Saturday, July 30, 2011

Inspirational Women in the Entertainment Industry: Rosie O'Donnell...

"My mom died at thirty-nine. It's a story I tell often, and now it sounds like someone else's life. So I was gonna make all my success and then retire at forty, and guess what? I did that. And then I went home, and every year I would have my mammogram and say, 'Is it now?' And the doctor keeps going, 'No, you're healthy. You could lose a little weight, but you're all right.' Every year. Then I finally realized, 'Crap, I may live.' So I needed a plan for act two."

Rosie O'Donnell is nothing if not completely honest, and frankly it is her willingness to lay it all out there that makes her so relatable. She's not always going to say things that everyone agrees with ("my job is mostly to entertain and be funny," she said) but she knows enough to know it is not her place to worry about what other people think as long as she is just speaking her truth.

"Authenticity, I believe, is making a comeback because of the gross excess of the nineties and because of the state of the economy, and people are looking for something real, not fake anymore," O'Donnell offered.

"I think anybody who creates art expecting the result of how it's interpreted never can make anything good. So what you have to do is just look at that blank canvas and create something that's real and authentic, and how people receive it, you can't really be concerned with."

Though O'Donnell doesn't consider herself someone sitting at home watching would aspire to be, Made Possible by Pop Culture might argue otherwise. She's not perfect, and she's not always polished, but she has a confidence that is seemingly unmatched by anyone else in the business. That is certainly something to aspire to for any young woman, in the entertainment industry or otherwise.

But even more than the confidence, she maintains a down-to-Earth, "average Jane" appeal, proving that despite all of her varied successes, she really is still hasn't lost touch with her roots, and she stays true to who she really is. Certainly her years as a stand-up comedian, telling personal stories of her trials and tribulations in a light-hearted way designed to bring the audience in, helped her accessibility. And her time with her syndicated talk show in the nineties, on which she spoke directly to her fans by showing off the side of herself that had a great love for all things pop culture and the arts, aided the cause. Coming into people's homes for an hour every day on television, and then more recently online, allowed the very many sides of O'Donnell to be showcased and led to the mainstream success that is now affording her a position as a talk show host on Oprah Winfrey's network.

"This is my job. It's been the only job I've had," O'Donnell shared. "I started at sixteen doing standup, and you know, I'm about to be fifty, so this is all I've ever known. I never had another job, so no matter what's happening, I'm a professional, and I can do one hour of entertaining stuff."

There used to be a time in Hollywood when "women of a certain age" would no longer get work at all, but O'Donnell is proving that all of her hard work, experience, substance, and maturity has actually amounted to something bigger and better at a later stage in her life than any of the commercial success she achieved years ago.

"Oprah has taught us all, you manifest your own destiny, and I believe in some ways I did manifest this," O'Donnell admitted.

And hopefully with her new The Rosie Show, O'Donnell will inspire others to think more positively and to dream larger regarding what can be achieved, as well.

Enter To Win 'Rizzoli & Isles' Swag...

If you haven't been watching Rizzoli & Isles since it premiered on TNT last summer, you are certainly going to want to tune in now! Not only are the cases getting more emotionally intense each week (and just because Jane has healed from her gunshot wound in the first season finale doesn't mean she won't see some more upcoming danger...perhaps even from a familiar face...), but the personal drama is being amped up, as well. Baby brother Tommy Rizzoli is about to return home to his boisterous clan; Frankie is about to get a visit from an ex-girlfriend who all of the women in his family think is "bad news;" and both Jane and Maura are going to come up against roadblocks with potential romantic relationships.

Rizzoli & Isles is the kind of show that you don't have to catch up on before diving into the new episode, but it is highly suggested that you do because it's just too fun! So in order to help you do that, Made Possible by Pop Culture is offering one lucky reader a copy of the season one DVD box set. And it comes with a very special surprise that could come in quite handy if trying to emulate these lovely ladies of Boston Homicide.

All you have to do to enter to win is make sure you're following me on Twitter and then Tweet me with whether you think you're more of a Jane or more of a Maura and why. Feel free to enter any time between now and five pm on Tuesday, August 2nd 2011, giving you ample time to process the intense new episode, "Brown Eyed Girl."

Not on Twitter yet? No need to sign up just for this! You can also enter by leaving the above in the comments on this article. But if you choose this option, please make sure to include a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the winner.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Tales From TCA: What's To Come on 'True Blood', The 'Entourage' Movie, Encore's Version of 'Moby Dick', and TV Land's 'The Exes'...

"What's to come on True Blood? Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alan Ball preview!"

True Blood is certainly in the middle of a killer season, isn't it? Just when you thought the show couldn't surprise you anymore, it does-- especially with that creepy baby! Series creator and executive producer Alan Ball definitely likes to keep "Trubies" and "Fangbangers" on their toes with his new twists and character developments, despite the fact that the HBO drama comes from a popular series of books. Sure, having source material inevitably "locks you into" some story elements, but Ball is happy to deviate a bit in order to best utilize his talented performers and beloved characters... [MORE]

"Does the story of Entourage warrant a feature film? Mark Wahlberg thinks so!"

"Mark and I sat down at the beginning of the year, before I started writing, just to talk about what kind of vibe we wanted for the show. And what was important to me, more than any kind of story things, was to leave it with an element of hopefully that the audience goes 'We loved hanging out with these guys, and we'll miss them'," Entourage executive producer Doug Ellin told critics during HBO's TCA day in Los Angeles this week... [MORE]

"William Hurt, Gillian Anderson, Ethan Hawke to revive Moby Dick for Encore"

You all know the classic story of Moby Dick, and if you don't, well, the cliff notes are online. But Encore has a retelling coming to television in just a few days. Starring the incomparable William Hurt, Gillian Anderson, and Ethan Hawke, the story is something that both the network and the stars feel "it's time the story to come back." And with such powerhouses behind it, you should feel pretty confident that the two-night tale is bound to be a modern classic all on its own... [MORE]

"The Exes forces grown men to "deal with each other"

Man caves are going to be a big thing on TV Land come fall 2011! The Exes centers on three guys who end up moving in together post-divorce. David Alan Basche, Donald Faison, and Wayne Knight are the bachelors, and if it sounds a bit crazy, the premise stems from a real building in Santa Monica in which a lot of divorced men happen to move. Remember the sad divorce club Friends teased? This may be the closest thing we ever get! ... [MORE]

"What's to come on MTV's Awkward.? Series creator Lauren Iungerich previews!"

Though many may think that Awkward. has been born of the "Juno movement" that stemmed in the last few years, turning the popular kids of film and television on their head to showcase a smarter, even if sometimes snarkier underdog, series creator Lauren Iungerich shared with television critics in Los Angeles today that it really only came from within her own head. She drew on some personal experiences, some stories from friends, and some universal ideas. After all, "everyone knew a Sadie in high school!" ... [MORE]

For The Love of Lucy: TCM Schedules a Movie Marathon For Ball's Birthday...

Lucille Ball was one of my first entertainment industry idols. I found her comedic talents unmatched, and though I never quite aspired to be her from an acting perspective, I wanted to influence change the way she did. Actually, in many ways, I still do. But she was so much more than "just" a comedienne anyway; she was a singer; she was a producer; she was a pioneer. And in just a few days TCM will celebrate the incomparable talent and the woman behind it with a marathon of some of her greatest films.

Every day I sit in my living room watching new television and movies. From the comfort of my couch I review, and at times conduct interviews with those behind, the latest projects and products. And just over my eye line when typing on my laptop is my Charles Fazzino "For The Love of Lucy" pop art hanging, reminding me, in many ways, why I got into this business, what I love most about it, and what it can be when it is truly unique.

August 6th would have been Ball's one hundredth birthday, and what better way to ring in a little celebration than with a "Summer Under the Stars" night of programming to celebrate the life of the ground-breaking star? Admittedly I have never seen many of these titles; the most of my frame of reference was always I Love Lucy. But whether you're tuning in for the first time or the fifth-- or the fifteenth!-- it's a chance to take a walk down memory lane with the best of Ball.

Here is the full schedule for the movie marathon on the sixth:

6 a.m. Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) – with Red Skelton
8 a.m. Panama Lady (1939) – with Allan Lane
9:30 a.m. Without Love (1945) – with Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Keenan Wynn
11:30 a.m. Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949) – with William Holden
1 p.m. The Fuller Brush Girl (1950) – with Eddie Albert
2:30 p.m. The Long, Long Trailer (1954) – with Desi Arnaz
4:30 p.m. Best Foot Forward (1943) – with William Gaxton
6:15 p.m. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) – with Maureen O’Hara
8 p.m. Stage Door (1937) – with Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Adolph Menjou, presented as part of The Essentials
9:45 p.m. The Big Street (1942) – with Henry Fonda
11:30 p.m. Easy to Wed (1946) – with Van Johnson and Esther Williams
1:30 a.m. Lured (1947) – with George Sanders
3:15 a.m. The Affairs of Annabel (1938) – with Jack Oakie
4:30 a.m. Annabel Takes a Tour (1938) – with Jack Oakie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tales From TCA: Preview AMC's 'Hell on Wheels', BBC America's 'Bedlam' & New 'Doctor Who', HBO's 'Enlightened'...

"AMC's Hell on Wheels to showcase the personal struggle of post Civil War U.S."

When you first consider the drama that may be invoked with the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, you may not think about the interpersonal issues that surely arose. Ideas like premature death from dangers on the job, exposure to extreme weather, and malnutrition or starvation, as well as politics of the "race" involved between the east and the west. But AMC was able to see beyond the obvious-- beyond the stale details we all read in our history textbooks in school. Considering the racial, religious, and romantic relationship issues that would arise when newcomers ride into town and ultimately take over, they have crafted a new hour-long drama meant to challenge how you think about biggest moments in our history. Hell on Wheels will force you to look at the actual people that did the dirty work and how their own lives were changed (for better and for worse) by something that ultimately changed the whole way of the world... [MORE]

"BBC America's Bedlam to offer a new perspective on an old ghost story"

Admittedly when we first heard the premise of BBC America's upcoming supernatural drama, Bedlam, we were skeptical. It's not that we don't believe in ghosts (which we actually don't), but the idea of a haunted apartment building because the structure is actually a converted psychiatric hospital? What kind of awful contractor would do that!? And furthermore, Jed (Theo James), the man at the center, tasked (and burdened, in many ways) to vanquish these spirits was in and out of mental institutions himself, so how do we know it's not all just in his head? ... [MORE]

"What's to come on Doctor Who? Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Steven Moffat preview!"

For a series that began airing in the 1960s, it is quite a remarkable feat that today Doctor Who is not only still relevant but increasing in popularity. Over the years it has came and went, spun off a number of side programs, and collected a whopping number of actors portraying the titular role of "The Doctor." But the genre show airing on BBC America is not reminiscent of soap operas in the melodramatic way of recasting; instead, each new actor is really portraying a new doctor, which allows for freedom not only in the performance but also in the overall mythology of the show. Matt Smith raised a few eyebrows when he was first cast because of just how young he looks (and he is the youngest Doctor to date), but he clearly won over the fandom-- rallying a few thousand at Comic Con last weekend and a few hundred at TCA in Los Angeles today... [MORE]

"HBO and Mike White are Enlightened but the show's characters may not be"

"Did I have a nervous breakdown?" Enlightened creator Mike White started his TCA session in Los Angeles today, addressing any elephant in the room about whether or not this project, like so many of his previous ones, are cut from a personal cloth... [MORE]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tales from TCA: 'Rizzoli & Isles' Spoiler; Win A Trip to 'Hawaii Five-0'; Rob Mariano Back On Reality TV; Preview 'Against The Wall'...

Rizzoli & Isles spoiler: Who might be about to become a parent?"

Didn't Maura (Sasha Alexander) look oh, so comfortable holding the baby she helped deliver just a few weeks ago? Her bond with the child was surely started over the fact that it was orphaned at birth and was about to go into the adoptive lifestyle, something which she has deep ties to and is always discussing at length (even when unprompted). But could there have been more to it? Is she ready to be a mom herself? Okay, don't freak out! Alexander assured us a few weeks ago that Maura has a long way to go before she is ready to start a family of her own, and she's not going back on that statement now. But someone else in the show might become a parent this season. Any guesses? ... [MORE]

"Become a Hawaii Five-0 social media ambassador and win a set visit in Hawaii"

Are you the ultimate Hawaii Five-0 fan and someone who considers themselves on the cutting edge of emerging technology? Do you love to hop online and talk all things TV with your friends or even virtual strangers? Then CBS has the contest for you! ... [MORE]

"Rob Mariano is back on top of reality TV with Around the World in 80 Ways"

Rob Mariano, aka “Boston Rob” from Survivor fame is quite the adrenaline junkie. We imagine you’d have to be going on a show like that. But his adventurous spirit didn’t stop when he got voted off the island-- any time. Though he finally took away the million dollar prize on Survivor: Redemption Island, Mariano is back with a brand new reality show (this time for the History Channel) to show off what he can really do. Around the World in 80 Ways is designed to challenge the mind and spirit with modes of transportation in our modern world... [MORE]

"Against The Wall is out to entice with drama but sell the relationships"

Modern procedurals and other cop dramas have pretty much trained the viewing audience to sympathize with the detectives and uniformed officers and loathe, if not somewhat fear, Internal Affairs. After all, police work is a brotherhood-- or an extended family, if you will-- and I.A. is like the tattle tale little sister who gets you grounded right before the big school dance. Police officers are supposed to look out for each other, but Internal Affairs looks into each other. And now Lifetime wants us to sympathize with one of them: Against the Wall's Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani)... [MORE]

"Lifetime to premiere short film anthology from Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston, etc"

How better to celebrate breast cancer awareness month than by premiering some brand new, original content from some of the smartest and strongest, and let's face it, most influential, women in entertainment? Lifetime knows that, so they have scheduled the Five, the short film anthology compilation to premiere in October. Coming from uber-producer Marta Kauffman and featuring the directorial talents of Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, and Alicia Keys, Five weaves five separate stories seamlessly together with the common themed thread of how breast cancer has affected the lives of all of the characters within... [MORE]

From LA Examiner: 'Franklin & Bash' Renewed; Fran Drescher Talks 'Happily Divorced'; 'On Writing' With Gary Goldstein...

"Court will be in session on TNT; Franklin & Bash renewed for season two"

After weeks of holding a steady rating, and with the final few first season episodes upon them, TNT announced this morning that they have renewed Franklin & Bash for a second season... [MORE]

"Fran Drescher on why TV needs more sitcoms like Happily Divorced"

Last week was a really good week for Fran Drescher and her new TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced. Not only did their ratings rise for the current episode, but they were shooting a very special finale, as well. Drescher’s former co-star Charles Shaughnessy was on set in Studio City CA to tape his guest starring appearance. But more than that, the freshman sitcom received a twelve-episode second season renewal from the network that may be single-handedly trying to revive the traditional sitcom... [MORE]

"'On Writing' Q&A with Hallmark original movie scribe Gary Goldstein"

Gary Goldstein may be a rare breed of writer. By his own admission, the man who penned three recent Hallmark original TV movies, including The Wish List starring Jennifer Esposito and the upcoming The Cabin with Lea Thompson, is not a control freak. He is easily adaptable to formats, mediums, and limitations posed by already existing ideas. And he is able to take a story you may have heard a thousand times before and use his own sweet spin to make it unique and fun. In many ways the writer who got his start on iconic programs like Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210 still embodies that simpler storytelling; he focuses on character moments, rather than salacious twists. And that, too, can be rare in Hollywood these days... [MORE]

Embrace Your Inner Geek & Win (Part 2)!...

I think I've finally figured out why I didn't embrace the nerd-olution or the geek army or anything sci-fi when I was a kid but I do so happily now. See, back then I looked to film and television for glimpses at what my future could be, and I didn't really buy the whole "aliens will take over the Earth" thing. I kept my fingers crossed for a hovercraft, maybe, but really I needed something grounded and real to give me a look at how adults could relate to each other in family, friendship, and love. It was still entertainment, but it allowed me to escape into a different, and better, world than my own nonetheless.

Nowadays, though, I am an adult. I have pieced together how to relate to those around me in family, friendships, and love through the shows of my yesteryear. So now when I want to escape, I do find myself reaching for extremes. Dealing with the day-to-day pitfalls and trappings and mundanity of the paying bills, keeping a house running, and dealing with relationship issues is my reality now; sometimes I want to see worlds that are worse than mine but yet still manage to embody a sense of hope and humanity. Because if the characters can keep it during post-apocalyptic times, then my petty problems are definitely put into perspective!

I have embraced my inner geek. Or nerd. Or whatever you want to call it. And many of you have, too, so I am opening up another giveaway featuring items from some of my favorite and the most recent supernatural or otherwise surreal sci-fi programming. Included within the box are:

  • A Super 8 tee shirt (black, size XL).
  • A copy of the Falling Skies promotional comic from TNT.
  • A preview guide to Syfy's Alphas.
  • The Vampire Diaries "Traffic Sucks" bumper sticker and blood-red travel mug.
  • Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1 on DVD.

All you have to do to enter to win is make sure you're following me on Twitter and then Tweet the following between now and 5pm PST on August 3rd:

I just embraced my inner geek thanks to @danielletbd and you can, too! Find out how at

Not on Twitter? Feel free to enter by leaving a comment with your favorite sci-fi/superhero/supernatural/comic book film or television show and why. If you opt to leave a comment, just make sure you leave a valid email address so that I have a point of contact in case you're the lucky winner!

Feel free to enter as many times as you want and good luck!

Monday, July 25, 2011

From LA Examiner: 'Supernatural' Season 7 Spoilers; Alison Sweeney Gets Another Gig...

"Supernatural spoilers come out of San Diego Comic Con"

Supernatural is a series that is so full of cliff-hangers and surprising twists for its characters, that Warner Brothers and The CW tries really hard to keep secrets underwraps so not to spoil anything for the fans. But putting their cast and creative teams in front of fans at San Diego Comic Con, and they get so into the party atmosphere they let more than a few things spill. If you don't want to know what's ahead in season seven, don't keep reading. But if you don't want to be surprised, we have a lot of news for you! ... [MORE]

"Alison Sweeney picks up another gig; TV Guide green lights Hollywood Moms' Club"

Alison Sweeney already stars on one of the last remaining daytime dramas standing, Days of our Lives, and she hosts NBC's reality sensation The Biggest Loser. In her spare time she writes books and raises her kids, and now the latter portion of her life has been spun into yet another television project alongside her friend Ali Landry. Hollywood Moms' Club is a dinner club of sorts they started for their busy working celebrity friends to all get together and bond over motherhood, and now the TV Guide Network has ordered it to series... [MORE]

Friday, July 22, 2011

From LA Examiner: Fran Drescher Dishes About 'The Nanny' Reunion; First Look at 'Dexter' Season Six...

"Fran Drescher spills details of The Nanny mini reunion on Happily Divorced"

Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield have reunited! Well, okay, to tell you the truth, in our minds they never separated. In fact, they're probably (gasp) grandparents right about now, raising their still a bit young twins alongside the babies of Maggie, Brighton, and maybe even Gracie. But all of that wholesome but still wacky family fun is happening far, far off-screen, keeping one of our favorite television couples from our childhood just out of reach. Until now... [MORE]

"First look: Edward James Olmos, Mos, Colin Hanks in Dexter season six"

Showtime premiered a brand new trailer for the new season of Dexter today at San Diego Comic Con, but if you thought Jesus was the only new character in Dexter (Michael C. Hall)'s life, you're going to want to think again... [MORE]

It's Been Ten Years Since September 11th But We Still Need 'A Little Help'...

There was a time when I would encourage anyone wanting to watch a film about 9/11 to pick up one of the oh, so many documentaries put together by PBS or the History Channel or National Geographic. After all, there were literally thousands of people to be profiled from that fateful day-- and thousands more stories to be told from those who were close to those who were lost, as well. But that time was ten years ago. In the initial aftermath of the attacks, I hungrily gobbled up any and all information I could, to try to understand or at least to try to connect, and I encouraged others to do the same. With time and distance comes, well, distance, I guess, though, and now I would like to point you in the direction of an independent darling, A Little Help, should you find yourself approaching the tenth anniversary still searching for something. Maybe even yourself.

Written and directed by Michael J. Weithorn, A Little Help centers on a young mother named Laura (The Office's Jenna Fischer), who has just been floating through life. She's pretty, but not as much as she once was, many like to point out, and she has a husband who provides comfortably enough for her and their son that she doesn't have to work full time if she doesn't want to. And she doesn't seem to want to. In fact, she doesn't seem to want to do much of anything that requires taking an active, let alone responsible, stand in her own life. You could say she is suffering from a form of shock or PTSD since when we meet her it is the summer after September 11th and her town of Port Washington, New York still very much wants everyone to remember and honor the fallen. But truthfully, her problems seem to run much deeper. It is only when her husband (NCIS: Los Angeles' Chris O'Donnell) unexpectedly dies that September 11th takes a new meaning in their life when her young son (Daniel Yelsky) lies and tells his classmates that his dad was actually a fireman lost in the towers after saving three people. And since she is somewhat of a self-sabotaging screw-up of her own, she goes along with his story.

A Little Help, therefore, is not your typical 9/11 story. It is not about the planes or the terrorists or the raining of ash. It is not about police officers or the search for the missing or politics. It is not about heroes. But it is about moving on from tragedy. Even if that tragedy may just be our lives.

But this story brings it in, closer to the vest. Instead of exploring the huge events of the singular day, it explores a very personal struggle in the life that has been forever changed after. And because the film chooses to cope with loss through lies, well, it hit a little close to home on a personal level that made it all the more poignant. But whether or not you still feel the effects of 9/11-- or even if you've never grieved for a person, let alone a way of life-- A Little Help's characters are so rich, you can't help but get sucked in and begin to feel for, and at times in spite of, them.

Obviously Laura is a little bit damaged. Smoking and drinking too much aside, she doesn't have the energy or interest to argue with her own kid, so she lets him tell the lie, and of course that lie spirals and sucks her into it, too. But she has checked out of life and is just going through the motions, so she doesn't really see any potentially long-lasting effects. The audience, though, assumingly is in a healthier mindset than she, so when the lie is finally addressed, it seems more like an "about time" moment than the punch to the gut that it is for Laura. But we are outsiders, observing the sadness while she is deeply immersed within it, allowing it to cloud her judgement and coat every action (or inaction, as the case may be).

Laura is not the only one dragging her heels, not making the most of her life, though. Her brother-in-law Paul (Supernatural's Rob Benedict) has fallen into a life he never really wanted for himself but is now in too deep to do much about it. Or so is the attitude that plagues him and weighs him down, forcing him instead to only live vicariously through his own son (Zach Page), a free-spirit and budding musician. Neither can live up to the conservative and somewhat elitest expectations of Laura's sister and Paul's wife Kathy (Grey's Anatomy's Brooke Smith), and so they begin to lean on each other in what becomes a very sweet, "share the load," escapist way. Without each other, each one would probably crumble or just give up completely. Thankfully, though, when together, they bring out the best in each other, inspire each other, and in subtle ways, spark the interest in being better people because of, even if not for, each other. And maybe because of that, they are working towards being heroes. At least in their own lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From LA Examiner: Paley Center August Events; Rob Benedict Lightens Up 9/11; Spotlight on 'Falling Skies' Colin Cunningham...

"Paley Center for Media plans events for The Closer, Happy Endings, etc"

Looking to escape the summer heat in Los Angeles? You may find you'll be spending a lot of your days (and evenings) at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles. There summer shows and programs are certainly heating up, as this morning they have announced a number of additional panels honoring fan favorite shows like The Closer and Happy Endings... [MORE]

If you’re familiar with Rob Benedict’s fantastic television work of the past (Felicity, Head Case, Supernatural-- to name a few!), you already know how he can lighten up a dramatic or otherwise tense situation with just one line delivery or nervous smile. He is certainly no stranger to playing “comic relief” characters, but don’t consider him just pigeonholed. Benedict says these types of guys are close to who he is, though perhaps one was never more so than his role of Paul in the independent darling A Little Help... [MORE]

"Colin Cunningham: Falling Skies' bad boy with a heart of gold?"

For a little while it seemed like John Pope (Colin Cunningham) was going to be the biggest foe for the 2nd Mass community in TNT’s Falling Skies. The rebellious, and somewhat mysterious, biker didn’t play by the rules Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) was enforcing for his own troops, and that posed an immediate threat to their new way of life. Suddenly we all had to come to terms with the fact that people are still people, and regardless of the other-worldly, or otherwise just external, opposition, not everyone was going to be able to put differences aside and band together. But in the grand scheme of things, Pope may end up being more of a help to this group than a hindrance…right? ... [MORE]

Welcome To DanielleTBD's Nerd Con 2011!...

Judging from my Twitter feed, I am the only one not at Comic Con this year, TV journalist or otherwise. But that's okay because I have a plan to have a nerd-tastic weekend at home nonetheless. Sure, I won't get to fill a giant swag bag full of tee-shirts, comic books, and random pins or pens or lanyards or other, smaller bags. But I will still get stickers, thanks to!

And all of that also means I get to sit in the comfort of my living room, which by the way smells really good these days-- like Japanese cherry blossoms-- with my dog by my side and food on my coffee table. I think my schedule looks pretty good. It may not be as packed as Comic Con's, but let's face it, I'm getting older and I just don't know that I have the stamina for Comic Con these days!

I invite you to steal as much from my schedule as you want. We can host our own little convention from the comfort of our own homes. And perhaps, like the good little nerds that we are, Skype each other while doing so so that it feels like we're sitting in the same space. The internet made nerds the new cool kids, so why not use it to our advantage?

Thursday, July 21st

Start slow, ease yourself in...

1pm - "Friends of the Nerdolution" - Zachary Levi and The Nerd Machine are streaming their Nerd HQ panels live on uStream so that we don't have to feel like we're missing out for being anywhere but San Diego this weekend. This isn't the one that kicked off the event, but it is the arguably the biggest one, featuring the awesomeness of Danny Pudi, Jorge Garcia, Joshua Gomez, Alison Haislip, Olivia Munn, Alessandra Torresani, Levi, and maybe a few more surprise celebrity pals.

2pm - 10pm - Admittedly I personally have to take a break for a non-nerdy work-related event, but I encourage the rest of you to begin your TV marathon an hour earlier than I will be able to. For the day, I recommend episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Leonard and Sheldon can always cheer themselves up by reminding themselves (and each other) how close they are to the next Comic Con. That makes this show the quintessential kingdom for all nerds and is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the special weekend. You can start with the pilot and watch consecutively or make your own "hit" playlist. My recommendations include "The Luminous Fish Effect," "The Hamburger Postulate," "The Loobenfeld Decay," "The Pancake Batter Anomaly," "The Barbarian Sublimation," "The Euclid Alternative," "The Party Pinata Polarization," "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis," "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation," "The Creepy Candy Coating Corallary," "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency," "The Precious Fragmentation," "The Wheaton Recurrence," "The Robotic Manipulation," "The 21 Second Excitation," and "The Herb Garden Germination."

10pm - Tune into FX for a brand new episode of Wilfred, which may not be your typical nerdy fare but works for anyone who is a dog lover!

Friday, July 22nd

Step it up with an earlier start and more diversity...

8:30am - Wake up with South Park's "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode.

9am - "A Conversation with the cast of Firefly" - The Nerd Machine has reunited Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, and Jewel Staite for all of your lingering, burning fan girl questions. Since you're watching from home, you can't actually ask the stars anything, but come on, who doesn't love a good reunion?!?

10am - 12pm - Why not keep the theme of "blasts from the past" going for a little bit longer? Check out the Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot and then the very special musical "Once More With Feeling" episode. Marvel at how young they all were!

12pm - It's lunch time, and what better way to spend it than with a Subway sandwich and some Chuck? Spend the hour with the four season finale because it really could have been a perfect series finale episode, too.

1pm - 6pm - Power through another intense TV marathon. Celebrate the pilots and/or series finales where applicable for programs like Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Millenium, Falling Skies, Fringe and both Nikitas.

6pm - 8pm - Take a Wii break. You don't necessarily have to be active about it if you don't want to be, but stimulate the mind by engaging in some games, whether playing online opponents or not. After a day of passively watching activity on a screen, the stimulation will do you some good. And probably give you the energy to power through the rest of it.

8pm - 10pm - It's movie time here at Nerd Con. No, I don't have any advance screeners of blockbusters hitting theaters in the next few months (I'm strictly a TV journalist these days), but what's wrong with a classic?
Back to the Future! I think Doc Brown would have been the hero and keynote speaker of every Comic Con if he were real.

10pm - Haven airs on Syfy. Brand new episode of the second season. If you haven't been there this whole time, why not? Also, Torchwood: Miracle Day is on Starz. But not everyone has that channel so...

Saturday, July 23rd

Hit your stride but don't forget to see the sun...

9am - Bummed you have to do all of this outside of the beautiful, 70-degree weather of San Diego? Support the independent arts by checking out the web series "Quest for Comic Con" and get inspired to make the trek next year!

10:30am - 12:30pm - Community may not be your typical Comic Con show, but Abed (and as we have learned of late, Troy) is your typical Comic Con attendee. Celebrate the best of their budding relationship with the following episodes: "Contemporary American Poultry," "The Art of Discourse," "Basic Rocket Science," "Epidemiology," and "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons."

12:30pm - Take your lunch break outside for a change. See the sun, smell a flower, say hello to a neighbor. You'd be surprised the kind of havoc a few short days in front of the electronic glow of screens can reap on your skin and eyes!

2:30pm - "A Conversation with Nathan Fillion" - You can't ever get enough Captain Mal, Captain Hammer, or Richard Castle, right? The Nerd Machine doesn't think so, and we're inclined to agree!

3:30 - 6:30pm -
A week from today the stars of The X-Files will reunite in Los Angeles for a one-of-a-kind Conversation Series event. Celebrate this, and what this show has done for genre television, with a mini-marathon. Admittedly, I haven't seen enough of the series to pick my overall favorites, as the supernatural is something I am just recently embracing, so I say today watch the two movies back-to-back.

- Movie night should continue, perhaps under the stars and in a cool night's breeze if your DVD player is portable. As a kid the only comics I ever read were Archie (and friends!), so it's time to celebrate something deeper, wouldn't you say? Superman starring Christopher Reeve, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight are my picks.

Sunday, July 24th

9am - "A Conversation with Zachary Levi" - He is one of my favorite people to interview because he's funny, smart, thoughtful, and will always drop a couple of pop culture reference gems into the conversation.

10am - 2:30pm - Supernatural is in Hall H this year, but you have a guaranteed spot to see your favorite Winchester boys right in the comfort of your own home. Since episodes without commercials are only about 45 minutes each, you should be able to squeeze in about six here. Start with the pilot and then hit one quintessential episode from each season after. My picks are: "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2," "Mystery Spot," "Lazarus Rising," "Swan Song," and "The Man Who Would Be King."

2:30pm - "A Conversation with Jared Padalecki" - You can also make this one a drinking game if the weekend has gotten to you, even though you just sat at home and not in a claustrophobic crowd. Drink every time he says "y'all." It will be adorable!

3:30pm - Star Wars screening. I'm just going to come right out and say it: I still have never seen any of these films. Well, that's not entirely true: I have seen a scene or two here and there, but I decided they just weren't for me and never sat down to see them through. But everyone tells me my dog looks like an Ewok, and there are countless references to these in just about everything these days. So for me, it might just be time. And for all of you who already know and love it? Well, can you think of a better way to cap off the weekend?

Remember: eat, stay hydrated, and blast the A.C. No excuse not to since it's your house; you control the quality and quantity of everything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From LA Examiner: Mehcad Brooks Gives Insight Into 'Necessary Roughness'; Amy Pietz Previews Her 'Nine Lives' Secrets; 'Falling Skies' Spoilers...

"Mehcad Brooks on T.K.'s slow crash & burn and directing Necessary Roughness"

“Talent can take you to the top, but character keeps you there,” actor, model, producer, and current USA series star Mehcad Brooks wisely advised LA TV Insider Examiner... [MORE]

It certainly seems like The Nine Lives of Chloe King’s leading lady (Skyler Samuels) has her hands full juggling secrets from her mother-- about her true Mai origins, about her true amount of contact with her father, about all of the boys and the fights and the new skills she is learning. Her motives may be pure, but her secrecy may still lead herself and her loved ones into more danger than safety. But in a show as complex as this one, that works both ways, and it is about the be Meredith (Amy Pietz)’s turn to keep things from her daughter... [MORE]

"Falling Skies spoilers from Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Sarah Carter"

Remember that great emotional breakdown in the “Silent Kill” episode of Falling Skies where Anne (Moon Bloodgood) has just killed a Skitter and slaps her bloody handprint on the bulletin board where all of the kids’ photos are? That was the moment Noah Wyle believes his Tom Mason fell in love with her... [MORE]

"FX announces fall 2011 premiere dates"

While many of you are down in San Diego, eager to celebrate panels featuring some of FX' great programming, we have an announcement for you: the season premiere dates for fall 2011! ... [MORE]

Guest Blog (Sort Of): Zachary Levi's Top Tips For Nerd HQ...

Last year, Made Possible by Pop Culture brought you the top tips for surviving San Diego Comic Con, but that is so old news, isn't it? Not only is everyone and their kids now blogging on that topic, but with the emergence of a new mini-convention (NERD HQ) in town at the same time, it seems about time to turn the attention to the new kid on the block and help usher him in with open arms. Besides, upon getting further information about this convention (coming from Chuck star Zachary Levi), it became apparent they were taking on the IBG Inc model of doing things, and that's something that holds such a personal connection, it certainly needed to be celebrated! Admittedly, Comic Con super stresses me out, but Nerd HQ? Well, that seems right up my alley (hello, they even feed you)!

** this post has been syndicated with permission from LA Examiner. If you are going to copy any passage of this article or link to the original post, please cite LA Examiner as your source. **

Comic Con has been going on for so many years that those going time and again know the drill. They know they will have to queue up early to get into certain ballrooms; they know they will often have to sit in said ballroom all day, even if they only want to catch one or two select panels at the end; they know to grab swag bags and carry snacks because there is nowhere to eat on the floor. But Nerd HQ is brand new, and coming from the visionary minds of Zachary Levi and The Nerd Machine, it is bound to be completely unique. So I set out to get the skinny directly from Levi to learn what was most essential to consider in order to make the most out of his event, and of course, have the most fun while there.

First and foremost? Levi pointed out that his Nerd HQ is free to fans, with the exception of the panels, which are being designed to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity for which Levi acts as ambassador.

“I think that as a celebrity you’re given incredible power. It’s a really incredible gift that you’re given, and platform that you’re given, and you can use that just for selfish ambition, or you can use that to shine a light on things that need a light shone on them,” Levi told LA TV Insider Examiner over the phone earlier this month.

So of course, if you can give more than the minimum, Levi (and the charity!), would greatly appreciate it, but he pointed out that he didn’t want to break the bank for the biggest fans. And as of right now, there really aren’t any “extras” for donating more. Levi didn’t want to get into tiered seating or anything that might begin to separate some nerds from the rest. You’re all equally important to his Nerdolution!

More tips from Levi:

  • Respect is key-- of each other as fans, but also of the celebrities themselves. “[Nerd HQ] is a refuge for people from Hollywood coming down to enjoy themselves and also interact with the fans, so if they have time for pictures and autographs and stuff, then awesome, but if they say they don’t have any time, then just respect that and let them kind of enjoy Comic Con as you’re enjoying Comic Con as a fan,” he requested.
  • Don’t ask personal or otherwise intrusive questions during the panels. Levi said personal questions are the only things he considers off-topic at Nerd HQ, but other than that, he wants fans to feel free to “nerd out” as much as possible-- as much as he has in the past. “Really the whole point is just to give fans a chance to ask what they want to ask,” he said. “As long as it’s about the work, and about the experience doing the work-- you know, when I first met Dominic, I riddled him with questions because I was a huge Lord of the Rings and LOST fan, and when Dom came and guest starred on [Chuck] a couple of years ago, I was like ‘Dude, I’m sorry; I know I’m about to totally nerd out on our right now, but what was that experience like working on Lord of the Rings?’ And then once I got through all that, I was like ‘So, I’m also a huge LOST fan…’ And I just wouldn’t let it got because you want to know! And it’s just stuff that you’re not going to get in an interview, or it’s stuff that they wouldn’t print while the show was still going on, but now you can kind of get those answers or those candid moments or whatever. I think it will be really exciting.”
  • Don’t feel like you have to stuff your SDCC swag bags with snacks for Nerd HQ. “Instead of being lost in the sea of the enormity of the floor and hopefully having a buddy with you who’s running to go grab a bottle of water while you wait, it’s like ‘Hey, we’ve got a cocktail waitress here; would you like a cocktail or some crab cakes’?” Levi previewed.
  • Before heading to San Diego, make sure you spread the word and tell as many of your friends as possible. Tweet; Facebook; Tumble (?), etc! Oh, yeah, and buy some Nerd Machine swag. Special benefits await. “There will be benefits to buying Nerd HQ apparel,” Levi teased. “For example, the treasure-slash-scavenger hunt that we’re going to do on Thursday to kick off the HQ, you can only participate if you’re wearing Nerd Machine apparel, so if you want to be involved in it, and you want to win whatever cool prizes are at the end of the rainbow, then, you know…”
  • If you’re entering the Nerd Shorties contest, keep it clean but step up your creativity. “We want to be able to show them to everyone, including minors, so don’t get too crazy with language or nudity or stuff like that. There should be no nudity and hopefully no crazy language or stuff like that, but I just want people to get creative! It’s tough to make a minute short film, but it’s also really a fun challenge, and with After Effects and computer graphics and with everything that you can do now at home with pro-sumer technology, people have made some really cool stuff! And know that people are making really cool stuff so really step up your game and try to make something as cool as you can make it,” Levi advised.

Are you getting excited yet!?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When TV Therapists Need Therapy Of Their Own...

In honor of Lisa Kudrow bringing her hit web series, Web Therapy, to Showtime starting tonight at 11pm, Made Possible by Pop Culture wanted to go back and look at some of our favorite (equally unorthodox and unconventional as Dr. Fiona Wallice, though in different ways) pop culture therapists. After all, sitting down with unique characters is its own form of sessions, and it's certainly where I would turn to try to learn things about myself and the world. But looking back now, it's probably good that everything was taken with a grain of salt when it was a fictional character because some of these pop culture docs needed just as much help than they actually dished out!

Dr. Elizabeth Goode (Alexandra Wentworth, Head Case) - This self-centered, abrasive, and melodramatic mental health "professional" really could be the training wheels version of Fiona-- you know, all of the same personality traits but without the ambition of taking her career to the next level and franchising. Dr. Goode was too focused on turning her celebrity clients' attention around on her-- and often her wedding-- to care about anything else. It's quite remarkable they kept coming back at all, but hey, I guess that goes to show you just how messed up some celebrities can be!

Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos) - Though at times she seemed uncomfortable or at least a bit on-guard with her obviously connected patient, she actually did what a good doctor has sworn to do: put her personal feelings aside and worked him from a professional angle to most effectively treat him. But of course, like with anyone who goes into a relationship with a bias or already existing opinion, she was set up to learn just as much as she tried to teach.

Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson, Anger Management) - At times he seemed to have more than one screw looser than his patients, creating exercises that ranged from grown men sleeping in the same bed to taking a golf club to someone's windshield to singing showtunes at the top of their lungs. Unorthodox isn't a strong enough word. But there was a method to his madness, and that was to get the patient completely out of their comfort zone-- out of their own head-- so they could truly begin to adjust their behavior.

Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment) - At times he was much more quiet and thoughtful than any other doctor we see on-screen. He allowed his patients to heal by telling their stories; hearing them aloud often helped them to process better. At the end of the day, though, he still had a lot to work through himself-- not only his own flaws and family issues, but also the emotional impact of adding his patients' problems onto his own already dented psyche.

Dr. Dani Santino (Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness) - It's hard to put this woman in the therapy box just yet. Not only is she new to the game (at least to audiences), but she gets out of her office and takes her clients off of her couch and embarks upon exercises with them. She is an active participant in their recovery, and it is still too soon to tell if her extra involvement means she is taking some of the hard work off of them and therefore if the breakthroughs she guides will stick. But she is just as no-nonsense as any of them, and for that, we must applaud her.

GetGlue Offers Special Comic Con Swag, Too!...

Made Possible by Pop Culture isn't heading down to San Diego this week to partake in the epic fandom that is Comic Con, but let's face it, that doesn't mean we don't want to feel like we're a part of it from afar. No, Comic Con has not started streaming their panels (wouldn't that be something!?), but by teaming up with, they are offering exclusive stickers and other special fan deals, including discounts on official merchandise.

Starting on Wednesday, the first day of the convention, registered users, even ones who aren't physically present for panels or screenings (hey, that's me!), can check into twenty-five television shows and feature films to receive the perks. Already there are some "Coming Soon To Comic Con" stickers that partners such as FX (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Wilfred, and Archer) are promoting.

Not every panel, obviously, is going to have a check-in component, just like not every primetime show, when in season, currently offers something special for users. But even if you don't make it into a panel-- or even down to San Diego at all-- you can check in starting Thursday for the following participants. Anything marked with a * needs to be checked into strictly when the panel is on-going. Everything else is an "all weekend, any time" opportunity. There are certainly more than enough stickers worth checking in for and collecting right now, and come the new fall television season, rumor has it there will be even more!

Thursday, July 21st 2011:
  • 10am - Burn Notice...or more specifically The Fall of Sam Axe will be offered.
  • 11:15am - USA's Covert Affairs panel and sticker feature the lovely Piper Perabo and the adorable Christopher Gorham.
  • 12:30pm - USA also offers something for Psych, a proven fan favorite at the con.
  • 3pm - Game of Thrones took HBO by storm and will now do the same in Southern California, with a screening, a panel, and a sticker!
  • 4pm- Archer* doesn't just get some pre-con love but some AT -con love, as well.
  • 5:30pm - Showtime hosts a bevy of screenings, including Dexter, Shameless, and their new drama Homeland. Stickers will be available for those three, as well as Weeds and Californication.
  • 6:15pm - It won't just be service dogs allowed in the convention center this year, when Wilfred* takes over.

Friday, July 22nd 2011:
  • 10am - Starz brings Miracle day to SDCC-- Torchwood: Miracle Day*, that is.
  • 11:15am - Hopefully the zombies of The Walking Dead won't outlive the stickiness of your sticker.
  • 2:15pm - Sneak peek screening of midseason delight The River.
  • 4pm - Comedy Central's Ugly Americans* brings a quite cute sticker with them.
  • 5:30pm - Sink your teeth into True Blood*!
  • Marvel Comics will be offering special Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, and Captain America stickers throughout the day.

Saturday, July 23rd 2011:
  • 12:15pm - Futurama* is back again and now with a sticker!
  • 3:15pm - Once Upon a Time takes you into a fairytale and lets you wear your princess on your sleeve or lapel or wherever you want to stick her.
  • 5pm - Charlie's Angels can't be contained by a tiny circle!
  • ABC will be handing out Pan Am flight bags all weekend, and you can check into this sticker any time, as well.

Sunday, July 24th 2011:
  • 11:45am - Nathan Fillion may be bringing his Castle co-stars to the panel with him, but the sticker is all Fillion, all the time!
  • 12:30pm - The doctor is in! Doctor Who leaves you with a prescription for stickers.
  • 12:30pm - Marvel is offering a Fear Itself sticker to accompany its spooky panel.
  • 2:45pm - The gang from Paddy's Pub won't be handing out beers, but an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia* sticker is a nice second choice, right?
  • 3:30pm - Sons of Anarchy* rears into San Diego and leaves some stickers in its dust!

I know I should just be thankful for what they're giving and not lamenting what is missing, but um, is it too much to ask for the pretty faces of NBC and The CW? Chuck, Awake, Ringer, The Secret Circle, Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and/or Supernatural? Well, maybe next time...