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Showing posts from September, 2010

The Daily Beast: "Why I Loathe Glee"

Let's just say that Sue Sylvester may have a few things to say about this. FOX's Glee may have hit a ratings high this week, but the popular show has hit a new low in terms of story. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Why I Loathe Glee ," where I offer my take on where the Fox musical-comedy has gone horribly, offensively wrong. Head to the comments to discuss whether you agree or disagree with my assessment and whether the show has lost its way entirely.

Channel Surfing: Bryan Fuller to Tackle The Munsters, J.J. Abrams Talks Alias Reboot, Matt Smith Talks Doctor Who Xmas, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. File this under: oh my god. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello and Andy Patrick are reporting that Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller is developing an update of--wait for it-- The Munsters . NBC has ordered a pilot for the project, which is being described as " Modern Family meets True Blood ." If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, Ausiello and Patrick also report that Guillermo del Toro ( Hellboy ) might executive produce as well. Jaw officially on the floor... ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos talks to Undercovers executive producer J.J. Abrams about the NBC espionage drama and about several topics on everyone's minds: namely that rumored Alias reboot and the Terry O'Quinn/Michael Emerson NBC drama pilot. News of a potential Alias reboot were news to Abrams, despite unnamed sources at the network telling Dos Santos that they're still

The Daily Beast: "Lone Star and 10 Other Quickly-Canceled TV Shows"

While the cancellation of FOX's con man drama Lone Star took no one watching the ratings by surprise, some pointed towards the fact that FOX didn't let the show find an audience, axing it after just two low-rated airings. While such early cancellations might be rare, it doesn't mean that they don't happen. Over at The Daily Beast, I take a look at ten other early cancellations from the last ten years, from Viva Laughlin to reality duds like The Will . (Remember that gem?) You can read my latest feature "10 Most Quickly Axed Shows of the Last 10 Years" here. (And, before you say it, I know that Wonderland and Girls Club were also canned after two episodes. Couldn't fit everything in there, sadly!) Also, out of morbid curiosity: do any of the entries on this list ring a bell to you?

Talk Back: What Did You Think of the Series Premiere of ABC's No Ordinary Family?

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Michael Chiklis jumping over a building. Now that ABC has launched its family-friendly superhero drama No Ordinary Family , I'm curious to hear what you thought about the Greg Berlanti/Jon Harmon Feldman-created pilot episode. I was very frank about my own feelings about the pilot , which I've now seen no less than three different versions of since it was picked up to series in May. But now that the premiere has aired, I want to hear what you thought about the episode in question. Did you enjoy the pilot? Were you bothered at all by the tonal inconsistencies? What did you make of the various coincidences that sprung up throughout the pilot, from the appearance of other super-powered types to that final reveal at the very end? What did you think about the fact that their powers were all connected to their internal struggles and did you find that to be on the nose at all? And, most importantly, will you tune in again next week? Talk

Channel Surfing: FOX Axes Lone Star, Lie to Me Moves to Mon and Human Target to Wed, Josh Schwartz/Rachel Bilson's Ghost and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. It's official: the axe has fallen on FOX's low-rated con-man drama Lone Star after just two episodes. The initial outing for the James Wolk-led ensemble drama lured only 4 million viewers or so and the second episode saw its fortunes decline further still, with only 3.2 million tuning in. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that production on the 20th Cenutyr Fox Television-produced drama will shut down immediately. “We will have shot five completed episodes after the pilot,” a studio spokesperson told Ausiello, “and will not complete principal photography on episode 106.” No word on the fate of the four unaired episodes that have already been shot. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) [Editor: As one unnamed network insider told Variety 's Michael Schneider: "The viewers have spoken." Meanwhile, AOL Television's Maureen Ryan explores her take on what the cancellation of Lo

Crossroads: An Advance Review of Season Two of The Good Wife

Over the course of its first season, CBS' legal drama The Good Wife transformed itself from a legal procedural into a strong ensemble drama. Which isn't to say that it jettisoned the cases of the week, because, in the hands of skilled creators Robert and Michelle King, it managed to both deepen the characters without sacrificing the courtroom hook, pulling off the rare legal-focused series that actually manages to make us care about the the accused, the defense counsel, and the kids at home. Inspired by the slew of sexually-charged political scandals, The Good Wife 's first season also held up a mirror to our own society, giving us a female lead in Julianna Margulies' Alicia Florick who was determined, harried, and often second-guessing her own decision to stand by her man. In the process, the series posed questions about the choices we make, the value of honesty and fidelity (both in the bedroom and in the state's attorney's office), the plight of the working

ABC's No Ordinary Family is Painfully Ordinary

ABC's superhero dramedy No Ordinary Family might be all the more frustrating because it has the potential to be something fun and irreverent, but instead is tonally inconsistent and plays too heavily with the sentimental and saccharine. To borrow some superhero parlance, rather than leaping tall buildings in a single bound, it thuds to earth with a sonic boom. Creators Greg Berlanti and Jon Harmon Feldman want to have it both ways: he wants a superhero spectacle that borrows liberally from the success and charm of Pixar's The Incredibles but he also wants to tackle familial issues as well. When the Powells crash their plane into a remote section of the Amazon, they're granted extraordinary powers that separate them from mere mortals. Which would be enough of a suspension of disbelief but the powers they receive just happen to coincide with their particular cross to bear in life. Father and husband Jim (Michael Chiklis), a police sketch artist by trade, has lost his spark

The Honest People: The Semblance of Control on Mad Men

The universe has a nasty way of reminding us that we're not in control of our lives. Though we might scheme and lie and grab onto some semblance of control in an effort to quell that inner truth, it's a bitter pill to be reminded of just how little authority we have over our own destinies. When Lee Garner Jr. tells Roger, "There's no reason. Nothing you can do," he might as well be speaking for that unseen horseman in whose hands all of our reins sit. Like Lucky Strike's Lee, Life is a capricious and unforgiving mistress. In this week's glorious episode of Mad Men ("Hands and Knees"), written by Jonathan Abrahams and Matthew Weiner and directed by Lynn Shelton, the truth spilled out uncomfortably for several characters, who were forced to reckon with the lack of control they have in their individual lives. When faced with making life-altering choices, each of them--whether that be Don Draper, Joan Harris, Lane Pryce, or Roger Sterling--were forc

Channel Surfing: Summer Glau to Chuck, Zucker's Replacement Named at NBCU, Starz Considers Spartacus Options, Community, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Summer Glau ( Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles ) is set to guest star on NBC's Chuck this season, where she will turn up in the eighth episode as the latest Greta, the rotating CIA/NSA joint intelligence task force agent assigned to the Buy More. Glau, who stars in NBC's midseason action drama The Cape , follows in the footsteps of Olivia Munn, Stacy Keibler, and Isaiah Mustafa. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Jeff Zucker is out and Steve Burke is in. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' right-hand man Burke, will succeed Jeff Zucker as CEO of NBC Universal once the merger deal--valued at $30 billion--is completed. Zucker announced that he would be stepping down from the position on Friday once the merger transaction is closed. "Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment indus

Storming the Battlements: Quick Thoughts on Season Seventeen of The Amazing Race

By now, we've all seen the watermelon-to-the-face viral video making the rounds the last few weeks, but the season opener of CBS' The Amazing Race is far more than just than cringe-inducing moment of pain. In fact, the opener to the seventeenth (!!!) season of The Amazing Race ("They Don't Call It the Amazing Race for Nothin'!") might just go down as one of the series' all-time bests, sending the contestants across the pond to England, where they're forced to contend with scaling the walls of a castle, learning the definition of "battlements," discovering what Stonehenge is, and performing a rather difficult balancing act. That is, when they're not getting hopelessly lost driving on the left side of the road, as happens to more than just one hopeful team. As with all great seasons, the success or failure of an individual reality competition cycle rests pretty squarely on the casting and I have to say that they've more than come thro

A Siren in a Poached Egg: Quick Thoughts on Season Two of HBO's Bored to Death

HBO's deliciously madcap comedy Bored to Death returns Sunday evening for a second season and not a moment too soon. Created by Jonathan Ames, the noir-tinged comedy revolves around another Jonathan Ames, a failed writer moonlighting as an unlicensed private detective, played to perfection by Jason Schwartzman. In an even more improbable meta twist, the real-life Ames guest stars in one of the second season's early episodes as, well, a naked man. If that's not a metaphor for the sort of zany navel-gazing that Bored to Death excels at, I don't know what is. With its return, the series ushers in a hysterical and absurd second season that's far more focused on the triangle of friendship existing between Schwartzman's Jonathan, comic book writer/illustrator Ray (Zach Galifianakis), and pothead magazine publisher George (Ted Danson). While the troika spend the first half of the freshman season split apart, the writers have wisely thrust all three into a group dynam

AOL Television's Skype Second Opinion: The Season Opener of NBC's Community

What did you think of last night's episode of Community ? While I've been raving about the second season opener for weeks now , I also was asked to host AOL Television's Skype Second Opinions, where I connected via Skype and rambled on for a full three minutes about Community 's "Anthropology 101" episode, my thoughts on the fantastic opening sequence (set to Vampire Weekend's "Campus"), the most un-erotic kiss ever on television, urine-swigging June Bauer (Betty White), that sucker-punch to the gut, and Ken Jeong's terrifyingly twisted Ben Chang. You can watch the video in full over here at AOL Television or right below. Next week on Community ("The Psychology of Letting Go"), the study group comforts Pierce after the death of his mother; Professor Duncan tries to take over the anthropology class.

Channel Surfing: Kristen Bell Wants Veronica Mars Movie, Treme Nabs Jon Seda, Lone Star, Chuck, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Kristen Bell, movie mogul? The former Veronica Mars star told The Hollywood Reporter 's Lesley Goldberg that she would self-finance a feature film version of her dearly departed CW/UPN noir drama... if Warner Bros. would release the rights to Veronica Mars . "It's a business and the sad truth is that ... they're not going to relinquish the rights to something and let us do it," said Bell. "We really have to do it with them because they own it... At this point, Warner Bros. can make it but like any studio they have research that tells them whether or not they'll make their money back," she added. "And that's what we've been told: That it's just not there. So my duty, because I wanted this movie made from the minute our show got canceled, is to a) do it before I'm 40; and b) to prove to Warner Bros. that there is an audience. You already have 3 million who watched it every week h

Memory Lives On Forever: An Advance Review of the Third Season Premiere of Fringe

When we last saw Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), she had gotten left behind in the alternate universe while her place with her friends was co-opted by her dark-haired doppelganger and the extraordinary second season of FOX's Fringe ended with our Olivia a prisoner of the Department of Defense. Season Three of Fringe begins not with one opener, but with two, as "Olivia" and next week's "The Box" pick up the pieces of where we left off, offering not so much a window into the lives of the Fringe Division members, but two distinct windows into "over there" and "over here." The effect is as intoxicating as it is compelling, establishing from the start that we'll be tracking the goings on in both dimensions throughout the early part of the season. But rather than confuse the viewer, the season opener(s) offer the perfect jumping on point for new fans as well as the die-hards who are dying to know just what that final reveal means for Olivia, a

Goodbye and Hello: An Advance Review of the Sixth Season Premiere of Bones

What happens when the glue holding a group of people together takes off for far-flung adventure? What happens to those left behind? And is it ever possible to bring those now distant people back together again? Can you fix what's been broken? Those are the questions hovering over the action on tonight's sixth season premiere of FOX's Bones ("The Mastodon in the Room"), which sees the gang at the Jeffersonian attempt to reform the gang when their individual sabbaticals come to abrupt ends. The cause? An effort to save the career of Cam (Tamara Taylor), undergoing intense scrutiny when she lacks the certainty to identify the skeletal remains of a child in the face of a massive media blitz for a controversial story: the disappearance of a two-year old boy. Is the tiny skeleton in the morgue the boy that everyone's looking for? Or is it an unrelated crime? Up until now, Cam's been in this fight alone, though she's had the support of tough-talking Caroline

"The Red Hots Were For My Mommy!": Sugar Shock on Top Chef: Just Desserts

Wow. I don't even know what to say after watching last night's tense and explosive episode of Bravo's Top Chef: Just Desserts ("Cocktail with a Twist"), in which contestant Seth Caro suffered some sort of emotional breakdown during the Quickfire Challenge, in which the pastry chefs were tasked with creating desserts that celebrated penny candy. Yes, we've seen chefs cave under the pressure on Top Chef before but never this earlier and never this severe. Unable to freeze his passion fruit sorbet in time to plate it, the high-strung Seth began to openly sob and was unable to control his emotions, despite the assistance of fellow competitors and the kindness of guest judge Elizabeth Faulkner (of San Francisco's Citizen Cake and Orson), who attempted to take him aside during the judging process to give him a pep talk. It didn't work. Instead, Seth was unable to compose himself and instead uttered some words that will likely haunt him for some

Bravo Announces Top Chef: All-Stars Cast, Launch Date

Last night, during Bravo's Top Chef reunion special, the cabler finally took the wraps off of one of television's worst-kept secrets: that next season of Top Chef would be an all-stars edition that would bring back 18 former contestants to battle it out for another chance at the title. Top Chef All-Stars will launch December 1st at 10 pm ET/PT and will feature the return of Anthony Bourdain as well, as he segues from guest judge to full-on regular judge. (He'll rotate with Food & Wine 's Gail Simmons.) As for the contestants, they are some of the ones you would most expect would be in the running: Elia Aboumrad; Stephen Asprinio; Richard Blais; Jennifer Carroll; Tiffany Derry; Tiffani Faison; Carla Hall; Mike Isabella; Jamie Lauren; Dale Levitski; Antonia Lofaso; Spike Mendelsohn; Angelo Sosa; Dale Talde; Casey Thompson; Marcel Vigneron; Fabio Viviani; and Tre Wilcox. Personally, I'm thrilled to see Jennifer Carroll and Richard Blais return to the kitchen. I

Channel Surfing: Emerson/O'Quinn Pilot Targets NBC, Teri Hatcher to Smallville, Goodfellas TV Project, The Good Wife, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. It's official: that Michael Emerson/Terry O'Quinn hit man drama pilot from executive producer J.J. Abrams and writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec ( Alias, Happy Town ) is heading to NBC after the Peacock landed the rights to the pilot from studio Warner Bros. Television. The untitled project--which had a working title of Odd Jobs --stars former Lost adversaries Emerson and O'Quinn. Which means that your Dharma-branded fantasies of seeing John Locke and Benjamin Linus on television again might not be coming true exactly, but you may get to see these two in action side-by-side again. ( Vulture ) [Editor: Meanwhile, Deadline's Nellie Andreeva has some further details about Abrams' and Elizabeth Sarnoff's Alcatraz , which landed at FOX earlier this week with a pilot order. According to unnamed sources, the project is described as "a show about mysteries, secrets and the most infamous prison of all time: