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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Daily Beast: "Smash's Big Broadway Bet" and "11 Secrets of Smash"

Fifty years after her death, the mention of Marilyn Monroe conjures up familiar imagery: that whispery voice, the platinum hair, her vulnerability. From Michelle Williams’s recent embodiment to yet another reissue of Monroe’s last photo shoot, she’s still inescapable, and always exerting a gravitational pull on popular imagination. In this week's issue of Newsweek, you can read my latest feature, " Smash 's Big Broadway Bet," which looks at NBC's musical-drama Smash , launching February 6th, through the prism of both Marilyn Monroe's cultural impact and the stakes that the show faces ahead. Will this end up being The West Wing with music or Cop Rock ? I talk to creator/executive producer Theresa Rebeck, Anjelica Huston, and NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. On The Daily Beast, the piece gets a companion story in "11 Secrets of Smash ," in which I take a look at several questions surrounding the show including: What would the Showti

The Daily Beast: "TV's Worst New Show: CBS' Rob"

There’s a new contender for the worst new show of the year in CBS’s Rob Schneider vehicle, Rob —it’s racist and unfunny. At the Daily Beast, I take a look at the truly terrible first episode in my latest feature, "TV's Worst New Show." The media have lately been celebrating the remarkable comeback of the sitcom, which had seen better days. Modern Family continues to outperform itself; Community dazzles with its inventiveness; Suburgatory perfectly captures the suburbs-are-hell trope with wit and bite; Happy Endings has surprised many by becoming a hit; and CBS’s 2 Broke Girls is poised to become television’s most-watched comedy. But for all the talk about revitalized formats and audience engagement this past fall, this doesn’t account for Work It and Rob, two midseason comedy offerings that are so awful they may in fact be harbingers of the Fall of Man. While this may be hyperbolic, Rob and Work It do symbolize how far the sitcom format has fallen, at any rate. It’s h

The Winds of War: An Advance Review of Downton Abbey Season Two

It's no secret that I'm a devotee of lavish British costume drama Downton Abbey , which recently wrapped its second season run on ITV in the U.K. and which finally heads across the pond this weekend, where it will again air as part of PBS' Masterpiece Classic skein. In the last year or so since we last saw the Crawleys, viewers from all walks of life have discovered the irresistible joys of the sublime Downton Abbey , reveling in the spirit of unpredictability and historical detail that Julian Fellowes' creation has in abundance, as well as memorable characters, a winning blend of pathos and humor, plot twists, and star-crossed romances. Not since Upstairs, Downstairs has a period drama seemed quite so tangible and relevant, at once timeless and thoroughly modern at the same time. Season Two of Downton Abbey is set two years after the end of the first season, as Britain--and Europe as a whole--is enmeshed in the First World War. On the winds of war, change has co

Justified, Downton Abbey, Shameless, and More: What to Watch on TV This Winter

With the return of Justified, Downton Abbey , and Shameless , and the launch of Touch, Luck , and others, I take a look at what’s coming to your TV this winter over at The Daily Beast, in my latest feature, "What to Watch on TV This Winter." (To get right to my thoughts on the 18 shows included and bypass the intro, you can click here .) January brings some fresh opportunities for the broadcast and cable networks to try and lure you back with new and returning programming. Among the highlights: costume drama fiends will be lined up for the Jan. 8 return of British drama Downton Abbey; FX’s Justified returns for a third season of Kentucky shootouts on Jan. 17; HBO’s cult comedy Eastbound and Down returns on Feb. 19; auteurs David Milch and Michael Mann unite for HBO’s Luck, launching Jan. 29; and Kiefer Sutherland returns to television with Fox’s Touch, which will get a preview broadcast on Jan. 25. (It officially premieres on March 19.) Absolutely Fabulous, the outrageou