The first few weeks of December are jam-packed with finales, specials and mid-season cliffhangers, and there's even a bow-tie clad treat on Christmas Day. In an effort to help you keep track of what's to come and shine a light on some hidden gems, I've come up with a list of notable December TV events.
So grab your eggnog and peruse the following roster, which features appearances from Dominic West, James McAvoy, Emily Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Anna Friel, Pierce Brosnan as well as the 'Sons of Anarchy' crew, the former Saul Tigh and the 'Revenge' divas. It's quite an array of stocking stuffers, no?
Well, it's Quirky's mission to make those ideas a reality, thanks to inventor-turned-entrepreneur Ben Kaufman.
After launching a successful product while still in high school (his retractable lanyard headphones, Song Sling, got made and sold thanks to his parents re-mortgaging their home), Kaufman decided to give other people a place to brainstorm ideas and support inventions: Quirky.com.
Now TV viewers will get to see what happens behind-the-scenes on 'Quirky' (premieres Tues., Aug. 30, 10PM ET on Sundance Channel), a six-episode docu-series following Kaufman and his team as they develop two new ideas each episode, from inception through production and marketing.
I caught up with Kaufman to hear about the smart products we'll see on the show and his favorite Quirky success story.
What's that? You have no idea who Angela Chase is? And you've never heard of 'My So Called Life,' which began airing on the Sundance Channel last night and will continue every Tuesday at 9PM. Well, stop texting for two seconds you pretty young thing and I'll tell ya all about it ...
'My So-Called Life' was a beloved and acclaimed TV drama from a strange and wonderful time called "the '90s." You might have heard of the '90s; it was a time when we had to watch our favorite shows when they were on (because who wanted to program the VCR, really?), people could actually see Nirvana perform live, and people still wanted to see Metallica perform live. It was a joyous time, but being a teen in the '90s could be rough, what with everyone using their parachute pants to smuggle guns and Walkmans into school every day. Luckily, Angela Chase, played by Claire Danes, was there to share our pain.
Angela was smart, introspective and sensitive, and she helped pave the way for a number of deep and clever young TV ladies that followed. In celebration of Angela's return to the small screen, here's a list of five smart young female characters from the past several years of TV history.
(Listen, people, the pun writes itself.)
The network announced today that its freshman animated series will return for a second season in the fall.
"'Bob's Burgers' has proved to be a perfect neighbor to our slate of fan-favorite animated families this year," said Fox president of entertainment Kevin Reilly. "The series has found its own really unique, irreverent voice and is doing consistent business for us on Sundays, so we're excited to serve up another season to the fans."
The show follows a family-run burger joint.
In other TV news ...
• 'House' star Robert Sean Leonard says this could be his last season on the Fox show. The star's contract is up at the end of the current season, and he might want to spend his time on Broadway and with his family instead. [TV Line]
• 'My So-Called Life' will start airing on the Sundance Channel on April 25. Could Sundance, which also airs 'The Comeback,' become the new home to beloved-but-canceled series? [THR]
• Collette Wolfe, who plays Travis's girlfriend on 'Cougar Town,' has joined a new pilot. The actress will co-star alongside Ryan Hansen on ABC's 'Lovelines.' She replaces Amanda Loncar in the comedy. [TV Line]
The three-part miniseries, which debuts on Sundance Channel Oct. 11, follows the infamous career of the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal. "Behind every bullet is an idea," Carlos tells an associate early on, and for two decades, the murderous 'ideas' of the former Ilich Ramirez Sanchez made him one of the most wanted men in the world.
The Sundance Channel show returns in October with these episodes: Bill Maher and Clive Davis; Jon Favreau and Tony Hawk; Venus Williams and Wyclef Jean; Stella McCartney and artist Edward Ruscha; Cameron Diaz and architect Cameron Sinclair; and Richard Branson and Desmond Tutu.
The show revolves around a fictional TV personality named Vivienne Vyle (who hosts a Jerry Springer-like program) and her on-screen and off-screen life. The series is a black comedy (much like AbFab) and a study in pop psychology. It was co-created by Saunders with psychologist Tanya Byron.
ESPN announced several film projects, both documentary and theatrical. The network will be presenting four documentaries this fall, one of which is by acclaimed director Spike Lee. On the surface the film seems pretty bland; it's just cameras following Kobe Bryant around on game day. But I'm sure you want to hear what Lee said about his film.
Leave it to the Sundance Channel to broadcast a reality television program that may actually benefit world society. The show is called On The Road In America and is about four Arabs in their 20's on a road trip across America, seeing different aspects of American culture.The show is backed by Layalina Productions, a Washington nonprofit group that wants to use television to foster better understanding between the two worlds. When the series was shown in the Middle East, it attracted 4.5 million viewers per episode from countries like Saudi Arabia, , Kuwait and .
It looks like there has been yet another step in the independent movie industry going corporate as Cablevision has purchased the Sundance Channel. The sale set Cablevision back about $500 million and the channel is expected to join Cablevision's Rainbow Media programming along with IFC, AMC and WE tv.
What's happening on other blogs via the interweb.
- So how did Jesse L. Martin leave Law and Order the other night?
- I reviewed the Stingray DVD recently, and Jaime Weinman has some interesting facts about the show.
- Former NBC reporter Arthur Kent is suing Universal Pictures and the makers of Charlie Wilson's War.
- Cablevision might be buying The Sundance Channel.
- PBS' Jim Lehrer is recovering from heart surgery.
- Gary Coleman is going to appear on another daytime court show, this time with his wife.
- What were the best seasons of ER?
Virgin America, the newest start-up airline in these United States, has inked a deal with Sundance Channel to create a customer in-flight channel for it's passengers.
The new channel, Sundance Channel for Virgin America (catchy, ain't it?) will feature a collection of the cable network's feature films and documentaries as well as original programming such as Iconoclasts and Kath and Kim. In addition, Sunny Virgin (which I think is a much better name for the in-flight network) will air original episodes of the new documentary series Nimrod Nation three weeks before they air on the cable network. Nation, which will focus on the town of Watersmeet, Michigan and their obsession with their high school basketball team (the Nimrods) will air on the in-flight channel on November 1st, while it will air on the Sundance Channel on November 26th.
The approach that the producers seem to be taking in this series is not at all preachy or meant to cause you to feel guilt. I was very impressed by the way it focused more on the innovative technology and out-of-the-box thinking by the designers of the eco-friendly modular homes, rather than hammering me with statistics about how many resources our homes consume.
The Aussie half-hour is a faux reality show about suburban mom Kath and her self-involved, lay-about adult daughter Kim. The show's been called "Absolutely Fabulous without the fabulous." The Sundance Channel will be playing a 90-minute Kath & Kim made-for-TV movie on December 24th and plans to air the Aussie version's third season. The American take is set to debut in 2007. If The Office's translation is any indication, this could be good news for comedy fans. Anyone other there familiar with the show? Personally, I'm happy to get behind any series that smacks of Ab Fab.
So I was poking around the ol' iTunes yesterday, and what do you know, they had just added shows from the Sundance Channel.
"Hey, ma!" I yelled, "we done got ourselves some Sundance programming on the iTunes!"
"Yee ha!" she screamed, tossing off her bonnet and almost knocking over her butter churner. As soon as Bessie Ellie Mary Ellen May gets back from the Maple Syrup and Baptism Festival we'll download ourselves some episodes!"
"If only pa were alive to see this," I sighed. "Why did he have to taunt that rabid goat with a stick?"
At any rate, you can now find a few Sundance shows on iTunes. The shows are all of the "reality" variety, including documentaries The Hill and One Punk Under God, and investigations into real-life dramas such as The Staircase and The First Amendment Project.
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