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Things Fall Apart: An Early Look at the "Skins" Season Two Finale

It was with an extremely heavy heart that I sat down to watch the season finale of British teen series, Skins , which airs this Sunday at 10 pm ET/PT on BBC America. After the last episode, which saw the death of one of the main characters and the disappearance of another, I didn't think that the writers of this brilliant and evocative series could twist the knife any deeper and yet after watching next week's season finale, my jaw hit the floor. It wasn't a shocking plot twist that made me so emotional about the end of Skins ' second season but rather the naturalistic way which with the writers dealt with each of the characters going their separate ways. US series--especially teen dramas--could learn a hell of a lot from Skins , especially the producers' decision to push our beloved characters out the door and onto new (unseen) adventures while replenishing the cast with a new batch of characters, including Tony's sister Effy . That, after all, is the nature of

"Flight of the Conchords" Takes Off Early

Have all of you watched the second season premiere of HBO's Flight of the Conchords over on If not, watch it straightaway (you can watch the episode in full after the jump) and then come back tomorrow to discuss the episode, which will air on linear television starting January 18th on HBO. In the meantime, I'm chatting with Conchords ' Kristen Schaal (a.k.a. Mel) in just a few minutes, so email me any burning questions about the Conchords' Number One fan you might have that are screaming out to be answered. Season Two of Flight of the Conchords launches January 18th at 10 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Channel Surfing: Holiday Wishes from "Fringe," Fontana Returns to "Philanthropist," Budget Cuts at 20th TV, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. 20th Century Fox Television has slashed its production budgets across the board, joining a slew of entertainment companies including ABC Studios cutting budgets due to the economic downturn. All of 20th's producers have been told to reduce their budgets by two percent. The budget cuts will affect both existing series such as 24 as well as new productions, including Joss Whedon's Dollhouse for FOX and ABC's Life on Mars . ( TV Week ) In yet another behind-the-scenes twist (each far more interesting than the series itself), Tom Fontana has returned to oversee NBC's midseason drama The Philanthropist , where he will replace David Eick (leaving to focus his attentions on Caprica )... who had replaced him as showrunner/executive producer on the project back in April. Creative differences between Fontana and Universal Media Studios have said to have been worked out and Fontana has returned to oversee writing on the eigh

Heartwarmed Yet?: More Thoughts on "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"

You've already read my advance review of the Christmas episode of Chuck , but I am curious to know just what you all thought of this week's episode ("Chuck Versus Santa Claus"), in which the Buy More gang is taken hostage on the day before Christmas and Sarah takes an action that could change her relationship with Chuck forever. I thought that this week's episode, written by Scott Rosenbaum (who also wrote "Chuck Versus the Break-Up" and co-wrote Season One's "Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami"), offered up a tasty mix of the genre-busting elements we've come to know and love from Chuck , including a heady blend of romance, comedy, and action. And it was fantastic to have an episode that featured a single plot that involved each and every member of Chuck's talented cast (including, yes, Julia Ling's Anna Wu, who showed up now two weeks in a row for a change). My review of "Chuck Versus Santa Claus" incited quite a

Channel Surfing: FOX to Exhibit "Glee" This Spring, Espenson Defends "Dollhouse," Pink Slips at CBS Par,

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing from another spectacularly grey morning in Los Angeles. I'm still recovering from last night's excesses, which included drinks in West Hollywood with not one but two writers/co-executive producers from Battlestar Galactica , followed by more drinks and dinner with a friend in Culver City. Whew. FOX has ordered 13 episodes of one-hour comedy Glee , from co-writer/director/executive producer Ryan Murphy ( Nip/Tuck ) and 20th Century Fox Television, and hopes to launch the series as early as this spring. "Like anything Ryan does, it's got creative ambition," said Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly. "I saw the same look in his eyes that I saw when he pitched Nip/Tuck (at FX). It takes some tonal chances, and should generate a tremendous amount of buzz and interest." Series follows the pitfalls and travails of a Spanish teacher (Matthew Morrison) who attempts to reinvigorate the sagging high school gl

One Flash of Light But No Smoking Pistol: BBC America Acquires "Life on Mars" Sequel "Ashes to Ashes"

Christmas has once again come early. Fans of British import drama Life on Mars can look forward to the launch of its sequel Ashes to Ashes on BBC America in the new year. The digital cabler announced today that it had acquired sixteen episodes of Ashes to Ashes , starring Keeley Hawes, Philip Glenister, Dean Andrews, Marshall Lancaster, and Montserrat Lombard, and plans to launch the series in March 2009. Ashes to Ashes , from creators Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah, is set after the events of Life on Mars . The series follows Detective Inspector Alex Drake (Hawes), a London police profiler who finds herself seemingly sent back in time to 1981 after she's shot in the head. In 1981, she comes face to face with none other than Gene Hunt (Glenister), whom Alex recognizes from Sam Tyler's descriptions after his "return" to the present day, and becomes enmeshed in solving the mystery of who murdered her parents, even as she attempts to return home to her young daughte

Jack Black to Guest Star in Post-Super Bowl Episode of "The Office"

New details have emerged about NBC's post-Super Bowl hour-long episode of The Office , which will guest Jack Black ( Tropic Thunder ). The special one-hour Office installment will be titled "Stress Relief," and is set to air at 10:30 pm ET (and air simultaneously in all time zones) on Sunday, February 1st. In a meta-theatrical twist, Black will play himself in a Hollywood film alongside several other "notable Hollywood actors," according to an NBC press release. In one of the hour-long episode's plots, several Dunder-Mifflin employees attempt to screen a bootlegged version of the film at the office during the day. The Office 's "Stress Relief" will air immediately after Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, February 1st.