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Showing posts from February, 2007

The Uncanny Office Heroes?

Ever wonder just what a mash up of NBC's The Office and Heroes would be like? (I know I have.) Or what superpowers the (not so) dedicated employees of Dunder-Mifflin might manifest? Look no further. The Dreamer. The Cop. The Artist. The Seeker. The Cheerleader. The Clock Puncher. Does it get any better than that? I'd also like to mention how great it was that the very talented Angela Kinsey earned a spot in Office / Heroes mash up. All in favor of Angela getting bumped to full cast member, say aye!

Corn Nuts, Strippers, and Papa's Cabin: Veronica Solves the Perfect Murder on "Veronica Mars"

Sigh. Can you believe that the latest pod of Veronica Mars episodes is already at a close? It seems like the beloved series only just returned from a way-too-long hiatus in the first place and now the CW have snatched the show right off the air again to bring us (ick) a reality series about the Pussycat Dolls. To cut to the chase: No new Veronica Mars episodes until May 1st. I'm heartbroken. While I am sure you'll hear me whining over the next two months about how I miss my weekly glimpse into Neptune, I did want to talk about the resolution to the Dean O'Dell murder mystery, which wrapped up neatly last night in the latest installment of Veronica Mars ("Papa's Cabin"). And, yes, just as I suspected way back when, it was creepy TA Tim Foyle. But like most good murder mysteries, writer John Enbom left us guessing until the final moments as he and the show's writers/producers did such a fantastic job at including enough red herrings, incriminating leads,

Peacock Snags Posh and Becks for Reality Series

Following a tense bidding war, NBC has signed a deal for an untitled reality series documenting every moment of Victoria "Posh" Beckham's move to Los Angeles with husband, soccer star David Beckham. Reportedly, the ex-Spice Girl has been offered £10 million to do the series. The series will be executive produced by American Idol 's Simon Fuller (who, not so coincidentally, used to represent Posh and the rest of the Spice Girls back in the day) through his 19 Entertainment shingle. NBC is said to want to air the series as early as this summer. But the question is: Do we really care? I'm not entirely sure why NBC (desperate though they might be for another ratings hit) would spend this kind of dough on an already super-overexposed celebrity couple that most people don't bat an eyelash over outside of Blighty. In fact, the only super-couples I'm interested in seeing on NBC next season are The Office 's Jim and Pam and Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy on the st

NBC Bets on Fifth Season of "Las Vegas"

Lady Luck is on their side. NBC has ordered a fifth season of veteran drama series Las Vegas , picking up the series for 2007-08. The early renewal comes as a bit of a surprise as the Peacock had previously reduced the episode count of this season of Las Vegas to 17 episodes, rather than the traditional 22. The series, created by Gary Scott Thompson, follows an elite surveillance team tasked with overseeing security of one of the largest casinos in Las Vegas. It stars James Caan, Josh Duhamel, Molly Sims, Nikki Cox, James Lesure, and Vanessa Marcil. With the news of an early renewal, Las Vegas joins fellow NBC series Heroes , The Office , My Name is Earl , and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit , which have all received full season renewals for 2007-08.

Red Highlighters and House Arrests: Does "24" Feel a Little Tired?

Is it just me or is 24 feeling a little... tired this season? Sure, it's had to face a crippling onslaught from new kid on the block Heroes , but it just sort of feels this season as if the series is just going through the motions: another presidential assassination attempt, another possible raid on a foreign consulate (don't get trigger-happy, Jack!), familial drama, etc. When half the episode involves Chloe wondering if Morris is drinking (hell, after being tortured with a drill and forced to create a suitcase nuke trigger, I'd need a drink too) and bursting into the men's room, something's not right in Bauer-land. Yes, there were some nice twists... like Logan being the one that Jack needs to turn to in order to find Gredenko, though seeing as it was Jack's murderous dad Phillip that gave him the phone number, I wouldn't totally trust the crazy SOB to play fairly. And, wait, no one knows that Logan arranged the assassination on Palmer? So the grizzly dud

Casting Couch: Anna Paquin Bites Into "True Blood" for HBO

Anna Paquin has already played a mutant with an untouchable curse in the X-Men feature film franchise (along with, oh, a few dozen other characters, including one-- The Piano --that netted her an Oscar), so why not a telepathic waitress with a thing for the undead? But I'm not talking about any old telepathic waitress. No, I'm speaking of the lead in HBO's new drama pilot True Blood from writer/director/executive producer Alan Ball (Six Feet Under). The pilot is based on the Southern Vampire series of novels by Charlaine Harris. Paquin will play Sookie Stackhouse, an innocent waitress who can read people's minds. In a small Louisana town, she comes into contact with the burgeoning underworld... which isn't quite so underground now that vampires can buy Japanese-made synthetic blood and mingle with the living. The vampires' emergence into everyday society throws Sookie into the arms of one of the undead and a love story (writ large by Ball) begins. Also cast: R

"A Miserable Thing, This Race:" Rob and Amber Maintain Their Lead on "The Amazing Race"

It's funny how the smallest thing--a slow cab driver, a missed connection, a delayed flight--can radically alter the outcome of the game. And sometimes, on The Amazing Race , those things don't mean a lick of difference whatsoever. Just take a look at Rob and Amber and Danny and Oswald on last night's episode of The Amazing Race . Even with a delayed flight that put the two leading teams all the way behind every single other team on the Race, they still managed to finish first and second, respectively. And there were no equalizers. So just how did they do it? Pluck, determination, and grit, I guess. It also helped that they seem to be a hell of a lot more detail-oriented than the other teams. Racers left Cotopaxi National Park (well, most of them did: Mirna and Charla had to be towed by David and Mary) and made their way to Santiago, Chile. Rob and Amber and Danny and Oswald managed to get earlier flights but, thanks to delays, they ended up landing in Santiago after everyo

I Heart Ellen: Talk Show Doyenne Degeneres Rocks as Host of the Oscars

Like many others, I was a little concerned how Ellen Degeneres would do as host of the Oscars last night. After all, Ellen is more of a television personality than one you normally associate with film (granted, yes, there was that star turn in Finding Nemo and let's not forget about Mr. Wrong ), but I thought that the talk show host did a fantastic job last night. Dressed in a gorgeous red velvet pantsuit (accented with some white shoes), Ellen reminded the assemblage that they were there to celebrate the nominees, for whom this was a "make or break" evening. "I cannot imagine what you people are going through," she deadpanned. Oscar host is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, yet I felt that Ellen kept it entertaining and engaging and the laughs coming. (Loved the bit about the diversity of the night, including Steve Carell.) She was affable, witty, and self-effacing and her opening monologue was not only hysterical but put the focus on the affa

(Arcade) Fire and Rainn: Dwight Schrute on "Saturday Night Live"

Did anyone else happen to stay up and watch this weekend's Saturday Night Live , with Rainn Wilson and Arcade Fire hosting? While the show itself was pretty much its usual yawnfest, Wilson acquitted himself quite well as a host, playfully going along with an opening monologue that spun into a very much appreciated Office spoof. If you missed the episode, here--thanks to the magic of digital technology--is Wilson's opening monologue, complete with a cameo from a beloved Office mate and some rather amusing gags on Jim and Pam's constant mugging for the camera. SNL might be nothing like The Office , but all the same, it made me smile.

Friday Morning Melancholia: Was "30 Rock" Better Than "The Office"?

Fridays can sometimes be a little bit sad for me (granted, the end of the work week is always a plus), especially when The Office isn't quite up to par and when, after coming home from a very late-running work dinner, I wished that instead of watching both The Office and 30 Rock , I had just watched the latter. Don't get me wrong. The Office on even an off night is still better than 99% of the comedies on television, but because of my love for Dunder-Mifflin I do expect a little more out of the writers and directors on this show. And last night's episode ("Cocktails") was a bit of a mess. Sadly, I do feel that a lot of the blame for that lays squarely on the shoulders of guest director J.J. Abrams ( Lost ) whose direction last night was as jarring as last week's Joss Whedon-directed installment was smooth. It just didn't cut together fluidly and, surprisingly for someone with Abrams' talents, it looked awful at times. Take a gander at the daytime

"What the Hell is the Brady Bunch?": Strangers in a Strange Land on "Lost"

Color me slightly confused. The promos for last night's episode of Lost ("Stranger in a Strange Land") promised us the reveal behind three of the series' most burning questions, but, um, didn't quite deliver on that guarantee. Nor am I entirely clear what three mysteries they were to be as I didn't quite get the full answers to anything. (Still, I am assuming they meant Jack's tattoos, the fate of the kidnapped kiddies, and WTF happened to Cindy the flight attendant.) The title itself, "Stranger in a Strange Land," is an allusion to Robert A. Heinlein about a human raised by Martians on Mars, who returns to his home planet of Earth as an adult. It also features a religious movement called the Church of All Worlds, a mystery religion that blends various elements of different belief systems with psychic training. Nice parallels, guys! Sawyer and Kate make their way back to the big island with a semi-conscious Karl who's lovesick over his separ

Casting Couch: Taye Diggs Scrubs in for "Grey's" Spinoff

Following the announcement yesterday that ABC is developing a spinoff of medical drama Grey's Anatomy , the network has cast Taye Diggs in the potential spinoff. Grey's Anatomy will feature an upcoming two-hour backdoor pilot in May that will center on Kate Walsh's Dr. Addison Shepherd; the plot will revolve around Addison deciding whether to leave Seattle Grace Hospital; if ABC decides to pickup the potential spinoff series, Grey's fans will have to say goodbye to the former Mrs. McDreamy. No details were immediately available on what character Taye Diggs, last seen in ABC's failed drama Day Break , will play or what his involvement will be in the two-hour backdoor pilot. The as-yet-untitled Grey's spinoff will be in contention for a slot on the 2007-08 schedule and will be written by Grey's creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes, whose other drama pilot this season--about female journalists--has been pushed back to a summer production start, but it t

Casting Couch: Amanda Righetti to Play "Marlowe" Sidekick

Every good private eye needs a sassy assistant/sidekick. (Just look at Papa Keith and Veronica for proof of that.) And Phillip Marlowe just found his. Amanda Righetti (who to me will always be remembered best as the spoiled Hailey on The OC ) has been cast in ABC's drama pilot Marlowe , a modern-day update of Raymond Chandler's classic noir character who solves cases and nurses hangovers in contemporary Los Angeles. She joins Jason O'Mara ( Monarch of the Glen 's Fergal), who plays the titular private eye. Righetti will play Nancy, an aspiring dancer who's also Marlowe's part-time gal Friday. But don't discount any sexual tension there. In fact, the two have a rather tortured past together (hint: she was once the victim of a crime Marlowe investigated, but that's all I'm saying for now). I actually quite liked the script to Marlowe (written by Greg Pruss and Carol Wolper), which offered a modern noir drama with hard-boiled dialogue, sultry femme fat

On the Lam(b): Rare Coins, Valentines, and Mars Bars on "Veronica Mars"

Um, wow. I don't know about you but I didn't see that one coming. I'm talking, naturally, about last night's episode of Veronica Mars ("Mars Bars"), which gave a us a much-needed one-two punch to our collective solar plexus in the form of the death of a much beloved (or maligned depending on your viewpoint) character who has been a major part of the series since the pilot. I'm extremely glad that the CW didn't blow this one by endlessly touting the death of a character in the promos, but when when the end did come it was definitely a surprise, and a really depressing one at that. I have to say that I really enjoyed the two-parter format, which gave the writers (John Enbom and Phil Klemmer) a chance to create a really intricate, multi-layered standalone mystery that managed to be engaging and thought-provoking. Unlike some of the single-episode mysteries, the basketball coach's murder offered some surprising twists and turns, enabled by the fact th

Cursed Numbers: Why "Lost" Seems to Be Losing Viewers

Maybe the computer countdown digits aren't Lost 's only cursed numbers, after all. Longtime readers of Televisionary will remember that I sided very much against ABC's decision to pull Lost for 13 weeks in a (now fatal) attempt to launch a new serialized drama Day Break . I think, between the failure of Day Break and the horrific erosion of viewers for Lost , that it was a monumental error on ABC's part to yank Lost for so long... and to return it to a third timeslot in three years. If you recall, I had sat down with the producer of a top US series (here called Mr. Producer for the sake of anonymity and mystery) to get his take on Lost 's controversial hiatus (hint: he too was against it), and he's kindly returned with some further thoughts, now that the series has returned to the airwaves. So, what does Mr. Producer think of the ABC execs who decided to schedule the season this way? "Those foolish programming execs must be eating crow now," he said

"Amazing Race: All Stars"... Now With Even More Rob and Amber!

Hopefully you all enjoyed, like yours truly, a spectacular three-day weekend that was filled more with Rome , Extras , and the season premiere of The Amazing Race: All Stars than with thoughts of Britney Spears shaving her head. (Though to be honest, as sick as I am of Britney and her one-day-rehab-shaving-off-locks ways, I do think I am slightly more fed up with Rob Mariano, but that's just me.) I've been really looking forward to this season, which brings back some familiar faces to the Race, but I have really been dreading the return of Romber, the aggressively competitive team of professional reality TV gluttons Rob and Amber, after two Survivor installments, Amazing Race , their free wedding, and their own Fox Reality channel series. While Rob and Amber might have their fans (and, lordy, I do know a few of them), I was really hoping that executive producers Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster would opt to leave them out of the mix. C'est la vie. As usual, 11 team

What the Hell Happened to Project Runway's Jeffrey Sebelia?

Oh, Jeffrey. You won Project Runway 3 , despite allegations of cheating launched at you by pregnant nemesis Laura, making a fellow contestant's mother cry, and a general air of self-entitlement spurred on by a mixture of cockiness, success, and a variety of neck tattoos. So, what's become of you since the camera stopped rolling? I'm not the only one who's been wondering what former Project Runway contestant Jeffrey Sebelia has been up to since he won the fashion reality series' top prize, including $100,000, a Saturn, and a mentorship with Macy and I.N.C. In fact, New York Magazine 's Amy Larocca has an extremely candid interview with Sebelia in this week's issue, in which he admits that he's broke and his next gig is fact designing costumes for the upcoming live-action Bratz motion picture. That $100K grand prize went to paying off a huge debt for his clothing line (that would be Cosa Nostra, which once dressed Gwen Stefani, most likely in her pre-L.A

"America's Next Top Producer": Has Reality TV Hit a New Low?

I'm a little bit frightened by the news coming out of the (shudder) TV Guide Channel about a show that could very well sound the death knell for the reality TV genre. Okay, maybe not the death knell, but it does send a very clear message that maybe, just maybe, the reality TV biz has run out of ideas. I'm talking, ladies and gents, about the new 10-hour reality-competition series known as America's Next Top Producer , to be aired on the TV Guide Channel, in which 10 hopefuls compete for the opportunity to become... a reality TV producer. (If this isn't a vicious circle, I don't know what is.) Contestants will live together in a house and compete for the grand prize: $100,000 in cash, a production office in Hollywood, and a first-look deal with... TV Guide Channel. (Gee, not too blatant self-promotion or anything.) It's one thing to call a show America's Next Top Producer and have the prize be, say, a production (rather than first-look) deal with a broadcast

FOX Renews "House" and "Bones"

In a move that surprised no one, FOX quietly gave early season renewals to drama series House and Bones , giving both series full-season orders for 2007-08. House , which stars Hugh Laurie as the brilliant and misanthropic Dr. House, has been picked up for a fourth season of mysterious medical maladies. The series is FOX's top drama and ranks as the #3 scripted series in the key adults 18-49 demographic. House currently averages 17.4 million viewers and recently reached its second highest total-viewer numbers (roughly 26 million) this past week, thanks to the support of American Idol . Meanwhile, Bones , starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz as a mismatched crime fighting duo, has been ordered for a third season of anthropology-tinged homicides. The series tied its best-numbers-ever record this past week with 12.6 viewers. Chances, meanwhile, are not looking so good for a fall return engagement of fellow FOX drama Standoff , starring Ron Livingston and Rosemary DeWitt as ho

Michael Gives His Best "Dead Poets Society," While Dwight Plays Vampire (Bat) Slayer on "The Office"

I've been waiting for weeks to see how Joss Whedon would work his mojo on The Office and, I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. It's worth noting of course that while Whedon is best known for his work as a series creator on Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Angel , and Firefly (and directed several episodes of each), he got his start as a writer on a sitcom (that would be Roseanne ). So I was definitely intrigued to see what Whedon would do on a comedy series as a journeyman director. Last night's episode of The Office ("Business School") lived up to every one of my expectations, turning in a dazzling episode consisting of three separate storylines and delivering the show's trademark blend of laughs and tears, sometimes at the same time. Kudos to writer Brent Forrester (who also wrote "The Merger" episode earlier this season) and to Whedon for crafting an episode that stands out as epitomizing the strengths of the series while also being its own memo