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Showing posts from April, 2009

Killing Time: Calculating the Variables on "Lost"

A mother's love or the icy logic of a woman doomed to know how events will unfold? Last night's 100th episode of Lost ("The Variable"), written by Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, forced the audience to see the strained relationship between Daniel Faraday and his mother Eloise Hawking in a very different light. Providing the audience with the first scenes of the duo together, this week's installment cast a light on Daniel's complex backstory, giving us a glimpse into his childhood, his time at Oxford with doomed lover/lab assistant Theresa, and his memory loss... as well as revealing what many of us have suspected for some time now: Daniel Faraday's true parentage. So what did I think of this week's episode of Lost ? Put on your Dharma jumpsuit, grab your journal, turn off the pylons, and let's discuss the 100th episode of Lost , "The Variable." Daniel Faraday. I was beyond thrilled to see Faraday back in the mix this week, having arrived

Social Suicide: An Advance Review of BBC America's "The Inbetweeners"

Imagine if you will the cult British teen series Skins with less melodrama, more acne, and a hell of a lot more laughs and you might come close to describing BBC America's latest comedy import The Inbetweeners , which airs in the UK on E4. Created by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, The Inbetweeners tells the story of four sixth form college students--nerdy Will (Simon Bird), lovelorn Simon (Joe Thomas), sex-obsessed Jay (James Buckey), and gawky Neil (Blake Harrison)--as they attempt to navigate the perilous mine field that his high school, laced as it is with the lure of girls, cheap booze, and mischief. Thanks to the good folks at BBC America, I had the opportunity to watch the first three episodes of The Inbetweeners ' two-season run (so far, anyway), which the digital cabler plans to air back-to-back beginning later this year. As a former teenage boy myself (fortunately since recovered), I found this series boisterous and painfully funny, often at the same time. But one ne

First Look: NBC Previews Summer Offerings "Merlin," "The Listener," "Meteor," and "The Storm"

With summer just around the corner, I've got some first looks at NBC's offerings for the sweltering season, including British fantasy series Merlin , Canadian co-production The Listener , and mini-series Meteor and The Storm . Merlin is a 13-episode series that shines a light on the backstory of the Arthurian sorcerer as a teenager and novice in the mythical city of Camelot. The series premieres Sunday, June 21st at 8 pm ET/PT and stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, John Hurt, Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, Katie McGrath, and Angel Coulby. The Listener , launching Thursday, June 4th at 10 pm ET/PT, follows Toby Logan, a 25-year-old paramedic who is telepathic and tries to help people in need. It stars Craig Olejnik, Ennis Esmer, Colm Feore, Lisa Marcos, Mylene Dinh-Robic, and Anthony Lemke. Additionally, NBC's schedule this summer will also include two mini-series, Meteor and The Storm . In Meteor , airing Sunday, June 7th and June 14th at 9 pm ET/PT, two massive rocks -

Channel Surfing: "Chuck" Tops Save Our Shows Poll, Adult Swim Hires UK "Office," Shonda Rhimes Talks Denny, "Grey's Anatomy," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Not unsurprisingly, NBC's Chuck has topped USA Today 's Save Our Show poll, scoring 54 percent of the 43,000 viewers who cast their votes in the ten-day online poll. The Warner Bros Television-produced series scored the top spot overall as well and was the most favored choice among men, teens and twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, whites, Asians, Hispanics, Westerners, Southerners, Northeasterners, and Midwesterners and the fourth favored choice among women as well. (If that's not cross-cultural appeal, I don't know what is.) ( USA Today ) Adult Swim has acquired rights to the original UK series The Office , starring Ricky Gervais, from BBC Worldwide and will air both seasons as well as the Christmas special (which marked the series finale) this summer. Move marks the second deal between Adult Swim and BBC Worldwide, which previously sold rights to comedy The Mighty Boosh to the cabler, which

Clock Strikes Midnight on "Fringe," Plus First Look at Leonard Nimoy as William Bell

I'm really enjoying Fringe more and more these days, although some of my earlier complaints about the series still continue to irk me , even as we race towards the freshman season finale. (Don't even get me started on Astrid or how poor Lance Reddick is given so little to do each week.) This week's episode of Fringe ("Midnight"), written by J.H. Wyman and Andrew Krisberg, offered a pretty gruesome case involving a woman dosed with an extinct strand of syphilis that also contained a pretty twisted virus that turned her into a spinal fluid-craving monster capable of chomping through her male victims' spines to sate her hunger. It also dovetailed quite nicely with the team's investigation of bioterrorist group Z.F.T., who were responsible for the experiment in the first place, a warning to a pioneering scientist whose wife ended up the unwitting guinea pig in this latest demonstration of Z.F.T.'s power. While I won't go into much detail about the e

Murder on the Orient Express: The Final Teams Go Head to Head on the Season Finale of "Last Restaurant Standing"

The dream has been achieved for one team. On last night's season finale of BBC America's deliciously addictive culinary competition series ("First Class Service"), the final two teams faced off against each other as the prize--the chance to open a restaurant with famed chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc--was within their grasp. But before Raymond Blanc would make one couple his partners in a future restaurant venture, he would be putting both teams through their paces with one of their toughest challenges yet as Blanc tasks them with devising and serving a lavish five-course meal to the passengers aboard the famed Orient Express. No mean feat this. The well-heeled clientele of the Orient Express expect the very best in cuisine, service, and atmosphere and, if that weren't enough for the teams to worry about, they also have to contend with the fact that they are preparing this meal in a small, cramped kitchen aboard a moving train. In other words: this could be a

Channel Surfing: Team Darlton Talk "Lost" Series Finale, Pasdar Says Quinto Not Going Anywhere, Shenkman Joins Cast of "Burn Notice," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. With the 100th episode of Lost set to air tonight on ABC, many are already looking to the series' next milestone: the all-important series finale, set for May, 2010, and viewers are bound to have high expectations when creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse wrap up the series. "We can't let those expectations terrify us," said Lindelof in an interview with Variety 's Shawn Malcom. "The reality is, we've known what the series finale is going to be for a while now." In fact, the real variable is how the series' characters wind up at the end point charted by Lindelof and Cuse. "The path that we take to the end still has some room for surprises and changes and discoveries along the way (in terms of) the characters' journeys and how their relationships evolve," said Cuse. While the duo wouldn't reveal any specifics about the finale, they did say that fans will be left wanting

Full Frontal Nerdity: The Sensational (and Game-Changing) Season Finale of "Chuck"

"Oh, Chuck me." If I was anxious before about NBC renewing Chuck for a third season , last night's jaw-dropping season finale ("Chuck Versus the Ring"), written by Allison Adler and Chris Fedak, left me screaming to the heavens for a solution that would pull Chuck back from the brink of cancellation. (It can't end that way, it just can't!) Series creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak promised a "game-changing" season finale and they not only delivered on this promise but gave us what may be one of the single most enjoyable hours of television this year in the Chuck season finale, as well as one of the strongest installments of the series so far. Whether this week's episode of Chuck ends up being a season or series finale (and I'm pulling for the former), "Chuck Versus the Ring" was a primer on how to infuse tension and possibility into every scene, while also offering the series' rabid viewers a lot of laughter and mo

Channel Surfing: "Harper's Island" to Graveyard on Saturdays, Abrams Confident About "Fringe" Renewal, "Privileged" Still Kicking, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. CBS has announced that it will move struggling freshman drama series Harper's Island to Saturday nights at 9 pm ET/PT, beginning May 2nd. What saved the series from outright cancellation are its strong DVR numbers and the fact that all thirteen episodes of Harper's Island 's limited run were already in the can, making it much easier for the Eye to just burn off the episodes. "This move gives us an opportunity to improve the time period on Thursday while experimenting with more original programming on Saturday," said CBS senior exec VP Kelly Kahl of the network's decision. Harper's Island won't be alone on Saturday nights, which the networks have been increasingly using as a dumping ground for series with small but loyal viewers; Kings, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone , and Dirty Sexy Money will all air episodes on Saturdays this summer. ( Variety ) J.J. Abrams is confident that freshman drama series Fr

Televisionary Soapbox: Please Watch "Chuck" Tonight on NBC

If the real world were just as awesome as the fictional one we tune in to each Monday night to see on NBC's Chuck , the action-comedy series wouldn't be in any danger of cancellation. And yet, with the series about to air the final installment of its second season tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on NBC, that's just where we are. It's entirely possible that tonight's episode of Chuck , which has yet to receive a pickup for a third season, could be the series' last. I'm still keeping my fingers firmly crossed that NBC realizes what a sensational series this is and renews Chuck for a third season. Monday nights surely wouldn't be the same without Chuck . Hell, television right now wouldn't be the same without Chuck , which offers a winning combination of action, humor, workplace comedy, and, well, a sly skewering of underemployed twenty-somethings, stuck in a perpetual state of arrested development. It's a series that the whole family can watch together...

Tears of a Clown: Alex Unmasks a Killer on the Season Finale of "Ashes to Ashes"

I'm hoping many of you tuned in to the phenomenal and shocking season finale ("Alex's Big Day") of Life on Mars sequel series Ashes to Ashes this weekend. I saw the entire first season last fall (the spoils of a trip last year to London, where the first season was released a while back on DVD). I discussed the questions raised by this season finale last October in a post about Ashes ' first season finale , but rather than just direct you to that post itself, I thought I'd make things easier and reproduce some of my thoughts here for the sake of convenience. So crank up some David Bowie and Roxy Music on your iPod as we dive into some burning questions left over from Ashes to Ashes ' brilliant first season. ( WARNING : there are major spoilers for the end of Season One after the jump.) My very first question, after watching the full first season of Ashes to Ashes , naturally concerns the first season's ending... in which we learn that Young Alex had m