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Showing posts from November, 2009

Discussion: What Are Your Favorite Holiday Classics?

With Thanksgiving behind us (for the American readers, anyway) and the holiday season nearly upon us, I'm curious to know which holiday classics--either new or old--you and your family watch on a recurring basis this time of year. In the Televisionary household, there's always been a fondness for Elf , Charlie Brown Christmas (which is airing next Tuesday), Olive the Other Reindeer , and Muppet Christmas Carol , along with the Christmas-related episodes of BBC's Vicar of Dibley , an annual tradition, particularly "The Christmas Lunch Incident." (My wife is also a big fan of White Christmas as well and I'll admit an unwavering love for Richard Curtis' Love Actually .) But we also usually watch the entirety of BBC/PBS mini-series Bleak House as well. And the latter has nothing to do with any holiday, secular or otherwise. (Andrew Davies' gripping adaptation of Charles Dickens' novels just bloody good television and the perfect thing to watch on co

Los Angeles Times: "The Amazing Race: A Kafkaesque Evening in Prague"

Looking to discuss last night's episode of CBS' The Amazing Race ? Head over to the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site where you can read my take on this week's episode, entitled " The Amazing Race : A Kafkaesque Evening in Prague," about the penultimate leg of this season's race, which featured golems, absinthe, ringing telephones, sub-zero rooms, and beer, all while the contestants had to do their best to avoid drunken Prague tourists and soccer hooligans. Be sure to head to the comments section to weigh in.

Channel Surfing: USA Overhauls Its Schedule, Aunjanue Ellis Takes on "The Mentalist," "Big Love," BBC Confirms "Doctor Who" Dates, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. For those of you Stateside, hope that you're feeling rested (and hopefully recovering from a few days of gluttony) after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Major changes afoot at USA, according to The Futon Critic's Brian Ford Sullivan. Rather than follow the plans the cabler had outlined for January, USA has chosen to revise its entire schedule, moving its series White Collar, Burn Notice , and Psych onto separate evenings, come January. White Collar will return to the lineup on January 19th, where it will move into its new timeslot of Tuesday evenings at 10 pm ET/PT. Meanwhile, Psych will take over the Wednesday night slot beginning January 27th and Burn Notice will remain on Thursdays, returning with new episodes on January 21st. The move gives the cabler original series on three weeknights. Perhaps a ploy to lure viewers from broadcast sibling NBC to some scripted fare at 10 pm? ( Futon Critic ) Aunjanue Ellis ( The Tak

Hold Tight: HBO Unveils "Big Love" Season Four Promo

If you're at all like me, you've been counting down the days until Big Love returns with new episodes... in just a few weeks' time. Just in time for Thanksgiving, here's your chance to catch a first look at HBO's newly unveiled promo for Season Four of Big Love , a gorgeous teaser trailer that features the Henrickson clan in a state of freefall. (Hmmm, a sign of things to come, perhaps?) And if you're wondering about the haunting song used in the video? It's "Untitled" by Interpol." Let the countdown begin... A more than worthy successor to last season's evocative trailer featuring The Black Keys' "Lies," no? Season Four of Big Love begins January 10th on HBO.

The Daily Beast: "DVD Rentals for Thanksgiving Cranks"

Hate your houseguests? Over at The Daily Beast, I offer my suggestions for TV-on-DVD viewing during to alleviate stress during the Thanksgiving holiday in a piece entitled "DVD Rentals for Thanksgiving Cranks." Organizing the weekend into specific time-based sections, I offer some TV-on-DVD suggestions to entertain and divert everyone's attention from squabbling relatives and burnt Brussels sprouts. Of course, you needn't hate your houseguests this holiday season to enjoy the bounty of TV collections on DVD, either...

Los Angeles Times: "V: The Way of the Gun"

Looking to discuss last night's fall finale of ABC's V ("It's Only the Beginning"), written by Cameron Litvack and Angela Russo-Otstot? Head over to the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site where you can read my write-up of last night's episode of V (entitled " V : The way of the gun") and weigh in on the twists from last night's episode. Did the four episodes live up to your expectations? Will you be tuning in when the series returns with its back nine episodes? Be sure to head to the comments section to discuss the latest installment and what you think will happen when V returns from his hiatus in the spring. V returns to the ABC schedule in March 2010.

Channel Surfing: "Fringe" to Go on Hiatus in February, FOX Announces Midseason Schedule, "Lie to Me" Gets Full Season, "Burn Notice" Renewed, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Just a few headlines to get through today as the Hollywood PR machine begins its annual shutdown for Thanksgiving. Futon Critic yesterday broke the story that Fringe will go on a seven-week hiatus beginning February 11th in order to accommodate the seven-week run of reincarnation drama Past Life . Fringe will return for the remainder of its run on April 1st and will air all-new episodes for the rest of the season. Sadly, FOX has opted to keep Fringe in its Thursday night berth rather than move it out of the line of fire. ( Futon Critic ) FOX announced its full midseason schedule yesterday afternoon, which included news that Glee will be returning with new episodes in April after wrapping up its initial thirteen-episode commitment in December. ( Televisionary ) In other FOX-related news, the network has given sophomore drama series Lie to Me a full season order, bringing the episodic total this season to 22 installments. News co

Reincarnation Sleuths, Child Geniuses, and Show Choristers: FOX Announces Midseason Schedule

FOX today announced their midseason plans for 2009-2010, unveiling a lineup that includes giving reincarnation drama Past Life the post- Bones slot on Thursday evenings (current occupant Fringe will be going on a prolonged hiatus for seven weeks), bringing Kitchen Nightmares back (on Friday nights this time around) and giving the post- American Idol slot to new reality series Our Little Genius . MONDAYS: The network announced that it had given a full season pickup to drama series Lie to Me , though the Shawn Ryan-produced series will take a breather on Mondays, which will be taken over by House and 24 come January. There's no return date yet for Lie to Me but the pickup ensures that the series will eventually return to the schedule at some point during the season. TUESDAYS: Which brings us to Glee . We all knew that the musical comedy would go on hiatus after its initial thirteen-episode commitment and that there would need to be some time for scripting and production and

The Daily Beast:"Mad Men Postmortem, Part Two"

Looking for more Mad Men goodness? I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Mad Men creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner about the third season finale of the AMC period drama. (Which hopefully you read here .) Now, two weeks after the season finale aired, you can get a look at some never-before-seen details from that interview, which includes some rather illuminating information about the third season.. Head over to The Daily Beast, where you can read my piece "Mad Men Postmortem, Part Two," as Weiner discusses the theme of change in Mad Men ’s third season, his narrative use of the Kennedy assassination, the decision made by Betty to leave her husband, Don (Jon Hamm), Greg enlisting in the army, that bloodthirsty John Deere, and much more. Let me know what you think and head over to the comments section to discuss.

Los Angeles Times: 'V': Previewing tonight's fall finale

ABC's sci-fi series V wraps up the first part of its first season run tonight at 8 pm ET/PT before it returns with new episodes in March. I had the chance to watch tonight's episode over the weekend and absolutely loved it. You can head over to the Los Angeles Times/Show Tracker site to read my advance review of the fourth episode of V , which I am referring to as the series' fall finale. Be sure to head over to the comments section (or leave a thought here) about what you think tonight's episode will hold for the Visitors and the humans... and tune in tonight for quite a few surprising twists. V airs tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC.

TV on DVD: "Life on Mars: Series 2"

Time to go down the yellow brick road again. Yes, Stateside Life on Mars fans, that day has finally arrived as Acorn Media today releases the complete second season of the original UK drama series Life on Mars on DVD. Forget about the lackluster (and mercifully short-lived) American version and travel back to the 1970s with the original UK Life on Mars , which has only deepened and grown more mysterious and provocative after its abrupt conclusion in 2007. Not up to speed on the franchise? Created by Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan, and Ashley Pharoah, Life on Mars is an alternately trippy and gritty crime drama series that follows the adventures of Detective Inspector Sam Tyler (John Simm), a grimly determined investigator in present-day Manchester who is seemingly thrown backwards in time. While in pursuit of the serial killer that abducted his girlfriend, Sam is struck by a car and finds himself mysteriously in 1973 Manchester, where he comes face to face with a personal mystery from

Channel Surfing: USA Renews "Psych," ABC Halts Production on "FlashForward," Drea de Matteo Not Fired from "Housewives," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. USA has renewed dramedy Psych for a fifth season, set air in summer 2010. The series, which is set to become USA's longest running original drama series in production, will air the second half of its fourth season beginning in January. ( Variety ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that ABC has temporarily halted production on drama series FlashForward , which again hit a new series low last week and has seen some behind-the-scenes drama with the departure of showrunner Marc Guggenheim. The production shutdown will last six days. "They started production early so that they could have the luxury to do this," an ABC spokesperson tells Ausiello. "They want to maintain the high quality of the show, and this gives the writers the opportunity to do so." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) No truth to rumors that Drea de Matteo is going to be written out of ABC's Desperate House

Sunday Night Television: The Season Finale of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Latest Episode of "The Amazing Race"

Looking to discuss last night's season finale of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and the latest episode of CBS' The Amazing Race ? Head over to the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site where you can read my takes on both episodes, including last night's Seinfeld -centric season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the latest installment of CBS' The Amazing Race , which featured some whiny behavior, dirty gamesmanship, and a laughing opera singer . Be sure to head to the comments section to weigh in on both episodes.

The End is Near: BBC America Announces Air Date for "Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part One"

Good news for Stateside Doctor Who fans. BBC America has announced that David Tennant's final two Doctor Who specials, Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part One and Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part Two , will premiere during the holiday season, with the first set to air on BBC America on December 26th at 9 pm ET/PT. Yes, you read that correctly: it's just a day after the UK broadcast. Meanwhile, BBC America said that an announcement on an airdate for the final David Tennant special, Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part Two will be issued "very soon." [ Update: Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part Two is set to air during the Christmas holiday season in the UK, although not necessarily on New Year's Eve itself.] Meanwhile, the third-to-last Tennant special ( Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars ) will air on BBC America on December 19th, making it possible that the digital cabler will air all three Doctor Who specials within a two week period. (Fingers crossed, anyway.) Th

Channel Surfing: Taylor Kitsch May Miss "Friday Night Lights," Oprah's Harpo Films Lands HBO Pilot, Production Shut Down on "Cougar Town," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Bad news for Tim Riggins fans. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Friday Night Lights executive producer Jason Katims has confirmed that Taylor Kitsch will "will miss part" of the production of Season Five of Friday Night Lights , due to his role in Disney's feature film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's "John Carter of Mars." But there's still hope that they can work around Kitsch's schedule. "We are communicating with the [John Carter] production to work out the schedule so that Taylor can be in as much of season 5 as possible," said Katims. Production begins on the fifth season in March. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) HBO has given a pilot order to Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films for an untitled drama about a woman who walks out on her perfect marriage and children in order to fulfill her secret fantasies in the seedy underbelly of Los Angel

Calendar Man: Observations on Last Night's Phenomenal Episode of "Fringe"

Oh, Fringe , I've missed you. Last night's episode of Fringe ("August"), written by J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner and directed by Brad Anderson, was to me the absolute ideal installment of the sci-fi procedural series. Despite being a close-ended plot about the disappearance of a young woman, it provided answers to some of Fringe 's most enduring mysteries so far and broadened out the mythology of the series and the character's inner lives to boot. Plus, the series was firing on all cylinders, using each of its characters to their best effect: placing Olivia and Peter in the field in pursuit of the suspect, Walter and Astrid in the lab, and Broyles in an advisory capacity (and good to see they realized he'd still be injured after last week's events; nice continuity!). So what did I think about the episode? Let's discuss. As I mentioned earlier, I was head over heels in love with this week's installment, which showed that the series, which had st

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Returns in February, "Chuck" Kicks off in January, NBC Orders more "Trauma," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. ABC yesterday announced the premiere date for the sixth and final season of Lost , which will return to the lineup on Tuesday, February 2nd with a two-hour premiere (preceded by a one-hour clip show) before setting into its new timeslot of Tuesdays at 9 pm ET/PT the following week. ( Televisionary ) Lest they be outdone, NBC yesterday announced the premiere date for Season Three of the much-missed action comedy Chuck , which will kick off its third season with a three-hour two-night event on Sunday, January 10th. The following night, Chuck moves into its regular timeslot of Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT. Sadly, Julia Ling's Anna won't be back for Season Three, a fact that Warner Bros. Television confirmed to me yesterday afternoon. ( Televisionary ) NBC has unexpected ordered three additional episodes of struggling freshman drama Trauma . After the holiday hiatus, that will leave the Peacock with six unaired episodes of Trauma . No a

Chuck Me, It's Real: Launch Date for Season Three of "Chuck" FINALLY Announced

You've been demanding it. Yes, true believers, Season Three of Chuck finally has a start date. NBC today announced that Chuck will return on Sunday, January 10th at 9 pm ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes (comprising an awesome two hour season premiere). But that's not all. Chuck will then be back the following night (January 11th) with a brand-new episode in its regular timeslot of Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT. (Whew. I was worried NBC would move Chuck to a new timeslot altogether.) Which means, a three-hour, two-night spectacular of Chuck goodness. Guest stars on tap for the third season of Chuck include Angie Harmon, Brandon Routh, Steve Austin, Kristin Kreuk, Armand Assante, Robert Patrick, and Vinnie Jones. "Josh (Schwartz) and Chris (Fedak) and the writing team are doing a great job this season, and we think the loyal fan base for this show will be happy to see it back on the NBC schedule," said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Unive

"Lost": The Final Season Begins...

The final season of Lost finally as a start date. ABC will launch the sixth (and sadly last) season of Lost on Tuesday, February 2nd at 9 pm ET/PT. in a two-hour season premiere following a one-hour clip show at 8 pm that will get viewers up to speed on the the last five seasons. Following the premiere, the series will move into its regular timeslot of Tuesdays at 9 pm ET/PT. Are you happy with the new timeslot? Glad that there will be something to watch on Tuesday nights at 9 pm in the winter? Talk back. The full press release from ABC, announcing the scheduling of Lost 's final season, can be found below. ABC ANNOUNCES THE PREMIERE OF THE SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON OF “LOST,” WITH A SPECIAL ALL-NIGHT EVENT ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2 ABC announces the premiere of the sixth and final season of “Lost,” with a special all-night event on Tuesday, February 2. A recap special will kick off the night from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET, followed by the much anticipated two-hour premiere from 9:00-11:00 p.

Gold Medals: Culinary Olympics Put the Chefs to the Ultimate Test on "Top Chef"

"Welcome back." No truer words were ever spoken than on this week's episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas ("Culinary Olympics") in which the five remaining chefs faced their toughest challenge--a scaled down mini-version of the famed Bocuse d'Or--before getting cut down to the four chefs who would travel from Las Vegas to Napa for the season finale. To say that anything was possible is a gross understatement. It literally came down to the wire as the judges decided which of the five was the most relatively weak. To make it this far is no small feat in and of itself, especially given the caliber of chefs this season (overall, anyway) and it was clear that the judges had quite a lot of affection for each of the remaining competitors. Likewise, this week's installment was also a reminder of just how innately talented each of the remaining chefs is. I can't think of another season where all five remaining chefs were at the same level of skill as they are here.