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Showing posts with the label Episodes

British Invasion: Brief Reviews of Showtime's Shameless and Episodes

The irony of airing a series based on a hit British series ( Shameless ) back-to-back with a comedy that satirizes that very process ( Episodes ) isn't lost on Showtime's president of entertainment David Nevins . But that juxtaposition is part of the charm of seeing these two series launch on Sunday evening. While tonally dissimilar, there's an anarchistic quality to both Shameless and Episodes . While both are enjoyable series in their own right, it's Shameless that is the true breakout hit for the network, a remarkable translation of Paul Abbott's hit C4 drama, which deposits the rough-scrabble Gallagher family to the mean street of Chicago. Overseen by ER 's John Wells, Shameless is gripping and absorbing television that's instantly ranks as the best of 2011. At turns hilarious, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and sexy, Shameless upholds the high quality of the British original (along with borrowing some plot points in the first few episodes as wel

Midseason TV Preview: 16 Shows to Watch This Winter

Winter is coming... Well, not that winter, not just yet. While we continue the long slog until April when HBO launches its adaptation of Game of Thrones , there's quite a lot of new and returning television series to keep us entertained in the meantime. Over at The Daily Beast, I offer "16 Shows to Watch This Winter," a round-up that includes such series as Episodes, Shameless, Big Love, Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation, Portlandia, Off the Map, The Chicago Code, Lights Out, Archer, Justified, The Killing, Body of Proof , and others. In other words: quite a fair bit coming up. Which of these new and returning shows are you most excited about? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Crossing the Pond: Showtime's Episodes Session at TCA

On the comedy front, if there's one series that I'm anxiously awaiting, it's Showtime's Episodes , co-produced with Auntie Beeb. The Hollywood skewering series--which stars Matt LeBlanc, Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan, John Pankow, Mircea Monroe, and Kathleen Perkins--was created by former Friends writer/producers David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and executive produced by British television god Jimmy Mulville. Episodes explores just what happens to a pair of British television creators when an American broadcast network brings them over to Los Angeles to create a US version of their hit show... and saddles them with Matt LeBlanc. For LeBlanc, he maintains that he's not playing himself. At all. "It's not really myself," said LeBlanc. "It's a character that David and Jeffrey wrote that happens to have the same name as me. There are some similarities. For the most part, it's a fictitious character." "Things go from bad to worse,&

Showtime Announces Launch Dates for Shameless, Episodes and Californication

Showtime today announced launch dates for its two newest series Shameless, Episodes and the return of Californication . The absolutely fantastic US adaptation of British drama series Shameless will kick off on Sunday, January 9th at 10 pm ET/PT. The following evening, Showtime will launch the fourth season of Californication at 10 pm ET/PT, immediately followed by the launch of the Matt LeBlanc-led comedy series Episodes . Here's how Showtime is positioning these two new series: SHAMELESS, a new drama series from John Wells (“ER,” “The West Wing,” “Southland”) and Paul Abbott (“State of Play,” “Touching Evil”) is based on the long-running hit UK series and stars Emmy® Award winner and Oscar® nominee William H. Macy (Fargo, Pleasantville, The Cooler) and Emmy Rossum (The Phantom of the Opera, Mystic River). Macy plays a far-from-stellar working class patriarch of an unconventional Chicago brood of six motley kids (headed by eldest sibling Rossum) who keep the home afloat whi

Channel Surfing: Starz Gets Spartacus Prequel, ABC Pulls Happy Town, Burt Reynolds to Burn Notice, Sarah Silverman Axed, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Starz is heading back to Spartacus , ordering six episodes of a prequel series that will be set before Season One of the gladiator drama series, which wrapped its run last month. The six-episode prequel, as yet untitled, will revolve around the House of Batiatus and its champions and will star John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, as well as Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Antonio Te Maihoha, Nick E. Tarabay, and Lesley-Ann Brandt, and feature a brief appearance by Andy Whitfield, who is currently undergoing treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Production will begin this summer, with the pay cabler eying a January 2011 launch, clearly an effort to keep the franchise humming until a second season can be produced. "The prequel story maintains the excitement and entertainment value of the first season of Spartacus , giving audiences the engaging experience they've come to expect," said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht in a sta

Channel Surfing: Tamsin Greig Lands Episodes, Steve Carell Looks to Leave The Office, History Casts The Kennedys, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Cast changes are afoot at Showtime's upcoming Matt LeBlanc-led comedy Episodes , with Thomas Haden Church pulling out of the project due to a scheduling conflict with a film and Claire Forlani being recast after the recent table read earlier this week. But with Forlani out, Showtime has had the luck of landing British actress Tamsin Greig ( Black Books, Green Wing, Love Soup ) to replace her. [Editor: I think Greig is a much better fit and is a comedy genius. Showtime is beyond lucky to have nabbed her. Grieg's Black Books character, Fran Katzenjammer, remains a perennial favorite.] Greig will step into Forlani's role, as the female half of a husband-and-wife writing team whose British series is adapted for American television... and ruined in the process. Showtime has ordered seven episodes of the series, which is created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, who executive produce alongside Jimmy Mulville. ( Variety ) S

Channel Surfing: Jason Isaacs is "Pleading Guilty," "Game of Thrones," Trio Joins Matt LeBlanc in "Episodes," Michael Imperioli to "Detroit," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Jason Isaacs is heading to network television. After several years of offers, Isaacs ( Green Zone and the Harry Potter films) has signed on to star in a broadcast network pilot. Isaacs, who last starred in Showtime's Brotherhood before it ended in 2008, has come aboard FOX legal drama pilot Pleading Guilty , based on the Scott Turow book of the same name. Isaacs will play the lead, Mack, a former cop and current attorney who is described as "a big handsome Irish lunk" and who investigates the disappearance of his firm's star litigator. Isaacs' attachment removing the casting contigency on the project, which hails from 20th Century Fox Television and Chernin Entertainment and which is being shepherded by Bones creator Hart Hanson. ( Hollywood Reporter ) HBO has given a series order to fantasy drama Game of Thrones , based on George R.R. Martin's beststelling novel series. Project, written by David Ben

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