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Showing posts from February, 2008

Finding the Constant: Desmond Bounces Back on "Lost"

Um, wow. I don't often find myself speechless after an episode of most television series but after last night's installment of Lost ("The Constant"), I had to sleep on it before I could gather my thoughts together. In a brilliant episode linked thematically and narratively with last season's groundbreaking Desmond-centric episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes," we got a few answers to some looming questions and were posed a few new queries as well. Like its predecessor, "The Constant" didn't actually feature any flashbacks or flash-forwards, instead showing the effects of poor Des getting "unstuck" from time (to borrow the phrase used by the past-tense Daniel Faraday and "Slaughterhouse Five"). The episode picks up from when we last saw Sayid and Desmond, as they boarded the helicopter bound for the mysterious freighter. Frank, under strict instructions from Faraday, is told to fly directly along the same vector as when t

Will ABC Resuscitate "Scrubs"? Not if NBC Has Its Way

Poor, poor Scrubs . The struggling NBC sitcom is at the heart of a battle between the Peacock and ABC Television Studios , which produces the series. ABC is said to be in talks to pick up 18 episodes of the comedy for the 2008-09 season. One little problem: NBC isn't letting go. Their relationship over the years involving Scrubs has always been fraught with complication; it didn't help that many believed NBC treated Scrubs like its bastard step-child, shifting the series through no less than 17 timeslot changes over the last seven years. This was widely believed to be Scrubs ' final season. However, following the production shut-down brought on by the WGA strike, the episodic order for Scrubs this season was cut back to 12 episodes (down from 18) and Scrubs still has five episodes in the can. NBC hasn't yet made a decision about whether to order additional as-yet-unproduced episodes and air them, order a final original episode (to serve as the series finale), or

Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" Gets Two Creative Denizens

It's rather like a high-stakes game of musical chairs these days around the studio lots, what with numerous behind-the-scenes changes on some of your favorite series. The latest news: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft, late of ABC's Women's Murder Club (until they were let go just the other day, that is), have already been hired. Their new home? Why, none other than the new drama project, Dollhouse , from Fain and Craft's former boss, Mr. Joss Whedon. Let's just say it was an offer they couldn't refuse. Craft and Fain, who cut their teeth as story editors on Whedon's Angel , got the gig two days after getting the boot from Women's Murder Club when Whedon offered them staff writer gigs on Dollhouse . “Joss emailed and said ‘I’m really sorry — and is it too soon to ask you to work on Dollhouse ?’” Fain told TV Barn's Aaron Barnhart. Dollhouse , of course, already has a seven episode order from FOX . It stars another Whedonverse alum, Eliza Dushku, a

Rami and Chris Face Off for Finale Spot on "Project Runway"

I had more than an inkling as to how last night's penultimate episode of Project Runway would play out. You couldn't have picked two more drastically different designers than Rami Kashou and Chris March and seeing them go head to head was a virtual lesson in aesthetics, unfettered creativity, and determination. After all, only one of them would get the opportunity to advance to the final round and show at New York Fashion Week. Or would do so AND remain in the competition. After all, both of them (along with Sweet P) put on shows. Reward or red herring? You decide. In any event, Tim Gunn flew around the country to check in with the four remaining designers in the weeks leading up to Fashion Week, visiting the Manhattan-based teeny-tiny closet/sewing room/studio/bedroom Christian calls home (though why exactly didn't he meet any of Christian's friends or family?), checking in with Rami and his fantastic studio in Los Angeles, having dinner with Jillian's family on

Being Catered to Isn't Rocket Science on "Last Restaurant Standing"

There is justice in the world, after all. I'm speaking of course of this week's episode of the highly addictive BBC America reality series, Last Restaurant Standing . When we last left the remaining eight couples--each on a quest to open their own eatery with celebrity restaurateur Raymond Blanc--three teams had been pushed into the challenge after yet another disastrous weekend. For Martin and Emma, Sam and Jacqui, and Nicola and Tom, one of their restaurants would be closed forever and their dreams dashed. The challenge this week: to feed a potential crowd of 800 rocket scientists at a laboratory canteen outside Oxford during the lunch crush... and to make profit doing so. In order to achieve this end, they would have to carefully price out each portion, determine food costs, and maximize their profit-taking at every turn. Or that's what they were meant to be doing, anyway. In their inimitable style, Sam and Jacqui once again managed to miss the point of the task at han

Network Notes: CBS to Mind "Mentalist," While ABC Reups "Jim"?

Despite comments made yesterday by CBS topper Les Moonves that pilots were " overrated " and that he would vow to do fewer expensive pilots, CBS announced its first post-WGA strike pilot order. The Eye has handed out a pilot order to The Mentalist , about a psychic who works as an independent detective in concert with the police, using his unique skills to solve crimes. Project, from Warner Bros. Television, is written and executive produced by Bruno Heller ( Rome ). David Nutter ( Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles ) is said to be in negotiations to direct the pilot and come on board as an executive producer. * * * Meanwhile, ABC is circling According to Jim... yet again. The beleaguered sitcom appears to have nine lives: after it fell off of ABC's fall schedule last May, the network then ordered 18 episodes a month later. Once again, ABC is deliberating about whether to put the sitcom out to pasture or to bring it back for yet an

Sneak Peek: Season Finale of "Project Runway"

I don't know about you but I am hooked on Bravo's reality series Project Runway and cannot wait for tonight's season finale. While I'm rooting for wunderkind Christian to win this competition, I know that there are quite a few Jillian fans out there as well; we're all winners at the end of the day with talent like these two in the finals. With only a few more hours to go before the season finale, I thought we could take a sneak peek at what's in store for our finalists on tonight's penultimate episode and that eleventh hour showdown between Rami and Chris. Which one will go on to New York Fashion Week (well, both, but you know what I mean) and which will fall by the wayside? Find out tonight. Project Runway 's season finale kicks off tonight with Part One at 10 pm ET/PT on Bravo. What's On Tonight 8 pm: Big Brother 9 (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); Wife Swap (ABC); American Idol (FOX; 8-9:30 pm) 9 pm: Cr

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love "Gossip Girl"

My position on Gossip Girl is slowly changing into something akin to--dare I say it?--amused appreciation. Will it ever blossom into the fullness of love experienced by the future Mrs. Televisionary (recounted in a post about her love for Gossip Girl here )? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I do have to say that I was completely sucked in by this week's repeat installment of Gossip Girl ("Dare Devil"). Maybe it was the complete and utter lack of Chuck (still a little too creepily smarmy for me) and Nate (far too whiny pretty-boy), but I actually really enjoyed this week's episode, which put the spotlight on little Humphrey, Jenny, and on the burgeoning friendship/repeated strolls-down-memory-lane between Rufus and Lily. Jenny dished it out as good as she got it when she was on the receiving end of Blair's "generosity," snagging an invite to the annual Waldorf slumber party and falling victim to a mean-spirited game of Truth or Dare in which the

"Bitch is the New Black": Tina Fey Takes on "SNL"

Was it just me or was Tina Fey the perfect vehicle to welcome back scripted television to the airwaves? Fey's winning turn as host this weekend on Saturday Night Live , the sketch comedy series on which she served as its first female head writer, was hilarious, inspired, and completely appropriate, after the long, dark months of the WGA strike. (It also earned SNL its highest overnight ratings in two years, scoring a 6.1/15 share.) From the opening moments--in which she referred to the lack of any hard feelings amongst the crew for the writers strike (and then had to duck several times from a boom being dropped on her head)--to an unexpected cameo from Steve Martin, advising her that she had to stop being a writer and start being a performer (complete with a lesson on the comedy rule of three), Fey proved why 30 Rock is such a critical success: she's funny, sexy, and not afraid to poke fun at herself, even when it means getting bitchslapped by Martin on stage. But it was h

Peacock Applies More "Lipstick," Alphabet Chases "Women"

Looks like the fat lady hasn't quite sung yet for midseason drama Lipstick Jungle . NBC has ordered six additional scripts for the struggling freshman drama, which launched to virtually no online buzz, despite a massive marketing and PR campaign behind the series and leads Brooke Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price. Lipstick Jungle , based on Candace Bushnell's book, follows a troika of high-powered Manhattan execs who try to balance their professional and personal lives. (It should, of course, not be confused with ABC's Cashmere Mafia about FOUR high-powered Manhattan execs who also try to balance their professional and personal lives.) If shot, the six scripts would boost the series' episodic count to thirteen, thus fulfilling its initial order on NBC. If the numbers rate, especially in the female demos, look for Lipstick Jungle to return next season. In other female-driven drama news, ABC has hired Robert Nathan ( Law & Order ) as showrunner on struggling

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for Feb 22-24

Televisionary is proud to be a member of the TV Blog Coalition. At the end of each week, we'll feature a roundup of content from our sister sites for your delectation. This week, I was underwhelmed by Knight Rider , entranced by this week's episode of Lost ("Eggtown") , and hungry for more of BBC America's addictive culinary competition, Last Restaurant Standing . I also took an advance look at the first two episodes of the new season (sorry, cycle) of America's Next Top Model and gave out awards to the designers on the reunion episode of Bravo's Project Runway . Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... Buzz wondered if a movie version of The Wire would be a good idea. ( BuzzSugar ) Sandie shared a preview clip from the new season of FX's DIRT . ( Daemon's TV ) The return of live American Idol makes Mikey nostalgic for the TV of yesteryear.

Kate and Locke Get More Than They Bargained for on "Lost"

Wow. Is it just me or is Season Four shaping up to be a brilliant season already? Within just four episodes, we've learned some tangible answers to some intriguing propositions and Damon & Carlton have managed to parcel out bits of future reveals while keeping the pace on the island moving fast and furious. This week's episode of Lost ("Eggtown") was yet another stunning installment, which gave us some insight into the status of Kate in the future and answered a question that many fans have been pondering since last year's jaw-dropping finale ("Through the Looking Glass"). Just who was the "man" that Kate told beardy-weirdy Jack was sleeping at home when she reluctantly met up with him at the airport? Why none other than baby Aaron, that's who. Which makes a lot more sense now (why she snuck out, why she had to get back) than if it were a lover/husband. But why does she have Claire's baby and why is she passing him off as her ow

Casting Couch: Sewell Clocks in on "Eleventh Hour"

The US adaptation of UK limited series Eleventh Hour has found its leading man. Rufus Sewell ( The Illusionist ) has been cast as the lead in CBS drama pilot Eleventh Hour , where he'll play Jacob Hood, a science adviser to the US government who investigates and saves people from science-related abuses, along with his trusted female bodyguard, a role that has yet to be cast. Sewell's character was originally played by Patrick Stewart in the UK limited series; his bodyguard was played by Ugly Betty 's Ashley Jensen. The US drama pilot was written by Mick Davis and will be directed by CSI pilot director Danny Cannon. While Sewell has gone on to appear in many film and television projects, I'll most likely remember him best for his turn in Dark City ... and the 1995 adaptation of Stella Gibbons' novel Cold Comfort Farm , where he played Seth Starkadder opposite such luminaries as Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Fry, Freddie Jones, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, and Miriam

Johannssen Leaves CBS' "Moonlight"

More drama behind the scenes at CBS' Moonlight . Showrunner/executive producer Chip Johannessen has left the series ; network won't announce another showrunner unless the series is renewed for a second season. In the meantime, exec producer Joel Silver and the series' writing staff will collectively oversee showrunning duties on Moonlight 's four additional episodes that remain to be shot this season. The freshman series has weathered more than its share of drama since it was picked up to series last May, including scrapping the pilot's entire cast (save lead Alex O'Loughlin) and the hiring of David Greenwalt , who quickly left the series, only to be replaced by now outbound Chip Johannessen . Still, it pales in comparison to the creative revolving door that was NBC's Bionic Woman . Talk about whiplash... What's On Tonight 8 pm: Price is Right (CBS); 1 vs. 100 (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown (CW; 8-10 pm); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Bones (FOX)

Reunited and It Feels So Good: The "Project Runway" Reunion

I have to say that I really quite enjoyed last night's reunion episode of Project Runway . While I am not usually a fan of the overly packaged clip-laden specials that Bravo typically airs (especially when irritating Andy Cohen presides over them), Runway usually does offer a classier affair and last night's installment was no exception. It was fantastic to see the entire 15-member cast come together again one final time though I had to refresh my memory in order to remember some of them. (Simone, we hardly knew ye!) Still, it was a reunion filled with some interesting and hysterical asides (Michael Kors' uncharacteristic laughing jag during the WWE Diva challenge), predicable filler (a clip package featuring Ricky crying the entire time), and a collection of Christian's best "fierce" moments. Worst Reunion Moment: Carmen telling Heidi Klum (Heidi Effing Klum!) that she had enough already from her when she made a comment about the menswear challenge, in whi

NBC to Share "Friday Night Lights"?

Friday Night Lights may return to NBC next season... as well as another network. NBC Universal, the studio behind Friday Night Lights , is looking to keep the beleaguered drama on the air in any way, shape, or form and is in serious discussions with several broadcasters in an effort to fashion multiple windows for the series and thus ensure it would return for a third season. Studio is said to be chatting up the likes of CW, Comcast (that would be E! and G4), TNT, and DirecTV (a disastrous choice, if true) about coming on board as a second broadcaster, in an arrangement similar to that of Law & Order: Criminal Intent , which NBC shares with sister network USA. It should be noted, however, that Law & Order: Criminal Intent 's NBC-USA arrangement was greatly simplified because both NBC and USA are owned by NBC Universal; sharing Friday Night Lights with a network that it doesn't control could prove to be a hell of a lot trickier, especially given the hefty price tag

ABC Finds "Lost" Later at Night; Builds Super Thursday Lineup

ABC announced the return dates for several current series that have gone off the airwaves during the protracted writers strike and while it's good to see scripted series--including Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, Samantha Who?, and Brothers & Sisters --return to the networks, I am a little apprehensive about one small thing. ABC is moving Lost to 10 pm again. It's rare that such a breakout hit should have so many timeslot changes over the past few seasons but I have to say that I was thrilled when Season Four of Lost launched in the 9 pm hour. It wasn't so early (8 pm) that those of us who don't work 9 to 5 hours would miss the start of, but not so late that those of us who have to get up super early the next day couldn't stay awake for (10 pm). No, 9 pm seemed the perfect compromise, the ideal hour for such a thought-provoking, complex, and challenging series. I can understand why ABC would shift Lost behind the return

Profit is the Name of the Game on "Last Restaurant Standing"

I know I am going on and on about BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing like a broken record, but you would not believe the number of emails I've gotten from readers who have tuned in to the new reality series (airing Tuesdays on the digital cabler) and fallen under its spell. This week's episode found the eight remaining teams trying to turn a profit on their new restaurants by introducing some special cocktails and desserts. For some teams, like twin sisters Laura and Jess, it was an opportunity to prove themselves to mentor/head judge Raymond Blanc after he called them out for not challenging themselves in the first installment. Together, these two managed to sell their specialty cocktails (which looked amazing) to no less than 71 out of 73 customers that night. And they played it smart by using simple, inexpensive ingredients to keep the per-portion price way down and then made £3.50 profit on each dessert. Bravo, girls. It was no surprise that Laura and Jess walked

Back in the Habit: USA Renews "Monk"

You can't keep an obsessive-compulsive disorder suffering detective down, apparently. USA has ordered a seventh season of drama Monk , with production to begin straightaway on 16 episodes to air as early as July. The first half of the season will air this summer, with the back half being held until January 2009. "You might say we were 'obsessed' with making this deal," USA's EVP of Original Programming Jeff Wachtel said in a statement . "Let's face it: It's not easy to 'wash your hands' of a show like Monk . We have high hopes that this summer it will once again 'clean up' in the ratings." Ahem. Set to return for Season Seven of Monk : Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, and Jason Gray-Stanford. Plans call for the cabler to once again pair Monk with its recent timeslot companion Psych , which was previously renewed for a 16-episode order, also to launch this summer. In the meantime, USA will launch new original d

Suchet to Hang Up Spats as "Poirot"

While one detective announced he'd be back for another round of mysteries, another has vowed to retire for good. According to Digital Spy , David Suchet--who has played Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's Poirot for nearly twenty years--has announced that the upcoming Appointment with Death will in fact be his last outing with as the fastidiously mustachioed gumshoe. "After filming Appointment With Death in Jordan, I'm going to end it there," Suchet is quoted. "I'm told it's quite warm in Jordan, so I'll be very hot in all my padding. But I've decided that I will hang up my spats when I finish that story." Sexagenarian Suchet has appeared in more than 60 (no, that's no typo) feature-length television movies as Poirot since 1989. His portrayal of the finicky Art Deco-era detective will be missed. What's On Tonight 8 pm: Big Brother 9 (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); Wife

Sneak Peak: The First Two Episodes of Catfights-and-Catwalks Series "Top Model"

Confession: I came to Top Model pretty late in the game, despite some people (ahem, you know who you are!) telling me that I had to tune in for several seasons (sorry, cycles). I'm glad that I did end up succumbing to its twisted spell; the series is pretty darn addictive, if only for its unintentional humor, surreal photo shoots, and the high drama and (sometimes) high fashion of its abrasive contestants. So I was overjoyed to take a sneak peek over the holiday weekend at the tenth cycle's first two episodes and look at some of the drastic changes in store for the CW-based reality series. It's definitely hard for a series like Top Model to sustain the same energy and drive of earlier seasons, but so far this season proves to have a new spark, perhaps due to the series moving production from Los Angeles to that fashion epicenter, Manhattan. The first hour, which airs on Wednesday evening, is the typical casting special we've come to know and love from previous cycle