet), thanks for your continued support and encouragement. Working in the television industry is reward enough (though with the strike looming, it been a little stressful

Spin Doctors: Is "The Office" About to Hatch a Spin-off?

I was out of the office yesterday but received nearly a dozen emails yesterday from impassioned (and irate) readers about the rumor spreading like a paper warehouse on fire of a potential Office spin-off. I'm highly dubious about the rumor of the proposed spin-off. TV Guide 's Michael Ausiello says, "Multiple sources confirm to me exclusively that the Peacock is developing an episode of The Office that would introduce several new characters who would then be spun off into a new series à la Private Practice ." Personally, I've heard not even a peep about this purported backdoor spin-off, which according to Ausiello, would not include any characters from the original and instead focus on all-new characters to be introduced later this season. (So, sorry Kinsey fans, but there will be no Angela! spinoff in works about the feline-loving accountant.) My sources indicate that this rumor is just that: a rumor. Greg Daniels has often floated the idea of a spin-off to

Doctor "Who": ABC Loves, Loves, Loves Samantha

ABC continues its trend this season, granting another full season pickup to a freshman series. Samantha Who , which stars Christina Applegate as an amnesiac who discovers that she was a terrible human being after an accident (which may not have been much of an accident), has received a back nine order by ABC, bring the total installments this season to twenty-two (well, potentially, should there be no prolonged strike). Series, which to date has averaged a 4.5/11 among the key A18-49 demo, also stars Melissa McCarthy, Barry Watson, Jennifer Esposito, Kevin Dunn, Tim Russ, and Jean Smart. I enjoyed the pilot for Samantha Who when I saw it in May but haven't yet caught any of the subsequent episodes (they're on my TiVo). To me, it's an intriguing premise and Applegate is a compelling (if at times too broadly drawn) lead, but I worry that the series' simple conceit could wear thin after a while, like My Name is Earl . Meanwhile, it's not looking good for Cavemen

Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown: Trust Issues and Bond Flicks on "Chuck"

I liked last night's episode of Chuck but I can't shake the feeling that the series, at times a deft blend of comedy, action, and romance, isn't quite living up to the potential displayed in the pilot. Usually a pilot offers a cursory look into a new series' world, sets up its characters and ongoing situations, but ends up just a basic foundation for the rest of the series, a blueprint that over time fades into the background. Chuck 's pilot happened to be a fantastically strong entry, skillfully executed in terms of characterizations, plot, and action. Unfortunately, I don't feel that any of Chuck 's subsequent episodes have been as strong or as tightly plotted as that original pilot episode. Sure, I've enjoyed several of the episodes, laughed out loud, cringed, and been on the edge of my seat, but they all lacked that same spark and energy of that first installment. Sure, there were things about last night's episode of Chuck ("Chuck Versu

Must All British TV Series Be Adapted?: FOX Plans US Version of "Spaced"

Yet another entry from the annals of what in the hell are they thinking: FOX has given a put pilot commitment to an American version of.... wait for it... Spaced . While, yes, The Office proved that you can successfully adapt a British television format for US television, it seems that no one was paying much attention to the recent crop of botched attempts like Viva Laughlin, The Thick of It , and The IT Crowd . Hell, does no one remember Coupling ? What you're seeing right now is my jaw spinning out of control on the floor. If there's one series that really shouldn't ever be messed with and transformed into a US comedy, it's Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson's brilliantly mordant series Spaced , which ran for two seasons beginning in 1999 on the UK's Channel 4. The series was an early pairing between actor/co-writer Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, who would go on together to bring us such feature films as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz . Spaced, whic

Skull and "Bones": Sam Weir All Grown Up

If there's one series that I view with the utmost respect and adoration it's the sadly short-lived Freaks & Geeks , though the series has certainly proven itself an adept hand at casting the next generation of talent actors, from Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel to James Franco, Busy Phillips, and Seth Rogen. I've been hoping for a long time now that the series' Sam Weir, John Francis Daley, would find a series equal to his talents, but after the demise of Kitchen Confidential , Boston Public , and botched pilot The Call , I hoped that we'd get to see him as a series regular on an established series for a change. That hope has arrived in the form of FOX's procedural crime drama Bones . Daley has been upgraded to series regular status on the series after making a guest appearance earlier this season. Daley plays Dr. Lance Sweets, a therapist assigned by the FBI to monitor the relationship between Temprance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Agent Seeley Booth

"Let Them Eat Cake": Why I Can't Get Enough of "Dirty Sexy Money"

I've gotten several emails from readers wondering why I'm not giving any Televisionary love to freshman drama Dirty Sexy Money on ABC. Good question. The fact is that Wednesday nights are so crowded with series, from Pushing Daisies to Top Model , that I occasionally end up turning in before I get a chance to watch Dirty Sexy Money that night. Really, that's the only reason why I haven't mentioned Dirty Sexy Money (other than in every Wednesday's What I'm Watching Tonight section), a snarky and fun series which I absolutely love. (Well, except for the way OTN title.) The past week's episode of Dirty Sexy Money ("The Bridge") reaffirmed my love for the series. It's been a bouncy ride, from the buoyancy of the original pilot script to the finished series, which has greatly improved on that disastrous and dour early cut of the pilot I saw way back when in early May, complete with a blackmail-laden lunchtime get-together between Nick and a

"Never Go with a Hippie to a Second Location": And Other Great Advice on "30 Rock"

Oh, Jackie D., you are killing me. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Rosemary's Baby") made me count my lucky stars that Alec Baldwin didn't follow through earlier this year on his threat not to return for 30 Rock 's sophomore season. That would have been truly heartbreaking, especially after witnessing his star turn last night, virtually channeling Tracy's "parents" during a therapy session, complete with racial stereotypes and bizarre off-kilter tangents like the Jordans' Latina neighbor. I thought that this entire exchange was absolutely hilarious and had me rolling on the floor, even if this morning I remembered that Tracy allegedly grew up in foster care with two dudes and a girl with a messed up hand. I'll just pretend that I didn't recall that bizarre fact from somewhere in the depths of my television-obsessed brain. It was a scene that truly captured all of Baldwin's skills as a gifted comedian and allowed him to truly,

Did Last Night's Episode of "The Office" Give the Series a Second Life?

I am sure all of the JAM 'shippers out there are abuzz this morning after Jim put his arm around Pam on last night's episode of The Office ("Local Ad"), in an attempt to demonstrate that they were dating when the bartender at Poor Richard's hit on Pam ("ever been on a motorcycle?"). It was a small moment but a telling one for the series. Jim and Pam are definitely an item and, as much as I had hoped otherwise, they are definitely front and center this season on The Office . I like the lovebirds as much as the next guy but I had hoped in my heart of hearts that this wouldn't become The Jim and Pam Show as much as it would place their ongoing romance a littler further back from front of stage. Yes, Jim's action was completely justified (I probably would have done the same thing) but it was just the way it was showcased so closely on the heels of last week's extremely Jim-and-Pam-centric episode . I will say however that I am extremely happy

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little "Star": Season Four of "Battlestar Galactica" Pushed Back

Well, frak me. I've had a sinking feeling for a while now that Battlestar Galactica , scheduled to return in January 2008, would be pushed back. What with the whole no-official-launch-date song and dance from cabler Sci Fi. Still, I had no idea that it would be pushed back quite as far as it has been. That's right, folks. Other than the two-hour BSG prequel movie entitled "Razor" (slated to air on November 24th), you'll be waiting a long time to sate your need for a Battlestar fix; series' fourth season is now scheduled to blast off in April 2008, according to The Los Angeles Times . Looks like we'll be waiting quite a while to find out just what the hell happened to Starbuck (if that really IS Kara Thrace) and just how much those four sleeper Cylons really do know about their mission. Stay tuned.

A Wing and a Prayer: Carrier Pigeons and Birdhouses of the Soul on "Pushing Daisies"

I'm still on a high after last night's episode of Pushing Daisies ("Pigeon"), a sweet as pie installment scripted by Rina Mimoun ( Gilmore Girls ) that upped the romantic quotient while still remaining true to its quirky off-beat drumming. (My high might also have something to do with the sinfully delicious piece of cherry pie my fiancée brought home for the occasion.) Wednesday nights have truly become a highlight of the week since Pushing Daisies launched. I can't tell you how much my face hurts after an episode, what with all the grinning. And last night's episode was no exception. What other series could take a plot about jewel thieves, a downed crop duster, a one-armed man, windmills, a mono-winged carrier pigeon, and bees and make it into pure, unadulterated joy? (None, I tell you.) Plus, Chuck and Ned's rooftop waltzing trumped any B&B-related romance with Jim and Pam, making these star-crossed lovers the only ones I can't get enough of l

"Bionic Woman" Gets New Boss Man; Sci Fi Peaks into "Warehouse"

Let's be honest: we've all heard the drama behind the scenes on the new incarnation of Bionic Woman this season, what with the unexpected departure of Glen Morgan (along with director/executive producer Michael Dinner) and the hiring last month of Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims as a consultant. The Hollywood Reporter is now indicating that Universal Media Studios has now brought in Jason Cahill to serve as showrunner on Bionic Woman . The move could help to create some stability in the writers' room as Katims had been pulling twice his normal workload, overseeing showrunning duties on both Bionic and Friday Night Lights . Recently, Cahill was a co-executive producer on CBS' primetime soap Cane and won a WGA Award for his work on The Sopranos . Bionic Woman , which airs Wednesdays at 9 pm, has not yet been picked up for a full season run. * * * In other science fiction TV news, Sci Fi has given the greenligh

Anchors Away: FOX Orders More "Back to You"

Fans of the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton starring comedy Back to You will be pleased with this news bulletin: FOX has picked up the comedy for a full season. That's not all. Rather than stick to the traditional back nine order, FOX has opted to instead order eleven additional installments of Back to You , bringing the episodic total to 24 episodes this season. While the ratings haven't been all that peachy for Back to You so far this season, FOX is hoping that the launch of American Idol will spread some cheer onto this local newsroom. The news of the full season order for Back to You comes on the heels of ABC's full season pickups for Pushing Daisies and Private Practice and CBS' pickup of The Big Bang Theory . A back-nine order for comedy Samantha Who , which received an additional six script order, is expected shortly.

On Your Mark: CBS Unveils Teams for "The Amazing Race"

It's with a certain glee that I relish the return of The Amazing Race to the airwaves following the cancellation of the woefully dismal Viva Laughlin . It's been far too long since we've seen Phil Keoghan raise his eyebrow, describe for the umpteenth time what a Road Block is, or comment on what place some uber-competitive Americans with some unusually spelled names came in a race around the world. (Seriously, this time round there's a Goth vixen named Vyxsin.) CBS has unveiled the contestants that we'll follow around the globe from the comfort of our living rooms as they make pit stops in such far-flung locals as Ireland, Lithuania, and Croatia (typically while sniping at each other and making ethnocentric comments about the locals). So who's racing this time around? Let's find out. Ronald Hsu, 58, and Christina Hsu. Father/daughter from Tacoma, Washington. Kynt Cothron, 31, and Vyxsin Fiala, 29. Dating Goths from Louisville, Kentucky. Lorena Segura,

"Because I Know Patty": Murder, Lies, and Videotape on the Season Finale of "Damages"

I'm finally able to breathe again after last night's suburb season closer of FX's serpentine legal thriller Damages . I say that as I spent the entire hour and change on the edge of my seat while holding my breath. Last night's installment ("Because I Know Patty") was a brilliant and, yes, breathtaking conclusion to a series that has kept us guessing until the very last possible minute. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Tate Donovan wasn't kidding when he said that the writers had engineered a very intriguing set-up for a possible Season Two (oh come on, FX, and renew Damages already!) while tying up some of the mysteries that have sustained this series through its freshman season. What we're left with as Damages sails into the televisionary sunset (only for a little while, one hopes), is a dazzling set-up for next season. I never would have anticipated that little Ellen would be approached by FBI agents who are currently investigating Pat

Flower Power: ABC Orders More "Daisies"

Get a fresh piece of pie: there's one new series that certainly won't be pushing up daisies by midseason. In a move that instantly made me jump out of my chair and do a victory dance, ABC has ordered the back nine episodes of freshman drama Pushing Daisies . The order brings the episodic total for this season of Pushing Daisies , which stars Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, and Kristin Chenoweth, to 22 episodes. (In your face, naysayers!) Personally, I feel that the news of Pushing Daisies ' pickup validates the belief that America deserves more than cookie-cutter procedurals and endless reality series and that there truly is an audience out there for series that unique, intelligent, and quirky. Pushing Daisies , created by Bryan Fuller and produced by Warner Bros Television, airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on ABC.

It's a Mother's Day Miracle: Sizzling Shrimp, Sad Sibs, and Silent Sexpots on "Chuck"

I'll admit that I wasn't all that crazy about last night's episode of Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp"), which wasn't bad per se, but did feel like a bit of a throwback to the series' second episode, a less-than-impressive entry that didn't so much advance the characters as it did keep them treading water for an hour or so. Yes, we did learn--via the uber-obvious October Mother's Day that Chuck and sister Ellie celebrate--that the Bartkowski sibs had their mother walk out on them and their father slowly fade away into nothingness, which is why they learned to fend for themselves so admirably. (It might also explain why computer whiz Chuck is stuck in a dead-end job with little ambition or self-esteem.) And, yes, it was cute when Ellie helped Morgan keep his job by buying $700+ worth of electronics at Buy More (not that his job was really in jeopardy). But other than that, the episode was extremely short of any character development. Par

Casting Couch: Steven Weber Wings it with "Zip"

NBC has lifted the cast-contingency on half-hour comedy pilot Zip now that they've found their leading man in Steven Weber. Weber is certainly no stranger to the Peacock, having starred on comedy Wings for eight seasons between 1990 and 1997, short-lived comedy Cursed , and last season's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip . (He of the famously hooded eyes also did a multiple-episode arc on Will & Grace .) So it's no surprise that NBC has turned to golden boy Weber to anchor its comedy pilot, especially in this, its latest incarnation. Zip was shot as a pilot last season with Rob Huebel as its lead in a story about a con man dreaming of giving his three kids a taste of the good life in Beverly Hills. When Zip 's pilot failed to make the cut last season (and Reveille honcho Ben Silverman ascended to the top gig), the project was placed back into development, a new script written by series creator Mark Rizzo, Michael Benson, and Marc Abrams, and a cast-contingency ord

Fat Lady Sings for "Viva Laughlin," While "Amazing Race" Waits in Wings

The fat lady has sung for musical drama Viva Laughlin . Series, which died on stage in its two airings to date, has sung its last pop-inspired aria and has been yanked off of CBS' schedule, effective immediately. Network will air a repeat of CSI in its Sunday at 8 pm timeslot before giving the time period over to returning reality series The Amazing Race , which launches on November 4th. "If there ever was a season that I consider one of the best, it's this one," said Amazing Race 's creator/director/executive producer Bertram van Munster in a statement. "It's insanely funny, fast-paced and dramatic all at once. Teams are in hot pursuit of one another at every location and its reality television at its nail-biting best." This season on The Amazing Race , teams will travel approximately 50,000 miles, including first time stops in Ireland, Lithuania and Croatia. Teehee! I cannot wait. For too long, The Amazing Race has been sadly absent from my

Carrying a Flame for "Torchwood"

Saturday night television has become an oxymoron these days, with networks liberally sprinkling repeats and burnoffs throughout their weekend schedules. But in the age of TiVo, surely there's something airing on Saturdays that's worth the effort, even if you're not sticking around at home to watch it. (Someone has to go out and drink all of those mojitos.) So it's with much insistence that I tell you to record Torchwood on BBC America, the only intelligent and gripping thing on the telly on Saturdays. I praised the series when it first premiered (an advance review of the series can be found here ), but over the last few episodes, Torchwood has managed to further deepen its characters and offer plots that differ in tone each week while still offering glimpses into a tantalizing moral grey zone. Sure, it would help if Torchwood had aired in the US when it did in the UK (between Seasons Two and Three of Doctor Who ), as much of the mystery of what's up with Captain

NBC to Shill for "Knight Rider"

Hoping that Doug Liman ( The Bourne Identity ) would direct that two-hour backdoor pilot of Knight Rider at NBC? Don't hold your breath. NBC has announced that Liman's feature directing schedule has prevented him from directing the pilot for Knight Rider , scheduled to be filmed and aired later this season. Liman will however stay on the project as an executive producer. Instead, the Peacock has secured Steve Shill (Spike's The Kill Pit ) to direct the backdoor pilot. I can't say I'm all that pleased with the announcement; I thought that the The Kill Pit visually looked like a low-budget Canadian syndicated television series, so I'm not really convinced that he's the right guy to direct a big-budget pilot about a secret agent and his transforming car... What's On Tonight 8 pm: How I Met Your Mother /The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Chuck (NBC); Everybody Hates Chris/Aliens in America (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC; 8-9:30 pm); Prison Break (FO