Greeting, soap fans. Welcome to the newest feature here at TV Squad, Soap Round-Up. Every Saturday, please join us as we recap what happened the previous week on all the daytime dramas. That means instead of shlepping to message boards and sites all over the Internet, you can find all the pertinent info right here. By the way, for any of you who are waiting for the weekend to watch the shows on SoapNet or off the DVR, beware of spoilers! We're doing our recaps with the idea that you want to know what happened and don't need to be surprised! Okay? Okay!
So, before we make the jump and get into every soap, from 'All My Children' to 'The Young and the Restless,' remember the SPOILER ALERT. Oh, one last thing, please comment and join the conversation. We love hearing from you!
But given that this is the latest effort from David Simon -- the much-heralded creator of the seminal HBO series 'The Wire' -- this drama proves to be so much more than just that.
Those expecting a Big Easy version of 'The Wire,' however, are out of luck. This is no police drama, and the city's politics are largely unexplored. The series takes its title from Faubourg Tremé, the historic New Orleans neighborhood adjacent to the French Quarter thought to be the birthplace of jazz. And the music from this multi-cultural, multi-storied, proud yet battered city pulses like a heartbeat throughout.
There's been no shortage of talent gracing this drama. The ensemble cast includes 'Wire' vets Wendell Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Clarke Peters, Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, John Goodman and Steve Zahn, in his first regular TV series role. Guest appearances from musicians such as Allen Toussaint, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and Kermit Ruffins lend authenticity.
Nor has there been a shortage of media coverage leading up to 'Treme's April 11 premiere. Sadly, part of that has been due to the unexpected death of one of the team's writers, David Mills. But 'Treme' is also being hailed as more than just another television program: It's an event. While some have noted the series' meandering pace, many critics have been praising Simon and co-creator Eric Overmyer's new series for its ability to immediately transport viewers on a musical journey into the heartbeat and the heartbreak of this weird and wonderful city.
Read what the critics had to say after the jump.
Were you watching Eric McCormack and Sherry Stringfield in the Lifetime original movie 'Who Is Clark Rockefeller?' on Saturday night? If so, did you see the whole movie? Apparently, an awful lot of people didn't. Both Comcast and DirecTV viewers have reported that the Lifetime signal cut out after the first 57 minutes of the broadcast. When the movie returned some time later, the sound was missing.
The new series run with fresh hosts (New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott (left), and Chicago Tribune film critic, Michael Phillips (right)) has gone 180 degrees in the other direction from the lighter, more sensationalized previous season.
Last year's host combination of Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons often came off more glib than informative -- leaving both critics and fans wondering what happened to the more measured, analytical tone of former hosts Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper and the late Gene Siskel.
Between the two of them, Scott and Phillips bring decades of entertainment writing and critiquing experience -- combining a love of movies with a willingness to tick off the Hollywood powers that be when necessary.
When I spoke to Eben Russell, the NYTVF's main spokesperson, about how there seemed to be a lot of comedies this year, he mentioned that they wanted to judge the pilots being sent into the festival on their own merits, instead of shoehorning them into categories, like they did the first two years. "We adopted an approach taking the most outstanding pilots, regarding of genre. We have a large amount of comedies as compared to other genres," is what he told me in an e-mail prior to the festival.
The implication is that the other categories didn't have enough quality entries to justify their own categories. Judging by the uneven quality of the following pilots, it makes me wonder what the pilots that were rejected look like (you can view the pilots at MSN).
But there's no denying that all the promotional tie-ins, Simpsonizing web sites, and just the general popularity of the show paid off, now that the weekend's box office totals are in: the movie came in at #1 for the week, bringing in an impressive $71.9 million. Even Adam Sandler's latest epic, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, couldn't withstand the power of Yellow: it came in second with just over $19 million in sales.
When Doctor Who returned to our screens a few years ago, everyone was anticipating the return of old favourites, like the Autons, the Daleks and the Cybermen -- and, sure, those guys notched up the fear factor and excitement when The Doctor faced them down -- but there's one guy we've all been waiting for, and he finally turned up in the strangest of places.
Well, make that two guys...
WARNING: Spoilers after the jump.
All of these pilots are available to watch on Adult Swim Fix right now. They'll air on television this Sunday.
Superjail is made by Augenblick Studios, the same animation studio that made the animated segments for Wonder Showzen. The same sick and surreal sensibility that resulted in such Wonder Showzen "classics" as "D.O.G. O.B.G.Y.N." is present in this series about a gigantic jail that's run by an eccentric Willy Wonka type if Wonka happened to take that extra step from "crazy loner" to "completely batshit insane." The blood and guts and overall surreality of the episode can be pretty funny, but I think its success will depend on how the story and characters develop. I can dig bunnies being skinned alive and men being sliced up with chainsaws, but if that's all this series offers it'll get old rather quickly.
D.A. Devlin is especially concerned about Stark this time. Not only is she doubtful, as usual, that Stark's crazy tactics will convict (though they almost always do), she is sure that a failure to convict the Lundy Brothers will cost her next week's election. By my count, Stark and the High Profile Crimes Unit are something like 18 for 19, a 94% conviction rate, going into tonight's episode, but you never know, the electorate can be fickle.
It's no surprise when "the saint" is eventually revealed to have done business with the porn king, then got out of business with him, then fell in love with one of the women he was "rehabilitating" in his shelter, who then became a porn actress, who then ... oh, who cares?
Evan Handler gives an enjoyable performance as the poor loser who claims he's innocent and is looking at his third strike. Handler played Hurley's probably imaginary friend Dave, the title character in a Lost episode last season and, more recently, one of the two hacky comedy writers on Studio 60, that Matthew Perry's character liked to bust on.
This is one of the better episodes. The plot-reversals, double-reversals, and triple-bogie re-re-re-reversals are not so outrageous as to sink the whole enterprise, and this allows some room for good character interaction.
(S02E18) "Company Man" last week gave us many dimensions of one character. This week's awesomeness gives us many events snowballing throughout the Heroes universe. New characters, new secrets about old characters, and in anticipation of a month-plus hiatus, some tantalizing cliffhangers.
If this episode had been a football game, then I would say it was remarkable for its extraordinary number of turnovers. Time after time, when one character thinks he or she has the drop on another -- surprise! It isn't so.
My reviews of Everybody Hates Chris didn't garner many responses, though that never bothered me much. It's a smart and funny show and I was happy to write about it every week, even if it didn't get the recognition shared by your Ugly Bettys, My Name is Earls and other comedies from the big networks.
Unfortunately, I have to stop reviewing the show, because we're not allowed to write about black people on this blog -- I'm kidding! Really, that was a joke. Actually, the honest to goodness reason I can't write about Everybody Hates Chris is that the CW has been removed from my cable lineup because of some corporate nonsense I don't fully understand, nor do I plan to understand it because I only care about the shows themselves, not whatever bureaucratic B.S. is keeping the CW off my TV.
(S01E17) Damn, this is good TV. Heroes has raised the bar for itself again. That's my review, thanks for stopping by, I look forward to reading your comments.
Seriously though, I don't know where to start. The show this week focuses on one main story: the life and career of that "company man," Mr. Bennet, the man with a hidden first name, aka HRG. He is, as we knew, mysterious, calculating, and deceptive. He's also intelligent, conflicted, and loving. Jack Coleman, who plays this character teasing out all his layered glory, deserves an Emmy based on this episode alone.
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