Press Kits Unwrapped
One of the pleasures of blogging here at TV Squad is getting a press kit from a network to promote a new or returning show. Sometimes it's just a folder with a screener. Sometimes it's a cornucopia of doo-dads and tchotchkas that might be cool. I've seen some reviewers build an entire wardrobe from press kit tee-shirts, hoodies and caps. So, it was with real excitement -- like the anticipation of a birthday gift -- when Fedex turned up with NBC Entertainment Publicity's big box of promotion for Chuck.
With just a little over a month before the season eight premiere of 24 (it returns for a two night/four hour event on Janurary 17th and 18th), Christmas came early here at TV Squad this week when we received the new 24 press kit.
The above promotional image for the new season is enough to get us excited -- Jack Bauer jumping on top of an NYC cab and aiming a gun at the passenger seat is pretty damn exciting -- but just like the cast photo for the new season, it could contain some secrets as well. Thinks there's any weight to the word "PLOT" on the folded New York Post? I'm guessing there is, but the press kit didn't offer any answers.
Lie to Me is not a show that grew on me last season. When it first premiered earlier this year, I didn't even bother watching it. I tend to shy away from mid-season replacements to begin with and something about seeing Tim Roth speaking in his normal British accent in promos for the show seemed weird to me.
Then summer arrived, TV viewing options started to dwindle, and suddenly Lie to Me became a viable option. I watched the pilot, was mildly amused, and then dropped it for over a month before I looked at another episode. At first, it wasn't that great, and now that I've had the opportunity to speak to Roth about it, it's good to know that I wasn't alone in thinking that.
But FOX and its cable sibling FX are still plugging away, sending expensive-looking press kits to promote their shows. While FX is content with sending elaborately-packaged folders with DVDs and a glossy press guide, their broadcast cousins are still sending tchotchke-laden packages, like the one I got for the new season of House. An explanation, and more pics, after the jump.
FX's press kit for the forthcoming second season of Sons of Anarchy has none of these things. There are no bloody brass knuckle sets, fake handlebar mustaches or even a lousy T-shirt that reads "The bitch fell off" on the back, perfect for that upcoming christening or bar-mitzvah.
That doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, it's one of the most bitching press kits to ever grace my cold, ink-stained hands.
But FOX, bless its heart, still sees fit to blanket critics with goodies. Take the press kit I just got that contained episodes two and three of Glee, which restarts on September 9. With the DVD came this warm-up jacket, with the FOX logo and "National Cheerleading Champs 2009" on the front, and "Sylvester" on the back ("Sylvester" is the last name of Jane Lynch's character on the show).
I was told by those in the know (namely, my fiancee), that the warmup was "very soft." So, I guess she'll be wearing this around the house if she gets cold. More pics are after the jump.
I don't know about you guys, but I've been super-excited about the premiere of Mitch Hurwitz's new animated show, Sit Down, Shut Up. It seems like I've been hearing about it forever, but it finally premieres this Sunday night on Fox. Recently, the screener came up for grabs, so naturally I jumped at it. What I didn't realize is that I would be getting the whole press kit with it.
All press kits are not created equal: I'd definitely enjoy a talking Barney bobblehead from How I Met Your Mother, but a busted picture of Eliza Dushku's face from Dollhouse really wouldn't do a whole lot for me. The press kit for Sit Down, Shut Up is kind of low-rent, but it is for a Mitch Hurwitz show on FOX. The low-rated Arrested Development didn't exactly make FOX a boatload of cash while it aired, so they're probably waiting to see how the ratings go for this one before they shell out any more dough on fancy tschotkes for the press.
Let's just get this out of the way: My Boys isn't a very good show. Calling it mediocre is even going too far. However, I can't be the only one that's watching it, because the TBS sitcom is already a few episodes into its third season. That's right - My Boys has actually been somewhat of a minor success for TBS, partially due to some wise scheduling. Save for the first half of season one, My Boys is always on during the spring and summer months when - surprise - there isn't much else to compete with. The show might not be great, but hey, new TV is better than no TV.
For the sake of full disclosure, let me mention that our editor-in-chief Joel had the package first because he desperately needed to watch the premiere the moment he got it (as someone who is anticipating the series, I understand completely). The package was opened and re-packaged by the time it got to me. That being said, it still didn't look anywhere near as cool as the 24 press kit that Jonathan reviewed. It did have one or two saving graces, though.
As if you haven't heard it enough from all of us here at TV Squad, one of the best perks by far of the TV critic biz is getting to see episodes before they air. DVD screeners are always pouring into the TV Squad HQ for just about everything - usually all the shows nobody wants to, or ever will, watch.
But when one of the big ones comes in the mail, it's always exciting. Especially since the networks typically go all out when it comes to the press kits for those trademark shows. These are always more than just a DVD. Sometimes the extra bonuses are good and sometimes they're bad - I still have no use for my incredibly dull Prison Break pocket knife.
Even still, whether the press kits are loaded with junk or not, it's a thrill to open them up. Last week, I found an interesting package on my doorstep. Take a look after the jump for pictures of what I found inside.
When I got a knock on the door yesterday morning from the FedEx guy, I got all excited because I thought it was a pair of Cubs tickets that I bought for an upcoming trip I'm taking to Chicago. But when I looked down, I saw a black box. When I turned it over, the box had the label you see above. It's a press kit for TNT's returning hit The Closer, and it shows star Kyra Segdgwick guiltily nibbling on a bunch of cookies. The tag line on the label is "Everyone has something to confess..." Hmm. Interesting. Obviously this label held some strong clues as to what I would find in the box. So I cut the sealing tape, opened it up, and found what I suspected would be in the package...
Sometimes the Squadders have enjoyed the press kits that have come to us; our dearly departed colleague Adam Finley always had a grand time finding interesting uses for the "swag" (I hate that term) that he has gotten from the networks. But sometimes, things come in that just stand on their own and end up in a proud place on a Squadder's desk.
Case in point is a promotional item CBS sent to us to promote How I Met Your Mother: a talking Barney bobblehead. Audio is after the jump.
You thought we were done with press kit reviews, didn't you? No sir, not in the new television world of hundreds of channels and year-round original programming. As winter approaches you may see more reviews as the fall season makes way for the mid-season premieres. Just fair warning to you all.
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