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Televisionary Contest: Why Aren't I Watching...

Every now and then, a series comes along that I just don't feel a pressing need to tune in to. It's rare when it happens, and even more rare when it's a series that has connected with viewers and critics alike. I've decided to change my tune, if and when someone presents me with a well-thought out, precise argument about why I *need* to be watching a particular series. To that end, I'm declaring an open contest: tell me what series I should be watching (that I'm currently not watching on a regular basis); I'll pick the top three cases and print them here at Televisionary. This week, I'm taking an open stance on TNT's The Closer , ever since I received an impassioned plea from Televisionary reader Wendy S.: "The thing about The Closer --for me anyway--was that the very first show grabbed me and my attention and has never let go since. And the cast is just one of the best ensembles (excluding premium cable) that I've seen in a very long wh

"Back Away From My Navigator": Barb Mends Burnt Bridges on "Big Love"

Wowsers. That's all I can really say about last night's episode of Big Love ("Take Me As I Am"), the series' penultimate episode before the season finale. I've kind of grown to like having Big Love on Monday nights; after all, there's only so much stress and drama you can take on a Sunday evening before beginning your work week anew. Last night's episode definitely propelled this season's diverse plots forward, tying together several loose strands into a razor-sharp ball of wire. Who would have thought that Wanda would try to repeat her crime? Or that Alby would prove that old dictum about the enemy of my enemy being my friend? Or that there's a Parselmouth wandering around Juniper Creek? (More on that last bit in a moment.) Barb. She really has made her bed after all of these years. I did feel for her after she saw the wedding announcement for her mother (guest star Ellen Burstyn) and Ned (guest star Philip Baker Hall) in the newspaper; he

Casting Couch: Kristen Bell Powers Up for "Heroes"!

Could the teen private investigator be trading in her telephoto lens and snappy retorts for superpowers? Just days after rumors that former Veronica Mars series lead Kristen Bell would join the cast of Lost (sadly, a deal was never reached), NBC dropped a major bombshell of a casting notice: Bell is a lock for a multiple episode storyline on the sophomore season of Heroes , beginning in October . Say what? Bell will play Elle, an enigmatic woman with connections to the alleged death of Peter, Horn Rimmed Glasses' past, and Claire's future. Elle will commit a serious crime during her initial appearance, though whether she's good or bad is still unclear. On scoring the much-in demand Bell (who will lend her voice as the eponymous narrator in the CW's new drama Gossip Girl and will appear in Judd Apatow's Forgetting Sarah Marshall ), Heroes creator Tim Kring said in a statement, "This was not easy to pull off. But since we're an ensemble show, with man

HBO Renews "Flight of the Conchords" for Second Season

Mel must be positively beaming with joy. Pay cabler HBO has announced that it has ordered a second season of offbeat comedy Flight of the Conchords , which wraps its freshman season on September 2nd. (Sniffle, sniffle.) Flight of the Conchords , which follows the travails of Bret and Jemaine, members of the eponymous satirical folk rock band, will return with new episodes in 2008. Timeslot companion Entourage was renewed for its fifth season and will also return next year. " Entourage is a full-fledged cultural phenomenon, and Flight of the Conchords has quickly become a show to watch," said Carolyn Strauss, president of HBO Entertainment, in a statement. "I'm delighted that we'll be bringing new seasons of these distinctive series to our subscribers." Best news I've heard all day... and one that will keep me going until the release of the full-length Flight of the Conchords album in January 2008.

Legal Briefs: Televisionary Chats with Anastasia Griffith of FX's "Damages"

This week's episode of Damages ("Tastes Like a Ho Ho") may have presented us with a look behind the lies of pivotal character Katie Connor, who storms out of Manhattan after she's forced to perjure herself during a deposition, but that doesn't mean that we've seen the last of Katie, played by British actress Anastasia Griffith. We had a chance to speak with Damages ' Griffith about her involvement in the FX legal thriller and about what's really going on with her mendacious character. First up, how did Griffith (the sister of Battlestar Galactica actor Jamie Bamber) get involved with the twisty drama? "I had moved to New York City in December last year," says Griffith. "And I think about a month after moving into the City... I actually got a call from my agent saying that this is last minute, but the producers are in town and they want to see you for this role. It’s a great role, it’s a great show, but it’s in two hours’ time, and

Casting Couch: Two More Discover "Life on Mars"

David E. Kelley's US adaptation of hit BBC series (and Televisionary favorite) Life on Mars just got a little more crowded. After locking in series leads Sam Tyler and Annie, to be played by Marlowe 's Jason O'Mara and Veronica Mars ' Rachelle Lefevre, Kelley has finally clinched the pivotal character of Detective Gene Hunt, the surly, violence-prone head of the homicide division. (The Gene Genie in the original Life on Mars was played with aplomb by the preternaturally talented Philip Glenister.) Hunt will be played by veteran Irish actor Colm Meaney, familiar to many as Chief O'Brien on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation . He's appeared in dozens of films including Layer Cake , The Commitments , Claire Dolan , Con Air , The Snapper , and Mystery, Alaska , the latter of which was written by--you guessed it--David E. Kelley himself. Also cast in the drama pilot: Rescue Me 's Lenny Clark. Life in Mars is still in contention

When I Am Through With You: The Theme Song for FX's "Damages"

If you're like me, you simply can't get enough of FX's legal thriller Damages ... and you've been going crazy trying to figure out just who sings that haunting theme song. No straightjackets are necessary, as the opening credit sequence is right below. The song is entitled "When I Am Through With You" by a Los Angeles band known as The VLA. While the title track doesn't appear to be available anywhere for download, you can sample some of the band's tunes at their MySpace page . As for those aggressive lyrics? I think they perfectly sum up Patty Hewes', er, rather unique (not to mention downright draconian) management style. UPDATE: The theme song to Damages can now be downloaded from iTunes. Read more about it here .