Friday, November 30, 2012

From LA Examiner: 'Do No Harm' Premiere Date; 'Girls' Season 2 Trailer; Introduction To 2012 Holiday Programming; Carrie Underwood to Play Maria von Trapp; 'The Killing' Comes Back From The Dead?...

A month ago today NBC announced its mid-season 2013 schedule and sadly left new duality drama Do No Harm off the roster. But today the peacock network is proving good things do come to those who wait, as they have bumped Rock Center from Thursday nights at 10 p.m. and instead granted that time slot to Do No Harm, starting January 31st 2013... [MORE]

"First Look: HBO and Lena Dunham's Girls season 2 trailer"

It seems a long road to January 13 2013 when Girls returns to HBO for its second season, but to tide you over until then, the "it's not TV" cable network has released a trailer for the Lena Dunham's sophomore year. And aside from gems like "I'm an individual, and I feel what I feel," we are also treated to the return of Andrew Rannells and Chris O'Dowd, as well as first looks at new guest stars Rita Wilson and Jorma Taccone... [MORE]

"Primetime Holiday Highlights start this weekend with Dog with a Blog"

Every year the amount of holiday-themed television-- be it individual episodes of currently airing shows, brand new made-for-TV original movies, or re-airings of classics-- seem to double. It shouldn't be possible; there are a finite number of hours in the day, after all. Yet it happens. And in order to celebrate such an expansion of the holiday spirit, this year LA TV Insider Examiner is doing something a little bit different when it comes to our holiday programming guide.... [MORE]

 "NBC hopes to "come alive" with The Sound of Music remake with Carrie Underwood"

Get ready for another reboot of an iconic piece of childhood and pop culture memories. Despite their previous attempt with Mockingbird Lane falling short, NBC has decided to go ahead with a remake of The Sound of Music... [MORE

"AMC to resurrect The Killing?"

Just when you thought it was dead. Variety is reporting that AMC's slow burn murder mystery The Killing is, in fact, beginning work on a third season. LA TV Insider Examiner is working on getting comment from the network, but it appears that Veena Sud has started her writer's room again this week... [MORE]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

From LA Examiner: 'Beauty and the Beast' Switches POV; 'Up All Night' Christmas Photos; CBS Orders 'Under The Dome'...

Beauty and the Beast is a high-concept genre show that walks the line between straight police procedural and complex supernatural series. The early part of the season skewed much more heavily toward the former—and therefore toward being told from cop Catherine’s (Kristin Kreuk) point of view. But luckily for us (and series star Jay Ryan), it looks like the tide is turning and Vincent is finally getting his time to shine. After all, he is what makes this show unique... [MORE]

"Up All Night gives the gift of 'First Snow' this Christmas"

Growing up here in Los Angeles doesn't really give kids the proper Christmas experience. Sure, if you drive down to Anaheim for the day, you can see soapy snow fall at Disneyland. If you are willing to brave last minute shoppers at The Grove or tons of tourists at Citywalk, you can do the same, much closer to home. Yet, those experiences, especially for parents of really little ones, never seem to end super well. So what better show to tackle such a holiday phenomenon than NBC's Up All Night? ... [MORE]

"CBS orders Stephen King's Under The Dome straight to series"

File this under: Hell, yes! CBS has announced today that they are pushing forward straight to series with the adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Under the Dome... [MORE]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebuzz 'Supernatural' Recap: Cartoons are Not Just For Kids Anymore

They may not be tiny or tuney, but tonight the men of Supernatural certainly were a bit loony—Looney Tunes, that is. The eighth episode of the eighth season dove into the world of animation—first with types of deaths (a heart literally beating out of a man’s chest, an anvil crushing another victim), and then even more literally, transporting characters into the mind’s manipulation.

But what was most interesting about “Hunteri Heroici” was how it played with a mind’s manipulation in other ways. This seemingly stand alone, “off the wall” episode seems to have deeper implications for the overall season’s theme.

From LA Examiner: FX Sets 2013 Return Dates; 'Castle' Christmas Advance Review; 'The Mob Doctor' & 'Emily Owens' Cancelled...

FX has announced today their plans for the mid-season schedule. Come January 2013 a few fan favorites will return to the network with all new seasons, and a new potential favorite debut... [MORE]

 "Castle is quite the Scrooge this Christmas..."

Santa is supposed to bring people together in late December, but somehow, we don't think he ever intended for that to occur over an investigation of his death! Castle pokes some cheeky fun at the big guy in the red suit's expense in their holiday episode this year, but it's all in the name of doing what they do best.... [MORE]

"Plugs pulled on The Mob Doctor and Emily Owens M.D."

If you're a fan of either FOX's The Mob Doctor or The CW's Emily Owens, M.D. then we apologize but we have some bad news for you. Neither freshman drama was awarded the back nine from their respective networks.... [MORE]

We Have Thoughts: 2012 New Fall Dramas Check-In...

It surprised no one more than myself when Marisa and I produced our "We Have Thoughts" 2012 New Fall Comedy Check-In vodcast, only to each say we're still very happy with all three of the shows we had high hopes for at the pilot stage. Trust me when I say that shows very rarely live up to my own personal expectations, let alone deliver half a dozen chronological episodes in their first seasons that I find both consistent and increasingly entertaining.

But did the dramas fare as well?

Take a look at our thoughts on the three key dramas for Fall 2012 Marisa and I both hoped would be DVR season pass worthy, if not "purchase on DVD" worthy later, and let us know if you're still watching them and why. 



Last Resort


Celebuzz 'Supernatural' Preview: "Hunteri Heroici"...

Supernatural knows how to play with different filming styles to create very special episodes. The show has gone black and white; it's put a new spin on westerns; it's even flitted back-and-forth between sitcom, cheesy commercial, game show, and melodrama-- all in the same episode. But now, Supernatural is diving into Looney Tunes with "Hunteri Heroici."

In the episode, Castiel (Misha Collins) tells Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) that he’s decided to become a hunter like them. Even though they don't know what the audience does about the reason Castiel wants to stay so close to them, Sam and Dean aren’t sold on the idea. Still, they agree to investigate a case Cas found where a man’s heart literally burst through his chest. In doing so, they encounter an old hunter friend of their father's (guest star Mike Farrell) and discover there has been more than one odd murder in the small town-- all of which resemble cartoon deaths.

Celebuzz 'The Voice' Coach Interviews: Christina Aguilera & CeeLo Green...

Season 3 of NBC’s The Voice has seen a bunch of new twists, rules, and complications, but after Tuesday’s Top 8 eliminations, there is a new one on their hands. With America sending Dez Duron home, Team Christina is no more. That’s right, coach Christina Aguilera lost all her contenders, and we’re only down to the Top 6! ... [MORE

CeeLo Green takes his job of coaching The Voice very seriously. When he scours for talent to make up his team in the earliest Blind Audition rounds, he isn't simply looking for someone who can sing on-pitch, key, and in proper register at all times; he is also looking for a unique sound because those are the artists who usually come with unique visions... [MORE]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From LA Examiner: 'The Voice' Eliminee Interviews: Dez Duron & Cody Belew...

There should be no doubt that Cody Belew can saaang (remember his heartbreaking cover of "Jolene?"), but The Voice artist was never one to just stand on stage with a mic in his hand. He was all about taking risks and showing off the big performer in him-- whether that meant falling silent for a solo dance moment or jumping on top of a piano. It's also what made he and his coach CeeLo Green kindred spirits... [MORE]

It was a shocker heard all around The Voice soundstages tonight when host Carson Daly announced that Team Christina's last man standing, Dez Duron, was going home. Not only was he a fan favorite for being an adorable and talented vocalist, but he took on a Justin Bieber song last night-- and Bieber fans rally. Coach Christina Aguilera was throwing her whole support behind him and encouraging all of her fans to do the same, too, while every other team had two or more contenders to split the votes of those fans who only vote based on their favorite coach, not artist in the competition. It just wasn't enough. But it's okay... [MORE]

Celebuzz 'The Voice' Recap: Two Artists Go, Cee Lo Green Duets With Kermit

The Voice set records last week for the amount of votes received for the then-Top 10 performers left in the competition. The pressure may have been on to deliver such high numbers again, but the Top 8 more than rose to the occasion.

Terry McDermott ended up placing No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart; Melanie Martinez placed on the iTunes Alternative chart; and three artists landed in the Top 10 on iTunes overall, allowing their votes to count 10 times over.

But who fell short in the end?

From LA Examiner: 'Parks and Recreation' & 'Arrow' Holiday Episode Photos; 'Necessary Roughness' Renewed; 'Arrow' John Barrowman & Seth Gabel Spoilers...

Nothing will ever top Ron Swanson's (Nick Offerman) gingerbread Pawnee Parks Dept for Leslie (Amy Poehler) on last year's Parks and Recreation, but the show knows that. So rather than try to go bigger with gifts for the characters this year, they are spending the holidays giving the audience the gift of great guest stars... [MORE]

"Arrow celebrates an unconventional Christmas"

In the years that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was presumed dead, his family did not celebrate, deeply in mourning for their lost golden boy. But now that he's back, so is the cheer! And in true Ollie fashion, Arrow is planning an all-out, though a bit unconventional, holiday celebration in their upcoming episode "Year's End"... [MORE]

"USA renews Necessary Roughness for season three"

The doctor will be back in on USA. The cable network has renewed Necessary Roughness for a third season... [MORE]

"Arrow's Andrew Kreisberg talks John Barrowman + Seth Gabel as a super villain"

Get ready Arrow fans! The big reveal of just who the "Well-Dressed Man" (John Barrowman) is right around the corner-- literally-- show executive producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed to LA TV Insider Examiner today... [MORE]

'The Voice' Top 8 Interviews: Cassadee Pope & Dez Duron...

"The Voice's Cassadee Pope Talks Following Up Her Psy-Toppling Performance"

It is no secret that Cassadee Pope is a fan favorite on The Voice. The 23 year-old former Hey Monday member rose to No. 1 on the iTunes chart-- pushing out Psy and his "Gangnam Style" fad-- just last week with her heart-wrenching performance of coach Blake Shelton's "Over You." It was the ballad to end all ballads, but this week, she decided to jump to the other end of the vocal spectrum with her more punk rendition of Michelle Branch's "Are You Happy Now?" ... [MORE]

"The Voice's Dez Duron Gives Thanks For Two Special Ladies in His Life"

This past holiday weekend, The Voice Top 8 contender Dez Duron certainly had a lot for which to be thankful. As the last man standing for Team Christina, he had his coach to himself all week long-- to get extra, one-on-one attention and aid in picking the perfect song, crafting the most memorable performance, and planning for his future on the show and beyond... [MORE]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Celebuzz 'The Voice' Top 8 Performances Recap: Covering Classics, A Coach's Song, and Justin Bieber...

With NBC’s The Voice down to its Top 8 contenders, the competition is stiffer than ever this season. But the remaining contestants deserve a chance to celebrate their accomplishments and just how far they’ve come nonetheless. Monday’s Top 8 Live Performances episode gave them a chance to do just that.

Though the remaining players from Teams Adam, Blake, Cee Lo, and Christina had to feel a lot pressure topping last week’s record-setting numbers (Cassadee Pope climbed to No. 1 on iTunes!), they could also sit back and take stock in a special first-time performance by Adam Levine and 50 Cent of their new single, “My Life,” off 50′s new album.

From LA Examiner: 'Once Upon A Time' Travel Talk; 'Revolution's' Winter Finale Preview; Adam Levine & 50 Cent to Perform on 'The Voice'; 'Girl Meets World' Just Got Real...

With David (Josh Dallas) searching for a portal to bring his family back to Storybrooke, the question has to be asked: if he succeeds at finding a way between the worlds, which Once Upon A Time characters may want to make the reverse journey to go back to fairytale land-- back “home?” LA TV Insider Examiner was on set in Vancouver* to get a sense of where characters like Charming (Dallas), Regina (Lana Parrilla), Rumple (Robert Carlyle), and Belle’s (Emilie de Ravin) heads were at... [MORE]

"Revolution's winter finale offers Miles a deal, more info on Monroe's master plan"

Revolution is going on hiatus for three long months, but before it does, it is prepared to deliver one doozy of an episode that stays burned into your brain for all the time its away-- perhaps much like the branding of the Monroe Doctrine's M... [MORE]

"Adam Levine to take The Voice stage with 50 Cent"

The Voice is already known for memorable coach duets and guest performances. Who will ever forget the power ballad between Stevie Nicks and first season winner Javier Colon or the scream-inducing appearance by Justin Bieber? Whether its for integration or ratings stunts, The Voice pulls out all of the stops with special numbers designed to boost singles sales on the iTunes charts. Just last week coaches Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera had a turn, but tonight, it will be Adam Levine and 50 Cent... [MORE]

"Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel sign onto Girl Meets World"

On any normal day, LA TV Insider Examiner is far outside the Disney Channel's demographic. But today? Christmas has come early, and we fit perfectly because Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have officially signed on to co-star in Girl Meets World, a nostalgic sequel to our childhood favorite, Boy Meets World... [MORE]

We Have Thoughts: 2012 New Fall Comedies Check-In...

With November sweeps upon us and the networks making decisions about the fates of new fall shows, it is more than about time for another episode of "We Have Thoughts", right? 

The last time, Marisa and I talked about the new fall shows we were pleasantly surprised by and the ones that disappointed us. In keeping with the positive attitude needed at this time of year, we decided to do our "check in" vodcast solely with the shows that we enjoyed from the pilot. 

Having now aired half their original season orders, are they living up to our expectations? Are we still enjoying them just as much (or perhaps more) than we did initially?

Take a look at our thoughts on three key comedies for Fall 2012 and let us know if you're still watching them and why. 

Ben and Kate

The New Normal

Go On

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Recap: Flashback Filler Reveals Skeletons in Family Closets...

With “Lineage,” Revenge delivered an atypical look back at the lives of Emily (Emily VanCamp), Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), Nolan (Gabriel Mann), and even Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) designed to offer insight into their present day behaviors.

While we certainly enjoyed seeing Nolan’s early style and former flame (guest star EJ Bonilla) and learning that young Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) actually wanted to be a poet (!!), the majority of the episode was just repetitive filler.

Rather than seeing how Emily and Aiden (Barry Sloane) first met, for example, we’d rather see them make out some more in present day!

Cutting Room Floor Commentary: How'd They Do That? Edition ('Once Upon A Time')...

Tonight Once Upon A Time put Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) into a fiery netherworld room. The two weren't really standing in front of each other (he was in a sleeping curse in Storybrooke, she still stuck in the fairytale land that was), but their souls were. They were able to have a conversation and pass vital information over to each other before the fire dropped away, and Snow began literally fading from sight. It turned out, when you are waking up and coming out of the netherworld, you literally dissolve out, making both actors look like something out of a video game.
So, how'd they do that? I was on the Vancouver set of Once Upon A Time a few weeks ago, and Goodwin talked a little about filming the pivotal scene:
"It was a really hard scene to film with Josh because I’ve never filmed anything like this in my life. We filmed everything together—and I mean from every angle—and then we filmed everything, each of us, again from the front, and then each of us, again, everything from the back so that we could be made translucent depending on the camera angle," Goodwin said
"So to do something that emotional and not to have a scene partner in front of you can be pretty challenging but also pretty inspiring in that actor school kind of way. I cried every time reading that scene in the script but did not realize until we were shooting that the shift [meant] Emma had to really get Snow under control and take over as leader."

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Preview: "Lineage"...

Need a little something else to give thanks for this holiday weekend? How about that Revenge is back with an all-new episode?

And if that isn’t enough, maybe seeing how the Graysons can’t even cut each other some slack over Thanksgiving will allow you to give your own annoying or overbearing family the benefit of the doubt!

On the next episode of Revenge‘s sophomore season, “Lineage,” we flash back to 2006 when Daniel (Josh Bowman) was just coming home from college, Emily (Emily VanCamp) was just meeting Aiden (Barry Sloane) and beginning her training, Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) was involved in a very different kind of nightlife, and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) had her own evil mother to worry about.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

'Fitzgerald Family Christmas' is the Best of Edward Burns (and Christmas!)...

'Tis the season to feel all the feelings...

When I was younger, She's The One was my favorite film. It was a simple relationship drama in which emotions and character drove the story. It didn't rely on crazy plot twists or a big, inciting incident at the end of every act to hold attention. Instead, what held my attention were the nuances in performance and realism in dialogue. It was a movie to celebrate writing and acting and people in general. I fell in love. Edward Burns was the kind of storyteller I wanted to be-- and the fact that he was doing it on his own terms, independently, sealed the deal. Way before Jason Katims and Friday Night Lights, I found my preferred genre-- in a movie.

My infatuation started early, but admittedly it was not an all-consuming, consistent love. Some of Burns' films snuck by me; with others my life was moving too fast to catch them in their specific "in theaters" windows. In college I took some time to marathon those I had missed, but soon after I turned my attention and career towards television and more were probably lost in the shuffle. An old friend from my She's The One days brought Fitzgerald Family Christmas on my radar-- and on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, no less. It must have been fate, right?

Fitzgerald Family Christmas is classic Burns at its best. He has always had a very specific, very relatable point of view, but more importantly he has always had something to say. Burns doesn't just make movies to feed his family; he makes movies because he has stories he needs to tell. That is obvious here, but what is even more striking is just how much we-- and especially I-- need these stories, too, right now.

Fitzgerald Family Christmas tells the family of a big Irish family and the oldest son Gerry (Burns) at the center of it tasked with the impossible: spending Christmas as one big, united family. To most other filmmakers, the story would be in just how hard a feat this is because all of the kids are grown and in relationships of their own with families of their significant others to worry about. Hilarity would ensue for awhile as there were bumbles with missed flights or wrong gifts or sassy kids not wanting to spend the holidays in Grandma's low-tech household. The fact that the youngest just got out of rehab would be the cause for conflict or inciting incidents. But Burns has never been your typical filmmaker, and Fitzgerald Family Christmas is truly a rich family drama that just happens to be set at the holidays.

In this case, the cause for tension is the fact that the Fitzgeralds' estranged father wants to spend Christmas with his kids. He walked out on his family decades earlier, and the youngest ones don't even really remember him. Yet, after all of this time he has perhaps grown a conscience, perhaps just realized how alone he really is (it depends on what side of the emotions you fall down), and he asks Gerry to help convince his brothers, sisters, and mother to let him back in the family home. Even though he is undoubtedly a trigger for his youngest, who-- did I mention?-- just got out of rehab.

As the oldest, Gerry has taken the brunt of his father's shortcomings. When his dad was around, we learned in a brief exchange, he did beat his kids occasionally, but that is not the element anyone wants to focus on because it was his absence for all of the pivotal years that really caused the longest-lasting pain. Gerry had to step up and take care of his brothers and sisters, his mother, the house, and even the family business. When he laments that he "never had a choice," my heart broke because people always have a choice but in being so determined not to be the man his father was, the choice was already made for him. And now his father has the nerve to come back and ask for such a big favor when he has never done anything to deserve it.

There is a scene in which the kids are sitting around with their aged father, and he turns to specific ones (the youngest ones) and apologizes for not being there for them. It's a moment of breakthrough in their relationships because he has never been so sincere or simply present, and it inspires them all to try to put the past behind them (what their father's future looks like, however, seems like it is the main factor in why). However, he never turns to Gerry and extends him the same courtesy. And Gerry doesn't say a word. This is a moment that so clearly defines Gerry's character, and what we learn is even more heartbreaking. He stood up and fought for his family, but he won't do so for himself. So I stood up and screamed at the screen for him. 'You don't think you owe Gerry, you ungrateful bastard? This kid set aside his own life-- his own dreams-- to fix your mistakes. He's a man now, and he's still here, coming to your defense, trying to clean up your mess! F*** you!' I found myself holding my breath, waiting-- hoping Gerry, if he couldn't find those words himself, would just get up and walk out of the room, and his brothers and sisters would see that action and understand its weight. That moment never came, and I was never sadder for Gerry.

Here's the thing about Fitzgerald Family Christmas: I have no doubt the Fitzgeralds' ultimate decision was supposed to be one to lift the audience up at the holidays and remind everyone to show love, forgiveness, and general kindness to those in their lives while they're still in their lives. Giving an old man one last good memory, if it's not hurting anyone, is the right thing to do. However, such a strong decision needs to be earned, and though I feel from a screenplay standpoint it was (Burns certainly proved his big heart here!), from a personal place, I could not have been more uncomfortable watching some of the Fitzgeralds just sit back and bite their tongues and not air all of their grievances toward the man who abandoned them and therefore whose fault it is they are all emotionally stunted, in various small ways. From a personal standpoint, I had a really hard time believing, in the long run, some of them wouldn't be hurt more by letting this kind of selfish guy back in at such a time of generally high emotions. Burns has certainly stirred up a lot with one short film.

Intellectually I know this is because of my own anger and resentment I harbor towards my father. He did not abandon my mother nor I when I was young, but he should have. When you grow up thinking very specific ways, feeling very specific ways, and doing very specific things because of it, there may always be a little sense of "What if...?" lingering over you. I know there is for me. I think back to a few years ago when my mother told me she couldn't come to my house for Christmas because it would be her last, and I remember, without a second thought, making arrangements to go to her. I think a lot about what would have happened then (or in a few more years) if it was my father on the other end of that phone call. It is the truest test of character. In the end, the Fitzgeralds were all pretty well-adjusted and definitely good people. Whether they're role models or a cautionary tale, though...well, that all depends on how well-adjusted you are.

I am a Grinch. But Burns is teaching me to be a better person.

There is not a weak link in Burns' cast, punctuated by the always grounded and fabulous Connie Britton as a new woman in Gerry's life who becomes a confidante and a shoulder to metaphorically cry on when the stress just gets to be too much. Heather Burns and Kerry Bishe were fresh breaths of air in understated roles that could have faded a bit into the background if not for these phenomenal performers. Of course, it's always a pleasure to see Michael McGlone alongside Burns; the two men have such a similar sensibility but with Burns' quiet observation to McGlone's more over, and sometimes sarcastic, inner NYer serve to balance each other out, too. The heart of this film really rested with Anita Gillette, though, whose struggle weighed on all of us, but thankfully she was allowed a few moments of joy, too.  

I'd feel remiss if I didn't also point out just how smart Burns was as a director with Fitzgerald Family Christmas. He seemed to know just how complicated his tale was, with so many characters, right from the beginning. Rather than dive into expositional monologues of who everyone was, though, he let them speak for themselves, over time, as anyone would get to know anyone else in real life. He eased the audience in, unveiling more and more about each person as time went on, using music cues to call back to the previous time we saw the characters to instantaneously remember who they were and in relation to those currently in the scene with them. It made the film that much more grounded and memorable and yes, emotional
Clearly Fitzgerald Family Christmas will stir up a lot of conflicting feelings in its audience. The best kind of art or media, in my opinion, inspires passionate reactions-- on any end of the spectrum. The best kind of art or media delivers a strong point of view that challenges your own. We all bring baggage to consumption, and it is the gray area where our beliefs mingle with the filmmaker's message that provides the richest viewing experience. Clearly that happened for me with Fitzgerald Family Christmas. I hope it happens for you, too.

Fitzgerald Family Christmas opens in select theaters on December 7th but is available to rent on iTunes now.