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.