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Showing posts with the label Fall Premieres

Talk Back: What Did You Think of NBC's The Event, FOX's Lone Star, and CBS' Hawaii Five-0?

Ding ding. That sound you hear was the official start of fall premiere week last night as the networks took the wraps off of their new lineups and brought the launches of several new shows to the public last night. In the battle of the 9 pm dramas, NBC's tepid The Event overtook FOX's more original Lone Star in an outcome that should surprise no one. While I wrote about both The Event and Lone Star yesterday (and have been talking about them since last May on Twitter), I'm curious to see what you thought of the new series that launched last night. Which of the handful of new dramas and comedy Mike & Molly did you tune in for? What did you think of the plot, the characters, the dialogue, and the inherent promise of each? And, most importantly, which of the series will you come back and watch again next week? Talk back here.

Thy Name's Delirium: Future Imperfect on Boardwalk Empire

It's tricky to write about a new series when you've seen the subsequent five episodes, as is the case with HBO's addictive and gorgeously realized period drama Boardwalk Empire , which kicked off last night. While I had the chance to watch the first six episodes of the Terence Winter/Martin Scorsese drama ahead of time , last night was the first time that I got the chance to see the visually stunning opening sequence, which depicts the bowler-clad Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) on the rocky beach as an ocean of booze bottles comes pouring in. With a tip of the figurative hat to Belgian artist Rene Magritte, it effortlessly captured the scope and tone of the series while reveling in the symbolic implications. Last night's dazzling series premiere ("Boardwalk Empire"), written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese, perfectly brought to life the Atlantic City of 1920, a world populated by grifters, flashy politicians, midgets, widows, booze-hounds,

Con Men and Tricksters: Thoughts on FOX's Lone Star and NBC's The Event

In a television series where so many ideas seem to be inferior iterations on programs we've already seen, it's refreshing to come across a series that attempts to do something original. FOX's con man drama Lone Star , which launches tonight, is just that series. While I don't think the Kyle Killen-series is perfect--there are quite a few flaws that jump out during the pilot episode--it has the potential to develop into something intriguing. That is, if viewers give it a chance. The series revolves around Bob Allen (James Wolk), a roguish con man who has ingratiated his way into two women's hearts. There's the mark: Cat ( Friday Night Lights ' Adrianne Palicki), the wealthy daughter of an oil tycoon (Jon Voight), who Bob used to infiltrate the company. And then in the small Texas town of Midland, there's Lindsey (Eloise Mumford), his earnest girlfriend for whom he enjoys mowing the lawn. (No, that's not a euphemism.) But Bob has broken the cardinal

Devil's Playground: Some Further Thoughts on HBO's Addictive Boardwalk Empire

Tonight brings the premiere of what is hands-down the best new series of the year (or indeed in recent memory), as HBO launches the Terence Winter/Martin Scorsese period drama Boardwalk Empire , a provocative period drama that mines Prohibition era-Atlantic City to superb effect, revealing the corruption and sin lurking behind the bathtub gin, the depravity enabled by smugglers, and the lengths that men on both sides of the alcohol issue will go to hold onto their power. All roads, it seems, even those not yet built, lead to the Jersey Shore's glittering beachside gem. Over at The Daily Beast, I selected Boardwalk Empire --based on the strength of its superlative first six episodes--as one of nine new series that you must watch this fall . Here's what I had to say: WATCH: Boardwalk Empire (HBO; premieres September 19) Travel back in time to a world of flappers, rum-runners, crooked politicians, g-men, and mobsters with household names in HBO's period drama Boardwalk

Studying Humanity: An Advance Review of the Second Season Premiere of Community

I don't want to say too much lest I spoil the sheer and utter joy that is watching the second season opener ("Anthropology 101") of NBC's Community , which--like its characters--heads back to Greendale after a summer break. There's a gleeful absurdity deep in the DNA of this winning show but also a lot of emotional resonance, as its characters tackle the larger struggles facing humanity while also managing to get involved in all manner of larger-than-life hijinx. It's a tonal juxtaposition that has worked well for the series in the first season, and Season Two--which begins on Thursday--smartly continues this trend, creating a microcosm in which the heartfelt and supremely weird hold hands on the way to class. Given the way that the first season left off--with Jeff (Joel McHale) and Annie (Alison Brie) locking lips rather than with Britta (Gillian Jacobs)--it's only natural that the writers would deal with this new love triangle permutation early on. And

First Frost: An Advance Review of the Chuck Season Four Premiere

When we last left Zachary Levi's Chuck Bartowski, he had received a revelation--or two--that shocked his world to its core. Having buried his father, slain in the line of duty, Chuck learned that his father had maintained a secret underground headquarters beneath the family's Encino home and that his mother, Mary Elizabeth Bartowski, had her own secrets as well... and that his father had devoted his life to finding Chuck and Ellie's errant mother. I can tell you that we see the elusive Mary (played by Terminator 's Linda Hamilton) within the very first seconds of Season Four of NBC's Chuck , which begins on Monday with a fantastic and funny installment ("Chuck Versus the Anniversary") that sets up the overarching plotline for the fourth season while creating a new status quo for our favorite spy. I had the chance last night to watch "Chuck Versus the Anniversary," written by Chris Fedak and directed by Robert Duncan McNeill, and was struck by h

The Daily Beast: "Nine Shows to Watch, Six Shows to Shun"

My fall TV preview--or at least part of it, anyway--is finally up. Head over to The Daily Beast, where you can read my latest feature, "Nine Shows to Watch, Six Shows to Shun," where I offer up nine new series to watch this fall and six shows to avoid like the plague. Just which ended up on which list? Hint, The Event ended up on my worst-of list, while things like Boardwalk Empire, Terriers, Nikita, Sherlock, Luther, Undercovers and others ended up on my watch list. (While The Walking Dead is on there, I still--like every other critic--have not seen a full episode, so there's that to consider.) But while this is my list, I'm also extremely curious to find out what you're looking forward to this autumn. What are you most excited about watching this fall? Head to the comments section to discuss, debate, and tear into my list.

Talk Back: Series Premiere of the CW's Nikita

The fall premieres continue to wear on as last night brought the series premiere of the CW's new action-thriller Nikita , starring Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Xander Berkeley, and Aaron Stanford. While you can read my advance review of Nikita 's pilot episode here , I'm curious to know what you thought now that the episode in question has aired. What did you make of Maggie Q as the lead? And of Lyndsy Fonseca as new Division recruit Alex? (And of the pig masks?) Were you a fan of USA's Peta Wilson-led La Femme Nikita and how did it hold up in comparison? Were you surprised by the twist or did you see it--as I did--from a mile or more away? Where do you think the season will head? Did you see any similarities to Alias or Dollhouse ? And, most importantly, will you be tuning in again next week? Talk back here. Next week on Nikita ("2.0"), Nikita tries to interfere with Division's protective custody of a Slavic leader wanted for war crimes,

Lethal Weapon of Mass Destruction: An Advance Review of the CW's Nikita

The only way that you could have missed the provocative and eye-catching ads for the CW's Nikita , premiering night, is if you are perhaps visually-impaired. The red-hued promotional campaign, featuring series lead Maggie Q ( Live Free or Die Hard ) have been ubiquitous of late, popping up on mall food court tables, billboards, and bus sides for months now. The wait, however, is over now. Tonight brings the series premiere of Nikita , the latest in a line of adaptations of Luc Besson's landmark 1990 film La Femme Nikita , which starred Anne Parillaud as the titular character, a government-trained assassin from, uh, humble origins who finds herself transformed into a cold-blooded killer. The film was then adapted into Bridget Fonda vehicle Point of No Return before being resurrected as the Peta Wilson-led USA action series La Femme Nikita and going on to influence ABC's Alias ... and now it's been revamped again as CW's high-flying action-thriller Nikita , which s

Dogged Detectives with Bite: An Advance Review of FX's Terriers

As the owner of a small dog, I can attest to the fact that the size of the beast isn't indicative of the largeness of their personalities... nor the fact that they're only too willing to take on adversaries far bigger than them. Which seems to be the metaphor behind the title of FX's new drama series Terriers , which premieres tonight. Despite the title, Terriers isn't about dog breeders or, well, dogs at all, though there are more than a few canines lurking in the background of this scrappy and sly series, created by Ted Griffin ( Ocean's Eleven, Matchstick Men ) and executive produced by Shawn Ryan ( The Shield ). While the unlicensed private detectives of the series, ex-cop Hank Dolworth ( Life 's Donal Logue) and his BFF Britt Pollack ( True Blood 's Michael Raymond-James), might be small fry in the sunny San Diego coastal town of Ocean Beach, they're not ones to back down from anything, even when they've bitten off far more than they can ch

The Dead Walk: AMC Announces Halloween Launch Date for The Walking Dead

Be prepared to be scared. AMC has announced an official launch date for its upcoming zombie series The Walking Dead , which is based on Robert Kirkman's comic book series. The Walking Dead , which stars Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, and Jeffrey DeMunn, will launch with a 90-minute series premiere on Sunday, October 31st at 10 pm ET/PT. The official trailer for The Walking Dead can be viewed below. "Stay focused." The full press release from AMC can be found below. AMC LAUNCHES NEWEST ORIGINAL DRAMA “THE WALKING DEAD” WITH A 90-MINUTE PREMIERE EPISODE ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, 10PM Series Stars Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and others Written, Directed and Executive-Produced by Frank Darabont, Executive Produced by Gale Anne Hurd New York, NY – August 2010 – AMC's newest original series, “The Walking Dead,” will premiere on Halloween night, Sunday, October

Channel Surfing: More on Party Down Cancellation, NBC Dumps Persons Unknown on Sats, Weeds, Big Love, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Following yesterday's brutal cancellation of Party Down , Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall talks to Party Down executive producer Rob Thomas about the cancellation of the Starz comedy. "No one on our side is particularly shocked by the news," Thomas told Sepinwall about the cancellation. "Frankly, the waiting has been excruciating, and there's a certain amount of relief in knowing and being able to move on." Thomas indicated that the series was heading towards a third season renewal before newly installed entertainment czar Chris Albrecht was brought in. "There's little to no doubt that we were going to get one until Chris came in," said Thomas. "But I do think if we had done better numbers, Chris would've kept us. I don't think Chris wanted to come in and clean house. I just don't think he had quite the emotional attachment that people who had been at Starz through the birth o

Tune-In Reminder: Series Premiere of ABC's "V"

Just a quick reminder to be sure to set your DVRs (or, hell, tune in live!) to the series premiere of ABC's V tonight. Based on the classic 1980s sci-fi miniseries, V boasts an amazing cast that includes Elizabeth Mitchell, Joel Gretsch, Morris Chestnut, Scott Wolf, Morena Baccarin, and many others. But you needn't have watched any of the classic V in order to understand the intricacies of this new reimaginating. You can read my advance review of the pilot episode for V (written back in May) as well as my interview over at the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker with series lead Elizabeth Mitchell about her character Erica Evans and what's coming up on the series, which will air four episodes this month before returning after the Olympics with nine additional installments. V launches tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC.

Talk Back: Series Premiere of NBC's "Trauma"

I'm curious to see how many of you out there tuned in last night to watch NBC's new medical drama series Trauma . I didn't review Trauma --possibly because I couldn't find anything nice to say about it--but I am wondering what those of you thought who happened to tune in to the series opener last evening. Did you like the series' combination of feisty, flawed characters and things going boom? Were you sucked in my the catastrophic opening minutes' footage of that downed helicopter? Did you like the chemistry between the actors or was it sideswiped by the explosive production values? Or did you find the whole thing incredibly bombastic and forced? Or a wee bit dated? More importantly, will you tune in again next week for the second episode? Talk back here.

Whiskey-A-Gogo: Secrets and Scars on "Dollhouse"

Just a few quick words about Friday night's season premiere of Dollhouse , which saw the series return for a miraculous sophomore season, only to plummet to its lowest ratings yet. You read my advance review of the second season opener of Dollhouse ("Vows") , written and directed by Joss Whedon, but now that the episode has aired, we can talk about some of the specific plot points from the installment. And, in this case, it's the premiere's storyline involving Amy Acker's physically and emotionally scarred Whiskey/Claire Saunders that has piqued my interest more than any other, despite the appearance of Battlestar Galactica 's Jamie Bamber as shady businessman Martin Klar and Whedonverse alum Alexis Denisof as Senator Daniel Perrin. I'm still not entirely sure why Adelle would allow Paul Ballard to use Echo on an engagement to entrap Martin Klar or how Ballard was able to pay for the engagement. Or why Klar was such a powerful emblem of the failu

"The Amazing Race": I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Looking to discuss the two-hour season premiere of CBS' fantastic reality series The Amazing Race ? Head over to my piece, entitled "The Amazing Race: I Survived a Japanese Game Show," on the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site , where you can read my take on the season opener, wasabi bombs, duck herding, anger-prone contestants, the poker players' scheme, and much more. (The piece itself is a post-air story that follows up Friday's piece about five reasons why you should tune in this season to The Amazing Race .) Sound off in the comments section.

Sweet Little Dolls: An Advance Review of Season Two of "Dollhouse"

I was largely on the fence about the freshman season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse . Conceptually, I felt that there were some fascinating ideas about identity and perception embedded in the series' overarching concept but I felt that these concepts were often let down by some fundamentally flawed execution on a weekly basis. In other words: I wanted to love the series but I found time and time again that I couldn't. Perhaps it was the regular occurrence of plot holes large and numerous, making Dollhouse resemble something akin to Swiss cheese. The unaired thirteen episode of Dollhouse 's first season, entitled "Epitaph One," did manage to change my feelings about the series; it offered a much darker and edgier version of Dollhouse and imbued the series with a strong throughline and narrative purpose. Given that the episode never aired in the US (and is still only available to screen on the Season One DVD boxset or on iTunes), it will be interesting to see as

Talk Back: Series Premiere of ABC's "FlashForward"

What did you see? I've been talking about FlashForward for nearly a year now since my initial review of the series' pilot script back in November to my recent advance review of the first episode . But now that the series has launched, I'm curious to see just what you thought of FlashForward and its prospects for success. Were you lured in by the mystery of the global blackout and the flashforwards experienced by the main characters? Did you compare it to Lost or do you see the two series as distinct and separate entities? Do you think that FlashForward is a worthy successor to the mythology-based Lost in any event? Did you find Joseph Fiennes a compelling series lead or was he lacking in charisma? Are you intrigued by the characters' backstories? Did you find the dialogue realistic or clunky? Was there a bit too much exposition in the opening hour? What do you make of the twist ending? What's up with that kangaroo, which producers have said is a "thing

Talk Back: Series Premiere of ABC's "Modern Family"

I hope all of you tuned in last night for the launch of comedy Modern Family on ABC. I've been praising Modern Family for months now (you can read my original advance review of the pilot episode here ) but now that the series has launched, I'm extremely curious to find out what all of you thought of this remarkable and hysterical new series. It's hands down my pick for the season's best new show, a fantastically taut series about the trials and tribulations (and humor) of family life in the new millennium. Did you enjoy the series' heady mix of deadpan humor and emotional heart? Did you like the mockumentary aspect? (I thought it worked better than, say, The Office has for the last few seasons.) Did the entire cast--from Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, to Julie Bown and Ty Burrell (not to mention those kids!)--win you over with their overwhelming charm? Did you roar with laughter to Cameron's Lion King homage?

USA Weekend: "Which new TV shows are worth watching?"

You can check out my interview by USA Weekend 's Thomas J. Walter about the fall season here . I was interviewed along with The Futon Critic's Brian Ford Sullivan and Ain't It Cool News' Herc about which series were we most looking forward to this fall. Not surprisingly, two of the series I touted were ABC's Modern Family and V . Of Modern Family (which launches on Wednesday night), I said, "Hands down, this is my favorite new series so far," and that the series "has a winning combination of quirkiness, witty banter and heart. It explores how the post-nuclear family ticks and how universal bonds of love and frustration keep it all together." And V I described as "Gripping and electrifying in equal measure... With engaging leads such as Elizabeth Mitchell and Joel Gretsch, it's difficult not to get swept up by the action and the analogies for our changed world." The piece can be read in full here .