(S05E11) After last week's show, it was great to see The Closer bounce back with a particularly strong episode. The case itself wasn't overly complicated or multi-layered, as some Major Crimes are, but that's probably because Brenda literally wandered into this one. And she wasn't alone. Charlie, her niece from Atlanta, was in the car. More on the Brenda/Charlie relationship as well as the case, after the jump.
(S08E01) Somewhere Sherwood Schwartz was smiling if he watched this season premiere of Monk. Or else he was calling his attorney to sue for copyright infringement. I think it was more likely the former, because the tribute to The Brady Bunch was sweet. More on that and the rest of Mr. Monk's return -- for his last season -- after the jump.
The moment Cynthia Watros showed up as the victim's widow, anxious to reclaim her husband's belongings from the crime scene, suspicions were raised. But first Brenda had to figure out why Russell Clark had confessed to the crime, if he was covering for his schizophrenic son, James -- if James was capable of the murder in the first place, and then there was the question of what to do with Mama. Yes, Willy Ray was there, along with Fritz and Charlene, Brenda's niece.
(S05E08) When I say that a lot of this episode of The Closer felt like a CSI episode, with the emphasis on the gory and gruesome aspects of original murder, I'm not being critical. And when I mention there were also elements that reminded of Cold Case, that's also not a diss because Cold Case is an underrated show.
But unlike Cold Case, which brings the past to life, The Closer remained very much in the present. Generally speaking, this was a pretty strong episode that played up Brenda's vulnerability.
(S05E06) There's an old show biz line that goes, "Dying is easy, comedy is hard." Well, sometimes when dramas try a comic episode, it can be a little like death warmed over. Or a show can completely succumb to humor and forget the original genre entirely (you know that I'm talking about you, Mr. Monk). Fortunately, when The Closer chooses to take a walk on the funny side, it usually hits the mark. This episode was a bull's eye.
It was also great to see The Closer shine a light on J.K. Simmons. As Assistant Chief Will Pope, Simmons is great as Brenda's boss and the face of the L.A. cops in many tense situations, political and otherwise. A consummate character actor -- Juno, Burn After Reading, Spider-Man -- Simmons always brings a lot to the show. This episode was prime Simmons, with Pope the butt of the jokes and off his game, if you will. How else could a faux police detective named Dick Tracy dupe the chief?
I think ER first started saying farewell like eight years ago or something. Then last year was the final season. Then this year was the final season. And now NBC has added three more episodes to the final season of ER to push the last episode back just a little bit more. Of course, the end result is that this season of ER is now 22 episodes which makes it the same length as any other normal season. It also gives them a little more time to come up with an excuse to renew the show for another year and make next season it's new final season. What else do you have going on NBC?
They'd have to move it to 9:00 though because of Jay Leno, but it's not like the NBC lineup is brimming with hits they'll have to shuffle around. Of course, there is new programming to think about. In fact, the deal that netted the additional three installments was part of a negotiation involving Warner Bros. TV and another show they've got in development called Police, about the ... uh ... police ... in LA.
Brett told you last June about a new show from ER producer John Wells titled LAPD. Well, the show has been retitled to Police, and NBC is still interested in it. However, not only is the number of episodes ordered under dispute (they're looking for 12, but NBC might want six instead), there might not be a place on the schedule for it. Jay Leno is taking up the 10pm time slot Monday through Friday later this year, so they might only want it for a short period of time. And that's if they have room for it at all.
On a tangential note, I do wish this show had theme music of some sort. Preferably something akin to the style of '70s police television dramas. The opening montage seems to go too quickly. At least, this is what I thought while listening to the '70s-style music during the opening chase scene.
Life on Mars does has a slower pace than most of the other shows on television. Fortunately, it is kept interesting by being filled with eye candy such as wide shots and different colors. The shirts and the wallpapers alone fascinate me. I even got a laugh from Gene Hunt's loafers.
There have been production changes, the first pilot was trashed, they've inserted new characters, they've remade the mythology of the show (with the approval of the British creators), and now more news. The character of Annie Norris on Life on Mars will be played by Gretchen Mol. Yes, the beautiful, sexy and very blond Gretchen Mol. (Okay, she can dye her hair.)
I have the ultimate respect for Ms. Mol. She was excellent in 3:10 to Yuma (a really amazing Western that should have gotten some Oscar consideration). I just think she's the wrong choice for the role of Annie.
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.
My favorite cop television shows over the years often reflect those characters and it's sometimes a bit surprising how close they come to actual police I know ... or how far they stray from the reality of police work.
The "big house," that is!
checked into the beautiful turned herself into authorities last night and began her 23 day stay in jail. TMZ.com has the video of Paris and her teary mom arriving in their car. She actually surrendered miles away from Lynwood, where she will be doing her time. She'll be in a cell and have a shower and phone to use. There will also be a small pod attached to her cell where she can watch TV (a small pod to watch TV? What, is she Michael Jackson?). She says she's ready to face the consequences and learn from her mistakes (*cough*).
By the way, the photo? That's not a publicity photo, it's Paris' mug shot. (Update: the police released the wrong photo.)
In honor of her first day, check out GSN's The Prison Life game. And after the jump, a video of Sarah Silverman joking about Paris at the MTV Movie Awards, with Paris in the audience.
I have to admit that I judged Jeff Goldblum's new show, Raines, before I even saw it. When I heard the plot description that was scattered about on the web several months ago, I think I actually sighed. Another show about an investigator who speaks to ghosts? Why had this become such a hot genre, like westerns or sitcoms many years ago? Did we really need another one, no matter what big name they had for the lead?
Well, I have to eat my words.
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