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Showing posts from August, 2006

Farm-Raised Cuckoo Bird Angela No Jet-Setter on "Project Runway"

Okay, so I was wrong about the challenge this week having to design outfits for Delta Airlines flight attendants... but I was right about the Delta Airlines part. I loved the looks on the designers' faces when they were told to get the eff off the runway, pack their bags for an unknown destination, and get to the airport in their newly minted ensembles... to see how well the "jet setter" outfits they designed would hold up after they stepped off that other runway. Classic and clever. Even better that they ended up in Paris, one of the world's fashion capitals (if not THE fashion capital) though half of me was hoping they'd end up somewhere truly un-exotic and mundane. You know, completely take them out of their element altogether and force them to dress the people of St. Olaf or something. To really see if they can design for the runway and the masses. But I'll take Paris any day, as they were all so excited to be there. Even if I did think it was so complete

Second Helpings: FOX's "Vanished"

One of my favorite annual pastimes is going through the following season's pilots and trying to figure out which ones I'll watch and which ones I'll skip. There's certainly no science to it and much of it is really just my gut reaction to the material and that little voice in the back of my head asking me whether or not I'd watch the series. But the true test of a series isn't necessarily the pilot. In fact, more often than not, it's the second episode that's the real indication of whether or not I plan on investing my time with a particular series. On that note, I sat down Monday evening to watch the second episode of FOX's missing woman conspiracy drama Vanished . Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I ended up liking the pilot, which--like its second episode--was directed by Mimi Leder. Here's what I had to say about the original pilot I watched back in June: "Created by Josh Berman ( CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ) and dire

Bravo Sets Launch Date for "Top Chef"

Mark your calendars, culinary fans, and sharpen your knives . Bravo has officially announced the debut date of Season Two of gastronomic showdown series Top Chef , which will premiere October 18th at 11 pm ET/PT, right after the season finale of fellow Televisionary reality TV fave, Project Runway . But if you're not a night owl, don't fret. The following week, Top Chef will move into its regularly scheduled timeslot at 10 pm on October 25th once Runway wraps its third season. As previously announced, Food Network personality and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi has replaced outbound Katie Lee Joel as the Top Chef 's host and Tom Colicchio will return as a judge. While Televisionary was lucky enough to obtain some exclusive advance pics of Top Chef Season Two, the wait for next season is going to be a long one...

Promicin Exchange: Sinners and Saints on "The 4400"

Plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose. The more things change, as they say... I can't believe that this season of USA's abductee drama The 4400 has come and gone already. I spent the entire summer catching up on what has now become one of my favorite shows (though I sorely miss Lily and Kyle, but more on that in a bit) and can't believe I've reached the end of the road... for now anyway . I already miss Tom Baldwin (Joel Gretsch) and Diana Skouris (Jacqueline McKenzie) and I don't know about you but that ending made me a little... weepy. (In the most manly way, of course.) Putting aside that three-hanky ending, I would be remiss if I didn't bring up some of the momentous, um, moments in this week's finale ("Fifty-Fifty"). I love the little 4400 cabal created by Jordan (Billy Campbell). Or at least its inner circle comprised of Jordan, Tess ( Firefly 's Summer Glau, here magnificently lucid), and Kevin Burkhoff (Jeffrey Combs). This little tro

Tempest in a Tea Cup: An Emmy Weekend Round-up

So I succumbed just a little bit to the Emmy mania that was sweeping through Los Angeles last night. Just a little bit, anyway. It all started Saturday with the Fourth Annual BAFTA Emmy Tea Party at the Park Hyatt Hotel, where the red carpet was walked by some of my favorite American, British, and Commonwealth television actors (more on that to come). However, I will say that I didn't watch much of the actual Emmy telecast last night but instead stuck to my time-honored tradition of getting the winners from the internet and tuned in to some random moments whilst doing some other things (like trying to get drunk off of the drinks at a certain show's post-Emmy bash at The Highlands, where people watching the tape-delayed telecast seemed deliriously unaware of the award show's outcome). So then, which Emmy awards worked for me and which ones just didn't? Megan Mullally for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy. Gawd, seriously? Yes, it was Will & Grace 's swan song t

Ambivalence, Rather than Anticipation, Over the Emmys

I can't say that I'm really all that excited about the Emmy awards this year, especially after getting all worked up about the mere possibility that traditionally undervalued shows like B attlestar Galactica , Everybody Hates Chris , Gilmore Girls , and Veronica Mars might actually be represented next to 24 , The Sopranos , and Grey's Anatomy . Instead, we all know too well how the latest voting overhaul scheme went (love that Ellen Burstyn still walked away with a nom for a 9-second performance) and it still smarts that Lost was virtually quarantined from the high-profile nominations. (I blame Dharma Foundation nomination-fixing.) Sure, I'm rooting for The Office to take home the top comedy prize, and according to those mysterious " TV pundits ," the gang at Dunder-Mifflin is the "heavy favorite" to do just that, along with Steve Carell for actor in a comedic performance. And wouldn't it would be just desserts if Lisa Kudrow walked away with

The Fix Is In: Vincent Has the Winning (Yes, Winning) Design on "Project Runway"

Project Runway has always had that certain sniff of authenticity. Unlike other reality shows, it seems important to the judges (and one would imagine the producers) which contestants actually have talent and which ones just don't have what it takes. But lately things have gotten a little, um, ugly on the supposedly "reality-based" fashion competition. Last week, Allison was kicked off the show without an iota of consideration about the consistent work she'd done every other week (unlike Robert who had been kept in the running because the judges saw his "talent") and then this week? Vincent wins this week's competition? Am I alone in thinking what the hell is going on over there? The fact that Vincent won this week makes me completely irate for several reasons. First, Vincent can't seem to design his way out of a crap-festooned paper bag and his designs are consistently off-the-wall or entirely lazy, showing no imagination, reach, or skill. His dre

"Kidnapping an Heiress": Patty Hearst Heads to Neptune

Call it a case of Stockholm, er, Neptune Syndrome. Heiress and former kidnapping victim Patty Hearst (granddaughter of magnate William Randolph Hearst) is set to guest star in a November sweeps episode of Veronica Mars , portraying, coincidentally, the granddaughter of the founder of the show's fictional university, the conveniently named Hearst College, who vanishes the night before an important Board of Trustees vote regarding the school's future. No word on whether the Symbionese Liberation Army is involved in the heiress' disappearance this time... Veronica Mars returns to the airwaves this fall on the CW with the premiere of Season Three scheduled for October 3rd. The episode featuring Patty Hearst is slated to air November 21st. (Ten points to the first person who first correctly identifies the musical reference in this posts title. Starting... now.)

BBC America Adds Five Series to Slate, Causing My TiVo to Explode

Digital cabler BBC America has announced five series which it plans to launch this fall, including one from that irascible Mr. Alan Partridge, comedian Steve Coogan ( Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story ). First up is comedy Saxondale , which stars Steve Coogan ( I'm Alan Partridge ) as Tommy Saxondale, a former roadie with anger management issues who runs a pest control business dealing with rodents and people. Ruth Jones ( Nighty Night ) co-stars as Saxondale's Welsh anarchist girlfriend Magz who owns a t-shirt business called "Smash the System" selling politically radical clothing. The series' seven-episode run premieres October 13th at 11 pm ET (8 pm PT). Rumor has it that NBC, which has a deal with Coogan's production company (Baby Cow) is developing an American version of Saxondale . Let's hope that it's along the lines of The Office and not, say, Coupling . Hell's Kitchen 's Gordon Ramsay returns to BBC America with Gordon Ramsay'

USA Picks Up Fourth Season of "The 4400"

The announcement is official. The returnees will be, well, returning. As alluded to earlier today by yours truly, USA Network has ordered a fourth season of The 4400 consisting of thirteen one-hour episodes. The series is scheduled to return to USA Network in summer 2007 with production slated to begin in Vancouver early next year. The current season (the series' third) wraps up on Sunday at 9 pm. "This show continues to thrive creatively from year to year," said USA's executive vice president of original programming Jeff Wachtel, who made the announcement. "We're looking forward to another season filled with intriguing characters, unique twists and incredibly suspenseful storylines." And there you have it. I'll be tuning in to see The 4400 's season finale on Sunday. That is, unless I'm somehow able to obtain a copy of the finale a little earlier...

Televisionary Side Note: Fash and Kristen Bell

Is it just me or are you totally creeped out by the Old Navy " Fash " commercials that are currently airing in cineplexes around the country? Starring Veronica Mars ' Kristen Bell (with a cameo from former Veronica Mars co-star Tessa Thompson ), the commercials revolve around the adventures of Fash, a diminutive marionette who happens to be a serious ladies' man. The two spots currently airing, entitled "Football" and "Date," involve Fash's rebellious nature. The first involves Kristen Bell and Tessa Thompson swooning over Fash on the well-manicured campus of an unnamed university. (Hearst College, perhaps?) The second spot features Fash picking Kristen Bell up for a date and ruffling the feathers of her overprotective "parents" before kissing Kristen and speeding off in a vintage car. Both "Fash" spots completely weird me out. And not in a David Lynchian "Calvin Klein Obsession" commercial kind of way. I'm no

BBC America Sets "Street" Date

BBC America has finally set a street date for its new drama series, The Street . From creator Jimmy McGovern ( Cracker , Liam , Priest ), The Street is set in the north of England and can boast an all-star cast including Jim Broadbent ( Iris, Bridget Jones' Diary, and about a zillion other film credits), Jane Horrocks ( Absolutely Fabulous ), Sue Johnstone ( Waking the Dead ), and Timothy Spall ( Secrets and Lies ). Each segment will focus on a different house on the same street. (The series, which aired on BBC One in the UK earlier this year, will return next year with a second season.) Digital cabler BBC America announced the acquisition back in June but has now revealed that the series will premiere on Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 pm. Considering the pedigree of both the creator and the actors, I'm setting my TiVo now and urge you to do the same...

"Stargate" Closed: Sci Fi Opts Not to Renew Long-Running Series

After ten seasons (and two different cable networks), drama Stargate SG-1 will be taking its final leap at the end of the current run. According to an announcement made yesterday , cabler Sci Fi has opted not to renew the series, which recently aired its 200th episode and is scheduled to return in March with the second half of this season. However, the decision to wrap production on the longest-running sci fi series in TV history was, in the words of exec vp of original programming Mark Stern , "not a ratings-driven decision. We're actually going out on a high note." In fact, Sci Fi has given the series' producers enough leeway to wrap up the series at the end of the season. Stargate SG-1 spin off Stargate: Atlantis will continue, however, as the cabler has renewed that series for a fourth season. And it's possible that some familiar faces from SG-1 might migrate over to its sister show, at least according to Sci Fi. While I never watched Stargate SG-1 or its c

Casting Couch: Paul Giamatti; Lili Taylor; Kal Penn; Abigail Breslin

Giamatti Takes On Founding Father Paul Giamatti ( Sideways ) has signed onto Playtone's John Adams project for HBO in which he'll play (you guessed it) the titular John Adams, the second president of the United States. However, Giamatti will not play President Adams in HBO's seven-episode mini-series (based on the David McCullough bio "John Adams"); instead he'll portray Adams as a Massachusetts lawyer fomenting revolt among the colonists. As McCullough's biography was based in part on correspondence between Adams and his wife Abigail, their relationship will comprise a crucial part of the mini-series. HBO will air the seven hour-long episodes, written by Kirk Ellis, beginning in March 2008. Giamatti can currently be seen in the ethereal feature film The Illusionist (and if you haven't seen it, I advise you to play hooky today and catch a matinee). Lifetime Has Taylor in "Mind" Elsewhere, former Six Feet Under co-star Lili Taylor has been

Webisodes Lead to Legal Showdown

I have to say that I've really been enjoying the webisodes that The Office gang put together this summer. They're punchy and quirky little vignettes that are helping to (somewhat) tide me over until the show returns this fall. Greg Daniels and the Office crew have very cleverly created a mystery that pits the accounting team of Angela (Angela Kinsey), Oscar (Oscar Nunez), and Kevin (Michael Baumgartner) against the rest of the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin in order to find $3000 that went missing. All while managing to avoid any resolution to the cliffhanger Jim-Pam kiss from the "Casino Night" season finale. Lately, it seems as though webisodes are everywhere. Every time you open the trades, there's another article about another series launching webisodes or Verizon-based mobisodes (that's mobile-based episodes, for the uninitiated) for Entourage . But what if you found out that the showrunners of these series (Greg Daniels, in the case of The Office

Jane Krakowski Moves to "30 Rock" But Rachel Dratch Isn't Moving Out

Looks like Calista Flockhart isn't the only Ally McBeal alum looking to make a return to television this fall. Golden Globe nominee Jane Krakowski (who played Elaine Vassal on Ally McBeal ) is heading to NBC's new Tina Fey-helmed comedy 30 Rock . The actress has joined the cast of the freshman comedy, where she'll play the star of The Girly Show , the series' sketch comedy show-within-the-show. If you're confused by this news, it's because in the original plot (reviewed here ) this role was played by Saturday Night Live 's Rachel Dratch. But Dratch fans shouldn't be writing letters to the network just yet; she'll continue to appear on the series, playing a variety of smaller supporting characters. Dratch is set to appear as a cat wrangler in the premiere episode. Some of Dratch's characters will return while others will be strictly one-offs. The move comes as the series is focusing less on The Girly Show and more on the interactions between t

Allison Wrongfully Trashed on "Project Runway"

What. The. Hell. I'm often bemused or surprised by who gets eliminated in reality show competitions but I'm not usually as shocked and appalled as I was watching last night's Project Runway . Apparently, consistency doesn't mean anything in this Runway race nor does consistently quality work. Every designer has a fiasco or two (Kayne, my dear, I am looking at you this week), but to boot Allison over Vincent? Hello, VINCENT? He of the garishly gauche basket-hat? And the one-dimensional nursery school craft project dress this week? Who kept interrupting the judges to insist that his model's walk--sorry, hobble--down the runway was a turn-on? Who quit his job and cashed in his 401K to wind up in the bottom three nearly every week? Um, consistently? Enough questions. Here's a statement: I am seriously annoyed. I thought that the judges were extraordinarily cruel to Allison this week whose design was far superior to Vincent's white "sheath" sack dress.

Circling Neptune: "Veronica Mars" Tidbits

Just a few Veronica Mars -related tidbits to tide you over in the long weeks before Season Three launches on the new CW network. First up, Rob Thomas and the Veronica producers continue their love of all things Arrested Development . First, Mr. Thomas gave us Arrested 's George-Michael Bluth and Maebe Funke in guest starring roles (look for them to pop up again next season) and now he's giving us the poor alopecia-prone Stan Sitwell, sometimes arch-nemesis of the Bluth family. Ed Begley Jr. ( Best in Show ) has been cast as the dean of Hearst College, the new base of operations for Veronica and the Gang, where I imagine she'll be running into some disciplinary problems before long. The news about Begley's hiring comes after TV Guide's Michael Ausiello reported that Begley's Best in Show co-star Michael McKean (love him too) had been offered the role by the show's producers, only to turn it down. (He would have been fantastic too.) Either way, I can't