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December 21, 2014

FX Round-up: Shield finale, Sons of Anarchy, and some words from Ted Danson - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 16th 2008 2:02AM
The Shield panel
The FX panels on Tuesday were pretty uneventful, aside from the news from network president John Landgraf. There was supposed to be a panel for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but that was mysteriously dropped from the schedule. I'm guessing that the boys figured they'd get too hammered at the FOX party the night before to handle questions from the reporters. Indeed, I witnessed Rob McElhenny and Glenn Howerton try to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl at the Santa Monica pier right after they pounded a couple of beers. Maybe canceling the panel was a smart idea.

Anyway, the three shows that paneled were Damages, Sons of Anarchy, and The Shield. More on what transpired after the jump.

The Damages panel was huge, with every actor short of Marcia Gay Harden, who was just hired, out on stage, along with series executive producers Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman. The most intriguing question involved the status of Ted Danson's character, Arthur Frobisher, who got shot at the end of season one. Landgraf thought that Frobisher would be back, and Danson's presence on the panel would seem to indicate that, but the creators hesitated to confirm that.

"Landgraf is always right," Glenn Kessler joked. "But -- as you know it's actually -- the show moves back and forth in time so we have the opportunity to use, you know, Ted and actors in ways that are not conventional. So we love Arthur Frobisher and we're very excited to try to find a way to keep that character -- his presence in the
show."

There are other mysterious elements to the show -- who is the baby Peter Riegert's character was pushing around, for instance? -- and the creators are proud of the serial nature of the show. Said Todd Kessler: "It led us to having serialized stories and not plots that end each episode, a case each episode, because it's not to us really about the cases, it's about what the case -- in the first season, the Frobisher case -- what it does to our people. It's putting high-powered people in extremely intense situations of a crucible and seeing how they respond and pushing people to the limits."

William Hurt, who has joined the cast, was on the panel. This makes two of Glenn Close's former co-stars to work on the show (Hurt co-starred with her on The Big Chill, and Danson worked with her on Something About Amelia). Asked if being a co-star of hers helps people when they try to get on the show, Close joked that it "actually works against them."

I spoke to Ted Danson in the scrum after the panel -- I waited patiently while he finished speaking to Tim Olyphant -- and I asked him if he ever read Ken Levine's fantastic blog, which often tells behind-the-scenes stories of his time at Cheers. The answer made me wonder if Danson -- who's almost 61, for heaven's sake! -- ever owned a computer. He also talks about the "comedy' of Damages and explains that more to me and a fellow reporter in this clip:

Ted Danson on Levine's blog and the comedy of Damages (3:35)

The Sons of Anarchy panel was interesting to me if only because it gave me a chance to see Katey Sagal up close. I long ago mentioned that she's held up quite nicely over the years, and that still holds true. I asked her some Futurama questions, which I'll post later this week. The show, about the trials and tribulations of an illegal biker gang, might be interesting, but nothing that the panel mentioned compels me to want to see the show. Well, maybe except that Mr. Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, is having a hell of a time trying to learn to ride a motorcycle.

Finally, we got a panel for the last season of The Shield. Michael Chiklis had to appear via satellite, but creator Shawn Ryan and most of the major players were on stage for this one. Both Chiklis and Ryan think that fans of the show will be satisfied with the series finale which has already been shot. "All I can talk about is what we attempted to do," said Ryan. "And what we attempted to do was give FX, the network, an ending to the series that that network deserves."

Chiklis agreed, saying that "what thrills me about the finale is you will not see this coming. You will not know that we do. That when you look back at you'll go, holy cow, yeah, that's exactly right."

Another thing Chiklis added was that the first four episodes of this season are "incredibly dense. I don't think I've ever seen more packed into hour-long episodes than in those."

As I mentioned on the TVS Twitter feed, co-star CCH Pounder squealed that Vic Mackey "gets what he deserves!" in the finale. Ryan and Chiklis, though, backed off that statement, mainly because, as Chiklis stated, Mackey at the beginning of season seven is different than he was in season one. "He's definitely become a guy that understands that there is tremendous consequence, not just for himself but everyone around him, for the decisions that he's made." But Chiklis warned that a "leopard doesn't change his spots."

Interesting. Ryan encourages people to tune in this year, even if they haven't been fans in the past. They brought back some old characters and tied up some old stories, but the show should not be a mystery to new fans, even at this late stage. He even took what he called "a crash course on The Shield" by re-watching all six seasons before launching the seventh.

Hmm. A creator that watches his own show so he doesn't repeat himself. Wonder if any others do that?

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Jeremy

Thanks for the info on Sons of Anarchy. I've been following this one, since I saw a bug or two for it on FX. That's cool you got to see Sagal and Perlman up-close and personal like that. I think the are two solid cast additions to what should hopefully be a great new series...

July 26 2008 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

Awesome write-up, thank you! I can't wait for Damages and The Shield. I wish I hadnt just read that CCH Pounder quote, but hey, it's not like what she intimates would be surprising!

July 16 2008 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan Toomey

Nice write-up Joel. FX can do no wrong these days it seems...

July 16 2008 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jonathan Toomey's comment
Joey Geraci

How about the last two seasons of Nip/Tuck??

Although the absolute awesomeness of the second(/last :( ) season of DIRT somewhat makes up for that. DIRT has got to be the most underrated show of all time.

July 16 2008 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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