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Showing posts from February, 2010

Paley Festival: Team Darlton Speak About Final Season of "Lost," Water, Returning Characters, and More

With only 13 episodes of Lost remaining before the series wraps up its iconic run, the series' cast and crew united on stage to talk about the final segments of the ABC drama series, offer a few hints about what's coming up for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 (and their alternate reality counterparts), and celebrate Lost potentially one last time before the final credits roll. Appearing at the Saban Theatre as part of the 2010 Paley Festival, executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, cast members Nestor Carbonell, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, and Zuleikha Robinson, writer/producers Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Elizabeth Sarnoff, and director/executive producer Jack Bender gathered on stage with moderator Paul Scheer to answer some questions, deflect some others, and offer a taste of what lies ahead in these next batch of episodes. I had the opportunity last night to attend the Paley Festival's Lost panel, thanks to a very generous reade

Paley Festival: "Modern Family" Cast and Crew Faces Fears, Offers Laughs

I've been raving about Modern Family since I first saw the pilot episode last May, but there's something to be said about watching a truly great comedy with a crowd. Especially when that crowd is 1,600 in number. Friday night's Modern Family panel, part of the 2010 Paley Festival and the annual television festival's opening event, offered one hell of an evening, due to the genial charms of the ABC comedy series' cast, co-creator Steve Levitan, and director Jason Winer. Throw in the advance screening of an upcoming episode, this Wednesday's "Fears," (perhaps one of the most hysterical and amazing installments of the series to date) and even Clive Bixby would be proud of this evening. Joining moderator Billy Bush on stage were cast members Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, and Julie Bowen, as well as director Jason Winer and co-creator Steve Levitan. (Sadly, no Christopher Lloyd--who pled a fear of crowd

Slow March to War: An Advance Review of PBS' "The 39 Steps" on "Masterpiece Classic"

Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 thriller The 39 Steps took the action of John Buchan's World War I espionage novel and transported it forward in time to the 1930s, where the world was on the brink of yet another global war. As with Buchan's novel, Hitchcock's 39 Steps traced the steps taken by reluctant hero and former spy Richard Hannay as he receives a coded message from a spy who dies in his London apartment and who then finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous conspiracy that puts his life and that of everyone he comes in contact with in jeopardy. The film, while a gripping masterpiece of intrigue and suspense, took several liberties with the underlying material and a new version of The 39 Steps --starring Spooks ' Rupert Penry-Jones--goes back to the source material to craft a new adaptation that is much more in line with Buchan's original novel than Hitchcock's film. Penry-Jones plays Hannay with the pitch-perfect combination of world-weariness and glinting adr

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Star O'Quinn Shops Hitman Series, "Caprica" Cylon and Enforcer Speak, "Doctor Who," Farina and Oritz Find "Luck," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. This is a series I want to watch: Locke and Ben as cutthroat buddies. Well, sort of, anyway. TV Guide Magazine 's Will Keck is reporting that Lost 's Terry O'Quinn is shopping a bible for a series that would star him and fellow Lost cast member Michael Emerson, in which the duo would play suburban hit men who must balance their work and home lives. "I really hope this works out because Michael would be in his prime in this," O'Quinn told Keck. "We’d play kind of awkward partners." Michael Emerson, meanwhile, is more than open to working alongside Quinn again. "It’s very sweet of him," Emerson told Keck. "I’m all in favor of it. Any reason to work with Terry again." ( TV Guide Magazine ) The Chicago Tribune 's Maureen Ryan has an interview with Caprica stars Sasha Roiz and Alessandra Torresani about what's coming up on the series and how their characters fit into the lar

BBC America Announces US Launch Date for Season Five of "Doctor Who," Two Weeks Behind UK Broadcast

BBC America today announced the launch date for Season Five of British sci-fi series Doctor Who . Those hoping that BBC America would air Doctor Who within a few days of the BBC One broadcast may be slightly disappointed. The cabler has announced a launch date of Saturday, April 17th for Season Five of Doctor Who , a full two weeks behind the UK broadcast, which launches on Easter Saturday, April 3rd. The new season of Doctor Who features a new head writer--Steven Moffat--who takes over showrunning duties from former executive producer Russell T. Davies, as well as a new cast as Matt Smith takes over the mantle of the Doctor from former star David Tennant. He'll be joined in the TARDIS by Karen Gillan, who plays new companion Amy Pond. (Guest stars this season include FlashForward 's Alex Kingston, Hotel Rwanda 's Sophie Okonedo, and 24 's Tony Curran.) "Britain has a tradition of reinventing its iconic characters, like James Bond and Sherlock Holmes - and Doctor

The Daily Beast: "Hollywood Takes on Autism"

Over at The Daily Beast, you can find my latest piece, entitled "Hollywood Takes on Autism." The article explores the portrayals of people with autism spectrum disorders in pop culture, from films like Dear John and Adam to television series like Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, Community , and The Big Bang Theory . I also talk to some of theses projects' creators--including Community creator Dan Harmon and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims--about why they are--or aren't--labeling their characters as autistic. Head to the comments section to be sure and let me know what your take is on this trend and whether it matters or not that these characters are labeled or whether it's the discussion of neurodiversity that their presence creates that's far more important.

Channel Surfing: NBC Shelves "Prime Suspect," Adam Rodriguez Returns to "CSI: Miami," "Life Unexpected," Tim Blake Nelson Dives Into "Chaos," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. NBC has shelved its planned US remake of British crime drama Prime Suspect , postponing production on the Mick Jackson-directed pilot to June, due to casting issues. Project, from writer/executive producer Hank Steinberg and Universal Media Studios, had encountered serious difficulties in casting the lead, a female detective who solves crime amid a "politically loaded big city," a role played by Helen Mirren in the original UK series. But don't count the US Prime Suspect out just yet. "Peacock reps stressed that it remains high on the project," according to Variety 's Jon Weisman. "The hope is that after the pilot season frenzy dies down they'll have more time to sift through a range of contenders for the part." ( Hollywood Reporter , Variety ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello talks to CSI: Miami 's Adam Rodriguez to find out just what happened between his failing to reach a

To the Lighthouse: Through the Looking Glass on "Lost"

I wonder what Kitty and Snowdrop would say about all of this... Last night's evocative and compelling episode of Lost ("Lighthouse"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by Jack Bender, offered an intriguing--if somewhat polarizing--exploration about the nature of perception, blending together the fantasy of Lewis Carroll with the modern psychology of Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse." While several critics have expressed their frustration with this installment, I have to say that I was just as captivated as I have been throughout this season and I thought that this episode provided some further answers while also bringing up some new questions. It was also a throwback to a simpler time on Lost , when the characters could wander the jungle on a specific mission without the stakes seeming quite so dire. Yes, even then they were caught up in the war between two cosmic individuals, but they didn't perceive it as such. For them, it wa

Fallen Souffle: The Winners Revealed on the Season Finale of "Last Restaurant Standing"

I'm not even sure what to say about Last Restaurant Standing at this point. Last night's season finale of Last Restaurant Standing ("The Banquet") proved to me that the producers have irreparably damaged this once promising and engaging format. It's rare for me to go from obsessively loving a series to loathing it from one season to the next but the third season of this culinary competition series (which airs in the UK as The Restaurant ) has been so shockingly dismal and so poorly produced that it took all of my energy to keep watching it to the (very) bitter end. Yes, a winner was named last night for the third season and I can't help but be shocked and depressed by the results, which proves the producers--and quite possibly Raymond Blanc himself--were more interested in concept and uniqueness than in finding partners who could actually, you know, cook. Just to get to the point: Raymond offered a restaurant to the woefully inadequate JJ and James. While it

Channel Surfing: Production on "Two and a Half Men" Shut Down as Sheen Enters Rehab, "Torchwood," David Anders Finds "Vampire Diaries," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Production on CBS comedy Two and a Half Men has been temporarily shut down after series lead Charlie Sheen checked himself into a rehab clinic. His decision comes on the heels of some serious legal troubles for the star of the Warner Bros. Television-produced series after his arrest in December and a domestic violence charge against his wife Brooke Mueller. ( Variety , New York Times ) CBS' Nina Tassler, Warner Bros. Television's Peter Roth, and executive producer Chuck Lorre issued the following joint statement: "CBS, Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre support Charlie Sheen in his decision today to begin voluntary in-patient care at a treatment center. We wish him nothing but the best as he deals with this personal matter. Production on Two and a Half Men will be temporarily suspended." [Editor: it's a bit of an about-face for Lorre, who had cracked a joke at the TCA Winter Press Tour when asked about

Pleading the Fifth: Blind Trust on "Damages"

"It's not my birthday." - Patty On this week's episode of Damages ("It's Not My Birthday"), written by Adam Stein and directed by Daniel Zelman, the investigation into the Tobin case and the nefarious actions of several interested parties were bookended by two very interesting nightmares on the part of Patty Hewes. Throughout the three seasons of Damages that have aired, we've typically seen Patty as an imposing, almost invulnerable adversary who steamrolls everyone in her path. But every now and then--the beach breakdown, her recurring nightmares of death, her frequent summoning of Ray Fiske's ghost--we're privy to seeing her true vulnerability, the thoughts that keep her awake at night, the actions that she regrets, the skull beneath the skin. Last night's episode offered just that opportunity, setting the action just a few days before Patty's latest birthday, a point of pride that she will only admit to those within her inner cir