Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'Community' back in February; 'Star Wars' back in 2015

The important news story today is Hurricane Sandy.   But there was some entertainment news today as well.  News that may concern a couple of extremely passionate fanbases. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Community' and 'Louie' Delays

Two cult comedies are delayed for two totally different reasons

It was disappointing news initially when NBC decided to postpone Community's Oct. 19th premiere.  I know I haven't done a recap or reaction to a new series in a couple of weeks* but Community was a show that I was really looking forward to writing about.  The good news about the postponement is that Community might not be returning to a Friday night death slot.  The bad news is that we don't know that for sure.  In fact, know one knows for sure what date or what time Community will return.  Can only hope that it happens before Thanksgiving.  If not, it's likely Community won't come back until mid-season.  That would suck.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

'Last Resort': Initial Reaction

'Last Resort,' ABC's most recent entry into the action-adventure serial, launches with an intelligent and thrilling first hour.  It does what the best of pilot episodes are supposed to do: has the audience counting the days (or hours) until the next episode.

Until then, we will just have to watch the pilot episode, titled "Captain," a couple more times.  Now, I've never been a fan of pilot episodes. By this I mean, for the shows that I watch, I rarely (if ever) consider a pilot to be among the top episodes of any given series.   This is why I always find it odd when first year programs submit their pilot episodes to be considered at the Emmys (I don't know if this it what Homeland did).  If the pilot were considered the best episode, then the entire show would be a down hill experience after its opening act.  No, as mentioned above, a pilot's job is to serve as a hook to reel in viewers for the next installment.  And Last Resort's pilot definitely succeeded in that regard.

NOTE: This is not a review of the show.  This is an "Initial Reaction."  The following are the elements of the first hour of Last Resort that caught my attention and have stuck with me.  I do speculate on the future of this show more than I have done in past Initial Reactions.  This is because I don't want to give out too many spoilers since some will be reading this before they watch the episode.  "Captain" is available on Hulu prior to its Thursday, September 27th premiers (8pm EST) premiere.

With that said SPOILERS still appear in this post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FREE Showtime!! 'Homeland' Recaps Are A Go

Spoke to the nicest Comcast Customer Service Representative ever this morning. Reduced the bill by $20/month over the next year and gave us Showtime free for the next six months. Now I can watch and write about Homeland on the night it actually airs. That's a good thing too since I really don't see myself regularly recapping any other show this fall. Plus, my brother Jimmy can get to watch Dexter. I will probably write on that show's season premiere and/or I will let Jimmy guest recap it himself if he wants. Unfortunately, Showtime doesn't offer up too many good movies so the benefits may end with their original programming. Still, not a bad deal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

'Revolution': Initial Reaction

This new 'Lost' imitator is a little more promising than past 'Lost' imitators.  However, 'Revolution's first hour makes it abundantly clear that network executives still don't truly understand why the island-set mystery ever worked in the first place.

I write this knowing perfectly well that J.J. Abrams has a producer credit for Revolution--a producer credit that really serves more as an endorsement for the show.  Abrams neither wrote nor directed the pilot of Revolution.  Compare that with Lost, where he both co-wrote and directed the pilot and then played a key role in setting up the first hints at a larger mythology.   Now, Revolution was written by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man).  Two men who are definitely capable of creating an intriguing television show about a world that exists without electricity.  It just seems doubtful that the suits at NBC will allow Kripke and his writers make such a version of the show.

'Bates Motel' Casting and 'Community' minus Donald Glover?

'Bates Motel"

Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) has been cast as a young Norman Bates in A&E's upcoming Bates Motel.  Max Theriot (Kit Kitterage: An American Girl) has also been cast as Norman's older brother, Dylan.  For those failing to remember an older brother from Hitchcock's Psycho, Dylan is a new character developed for this series.  Vera Farmiga was cast as Norman's mother, Norma, a few weeks ago.  A&E also released this new poster to The Hollywood Reporter.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


Donal Glover (Troy from NBC's Community) is developing a new comedy at NBC. The potential pilot could be made for the 2013-2014 season and would see Glover in the lead role if it got picked up to series.  Community, which has already lost creator Dan Harmon, wouldn't be the same if it continued into a fifth season minus Troy.  Almost seems like NBC and Glover aren't even taking Community into consideration with the development of a new show.  Have they already accepted that the fourth season will be its last?  I hope not.

Source: TV Line

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ratings for Tuesday Night: Go On and The New Normal

'Go On ' and 'The New Normal' Off to Decent Starts

The second episode of Go On did pretty well for its regular timeslot debut.  The Matthew Perry show was seen by 9.6 million total viewers and had a 3.4 rating in the 18-49 demo.  It appears that the post-Olympics preview was a wise strategy for this show.  For now, anyway. 

The New Normal didn't fare as in its second episode.  It had 7.0 million total viewers and a 2.5 rating among viewers aged 18-49.  Pretty much the same as ratings as the Monday night premiere.

For more details on Nielsen Ratings on these and other network programs from Tuesday nights see TVbytheNumbers.

'Go On': Initial Reaction

Go On (Tuesdays @ 9:00 pm NBC)

Matthew Perry hasn't been the luckiest of actors since Friends ended nearly a decade ago.  He starred in the NBC drama Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip in 2006.  That Aaron Sorkin produced show only last for one season.  A couple of years ago he starred in ABC's Mr. Sunshine.  That half-hour comedy only lasted for 13 episodes.  For the 2012-13 TV season NBC and Matthew Perry are making one more attempt at bringing back that old Friends magic with the group therapy comedy Go On.

Like The New Normal that aired after it, NBC had already previewed the Go On pilot prior to the official Tuesday night premiere.  The preview of the pilot was first broadcast in a post-Olympics spot on August 8th.  The show attained a robust sample viewing audience of over 15 million viewers.  The pilot was re-broadcast on Monday night.  After seeing the first episode, I was willing to give the show another shot.   It will be interesting to find out how many people decided to do the same (the ratings for last night will be posted this afternoon).

'The New Normal': Initial Reaction

The New Normal (Tuesdays @ 9:30 NBC)

First off, I didn't pay close attention to NBC's schedule of its new series. The New Normal's pilot actually aired on Monday after The Voice.  Tuesday had NBC broadcasting the second episode, called "Sofa's Choice," in the show's regular Tuesday night time slot.  Fortunately, it is easier to write a review (or reaction) to a show when you have seen more than one installment.  Unfortunately, I think two episodes of The New Normal may have been two too many.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Soft Start for Fall Begins Today

A Couple of Networks Get the Fall Season Going

Returning Shows

The Voice--Season 3 (NBC) @8pm.  Premiered Monday.  Continues on Tuesday.
Parenthood--Season 4 (NBC) @10pm

Sons of Anarchy--Season 5 (FX)10pm

I didn't include any of these shows in the partial calendar I posted a few weeks ago.  That's because I've never watched them.  I will never watch The Voice out of principle.  On the other hand, I've heard good things about Parenthood and Sons of Anarchy in the past.  Both those shows are available on Netflix. So the opportunity to sample those two dramas is always there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wonder Woman to the Small Screen

Today, it's the CW's turn to take a shot at bringing DC Comics Wonder Woman back to the small screen.  For the 2011-2012 TV season, producer David E. Kelly made a Wonder Woman pilot for NBC with Adrianne Palicki playing the DC heroine.  NBC did not pick up that pilot.  Warner Bros. TV has now decided to give a Wonder Woman show another try.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall is Here: Time for New and Returning Shows

 What to Expect from this Blog in the Coming Weeks

The best time of year for TV fans is almost here.  The traditional launch of a new TV season usually begins in Autumn.  This mean the old Networks are going to be launching a whole new slate of programs, most of which will be cancelled before the mid-season break.  Fortunately, there are plenty of cable favorites that are returning as well including Homeland, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, and Dexter for those who still care (I'm looking at you brother Jimmy).  Sorry, Mad Men won't be back until next Spring.  I won't be writing up on all these shows.  After all, according to Entertainment Weekly's cover of their Fall Preview issue, there will be 104 shows this fall.  104!! Too many for one man.  But based off what I've read from some critics and my own personal taste, there are definitely a fair number of new shows that I will be writing about in the coming weeks.  After the jump, a truncated calendar of key premiere dates.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breaking Bad 5.8 "Gliding Over All" Recap


Woodrow Wilson...Willy Wonka....Walter White?

Back when Hank jokingly proposed the idea that W.W. was indeed his brother-in-law, Walter was able to reach into his quick wit toolbox and find a Walt Whitman quote on a previous page in Gael's "Lab Notes."  Of course, Walt was able to do this because he's incredibly f---ing smart!! And yet, smart people tend to make the stupidest and laziest of mistakes.  How else can anyone explain Walt leaving Gael's note of appreciation in the copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass that Gael gave to him.  The only answer I can come up with is that Walt never actually opened the book.  To be honest, I've recently done a rewatch of Breaking Bad.  Seasons one to four.  But I really can't recall when Gael gave Walt the book.  Does anyone else know the history of this particular copy of Leaves of Grass?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

UPDATE: Joss Whedon Developing S.H.I.E.L.D. at ABC

Marvel, ABC, and Whedon Play It Safe with S.H.I.E.L.D.

My first post on this blog a couple of weeks ago concerned Joss Whedon's new contract with Marvel Studio.  More specifically, the TV component of this contract.  I was excited at the possibilities of the Marvel Universe coming to the small screen (ABC).  One possible show I especially want to see made is an adaptation of the Runaways comic created by writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina).  Unfortunately, Runaways the TV series is a no go for now.  The studio, network, and director have decided to go the way of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isaac Complicates RNC Coverage for CNN

How the Cable Network Handled Two Big News Stories

I was initially surprised when I looked at Fox News Channel's program guide for the night.  My cable provider's guide had the usual programming listed: O'Reilly at eight o'clock, Hannity at nine.  But of course they were broadcasting the Republican National Convention.  This is Fox News we're talking about.  My conclusion to why this cable news channel didn't schedule one large block of programming titled "Republican National Convention" is because it wasn't necessary.  Fox News doesn't need to attract an audience for the Republican convention.  They already have the target audience tuning in from 8-11 on a daily basis.  Their loyal viewers were going to tune in no matter what. 

On the contrary, MSNBC and CNN need to attract viewers who might not otherwise watch this political event.  Well, MSNBC is going to have less of a problem bringing in liberal viewers that will no doubt actively "hate watch" the RNC all week.  But CNN is the one cable news channel that tries to play it neutral (even though they do lean left).  They get equally excited for both the RNC and (next week's) DNC.  Yet when the time came, CNN couldn't help but show Anderson Cooper standing out in the wind and rain instead of showing most of Tuesday night's speakers.

'Bates Motel' Casts Female Lead

Norma Bates (Norman Bates's mother) will be played by Oscar nominated actress (Up in the Air) Vera Farmiga in the upcoming A&E series that will serve as a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock directed 'Psycho.'   (THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)

The article from The Hollywood Reporter's LIVE FEED blog mentions that the series has been described as a "contemporary exploration of Norman Bate's formative years.  So if the series is set in the present and not a period piece, referring to it as a prequel may be a bit misleading.

Some commentators have expressed their displeasure with television making yet another prequel.  They've even singled out A&E specifically for abandoning the Arts and Entertainments that it originally stood for back in the '90s.  However, isn't scripted television a step up from the reality garbage that has aired on the network for the past decade. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Breaking Bad 5.7 "Say My Name" Recap

Mr. Chips to Scarface.  Or Anakin to Darth Vader

Fuck you Walt!.  That thought entered my mind several times during this episode.  He really is a complete and total asshole.  Vince Gilligan and his writers have done an incredible job of transforming Breaking Bad's protagonist into its antagonist.  Because in that final scene, I was desperately trying to convince myself that Mike killing Walter was a real possibility.  Unfortunately, it has already been revealed that Walt will live to see his fifty-second birthday.  That could be considered to be a minor problem in the show--the flashforward device always takes a little of the suspense away.  Then again, nobody really expects this show to exist without Walter White. 

That's not to say that I still don't have a few quibbles with some of what's transpired this season.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Community" and the Case of an Axed Showrunner

 Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Lost.  Three shows that I couldn't imagine existing without their original creators.  What about Community?

Yesterday I posted about the possibility that the upcoming fourth season of Community may be its last.  I also mentioned that show has already lost the talents of Dan Harmon, the creator and showrunner, due to problems with the studio (Sony), network (NBC), and its most well known stars (Chevy Chase).

The NBC comedy's new showrunners are former Happy Endings writers David Guarascio and Moses Port.  It's not unusual for a television show to change showrunners during the course of its run.  Most long running police procedurals like CSI and Law and Order switched showrunners multiple times.  However, there are certain shows that are dependent on the voices of their original creators.  The West Wing wasn't the same without Aaron Sorkin.  Gilmore Girls moved on without Amy Sherman-Palladino for its seventh and final season.  Fans of both those show were displeased with what they saw and heard on the screen after those writers left.  Those writers had unique styles and visions which were impossible to replicate.  Dan Harmon also has a writing style, vision, and (more importantly) passion for his creation that the new showrunners couldn't possibly possess.  So as soon as the news broke about Harmon being fired, critics and fans alike began to ask if no Community at all may be preferable to a Harmon-less Community.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NBC's Future: Comedy Night, Done Right?

30 Rock and The Office are Closing.  More to Follow?

For over two decades, Thursday nights on NBC was the place for "Must See TV."  Some of the most popular sitcoms in history made their home from the 8-10pm time period.  "The Cosby Show" and "Cheers" got the ball rolling in the '80s.  "Frasier" and "Friends" led a still thriving NBC into the 21st century.  Those four shows, along with "Seinfeld" and many others, garnered mass audiences for a reason.  The were broad.  People of all demographics could relate to the stories that were being told week after week.  I was barely a teenager when I first started watching reruns of "Frasier" and "Friends" and I never had a hard time understanding most of what was happening.  Sure, there was some minor adult humor that may have went over my head but those jokes didn't exclude someone of my demo from enjoying the show.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breaking Bad 5.6 "Buyout" Critical Round-Up

 What some critics thought:
TIME's James Poniewozik
Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan
Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker

Some of my thoughts:

This week's Breaking Bad was not the most praised of this shortened eight episode "season."  Several critics found faults with some of the decisions and actions taken up by Walt, Jesse, and Mike.  What's up with Walt whistling?  He obviously knew Jesse was still in the house and could hear him.  Does Walt really not care about little Drew Sharp getting killed? Or is he trying to act like he doesn't care? That's an unwise strategy since he already knows how Skylar has reacted to his Scarface side. Walt's apathetic response to a child getting murdered probably played a part in Jesse's decision to get out of the meth game for good.  That and the prospect of a $5 million buyout.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Joss Whedon should Runaway(s) back to TV

Marvel's The Avengers made a little dough at the box office this past summer.  Nearly 1.5 billion dollars.  Many people felt that a movie that assembled Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America was guaranteed to make all the money in the world.  Truthfully, the film's incredible financial and critical success received a nice bump by the man who was hired to rewrite the script and direct the epic project: Joss Whedon.  It's likely that a fair percentage of those who saw The Avengers on opening weekend didn't even know who Joss Whedon was.  I know there are a lot of people out there who would find such a thought utterly insane.  Because for those who have been lucky enough to experience his work in television, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly (and its concluding film chapter Serenity), Joss Whedon is a god of pop culture.  Actually, he was a god of cult pop culture.