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April 23, 2014

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May 2010 Premieres and Specials

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 28th 2010 4:27PM
'Friday Night Lights' / 'The Boondocks'
May is generally the month when the broadcast networks put their latest season to rest. While there are plenty of finales, as we've covered in its own post, that doesn't mean there aren't premieres and specials.

This month, 'Jesse Stone' is back, 'Friday Night Lights' returns to NBC, BBC America brings back new seasons of 'Ashes to Ashes' and 'Gavin & Stacey,' while the long-awaited return of 'The Boondocks' comes to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. FOX is bringing back 'Past Life,' launching a new season of ''So You Think You Can Dance,' and premiering their quirky new police dramedy, 'The Good Guys.'

Why get depressed about what you'll be missing, when there's plenty to get excited about, Don't miss a thing with our May guide.

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TV 101: The TV Watcher's Bill Of Rights

by Jay Black, posted Apr 28th 2010 2:21PM
Little known fact, the kid in this video wound up being the guy who robbed Kal Penn at gunpoint.Our congress has a cute way of handling problems. Instead of actually doing anything about them, what they do is pass a Something Something Bill of Rights.

For instance, when Spirit Airlines recently announced that they were going to charge for the use of overhead storage space on their airplanes (a prelude, of course, to their ultimate plan of stabbing each customer in the throat, then charging for tourniquets), Congress handled the problem by dredging up the old "Passenger's Bill of Rights" idea once again.

Now, some might criticize Congress by saying, "Passenger's Bill of Rights!? We don't even have the actual Bill of Rights on our side when we fly", but those people are missing the point: Bills of Rights only exist to take up space.

As it happens, taking up space is exactly what a columnist needs to do each week as well! So, today marks the beginning of a new series: the TV Watchers Bill of Rights!

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Six Series Spin-Offs I'd See in a Second

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 28th 2010 12:02PM
'Criminal Minds'
With the season coming to a close, the networks are starting to look toward next season. In the case of 'Criminal Minds,' that includes exploring the possibility of a spin-off series. They ran an embedded pilot for it earlier this season, introducing the new cast, and they've already had tremendous success with both 'NCIS' and 'CSI' spin-offs. But whatever happened to the old-school way of creating spin-offs?

'Frasier' was a long-time cast member on 'Cheers' before he headed off to Seattle and sitcom super-stardom. 'The Jeffersons' spent time living next to the Bunkers ('All in the Family') before moving on up. Even as recently as 'Friends,' they spun series co-star 'Joey' off into his own series -- maybe that's when it all went so wrong.

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Chris Colfer on the Whirlwind World of 'Glee'

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 27th 2010 3:05PM
Chris Colfer as Kurt in 'Glee'If there is any character amongst the kids on 'Glee' that's poised for a breakout, it's Kurt Hummel, mainly because of the confident acting of Chris Colfer.

A self-professed theater nerd, the 19-year-old Colfer has been having a ball playing Kurt; but along with all the fabulousness, he's also been doing a good job of making Kurt a multi-dimensional character in his limited screen time.

Colfer is featured in tonight's episode, 'Home,' where Kurt schemes to get closer to Finn by pairing up his single father Burt (played by Mike O'Malley) and Finn's mother. The results backfire a bit, pointing out yet again the difficulties Kurt has of being the gay, musical-theater-loving son of a guy who's more comfortable talking about Tim Tebow than Stephen Sondheim.

Colfer sat down with me last week to talk about the whirlwind that's been 'Glee's' first year, going to visit Oprah and the White House, if he's afraid of a backlash, and the weirdest place he's seen the paparazzi.

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Six "Bad" Sitcoms That Are Actually Good

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 27th 2010 1:29PM
Boy Meets WorldYesterday I did a post where I listed the six sitcoms that even a sitcom lover would hate. So today, how about we look at six sitcoms that are actually good?

The six shows that follow are considered "bad" by whatever television common wisdom a lot of fans use. At best, if you like one of these shows you're supposed to consider them "guilty pleasures," but I like them without categorizing them that way. These are good sitcoms. Not "so bad they're good" good or "oh well I guess they're not the worst sitcoms in history" good, I mean they're just good, and you don't have to feel guilty about liking them.

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Barry Levinson Takes On Jack Kervorkian in 'You Don't Know Jack'

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 23rd 2010 11:05AM
Al Pacino, Jack Kervorkian and Barry Levinson at the premiere of HBO's 'You Don't Know Jack'What does it take to get Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Levinson together for an HBO movie? Only the story of Jack "Doctor Death" Kervorkian.

'You Don't Know Jack,' premiering on Saturday, April 24 at 9PM ET, chronicles the period when Dr. Kervorkian was helping terminally ill patients commit suicide. This includes the 1998 incident where he assisted a patient with ALS and sent the video to '60 Minutes,' which landed him in prison for eight years.

In addition to Pacino, who plays Kervorkian, and Sarandon, who plays his friend and euthanasia advocate Jane Good, the movie also stars John Goodman, Brenda Vaccaro and Danny Huston. Levinson, seen above with Pacino and Kervorkian, produced and directed the movie, the first time he's directed a feature-length movie for television.

The director of 'Rain Man,' 'Good Morning, Vietnam,' 'Wag The Dog,' and other classics spoke to me earlier this week about dealing with the touchy topic of Kervorkian, working with a pro like Pacino, and whether a movie like 'Diner' could ever be made today. His answer to that one is surprising.

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'Chuck' Co-Creator Chris Fedak on "Season 3.2"

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 21st 2010 3:04PM
Zach Levy as 'Chuck'If the last episode of 'Chuck' felt like a season finale... well, it's because it was. The episode was initially supposed to have a thirteen episode season, but NBC decided to order another six episodes. According to Chris Fedak, who co-created the show with Josh Schwartz, the good news came at an opportune time: as they were writing episode thirteen.

In our wide-ranging talk, Fedak and I talked about how the pickup affected the writing process, how the new dynamic between the characters on the show is playing out, if he fears the energy will fizzle, why Tony Hale wasn't around this year, and if he's confident the show will get a season four.

(Warning: Fedak talked fast, so this is a long interview, with a very minor spoiler near the end. But there's a ton of good info for 'Chuck' fanatics, so read and enjoy!)

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Five Possible Jeannies for the Big Screen 'I Dream of Jeannie'

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 21st 2010 1:03PM
barbara_eden_i_dream_of_jeannie
Another week, another story from Hollywood about a beloved TV show being turned into a feature film. Last week it was 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and this week it's ... 'I Dream of Jeannie.' Yes, yes, they've talked about this one before. But that was then and this is now and the Los Angeles Times reports that 'I Dream of Jeannie' is back on with Sheila Callaghan, one of the scribes on 'United States of Tara,' has been handed the assignment. That means whatever the writers from 'National Treasure' and 'Mulan' and 'Bend It Like Beckham' who've taken a swing at it in the past few years weren't able to make it work.

There is an essential problem with 'Jeannie,' as anyone who knows the shows realizes. How do you make the story of a love-crazed, subservient slave-like genie who lives in a bottle and calls her astronaut boyfriend master relevant. That's a tough nut to crack, but maybe casting the role of Jeannie would be a start.

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TV 101: The NFL Can Help the Internet Grow Up

by Jay Black, posted Apr 21st 2010 11:02AM
As American as Mom, Apple Pie, or convincing drunk girls at a Jets game to show you their boobs.Every culture has a coming-of-age ritual. The boys of the Amazon's Satere Mawe tribe aren't considered men until they've worn a glove filled with stinging ants. Among the American Nouveau-Riche tribe, you can't enter adulthood until a minor rap star comes to your sweet sixteen and performs for you in front of MTV cameras. Among my people, the Irish Americans, you can only achieve the full rights of adulthood after you've ruined a Thanksgiving dinner by getting drunk and fighting your father.

The internet is a teenager right now - you can tell because it's always angry and is totally obsessed with seeing Megan Fox naked. The internet needs to grow up with a coming-of-age ritual all its own. And, as much as I'd like to put a glove of stinging ants onto the hands of the people who call me a douche every week in the comments, there's only one real way for the internet to finally achieve adult status ...

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Patrick Stewart Talks About 'Hamlet,' 'Macbeth' and His IT Guy... Wil Wheaton

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 20th 2010 2:02PM
Sir Patrick StewartMost people know the recently-knighted Patrick Stewart from his movie and TV roles, many of which are of the sci fi / fantasy variety. Of course, there's Jean-Luc Picard of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' but there's also Charles Xavier in the 'X-Men' series and the voice of Avery Bullock on 'American Dad.'

But back in his native England, Sir Patrick is just as well known for his Shakespearean work, both on-stage and on the screen. Some of that work will be on display on April 28, when he reprises the role of Claudius (he first played the role on TV 30 years ago) in PBS's production of 'Hamlet' on 'Great Performances.' As Nick mentioned yesterday, the production, with David Tennant in the title role, mixes the classic dialogue with modern dress and settings to give the play a more contemporary feel.

Stewart will also perform in the title role of 'Macbeth' for a similarly-staged production airing on PBS later this year. I sat down with Sir Patrick in January, when he presented at the TCAs; we spoke about the two productions, what his classic training brought to his 'Star Trek' role, his guest turn on 'Extras' and how his first ever IT guy was none other than Wil Wheaton.

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Five Best/Worst Possible 'American Idol' Alumni Mentors

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 20th 2010 11:02AM
The critics have spoken, and most seem to agree that last season's runner-up Adam Lambert did a great job as the celebrity mentor to the Top 9 on this past week's 'American Idol.' We even think he'd make a great judge. But why was Lambert the first 'Idol' alum to be invited back in the capacity of mentor?

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New 'Doctor Who' Matt Smith Looks Forward to a New Era

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 16th 2010 1:01PM
Matt Smith as Doctor WhoTomorrow's new episode of 'Doctor Who' is more than a season premiere (BBC America, 9PM EST). It's the beginning of a new era. Matt Smith steps into the Doctor's shoes, Karen Gillan is the new companion, Amy Pond, and Steven Moffat ('Coupling,' 'Jekyll') takes over as lead writer and executive producer. David Tenant will be a particularly hard Doctor to replace, but Smith hits the ground running, almost literally, arriving on Earth with a malfunctioning Tardis with only 20 minutes to save the planet from obliteration.

Smith, 27, is the youngest actor to take on the Doctor so far, although he points out no actor could ever really get close to the character's age (he's roughly 900 years old). He has been attending screenings in New York and Los Angeles this week, meeting and greeting fans, and trying to swim through an ocean of interviews and press coverage. I caught up with him by phone Thursday shortly after he touched down in L.A.

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TV 101: My Strange Hate For The Word-Of-Mouthers

by Jay Black, posted Apr 14th 2010 11:02AM
That's what all married men look like. Get it, because he's blue? Shut up.'Treme' premiered this week, but I was traveling and couldn't watch it. My plan had been to use HBO Go, but apparently "high speed internet" in Nacogdoches, TX really is just a system of tubes in the ground. The only site I could reliably connect to was a wholesale belt-buckle emporium.

Not seeing the show isn't a worry; 2010 might not have flying cars, but damned if we don't have a plethora of options for watching a show we missed. I'll eventually find it online, on demand, or on one of the approximately 419 identical HBOs that all have different names for some reason.

The only real worry I have is that if I wait too long to watch 'Treme', it'll be 'Friday Night Lights', 'The Wire' or 'Arrested Development' all over again. I'm scared that the word-of-mouthers will find out I'm not watching and they'll start annoying the living hell out of me.

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Four Reasons Why Conan Will Thrive On TBS

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 13th 2010 2:37PM
Coco is with TBS promoIt goes without saying that when Conan O'Brien announced that he had signed with TBS to do a new late night show, mostly everyone who follows these things was shocked. TBS? Didn't they already have George Lopez at 11PM? What happened to Fox, FX and Comedy Central? Is anyone even going to see Conan on cable?

But it didn't take long to realize that going to TBS was the right move for Conan, especially after some of the details of the deal were revealed. In fact, the longer you look at it, the better the deal looks, for these four reasons.

1. Conan will own the show. This is a big one. TBS had no problem letting Conan own his show and just paying him a licensing fee to air it. Fox was never going to allow him to do that. And control was a big deal to Conan, according to The Daily Beast's Peter Lauria, especially after everything he went through with NBC and 'The Tonight Show.'

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Brian Posehn Thinks 'The Sarah Silverman Program' Is Done

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 13th 2010 2:03PM
Brian Posehn on 'The Sarah Silverman Program' Brian, one half of the gay couple Brian and Steve on 'The Sarah Silverman Program,' is a big fuzzy nerd. Which is okay, because that's also the personality of the man who plays him, Brian Posehn.

Posehn is a zombie-loving metalhead, a fan of cartoons and comic books, and a hilarious stand-up comedian. His new album, 'Fart & Wiener Jokes,' is out April 27th, featuring a shirtless, buffed up Posehn on the cover in a heap of comedy carnage (he says he wanted it to look like a Man O' War album).

We almost didn't get to see Brian and Steve again this year. Silverman and Comedy Central were at odds over the show's budget, until the LOGO network came in and threw in more money to make the production possible. Posehn isn't sure there will be a season four, but he's got plenty of other projects on tap (a possible spinoff for Brian and Steve, a faux reality show with party rockers Steel Panther, and a new Cartoon Network show).

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