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September 21, 2014

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HBO and J.J. Abrams team up for medical drama

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 4th 2007 1:44PM

J.J. AbramsJ.J. Abrams is in talks with HBO to direct and executive produce a new medical drama that looks at the toll cancer takes from the patients point of view. This would be the first project that Abrams undertakes with the new mega-contract he signed with Warner Bros. back during the summer. Abrams' own production company, Bad Robot, is part of the contract he signed.

The drama, based on the book The Anatomy of Hope, will be written in part by Tom Schulman -- the same guy who wrote Dead Poets Society and won the Oscar for it.

Seems like Abrams has his hands full lately. I doubt very much he'll have much time to devote to Lost if he's busy directing this new show, executive producing What About Brian, and getting things ready for the eleventh Star Trek movie. This guy is in demand.

[via Hollywood Reporter]

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Dan Rather doesn't mind sharing HDNet with Model Boxing

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 2nd 2007 12:32PM
Dan RatherIt's too bad that I don't have a hi-def TV, because I'm starting to get curious about the dizzying array of programming Mark Cuban is making available on his HDNet network. First, he hired Dan Rather to do in-depth reports on current affairs on the hour-long Dan Rather Reports, and now he has... model boxing! Brett talked about Perfect 10 Model Boxing last month; essentially, it's hot chicks in tiny shorts and tops punching each other. Not much more to say about it than that, other than the fact that the show's sponsor, Perfect 10 magazine, shows nude photos of women that aren't surgically enhanced.

So, how does Gunga Dan feel about sharing a channel with fighting hotties? New York Magazine found out; he doesn't have a problem with it, though he doesn't think he'd watch it in his house. Sure, Dan. I'm sure your mind will change when your wife's away on a long weekend.

[via Mediabistro]

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Some ladies fake an orgasm - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 28th 2006 9:02PM

shakespeareThe title of this post is also a pithy description of my upcoming autobiography -- thank you, you've been a lovely audience!

House band: Ba da bop ba dop bop!

Anyway, the clip after the jump is a scene from My Bare Lady, Fox Reality Channel's series about a bunch of female porn stars trying out for a role in Romeo and Juliet on the London stage. The clip features the women faking orgasms as part of their audition, I assume for the famous "fake orgasm" scene in Romeo and Juliet: "Thou art causing me to climax!"

As I said before, I find it a little condescending that this series implies porn actors aren't real actors. I say they are real actors, just different kinds of actors. It's not so easy to be in the moment and maintain that element of fantasy when a roomful of people are watching you do it. I should know, it's why I'm no longer allowed in the library.

The video is probably NSFW, so click ahead with caution.

[via Digg]

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Will an HD Yule Log feel warmer than the regular one?

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 18th 2006 6:14PM
Yule LogAnyone who lived in the New York area anytime over the last forty years knows that there was one show you were sure to see either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day: The Yule Log, which started airing on WPIX, Ch. 11, in 1966. There really wasn't much to the show; it was a picture of a lit fireplace, and the warm and inviting fire in it burned away as easy-listening versions Christmas songs played in the background. At its longest, the show ran for three hours, though it had gotten trimmed down as time went on.

David Bauder of the AP has a pretty comprehensive article about the history of the Log. Included in the article is the story about how, after Ch. 11 resurrected the Log in 2001 after a 12-year absence, they found the fire footage used from 1970 to 1989 in a film can marked with the title of an episode of The Honeymooners.

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Dexter: Born Free (season finale)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 17th 2006 11:31PM

Rudy, The Ice Truck Killer (Christian Camargo) finally gets to Dexter (Michael C. Hall).

(S01E12) What an absolutely spectacular show. It's going to be a shame if Michael C. Hall doesn't get the Golden Globe because he certainly deserves it. It's funny because at the beginning of the season I said I was going to have a hard time picturing him as anything other than part of the Six Feet Under ensemble. Now that season one of Dexter has come and gone, I can't imagine how Hall ever played the role of David Fisher for five seasons because this is the show I associate him with. He owns this role.

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Sleeper Cell: Reunion (season finale)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 17th 2006 10:07PM

Oded Fehr as Farik and Michael Ealy as Darwyn in 'Sleeper Cell.'

(S02E08) Well that certainly didn't disappoint. Definitely a fitting end to what I think was the best mini-series that aired this year. I think it's pretty lousy that Sleeper Cell wasn't nominated for best mini-series in this year's Golden Globes (it was last year), but at least Michael Ealy got a nod for best actor. Although I am a little torn because Andre Braugher was spectacular in Thief and I loved that show too. But I think Ealy may have the edge because this finale was just phenomenal in every sense of the word.

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Sleeper Cell: Fitna

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 16th 2006 10:33PM

Thekla Reutan as Mina in 'Sleeper Cell.'(S02E07) Wow... I'm not even sure how to react. Absolutely shocking. If it's even possible, I don't know how tomorrow night's finale could even top that. I'm sure it will, but that's a tall order. This was by far the best hour of this entire series up to this point.

All that being said, I'm still going to nit-pick a wee bit. The more I've been thinking about the whole Mina/Gayle thing, it's doesn't make complete sense to me. Why wasn't there a greater sense of urgency when Mina first made contact with Gayle? Russell and Co. decided to take advantage of this budding relationship, but why was it never considered a breach in Darwyn's cover? Technically it was, right? Even though Farik and Karrar had no idea who Darwyn really was, Mina's approaching Gayle should have signaled something to the FBI. Like I said, in retrospect, it just seems a little off to me. Regardless, the way it ended between those two (in the middle of nowhere) was gut-wrenching to watch. Darwyn's job got Gayle killed. How could you ever forgive yourself for that? I don't think I'd be able to.

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Sleeper Cell: School

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 16th 2006 11:29AM

Michael Ealy as Darwyn and Said Taghmaoui as Karrar in 'Sleeper Cell.'

(S02E06) One of the things I love about this show is how they pick simple one word titles (the first season did it too) and the given episode stays committed to portraying that title (a theme really) from everyone's perspective. It's a very cool storytelling technique, the way they expand upon everyone but manage to keep it cohesive. Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and everyone else who has a hand in writing and producing this show deserves a real pat on the back. They've created quite the epic. Entertaining because, well, it is. And scary because... it's real.

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Sleeper Cell: Home

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 15th 2006 12:16PM

Jay Ferguson as Agent Russell in 'Sleeper Cell.'

(S02E05) Sleeper Cell really doesn't quit. It's just keeps moving at you from all angles and once again, things that I never expected happened. For the most part, I think plenty of people have a good sense of predicting what's going to come next in TV and films because often we've seen the same stories and plots told over and over in different ways. Sleeper Cell is just throwing all convention out the window because I keep making guesses that make sense and nothing pans out. I love it because it's genuinely holding my attention as a result.

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Sleeper Cell: Faith

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 13th 2006 10:08PM

Kevin Alejandro as Benny in 'Sleeper Cell.'(S02E04) This is turning out to be quite the mini-series. Plenty of twists and turns that I did not see coming, especially after the way last night's episode turned out. Sleeper Cell has been edgy since the beginning, but it would appear that nothing is off limits now.

The biggest development was Salim's story. I honestly did not expect him to turn out gay. I really thought his story was headed in a direction with Farrah and that their romance would lead to issues later on. I like the twist -- the scene in the gym completely caught be off guard. What I didn't like was how the revelation manifested itself. The entire story of Salim's disgust with the Muslim televangelist was a bit over the top. Not to mention the fact that it felt exactly like the story from last season when Christian killed that visiting scholar. It was the exact same progression. The only difference was that Darwyn was able to stop it this time around. From here on out it would appear that Salim won't be a problem anymore because Darwyn can hold that knowledge of Salim's preferences over his head. Unless Salim tries to revolt and take out Darwyn for good?

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Sleeper Cell: Torture

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 12th 2006 10:03PM

Oded Fehr (Farik) listens to episode director Vondie Curtis-Hall on the set of the Saudi prison.

(S02E03) Speechless. When the idea of television was first conceived, I don't think it was ever expected that it could feel this satisfying. Sleeper Cell is some of the best stuff out there, ranking with only a few other shows currently on and this, the thirteenth episode of the series, may well have been the best one yet. The simplicity of the episode title, "Torture," doesn't begin to describe the pains our characters went through.

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Sleeper Cell: Salesman

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 11th 2006 10:06PM

Omid Abtahi as Salim in 'Sleeper Cell.'(S02E02) This episode perfectly displays what I think most people had problems with during the first season. Sleeper Cell is still spectacular but it can be very uneven at times. I think this is partially the reason that Showtime doesn't air it on a weekly basis because I don't think it would hold the attention of picky television viewers. It's much easier to stay with a show like this when you know it will be completely done in a week's time. Again though, that doesn't mean it's not good. It's beyond good.

Taking the cue from season one episodes, "Scholar" and "Immigrant," this episode basically dealt with one person and what he could offer to the cell (surface-to-air missiles). In question was Hassani, a washed up Pakistani arms dealer who now barely got by in the US by driving a cab and running a tiny halal delicatessen. It was the circumstances surrounding Hassani that made it worth watching.

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Dexter: Truth Be Told

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 11th 2006 12:39AM

Christian Camargo plays Rudy, The Ice Truck Killer on 'Dexter.'

(S01E11) Oh. My. God. This may very well have been a perfect hour of television. Could this show possibly be any better? Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to spend my Sunday nights after next week's season finale. Maybe I'll take up crocheting? Or try watching Brothers and Sisters? Nah... Sally Field freaks me out. Doesn't matter really. Nothing else will compare to Dexter. For those that have doubted Showtime and this show still hasn't sold you on the quality of the network? Man, maybe you should be the one taking up crocheting.

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Sleeper Cell: Al-Baqara (season premiere)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 10th 2006 10:02PM

Oded Fehr stars as Farik in 'Sleeper Cell.'

(S02E01) Sleeper Cell is an incredibly impressive show. The first mini-series which aired a year ago was publicized quietly and didn't garner the attention it deserved until well after it had aired. Hopefully people are listening to the buzz this time around because Sleeper Cell is the closest thing Showtime has to HBO's The Wire. Yeah... it's that good. Visually impressive, rich in dialogue, a host of characters to love and despise. The list goes on. Not to mention the fact that it's topically relevant and due to it's place on a premium cable station, it can address the issues directly -- often to an uncomfortable extent. Something that a similarly themed broadcast network clock-ticking drama unfortunately can't compare to. Trust me. You owe it to yourself to be watching Sleeper Cell.

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Dexter: Seeing Red

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Dec 3rd 2006 11:31PM

Dexter(S01E10) Wow... I am just so in awe of this show. It does everything that good TV is supposed to do. I'm not quite sure how to talk through all of this, but let's get one thing out there: Malcolm-Jamal Warner gained a ton of weight. As much as I enjoyed seeing him guest star as Dexter's lawyer buddy, every time he was in a scene I couldn't stop picturing him tap-dancing in the opening sequence of The Cosby Show. That guy is forever Theo Huxtable.

Moving on, let's talk about blood.

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