For the networks, the month of May means just one thing: Sweeps -- the time of year where the Big 4.5 networks pull out all the stops to end their seasons with high ratings and, hopefully, increased ad revenue.
For ABC, this is a particularly important Sweeps period. Not only are a number of renewed freshman and sophomore series ending in the next few weeks, but the network's flagship program -- 'Lost' -- is completing its long and complicated run. Needless to say, they've packed the schedule with guest-stars, trips to exotic locales, and a return of 'The Bachleorette.'
As mentioned, the series finale of 'Lost' is big doings. On Sunday, May 23rd, the network will air a two-hour 'Lost Recap Special' starting at 7:00 p.m. followed by the last episode at 9:00 p.m.. To the cap the night off, Jimmy Kimmel will interview the creators and cast of 'Lost' on a special Sunday edition of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.'
More highlights can be found after the jump. Be warned: minor spoilers ahead.
(S01E18) Dyson Frost is a bad man. He's been doing stuff related to the flashforwards for years now. The whole situation is far more complicated than we ever imagined, and yet almost everyone we've met who's a part of whatever was behind the global incident seems to be a reluctant participant.
Certainly Gabriel (James Callis) was reluctant to be as involved as he was. It's not clear what his mental state was before the blackout, though we know he's a savant and was already hospitalized, but he's agitated, nervous and very frustrated right now. Perhaps that comes from knowing too much.
On 'Lost,' he broke viewers' hearts as heroin-addicted musician Charlie Pace, sacrificing himself in the show's third season finale. Now, he's on yet another ABC sci-fi series 'FlashForward' as misunderstood physicist Simon Campos, who may be partially responsible for a global disaster.
Monaghan talked to TV Squad yesterday about 'Lost's' series finale, the physics of 'FlashForward' and his other artistic pursuits. The actor also recently starred in a short film that was written, produced and crewed entirely by teenagers for the "Fresh Films" project, which you can watch and vote for on their web site until May 3.
Though it sounds like he's staying pretty busy, the 33-year-old Brit goes into surgery today for a broken foot, which will lay him up for at least a couple of weeks. But don't worry; he's got big plans for his down time: lots and lots of football.
Some nice plot threads were woven together, which should make for some interesting drama as we continue hurtling toward our April 29 deadline. It was nice to see Aaron Stark pulled back into the saga, along with a continued focus on Jericho. I still haven't figured out how they're connected to everything just yet, but it should be fun watching Stark try and find out.
The enigmatic Dyson Frost surprised me by taking a far more active and present role in the events of the episode than I would have ever expected. I was anticipating this mysterious shadowy figure making cryptic statements in the background to confound and frustrate Mark, and us. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Here's tonight's TV lineup (all times Eastern). All shows listed are new, unless otherwise noted.
8:00 to 9:00
CBS: 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
The CW: 'The Vampire Diaries'
History: 'Modern Marvels' -- History of everything delivery
9:00 to 10:00
The CW: 'Supernatural' -- 100th episode
NBC: 'Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again' -- Two hours. Retrospective on the last 10 years of 'SNL'
A&E: 'The First 48'
HBO: 'Treme: Beyond Bourbon Street' -- Making of the new HBO series
National Geographic: 'Secret History of the Atom Bomb'
TLC: 'Police Women of Maricopa County'
10:00 to 11:00
A&E: 'Fugitive Chronicles'
Bravo: 'The Real Housewives of New York City'
Food Network: 'Ace of Cakes'
Lifetime: 'Project Runway'
MTV: 'Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew'
National Geographic: 'Known Universe'
Playboy: 'Dropout Delinquents' -- Now, don't look at me that way
TLC: 'LA Ink'
11:00 to Midnight
Bravo: 'Watch What Happens: Live'
Lifetime: 'Models of the Runway'
Midnight to 1:00
Comedy Central: 'The Sarah Silverman Program' and 'Important Things With Demetri Martin'
Check your local TV listings for more information. After the jump, the late night talk shows.
It's a bit of a blow for me to find out that the characters won't be reaching their April 29 flashforward moments on the April 29 episode. I was looking forward to the synchronicity, and it at least gave me hope that I would know what day it was in the show for a moment. That hiatus has shifted things back, and now we don't know when the characters will meet their dates with destiny.
What we do know is that while Mark seems to be taking big steps toward helping his flashforward come true by moving out of the house, at least one major character seems to be doing everything in his power to thwart his.
(S01E14) With this week's episode, 'FlashForward' started to remind me a little of some of the more intriguing moments early on in 'Lost.' It's a risky comparison to find itself in, because 'Lost' is poised to be one of the greatest long-form narratives in the history of television.
Plus, with a series name that reminds people of one element of 'Lost,' even if the book that 'FlashForward' was based on did precede the island mystery saga, and with Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger in the cast, does it really need to keep reminding people of a show it probably can't stand neck-and-neck with?
Regardless, though, once again 'FlashForward' took some important steps forward in its narrative, while Mark continued taking stupid steps backwards because ... well, he is still Mark Benford.
Fans of 'V' should be worrying right about now. With all the promotion ABC has put behind their re-toolings of both 'FlashForward' and 'V,' it's not very encouraging that 'FlashForward returned to even lower numbers than when it left, before quickly slipping even lower to its worst ratings yet.
The real question is why. Did no one have faith that ABC could turn the show around and get it back on track? When did we become so cynical? Plenty of television series have gone through rough starting periods before turning into great shows. I'm not saying 'FlashForward' is suddenly the greatest show on television, but it's vastly improved over its slow and meandering first half.
The two-hour mid-season premiere was epic and fantastic, so I wanted to wait until after the second episode to see how the new 'FlashForward' was going to look. While it was scaled back to the more personal stories again, I again felt that sense of foreboding and tense anticipation that a premise like this should have.
We even updated the status of Janis' ongoing attempt to ensure her vision of herself very pregnant does indeed come true. But while much of the first half of the season seemed to get mired in these personal stories, to the detriment of the overall suspense, everything is coming together so much cleaner now. I only hope it's not too late.
Flash forward to 2011 and you'll probably see that 'FlashForward' isn't on ABC's schedule. That's the only thing that one can think after last night's episode. The show returned after several months off the air and was greeted by a huge yawn from viewers. It got the lowest ratings yet, down 10% from the last episode that aired.
In happier news (well, for NBC, not ABC), 'The Marriage Ref' is actually getting better ratings-wise. It was up 8%. I watched last night's episode with Jason Alexander, Martha Stewart, and Cedric The Entertainer and I didn't hate it. I see now what they're going for, and it's entertaining to a point (depending on the celebs they get and the marriage problems presented). It just doesn't seem like a show I can watch every week, and I bet a lot of viewers have that feeling.
THR puts 'Community' in the safe category, giving it a 90% chance of renewal. It also put 'Chuck' in the 90% category.
Joe Adalian wrote about bubble shows on The Wrap, and he has 'Chuck' slam-dunking another renewal out of NBC. The surprises on his list was a death blow for 'Gary Unmarried' and 'Rules of Engagement.'
Really? That's not a certainty considering that 'Rules' hasn't even aired yet. It did well in the ratings last spring, enough to be a midseason renewal. And 'Gary' has performed on par with 'The New Adventures of Old Christine,' which has a good shot at being renewed.
There are many ways to tell if there's something wrong with a show. Ratings drop, a big star leaves the show, baby is added to get attention, etc, etc. Another way to tell something isn't right is if the show (particularly a new one) goes through showrunners like, well, like I go through Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Take 'FlashForward'. First showrunner Mark Guggenheim left the production and earlier this week David Goyer left. Now comes word that Goyer has been replaced.
TheWrap.com reports that Goyer has been replaced with three people: Lisa Zwerling, Jessika Borsiczky, and Tim Lea will be in charge of the show. But who knows if this show will see a second season. They've made some mistakes creatively, ABC has cut the episode order a bit, and it just seems like one of those shows whose mystery can be wrapped up in one season (the big event happens to coincide with the season finale, which could work out well).
[Catch up on 'FlashForward' at SlashControl before the show returns on March 18.]
First, the show shut down production for a week to work out some creative issues (that's code for ABC execs not liking where the story was going). Then the drama's initial showrunner, Mark Guggenheim, got outta Dodge. And then, ABC announced an early DVD release for the first half of the season before it resumes its 23-episode freshman run in March. But wait -- there's more! Don't forget that ABC cut the episode order too. The first season was supposed to be 25 installments long.
Well, the bad news keeps on coming as Variety is reporting that Guggenheim's replacement, David Goyer, is also stepping aside.
Here's an interesting tactic: releasing a DVD set for a show smack dab* in the middle of the first season.
Disney/ABC has announced that they will release FlashForward: Volume 1 on February 26. That's "Volume 1" and not "Season 1," because the season isn't over yet. This release will come a week before the show returns to the network on March 4 to finish out the first season (with the big event that affects the entire world happening on April 10).
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