"There's a certain trial and error process with any creative endeavor," Gordon said in an interview with AOL TV on Wednesday. "It's really a math and business decision married to a creative decision. We could have kept going, but we felt we could learn from our mistakes."
Those mistakes, Gordon said, are not major; he said that the studio and network are "happy" with what they've seen so far. But 'Awake,' which stars Jason Isaacs as a cop whose son is dead in one reality and who finds himself a widower in the other, debuts at mid-season and thus has what Gordon called "the luxury of time." The temporary production halt means that Killen and Gordon can spend those weeks fine-tuning their approach well before the show debuts (probably in January, Gordon said).
The thing is, Masterpiece's 'Case Histories,' which adapts a trio of Kate Atkinson's popular Jackson Brodie novels over the course of three weeks, can't be neatly filed away in the "mystery" category. As is the case with Atkinson's bestselling novels, this thoughtful and well-paced program ranges from the subversive to the sad without losing focus on the emotions of the complex people at the center of the story. Its frequently light tone can turn on a dime to tragedy, and the fact that this version of 'Case Histories' pulls off those transitions so deftly is a minor miracle.
"There is a bit of magical misdirection going on," actor Jason Isaacs, star of Showtime's 'Brotherhood' and NBC's upcoming drama 'Awake,' says of 'Case Histories,' in which he plays the ex-cop Jackson Brodie. "It looks like a crime thriller and it's not that at all. It's a great, big, current anthropological satire. It's full of these rich, boldly etched characters that leap off the page and screen, and they are not from the rag-bag of clichés that a crime thriller is normally made of."
Here's a little backstory: during the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, I gathered a group of my fellow critics and turned on the cameras while we talked all about the best and worst of fall TV, and this one has the most laughs.
I've split our chat into five insightful videos -- best new comedy, best new drama, worst new show and star we're happiest to see on TV (watch all four below), and returning show we're most excited for (posting Friday) -- so check back tomorrow for the last installment.
For now, join me and HitFix.com's Alan Sepinwall, Melanie McFarland from IMDb TV, Damian Holbrook of TV Guide Magazine and AOL TV's own Mo Ryan to find out which stars we're most excited to see on TV.
And watch until the very end for a hilarious (to us, at least) crabby outtake ... anyone else ever sat through 'Simply Irresistible'?
Jason Isaacs is preparing to return to TV screens with the lead role in NBC's new drama pilot, 'REM.'
Isaacs was one of the hottest properties around this pilot season, and he was reportedly offered a half-dozen roles to pick from before plumping for 'REM.' It's described as an 'Inception'-style thriller, which centers on a cop (Isaacs) who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities.
The new drama is the latest creation from 'Lone Star' writer Kyle Killen, and will be exec-produced by former '24' showrunner Howard Gordon. In addition to starring, Isaacs will also serve as producer on the project.
In fact, during any given pilot season, the networks compile a "wish list" of movie stars they'd love to get their mitts on and this year's no different. The Hollywood Reporter details that this time 'round, Oscar nominee Julianne Moore and indie darling Maria Bello rest atop the list for several of the more meaty female roles.
It seems that Moore, who's been dipping her toes into the television pool with a [much-mailgned] guest arc on '30 Rock' would be the dream addition to the Peacock net's take on PBS' long-running 'Prime Suspect.' ABC, too, has its eyes on Moore for its upcoming comedic drama 'Scoundrels' but has also approached Bello and former box office heavyweight-turned-compulsive-tweeter, Demi Moore about the role of a mom who tries to get her family of small-time criminals back on the straight and narrow.
Wahlberg's last Entourage cameo occurred during the show's pilot, when he briefly crossed paths with Vince and the guys. This time around, Wahlberg said that he'd have a scene with Jeremy Piven. I'm already picturing Lloyd drooling in the background.
A big Irish wedding, and Freddie Cork finally makes a move, ordering a hit on pain-in-the-ass Michael (Jason Isaacs), after going back and forth every other week over whether they are friends or enemies. The first surprise is Pete, who appears at the wedding all cleaned up -- this, after the last time we saw him, snorting coke outside an AA meeting with Eileen Caffee (Annabeth Gish). Judging from the selection played at the wedding, music stopped developing around 1983. (Spoiler -- a big one -- after the jump.)
The long-lost father of the Caffee clan shows up to make his miserable family even more miserable.
Pete's still trying to help Eileen along with AA, even holding private sessions for her, since she won't go to a public one. Pete's a little too soft-hearted of late in his management of the teen street dealers for Michael's taste. After a lecture from the elder Caffee brother, Pete falls back off the wagon himself again. Hm, looks like this'll end badly for both Pete and Eileen.
Now that Tommy has worked his way into the second most-important position in the legislature, the Speaker orders him to get a crucial vote on passing the budget. Naturally Tommy's mob ties (by blood anyway, to brother Michael) come into play. And, just as naturally, the vote he needs this time comes from the one representative that last week called Tommy's installation as new party Whip what it was: ward politics at its worst.
This episode is frought with death and betrayal which should have made for some compelling television, but didn't work for me. The past couple episodes have been so good that I found myself expecting more. Well, we do get more, but it's just more of the same. Another dirty deal by Tommy, another attempt at reform and backslide by Eileen, another attempt (and success) by the mob characters to solve problems with violence or cash.
Eileen tries to tough it out alone and go cold turkey. Michael heads down to Jersey on a "milk run" with his old flame, while his mother Rose drives the rest of the family nuts planning a surprise birthday dinner for him. The House of Representatives gets a new Speaker after a scandal, and the power goes straight to his head. He immediately takes $100K away from Tommy's district to push to another. That's politics, but Tommy soon works through his anger to gain some new advantage, even though he has to throw someone under the bus to do it.
Mike Caffee (Jason Isaacs) appears at times a kind of off-kilter Robin Hood, but more and more it's clear he is really an evil Peter Pan. He won't, probably can't, grow-up, and that's one source of his misery. (Spoilers below the jump.)
Family loyalty trumps all again this week. A combination of Mike's littering the neighborhood with counterfeit bills and his slicing off a fellow mob soldier's ear (in the pilot -- who then turned informant) gets the secret service to show up at mama Rose Caffee's Sunday dinner with a search warrent. They toss the house and come up empty. Almost empty anyway, as the particular timing of the search appears to be planned to embarrass state assemblyman Tommy Caffee as much as anything. Though I missed how this is supposed to help the secret service in their investigation of gangster brother Mike Caffee. Maybe the feds are merely headline hungry. Good episode.
Tom Caffee's "hunger and thirst for righteousness," don't seem to give the satisfaction promised in the title quote, and he hardly seems blessed, poor guy.
But this one could have been: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? "(Matthew 16:26) as Tommy slices off yet another piece of his integrity in order to address another political expediency -- this time a garbage strike, the full impact of which is well shown in an effective opening montage.
Series creator, Blake Masters, said (in his interview for the official show podcast) he finds the global politics of The West Wing boring and that the world of local politicians, say, working to get a new park put in their neighborhood, is the really interesting stuff. That's got to be a minority viewpoint.
Series creator, Blake Masters, has spoken about the actors he cast as brothers Tom and Mike Caffee as carrying "the idea they're not boys anymore, that they should know better." This idea comes to the forefront tonight as Tommy and wife Eileen (Annabeth Gish) separately grapple with a couple of the more depressing aspects of adulthood: compromise and hypocrisy. Eileen thinks she might have an STD and gets to feel small and cheap at least three times this week: once as usual when she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror while rendezvousing with her f-buddy at the motel, once when her doctor tells her not to worry -- Tom "would never cheat on her," and once when she jambs a towel under the door of the bathroom, dorm-room style, so she can smoke weed while Tommy sleeps. Being a politician's wife sucks.
Now, I keep going back and forth over which Caffee brother behaved more despicably this week:
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