ABC made a solemn vow to bring back more hit, half-hour sitcoms to the airwaves starting with the new TV season, according to Variety.
The network's heads made their announcement at last week's Television Critics Association gathering.
It's that time of year again, isn't it? That brief period between the humongous holidays of Halloween and Christmas that television and retail outlets have forgotten about. I talk about Thanksgiving, of course. The holiday of football games, unbuttoned pants, family arguments, and giant Snoopy balloons. It is also the time to give thanks.
Thanks for what? Well, we aren't trading chickens for a gallon of gas yet, so that's something. And, we still have television, which we can eventually trade in for chickens in order to get a gallon of gas. But, since our television shows are more important than driving in many cases, we may just start riding our bikes and eat peanut butter sandwiches instead.
With those happy thoughts, here is what I am thankful for when it comes to the flat screen idiot box.
Geez, for a show that was recently canceled there is sure a lot of news about it. First, we heard that King of the Hill was being canceled by FOX at the end of this season (though it will probably remain on the schedule through 2010 because of long-term production of episodes). Then, the lovely and talented Bob Sassone reported that the show could be picked up by ABC, who seems to be in the market for other network programs as of late. Now comes word that repeats (is that term now taboo?) of the Mike Judge series will be heading to Adult Swim's lineup.
That's right. Cartoon Network's older brother will be picking up the 11-year-old program, making it the next-to-last FOX animated series to air on its program schedule (The Simpsons would be the last, and I have no idea if it will ever make it to Adult Swim).
It looks like the Fox "Animation Domination" lineup will be changing. It took FOX long enough to put together a solid two hour block of animated cartoons on Sunday, but now comes word that the tides are a-changing. After thirteen years on the air, King of the Hill will wrap production at the end of this season. Of course, there will be new episodes in the can for airing even into next season. Not to mention that this isn't the first time Hill has been canceled, and ratings now are better than they were then. In fact, executive producer John Altschuler said, "It would be very odd for King of the Hill to not keep going."
At the same time, Seth MacFarlane's "other" show American Dad, has just been picked up for a fifth season. It makes sense for FOX to let King of the Hill go at this time, considering that Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show is waiting in the wings. On the other side, though, shouldn't they wait to see if that's going to work before they dump a solid perennial performer like Hill? The way they're going, Seth MacFarlane is going to own Sunday nights.
Becker sort of flew under the radar, but aired from 1998 to 2004. There was the short-lived Help Me Help You in 2006. Danson even voiced a part on King of the Hill (Tom Hammond in "The Accidental Tourist" episode).
But it's his stint as the sinister Arthur Frobisher in Damages that's brought him into the forefront again. It also helped to catapult him into his next gig -- a lead role in HBO's comedy pilot Bored to Death.
Root is signed up for a four-episode arc on Daisies. His character apparently has a connection to both Ned and Chuck's fathers. Series creator Bryan Fuller says that "He stirs up a lot of hullabaloo for everyone, particularly Aunts Lily and Vivian."
There's all kinds of possibilities for contenders here. I'd give a nod to both Star Wars tributes -- Family Guy and Robot Chicken -- and South Park definitely stretched their animation style with 'Major Boobage,' but I didn't think the episode was all that good. Aqua Teen Hunger Force had some good episodes this season (personal favorites include the VeggieTales parody and that crazy trilogy that opened the season).
But I've by no means watched all the best in animation this year, so I call out to you, dear readers. Which episodes or shows do you think set the bar or even raised it in this past year? Are The Simpsons out of their prime and not worthy of TVS recognition? How about King of the Hill or American Dad? The new The Mr. Men Show is retro-tastic, simple, but still cleverly awesome! Too many to handle! Help me TVS Readers, you're my only hope!
(S03E16) "This is what someone told me reading a book is like." - Randy Hickey
I really can't decide if the writers for Earl are geniuses or drunks. Right when people start to complain that the show is getting stale they take it in a new direction that no one could see coming and yet is perfectly believable.
A big part of why I love this show is seeing the flashbacks where Earl was a complete reprobate. Even better is seeing Randy as the same kind of reprobate and yet just as simple. Joy, of course, remains exactly the same, no matter where or when she is, even if she's only in Earl's imagination.
Creators Mike Judge (the voice of Hank and Boomhauer) and Greg Daniels (The Office) will continue at the helm, and all the usual characters remain. That means more of Kathy Najimy as Peggy, Brittany Murphy as Luanne, Pamela Adlon as Bobby, Johnny Hardwick as Dale, and Stephen Root as Bill.
Harry Potter is a dirty, dirty boy. Daniel Radcliffe guest stars on 'Extras,' where he hopes to shed his innocent image by making a very indecent proposal to Maggie. Dumbledore would be aghast. Meanwhile, Andy (Ricky Gervais) is a laughingstock after he makes a faux pas at a restaurant.
TV on DVD - Every week I read Bob's list of the new DVD releases, and every week I have the same reaction. How can THAT be coming out on DVD but none of my top 5 most wanted are? Seriously, there is more of a market for the Stacked DVD than any of these? I'm not greedy. I'll settle for just one of these shows to finally get the DVD set it deserves. Cupid, Beggars and Choosers, Going To California, Maximum Bob, or Mr & Mrs Smith.
I hate to admit it, but if I weren't writing weekly reflections on King of the Hill I don't think I would be watching it. Don't get me wrong, I love King of the Hill, but the show has always been in the most forgettable timeslot imaginable. Despite being essentially tossed aside while shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy are hyped out the wazoo, King of the Hill has remained consistently clever and funny, and May 14 will mark both the end of the season and the show's 200th episode. Thankfully, though, it won't be the end of the series. When this season opened their were rumors it might be the last, but apparently FOX had a change of heart and King of the Hill will be sticking around after all. Executive producer John Altschuler had this to say: "To be blunt, there's not too much that's good on TV. So if you're working on something good, you want to do more." I would say it's that approach that has kept what USA Today calls King of the Hill's "dedicated if small audience" coming back every week. You know, when the show isn't constantly being bumped for NASCAR events.
(S10E12) Being a heterosexual male with the ability to use my eyes, I can certainly understand the desire to kick back at the occasional strip club now and again, but I've never understood men who go to these places all the time. They're fun once in a while, but I would think frequenting them every day would cause the novelty to wear off pretty quickly. That doesn't seem to be the case for Mr. Strickland, who has spent every morning of his life kicking back at his favorite strip joint and enjoying the free buffet. In the beginning of last night's episode, after fuming over the lack of free food, he's banned from the strip club indefinitely.
The episode could have easily been turned into one about a dirty old man upset about not being able to ogle chicks before work every morning, but it was really more about Strickland's endless struggle to remain young and vibrant, at least in his own mind. He has no desire to be the real "boss" of Strickland Propane, he delegates that responsibility to Hank. What he does want is to be the crazy guy who swipes money from the cash register to use at the strip club each morning. Since he can't even do that anymore, he decides to make Strickland Propane more "fun," turning it into "Strickland Propanerie" and having his workers dress in Hawaiian shirts and bunny ears. Unfortunately, this means no work ever gets done and they end up having to work overtime. Hank eventually smooths things over with the owner of the strip club, and Mr. Strickland is allowed back, as long as both parties understand the other one isn't apologizing.
When this season kicked off, there was some speculation that it might be the show's last, so it's nice to hear that it will return for at least one more season. For a show buried in a forgettable timeslot that's preempted half the time by football and auto racing, it's amazing it's lasted this long.
Last night's episode was decent, though it was the same "Hank and Bobby" episode we've seen many times already: Bobby becomes interested in something Hank doesn't feel right about, and Hank spends the episode trying to steer Bobby in the right direction. The writers come back to this story quite often, which makes perfect sense, since Hank's old fashioned outlook and Bobby's desire to be hip and cutting edge creates one of the show's best dynamics.
In this instance, it's Bobby's desire not to shadow his father at Strickland Propane, but to instead clean up dog waste with a handsome entrepreneur that gets Hank riled up. When Bobby decides he can make a load of cash going into business himself cleaning up vomit for drunk college students, Hank finally decides to put the kibosh on it. It's a plot that King of the Hill knows well, but I don't call it being lazy. The Simpsons and Family Guy are comparable to one another in several significant ways, but King of the Hill, as weird and irreverent as it can be at times, has a human element to it neither of those other shows can touch. That isn't to say there can't be moments of humanity in The Simpsons, but King of the Hill has always been about "real people," and even "real people" have to re-learn the same lessons again and again.
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