What to look forward to in January and February
It is finally time for the network mid-season replacements and new cable dramas to debut, and for some old favorites to come back. Here is a list of what I am looking forward to watching and (hopefully) covering on the blog.
‘Lights Out’ (F/X, Tuesdays at 10 PM starting January 11): There was a ton of good buzz coming from critics over the last few weeks, and show runner Warren Leight was behind one of the strongest seasons of HBO’s ‘In Treatment’. F/X has a history of doing right by stories set in these kind of hyper-masculine and violence-drenched worlds. Of course, F/X does a LOT of hyper-masculine and violent shows, which raises the specter of burnout for some fans. Bonus points for co-starring Pablo Schreiber, who broke my heart in season two of ‘The Wire’.
‘Community’ (NBC, Thursdays at 8 PM starting January 20): As I wrote in the TV Top Ten of 2010, this show has built up tremendous goodwill with me for simply surprising me week-to-week. For a while, it seemed that the writers had gone to the well of pop-culture movie parodies once too often, but they redeemed themselves with some deep and heartfelt quiet character studies for the extremely talented cast. They also managed the best use of Betty White in this past year.
‘Parks and Recreation’ (NBC, Thursdays at 9:30 PM starting January 20): Wait, you already knew that. Is everyone all caught up? Are you as fond of the adorable April Ludgate (“I like people, places, and….thiiiinnnggs.”) and Ron F’ing Swanson (“I like saying no. It lowers their enthusiasm.”) as I am? Bonus points for casting Adam Scott and making me a bit less sad that ‘Party Down’ isn’t on the air anymore.
‘Archer’ (F/X, Thursdays at 10 PM starting January 27). Full disclosure: I have not yet watched any of the episodes from last year’s season. But after hearing a brief audio clip on this essential podcast, it is completely obvious this animated spy-move spoof is screamingly funny and aimed at my sense of humor. Archer, where have you been all my life? I plan to do my best to catch up and share thoughts about season two.
‘The Chicago Code’ (Fox, Mondays at 9 PM starting February 7). Another one that has had amazingly good word-of-mouth from critics, and show runner Shawn Ryan has my undying loyalty for ‘The Shield’ and the late and much beloved ‘Terriers’. Apparently, there have some changes to the pilot since it first screened, but this is one that no TV fan can really miss.
‘Justified’ (F/X, Wednesdays at 10 PM starting February 9) was one of the most purely entertaining shows of 2010, with an embarrassment of talented actors playing a rogue’s gallery of Southerners with a capital S. It spun riffs on Elmore Leonard’s tasty dialogue and found unexpected depth in two parallel father/son relationships. All this, and Timothy Olyphant in a cowboy hat. You really can’t ask for much more.
So, what are you looking forward to watching this winter?
Salma Hayek to produce mini-series version of 'Wicked' for ABC
Salma Hayek is once again donning her producer's cap as her production company, Ventanarosa, nabs rights to Gregory Maguire's 1995 bestseller "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West." The book -- a riff on the old "Oz" tale told from the Wicked witch's perspective -- previously spawned the hit 2003 Broadway production. "Glee" guest star Menzel originated the title role, while her pal -- and fellow "Glee" guester -- Kristin Chenoweth played the good witch.
Hayek's eight-hour mini-series, which landed at ABC, will be adapted solely from the book, as the production company doesn't have any rights to the Broadway version, which was produced by Hollywood biggie Marc Platt. The rights for a film version of the Broadway show have been at Universal Pictures for several years, and may still be developed.
No word yet on whether Hayek's company will reach out Menzel or Chenoweth. Perhaps we'll see Hayek -- who cameo-ed as a sassy magazine editor on her earlier production, "Ugly Betty" -- turn up in the title role herself?
Who would you like to see get "Wicked" on TV?
Showtime's new drama starring William H. Macy should take center-stage Sunday night
We'll be seeing some familiar faces -- and concepts this fall
Grayson and Jules get on the same page in 'No Reason To Cry'
Trying to analyze or dissect a show as frothy and fun as ‘Cougar Town’ sounds like the definition of an exercise in futility. But the home truths that emerge out of the normal sitcom hi-jinks can take you by surprise.
Take Ellie and Andy’s conflict in tonight’s episode – Andy makes Ellie look foolish by giving her the wrong names for people she doesn’t remember. She takes it in stride and actually seems to enjoy it; what upsets her is when Andy pulls “their” prank on Laurie. Understandably, since as she says “the joke thing was OUR thing”. Only when he thinks of an even better prank (writing fake apology notes to people under her name) and promises to keep it just between the two of them, is she mollified. Indeed, it can be hurtful to see something you thought was special to you and your partner exposed to other people, even with the best of intentions. ‘Cougar Town’ found a cute way to acknowledge and resolve that dilemma, however lightly.
It also found a good way to lead up to Grayson and his beady little rat eyes finally telling Jules that he loves her. She actually brings up some very real potential issues about their dissimilarities. But by Grayson honestly telling her that they are very different people and that she is “an idiot” for wanting them to be “compatible”, it saved the moment from being too saccharine; instead, it was genuinely earned.
Well-done, Cul-de-sac Crew.
Enough of these DEEP thoughts; let’s get to the bullets:
- The product placement really skated up to the edge of icky. I realize that ever since the ’30 Rock’ Snapple extravaganza, it is considered okay to acknowledge and make fun of a (necessary) evil, but the shirt and the cap and the can smack in the middle of the camera shot. I mean, if it wasn't sold by a talking dog, it would have indeed been icky.
- Where is the Facebook page to “Make Tom A Part of The Gang”? I’d sign up.
- Oh Kirsten. I just cannot get attached to you when I know that Dan and Laurie are destined to be in love (I hope). You were funny when you ‘broke’ Bobby, though.
- “It doesn’t pass the ridiculous test.”
- “Really? Bug hookers?” “That’s the title!”
- “He does keep a pencil in his neck fat, so he’s clearly smart.”
- Laurie’s coffee ordering extravaganza = best Taye Diggs description ever.
- New Year's Resolution: Embrace Our Stupid Title & Lose Six Pounds