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Showing posts from June, 2008

Hitched: Televisionary Back from Hiatus

Miss me, kids? That's right: I'm back from my blissfully fantastic honeymoon and am just itching to catch up on what I missed while I was gone for my nuptials. To recap: the wedding was absolutely magnificent and everything that my beautiful bride and I had envisioned since we started planning the event over a year ago: intimate, personal, and utterly unique to who we are as a couple. And, as for the honeymoon, it was bloody brilliant. So what's been happening in and around Hollywood since I skipped town for the other side of the pond, besides for the fact that there still isn't any resolution to a possible SAG strike? Let's discuss.

Holly and Ivy: Amy Ryan Returns to "The Office"

I'm beyond thrilled that Amy Ryan ( Gone Baby Gone and, yes, The Wire ) will return as HR executive Holly Flax next season on The Office . In her guest turn in the season finale of the series' fourth season ("Goodbye, Toby"), Ryan completely altered the dynamics of Dunder-Mifflin's Scranton branch (in the best possible way) and--in a stunning twist--gave Steve Carell's Michael a much needed injection of maturity. Ryan, who typically appears in significantly grittier pieces like the above, will recur in at least five installments of The Office next season but doesn't know quite what Greg Daniels and Co. have in store for Holly. "I don't know what they're going to do with the character," Ryan told Variety , "but as it was written, there's certainly a lot of potential. It's a funny thing to enter a show that you're a great fan of -- and it's nice to tell lighter stories. I love the dark, grittier side of life, but it&#

Hot Mess: Bunim-Murray to Take Over for Magical Elves on "Project Runway"

Bunim-Murray will replace Magical Elves as the executive producers of Project Runway when the series jumps from its former berth at Bravo to new digs at Lifetime for its sixth season. I can't say that I am particularly pleased with the news. I think that executive producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth have done an incredible job over the last four seasons with Runway and they leave some pretty big shoes to fill in terms of quality and content and I've yet to see that Bunim-Murray can really pull off a series of this magnitude. Bunim-Murray's previous collaborations with Lifetime include America's Psychic Challenge , so I'm a little concerned that quality will suffer when the series shifts nets; production will also move from New York to Los Angeles for the sixth season, though judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, and Nina Garcia, along with mentor Tim Gunn, will return next season. The fifth season of Project Runway , the last under the watchful eyes of Magical E

Schwartzman Claims "Bored to Death" at HBO

Max Fischer has done quite well for himself. Jason Schwartzman has been cast as the lead in the HBO comedy pilot Bored to Death , in which he'll play a depressed man who, after a painful breakup with his girlfriend, begins to live his life as though he were one of the characters in the novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and takes out an add pretending to be a private detective. Schwartzman's attachment has lifted the casting contingency on the pilot, which will begin shooting in New York in September. His last television role was in the Mike White-created FOX comedy Cracking Up , which ran for six episodes in 2004. Bored to Death is written and executive produced by novelist Jonathan Ames. Personally, I hope it turns out even half as good as it sounds. * * * In other casting news, Lloyd Owen ( Viva Laughlin, Monarch of the Glen ), Malik Yoba ( Raines ; though he'll always be ICE from Arrested Development to me), and Warren Kole ( 24 ) ha

Peacock Orders More "Kath & Kim"

NBC has ordered seven additional episodes of its comedy Kath & Kim , bringing the freshman episodic order to thirteen installments. Kath & Kim , a remake of the beloved Australian series, stars Molly Shannon, Selma Blair, John Michael Higgins, and Mikey Day. Shannon and Blair play a bickering mother and daughter pair who can't quite manage to get out of one another's hair even when they're not (metaphorically) choking each other to death. The additional episodic order for Kath & Kim comes swiftly on the heels of the wrap of production on the series' first installment. (NBC had ordered the project directly to series without shooting a pilot.) Production on the remaining episodes is expected to begin in July. Kath & Kim will launch on NBC this fall in the plum post- Office slot at 9:30 pm ET/PT. What's On Tonight 8 pm: The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); American Gladiators (NBC); Gossip Girl (CW); The Bachelorette (ABC); Bones (FOX)

The Honeymooners: Televisionary Goes on Hiatus

You read that bit right. This is it, kids: like most television series during the summer, Televisionary is going on hiatus for a little bit. Like the fall season, I'll be back before you know it. (Hell, I might even post from the road if I'm so inspired.) But right now, I'm off on my honeymoon in Europe with the beautiful Mrs. Televisionary, after an amazing wedding up in Napa. Personally, I never thought I'd meet someone who could just as easy settle down on the couch with me and just as happily watch Twin Peaks as 30 Rock or Lost as Veronica Mars . After all, I live, breathe, sleep, and eat television twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, so to meet someone who not only shared my fascination and appreciation for the medium AND shared my sensibilities was indeed a match made in (television) heaven. When I return, I'll definitely have some dish and thoughts and hopefully will be able to discuss some new television discoveries to boot. Until then, stay tuned

What I'm Watching This Summer

I'm kind of bummed this summer as there doesn't happen to be a a lot on that I really want to watch. The scripted front, decimated by the writers strike last winter, seems particularly hard hit and I'm absolutely crushed that we won't get new installments of summer series Damages, Big Love , and Flight of the Conch ords , to name but a few. (Hell, I might be the only person who actually misses USA's The 4400 , another dependable warm weather series.) So what will I be watching this summer? Let's take a look. JUNE Doctor Who (Sci Fi) The fourth season of UK import Doctor Who continues this summer (or at least for a few more weeks) as the Doctor travels time and space with new companion Donna Noble (the delightful Catherine Tate). Coming up: look for a brilliant two-parter from fan favorite writer Steven Moffat (with Part One airing this week!) and the resolution to the subplot--one hopes--of the mysterious reappearance of Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) who we last sa

Talk Back: Showtime's "Weeds" and "Secret Diary of a Call Girl"

I'm curious to know what everyone thought of Showtime's two program launches last night, which saw the return of Weeds (now in its fourth season) to the lineup and the addition of British import Secret Diary of a Call Girl to the mix as well. If you couldn't tell from my advance review of both series, I was completely captivated by Secret Diary of a Call Girl and by Billie Piper's incandescent performance as Hannah/Belle in the ITV2 series which aired in Blighty last year. Showtime was definitely smart not to buy the format and remake it here in the US but to just air the original British production as is; it's absolutely perfect the way it is and I can't imagine very many young actresses pulling off the combination of vulnerability and sexual confidence that Piper manages to effortlessly deliver. (You can read my original advance review of Secret Diary of a Call Girl here .) As for Weeds , I thought that the Season Four premiere was a sign that the series, w

Quick Note from the Road

Just a quick note from the road: make sure you scroll down to check out not only my thoughts on the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica but also my review and thoughts about the season finale of Top Chef . I've gotten quite a few worried emails when my Top Chef finale post failed to materialize on time, so rest assured, it's two posts below. Ready your comments and criticisms (along with some well-thought-out sobriquets for sourpuss Lisa) and go to work below. From the road, a very sincere thanks to everyone who sent well wishes for the wedding and to those who attended the blessed event in Napa!

Revelations (and Some Answers!) on the Season Finale of "Battlestar Galactica"

For the naysayers out there who said that the Colonials wouldn't reach the promised land until the very end of the series, there's a bit of egg on your face now that the pseudo-season finale ("Revelations") showed them doing just that, way ahead of schedule. Of course, this being Battlestar Galactica , the revelation that a joint human-Cylon task force would be able to crack the code and find the way to Earth (using a series of clues left by whom exactly?) had its own unique twist: once they reached the blue planet, they discovered that it was nothing but a smoldering nuclear wasteland, possibly destroyed decades earlier. The sight of human standing next to Cylon as they wandered aimlessly through the charred (and radiation rich) ruins of an Earth building was haunting and mysterious; never did I think that we'd see Six and Tigh standing side by side (as she lovingly touches him on the shoulder, no less) or D'Anna sharing the same space with Roslin and Adama.

The Art of Choke: The “Top Chef: Chicago” Season Finale

I’ve gotten quite a few worried emails from readers wondering why there hasn’t been a post about the Top Chef finale, which aired the other night on Bravo. Why aren’t I crowing about the defeat of sourpuss Lisa, the unexpected choking of Richard, and the crowning victory of Stephanie, the first woman to be named Top Chef? Simple answer: I’m on my honeymoon after a magical wedding at Napa’s Auberge du Soleil. If you ever have the chance to stay there (or have the financial means to make it happen), it will surpass your every expectation; it is so sublimely relaxing and luxurious that you will gladly melt away at the mere sight of the view of the Valley. One caveat, however: though the enormous flatscreen televisions (in the bedroom and bathroom, no less) are gorgeous, they don’t receive Bravo. And for some reason, neither Hulu or had the finale episode (“Finale, Part Two”) online for streaming. I’ve finally now watched the episode and I was completely riveted by the action

Up in Smoke: The Fourth Season Premiere of "Weeds"

Ah, how the time has flown. When we last saw Weeds ' Nancy Botwin, she had set fire to her own house as Agrestic burned to the ground; it was a figurative transformation for pot-dealer Nancy and a cleansing of sorts as she erased the stuff that defined her suburban existence. Where would she and the kids (not to mention Andy) end up now that her carefully laid plans had gone up in smoke quite literally? Cut to next week's hilariously wicked fourth season opener for Weeds ("Mother Thinks The Birds Are After Her"), which premieres on Monday on Showtime. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the first two fantastic episodes of the fourth season, which comprise a new beginning of sorts for the extended Botwin clan. Leaving behind Agrestic (and on the lam for the discovery of the grow house), Nancy and the kids drive aimlessly until she stumbles onto a temporary solution: they'll head south to the Mexican border and the small beach town of Ren Mar, where Shane and Sil

Belle of the Ball: Showtime's "Secret Diary of a Call Girl"

If you remember Billie Piper best from her role as Rose Tyler, the brash companion to the Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who reinvention, her new series may be quite an eye-opener. Piper stars in Showtime's delicious new import Secret Diary of a Call Girl , which is itself based a blog and book created by the pseudonymous Belle de Jour. The ITV2 series, written by Lucy Prebble, revolves around a twenty-something Londoner named Hannah who poses as a legal secretary to throw off the scent from her friends and family that she's actually a high priced call girl who goes by the name of (you guessed it!) Belle. Lest you think that this is a depressing look at one woman's descent into hell, complete with--as Hannah puts it--drug addiction, child support, and other unsavory motivations to enter the sex trade, think again. Hannah claims that she likes her job, loves sex and money (though one has to wonder which takes precedence) and even has an agent, Stephanie (played by Cherie Lunghi

HBO to Get "Bored to Death"

Hopefully we won't be bored to tears when HBO develops half-hour comedy Bored to Death . The project, from novelist Jonathan Ames (who wrote "I Pass Like Night," "The Extra Man," and one of my personal favorites, the Wodehouse-inspired "Wake Up, Sir!), revolves around a writer who tries to get over a painful split with his girlfriend by following his dream to live his life as a character from a Raymond Chandler novel and becomes an inexperiences private investigator. Lest you think Bored to Death will be some pay cable version of, say, Andy Barker P.I. , think again: Ames is a master at subverting genre forms and I think this will be one project to keep an eye on. Project, from 3 Arts Entertainment has received a cast-contingent pilot order and casting is said to already be under way. Ames, who will write the pilot script, will also executive produce, along with Sarah Condon, David Becky, and Stephanie Davis. HBO, under new president Sue Naegle (formerly o

"Dirt" to Take, Well, Dirt Nap

Sorry, Dirt fans, it's do or die time and it looks like it's more of the latter and less of the former. According to TV Guide , cabler FX has axed soapy tabloid drama Dirt starring Courteney Cox Arquette. "It just got canceled," Cox Arquette told TV Guide when asked about the possibility of a third season renewal for the series, which starred Cox Arquette, Ian Hart, Josh Stewart, and Alex Breckenridge. The news is hardly shocking. After okay numbers the first season, Dirt was renewed for a sophomore season... which was itself cut short (from thirteen segments to just seven) in light of the writers strike. (Ratings for the truncated second season of Dirt , which moved to Sunday evenings, weren't anything to write home about; Season Two launched with 1.6 million viewers but, by the season finale, those numbers had dwindled to 1.06 million.) FX went to great pains to say that the episodic count reduction would in no way influence the network when looking at ABC S

Daddy Day Care: The Doctor's Daughter on "Doctor Who"

Was it just me or was this week's episode of Doctor Who a little, well, disappointing? It's funny because I typically never feel that way with Doctor Who , which is typically a shining ray of light amid an increasingly crowded television landscape that, this summer anyway, seems largely riddled with sub-par and unimaginative reality series. So I couldn't wait to catch up with the Doctor, Donna, and Martha Jones in this week's episode of Doctor Who ("The Doctor's Daughter"), what with the TARDIS essentially kidnapping them to a distant planet involved in a neverending conflict between the humans and an alien race called the Hath... who sort of looked like fish-men with snorkels that were half-filled with Listerine. (Seriously.) But the real reason I wanted to watch were the promos that offered the promise of our favorite Time Lord's offspring in the form of a heretofore unseen daughter. About that: I was a little concerned when said daughter, a.k.a. J

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for June 6-8

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 livid about sourpuss Lisa making her way into the final round on Top Chef and then having to nerve to pounce down Richard and Stephanie's throats when they weren't pleased enough for her. Grr. I also questioned the issue of TighSix's possible future offspring on Battlestar Galactica and what it meant in relation to Hera and Nicholas, celebrated the casting of not one ( Tony Hale ) but two (and Jeffrey Tambor! ) Arrested Development veterans, discussed the nominees for the TCA Awards , got cautiously excited about HBO's US-centric spinoff of Little Britain , and moaned about Torchwood getting cut back to only five episodes next season . Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... We s

Talk Back: CBS' "Swingtown"

Go on, I'm curious: what did you think of CBS' scripted summer series, Swingtown , a period-set drama about swinging married couples in the 1970s which launched last night on--of all places--the Tiffany network? I've now seen the pilot episode of Swingtown a few times in the last year since it was first produced and ordered to series. I do think that there is an interesting and intriguing drama opportunity in the Ice Storm -esque setting but I am not at all convinced that CBS with its network standards and practices was the right home for this cheeky and semi-provocative drama. No, this is an HBO- or Showtime-ready series that's slumming it a bit on broadcast television and the setting's innate restrictions renders much of it toothless and lacking in bite. Does this series need wanton sex and language in order to work? No, but the lack of (for want of a better word) adult realism does take you slightly off page, particularly when the subject matter itself is inher

Yeah But No But Yeah: HBO Sets Fall Launch for "Little Britain USA"

Finally, a bit of news about HBO's US-set transplant of BBC hit sketch comedy Little Britain ! HBO is planning to launch Little Britain USA this fall with six episodes set in America, with sketches shot on location in North Carolina and in a Los Angeles studio in front of a live audience, with segments to be helmed by Michael Patrick Jann ( Reno 911! ) and David Schwimmer ( Run Fat Boy Run ). Series, written by Little Britain creators Matt Lucas and David Walliams, will follow the pair as they bring their hysterical creations--a mix of dangerous eccentric individuals from chavvy ASBO Vicky Pollard and homosexual aide to the PM Sebastian to Fat Fighters group leader Marjorie Dawes and unconvincing transvestite Emily Howard (to say nothing of Bubbles de Vere or fan favorites Lou and Andy)--to the United States, where they will skewer contemporary American culture. Look for Rosie O'Donnell and Sting to turn up in the live studio segments. Storylines allegedly include Vicky Polla

(Puerto) Rico Suave: The Final Four Chefs Face Off on "Top Chef"

Oh. My. God. I don't think I can be any more upset at the way things turned out than they did on last night's episode of Top Chef ("Puerto Rico"). I literally spent the entire hour last night, begging to Tom Colicchio and the Top Chef household gods that Lisa would be the one to pack her knives and go. After all, she clearly was the one who had failed to impress the judges the most over the course of the season, landing her in the bottom no less than five times. That to me is a clear indication that you don't deserve to have a spot in the Final Four chefs as you seem to be failing to meet the judges' expectations on a fairly consistent basis. Plus, her attitude throughout this competition has been terrible; Richard said it best when he said that her sour disposition was like a "grey cloud" over the kitchen; the finals are typically a stressful showdown between the best of the best and her presence there just, well, clouded the issues at work. I kne