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Showing posts from March, 2008

Starbuck Fix: Talking with Katee Sackhoff of "Battlestar Galactica"

Longtime readers of this site know that there are a few series that I love with a fiery passion that knows no bounds: one is Lost and the other is Battlestar Galactica , one of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking and, well, all-around frakking great series on television today or any day. With Season Four (the series' last) of BSG about to kick off on Sci Fi on Friday, I was curious to see what Katee Sackhoff--who plays impulsive hothead pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace--had to say about the series coming to an end, that shocking reveal about her character coming back to life after, you know, exploding into a million pieces earlier that season, and about what to expect this season. What sort of emotional or mental state do we find Kara in when Season Four begins? "She's very fragile," said Sackhoff. "She’s extremely lost... You’ve never seen Starbuck so alone. And she’s a little distraught. Not only because of the way people are treating her, but beca

CBS Nabs Simon Baker for "Mentalist" Role; NBC Puts Ian McShane on "Kings" Throne

Simon Baker is clearly willing to give CBS another go around. The former Guardian star, who went on to co-star in CBS' short-lived action drama Smith , will again star in a drama project for the Eye. Baker will play the lead in procedural drama The Mentalist . He'll play Patrick Jane, a former fake celebrity psychic who uses his powers of observation to assist the California Bureau of Investigations (CBI) to solve baffling crimes, including the hunt for a notorious serial killer called Red John to whom Jane has a personal connection. Also cast in The Mentalist : Owain Yeoman ( The Nine ), Amanda Righetti ( The OC ), Tim Kang ( Third Watch ), and Shaun Toub ( The Kite Runner ). Project comes from writer/executive producer Bruno Heller ( Rome ) and Warner Bros. Television. I do have to say that given the pedigree I was expecting more from this shrill script which played more like the dramatic version of USA's Psych than a companion for the aging CSI franchise. Elsewher

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for March 28-30

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 took advance looks at HBO's new Aussie comedy Summer Heights High and Showtime's Tracey Ullman's State of the Union and was overjoyed to chat with 30 Rock 's Tina Fey and The Office 's Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson . I also cut through the competition on the latest episodes of Top Chef and Last Restaurant Standing , dished the dirt on the Damages panel at the Paley Festival , and caught up on the latest spate of pilot castings . Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... With pilot season finally kicking into gear, Buzz wondered if you could tell the real pilots from the fakes. ( BuzzSugar ) This week, Sandie proclaimed her love for Doctor Who and Torchwood . ( Daemon's TV

Showtime's "State of the Union" Finds Me in a State of Confusion

I'll be honest upfront: I heart Tracey Ullman. That said, I was really looking forward to Ullman's new series, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union , which launches on Sunday on pay cabler Showtime. I had loved Ullman in all of her television incarnations: The Tracey Ullman Show (which in turn spawned The Simpsons ) and HBO's wacky and lovable Tracey Takes On , in which she performed a variety of recurring characters in episodes based around particular themes (greed, crime, the environment, etc.). So when I was given a screener for Ullman's latest by the good folks at Showtime, I was giddy with excitement... a feeling that quickly faded once I actually watched the first episode of State of the Union . Since then, I've watched the premiere installment again, trying to parse some meaning into the twenty-something minutes of painfully creaky sketches and unfunny celebrity skewerings. I'm not sure what Ullman's intent was when she set out to do State of the

Casting Couch: Pilot Roundup

Friday brings yet another busy week casting the latest crop of pilots in this, the most baffling development season to date. Among the casting moves announced recently, here is your breakdown, network by network, of who's landed where and in what capacity. NBC: Aussie actor Christopher Egan, last seen as horny teen Beckett in FX's pilot Pretty Handsome (starring Joseph Fiennes, Carrie-Anne Moss, Blythe Danner, and Robert Wagner), has been cast as the lead in drama pilot Kings , loosely adapted from the David and Goliath story. He'll play a soldier who after becoming a media darling, is conscripted into the royal court after he saves the king's wastrel son. (Yes, it's set in modern times in a war-torn world somewhat like our own featuring imaginary countries and conflicts.) FOX: Making me even more less likely to support this series , Sara Rue has been cast in the incredibly misguided US remake of cult television series Spaced , where she'll play Apryl (that&

HBO Snags Aussie Comedy "Summer Heights High," Why You Need to Watch

Jonah might have something to say about it but, frankly, such language isn't appropriate for this column. I was pleasantly shocked and surprised to learn that HBO had acquired the hysterical eight-episode Australian comedy Summer Heights High. ( Originally, HBO intended to pair Summer Heights High with animated comedy The Life and Times of Tim in a late-night Friday comedy block in June , but the pay cabler will now launch Summer Heights High in November.) For those of you not in the know, Summer Heights High is an absolutely brilliant and gut-bursting Australian mockumentary created, written, and starring breakout comedic star Chris Lilly ( We Can Be Heroes ), which aired Down Under last fall and spawned a Top 10 dance hit single "Naughty Girl." (Seriously!) Astonishingly, Lilly plays three vastly different characters: spoiled rotten 16-year-old private school girl Ja'mie King on a student exchange program from exclusive Hilford Academy; 13-year-old troubled

Knife Block: Not Quite a Party on "Top Chef"

I'll be honest: I really wasn't all that crazy about this week's episode of culinary competition series Top Chef . Perhaps it was the general lack of charisma or energy evidenced by guest judge Rick Bayless, the blase task at hand, or the fact that there seemed to be such an awful lot of product promotion going on during a Elimination Challenge that forced the cheftestants to raid the homes of everyday folk to find ingredients for a block party. It just seemed to be a sub-par episode overall to me. The Quickfire Challenge entailed taking the humble taco and transforming it into a fine dining dish. For the most part, the contestants really missed the boat on this one, sticking to their notions of the taco as a street food and not infusing it at all with the sort of flavor profiles, complexity, and elegant plating that one would come to expect from a dish in a four-star restaurant. (Hell, Spike refused altogether to think of the taco in a fine dining context yet was confuse

Casting Couch: "BSG" Vet Tahmoh Penikett at Home in Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse"

One of the most popular games this development season is to guess just who will be cast in Joss Whedon's upcoming FOX action series Dollhouse opposite Eliza Dushku. After all, now that Whedon has finally turned in his script to the network, FOX's casting gurus can finally start casting what is shaping up to be the most eagerly anticipated new series of next season. First up: Tahmoh Penikett, who plays the determined Karl "Helo" Agathon on Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica . I've long wondered where BSG 's fantastic actors would end up with the groundbreaking drama wrapping its fourth and final season this year. Penikett (who is hands-down one of the nicest guys in the business) will play Paul Smith, an FBI agent driven to crack the urban myth of the Dollhouse and, according to The Hollywood Reporter , "a twisted romantic foil for Echo," Eliza Dushku's character. Frank Kranz ( Welcome to the Captain, The TV Set ) will play Topher Brink, a com

By the Hammer of Thor: Talking About "30 Rock" with Tina Fey

I'm hopelessly obsessed with 30 Rock to the point that I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. So I was thrilled to catch up with the series' creator/writer/star Tina Fey about what to expect when 30 Rock returns to NBC with new episodes on April 10th... and what to expect when Liz Lemon is, er, expecting. First off, Fey hopes the audience doesn't exhibit any angst or ill-will now that the strike is finally over. "Hopefully, people just want to see shows they love back on the air," she said. And don't look for the WGA strike to pop up on 30 Rock anytime soon. "[The strike] did not happen in their world... it was a big enough pain in real life." Fey revealed that the writers had plans for a strike-themed episode in works before the real-life WGA strike that derailed production this season, a storyline which still may turn up "down the road" but won't be necessarily related to the events last fall. Regarding

"Beauty and the Geek" Reveals Yet Another Twist...

... and I won't be sticking around to watch it. Is anyone else just totally over this once-fantastic now unwatchable series? Sad. I don't care about gratuitous twists, skanky contestants that appear willing to bed the geeks in order to stay in the house, or why the producers feel that they need to shake up a winning formula by introducing such drivel and undermining their own brand. I'm out.

Brotherly Love (and Loads of Confusion) on "Last Restaurant Standing"

If you watched last night's episode of BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing , I am curious to know what you thought about the latest elimination. To me, it was a foregone conclusion that brothers Michael and Ed would be the ones to get the chop and their restaurant, the woefully struggling Treacle Well, would close its doors forever. This week, the three teams in the challenge--the brothers, Emma and Martin, and Lloyd and Adwoa--had to cater a three-course dinner for 50 guests at a dinner at Blenheim Palace. I thought that Lloyd and Adwoa were smart to fuse their trademark Ghanian cuisine with a lighter, fresher menu that reflected what their group--businesswomen from Banbury--would come to expect from a networking dinner. Their only hiccup: that terribly plated dessert of tropical fruit and cream, which looked slopped on the plate without any forethought. Personally, I would have done a parfait, layering their stewed fruit with thick cream, if they wanted something light a

Paley Festival: "Damages"

After the excitement of last week's jam-packed Paley Festival events saluting the likes of Pushing Daisies, Chuck , and Buffy the Vampire Slayer , it was a bit of a rare treat to have last night's Damages panel be such a low-key affair. The crowd was positively sedate in comparison to previous evenings (not to mention a hell of a lot older), though that didn't stop them from proclaiming their love for FX's labyrinthine legal thriller Damages . Nearly the entire cast was in attendance last night--including the ones who portrayed dead characters!--other than Aussie Rose Byrne who was in her homeland shooting a film and unavailable to participate. So who was there? Glenn Close, Ted Danson, Zeljko Ivanek, Tate Donovan, Noah Bean, Anastasia Griffith, and executive producers/creators Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, and Daniel Zelman. After watching a clip from Close and Danson's riveting 1984 television movie Something About Amelia (you didn't really think this wa

FOX Captures Another Season of "Prison Break," Slays "Jezebel James"

FOX giveth and it taketh away. Thus was the moral yesterday when FOX announced that it had officially ordered a fourth season for crime drama Prison Break , with 22 episodes expected for the 2008-09 season. The news of an official pickup came after Prison Break writer Nick Santora spilled the beans on the renewal on his MySpace blog . While this past season's 13 episodes had Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) trapped inside Panama's bleak Sona prison, Season Four will find him and brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) on the run once again, with Michael out for revenge against the people who brutally murdered his lover, Sarah Tancredi. Production will relocate for Season Four from Dallas to Los Angeles; the series had been based in Chicago during its first season as well. Meanwhile, it was the end of the road for Amy Sherman-Palladino's struggling comedy The Return of Jezebel James , which starred Parker Posey, Lauren Ambrose, and Scott Cohen. After two weeks of

"Office" Workers: Catching Up with Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson

Doesn't it seem like forever ago that we were complaining about those one-hour installments of The Office , only to have the series return for one half-hour episode and then vanish into the ether during the writers strike? The Office finally returns to NBC on April 10th, with six new half-hour episodes planned for the rest of this season. What should we expect for those episodes? Let's check in with showrunner Greg Daniels and co-star Rainn Wilson to find out. In typical Office fashion, Daniels joked about the direction the remainder of the fourth season will go in. "We're going to play with time a lot, I think," said Daniels. "Like Lost . It’s going to get suddenly weirdly sci-fi." (So does that make Dwight the constant?) Wilson agrees: "There’ll be a hatch under Dwight’s desk." Any chance of a reconciliation between Dwight and Angela? "Where there's life, there's hope," hinted Daniels. While Wilson was uncharacteristic

Casting Couch: Easter Weekend Pilot Round-up

Wondering how to keep track of the plethora of casting related notices this Easter weekend for the latest crop of network and cable pilots? Simply look below. CW: Michael Cassidy ( Hidden Palms, The O.C. ) cast in the drama pilot How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls , where he'll play the boyfriend of the main character, a Yale grad hired to tutor two heiresses in Palm Beach. FOX: US adaptation of UK series (and Televisionary obsession) Spaced has cast two actors. Will Sasso ( Less Than Perfect ) will play Bill Amberton (a role originated by Nick Frost in the original), conspiracy nut who is the best friend of main character Ben. Federico Dordei ( Without a Trace ) will play Christian, a quirky artist neighbor who lives downstairs from Ben and Apryl. Yes you read those names correctly: Ben and Apryl replace Tim and Daisy (Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson). CBS: Amy Smart ( Smith ) will play the lead in romantic drama pilot Meant to Be's , from Glenn Gordon Caron ( Medium ), abou

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for March 21-23

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 all about the Paley Festival (his fifth!) where I gleefully attended events for Pushing Daisies , Chuck , Judd Apatow , and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion . That didn't stop me from discussing the latest brilliant episode (and the last before the month-long break) of Lost , the second season premiere of FX's The Riches , the latest elimination from Bravo's Top Chef , the fact that Sci Fi has finally (FINALLY!) ordered a pilot for BSG spin-off Caprica , and I urged the producers of HBO's botched $25 million series 12 Miles of Bad Road to stop shopping it elsewhere . Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... Buzz tried her hand at casting the spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210

Paley Festival: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Reunites Once More with Feeling

If you attended the massively hyped Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion event last night at the Arclight (courtesy of the 25th anniversary installment of the Paley Festival) and didn't leave humming Joss Whedon's tunes from the musical episode "Once More With Feeling," there's something dead inside you. The mood was positively euphoric as the cast and crew of seminal television series Buffy reunited for the first time in four years (has it really been that long since the Scoobies last saved the world?) and waxed nostalgic about the aforementioned musical episode (which was screened in its entirety before the panel), that silent-film inspired episode ("Hush"), and recalling the difficult, funny, and memorable moments that go into making a television series as powerful and oft overlooked as this one. So who was there? Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters, Emma Caulfield (attired in a sexy outfit dubbed "a 40s gumshoe&q