MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

The CW reboot comes into its own with a racy third season

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 13, 2010 10:06AM
90210. Photo Courtesy the CW.They said it wouldn't last. After all, very few reboots of '90s series do. Take its heyday counterpart (and spin-off) "Melrose Place." That went out with a whimper after one short-lived season.

Early on, the prognosis was not bright, since the show's producers relied heavily on stunt-casting former "Beverly Hills, 90210" stars, including Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling, in order to draw in that show's former fanbase.

But last season, they put the focus squarely on the teens -- and upped the ante with several juicy storylines, including teens exploring a gay relationship, a hit-and-run drama, a pregnancy scare and dealing with a parent's death. It seemed to work, as the show saw a younger audience tuning in -- and managed to keep their interest.

So here we are, going on season three of the new "90210" as the kids enter their senior year at West Beverly -- and working off of the cliffhanger finale last season, we can expect more drama than ever.

Need a refresher?

Well, for starters, we witnessed AnnaLynne McCord's Naomi getting raped by a teacher, Blaze supervisor Mr. Cannon (Hal Oszan) -- but warned that nobody would believe her because she "cried wolf" in the past. Ouch. That's sure to leave a mark. But in the meantime, in the season opener, Naomi also gets in a bit of a tiff with two members of the Kardashian clan, Khloe and Kim.

There's also going to be fallout for Annie (Shenae Grimes) and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) as their mom, played by Lori Loughlin, tries to hold the family together since their dad left.

We'll also see one major character -- reportedly Trevor Donovan's Teddy Montgomery -- come out (for real, unlike last season's dalliance) and hook up with hottie love interest Kyle Riabko.

This season, we can also expect a legal battle between Naomi and her sister, English teacher Ryan Matthew's (Ryan Eggold) dealing with surprise parenthood, and there's a sudden death -- perhaps in the season premiere tonight (at 8 p.m. on the CW), since an earthquake that literally rocks their world.

Lots of action, and that's just for starters. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out with the crutch of the major parental storylines gone this season. Will you be tuning in?

Sookie's off to fairie-land while Bill fights to the death with Sophie-Ann

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 13, 2010 9:12AM
Photo Courtesy HBOSo, the capper on a season where where each episode actually managed to get weirder than the last? Not so weird. Sure, it left us feeling a bit, uh, damaged, but it could have been far worse.

We're left with a few big cliffhangers, but nothing that will really kill us in waiting till next year. Here's a quick fix on what you need to know in the meantime.

-Russell Edgington is not dead. Well, I mean, he is dead. But he hasn't met the final death. Instead, Bill Compton and Eric Northman buried the very vamp Edgington alive -- I mean, undead -- in a bed of concrete, with plans not to release him for some 100 or so years. So he really has some time to ponder what he's done. But I'll bet he's got the means to make it out sometime next season.

-The truce we saw forming between Eric and Bill. Well, all bets are off, baby. I mean, first there's that whole burying Eric alive in concrete, too, thing. But Eric managed to show up at Sookie's just in time to squelch any reunion possibilities between Bill and his lady love. And then he spilled Bill's big secret, that he was really always on a mission to procure Sookie and her faerie powers for Sophie-Ann, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. So Sookie, good and done with vampires (at least at the moment), rescinded her invitation to all vampires who'd like to enter her humble abode.

-Godrich made a comeback, in the form of Eric's conscience. But it looks like Eric's managed to banish that pesky old thing once and for all. Does this mean we'll see an even more badass bloodsucker in Eric next season? I'd bet on it. Although he does truly seem to have a thing for Sookie.

-Jason stepped up to save the town after his were-panther girlfriend sacrificed herself to her weird were-panther brother/husband. He's finally doing what he thinks is the right thing to do, even if that pisses off our favorite Bon Temps detective, bumbling Andy Bellefleur.

-Tired, Tara gave herself a haircut, then -- after saying good-bye to her sister Sookie, left town with big plans to start a new life. Yeah, we'll see how well that works out for her. We all know how well it worked out for Sam Merlotte.

-Speaking of Sam, did he really shoot his kid brother Tommy? Sure, he's angry about the whole money situation, but me thinks we can expect a lot more from this story next season.

-And the witches, they are a comin'. In fact, in the form of Kevin Alejandro's Jesus, Lafayette's new boy toy, it seems they're already here. And poor Lafayette, he thought he had his hands full with vampires.

-Alcide is sure to be back next season, given how excited Sookie was to see her old werewolf body guard -- and how disappointed she seemed to be when she learned he was actually there, once again, to do Eric's bidding. Anyway, feeling lost and alone, she went to go see Gram in the cemetery. There, she was welcomed with open arms by the light-filled faerie people.

What does this mean for next season? Season four promises to be chock-filled with every supernatural creature imaginable. Perhaps it's time to chop our locks -- and all ties -- and get on outta Bon Temps, like Tara.

What do you think? Will "True Blood" jump the shark? Has it managed to already?

'Vampire Diaries' Kicks of the season with a big, bold bite

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 10, 2010 12:47PM
Photo Courtesy the CWFor 'Vampire Diaires' fans who waited with bated breath all summer for the new season to begin, yesterday's premiere surely satisfied the blood lust.

The episode set up a season that's sure to be filled with action -- what with the return of badass bloodsucker Katherine (a dual role for Nina Dobrev, who plays protagonist Elena), Damon's twisted take on his relationship with Elena (and with his brother, Stefan, for that matter), witchy Bonnie's increasing power and, perhaps most importantly, the promise of fang-bearing werewolves a plenty. In fact, yesterday's premiere marked the debut of Lockhart family scion Mason (Taylor Kinney), who's taking the younger Lockhart, Michael Trevino's Tyler, under his, uh, paw.

Then there's the fact that ditzy blonde Caroline Forbes is about to be let loose on the town as a newbie bloodsucker -- and she'll no doubt have a blast ravishing her unsuspecting prey next week. That is, unless Damon (Ian Somerhalder) makes good on his threat, revealed in the previews last night, to take her out. But what fun would that be?

In any case, the season premiere lived up to the hype -- and leaves the lusty "Diaries" set to secure the coveted "True Blood" audience in its steed once it finales on Sunday. If you haven't tuned in yet, it's worth getting in on the show now, before things really kick into high gear.

While proudcers deliberate Michael Scott's departure, here's what to expect from season seven

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 10, 2010 12:27PM
Photo Courtesy NBCThere's still no word on who will actually be replacing Steve Carell's Michael Scott on "The Office" when his contract is up next year. And if things go according to plan, we won't really know the score till the end of the season.

After all, they're big shoes to fill. "You’re looking for someone who can start stories," a source told the Hollywood Reporter. "Someone whose judgment isn’t necessarily one where when an issue comes up and a boss with a correct judgment would quickly settle it and then you have no episode. You’re also looking for somebody who considers the rest of the office his family."

Which is why, according to the Hollywood Reporter, we can expect lots of meaty turns from the rest of the cast this season as they "try out" for the gig in the corner office at Dunder-Mifflin. One character will be highlighted in each episode. 

Ed Helm's Andy, for example, will take the spotlight when he stars in a Scranton playhouse production of "Sweeny Todd." And Craig Robinson's Darryl takes the reigns when he goes over Michael Scott's head and takes a matter straight to corporate. Other episodes will center on Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), Rainn Wilson's Dwight, and Mindy Kaling's Kelly Kapoor.

There will also be guests parading in to campaign for the coveted spot. Expect "Office" visitors Kathy Bates, Melora Hardin and Amy Ryan, along with newbies like Timothy Olyphant. But as for that rumor involving Harvey Keitel, "That got out of control," a source told the Hollywood Reporter. "It was idea on the table. It could be a fun arc, but it’s not going to be a long-term option."

In any case, Carell's departure could actually bring a fresh take to the show, which is entering its eighth season. "There’s a cool energy around set that we haven’t seen since season two," a source said, "like anything is possible."

The former teen heartthrob sure knows how to rock a suit

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 9, 2010 10:00AM
Shane West on Back in the day, Shane West was that guy who romanced the likes of Mandy Moore and Kirsten Dunst in teen movies like "A Walk To Remember" and "Get Over It." Then he donned scrubs to play Dr. Ray Barnett on the long-running "ER." Now all grown up, West -- who's also the eyeliner-rocking frontman for the Germs -- is learning how to work a suit, spy-style. And from what we can tell, he's about to steal the show on the new CW remake "Nikita," a sexed-up take on what happens when the infamous femme fatale escapes the division and goes rogue.

We caught up with West to chat about suits, grown-up roles and why TV is the place to be.

MSN TV: So this is a revamp of the classic "La Femme Nikita." How much did you know about the franchise?

Shane West: I was a fan of the film -- I own it. I'd seen a few episodes Peta Wilson's show. And I had worked with her, right when she finished the show, on "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." So this is kind of ironic. So I was familiar with it.

This was essentially McG and Danny Cannon and Greg Silverstein's re-imagining and re-telling of "Nikita." It's six years in the future, so it's what's gone on with Nikita once she's left the Division and gone rogue. So there are similar characters to the film and the original series, but there are also a bunch of new characters as well to put a new spin on it. Spy shows have traditionally done well, and for me, this felt like a no-lose situation. Maggie Q is hot and great and fun to work with. My character, Michael, is basically second in command at the division. So he has a loyalty to Percy, his boss, and to the Division for giving him a second chance in life. But also knows how corrupt it can be. So he's possibly the most conflicted character on the show, especially because he still has feelings for Nikita and whatever might have happened between them in the past. He has to keep it together and keep his eye on the ball, but he's also got that conflict with what he's supposed to be doing.

So we can expect lots of tension -- romantic and otherwise -- between Maggie Q's Nikita and Michael?

The tension from the past yet is there, but we'll see. We'll see what the audience has to say. Whether they want to see the two together, because that's a natural place for these two characters to go. But how quickly is that going to happen? I don't know. It's a new show and you can't give things away that quickly. You've got to make the audience want it.

This genre is sort of new to you. Can we expect a lot of action? Are you running around in a suit, Bond-style?

I'm doing everything! The mentality on this set is to do as much as we can ourselves, unless it's something really impossible. But I'm having a great time. I've done quite a few action sequences already, including some amazing fights with Nikita. Michael's a suit-wearer, but he's not a suit-and-tie guy. That's his way of being taken seriously, working for the man but he's a bit rebellious. Personally, at age 32, and trying to grow up -- thankfully "ER" helped a bit there -- you want to play those roles and be believable. I'm not 32 trying to play 18. I'm not 32 trying to play 21. I'm an adult now. I'll leave those roles to the people who are actually 18 or 21. I love this opportunity to sink my teeth into something, to play this guy who's the second in command of an agency bigger than the CIA, and wear suits and own it. And he has had enough life experience to earn it. I feel like I can do that now.

Speaking of suits, you're a bit of a punk. Are you still working on music?

When I can. It's not going to be for a while now. Last year, after shooting a film, I spent the year doing nationwide tour of the United States with the Germs, and we did a European tour. But at the beginning of this year, it was such an amazing pilot season. And I hadn't done a pilot season since I was 21. I didn't think I was going to do TV at this point. But I couldn't pass "Nikita" up. I gave it a shot, and I'm a little younger than they wanted for Michael -- I think they wanted like 35 or 36. So when I was able to change their mind and they were serious about me playing this role, there was no way I could say no. He's the most conflicted character on this show -- he's got so many places he can go. And it's not too bad playing opposite Maggie Q, either.

Do feel like TV now is a different animal than it was ten years ago?

Oh yeah, absolutely. Even bigger than 20 years ago. Back then it was like separated genres, film versus TV. You were a TV actor or you were a movie actor. But then the industry is practically falling apart. It's still an over-saturated market. The Internet, as brilliant as it is, has destroyed a lot of things as well. And the movie world is not doing well. When you can watch any movie, including the ones in the theater, for free, when you've got TiVo and you can watch whenever you want, it messes up the ratings system. Nothing's quantifiable anymore. It takes away the ticket-holders. It's been chaotic, hopefully they'll figure it out. But I think what's really happened is better writing has come to television -- and so the proven actors will follow that. You can, these days, become a movie star from being on TV. Look at a Jennifer Aniston or Jim Carrey. And then you've got Glenn Close, Steve Buscemi, Holly Hunter -- huge names going off to do their own shows. TV is the place to be these days.

Catch Shane West on "Nikita" tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.


Katerina Graham -- that's Bonnie to you -- on what we can expect from the new season

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 9, 2010 8:38AM
Katerina Graham is as excited about the new season of the "Vampire Diaries" -- which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW -- as you are. Which is saying a lot. Here, Graham gamely spills on Katherine's return, the werewolf infestation -- and whether we can ever expect to see a Bonnie-Damon hook-up.

Last season, Bonnie tried to mend fences with Elena. Are we going to see more of that conflict now?

I don't think it's conflict with Elena so much as conflict with the situation. When you're in love, you're in love. Bonnie's just more upset with the situation she's been put in and trying to figure out it. I felt she kind of redeemed herself at the end of last season by getting Damon and Stefan out of the fire. But up until then, the fans were being really, really tough on Bonnie. They didn't really understand what she was trying to do. And I definitely think that when she brought the brothers out of the fire she was doing it for Elena. Because Elena is her only family. And that would just ruin their relationship. She couldn't go through with destroying the devise originally because she wanted to protect Elena -- not because she was jealous of the relationship with Stefan. Bonnie's not that babyish. She's grown up a lot, and she was looking at it like, 'Here I am, I'm helping everyone. I'm protecting the town. But I know that there are even more vampires here, so things are going to get worse.' It was a mess, so she did what she thought she needed to do.

So far Bonnie's been a good witch. Are we going to see any bad witch tendencies there?

Not unless those brothers ask for it. Bonnie made a promise to Stefan: next time you get into a mess, you're going to have to figure it out yourself. And I will take Damon -- and you -- down if you hurt the people I love. And she wasn't joking. She was saying it like, 'This is a warning. And it's the only warning I'm going to give you.'

How much did you read the books before you got the show?

I hadn't read them before I got the show, but after I got it, I read them. And I tried to maintain that sense of innocence that Bonnie has. But the characters are so different from what they are in the books. When I was doing my prep on Bonnie, I really wanted to make sure to preserve her sweet demeanor and that innocence. Now that she has really grown and the storylines have entered that fork in the road and gone in a very different direction, I try to add a little bit more of who I am in the character. I try and empower her a bit more and make her not so follow-the-leader. I want her to be more of a force to be reckoned with.

What has the fan reaction been to this?

I'm very, very close to my fans. They're called the fanerinas. They're all connected with each other -- and they're very connected to me. I email them, there's an address for them to send things for me to sign. I take them out to dinner if they're in town where we're shooting and they email me. They've been incredibly supportive of me from the beginning and I make sure I reciprocate it. Without the fans, you're nothing. You can have an amazing TV show, but what are you if no one's watching? They invest so much time into us and the characters and the story, I can always make the time to write a three-minute thank you. They're chomping at the bit for the new episodes. And they love that Bonnie's stronger now. They felt the pain when she lost her grandmother. They knew things were going to be different forever. She's a different person now, and they embraced it wholeheartedly.

You got to work with Jasmine Guy. How awesome was that?

We're still close now and I really look up to her. I was so glad I got to work with her. She's incredible and she mentored me and we talked so much about what it's like to be a biracial woman in this industry. We discussed things people don't want to discuss. We have a lot of parallels in our careers and our lives, and I'm glad to have found a mentor in her.

In the books, Bonnie hooks up with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Are we going to see that on the show?

They definitely hook up in the books. And the Damon fans really want to see Damon and Bonnie get together. Which would be electric. I think that would be incredible. But I also think that wouldn't happen for a really long time if it ever really did happen at all on the show. Because Bonnie wants to kill him right now. She just wants to reach over and just strangle him because he is just such a problem child. There's a love-hate vibe there that could be explored. But that's also Katherine's whole thing with Damon, too.

Now that Katherine's back, what can we expect to see there?

She's basically the female version of Damon. So she's wrecking havoc, and we're all trying to clean it up. She's really going to do things that because of Damon's newfound alliance with his brother, make a big mess out of everything. And when I say that Damon has an alliance with his brother Stefan, I say that in the loosest sense. A tentative alliance. Right now, Damon's not out to hurt his brother. And he loves Elena, so he's not out to hurt Elena. But Katherine doesn't have those alliances. She hasn't made any promises for peace. So she's just going to do what she wants to do. And she doesn't care. We're kind of reliving what Damon did, but ten-fold. Because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Especially when that woman is a vampire. She's definitely going to be making some crazy things happen this fall. Things you can't even imagine. It's going to be fun.

And we're going to see werewolves, too.

There are definitely werewolves this season. And werewolves and vampires aren't known to get along, so that will be another added element of chaos. There will definitely be a big focus on that storyline this year.

You're also a dancer and singer. Are we expecting more from you on that front soon?

My main focus right now is Bonnie. But I am doing some fun stuff for the fans. I worked with Will.I.Am for two years and I toured with the Black Eyed Peas. It's just been something that I've always done. So I don't think it's going to go away, but while I'm shooting "Vampire Diaries" I'm trying to focus on that. I did just release a sassy mash-up with Kelis. And I did a remake of Paula Abdul's "Cold-Hearted Snake," which was a lot of fun. We just shot the video for that. A lot of the fans I have are fans from before Bonnie. And they know the difference between Bonnie and Kat Graham, which is always important. A lot of times people can mistake you for your character. I want people to know the difference between Bonnie and Kat Graham. We're different people. We don't talk the same or walk the same or dress the same. But on the show, I want to preserve the image of Bonnie as Bonnie. She's not a trained dancer, she's not a singer. I'm not a witch. Just because I can ride a unicycle doesn't mean I should be doing it on the show. I like to keep things separate. You gotta loose your ego when you play a role. You're an actor. Loose your ego, do the role and capture the audience. Make them believe you.


With 14 season's under it's belt, 'Top Model' is still bringing the drama

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 8, 2010 10:18AM
Photo courtesy CW TV.
She may have lost her talk show, but Tyra Banks is still managing to take over your TV.

Tonight marks the premiere of the 15th -- yes 15th! -- season of the former poser's reality hit, "America's Next Top Model," which debuts at 8 p.m. on the CW. (Take look back at the show's winners in our fabulous gallery here.)

And despite the fact that it's been on so long, the show continues to be a ratings staple for the network, which otherwise lacks on the reality front.

But we all know, despite the Andre Leon Talley upgrade last season (and a Vogue spread for the winner this season), that no one takes 'Top Model' seriously for the poser potential. It's all about catfighting chicas in a fishbowl -- and those cahrazee photo shoots Tyra and the crew keep managing to come up with. Recall the bloody good vampire shoot last season?

Plus, this season promises some feisty fun in the form of sisters Terra and Chris from Arlington, Texas, who watched the show at home "like it's a movie," complete with popcorn. Will the twins face off for the top model title? "My mama's like, y'all are the Venus and Serena of 'Top Model,'" says Terra. "It will probably be the best head-to-head 'Top Model' that you're ever gonna see, because we don't take it lightly."

Games on, bitches. Bring it.

With Kara DioGaurdi's Dismissal, Can 'Idol' Survive?

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 7, 2010 11:59AM
Kara DioGuardi ousted on 'Idol.' Photo Courtesy FOXOn Friday, heading into the holiday weekend, FOX officially announced that "American Idol" judge Kara DioGaurdi will not be returning to the show this season. So what's news about that? That's right, this time it's official.

"I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave 'Idol,'" said DioGuardi in a statement from FOX on Friday. “I am very proud to have been associated with 'American Idol' -- it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!"

Many detractors have said that DioGuardi's relatively meek presence has left the panel wanting -- and so her absence this season won't make much of a dent. But given the fact that the judging panel has changed so radically in the past two seasons -- with the dismissal of Paula, Simon Cowell's recent departure, and Ellen DeGeneres's coming and going -- the upheaval has no doubt left fans in a state of confusion, if not irritation. Ten seasons in, this isn't necessarily a risk the reality hit -- arguably the most success show on TV right now -- should be taking. There's still no final word on what the judging panel will look like this season; the only on-board player is Randy Jackson.

Names still being bandied about for the panel include Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and it's largely thought by industry-watchers they, along with Jackson, will form the line-up FOX is set to announce within the week, since FOX is on a time crunch here, given that the show's auditions for season 10 are set to start in mid-September.

But that's barring any last minute genius surprises. Which, frankly, the show could really use. While Tyler and Lopez will both bring an interesting perspective to the show, there's just something missing there.

Who would you like to see on the final "American Idol" judging line-up?