Friday, April 1, 2011

Pop Culture Winners of the Week (March 25 - April 1)...


- AMC. They managed to lock their critically (and fan) acclaimed period drama Mad Men in for another three years and get its showrunner Matthew Weiner to budge on some of their contract terms, such as length of episodes for broadcast. This announcement comes just days before the network will premiere The Killing, a new emotional murder mystery drama that will revitalize episodic television once again.

- Bravo. If it seems that networks are the biggest beneficiaries this week, it's not entirely coincidental. As some of the smaller cable outlets have already held their upfronts ceremonies to announce their projected programming slate for the next television season, it is easy to see who is at the top of their game, ready to expand on what they do well, and who is still struggling a bit and trying whatever they can to stay afloat. Bravo certainly is in the former category, capitalizing on their successful lifestyle and docu-series programming format, greenlighting an unprecedented eleven new reality series while returning five favorites. I hate to say it, but it's a really good time to be in reality TV right now!

- Donnie Wahlberg truly has "the right stuff." The guy may be embarking on a nostalgia tour with NKOTBBSB (that I will be seeing when they make their L.A. stop this summer, I must point out!!), but his career may have never been hotter than right now. Week after week Blue Bloods gives him the most meaty story lines to show off his deep dramatic work, and he hits it out of the park each and every time. He also manages to make more time now than ever for his fans, including Tweeting with them and posing for photos when people spot him filming in the New York City streets.

- Being nostalgic for your youth. Maybe it was just me, but when I received an advance reviewer copy of "Sweet Valley Confidential" in the mail (that I knew was on its way, mind you), I squealed aloud. And then tore into the book like I would have on any weekend when I had nowhere to be as a kid. But it wasn't a weekend: it was the middle of a workday, and still I couldn't wait to see how some of my favorite fictional idols turned out. And thankfully, I wasn't alone in this. Twitter blew up this week (or at least my feed did) with everyone talking about the book-- how they were bummed their local Barnes & Noble didn't have it or how they tried squeezing lemon juice into their hair to get the California blonde locks of the Wakefield twins. It is a good time to reminisce, especially here in California where the weather is a summer 90 degrees and I had this book-- as well as the David Cassidy inspired trip down memory lane "I Think I Love You"-- to devour in the last few days.

- Hugh Dancy. Thanks to his guest stint on season two of The Big C, which was announced this week, the British actor is officially on my radar, which is not a bad place to be if you want free, oftentimes gushy, press. Though I certainly saw him in previous works like Black Hawk Down and Confessions of a Shopaholic, none of them made enough of an impression on me to follow his career timeline as obsessively as I have others. Maybe it was the medium; maybe I was still reluctant to get too attached to an actor who might not want to spend much time on this side of the pond, I don't know. But The Big C quickly became one of my favorite shows currently on television when it premiered last year, so clearly he has great taste and is worth a much deeper look...

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