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Showing posts from November, 2008

Orbis Pro Vox: Robbing Hood and Robbing Graves on "Pushing Daisies"

It's a shame that Pushing Daisies has died in the vase because week to week the cast and crew continue to produce a top-notch series that's unlike anything on television. This week's episode ("Robbing Hood"), written by Jim D. Gray, offered up yet another delicious repast in the form of a murder mystery involving a millionaire (guest star Shelley Berman), his gold-digging widow (Jennifer Elise Cox), his lovelorn lawyer (Ethan Phillips) and a modern-day Robin Hood named Rob Wright (Danny Comden) who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. It also served up another installment in the ongoing storyline of Dwight Dixon (guest star Stephen Root) who is on the hunt for an old pocket watch owned by Chuck's father Charles Charles. Just what Dwight needs this watch for (in addition to those originally owned by himself and Ned's father) remains to be seen, but it is clearly connected to something that happened when the three men were comperes together as UN

Of Turkeys and Foos: Cheftestants Must Roll with the Punches on "Top Chef"

This being Thanksgiving, perhaps the most food-centric holiday in the American calendar, I couldn't let today go by without briefly discussing last night's episode of Top Chef ("Foo Fighters Thanskgiving"), which saw the cheftestants roll with the punches as they prepared a Thanksgiving Day feast for the Foo Fighters under some less than ideal circumstances. But, hey, isn't that the magic of Top Chef , after all? For their Quickfire Challenge, chefs were instructed in the true meaning of "rolling with the punches" and adapting to any and all changes in their plans as they drew knives to determine from what page of the Top Chef cookcook (ahem, product tie-in alert) they would draw influence for a dish that was a play on a recipe that appeared earlier in the series. Ten minutes into executing their dishes, Padma announced that there was a change of plan: they would now make a soup using the same ingredients and influences of that original recipe. Not e

Channel Surfing: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. While there's not much television-related news today (this being a national holiday and all), I did want to just share a few tidbits that are floating out there. Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist ) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc on FOX's Fringe , where she will play the younger sister of Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) in at least three episodes. Graynor's first appearance is scheduled for early January and she will turn up unannounced in Boston at Olivia's flat with her young daughter in tow, supposedly looking for some place to crash after man troubles. Could it be that Little Sis has an ulterior motive? Hmmm. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) James Hibberd talks to The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller about the hit CBS freshman procedural drama. Among the topics under discussion: where the idea for The Mentalist came from, when to expect a

"Revenge is the Ultimate Motivator": Two New "Damages" Season Two Promos

Another day, another set of fantastic promos for FX's Damages . With only a little over a month to go until the launch of the serpentine legal thriller's sophomore season, my anticipation for this slick, sophisticated series is kicking into overdrive. While the first promo provided some atmospheric shots of Ellen (Rose Byrne) stepping on Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) in the gutter, the two new promos showcase new footage from Season Two, including Ellen literally holding a smoking gun and uttering the memorable phrase, "Revenge is the ultimate motivator." Take a look for yourself, after the jump: First up, the 30-second "Whatever It Takes" spot: I can't wait! With "Whatever It Takes," we're treated to a glimpse inside Ellen's head as she tells us just what she's willing to do to get her revenge on Patty, after the events of Season One: become her protege, her confidante, be the daughter she never had. What's the deal with th

From Across the Pond: BBC America's "Britz"

In its best moments, television has the ability to bring alternative perspectives right into our living rooms, allowing us to live vicariously through the lives of Others. At times, television can inform, spur to action, and teach us about the pain and suffering of others around the world. BBC America's provocative new mini-series Britz , written and directed by Peter Kosminsky ( The Government Inspector, White Oleander ), falls into that category. Britz , which originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK last year, charts the relationship between two siblings caught in the cross-fire between the British government's war on terror on their own private lives as British-born Muslims as they suffer disillusionment after 9/11 and the July 7th bombings in London. The story is told in two halves, each following the life of one of the aforementioned siblings. In Part One ("Sohail's Story"), airing Sunday, November 30th, the audience meets Sohail (Riz Ahmed), a law student

Channel Surfing: Shawn Ryan Talks "Shield" Finale, "The Office," CBS Spins Off "NCIS," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I'm still trying to get the idea of hallucinatory killer butterflies out of my system after last night's episode of Fringe by thinking of tomorrow's turkey feast. I'll keep the SPOILER ALERT on for the next few posts as not everyone may have seen last night's season finale of The Shield . Michael Ausiello chats with series creator Shawn Ryan about that ending, Shane and Vic's fates, Andre Benjamin's character attempting to run for mayor, and why Ryan knew there had to be a final confrontation between Claudette and Vic. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) TV Guide also talks with Ryan about his work on the series finale with some questions about justice, not knowing what the end of the series would be, what's next for the writer/producer, and Ryan's favorite TV series on the air at the moment. (Hint: Lost, Mad Men , and 30 Rock are some of them.) ( TV Guide ) The Office 's Mind

Flailing Peacock: NBC Announces Midseason Schedule, No "Chuck," "Life," or "Heroes" Until February

Cherish the episodes of Chuck that may be left before Christmas because the series sadly won't be returning to NBC until sometime in February. (Same holds true for Heroes and Life .) NBC today announced their midseason schedule which features series launches of reality series Superstars of Dance (debuting January 4th) and Howie Do It (January 9) and the returns of The Biggest Loser: Couples (January 6th) and Friday Night Lights (January 16th), the latter of which will have already aired its season on DirecTV. I can't say that I am too impressed with the offering especially the reality fare and the lack of scripted dramas like Chuck, Life , and Heroes . Yes, they'll be back come February sweeps but their replacements are less than thrilling. At least, we've got 30 Rock . Sigh. The full schedule can be found after the jump. MONDAYS (beginning January 5th) 8-10 pm: Superstars of Dance ; premieres Sunday, January 4th (9-11 pm); season finale Monday, January 26th (

Unleash the Casey: The Truth About Jill on "Chuck"

Closure is a funny thing. Throughout our lives, it's easy to look back at experiences we had or mistakes we might have made with a feeling of unresolved emotion. For Chuck Bartowski, he was still--years after getting kicked out of Stanford--reeling from his breakup with mythical perfect girlfriend Jill Roberts. It was a breakup that sent our boy Chuck into a downward spiral from which he's never truly recovered. After all, he's still working at the Buy More and living with his sister in Burbank and hasn't truly moved past that formative experience. Until now. In this week's episode of Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Gravitron"), Chuck finally is able to put to rest all of his resolved feelings of betrayal by ex-girlfriend Jill... when she betrays him all over again as an adult. (My advance review of the three-episode Jill arc can be found here .) In this case, it's not a casual breakup and the admission that she slept with Bryce Larkin (we learn that, actu

Channel Surfing: "Life on Mars" Co-Creator Likes US Version; Jamie Bamber "Too Scared" to Play the Doctor, Potential SAG Strike, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. While everyone is buzzing about the possible SAG strike, I hope you all tuned in to last night's episode of Chuck , the final piece of the three-part Jill storyline. Life on Mars co-creator Ashley Pharoah has praised the US version of the series, calling it "marvelous." In New York to receive an International Emmy for best drama for the original UK version of Life on Mars , Pharoah was pleased that the producers had changed the mythology of the series for the US audience and that the studio had moved the action from LA (where it was based for David E. Kelley's original pilot ) to gritty New York City. "They're changing the mythology, which I think is all right," said Pharoah. "It has to be different. Otherwise everyone just goes on YouTube and sees how it ends." ( Hollywood Reporter ) Just how would a SAG strike affect a television industry still recovering from the crippling 100-day WGA s

"Gossip Girl" Guessing Game: For Whom Does the Bell Toll?

While there might not be a new episode of Gossip Girl on tonight, it doesn't mean that we can't attempt to figure out just what's going to happen in next week's "unmissable" episode, slated to air on Monday, December 1st... which seems to indicate that the Grim Reaper is going to claim one of the series' Upper East Side denizens. (Or, well, Brooklyn inhabitants.) The CW's haunting promos ask viewers, "If you only had one night to live, who would you spend it with?" An intriguing question to be sure, but one made even more palpable by the unseen voice at the promo's end speaking about an "accident." Which to me, anyway, means that one of Gossip Girl 's cast won't be back in the New Year. So who am I placing my bet on to kick the bucket? Let's discuss. There's no way that Josh Schwartz and the Gossip Girl writers would kill off either Dan or Serena (or, well, Chuck, Nate, or Blair) so that leaves the supportin

Effy is Artful: Falling Apart and Coming Together on "Skins"

Just a few quick words about this week's episode of Skins , which focused on Tony's younger sister Effy, she of the few words, kohl-rimmed eyes, and old soul who will be the focal character of Season Three of Skins , kicking off early next year in the UK . Last night's episode of Skins ("Effy") also introduced the new character of Pandora (Lisa Backwell)--who will also appear in the third season of the hit series, alongside Effy (Kaya Scodelario)--and pushed the series' focus onto Effy Stonem, who in true Effy-fashion managed in the course of about a day to heal three fractured relationships, clean up her family's home (and get her mother Anthea into full Sleeping Beauty mode for her father's surprise arrival), and get Tony's watch fixed and inscribed for Michelle... all seemingly without blinking an eye or breaking a sweat. It would seem that Effy has truly inherited her older brother's gift of manipulation but without its more Svengali-lik

Channel Surfing: Six Heads to "Chuck," Tyra Heads to CW, "Crusoe" Heads to Saturdays, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. I had a fantastically relaxing weekend, filled with some holiday-related events and a lovely private screening of the new film Slumdog Millionaire in my own living room. Good times. Battlestar Galactica fans, hold on your hats. BSG 's slinky seductress Six, a.k.a. Tricia Helfer, has signed on to guest star in an upcoming episode of NBC's Chuck , where she will play Special Agent Alex Forrest, a sexy-yet-by-the-book agent who is assigned to guard the Intersect after General Beckman becomes concerned about Sarah's feelings for Chuck. Look for Casey to fall for Alex's charms... and perhaps Chuck himself. Helfer is slated to appear in the 18th episode of the season, scheduled for next spring. Also appearing this season on Chuck : Jonathan Cake ( Six Degrees ), who has signed on for a multiple-episode story arc as a "Gerard Butler-esqe British MI6 agent by the name of Cole Barker" who quickly finds himself dra

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for Nov. 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 took an advance look at the Doctor Who: Complete Series Four DVD which came out earlier this week, offered an early look at a potential ABC midseason schedule . I was terribly depressed by ABC's decision to axe Pushing Daisies , Dirty Sexy Money , and Eli Stone but was cheered up slightly by new promos for HBO's Flight of the Conchords , ABC's Lost , and HBO's Big Love . And I offered takes on this week's installments of Chuck , Pushing Daisies , Top Chef , and 30 Rock , among others. Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... This week, the TV Addict revealed why we're not worried about DOLLHOUSE's Friday Night timeslot. ( The TV Addict ) From Turtle on Entourage to Thi

Miscounting the Men: Gavin Volure, Professional Voleur, on "30 Rock"

With some of my favorite series being canceled left and right (and others seemingly getting worse and worse), it's at least heartening to know that 30 Rock is still dependably great and consistently funny week to week. This week's installment of 30 Rock ("Gavin Volure") was no exception and offered up a winning guest turn by Steve Martin--Tina Fey's co-star in this year's Baby Mama--as reclusive (or so it seemed) and eccentric millionaire Gavin Volure. Adding to the humor, of course, is the fact that "voleur" is French for "thief" so Liz and Jack really should have been on their toes a bit more going into their embezzlement/MTV Canada-fueled encounters with Gavin. The opening scene at Volure's dinner party was priceless, especially as Jack and Liz were for once the most normal people in the room, given the outright creepiness of the other guests, including the scary old society dame and John McEnroe. Loved that Jack is actually the

ABC Tweaks Midseason Schedule Ahead of Announcement

Remember that leaked ABC midseason schedule I had on Televisionary a few days ago? Well, it now appears that much have that will be changed, given ABC's eleventh hour decision not to renew sophomore series Pushing Daisies , Dirty Sexy Money , and Eli Stone . ( Eli Stone , according to that schedule, was meant to air on Tuesdays at 10 pm in the spring.) So what can we expect when ABC officially announces their lineup later today? For one, According to Jim will be double-pumped in the 8 pm timeslot on Tuesdays, followed by back-to-back episodes of Scrubs at 9 pm. (Really? Double episodes of comedies, rather than another drama? Sigh.) The two comedies will kick off with new episodes on January 6th. Private Practice will move to Thursdays at 10 pm ET/PT beginning January 8th, where it will air behind Grey's Anatomy . It's the perfect spot for the ratings-starved medical drama, especially given that ABC is planning a Grey's/Private Practice multiple-episode crossover

Now My Heart is Full: Season Three Promo for HBO's "Big Love"

January seems to be quite a month for fans of smart serialized drama series, with the returns of ABC's Lost, Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica, and FX's Damages slated for just after the start of the new year. But I'm also just as excited (nay, thrilled) for the return of HBO's polygamous family drama Big Love , which in Season Two morphed into one of the most gripping and suspenseful dramas on television. While it's been positively ages since we last saw the Henrickson clan, I think you'll agree that the provocative promo that HBO has cut for Big Love 's third season (set to the music of The Black Keys' "Lies") will get you itching to return to Utah. While I have absolutely no idea quite what is going on in this moody and atmospheric trailer, I can say that Season Three of Big Love looks to be quite a dark one, especially given the somber (and in some cases sobbing) expressions of several members of the Henrickson family. What is Alby

Channel Surfing: "Arrested Development" Feature Moves Closer to Reality, "Life on Mars" Gets Four More, CW Takes Back Sundays, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I'm still depressed from yesterday's news about Pushing Daisies but another fantastic episode of 30 Rock (and the hilarious Nightman-laden season finale of It's Always Sunny ) helped remove some of the sting. One piece of good news: it seems like that Arrested Development feature film might actually be happening. After a host of rumors, there's finally some solid intelligence on the big screen adaptation moving forward. Series creator Mitch Hurwitz and executive producer Ron Howard have signed deals for the project, which would be released by Imagine and Fox Searchlight. Hurwitz will write the script and co-direct the feature with Howard. Me, I'm pleased as punch about this news. If there's one series that I feel could work on the big screen, it's Arrested Development . Hell, just think of the DVD sales alone. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Looking for a fix of Lost ? ABC has released a new promo for Season Fi

Destiny Calls: The New "Lost" Season Five Promo

In exactly two months from today, we'll get to see just where (and, ahem, when) Ben moved the island to. But until then, those of us hungry for a new fix of ABC's Lost have had to wait quite some time. Fortunately, ABC gave fans a brief sneak peek at Season Five of Lost with a new promo unveiled during tonight's Grey's Anatomy (and featuring "You Found Me," a new single from The Fray , from their forthcoming February 3rd album) that provides some new footage mixed with some familiar beats from the Oceanic Six's past. Missed the promo? You can check it out after the jump. Is that Desmond and Penny in bed together? Juliet and Sawyer holding hands? Hurley brandishing a gun and peering out of a door at some baddies? The castaways getting fired at with, well, fiery arrows by the hostiles? Charlotte staring down the barrel of some guns? Daniel Faraday being surprised by a yellow-suited Dharma worker from the Swan? You betcha to all of the above. Just wh

Wilted Daisies: ABC Opts Not to Renew "Pushing Daisies," "Dirty Sexy Money," and "Eli Stone"

The axe has fallen at ABC. It's time for the terrible, terrible news that we've all been dreading for weeks now: ABC has decided not to renew Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money , and Eli Stone past their initial 13-episode orders for this season. While the word cancellation hasn't been officially given, it's basically equal to just that. None of the three series will continue past their initial second season orders. Many of us have been on death watch for Pushing Daisies for some time now and it absolutely breaks my heart to think that Chuck and Ned's days are now numbered. ABC has yet to release an official statement about the, er, non-cancellation cancellations, but word started to reach me mid-day that the network would not be ordering any additional episodes of the troika. UPDATE: James Hibberd at The Live Feed has gotten a statement from Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, who was playing phone tag with ABC's president, about the decision: "I assumed

Next Best Thing Magic Dad: Truth and Illusion on "Pushing Daisies"

It seems like it's been months since we've gotten a new episode of Pushing Daisies , though it's really only been three weeks. (In the rarefied world of Daisies , that's like a lifetime for those of us craving a piece of narrative pie from The Pie Hole.) Suffice it to say, I found myself positively salivating for the series' quirky sweetness during the "previously on" montage at the start of this week's episode of Pushing Daisies ("Oh Oh Oh... It's Magic"), a delightful confection that had Ned and the gang investigating the murders of the animal assistants of The Great Herrmann, a.k.a. Herman Gunt (guest star Fred Willard), a stage magician who had become the surrogate father for Ned's own half-brothers Ralston and Maurice. (Where do the writers come up with these delightful names?) Written by Kath Lingenfelter (who was hired on Daisies , according to creator Bryan Fuller, on the strength of a sample piece about a man with pork chop