Cable Grab Bag: A New 'Teen Wolf,' TLC's 'Sister Wives' and David Cross' 'Todd Margaret' - TCA Report
by Joel Keller, posted Aug 7th 2010 5:30PM
The cable days at TCA are always a mixed bag. You ping pong from one room to another, viewing the wares of various cable networks that vary as widely as those channels themselves. At one point, you're shivering at the creepiness of yet another TLC voyeuristic series, then you're laughing at the antics of David Cross and The Kids in the Hall, then you're seeing the super-tanned cast of 'Jersey Shore.'
Friday's panels were all over the map, but there were some interesting moments. Some highlights:
-- Before bringing out Snooki and crew, MTV presented panels for a new American version of 'Skins,' about urban teenagers and all the sex, drugs and clubbing that they do, and a panel for a "re-imagined" version of 'Teen Wolf.' The critics were skeptical of both remakes, but the 'Teen Wolf' remake got much of the group annoyed. The only thing in common with the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie is the name of the main character, Scott Howard. In reality, the show is more serious, like 'Vampire Diaries' or 'Twilight.' Scott doesn't even play basketball; he plays lacrosse. So why call it 'Teen Wolf?'
"Personally, this was my exact question when I first met with MTV and they said, "We have 'Teen Wolf.' We are thinking of remaking it,'" said executive producer Jeff Davis. "But the question really is - A, it's a basketball movie, and, B, it's a comedy. And I said to them, "Is that the kind of movie you want to make?" And they said, "No. We want to reinvent it for modern audiences, but we want to use the same - the same kind of themes of a teenager exploring new-found powers and take the metaphor of a werewolf a little bit further, a little edgier, a little sexier."
Sounds like a bad network marriage of a name to a concept, especially because the people who loved the movie are too old to be this show's target audience, and the show's target audience has never heard of the movie. So why bother? "Well, you can easily ask the same question of 'Battlestar Galactica,' which became one of my favorite TV shows," says Davis. "I loved the original version, and I love the new version. And there are similarities."
-- Earlier in the day, TLC presented one of the creepiest panels I've seen in my trips here, for their new reality series 'Sister Wives,' which follows a Utah man with four wives, and the huge blended family those unions have generated. The husband, Kody, spent the entire panel with a grin on his face, knowing that he was surrounded by women who were dedicated to him. Polygamy is illegal in Utah, but technically Kody is only married to one of his wives. Still, "We knew there were risks, but we feel like this story, for the sake of our entire family, is an important one to tell," says Janelle, one of the wives. When I mentioned how it looked like a man and his dominion, Kody said, "It's their dominion"
-- David Cross started his IFC panel for 'The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret' by defusing any 'Arrested Development' movie talk. "I have no idea if there is going to be a movie, but I'm definitely - everyone is up for it." The comedy was produced and shot in the UK, but with American talent like Cross and Will Arnett mixed in. Cross plays Margaret, who is sent over to England to sell energy drinks and makes one poor choice after another. He and co-writer Shaun Pye have three seasons planned out, for the most part.
The limited UK seasons, as well as the show's structure, were appealing to Cross. "That was one of the things that was attractive to me about the show is like - and I think probably the biggest, most blatant difference about this show, as opposed to a lot of other comedy shows, is it's telling a story, it has a beginning, middle, and an end." he said. "And I know what the end is. And every episode takes place the next day."