It's the end of an era -- or at least the end of an excellent, and sadly underwatched, show, one that took more risks and offered more insight into the human psyche than most series could even dream of.
And though 'United States of Tara' suffered an unexpected cancellation after filming for Season 3 was completed, I still found myself satisfied by the way the loose ends were tied up, even though I would've gladly seen the show continue for many years to come if the TV gods answered to me instead of eroding ratings.
I hate to say it, but the penultimate episode of 'United States of Tara' felt a little bipolar to me, no pun intended.
The season was completed long before the show's cancellation was announced, but the episode still had a frantic, breathless quality that made me feel like the writers were rushing to tie up loose ends but hadn't left themselves enough time to do it, as if they needed 13 episodes instead of 12 to get themselves to the finish line.
Perhaps it's because I had the benefit of receiving screeners of the whole season at once, and I blew through them as rapidly as Bryce picked off Tara's other alters, unable to quite help myself.
When watching episodes back to back, seeing Marshall dramatically leaving home for parts unknown at the end of one episode and then winding up right back under the same roof ten minutes later at the beginning of the next felt a little anticlimactic. Watching the Bryce storyline build up to its climax, on the other hand, was anything but.
When a literal "train wreck" pales in comparison to a metaphorical one, you know you're having a bad day. But two crises for the price of one is just another day at the office on 'United States of Tara,' and as we approach the series finale, things are escalating far past a little harmless attempted murder by shellfish. Bryce Craine has made himself nice and cozy inside Tara, and he clearly doesn't intend to leave without a fight.
Toni Collette's physicality is revelatory -- she's never looked more unattractive than she does as Bryce (and I mean that as a compliment), unafraid to look unglamorous and even a little monstrous at times for the sake of the character.
I truly hope she receives some awards recognition for the show's last season; the role has been a true tour de force for her, the likes of which most actresses will never encounter.
Seven days ago, I expressed some thoughts about how the once-again extended life of 'Chuck' had possibilities, but also potential roadblocks as well. Last week's episode functioned not only as an end to the Volkoff arc, but in many ways the show itself.
It makes sense, in that it was designed as such back when the producers didn't know if that would be the series' swan song. But with the show's death sentence staved off again, could 'Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible' be anything other than a letdown after the nearly pitch perfect way in which so many things ended last week?
In a nutshell? Yes. How? By changing the pitch of the show or, rather, its tone. So much of the past two seasons has consisted of the increasing burden placed upon the show's titular hero, layered on ounce by ounce, week after week. The individual elements were almost imperceptible, until one day the show woke up to find our favorite Nerf Herder weighed down like Atlas, dragging the entire show down in the process with him. 'Chuck' never truly abandoned its comedic elements, but had a difficult time inserting old-school humor into a show that couldn't decide if it was a breezy spy show, a melodramatic soap opera, or an operatic family drama.
Welcome back to 'Bones.' When we last left our intrepid and socially awkward forensic anthropologist, also known as Dr. Temperance Brennan, she was going through a bit of an identity crisis after working on a body whose profile nearly mimicked her own life. This week, her roller coaster ride with Booth seemed to continue as Seeley decides to let Hannah in on some well-kept secrets.
However, just as viewers thought the ride was about to plunge down a deep, dark hole, Temperance came about and made a decision that could change how we look at her relationship with Booth.
But, in the event they wanted to start the season with Chuck's Mom making an appearance, allow me to offer a few suggestions on possible actresses to cast in the role. These are in no particular order except for the last one.
The show remains a near perfect blend of character, comedy, drama and emotion to me. So, when I read this morning that Amy Sherman-Palladino is doing aproject at HBO about a mother-daughter relationship, I let out a "yeah."
True, true, true, Amy's last show was the disappointing sitcom -- hell, call it like it was, dreadful -- The Return of Jezebel James at Fox. No excuses. It was a mess. Still, I'm more than willing to give this writer another chance to soar again.
One of the big questions I have is if Teller will talk. I suspect that he won't, even though we all know he can. He doesn't during their work together because it creates more humor that way with Penn blabbing on and on. If this is supposed to be loosely based on their real lives, though, wouldn't he talk once the stage show ends?
However, since this is still a Penn & Teller "show," I'm sure he'll stay silent. There's a lot of sight gags they can do with a silent Teller and a chatty Penn. I've enjoyed the guest stints they've had on other shows, and think they're one of the most entertaining acts in the world, so I'm intrigued.
Rex Is Not Your Lawyer is a dramedy about an anxiety-filled lawyer who pushes his clients to represent themselves in court because he just can't handle it. NBC has given a pilot order to Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, which could just as easily be them wanting to know how the hell the creators are going to make this work.
Rex is a project from the winners of Bravo's 2005 competition series Situation: Comedy: actor Andrew Leeds and novelist David Lampson. The fact that it's an hour-long series means it's probably going to take its legal side at least somewhat seriously, marrying comedy and legality much the same as Boston Legal and Ally McBeal have done.
Amber Tamblyn, pictured right with Ugly Betty's America Ferrara, has just signed to star in ABC's pilot The Unusuals. The show, a one-hour dramedy, is set in a Manhattan and will feature Tamblyn as a police officer whose choice of profession has made her the black sheep of her wealthy family. Tamblyn will play Casey Shraeger, a newly transferred homicide detective who learns that her fellow officers have quirks and secrets.
TV Squad reported last week that Lost's Harold Perrineau will be joining The Unusuals as well. The former castaway plays a detective who never takes off his bullet proof vest because he's terrified of being shot. Perrineau and Tamblyn are joined by Monique Curnen whose credits include The Dark Knight and Adam Goldberg from HBO's Entourage.
You can see Amber Tamblyn in theatres soon; she's back for a second installment of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
In particular, House is a show that has definite, purposefully comedic elements, yet the drama portions of the show are quite heavy-handed and serious. But are Hugh Laurie's House antics enough to slide the category meter over to make this show a dramedy?
You know how it is when you're visiting your parents and one of them suddenly tells you that on the day of your birth they sold your soul to Satan? I tell you, that's something you never forget, and it's also the premise of a new series for the CW called Reaper. The pilot will be directed by indie filmmaker Kevin Smith and will begin shooting in Vancouver next month.
The series was created by Michele Fazeka and Tara Butters, former writers and story editors for shows such as Ed, Law and Order: SVU and The X Files. The new series, in which twenty-one year old Sam Oliver must pay his debt to Satan by hunting down souls escaped from Hell, is being described as a dramatic comedy.
This new show could actually be really cool, though I must say that if you're the most powerful evil force in the universe you should be able to create a domain from which no soul can escape. What kind of contractors does Satan have working for him, anyway?
[via TV Filter]
And let me predict what you're going to say in the comments section:
"Studio 60 isn't funny!"
"Studio 60 should be canceled!"
"Studio 60 sucks!"
Only that last one will probably be spelled SUX, in hip web/AOL lingo.
The Emmys are thinking about making a "dramedy" category, for shows that fall in between comedies and dramas. Shows like the above two I mentioned plus Grey's Anatomy, Boston Legal, and Ugly Betty.
I know a few writers who think creating parallels between characters or storylines is a cheap, sorta lazy tactic, but I love it. Juxtaposing characters and letting them play out similar themes in separate storylines is always satisfying to me. The show has contrasted Wilhelmina and Betty effectively in the past, but the series' real core involves the parallel arcs of Daniel and Betty. They're both young, in new positions at Mode, have trying family situations and are romantically-challenged. They have the greatest potential to learn from one another - Daniel about family and Betty about her capacity as an independent, professional woman.
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