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The Daily Beast: "TV Report Card"

With the holiday break just around the corner, it's the perfect time to take note of what's worked so far this television season and what hasn't. Over at The Daily Beast, I have a new article entitled "TV Report Card," in which I take a look at the 30 new (and somewhat newish) series that have premiered so far during the 2009-10 season, breaking them down into winners, losers, and draws as I investigate just why and how they work (or don't). Everything from Modern Family and NCIS: Los Angeles to Castle, Sons of Anarchy, V , and FlashForward (and even bottom of the barrel entries Hank and Brothers ) get discussed in-depth. What's clicked for you this season? What series didn't disappear fast enough? And which are you still on the fence about? Head over to the comments section to share your thoughts about the season so far.

Channel Surfing: Jerry O'Connell in, Sendhil Ramamurthy Out at "Rex," No "Who" Movie, "FlashForward," "Big Love" for Alby," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Heroes ' Sendhil Ramamurthy has departed NBC's David Tennant-led legal dramedy pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer , allegedly due to scheduling conflicts. (The project was in second position to his role on Heroes .) Ramamurthy's role, that of a good-natured lawyer who falls in love with the fiancee (Abigail Spencer) of his best friend Rex (Tennant), has now been recast with Jerry O'Connell ( Carpoolers ) coming on board the project. Also cast: Lindsay Kraft ( Southland ) and Cleo King ( The Hangover ); Kraft will play Rex's assistant, an aspiring singer/songwriter while King will play a private school bus driver coached to represent herself by Rex in the pilot. Project, from Universal Media Studios, also stars Jeffrey Tambor and Jane Curtin ( Hollywood Reporter ) Meanwhile, David Tennant has dispelled rumors that there are any plans for a Doctor Who feature film. "I don't think there is a Doctor Who movie,&

Channel Surfing: ABC Benches "FlashForward" Until March, "V" Return Set, Whedon on "Dollhouse," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Looks like FlashForward won't be back in January, after all. ABC has announced its intentions to delay the return of FlashForward until March 4th, according to The Wrap's Josef Adalian. "Insiders said the network wants to run the remaining episodes without repeats," wrote Adalian. "Avoiding the Olympics onslaught in February is also part of the equation." However one issue that could become a narrative speed bump is the fact that it's still unclear how the revised scheduling will affect the series' key April 29th episode. ( The Wrap's TVMoJoe ) ABC has revealed that sci-fi drama V , which aired four episodes last month, will return for the run of its back nine episodes beginning March 30th, when it will move into the Tuesdays at 10 pm ET/PT timeslot currently occupied by The Forgotten . The news means a sci-fi two-hour block of programming for ABC as V will air directly after Lost on Tuesd

Channel Surfing: USA Renews "Psych," ABC Halts Production on "FlashForward," Drea de Matteo Not Fired from "Housewives," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. USA has renewed dramedy Psych for a fifth season, set air in summer 2010. The series, which is set to become USA's longest running original drama series in production, will air the second half of its fourth season beginning in January. ( Variety ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that ABC has temporarily halted production on drama series FlashForward , which again hit a new series low last week and has seen some behind-the-scenes drama with the departure of showrunner Marc Guggenheim. The production shutdown will last six days. "They started production early so that they could have the luxury to do this," an ABC spokesperson tells Ausiello. "They want to maintain the high quality of the show, and this gives the writers the opportunity to do so." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) No truth to rumors that Drea de Matteo is going to be written out of ABC's Desperate Ho

Blackout: Why "FlashForward" is Still Frustrating Me

Oh, FlashForward , I really do want to love you. But I keep finding that I just can't. Last night's episode of FlashForward ("Gimme Some Truth") was the worst yet and underlined once again the problems that I have with the series , which seems to be coasting by on some lazy plotting, wooden acting, and an odd mix of tones that's ultimately frustrating. Despite its promising concept and a pilot episode that had one of the best cliffhanger endings in recent memory, subsequent episodes of FlashForward have been alternately dull and unintentionally hysterical. (What it needs to be is better .) There are moments of cleverness, such as last week's Bjork-laden opening sequence but for the most part, FlashForward continues to chug along at an almost glacial pace, introducing new mysteries that aren't all that compelling and forcing many of the characters into situations that are just completely unbelievable. (Last night's example: having Aaron at Olivia&#

Channel Surfing: "Castle" Gets Full Season, Showrunner Marc Guggenheim Departs "FlashForward," Jason Momoa Ascends to HBO's "Thrones," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Good news for Castle fans: ABC has picked up the Nathan Fillion procedural drama series for a full season of 22 episodes after the series has performed well in its Monday night timeslot against tough competition from CBS. The news comes on the heels of ABC picking up first year series Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Middle , and FlashForward for full seasons, leaving only Hank, Eastwick, and The Forgotten the only new series that haven't received back nine pickups. ( Hollywood Reporter 's The Live Feed ) I wonder if he saw this in his flashforward... Co-showrunner/executive producer Marc Guggenheim has stepped down from his position on the ABC sci-fi drama series FlashForward , leaving sole showrunning duties to co-creator David Goyer. "Because of Goyer's limited hands-on TV series experience, Eli Stone co-creator Guggenheim was brought in after the FlashForward pilot to help with the launch of the mystery

Channel Surfing: Sonya Walger Talks "FlashForward," "Big Love," FOX Scales Back "Past Life," Showtime Gets "Shameless," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams has an interview with FlashForward and Lost star Sonya Walger, in which Walger talks about her time on Lost and teases some details about what is coming up for Olivia on FlashForward . "She's going to be forced quite soon to deal with whether or not you can change the future," said Walger. "She keeps being reminded — evidence keeps being presented all around her — that you can't change it. Every time she thinks she's seen the last of Lloyd and that she's managed to avoid it, he keeps coming back." ( TVGuide.com ) Mark your calendars: HBO has set a return date for drama series Big Love , which will launch its fourth season on January 10th. ( Variety ) In a twist that surprised no one, FOX has reduced its episode order for Warner Bros. Television-produced drama procedural Past Life to seven installments (including the pilot). The series, which follows an inves

ABC Ties Friendship Bracelet on "FlashForward," Picks Up Series for Full Season

I wonder if the victims of the blackout saw this coming. It's hardly a surprise but ABC has today announced that it has handed out a full season order to serialized sci-fi drama series FlashForward , which recounts the aftermath of a global incident in which the world's population glimpsed visions of their future six months from now. ( UPDATE: The network has ordered twelve additional episodes of FlashForward, bringing the season total to 25 installments, per E! Online's Jennifer Godwin .) The ABC Studios-produced series, which stars Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, and a sprawling ensemble cast too numerous to list, has aired three episodes to date and has fared well in the ratings, improving the Thursday at 8 pm timeslot by 32 percent compared to former inhabitant Ugly Betty , which returns this Friday in its new home on Friday nights. The news comes on the heels of full season pickups for ABC's comedies Modern Family, Cougar Town, and The

Second Take: ABC's "FlashForward"

Remember yesterday how I mentioned that second episodes are the true test of a series and how they can be a better gauge of an ongoing series' strengths and weaknesses than than the pilot? I went into last night's episode of FlashForward ("White to Play"), written by David S. Goyer and Marc Guggenheim and directed by David S. Goyer, really wanting to like the series, despite some reservations I had about the pilot episode (which I reviewed here ) and some of the narrative and casting choices. But I always go into a second episode with an open mind as it offers the writers an opportunity to tweak some issues than may not have worked as well as possible in the series opener. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. I'm not jumping off the FlashForward train just yet but I continue to have some serious issues with the series and last night's installment did little to quell these feelings. For one, I'm still not engaged at all with Joseph Fiennes&#

Channel Surfing: NBC Slices "Day One" to Four Episodes, James Franco Checks into "General Hospital," NBC Lands J.J. Abrams Spy Drama, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. NBC has announced that it has decided to slash the episodic order for its midseason sci-fi drama Day One to just four episodes, scheduling the series as a four-hour event mini-series rather than a thirteen-episode season. It's believed to be a cost-cutting measure as the decision will allow NBC to evaluate the mini-series' performance and ratings before committing to an ongoing series. News comes as Day One , which is slated to launch after the Olympics, has already shot two episodes and creator Jesse Alexander is said to be prepping the final two installments, which will wrap up storylines as well as leave some plot points intentionally dangling for a potential series order the following season. ( Variety ) E! Online's Watch with Kristin is reporting that James Franco is set to the join the cast of ABC daytime soap General Hospital for two months. (Yes, seriously.) He'll appear in a multiple-episode story arc begi

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

Future Tense: An Advance Review of ABC's "FlashForward"

Is it the next Lost ? That seems to be the question on many people's minds regarding ABC's new ensemble drama series FlashForward , which launches tomorrow evening and is based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel of the same name. After all, despite the many protestations of the actors and creators of the series that FlashForward isn't at all like Lost , there are some similarities on the surface. A group of disparate and ethnically diverse individuals united by a staggering and life-altering phenomenon? Check. Said phenomenon possibly caused by some sci-fi wackiness? Check. Non-linear storytelling that reveals information about the characters? Check again. Questions about fate versus free will? Youbetcha. Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger? Um, yeah. That said, FlashForward is a different beast than Lost , which wraps its run beginning in January. When it began, Lost was ostensibly about the survivors of a plane crash on a seriously creepy island; while there were whispers

Channel Surfing: Vinnie Jones Spies "Chuck," Lip-Lock Causes Sparks on "Fringe," Showtime Could Unleash "The Borgias," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. British actor and former footballer Vinnie Jones ( Loaded ) will guest star on an upcoming installment of NBC's action-comedy series Chuck , which returns with its third season next year. Jones will play Karl Stromberg, "an expert hit man with a soft side," on the Warner Bros. Television-produced series. Jones has also been attached to an untitled new series based on a comic book by Howard Chaykin about an "international spy who teams with his long-lost daughters he never knew existed." That project hails from Elevate Entertainment and Prodigy Pictures, the Canadian production company behind NBC mini-series XIII . ( Hollywood Reporter ) TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams has the scoop behind "that kiss" in the second season premiere of FOX's Fringe last night. According to Abrams, the lip-lock didn't come as a surprise to the two stars of the FOX drama, as they claim that a romantic past betw

Channel Surfing: Idris Elba Tackles Brit Mystery, ABC Encodes "FlashForward," Vincent Kartheiser Dances Around "Mad Men," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. The Wire 's Idris Elba (last seen on the small screen in a multiple-episode story arc on NBC's The Office ) has landed the lead in new BBC One crime thriller Luther , where he will play John Luther, a "near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions." Series, which has been commissioned for six episodes, is written by Neil Cross ( Spooks ) and each episode will invert the familiar tropes of crime drama on its head: the murderer will be revealed at the beginning of each episode and the focus will be the dynamic between Luther and his perpetrator, who aren't quite so different from one another. "Luther is a challenging and exciting character because he’s so complex," said Elba. "While he’s capable of great kindness and loyalty, sometimes he steps over the edge of madness – simmering with anger and rage." Luther will air in autu

Simon Says: First Look at Dominic Monaghan on "FlashForward"

There's been an aura of mystery surrounding Dominic Monaghan's role in ABC's ensemble drama series FlashForward , which kicks off later this month. Monaghan ( Lost ), of course, doesn't appear in the pilot episode of FlashForward so it's been rather tricky to glean intel about just what role his character, Simon, will play in the grand scheme of things within the world of the series. But a newly released clip would seem to indicate that Simon is somehow connected to Jack Davenport's Lloyd Simcoe. In fact, Simon even goes so far as to refer to Lloyd as his partner. Hmmm... But don't take my word for it. The brief clip from FlashForward featuring Dominic Monaghan, Jack Davenport, and Joseph Fiennes (Brits unite!) can be seen below. FlashForward launches Thursday, September 24th at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC.

Destiny Calls (in Advance): Cast and Crew Discuss "FlashForward"

"What did you see?" It's the question that's central to ABC's new drama series FlashForward , which launches this fall and features an ensemble cast grappling with visions of their future--six months forward in time--when the entire world blacks out. On hand at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Pasadena were Flash Forward cast members Sonya Walger, Dominic Monaghan, Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance and executive producers David S. Goyer, Jessica Borsiczky Goyer, and Marc Guggenheim. Goyer promised that the numerous questions raised in FlashForward 's pilot will get answered. "By the end of Season One, most of the questions asked in the pilot will be answered," said Gowyer. However, the cause of the blackout will be an overarching plot that will unfold over the entirety of the series. What else did they have to say? Let's discuss. Jessika Borsickzky Goyer said that discovered the Robert Sawyer book "Fl