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Showing posts from July, 2008

"The Worst Review is No Review": Inspiration and Lack Thereof on "Project Runway"

Is it too soon to want to shake some of these designers already? I'm talking about this season of Project Runway on Bravo (the very last season of Project Runway on Bravo, to be specific); unlike previous years, I am distinctly getting the feeling that some of these "eccentric" designers were definitely cast for their quirkiness (speaking in the third person, adding "licious" to every word, being obsessed with leather) more so than their design abilities. Sure, Suede's dress last week was absolutely amazing but if he doesn't stop referring to himself in the third person, I am going to start to root for him to be auf 'd right away. (Yes, it bothers me that much.) And the less said about Blayne the better, in my book. On this week's episode of Project Runway ("Bright Lights/Big City"), the designers were tricked--rather easily, I might add (don't these contestants watch the series?)--into thinking that they were off for a night on

Holy Guacamole: Chris and Jeff Reach an Impasse on "Flipping Out"

I can't believe Chris Keslar left. After all the complaining and half-sobbing and trying to get Ryan to notice his skills, I had figured that Chris was at least sticking around to the season finale of Flipping Out this season. But, alas. The one-time house assistant for Jeff Lewis lasted a measly three months before quitting after an incident involving forgotten guacamole. This week's episode of Flipping Out ("Tapped Out") showed Jeff in a pretty precarious position, as he's forced once again to contend with client-from-hell Courtney, deal with the loss of yet another employee (seriously, he's lost Steven Bowman, Chris Elwood, and Chris Keslar in just the span of a few months), attempts to sell Commonwealth in order to raise some cash, and loses his battle to control his anger after Jenni makes a pretty big mistake that could potentially cost him $30,000 (though one, it should be noted, that is quickly corrected). One has the sense from watching this week th

Casting Couch: Lucas Finds "Possible Side Effects," Mol Explores "Life on Mars"

The invasion of this year's crop of feature actors into television roles continues apace. Josh Lucas ( Poseidon ) has signed on to star as the lead in Tim Robbins' Showtime drama pilot Possible Side Effects , about the employees of family-run pharmaceutical company. Robbins will write, direct, and executive produce the pilot, which is set to start shooting this autumn in New York City. The casting marks Lucas' first television role in nearly a decade; he last appeared on TV sets in 1999 as Lieutenant Macy in three episodes of the short-lived mystery series Cracker , opposite Robert Pastorelli... and one of his first roles was as a guest star on an episode of that fabled TV gem of yesteryear, Parker Lewis Can't Lose . *** In other casting news, ABC's adaptation of UK series Life on Mars has added another actor to the mix, following the groundbreaking casting of Harvey Keitel last week as Gene Hunt. According to TV Guide , Gretchen Mol ( The Memory Keeper's Daugh

Meditations in an Emergency: "Mad Men" Returns with a Bang

While I may have fallen asleep on the couch the other night before the start of Mad Men 's sophomore season premiere ("For Those Who Think Young"), the wait to catch up with the men and women of Sterling Cooper was definitely worth it. While about fourteen months have passed since the end of Season One, life as we know it (for the most part) has remained unchanged since we last saw Sterling Cooper... on the surface anyway. And that's what makes this gorgeous series pop: that the action, the dreams, the foibles, and the triumphs of its characters remain locked within the smaller moments, rather than the grandiose. Don Draper ducks out of a lunchtime meeting for an insurance physical... and ends up having lunch by himself in a dive bar (he later picks up a copy of Frank O'Hara's "Meditations in an Emergency" that another diner at the bar was reading). Peggy Olsen lords her newfound "power" over Don's new assistant. Joan coolly tells Roger

Traffic Jams, Panel Overload, and Long Lines: Comic-Con 2008 Wrap-Up

First of all, true confession time: I was so exhausted from the last few days at Comic-Con that I drifted off to sleep on the couch last night before the start of Mad Men 's second season opener, so we'll sadly have to wait until tomorrow to talk about that. (Trust me, I was bummed when I woke up with a crick in my neck and realized that I could barely keep my eyelids open enough to catch up with the gang at Sterling-Cooper.) Comic-Con 2008 was certainly a convention to remember. One fellow press attendee remarked to me that it was a year in which everyone seemed to be unhappy. I can certainly understand the frustration, from the six and a half hour car ride down from Los Angeles on Thursday (thanks to that overturned Vons semi that flipped over, spilled food all over the I-5, and caught on fire) that tested my patience and sanity (though did allow me to send some emails while I remained motionless for several hours), to the technical glitch at the Fringe press room that all b

Children of Time: The Doctor's Secret Army Fights to Save the Stolen Earth

I cannot tell you how much this week's brilliant episode of Doctor Who ("The Stolen Earth") filled me with dread, not to mention an inexplicable sadness, both for the characters themselves and for the end of Russell T. Davies' phenomenal, groundbreaking run on the series. While we've followed these characters into battle before, never has it been with the scope of "The Stolen Earth," as though we are watching the calm before the storm, the space between seconds before the gods clash. The first half of the two-part season finale, written by Davies, found the Doctor's many companions--from Sarah Jane Smith and adopted son Luke to Captain Jack and the Torchwood gang, Rose Tyler, and Martha Jones--fighting off a swarm of Dalek invaders... after the Earth had been shifted into the Medusa Cascade, with no sign of the Doctor anywhere. The finale's premise is the fulfillment of a prophecy made by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton), wh

Stardust: The Cast and Crew of "Battlestar Galactica" Talk Beginnings and Endings

If there's one constant about Comic-Con from year to year, it's that the panel for Battlestar Galactica is always a huge draw. This year was no different, though I did enjoy last year's "Women of Battlestar " panel a hell of a lot more, though this year's panel--moderated by potty-mouthed Kevin Smith, at least afforded a sizable number of laughs. Much of the panel was devoted to the cast, including Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, Michael Trucco, and James Callis, remembering their favorite moments over the past few seasons as creators Ronald D. Moore and David Eick teased the audience with a few morsels about what's to come in the final ten episodes of Battlestar Galactica , slated to air early next year. Of course, there almost wasn't going to be a final ten episodes. Production on the second half of BSG 's final season was interrupted last winter by the writers strike, which shut down production and left the cast wondering whether

"Fringe" Elements: JJ Abrams, Cast, and Crew Talk About the New FOX Drama

One of the most hotly anticipated new series this fall is FOX’s Fringe , from the very fertile minds of Lost co-creator JJ Abrams and Transformers & Star Trek writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Those lucky enough to attend the screening of the feature-length pilot on Wednesday night got a first-hand look at the jaw-dropping first episode of Fringe , which stars Joshua Jackson ( Dawson’s Creek ), Aussie actress Anna Torv, and John Noble ( Lord of the Rings ), who gathered with producers Bryan Burk and Jeff Pinker to talk about all things Fringe . (You can read my advance review of the Fringe pilot from May here .) Abrams admitted that there are “no rules” to the world of Fringe , comparing it to the series Smallville , which—unlike Fringe —was developed with some very specific rules in mind concerning its superheroic lead (“no flights, no tights”). Here the only rule is to expect the unexpected. The idea behind corporate goliath Massive Dynamics, which plays a large role i

Comic-Con Gets "Lost" with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

As always, the Lost panel at Comic-Con does not disappoint and this year's panel was no exception to that rule. Presented by the indefatigable duo that is Team Darlton (Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse), this year's must-attend event was a mammoth beast of a presentation, taking place inside the 6,500-seat Hall H. And I don't need to say that the room was filled to the rafters with Lost fanatics, who were treated to a look at the upcoming DVD of Season Four, which contains a documentary about a conspiracy surrounding the Oceanic Six, a linear look at the flashforwards, and a hilarious explanation by Lindelof and Cuse about the flashforwards, via their very own flashforwards... which featured an eye patch-clad Lindelof and Cuse sporting an Obama: Four More Years t-shirt. (Oh, and a special "surprise" appearance by a soul patch-sporting Matthew Fox.) The Lost panel this year was sponsored by the Dharma Initiative itself which, apart from the branded oversized soda

Entertainment Weekly Visionaries: "Lost," "Chuck," "Pushing Daisies," and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" Showrunners Speak

It was absolutely remarkable to see Chuck 's Josh Schwartz, Lost 's Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Pushing Daisies ' Bryan Fuller, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles ' Josh Friedman together on one panel. I thought the stage might collapse under the weight of their collective genius. The panel, part of Entertainment Weekly 's Visionaries series, was moderated by the magazine's in-house Lost guru Jeff Jensen, who did an absolutely brilliant job of asking insightful, intelligent questions and keeping the action moving. I go to a lot of these industry panels and typically the moderators are loathsomely awful, so it was a refreshing change of pace to have Jensen take the reins on this discussion and steer it in the right direction. This being a panel consisting of showrunners on some of my favorite series on the air today, I was glad to see that Jensen didn't let them off the hook with questions designed to help promote their respective series. Inste

Damn It, Jack: "24" Teases What's to Come for Day Seven, "Exile"

It seems like it's been about five years since we last caught up with 24 's Jack Bauer. When last we saw him, he was staring off into the distance at the very edge of a cliff... and has remained doing so since last winter's writers strike delayed the start of 24 's Day Seven by a year. However, fans of 24 will get a glimpse into the life of Jack Bauer this fall when FOX airs the two-hour 24 prequel telefilm, 24: Exile , which follows Jack in Africa as he takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines issue of child soldiers. Fans at the 24 panel at Comic-Con were treated not only to 24: Exile 's trailer--which features lots of familiar faces including Kiefer Sutherland, Peter MacNicol, and Powers Boothe, but also first female president Cherry Jones, Jon Voight, Robert Carlisle, and Gil Bellows--but also to a look at a full scene from the prequel movie, in which Jack shepherds a group of African children to the US embassy but finds himself caught in a full-blown gunfight

Prison Breakdown: Sara Lives!

Sara lives! Lucky attendees of the Prison Break panel at Comic-Con were treated to two very exciting sights, even though series lead Wentworth Miller was a no-show. The first was a look at the first act of Prison Break 's fourth season, launching this fall, and the second was seeing Sarah Wayne Callies herself, last seen on the series tied to a chair as the captive of the sadistic Gretchen... before her head was mailed to Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell). What a difference a year makes. Last year, Callies was on her way out of Prison Break , killed off-screen, but now she's making her triumphant return to the series in a story arc that will give the actress an extremely meaty, emotionally complex role to sink her teeth into. As for the story behind Sara's, er, resurrection, we learn in the opening act of Prison Break 's first episode this fall that Gretchen didn't actually kill Michael's love Sara, who managed to escape Gretchen's clutches. With no leverag

The Creators of "Spaced" Talk Future, "Doctor Who" Connections

If you're a fan of the geektastic UK series Spaced , then this was a holy week for you, between the release of the Region 1 DVD (finally!), events around the country, and the trinity itself--creators Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson), and Edgar Wright--appearing at Comic-Con. After a kick-ass clip package that tied into today's Star Wars -themed day at the convention (which featured many of the series' trademark sci-fi/action/pop culture homages and allusions), the trio appeared to rapturous applause and dove right into a discussion about the US release of Spaced on DVD. While there wasn't a lot of new information given away at this Spaced panel, part of BBC America's big push at the convention, it was bloody fantastic to see Pegg, Hynes, and Wright on stage together. This being a Spaced event, it was only a matter of time before the dreaded question--about a third season--reared its head. Pegg, speaking frankly about the future of Spaced , said simply, &

Doctor On Call: Steven Moffat Talks "Doctor Who"

Comic-Con kicked off with a bang this year, courtesy of a little British Invasion in the form of panels for UK series Doctor Who and Torchwood . Just don't ask writer/producer Steven Moffat if he enjoyed traveling over for the annual geek fest. The Coupling and Jekyll creator was apparently detained and questioned for about twenty minutes when he arrived in the States. Ouch. Moffat and producer Julie Gardner took to the stage during the first ever Doctor Who event at Comic-Con, though sadly executive producer Russell T. Davies was a no-show as he never actually boarded his flight; Davies is in Cardiff working on Torchwood . While Moffat--the inbound head writer of some of my very personal favorite Doctor Who episodes including "Blink," "The Empty Child," "Girl in the Fireplace," and "Silence in the Library"--was exceptionally discrete about revealing future plot points ("I’m not telling you" seemed to be a recurring answer), we

"Torchwood"'s Captain Jack to Play Captain America?

Will Captain Jack Harkness hang up his trademark trench coat and suspenders for a certain star-spangled shield? The rumor mills are all abuzz that Torchwood 's leading man John Barrowman seems to be in the running to play iconic comic book hero Captain America in an upcoming Hollywood feature film scheduled to be released in 2011. At the Torchwood panel at Comic-Con, Barrowman--between bursting into song with Torchwood co-star Naoko Mori (poor, departed Tosh!) for a duet of "Sun and Moon" from Miss Saigon (the two starred in a stage production of the musical a LONG time ago) and offering some sexual innuendo-laced dialogue about his, er, "boys" and the physical dimensions of one of cast mate Gareth David-Lloyd's body parts--teased the audience about the possibility that he might be up for the role of Steve Rogers when questioned by a fan if he would be up for "rocking the blonde hair" of Marvel superhero Captain America. "I would love to pl