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Showing posts from January, 2008

"Lost" and Found: An Early Look at the Fouth Season

I've gotten a lot of emails from readers over the last few days as near-hysteria approaches with the imminent launch of Lost 's fourth season tonight on ABC. The answer: yes, I've seen the first episode (the first two, in fact). Sadly, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the spoiler-ific plot points that I so dearly would love to spill you, my readers. ABC has been very specific about what journos can and cannot reveal about these opening installments, the first two of potentially only eight episodes this season. Lost has always been a series that marched to the beat of a different drummer, a percussionist who smashed together disparate genres into an addictive network hit. The fourth season opener, "The Beginning of the End," and its second episode "Confirmed Dead," are absolutely brilliant additions to the Lost canon. In their own way, they kickstart the series and take it into unexpected and mind-blowing new directions via the use of the flash-for

Jumpin' Jack Flash (Forward): Getting "Lost" with Matthew Fox

Throughout the first three seasons of Lost , our main entry to the unfolding story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 has been through the eyes of determined surgeon Jack Shephard. So it was more than a little surprising at the end of last season to find the doggedly optimistic leader of the castaways had become a pill-popping alcoholic about to throw himself off a bridge. I sat down with Matthew Fox to talk about what to expect in Season Four, that mind-blowing twist ending to Season Three, and how he prepared for the suicidal Jack we found at the end of last season. Q: What was your reaction when you read the amazing twist ending at the end of Season Three? Fox: Well, I knew about that quite a way before I actually read it, because of the twist and the future flash. Damon tipped me off to what he was planning to do quite a way before that actually. Which was tough, because I loved it… I remember the phone call with him where he told me what he had in mind and I was very blown aw

The Adventures of Not Quite Tom Sawyer: Getting "Lost" with Josh Holloway

Wrapping up my week-long series of chats with the cast of Lost , we come now to Josh Holloway, whose character James "Sawyer" Ford (for those of you living under a Black Rock) has proven one of the series' most popular and conflicted: torn between his need for revenge and his attempt to move beyond it and embroiled in a love triangle with Kate Austen firmly in the center. I sat down with Holloway to talk about Tom's murder in Season Three, what to expect in Season Four, and what Sawyer would drink. Q: Josh, what the hell was with the twist ending at the end of Season Three. Were you surprised when you read the script for that? Holloway: I was like, “Really?! I love it, but where are we gonna go from there?” That was my question, but I really felt like for a season finale it was one of the best – as an audience – one of the best written and well executed season finales I’ve seen in a while, so I was really proud to be a part of that. I finally got to see it three week

"Fringe" Finds Leading Lady, More Supporting Cast

Meet J.J. Abrams' latest discovery from the Land Down Under (aka the home of fellow Aussie discovery Yvonne Strahovski): Anna Torv . Torv has been cast in FOX's two-hour drama pilot Fringe as Olivia Warren, a tough, determined FBI agent who is assigned to work with Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), a brilliant research scientist--who just might be insane--and his estranged son (still to be cast) in order to investigate a series of bizarre global phenomena. Torv has appeared in such Australian television series as The Secret Life of Us and Young Lions and BBC series Mistresses and ITV telepic Frankenstein . She also provided the voice of Nariko in the videogame "Heavenly Sword." Also cast in the $10 million pilot, to be directed by Journeyman 's Alex Graves , are Blair Brown ( The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd ) and Jasika Nicole ( Mastersons of Manhattan ). Brown will play the icy and possibly malevolent Nina Cord, a veteran employee at the ominous-sounding Pro

The Sun Also Rises: Getting "Lost" With Yunjin Kim

While Lost boasts an impressive cast against which most series are measured, there are a few characters who seem to universally catch on among fans. One such character is Sun-Hwa Kwon, played by Korean actress Yunjin Kim. I sat down with Kim to talk about Lost 's success in the international marketplace, what to expect for her character in Season Four, and Sun's, er, unexpected herb-growing abilities. Q: Why do you think Lost has become such an international phenomenon? Do you think that that’s in part due to the diversity of the characters? Kim: Oh, I think diversity of the characters definitely has a lot to do with that. But I think Lost deals with a lot of universal issues. We’re talking about being deserted on an island and creating a new type of society with such a [diverse group of] people and what we deal with every day are universal questions like, “Why am I here?” “Who am I?” “Can I let go of my past and move forward?” And, I think, for some reason that catches a lo

Set Your Tivo: "Jamie at Home" and "Nigella Express"

There are few things more joyous in this time of wet and cold in Los Angeles than to curl up on the couch on Sunday mornings, a steaming cup of tea in one hand, my TiVo remote in the other, and catch up with Jamie and Nigella. I'm speaking of course about British authors Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, both as well known for their remarkably cozy cookery series as they are for their amazing and sinfully delicious cookbooks. Both are culinary heroes of mine and my dining room is filled with their books as, typically, my kitchen is overflowing with their delicious (and sometimes quite naughty) recipes. Thanks to Food Network, both are currently running new series at the moment: Oliver has Jamie at Home , a back-to-basics series about growing your own veg and preparing it at home, and Lawson has returned with Nigella Express , a series tied around making fantastic food quickly in an "express" style all her own. When he's not traveling around Italy in a refitted 1969 cam

Romeo and Juliet: Getting "Lost" with Elizabeth Mitchell

While I adore many of Lost 's diverse bunch of island-locked castaways, there will always be a special place in my heart for Elizabeth Mitchell's beautiful and brainy Juliet, who's showed herself to be just as at ease running a book club as she is kicking some butt and taking names. I sat down with the statuesque Mitchell, looking positively radiant as she towered above me, to talk about the series upcoming fourth season, why Juliet's favorite color would have to be grey, and, oh, that kiss between her and Matthew Fox's Jack. Q: Do you feel that Juliet has become a part of the castaway family or is she still a bit of an outsider? Does that change as we move into Season Four? Mitchell: Juliet’s definitely still an outsider, as far as that goes. However, I think she is more protective of them than they realize, which I think we know as an audience in the way that she’s behaved. But, I think it’s going to take a lot for them to welcome her whole-heartedly. I mean, a l

Less Than a Thousand Words About "Ugly Betty"

I finally got around to watching last week's episode of Ugly Betty ("A Thousand Words By Friday") after a busy weekend... and a Thursday night that was filled to the brim with new episodes of Chuck . While it wasn't the greatest episode to date, it was remarkable for one thing: that simply awe-inspiring ode to parental want from Amanda, whose every scene remains one of the series' most enduring high points. Was anyone else just blown away by her singing chops and her hysterical KISS-inspired tongue-wagging while she sang a song in an effort to reach out to her biological father, Gene Simmons? Lucky for her, Gene googles himself every day so caught wind of Amanda's gig at the Beer Hole. Like father, like daughter, I suppose. This week's episode was sadly light on Marc-'n-Amanda goodness (with the exception of the hysterical scene where they attempt to write a song to the beat of a Casio keyboard), but did offer up some amusement in the form of a number

Reality Roundup: More "Survivor" for CBS; "Amazing Race" Staffing

In a move that surprised no one, CBS has gone ahead and renewed reality powerhouse Survivor for the 2008-09 season. Additionally, Jeff Probst has also signed a new deal to continue on as the unflappable host of the series, which will return next season with its 17th and 18th installments. "I still get excited to get on the plane and travel to another exotic location with another group of adventure-seeking, type-A personalities," Probst told The Hollywood Reporter . "It is without question the best job I've ever had." Survivor 's current installment launches February 7th while casting is already underway on the 17th season. * * * Meanwhile, fans of The Amazing Race will be happy to know that the sophisticated and decidedly unsnarky elder statesman of the reality genre will be returning with another season of Road Blocks, intra-team fighting, and Phil Keoghan. While there has still been no official announcement from CBS, The Ama

Papa Mars to Return to Small Screen in "Flashpoint"

Is Keith Mars returning to television... as a cop, no less? CBS Paramount will team up with Canada's CTV to co-produce at least 13 episodes of police drama Flashpoint , which revolves around cops in a Strategic Response Unit (SRU) who deal with bomb threats, hostage situations, and gang warfare. Series, which is expected to hit the airwaves sometime in May or June (once the current 2007-08 season has wrapped up), will use scripts from Canadian writers and air at the same time on CBS and CTV. The series, created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern, will star Enrico Colantoni ( Veronica Mars ' Keith Mars), Hugh Dillion ( Degrassi: The Next Generation ), and David Paetkau ( LAX ). Hell, if they throw in adorable Canuck actresses Caroline Dhavernas or Jewel Staite, I might just have to check out this summer series. In the meantime, the pilot for Flashpoint has already been shot by CTV and was shopped to CBS, who joined the project once they viewed the completed pilot episode.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Linus: Getting "Lost" with Michael Emerson

I'll be blunt: Benjamin Linus scares the living bejesus out of me. So I was a little terrified (to put it mildly) to be in the same room with Michael Emerson, who plays the villainous (or is he?) Ben on ABC's Lost . But I am glad I put my irrational fear of Ben out of my mind as the soft-spoken Emerson was the very opposite of the character he plays on Lost : articulate, charming, and disarming... which just might be what makes Ben so dangerous. I sat down with Emerson to talk about what we could expect for Lost 's fourth season (kicking off on ABC this Thursday) and the ruthless leader of the Others. Q: In the last part of Season Three, we learned a great deal about Ben’s backstory. Do you view him as a hero or a villain? And going into Season Four, does your perception of him change? Emerson: Well, I’ve always had a notion that there was something heroic about him, that there was more to him than met the eye. That notion has been challenged somewhat by the sort of wickedn

PaleyWatch: Details About the 2008 Lineup Emerge

The PR machine is in overdrive for the 2008 William S. Paley Television Festival, the fest's 25th anniversary installment, which moves its location this year from its cramped quarters at the DGA to the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight. (Wahoo!) While the festival's organizers are being pretty coy about the full lineup and schedule this year, what with teasing us about a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion , they have quietly nailed down some dates for some of the panels: March 14th: Elvis '68 Comeback Special (Opening Night Selection) March 15th: Pushing Daisies March 17th: The Comedy World of Judd Apatow & Friends March 18th: Chuck March 20th: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion March 21st: Dancing with the Stars March 25th: Dirty Sexy Money March 27th: Mad Men (Closing Night Selection) The full lineup and schedule, including the date for the previously announced panel for Gossip Girl, is slated to be revealed on February 4th. Individual tickets for members of the Paley Cen

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for Jan 25-27

Televisionary is proud to be a member of the TV Blog Coalition. At the end of each week, we'll feature a roundup of content from our sister sites for your delectation. This week, I was all about British TV, from an advance look at Torchwood 's second season opener to the awe-inspiring series finale of Life on Mars . But, lest you think I abandoned US television, think again: I was enraptured by what could be the final two episodes of Chuck this season , gleeful about denim disasters on Project Runway , and pleased as punch with the winners of The Amazing Race 12 . Also, casting updates for $10 million FOX drama pilot Fringe from J.J. Abrams and NBC comedy pilot Kath & Kim . But the biggest news of all: the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion at the Paley Festival. I am so there! Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... Buzz shared tons of stories from the Freaks and Geek

NBC's "Chuck" Sandwich is Tasty

I'm a little sad today, given the fact that it's absolutely tipping outside and I no longer have any new episodes of NBC's action-comedy Chuck to look forward to this season. Though I do have to say that I was amused by NBC's optimism, what with their "look for new episodes of Chuck soon on NBC!" promo. The way that things look now, last night's episodes may very well be the series' unintended season finale. But for what it's worth, last night's double dose of Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover" and "Chuck Versus the Marlin") definitely fulfilled my burning need to catch up with the crew of the Buy More, with two fantastic episodes that, as promised to me by Adam Baldwin , revealed Casey's backstory (and a romance with Ivana Milicevic , no less!) and advanced the plot and the characters. Plus, there was plenty of Jeff and Lester, who have become two of my favorite dopey characters on television. (Their Mammary C

PaleyWatch: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Reunion

It pays to be a member... of the Paley Center, that is. As with most years since I moved out to Los Angeles (five years ago, for those keeping score), I'm planning on attending as many William S. Paley Television Festival events as I can (and as many as my wallet will allow). The festival's organizers--from the Paley Center for Media--have been particularly canny this year, teasing the audience with little glimpses into this year's lineup (March 14-27 at the Arclight, in the Cinerama Dome, no less), which so far includes panels for Pushing Daisies and Gossip Girl and a special evening with Judd Apatow. If that wasn't enough, they then made me drool with sweet, sweet anticipation with their latest tantalizing unveiling of the schedule, which features panels for Chuck , Dirty Sexy Money , Dancing with the Stars , and Mad Men . And, oh, a reunion of the cast from a little show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Yes, that's right, ladies and gents, the cast of the cult

Denim Convention: The Designers Wrangle Levi's on "Project Runway"

Is it just me or are you just flat out confused as to why tear-prone Ricky is still in this competition... and how he managed to walk away with the top spot on last night's episode of Project Runway ("Even Designers Get the Blues")? Grr. I had a feeling that last night's editing was setting up a win for the former lingerie designer. Call it "The One with the Waterworks," if you will. It must have been a record for Ricky, who broke into tears on three separate occasions last night during a challenge in which the designers were tasked with creating an iconic piece out of Levi's brand jeans. Was Ricky's lingerie-inspired dress good-looking? Yes, for a change; it was also well-constructed, which was also a bit of a departure for Ricky. But I thought the dress, essentially a ruffled piece of lingerie in denim, paled in comparison to Christian's iconic design, which reinterpreted the classic jean jacket and, well, jeans in a fashion-forward and unexpec

Casting Couch: FOX Lures More for "Fringe"

More casting announcements as pre-production on FOX's heavily anticipated 2-hour drama pilot Fringe continues to gain steam. (You can read my advance review of the Fringe script from October here.) While it was widely reported that Tomas Arana had joined the cast of the $10 million dollar project, new announcements from FOX and studio Warner Bros. Television have Lance Reddick ( The Wire ) coming aboard the pilot. Reddick will play Homeland Security agent Phillip Broyles, who heads up the Fringe division. (Is it any coincidence that Reddick--who will next appear on Season Four of Lost --will appear on Fringe , as it's executive produced by Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams?) Also cast in the pilot, to be directed by Alex Graves , is John Noble ( The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ), who will play Dr. Walter Bishop, the older member of estranged father/son duo at the heart of the story. Already cast: Mark Valley and Kirk Acevedo. Which still leaves the crucial roles of Pete

TNT Raises the "Bar"

Brenda Johnson and Grace Hanadarko just got a little company. Despite the ongoing writers strike currently putting a spanner in the works of television networks, TNT has gone ahead and ordered its first new series of the season. In an unexpected move, the cabler has granted a ten-episode order for Raising the Bar , a legal drama from writer/executive producers Steven Bochco and David Feige. Series, which stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar ( NYPD Blue ), Gloria Reuben ( ER ), Jane Kaczmarek ( Malcolm in the Middle ), Currie Graham ( Men in Trees ), Melissa Sagemiller ( Sleeper Cell ), and J. August Richards ( Angel ), revolves around a public defender who helps the helpless. It's scheduled to air later this year... I assume whenever the writers strike allows the series' staff to begin work. Looks like I'm going to have to take a look at the pilot script and fast. Stay tuned. What's On Tonight 8 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Chuck (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Sm

Over the Rainbow: The "Life on Mars" Series Finale

Oh. My. God. I don't even know where to begin after watching last night's final installment of Brit import Life on Mars , one of the most gripping, thrilling, and jaw-dropping series finales (or series, full stop) around. While I knew that the writers--Matthew Graham, along with Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah--wanted to tie things up in the strange, strange life of Detective Inspector Sam Tyler, I had no idea the lengths Sam would go to in order to return to 2006, who he would betray, and what mechanism by which he'd catapult himself out of his future coma-state. If the above sentence made any sense to you, you're obviously a Life on Mars fan. If not, you've missed out on a series, which over the course of sixteen episodes, redefined genre television, blending science fiction, cop drama, romance, metaphysical drama into one groovy package and populating it with a cast of characters that proved themselves misogynistic, racist, pigheaded... and yet having a sort of p

FOX, CW Cut Back on Scripts, NBC Universal to End Pilot Season?

It's clear that networks are scaling back this year on series development, with an announcement from CBS over the weekend that they would cut costs this year by junking about 20 pilot scripts in development. FOX quickly followed suit yesterday, pulling the plug on close to twenty pilot scripts from an array of studios, including 20th Century Fox Television. "In the current environment, we've been forced to take a hard look at our needs for the upcoming season, and as a result, we're going to target a more focused range of projects," said FOX in a statement. Just a few hours later, netlet the CW did the same, gutting about a dozen projects on both the drama and comedy sides. "Due to the ongoing work stoppage, the CW will be taking a more targeted approach to what is certain to be a truncated pilot season," said CW via a prepared statement. "As a result, we are releasing some scripts that had been in development in order to dedicate our creative ener