TV Nerd News #1
Welcome to the first edition of iGR‘s new weekly article TV Nerd News! As you can probably tell by the name, this weekly article will be similar to Saturday’s Film Nerd News but instead we’ll be talking about TV news.
Before we get to the news items, I want to preface this by reminding everybody that a pilot order does not mean that the show was picked up. In order to get a show to air, there’s three stages: script, pilot and series. So a lot of the following news items concern stage two. That said, you can understand why I was initially reluctant to talk about those specific news items because they could very well end up meaning absolutely nothing. It is news, though, and I have a responsibility as a “serious journalist” to provide you with all the news, no matter the relevance three months from now. Anyways, I digress…
- The last thing the world needs is more NCIS but old people keep watching it so what’s a guy to do? Avoid CBS at (almost) all costs like me! I say almost because Elementary is actually quite entertaining. The rest of the network? Yeah…no.
- It’s pretty obvious that Kemper has been the breakout star of The Office recently. So obvious, in fact, that I haven’t even watched the show in 2+ seasons and even I know it.
- Trivia time: You’ve just been nominated for your second Academy Award in three years so what’s your next step!? Apparently a sitcom on CBS. I think someone needs a new agent.
- This is interesting because Roberts (Nancy Drew, Scream 4) was kind of supposed to have broken out by now but she hasn’t. Granted the business is a lot different than it was 20 years ago but that’s now why she’s leading a TV show instead of more high profile feature films. That said, the idea of Equilibrium: The TV Show (in an effort to try summarize the plot of the pilots, be prepared to see Movie Name: The TV Show quite a bit in the next few weeks) sounds pretty interesting to me.
- Even though it set a premiere record for FX, the second week for The Americans wasn’t as pleasant. That said, it was also said that the ratings increased quite a bit with DVR ratings taken into account. Still, it’s premiere should be enough to convince FX to extend the show for another season.
- Wolk (Lone Star, Political Animals) is still a relative newcomer to business, having only been in a handful of series, but the interesting part here is the fact that Robin Williams is starring in a sitcom! And it’s created by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal)! Okay, that last part is actually kind of odd but Robin Williams!
- I have to admit, a majority of people won’t know the actor (I barely do), David Walton (Bent) but I’m intrigued by this project because of the guy developing it, Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights). I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of Parenthood but Friday Night Lights one of the best (and most underrated) shows of the last decade so I’m intrigued to see him take a stab at comedy. Also, Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) is directing the pilot so that’s also pretty interesting.
- Even though the above seems to indicate this is some unheard of thing in TV, the practice of booking a pilot while you’re already on a show (or booking multiple pilots) is pretty commonplace. When this happens, the existing show is in “first position”, meaning that it holds precedence over the pilot they also signed for. This doesn’t noticeably happen very often but there is a fairly recent example. In 2011, Damon Wayans Jr. was already on ABC’s Happy Endings but given the tenuous nature of that show’s pickup for another season, he signed on for the pilot of Fox’s New Girl. Because Happy Endings got renewed and New Girl was picked up, Wayans Jr. stuck with Happy Endings since it was in first position but also appeared in the first episode of New Girl and was replaced by a different character in the episodes following.
- The big piece of this news item is the fact that Do No Harm was canceled. It’s not surprising because after all, it did debut with the worst premiere ratings in network history and somehow, the ratings got even worse for the second episode so of course NBC was going to cancel. That said, the news about Community‘s ratings increasing over the previous season’s premiere is bigger news to me. I’m a huge fan of the series and hope that it somehow cheats death and is able to get another season. Given that two of NBC’s staple sitcoms have ended/will end this season and the fact that they haven’t been able to really develop any new ones, it seems more likely than it did a few months ago but it’s still going to be an uphill battle. But hey, finally some good news!
- This show has been in development for awhile so it’s nice to finally see some traction on it because the plot sounds pretty interesting. Based on the 2011 novel by the same name, The Leftovers, takes place after the Rapture but focuses on those who didn’t make the cut and the world they live in as a result. The novel’s author, Tom Perrotta, is also involved and co-wrote it with Lindelof. Given Lindelof’s increasingly busy feature schedule, it’ll be interesting to see how involved he is in the series but the fact that the original author is involved seems to indicate it’s in good hands regardless.
- After NBC announced that it was re-tooling the show as a mutli-camera sitcom (it was single-camera before), I was curious to see if there’d be any backlash and there has been. The creator of the show left a couple of weeks ago over creative differences and now so has Applegate. . Those of you who don’t know the difference between multi-camera and single-camera sitcoms, multi-cam are the ones that filmed “in front of a live TV audience”, whereas single-camera are the ones that don’t suck.
- This story isn’t as interesting as it was a couple of years ago when it was announced that Ricci (Sleepy Hollow, Monster) was going to be a part of Pan Am since that was her first TV gig but the fact that it’s a comedy is fairly interesting. The plot sounds pretty terrible though so that’s kind of a shame.
- This pilot, Bloodline, is being compared to Kill Bill because it centers on a female protagonist on a revenge mission. However, it has some Wanted thrown in since it’s about an ancient line of assassins. Banks has been one of the best parts of Breaking Bad so it’s nice to see him get some more high profile work.
- This story is pretty interesting if only because Teegarden (Friday Night Lights) was previously attached to a different CW pilot, The Selection (The Hunger Games: The TV Show), that went through pilot season last year but didn’t get picked up. The network liked the idea enough to re-tool it for this season though but it was expected that Teegarden would continue to be attached as the lead. This one, Oxygen, basically sounds like District 9: The TV Show (but in high school!) so at least it seems like more than just a lateral move.
- Nothing happened. The Grammys were held. About it, really.
- Spotnitz’s work the last couple of years for Cinemax (first Strike Back and most recently, Hunted) has been pretty great so it’s nice to see him continue to get things made. The fact that it’s a Phillip K. Dick novel and is being produced by Ridley Scott just makes it even better. I used to be fairly indifferent towards mini-series before but as I’ve begun to plan out some of the scripts I’ve been working on, I’ve come to appreciate the length of a mini-series. You can develop characters more than in a movie but at the same time, allows you to stay focused on your original story, something that can get lost on a multiple season TV show. It can still be done with multi-season shows (Breaking Bad is a great example) but too much success can also lead to extending a series beyond the creator’s expectations which tends to be a bad thing more than a good thing. For example, Eric Kripke always intended for the CW show Supernatural to only last five seasons but because of its success, it’s closing in on almost double that (more on that later).
- I’m a big fan of Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, The Girl Next Door) but man, Bonnie & Clyde has been told a million different times already. Is this really going to be any different than the previous ones? I doubt it.
- This is pleasing news to me, at least 2/3’s of it. Like I alluded to in my review of The Americans, Arrow is one of the few good shows to debut this TV season so it’s nice to see it get picked up for another season. Not that it was in danger because it’s quickly become the highest rated show on the network but still, this hasn’t been a good year for new shows so it’s nice to see one of the few quality ones get another season. It’s kind of weird to admit but I am a fan of The Vampire Diaries and yes, I’m also a male. Since one of the shows I grew up on was Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, I have a fondness for supernatural shows and The Vampire Diaries is the best on TV, infinitely better than a certain show on HBO. It’s renewal is a no-brainer, especially since the network is currently working on a spin-off. I used to love Supernatural (surprise, surprise) but the last couple of seasons have been pretty poor. So, the fact that it’s getting renewed for a 9th season is pretty disappointing when, like I said earlier, it should’ve ended after Season 5.
- I’m not going to reel off the numbers because out of context, they’re meaningless, but let’s just say that The Walking Dead is no danger of being canceled because of ratings any time soon. The show continues to set records for cable shows and while I don’t appreciate the way AMC has been treating their showrunners lately, the fact that the show is getting better ratings than those on the big four networks can only mean good things for the state of TV. Maybe then the networks will realize that procedural dramas aren’t the only thing that get ratings.
- I’ve only seen the pilot for Lost so I can’t comment much on Holloway (he was great in that five seconds he was in in MI4!) but from what I’ve heard from fans of the series, he was a high point. So the fact that it’s taken him three years to get a leading role is kind of surprising. The only problem? It sounds like a less-funny version of NBC’s cult hit, Chuck (guy is a super-spy because of a computer for a brain). But hey, CBS found success by ripping off Psych with The Mentalist so maybe they have some sort of formula that turns great shows into something old people will watch?
- Part of what comes out of this story is the upcoming (and unfortunate end) to USA’s Psych, one of my all-time favorite shows. It’s nice to see her getting work so quickly though as she’s one of the more underrated aspects of the show.
- Braugher (The Mist, Men of a Certain Age) is a fine actor and will be playing the boss of the precinct the show is set in. The show is being written/produced by the co-creator of Parks & Recreation Mike Schur and is set to star Andy Samberg so I’m definitely hoping to hear that it gets picked up in a couple of months.
- Starring Diane Kruger (Troy, Inglourious Basterds) and Demian Bichir (Weeds, Savages), The Bridge follows two detectives (one from the US, one from Mexico) who work together to try and catch a serial killer operating on each side of the border. I was definitely intrigued when I first heard about the pilot so hearing that it was picked up is great news. FX has been on a roll lately with its series’ so it’ll be interesting to see if their success continues. It’s set to premiere sometime in July.
- Campbell (The Killing, The Rocketeer) joins the previously-cast Emma Roberts in Fox’s Delirium pilot. I can’t really comment on this much since I haven’t seen Campbell’s recent work but I remember loving The Rocketeer when I was kid. So…there’s that, I guess.
- The most interesting thing about this re-telling is the fact that Charlize Theron is producing it. I don’t find the modernization of it that interesting because it’s mostly just a cash grab on the name. Madsen (Sideways, The Number 23) will be play the McCoy mother, Eloise.
- Sarsgaard (Green Lantern, Garden State) will be playing a death row inmate that presumably will somehow be connected to the murder of the season. Sarsgaard is an underrated actor, and one of my favorites around even, but even he’s enough to get me to tune in to that show.
- It’s not titled Romeo & Juliet (Venice, actually) but it might as well be because the description of the pilot basically describes the classic Shakespeare play, only set in Venice, CA. Beals (The L Word, Chicago Code) will be playing the matriarch of one of the familys.
That’s it for this week’s edition of Pilot…I mean, TV Nerd News! Tune in next time when I have even more info about stuff we might not even get to see!