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Monthly archives: October 2007


Office Spinoff in the Works?
2007-10-30 16:12
by Jon Weisman

That's what thinks.

However, unlike Practice, which stole Grey's regular Kate Walsh to anchor the new series, the proposed Office 2 is not expected to include any of the mother ship's core cast. In fact, producers are already casting about for a "name" to headline the potential show.

Monday Night Open Chat
2007-10-22 17:31
by Jon Weisman

Kristen Bell makes her debut on Heroes, but so far I'm giving Aliens in America a slight edge over all the rest as the best Monday night show of 2007-08.

The Mad Men Monologues
2007-10-19 08:18
by Jon Weisman

In this blog post for Variety, I write about the genius of Thursday's Mad Men season finale, focusing on two big speeches of Betty and Don.

* * *

Some great deleted scenes from last night's Office here.

Mad Men Heads Out for Drinks
2007-10-18 15:26
by Jon Weisman

The season finale for Mad Men is tonight, and all I can say is that I'm already eager for season two.

This week, we get 120 combined minutes of Mad Men and The Office. Next week, a mere 30 ...

2007-10-18 10:14
by Jon Weisman

Total average daily time spent in front of the tube actually dropped by one minute to 4 hours 34 minutes from 4 hours 35 minutes in the 2005-2006 season, which was a record. It's the first time individual TV viewing has dropped in at least a decade, and also the year Nielsen included digital video recording in its viewer estimates.

- Michael Learmonth, Variety

I would say I actually come in under the average - even factoring in Dodger games - which is amazing. It helps that I don't watch television in the morning, when my kids get their pre-school (or pre-preschool) fix.

Somebody out there is watching a lot of TV.

Wednesday Night Open Chat
2007-10-17 17:40
by Jon Weisman

Fleeing from the Cave
2007-10-15 09:43
by Jon Weisman

Just to ensure I don't go down in history as "The Guy Who Liked Cavemen," I have written the following post at Season Pass for Variety.

I went out on a limb for "Cavemen," and they cut it down on me.

Twice at Season Pass I have defended the show (albeit with faint praise), but last week's episode mocked my efforts. I was prepared to not laugh out loud, having been intrigued by an approach that emphasized dry wit over obvious humor, but the most recent airing lacked either. For the first time, I saw "Cavemen" as others have — as the worst kind of "Saturday Night Live" skit, all premise and no execution. ...

In the post, I discuss Chuck and Reaper as well, concluding that both have their merits but that neither holds a candle to Mad Men. Let's face it - the best new show of the year was on AMC. The season finale of Mad Men comes Thursday, and I'm sure going to miss it when it's gone.

Tell Me You Love Me Update
2007-10-14 21:09
by Jon Weisman

Over the past two weeks, Dave (Tim DeKay) and Katie (Ally Walker) have pretty much taken over HBO's Tell Me You Love Me. The show on the whole has improved over time, but the almost seething tension between these two, particularly in the past two therapy sessions, has been the show's highpoint.

And they didn't even mention TiVo this week!

Don't Forget About Friday Night Lights
2007-10-12 14:29
by Jon Weisman

It's now been a week since the big event kicking off the second season of Friday Night Lights ...
Continue reading...

Thursday Night Open Chat
2007-10-11 17:02
by Jon Weisman

Wednesday Night Open Chat
2007-10-10 17:23
by Jon Weisman

Okay, people who are worried about how Pushing Daisies will keep the magic going: Tonight brings episode two. See what happens.

2007-10-09 09:36
by Jon Weisman

For those who haven't paid attention, here's a Variety update on a possible Writers Guild strike and how it is already affecting the film and television industries. I'll excerpt some of the TV portion for you:

By Nov. 1, nets will have enough episodes of current shows in the can to get them through mid-January. But the February sweeps would be decimated, and new shows would halt production well before they'd filled their initial 13 episode orders.

As a result, an early strike could spell doom for some newer shows struggling in the ratings.

"If Fox has to shut down a show like 'K-Ville' in the middle of filming the seventh episode, they might just decide it makes more sense to simply cancel it," one agent said.

That's because keeping the "K-Ville" sets in place and its cast together would be costly. If the show were a hit, keeping the skein in a holding pattern would make sense, but given its weak early numbers, Fox might simply decide it makes sense to cut and run.

That decision would have a cost, too. TV shows generally need to produce 13 episodes to earn international coin. If shows such as "K-Ville" -- or CBS' ratings-challenged "Cane" or NBC's "Bionic Woman" -- wrap before they get to 13 segs, they'll likely end up a total loss for both the network and the studio that produces the show.

A writers' walkout before Thanksgiving could also cripple pilot season if scribes stay out for several months. While nets have purchased the bulk of their pilot scripts by now, they've seen only a few completed drafts. Most pilot scripts don't come in until late November or early December. An early strike would put pilot season on hold.

There are some observers, however, who think a January strike might make more strategic sense. The TV season would still be hurt, with original episodes of shows running out by late February. Pilot season would still be affected, since nets might be reluctant to lense $4 million pilot segs without scribes available to do rewrites -- especially for comedies. ...

Monday Night Open Chat
2007-10-08 18:44
by Jon Weisman

I was told to give Chuck one more chance ... we'll see. More interested in the second episode of Aliens in America.

Sunday Night Open Chat
2007-10-07 16:39
by Jon Weisman

Thursday Night Open Chat
2007-10-04 17:30
by Jon Weisman

Season premiere of 30 Rock, another Mad Men and another one-hour Office ...

Pushing Daisies Premieres
2007-10-03 18:37
by Jon Weisman

See it in color!

The Return of Cupid
2007-10-03 06:52
by Jon Weisman

Talk about your brilliant but canceled shows has to include Cupid, with Jeremy Piven and yes, Paula Marshall. Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars was the creator, and when I got the chance to interview him for the first time, I wouldn't let him off the phone before asking whether Cupid would come out on DVD. (He said he got asked that a lot.)

Well, this might go things one better. According to Josef Adalian of Variety, Cupid is being reborn:

ABC has been struck by Cupid's arrow again.

Net has pacted with scribe Rob Thomas ("Veronica Mars") to develop a new version of "Cupid," the short-lived but well-regarded Jeremy Piven starrer about a man who thinks he's been sent to earth by Zeus to help out romantically challenged souls. Project is one of two scripts Thomas has in the works via a just-inked one-year development deal with ABC Studios. ...

"For the last couple years, I've been talking to ABC about how to do an anthological romantic comedy a la 'Cupid' or 'Love Boat,' " Thomas said. "We kept beating around ideas and kept coming back to 'Cupid' as the best of the group. So they said to me, 'Why not go back and do 'Cupid' again?"

Thomas said he was "shocked" by the request -- in a good way.

"I'm getting a chance to do what writers never get the chance to do, which is to go back and try" to improve a work, he added.

Scribe said that while he'll write a completely new pilot, "I'm not going to reinvent it. What they're buying is the show."

There will be changes, of course.

For one thing, Piven, busy on "Entourage," won't be reprising his role. Thomas also wants to come up with a main title sequence that captures the show's conceit so he doesn't have to explain it every week. ...

Tuesday Night Open Chat
2007-10-02 19:49
by Jon Weisman

The second episode of Reaper ... the ongoing flux of House ... the replacement pilot of Cavemen ... the unanticipated debut Carpoolers ... it's a festival!

Update: I'm sorry, but I still don't hate Cavemen like I'm supposed to. The laughs don't come right away and it's occasionally dumb, but it continues to be pleasingly dry to me, and what can I say? It appeals to me in some strange way. For all the talk of it being a ripoff of the Geico ads, it feels very original to me. They have made one character change since the original pilot, rethinking the lead caveman's brother, and it has only helped.

The show would probably be better served running on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. than ABC at 8, and I certainly don't expect the masses to take it in. But I continue to say it's an underrated show.

For a conflicting review from a critic I usually agree with, read Brian Lowry's take at Variety. He calls Cavemen a "bland exercise," but I think much more thought has been put into it than that.

Update 2: This mini-review by James Poniewozik of Time splits the difference between myself and Lowry, making some good points. Cavemen definitely lost some edge from the original pilot. However, I think the plotting was better in the new pilot.

Too Many Shows, Not Enough Time for Chuck
2007-10-01 21:26
by Jon Weisman

I'm cutting Chuck loose. I made the decision before the first commercial break of Episode 2. I was borderline after the pilot, but I wanted to like it, so I gave it another chance. But at its core, it's really a pretty stupid show. The premise is ridiculous, but even if you forgive that (as I have on other shows with ridiculous premises), it's not funny enough and not dramatic enough. It's just a whole lot of energy wasted. Just last year, Andy Barker P.I., for example, did the unlikely hero better.

Update: Tell Me You Love Me and Heroes are out of the penalty box. Both got back to storytelling this week. It would have been a relief to dump them - and that day might still come - but it was certainly a pleasant surprise. Neither was great, but both were at least interesting.

Post-Weekend Open Chat
2007-10-01 11:19
by Jon Weisman

Give Aliens in America a look this evening ...