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Showing posts from September, 2009

Battle Royale: Jeff Versus Ryan on "Flipping Out"

It had to happen, really. The tension between Jeff Lewis and sometimes business partner Ryan Brown has been building all season long and things got more than a little heated on last night's episode of Bravo's addictive reality series Flipping Out ("Irreconcilable Differences"), in which Jeff confronted Ryan about his allegedly "shady" business dealings. The confrontation, which went down in the final minutes of the episode, followed an hour where Jeff pulled some rather telling passive-aggressive maneuvers towards Ryan, disregarding his father's advice to cut the cord between the two but also not quite giving Ryan the opportunity to defend himself against Jeff's silent accusations. Who is at fault? It's really difficult say. Obviously, Flipping Out follows Jeff Lewis around on a daily basis and not Ryan Brown, so it's easy to side with Jeff because it's his perspective that we're seeing here. But let's look at the supposed ev

Breaking: Showtime and BBC Pact on Matt LeBlanc Comedy Series "Episodes"

Penance for Joey perhaps? Showtime and BBC Two have joined together to co-produce new comedy series Episodes , set to star Matt LeBlanc ( Friends ). The single-camera comedy series, which received a six-episode commitment from Showtime and BBC Two, revolves around a British couple whose smash-hit British skein is adapted into a "dumbed-down" US sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc (who will play himself). Project, which is slated to air next year on Showtime, is created by David Crane ( Friends ) and Jeffrey Klarik ( The Class ) and will be executive produced by Crane, Klarik, and Hat Trick's Jimmy Mulville. Production is slated to begin this autumn in London and Los Angeles. "What a thrill to have two giants of the comedy world like Klarik and Crane to satirize what they know best: the making (or un-making) of art," said Showtime president of entertainment Bob Greenblatt in a statement. "We jumped at the chance to get involved with this cock-eyed look at netw

Channel Surfing: CBS Mulling "Criminal Minds" Spin-off, John Simm Talks "Doctor Who" Send-Off for Tennant, Kevin Zegers Hears "Gossip" Call, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. CBS is said to be developing a potential spin-off from its crime drama series Criminal Minds that will be created by showrunner/executive producer Ed Bernero and executive producer Chris Mundy, the latter of which will write the script for the potential spin-off which will air as an episode of Criminal Minds later this season. No concrete details are available but the series is thought to revolve around a new team of FBI agents, rather than focusing on any of the existing Criminal Minds characters. ( Hollywood Reporter ) John Simm ( Life on Mars ), who returns to Doctor Who to reprise his role as The Master this winter, has said that David Tennant's swan song on the British sci-fi series is a "brilliant send-off" for Tennant and the Tenth Doctor. "It'll be a brilliant send-off for Mr Tennant," said Simm. "Last time I did it it was such fun to do. It was wonderful to be asked back and to be in

AMC Announces Launch Date for Limited Series "The Prisoner"

Cabler AMC has announced that its six-hour limited series event The Prisoner , starring Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellan, will launch on Sunday, November 15th at 8 pm ET/PT. The cabler will air three two-hour installments over three consecutive nights, with subsequent installments airing on Monday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 17th. In this remake of the classic British cult series, Jim Caviezel ( The Passion of the Christ ) plays Number Six, a man who finds himself the unwitting titular prisoner of The Village, a strange and surreal settlement overseen by the nefarious Number Two, played by Ian McKellan ( Lord of the Rings ). The Prisoner also stars Jamie Campbell-Bower ( The Twilight Saga: New Moon ) as Number 11-12, Hayley Atwell ( Brideshead Revisited ) as Number 41-5, Lennie James ( Jericho ) as Number 147, and Ruth Wilson ( Suburban Shootout ) as Number 313. The Prisoner was written by Bill Gallagher ( Conviction ) and directed by Nick Hurran ( Little Black Book ). Here

First Look: Syfy's "Riverworld"

Looking for a sneak peek at Syfy's new mini-series Riverworld , starring Dollhouse's Tahmoh Penikett? You're in luck. Distributor RHI has released the first trailer for the mini-series (itself a backdoor pilot for an ongoing series), which also stars Laura Vandervoort, Mark Deklin, Peter Wingfield, and Alan Cumming, among others. The project was written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe ( The Dresden Files ) and directed by Stuart Gillard ( 90210 ). Here's how Syfy described the four-hour mini-series: "Tahmoh Penikett ( Battlestar Galactica/Dollhouse ) and Laura Vandervoort ( Smallville ) star in Riverworld , based on the popular award-winning series of novels by Philip Jose Farmer. Penikett stars as Matt Ellman, an American war zone reporter who has witnessed the worst of humanity first-hand yet still grasps on to an optimistic spirit. When a suicide bomber kills both Matt and his fiance Jessie, played by Vandervoort, they awaken, separated in a mysterious world where eve

Talk Back: Series Premiere of NBC's "Trauma"

I'm curious to see how many of you out there tuned in last night to watch NBC's new medical drama series Trauma . I didn't review Trauma --possibly because I couldn't find anything nice to say about it--but I am wondering what those of you thought who happened to tune in to the series opener last evening. Did you like the series' combination of feisty, flawed characters and things going boom? Were you sucked in my the catastrophic opening minutes' footage of that downed helicopter? Did you like the chemistry between the actors or was it sideswiped by the explosive production values? Or did you find the whole thing incredibly bombastic and forced? Or a wee bit dated? More importantly, will you tune in again next week for the second episode? Talk back here.

Channel Surfing: "Primeval" Rescued from Extinction, Sonnenfeld Suits Up for Super-powered Comedy, Stephen King Finds "Haven," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Sci-fi drama series Primeval has been saved from extinction thanks to an unprecedented international co-production deal between Impossible Pictures Limited (IPL), ProSieben, BBC Worldwide (BBCW), ITV, and UKTV. Under the terms of the deal, thirteen new installments of Primeval will be produced for 2011 (the thirteen episodes will comprise two seasons). BBC America will step in to take on a full co-production credit and UKTV will become a first-time investor. Adrian Hodges will again oversee the creative direction of the series, which will feature the return of stars including Hannah Spearritt, Andrew Lee Potts, and Jason Flemyng. " Primeval is one of BBC AMERICA's all time top ten shows and we're thrilled to be co-producing the new season," said BBC America SVP of Programming Richard de Croce. "It’s an innovative deal securing the future of an innovative show - and we can’t wait to bring it back to U.S. fan

The Fainting Couch: Gilded Cages on "Mad Men"

Not all prisons have bars. This week's episode of Mad Men ("Seven Twenty Three"), written by Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton and Matthew Weiner and directed by Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, proved that power is an arbitrary construct and that we can fool ourselves into believing that we have control over our lives when in actuality, we're victims of causality and subject to the whims of others. Don Draper believes himself to have power over Bertram Cooper and Roger Sterling so long as he doesn't sign a contract. Without his signature on a piece of paper, he's free to throw tantrums and retain some semblance of authority over his two partners. After all, he can walk at any time. He's not married to the company or to Cooper and Sterling. One false move and he can take his considerable talents elsewhere. Which is the very definition of power, no? Except that Don Draper has been backed into a corner. The deal with Connie Hilton should have been cau

Whiskey-A-Gogo: Secrets and Scars on "Dollhouse"

Just a few quick words about Friday night's season premiere of Dollhouse , which saw the series return for a miraculous sophomore season, only to plummet to its lowest ratings yet. You read my advance review of the second season opener of Dollhouse ("Vows") , written and directed by Joss Whedon, but now that the episode has aired, we can talk about some of the specific plot points from the installment. And, in this case, it's the premiere's storyline involving Amy Acker's physically and emotionally scarred Whiskey/Claire Saunders that has piqued my interest more than any other, despite the appearance of Battlestar Galactica 's Jamie Bamber as shady businessman Martin Klar and Whedonverse alum Alexis Denisof as Senator Daniel Perrin. I'm still not entirely sure why Adelle would allow Paul Ballard to use Echo on an engagement to entrap Martin Klar or how Ballard was able to pay for the engagement. Or why Klar was such a powerful emblem of the failu

"The Amazing Race": I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Looking to discuss the two-hour season premiere of CBS' fantastic reality series The Amazing Race ? Head over to my piece, entitled "The Amazing Race: I Survived a Japanese Game Show," on the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site , where you can read my take on the season opener, wasabi bombs, duck herding, anger-prone contestants, the poker players' scheme, and much more. (The piece itself is a post-air story that follows up Friday's piece about five reasons why you should tune in this season to The Amazing Race .) Sound off in the comments section.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm": The C Word

Looking to discuss the latest episode of HBO's painfully funny comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm ? Head over to my piece, entitled "Curb Your Enthusiasm: The C Word," on the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site , where you can read my take on the latest episode of the Larry David-created series ("Vehicular Fellatio") and discuss your feelings about the episode, which I thought was one of the funniest--and most painful--to date. Thought Larry was crazy to concoct a plan to get Loretta to break up with him? Wish he wouldn't have agreed to pay for Dean's broken glasses? Astounded that Dr. Trundle beat Larry mercilessly with a copy of her "Walking Out on Cancer" book? Sound off in the comments.

Channel Surfing: ABC to Air "V" in Pod Form, CW Kills "Beautiful Life," Marc Cherry Talks "Desperate" Reveal, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. ABC has confirmed that it has now altered its launch plan for sci-fi drama series V , which is set to premiere November 3rd. The network has decided to air just the first four installments of the Warner Bros. Television-produced series and then place V on hiatus until after the Winter Olympics. The news comes as a surprise as the series, which is written and executive produced by The 4400 's Scott Peters, has enjoyed extremely positive buzz from critics and from Comic-Con audiences who screened the pilot episode earlier this summer. However, both Warner Bros. Television and ABC were quick to point out that the episodic order for V hadn't been shortened; series is still set to air 13 installments. ( Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker ) The first official cancellation of the fall season is here: The Beautiful Life , we hardly knew ye. The CW has confirmed that it has axed The Beautiful Life after just two episodes, which plun

Sweet Little Dolls: An Advance Review of Season Two of "Dollhouse"

I was largely on the fence about the freshman season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse . Conceptually, I felt that there were some fascinating ideas about identity and perception embedded in the series' overarching concept but I felt that these concepts were often let down by some fundamentally flawed execution on a weekly basis. In other words: I wanted to love the series but I found time and time again that I couldn't. Perhaps it was the regular occurrence of plot holes large and numerous, making Dollhouse resemble something akin to Swiss cheese. The unaired thirteen episode of Dollhouse 's first season, entitled "Epitaph One," did manage to change my feelings about the series; it offered a much darker and edgier version of Dollhouse and imbued the series with a strong throughline and narrative purpose. Given that the episode never aired in the US (and is still only available to screen on the Season One DVD boxset or on iTunes), it will be interesting to see as

Lures and Traps: Night of Desirable Objects on "Fringe"

Don't ever turn your back on a hole in the ground when there's a psychotic mutant killer on the loose. Last night's episode of Fringe ("Night of Desirable Objects") offered the sort of X-Files tinged suspense that's been missing from FOX for quite some time, even as the solution to the central mystery itself--the truth behind the disappearance of several people in a small Pennsylvania town--was obvious about two seconds in. This week's installment, written by Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, had the team leaving the relative comforts of their lab to trek over to Pennsylvania to investigate the aforementioned disappearances. While this is nothing new for a series that has its characters embarking on various investigations on a weekly basis, it was perhaps the first time that newly appointed team leader Peter Bishop took up the reins and sent the team out without getting a dossier or briefing from Broyles. Yes, proactiveness is the word du jour for the Fri

Talk Back: Series Premiere of ABC's "FlashForward"

What did you see? I've been talking about FlashForward for nearly a year now since my initial review of the series' pilot script back in November to my recent advance review of the first episode . But now that the series has launched, I'm curious to see just what you thought of FlashForward and its prospects for success. Were you lured in by the mystery of the global blackout and the flashforwards experienced by the main characters? Did you compare it to Lost or do you see the two series as distinct and separate entities? Do you think that FlashForward is a worthy successor to the mythology-based Lost in any event? Did you find Joseph Fiennes a compelling series lead or was he lacking in charisma? Are you intrigued by the characters' backstories? Did you find the dialogue realistic or clunky? Was there a bit too much exposition in the opening hour? What do you make of the twist ending? What's up with that kangaroo, which producers have said is a "thing

Channel Surfing: Jennifer Morrison Leaves "House," "Criminal Intent" to Phase Out D'Onofrio, Erbe, Bogosian, Mazzara to Oversee "Hawthorne," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Jennifer Morrison will depart FOX series House this season, with her final episode airing in November. According to Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello, who broke the story, Morrison did not quit but her departure was "a creative decision on the part of [the series'] producers." Ausiello is quick to point out that Morrison's character, Dr. Allison Cameron, won't be killed off and producers are leaving the door open for her to guest star later on in the season. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Looking for just how House 's producers will write Cameron out of the series? E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos and Jennifer Godwin have the scoop as sources close to the production indicate a major medical standoff between Cameron and Chase (Jesse Spencer), with House (Hugh Laurie) getting involved in the discussion as well. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) Hollywood Reporter 's Rog

Five Reasons to Watch Tonight's Episode of "Community"

Just a few quick words about tonight's episode of NBC comedy Community ("Spanish 101"), the series' second outing. I had the opportunity a few weeks back to watch the second episode of this hilarious new series and loved every second of it. So why should you tune in to tonight's episode of Community , when the airwaves are positively overcrowded with televised offerings? Here are five reasons why. (1) If you liked the pilot, you'll love this even more. If you enjoyed the hysterical pilot episode of Community , you'll love tonight's episode even more. Free from having to set up the group's situation and first meeting at Greendale Community College, tonight's installment has a lot more fun with the low-key academic setting, further building out the world of Greendale and strengthening the relationships between the characters. (2) It focuses on some of the supporting characters. While Community is an ensemble comedy, a lot of the action o

Red Scarves and Legerdemain: The Magic of Deconstruction on "Top Chef"

It's funny how camaraderie can evaporate the minute someone feels one of their number doesn't deserve to win. On this week's episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas ("Penn and Teller"), the chefs seemed to offer a unified front, even going so far as to honor the memory of their fallen compere Mattin by donning his trademark red scarves (just how many did he pack?) in the Top Chef kitchen. It was a touching testament to how much of an emotional impact Mattin had on the chefs (even if not in a culinary sense) but that sense of community was quickly shattered by the results of the Quickfire Challenge this week. Now I've long felt that there have been several chefs still in the competition at this point who should have packed their knives a long time ago. Perhaps it's the fact that there seem to be four incredibly talented chefs gunning for the final four (that would be Kevin, Jennifer, and the Voltaggio brothers) but the majority of the other contestants haven'

Talk Back: Series Premiere of ABC's "Modern Family"

I hope all of you tuned in last night for the launch of comedy Modern Family on ABC. I've been praising Modern Family for months now (you can read my original advance review of the pilot episode here ) but now that the series has launched, I'm extremely curious to find out what all of you thought of this remarkable and hysterical new series. It's hands down my pick for the season's best new show, a fantastically taut series about the trials and tribulations (and humor) of family life in the new millennium. Did you enjoy the series' heady mix of deadpan humor and emotional heart? Did you like the mockumentary aspect? (I thought it worked better than, say, The Office has for the last few seasons.) Did the entire cast--from Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, to Julie Bown and Ty Burrell (not to mention those kids!)--win you over with their overwhelming charm? Did you roar with laughter to Cameron's Lion King homage?