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October 13, 2015

Ask Mo: Answering Questions on 'LO:LA,' Sheen, 'Warehouse 13,' 'Chuck' and More

by Maureen Ryan, posted Mar 8th 2011 4:30PM
Thanks for submitting a bunch of great questions here and via email. So let's get to those queries now.

Keith asks: What's going on with 'Law & Order: LA'? I read about cast changes, but the shows been AWOL for some time now.

Mo says: NBC just announced that 'LOLA' is coming back with a two-hour re-premiere April 11. As many fans know, there was quite a bit of cast upheaval in recent months, as well as job changes for the show's characters. So expect some major alterations when the show returns.

Alfred Molina, formerly an assistant district attorney on the show, will now be a detective partnered with Corey Stoll's T.J. Jaruszalski, and Rachel Ticotin will play the detectives' boss, Lt. Arleen Gonzales. The district attorney's office will be represented each week by Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) and 'Law & Order's' Connie Rubirosa (Alana De la Garza). I've gotten some questions about whether NBC will show unaired episodes featuring original cast members such as Skeet Ulrich, who has departed 'LOLA,' but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Lauren asks: I know the future for 'Detroit 1-8-7' looks bleak. Is there even a smidgen of a chance it will return [in the fall]? After checking out the pilot, I came back to the show late and ended up really loving it.
Mo says: I'd love to cheer you up, but alas, I don't want to get your hopes up. TV By the Numbers has a couple of different measures for struggling shows, and according to the site's Bubble Watch and it's Renew/Cancel Index, it's probably curtains for 'Detroit 1-8-7' once the current season ends. Adding to the hurdles faced by the show: ABC now has a new president and for the most part, new executives don't hang on to shows greenlit under a previous regime, especially if they're not doing well. Sorry!

Msshelley02 asks: Please tell me the new 'Battlestar Galactica' show will be awesome. I miss the Colonies of Kobol like cops miss donuts.
Mo says: I know exactly what you're saying. I too am very interested in 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome' (I wrote about the project extensively here, and casting for 'Blood and Chrome' was announced here). But I'm also quite wary, for a number of reasons.

First, 'Caprica,' a BSG prequel series, never quite gelled into a consistently compelling drama, despite a good cast and some good episodes here and there. Secondly, 'Blood and Chrome,' a two-hour movie following the war experiences of young William Adama, is just a backdoor pilot at this stage and it's unclear whether Syfy will turn it into a full-fledged series.

If Syfy executives really like the pilot, they could greenlight a full series before it even airs, or the network could wait to see 'Blood and Chrome's' ratings and order a series if it does well. But right now, there's no word about when 'Blood and Chrome' will air, and the fact is, a potential series order could come a year from now. Most of 'Battlestar's' writers and producers have long since moved on to other projects, thus lining up their services at that point would probably be quite difficult.

'Blood and Chrome' was written by BSG veteran Michael Taylor, which makes me excited about the project, given that he wrote many fine episodes of the show, but there's no word on whether he'll be part of the drama going forward. BSG executive producer David Eick is attached to 'Blood and Chrome,' but he's the only veteran of BSG who has a major, ongoing role in the show (and the possible series). Ron Moore, BSG's executive producer and showrunner, has three other pilots going at various networks, so he's unlikely to have any involvement in 'Blood and Chrome' if it goes to series.

Do I think 'Blood and Chrome' could be good, even without many of BSG's former writers and producers on board? Sure, it's possible. But I have to reserve judgment until I see it. I love the BSG universe too much to get my hopes up at this very preliminary stage.

Rob asks: Last month there was news that Michael Emerson was cast in a CBS pilot produced by J.J. Abrams. What happened to the show that J.J. Abrams was going to make for Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson? Is this on hold [until we hear whether] CBS picks up Emerson's new show?
Mo says: Yes. 'Odd Jobs,' the pilot that was to have starred O'Quinn and Emerson of 'Lost,' is on hold for now. Emerson was recently tapped to play a mysterious (Ben Linus-like?) billionaire who helps an ex-CIA agent fight crime in New York. If that pilot doesn't get picked up, presumably 'Odd Jobs' might be revived at some point down the road.

Cindy asks: Have you any experience with the 'Friday Night Lights' DVDs since the DirecTV/NBC deal? I was shocked to read that they have only the shorter NBC versions of the episodes and [different music in some cases].
Mo says: I have not been purchasing the seasons of the show since the DirecTV deal came about. According to my go-to DVD source, TV Shows on DVD, the third season had the shorter NBC episodes and some music alterations, so I didn't pick it up. I can't speak to the content of the fourth season, but I did contact a Universal Home Entertainment representative, who said that the fifth and final season, which will be released on DVD April 5, will have the longer DirecTV versions of episodes.

I also asked if a Complete Series DVD set was in the works, but at this point, there's no date set for that kind of release. I'm hoping Complete Series set comes out this year: It'll certainly simplify my holiday shopping (assuming seasons 3, 4 and 5 contain the longer DirecTV episodes).

Riffcar asks: Is there any way to catch the new season of 'Damages' if you don't have DirecTV? Will it be online? Will it be on DVD?
Mo says: A DirecTV rep says that episodes of the fourth season, which arrives in July, won't be put online. There will be a season 4 DVD release at some point after that season of 'Damages' ends on DirecTV. For more details on the upcoming season of the show, look here.

Kim asks: I'm tired of talking about this guy, and you're probably tired of talking about this guy, but... Charlie Sheen? Why so crazy? Seriously, though. You've met some star-type peeps. Do you think Charlie represents a fair number of celebs who feel that level of grandiose bravado, but because of a lack of insanity/drug dependency/WTF-ness, the presence of civility or the presence of a publicist who pulls in the reins, they know how to play the game and not be themselves?

I've got no problem with, and I understand, celebs wanting to maintain a somewhat public persona separate from their personal lives -- it's probably healthier that way -- but I'd hate to think there was a huge night and day difference.

Have you ever been rudely awakened by discovering someone you admired really wasn't who you thought they'd be? Maybe not the level of crazy as Charlie, but were you ever disappointed [that an interviewee] wasn't a nice person? In your job, do you have to maintain a separation between church and state, so to speak, so that your opinion of a person doesn't sway your enjoyment of a show?

Mo says: Wow, there are a lot of good questions in there. First off, I'm glad I don't live in L.A. Well, not so glad at the tail end of a Chicago winter, but I love television too much to live in a place where I might hear a lot of gossip about the people who work on the shows I watch. Don't get me wrong, I love visiting L.A. and it's a joy to get to talk to the people who make my favorite shows. But for me, it's good to have some distance from the industry. Even as someone who covers TV from Chicago for the most part, I do hear things about people and yes, it can affect the way I view their work or certain shows. It's rare, but it happens.

Personally, I've had a few unpleasant run-ins here and there, but very few. Those kinds of situations are also much rarer than you might think.

The fact is, if someone has risen to the level of being a series regular on a TV show, they're probably a decent actor -- decent enough to keep it together during a 20-minute interview with a media person. Having said that, I don't think everyone who talks to the media is acting -- far from it. Sometimes you get the sense that the interviewee doesn't like doing press or is very nervous. But for the most part, my experience with television writers, producers and actors has been very pleasant and they've been genuine and, well, nice.

Generally speaking, people are glad that their shows are being written about and even if doing a lot of press leaves them worn out on a particular day, the people I've spoken to have been gracious and informative. I so wish I had some dirt to dish, but I really don't. This doesn't make for a good tabloid headline, but most people I've dealt with in the TV industry have been focused, professional and generous. Then again, I've never interviewed Charlie Sheen (and trust me, I have no regrets on that score).

Do I think there are some folks who are much meaner to subordinates, employees and a show's staff than they are to members of the media? Sure. Are there some lunatics, divas and arrogant jerks in the mix? Sure. Are there people who simply don't like doing interviews and aren't forthcoming? Sure. But for the reasons you noted in your email, people are generally able to pull it together when dealing with the press.

At a certain level of celebrity, nobody can rein in the star: Witness the meltdowns of Mel Gibson and Sheen, among many others. Fortunately for me, I don't deal with stars who are on that level, and I'm totally fine with that.

Now, I do have a very short list of people I will never talk to again under any circumstances. I don't mind people taking issue with what I've written, and I've had my share of difficult post-interview conversations or fraught email dialogues over the years -- and 99.9 percent of the time, those dialogues remained civil. But two different showrunners were rude, unkind and hurtful in their dealings with me. Stars aren't the only ones who can act like foolish brats when their egos are insufficiently glorified.

No, I will never tell you who the people on my list are. But let the guessing games begin!

(Just to get this out of the way, Brad Wright is not one of the showrunners on that list. I have no problems whatsoever with Brad, and I wish him all the best, truly. If anything, I'm grateful to him for starting a very interesting dialogue with 'Stargate' fans via a comment left on my old site.)

Warehouse13 fan asks: Was Joanne Kelly pushed off 'Warehouse 13' or did she choose to leave? If pushed, why? The new lineup is now heavily male.
Mo says: I'm not too worried. Kelly's character, Myka Bering, did quit at the end of season 2, and a rep for the show would only say that "fans will have to tune in this summer to see what happens." It's true that Aaron Ashmore has joined 'Warehouse 13' as a series regular, but I personally am guessing (and, again, this is just a guess) that Myka will be back.

Bill asks: With the Chuck/Sarah wedding likely this season, any word of if we will get to meet Sarah's mom or will her family only consist of Gary Cole? I'd love to see Cheryl Ladd cast as Sarah's mom. [Is] the sister she mentioned in 'Chuck Versus The Wookiee' real or just a cover story? Will we find out about her?
Mo says: I did speak to 'Chuck' executive producer Chris Fedak recently, and though he did talk a bit about Sarah's mom in the interview, it didn't sound like introducing her was going to be a priority for the current season. Of course Fedak could have been faking me out, but at this point I'm going to take him at his word. I did want to ask him about potential Sarah siblings, but the interview was brief and we didn't get around to that subject.

Personally, I think it'd be fun to find out more about Sarah's mom and possible siblings next season, if there is another season. There'd be more time to explore her backstory in depth at that point, and I think your idea of casting Cheryl Ladd sounds just about perfect.

Chris asks: I trust the 'Supernatural' writers, but I can't figure out who the ultimate threat for the season finale will be. Any thoughts?
Mo says: I wondered about that same topic in my most recent weekly review of the show. Will it be the Mother of All? The Wall in Sam's mind? Will there be a climactic angel battle? Who knows. So far the Mother is shaping up to be the Big Bad at the end of the season, but I'm guessing we won't really know much until the show returns in April.

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While I'm pretty sure the S4 DVDs are still the extended cuts, the music has still been replaced. While most of it works, the one most obvious replacement was Jose Gonzalez's cover of "Teardrop" from "A Sort of Homecoming," which was replaced with a soundalike.

That depressed me greatly, and on a meta level instead of an emotional one like the scenes that accompany that music.

March 11 2011 at 8:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not going to guess who the 2 people you won't deal with are because when I started reading, I was positive Brad Wright would be one and I would not blame you. He has been pretty nasty to Stargate fans who didn't go ga-ga for Universe and IMO the decision to halt the SG-1 & Atlantis movies is nothing more than him sticking it to us one more time.

March 09 2011 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cindy Scholz

Thank you very much for answering my question about the FNL-DVDs and reaching out to Universal. I'm very happy, that the S5 DVDs will have the DirectTV-Versions.

March 09 2011 at 3:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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