Friday, August 30, 2013

From LA Examiner: 'Always Sunny' S9 and 'Castle' S6 Premiere Reviews...

It's been nine seasons of laughing as the Paddy's Pub gang on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia takes on social issues like the mortgage crisis, kiddie pageants, surrogacy, and gay rights with their usual blend of ignorance, enthusiasm, and selfishness. If you thought nine years later the gang would be all grown up and ready to make some serious strides in their lives, you'd be wrong. But you'd also be interested in watching a different show from what Always Sunny has always passionately reliably and delivered... [MORE]

"Fall 2013 TV Preview: ABC's Castle season 6 premiere"

When the fifth season of Castle ended with Beckett (Stana Katic) getting her dream job in D.C. and then getting proposed to by what so many fans hope is her dream man, Castle (Nathan Fillion), I argued that there were no stakes because a procedural with all of its core characters in one precinct would never send a character to another district, let alone another state. I felt like there was no way Beckett could take the job, and I really didn't want her to become a stereotypical "I choose my man over my career" woman either. That's not the kick-ass Beckett we've known her to be. But thankfully Castle's sixth season premiere answers those concerns within the first three minutes of the episode, setting out to prove Beckett can have her cake and eat it, too. The show might still be named for the author who tags along as what should be a major liability partner for "research" (and love), but "Valkyrie" is most certainly a moment for Katic to stand alone and shine... [MORE]

'We Have Thoughts': Checking in with 'Dexter's' Final Season...

Showtime's Dexter is inching its way to its final few episodes and minutes ever (I'm crying over here!), and that means a lot of speculation on how it will all end for the troubled serial killer. Since there is no new episode this weekend for an inexcusable holiday weekend hiatus, it's the perfect time to catch up and make sure you don't miss a minute of character growth. Showtime will be airing a marathon of the first nine episodes (the final season so far), but We Have Thoughts also took this time to check in with the series post-season premiere.

Here Marisa and I talk about the seeming lack of urgency as we prepare to say good-bye to Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) forever, how we think (or hope) things may go for him, and whether or not anyone else will learn his secret or if secrets from his past may come back to haunt him.

Monday, August 26, 2013

From LA Examiner: Paley Fall Preview Panelists; Marcus Lemonis on 'The Profit'; Luke Mitchell Previews 'The Tomorrow People'; 'Bunheads' Says Good-Bye With One Last Dance...

Hot on the heels of the Paley Center for Media's announcement of the what and when of their Fall 2013 Preview events comes the who. Today the panelists for all evenings-- CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, ABC, and the special Dexter finale and China Beach anniversary-- have been announced... [MORE]

"Not even The Profit aka Marcus Lemonis can save LA Dogworks"

Marcus Lemonis has been compared by his own network to Gordon Ramsay, but that is one comparison he feels slightly unfair because unlike the foul-mouthed chef and restauranteur, Lemonis doesn't scream and throw things in order to get the businesses he attempts to help on CNBC's The Profit to turn around. Additionally, Lemonis is offering cash for a percentage of the business and by ponying up, he often makes the tough determination to never work with a business again because of how appalling the behavior is, rather than to push through for the sake of television... [MORE]

"The Tomorrow People's Luke Mitchell on exploring reluctant leader John's past"

Just watching the pilot episode of The CW's new real-world superhero genre series The Tomorrow People, you might assume that John Young (Luke Mitchell) is the clear-cut good guy. He's the leader of his kind for a reason, right? He must not only be extremely trusted among his people but also be just as good at keeping Ultra at bay. And in the pilot alone it becomes apparent just how adamant he is that all new "break-outs" join his team, so he certainly wants to keep his people together and safe. But things are not usually what they seem when such complicated matters are at hand... [MORE]

"Bunheads says good-bye to fans with one last dance"

ABC Family opted not to renew Bunheads earlier this summer, much to the tears of the dance-drama's fans. But they weren't the only ones who felt a little shortchanged by the abrupt ending. The cast and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino became a family while in production-- a family as close as that little, fictional Paradise town. And they wanted to get together professionally one last time to pay tribute to what they had created in their rare teen drama that was not angst-ridden or sensationalized with teachable moments, but also to the fans... [MORE]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Submitted from Twitter: My Little, Slim Gay TV...

Don't worry, other Twitter writing challengers, I didn't forget about you! 

I couldn't spend my weekend completely dedicated to working on the various topics and story ideas you gave me to help break me out of my writer's block, but I meant what I said about taking each one and making something out of it. Even if that something is maybe not what you or I either expected. Some topics, like posing "Queer representation in TV right now and future outlook :)" required a little extra thought on my part, too, because there were so many ways I could go with it. In the end, though, I decided to stick with my stream of conscious word vomit to see what poured out naturally when facing the idea. 

My Little, Slim Gay TV

About a year ago when I was fleshing out my pilot pitch for The It Couple, a friend who was reading my notes asked me if an important supporting character could be a lesbian. I thought long and hard about that-- probably longer and harder than many others would or that I should care to admit. For me, it wasn't a matter of whether or not I'd be able to sell the story or if people would want to watch a show if that particular character was a lesbian (after all there's a gay male character at the center of the story), but rather that I didn't want to make her a lesbian just for further diversity's sake. Would her being a lesbian lend itself to more interesting story arcs for the character and that show? Would her being a lesbian have a purpose in the world I was creating? Would her being a lesbian change too much about what I wanted her to represent in the show? I didn't want to suddenly be asked to pull a glee with a character like her and make her a teachable moment or a soapbox. I would much rather have "lesbian" be one, non-defining characteristic about the character, the way you would write "blonde" on a character breakdown because I believe in showing characters for the three-dimensional people they are, not the labels.

Scandal is a perfect example of a show-- and a network show at that-- that does this amazingly well. The character of Cyrus is so many complicated things, gay just being one of them. In part because that particular show moves at such a clip, and in part because of the strength of the writing in general, you'll never find him saying things to his husband James like "because we're gay, x, y, and z..." He is allowed to just be a well-rounded, fully fleshed out man, and the audience in turn is allowed to see him as such in a complex relationship that requires no explaining. It's the lack of explanation that truly sets Scandal apart.

I strongly believe no one should have to explain who they are, which means I don't believe anyone should "have to" come out. I think of a kid sitting down at a dinner table, telling his parents that he is gay, and I am a little sad for him because it feels to me like he feels he is somewhat "other" or outside a "norm." Straight kids never sit down their parents and tell them they like the opposite sex; their parents learn that when they bring home their first girlfriend or boyfriend. I'd very much like to see a world where it is the same for gay kids-- where there is no "norm" and no one has to brace themselves for an emotional conversation. I have friends who are gay who feel very differently about this; one in particular said it is a point of pride to "get to" come out because it meant he had finally worked through a lot of internal struggles and was comfortable with who he was and wanted everyone to know that. I understand that, and I respect it, and if that is how you feel, too, then by all means I'm not trying to deny you the chance to come out, but it still makes me sad that feelings of "other" had to be gotten past first.

These are the kinds of things I think about when I see gay characters depicted on television because due to the abundance of exposition in that medium, so many of them aren't allowed to just be, either. They may not stick them in rainbow tee-shirts, but they still often come with a disclaimer. Brandon Routh put on such an offensive effeminate accent for the thankfully short-lived Partners, I'm still harping on it, but even Max on Happy Endings was "announced" as gay before we really got to know him, when in the pilot episode Brad told him if he attacked the wedding crasher he'd never see it coming because he was "gay and chubby." Max went onto more than just a punchline almost immediately, interestingly by seeing his own struggles to tell his parents that he was "into dudes" and then both boyfriends of the week and a serious relationship that rivaled the relationship that started the series off in the first place, and one of the strongest gay characters to be represented in a comedy was born. 

We've certainly come a long way from Kathryn Montgomery's "Gay Activists and the Networks," when she noted that gay characters had to be made "palatable" to wide audiences by dropping them into only the most popular genres and by never seeing affection between them. However, the fact that they are still mostly populating around heterosexual leads is still somewhat prevalent and therefore not all that forward a step after all. And furthermore, there are times when it feels like the gay character is still only there to be "quirky" or "different" or to solve someone's diversity requirement. That's representation, sure, but tokenism isn't a positive one in my book.

Obviously an exception here is ABC Family's The Fosters which features a family with two matriarchs and a foster child who is young enough to still be discovering his sexuality but who many around him have already labeled as gay. The Fosters is very much an "issue" based show, each week delivering the equivalent of a Very Special Episode, but homosexuality is never one of those issues. Though we go through challenges and tribulations with them in their relationship and family structure, as we would with any couple, these characters are allowed to be moms and wives, non-stereotypical professionals (one is a cop, the other a school counselor), and women above all. Their lesbianism is certainly a core part of who they are, but it is not the only part, nor maybe even the most interesting part.

Depiction is only one slice of the equation, though, and admittedly I was asked to write about queer representation in TV, not just on it. The truth of the matter is, whether or not a gay character is written into a show at all is totally dependent on the writer at hand. Not every writer who is gay wants to write a story about a character who is gay-- but many writers who are not gay don't even think about creating a character who is at all. Most writing teachers will tell you to write what you know, and there can still be a sensitivity and a hesitancy about writing about something you are not, but I'm sure a lot of it just boils down to literally not even thinking about it. 

It's a terrible excuse; it's not a justification; but it is a very real reason for why there is such slow forward movement sometimes.

During the winter 2013 TCA presentation for Deception, the executive producers spoke so willingly and openly about the fact that they had not even considered making their lead African American (or not white in general) until someone at the network suggested it to them. It took me back to what I had hoped were "the old days" when characters had to be specifically written as African American, Latino, Asian, etc in the descriptions for an actor of non-Caucasian race to even be considered. I thought we were past all that. I thought with all of the competition to get your show made, you as a writer had done the work, had really prepared, and had thought about all of the angles for your characters and shows and came up with very real reasons to you why you created what you did. Clearly that's not always the case, but what does it say about us as creators if we're not even taking into consideration such a key part of our culture? Aren't we just helping feed that feeling of "other" in the first place?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Submitted from Twitter: On Binge Eating and Binge Watching aka My Life...

Earlier this week, as I was rewriting my original television pilot The It Couple for the short-form web format, it dawned on me that the two biggest and most passionate ideas I've had for television shows have not really been my stories to tell. I wasn't stealing them, but I was certainly re-imagining them from things that happened to friends of mine. And that kind of halted me in my tracks. Maybe there's a reason nothing has ever come of them: I didn't exactly ask these people for their blessings in sharing their stories (even if I changed enough about them for my own loglines and arcs). So it really made me rethink a lot of things. And that sank me into a writer's block of sorts in general, suddenly zapping my creativity. In order to combat that, I took to Twitter, not to waste time clicking on random BuzzFeed lists or looking at celebrity Instagrams, but for renewed inspiration. I asked my followers to throw some topics at me-- anything, everything, whatever came to mind, improv style. I said I would write about whatever was pitched my way to exercise my muscles. 
As I'm sure you've already noticed, these are stream of conscious. And so I present to you the next in the series, fromwho posed "when binge eating and binge TV watching intersect - very blurred lines :-)" I pretty much could have turned a camera on myself for a few hours one day and given you that as a weird performance art cautionary tale PSA, but I stuck to the challenge and dove...well, not too deep...for something a little more in line with my usual writing style.

(this is not me, but I think it pretty accurately represents me)

Nothing in Moderation, That's the American Way!

When The Biggest Loser is on, I gain a good five pounds. There's just something about kicking back on my couch after a long day of...watching other TV and cracking open a fresh pint of Ben & Jerrys while watching Jillian Michaels scream in the face of people trying not to throw up, let alone hold onto the sides, as they run on the treadmill for what may be the first time in their lives. Something similar could be said during The Real Housewives of [insert whatever city you want here-- except Miami. Unlike what Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano think, Miami is lame]. Whether you eat to celebrate the victories accomplished on-screen (often by fictional people, always by people you don't know personally and therefore really have no business celebrating anyway) or out of stress, to swallow your feelings during the intense times, or even just to give yourself something with which to occupy yourself during moments that fail to entertain as fully as they should, snacking while consuming media is an age-old past time. Hell, before ticket prices were jacked to $20, movie theaters made all of their money on concession items. But there's no concession stand or cashier in your own home, so when you want to settle in with something on your own television, there's no guilt or gaping hole in your wallet to stop you. And that's where the danger comes in. Lay's potato chips has made a whole slogan on being unable to stop with just one, but you could often justify eating a lunchbox size bag while watching one episode of something. It's a few extra calories, a few extra minutes on the couch, but then you're back to your regularly scheduled day. But what happens when your regularly scheduled day is all about sitting on the couch, watching TV, and eating? 

More and more, at least with my circle of friends, weekends become less about getting a group together to go out to dinner and a movie and more about lounging around the house with a DVR or DVD full of episodes of a hot new show or a hot old show that so-and-so is just now getting around to checking out/catching up on. Sometimes we'll do that in pairs or larger groups (I call it "marathoning" then, and when you consider that our asses are firmly planted on my leather couch for the better part of the night, getting up only when our queso needs reheating or we want to swap pizza, chips, and dip for cookie dough and ice cream, we're really bastardizing that word), but more often than not I am content to just do it alone. It's all the great things about what I remember from my childhood sick days without actually having to be sick: fluffy comforter dragged into the living room, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate by the mugful, a whole box of cookies to myself, take-out menus strewn all around... But the fascinating thing is that it's always done with a show I don't have to pay attention to. Not a mindless piece of programming (I don't give those more than two episodes before calling it quits), but something that I've seen a million times and can quote verbatim (oddly, it's usually comedy-- Friends, Happy Endings, Community, Parks and Recreation, The New Adventures of Old Christine, etc), and therefore am just the right amount of distracted enough to focus on baking, and then eating, cookies at the same time as watching. Binge eating should go hand-in-hand with re-binge watching. But not the first time around. Not if the content is quality anyway.

Showtime and FX are networks that send episodes of their shows for review in chunks. For example, the first four episodes of this final season of Dexter showed up at once, weeks before the premiere, for coverage planning. Now, admittedly I am deeply, deeply obsessed with that show (one of the publicists there lovingly tells me I have a problem all the time), so it should be no surprised that when I sit down to watch it, I Sit. Down. To. Watch. It. That means I don't want anything interrupting me or dragging my eyes from the screen-- not my dog needing his pee pad changed, not an incoming email, not having to reach across the coffee table to take a bite of whatever it is I'm currently eating. But that is an attitude I don't reserve just for the top of my list of favorite programming. In truth, I try to start anything new that way, and I first took notice of this odd phenomenon back in May while binge watching the Netflix season of Arrested Development.

Now, let me paint you a little picture of what May looks like. What used to be my favorite time of year (school winding down, weather warming up, etc) has quickly become the busiest for me. Not the most loathed, since I love to be busy and feel like I have much more of a purpose when I'm constantly working, but still. From season finales to upfronts, it's a lot of long ass days that start at five a.m., when I drag my laptop into bed because I'm too tired-- and it's too dark in my apartment-- to migrate to the other room. I spend about 14 hours hunched over my laptop, writing, writing, writing, not having time for food breaks, and then it's primetime, when I have a good six or so hours-- per night-- to make sure I don't fall behind on. Lather, rinse, repeat for at least a week. So the day Arrested Development launched, when all of that madness was behind me, should have been a day I slowed, heard my stomach growling, and devoured as much food as I did programming. Except the opposite happened. I knew all of these characters so well, but I didn't know their new situations or format, so I found myself mostly just focused on watching everything unfold, not wanting to distract with the Chinese delivery guy dropping off food or heating up quiche or spinach dip in the microwave. And in fact, in the moments I focused more on wanting to snack rather than watch, those were the moments I knew the show was losing me a little.

Similarly, I didn't eat one thing while watching the first six episodes of Orange is the New Black, which Netflix had sent in a bundle, weeks before the launch, for review. I didn't even eat at the OITNB junket; instead wanting to focus all my energy on learning as much as possible about my new favorite show. When July 11 finally rolled around and I could watch the next seven episodes, I had breakfast first and set up a sandwich on my coffee table so I wouldn't have to get up or press pause at all, but even that I don't remember eating until right before the penultimate episode when I had to take a break because another work thing had popped up anyway. That's how engrossing television writers and producers should aspire to make their programming; if it doesn't pass the distraction test (food is just the tip of the iceberg but texts, Twitter, emails, etc all fall in line there these days, too) they'll just have zombies zoning out in front of it, and who wants that? 

... Okay, maybe NBC.

I'm sure this attitude is rare and unique. I know most of the reason movie theaters' concession stands are so lucrative are because people just want to shovel food in their mouths, not thinking, while watching something they're equally not thinking about. It's more a ritual than a desire to quell any hunger-- real or creative. But that has never been how I've approached food or content. I eat all the time when I'm bored, but if I'm bored while I'm binge watching, shouldn't I turn off whatever it is I have on and reach for something richer? Actually, shouldn't we all?

Submitted from Twitter: Canadians on American Television...

Earlier this week, as I was rewriting my original television pilot The It Couple for the short-form web format, it dawned on me that the two biggest and most passionate ideas I've had for television shows have not really been my stories to tell. I wasn't stealing them, but I was certainly re-imagining them from things that happened to friends of mine. And that kind of halted me in my tracks. Maybe there's a reason nothing has ever come of them: I didn't exactly ask these people for their blessings in sharing their stories (even if I changed enough about them for my own loglines and arcs). So it really made me rethink a lot of things. And that sank me into a writer's block of sorts in general, suddenly zapping my creativity. In order to combat that, I took to Twitter, not to waste time clicking on random BuzzFeed lists or looking at celebrity Instagrams, but for renewed inspiration. I asked my followers to throw some topics at me-- anything, everything, whatever came to mind, improv style. I said I would write about whatever was pitched my way to exercise my muscles. 
As I'm sure you've already noticed, these are stream of conscious. And so I present to you the next in the series, from 's submission, "Canadians on American Television!"
Do you guys remember when Joey took Rachel to the set of Days of our Lives on Friends, and she met his co-star Kash, who she pointed out (to his face) that she knew his favorite flavor of ice cream and that his dog's name was Wally? When that episode first aired in 2001, I scoffed pretty hard at her "facts." Sure, 2001 was well after Google had been founded, so information was much easier to come by, but mostly, I just felt that if you really wanted to bond with someone you had to know more about them than something anyone they encountered in their neighborhood park would overhear. And yes, I still stand by this, even knowing first-hand just how creepy it can be to have someone know information about you that you didn't share with them. The trick is not spilling it out in a "look what I know!" list, especially the first time you meet them, but finding ways to gradually and organically work the topics into conversation. But I digress, because this is not a stalker's guide.

Knowing your favorite actor's pet's name or favorite food or where they were born was commonplace for those of us who grew up in the '80s or '90s with subscriptions to Bop and Tiger Beat and Teen. Those sophomoric questionnaires filled pages of those magazines, to the point where you kind of couldn't avoid the information even if you just wanted to rip out the pin-ups and paste them on your locker or your ceiling. It personally became a point of pride for me to devour every article on my personal favorites to know everything I could, but that still only encompassed a select group and kind of actor (or musician, if you were into that sort of thing, too). Those who aged out of the glossy Teen Beat or Big Bopper-- or who crossed my radar years after I fell out of that phase-- managed to escape my freakish memory for useless trivia often with even the most basic fact unknown: where they are from.

After my tween magazine phase-- and my soap opera magazine phase, but that's a whole other can of worms-- I went through a time in adolescence when I wished I had been born in Canada. I wanted the free healthcare without even realizing just what a burden it was to shell out a hundred and some odd dollars a month when you were unemployed, just "in case" something happened to you, and I really wanted to avoid the post-9/11 politics that seemed to require me (then still living in New York) to be all rah-rah America and encouraging when friends or family would sign up for war. Now, all these years later after that phase, too (although if I met a nice Canadian man who was willing to marry me for citizenship I wouldn't turn my nose up at it-- snow and all!), I get quite the kick out of learning a new actor I've just noticed is actually Canadian. It's like discovering a unicorn. 
Seriously, look at Tatiana Maslany. That kind of raw and all-encompassing talent will not be found again for a long, long time.

Now, I'm fully aware that many Canadian actors have long and successful careers on specifically Canadian programming before they come to Hollywood or get cast in something more mainstream. Degrassi has certainly taken credit for many of them. But Hollywood is such a notoriously hard place to begin with: you have to not be the most talented or the best looking but some weird combination of talent, looks, and politics-- not to mention with impeccable timing. You can (and I have, just not as an actor) work for years in this industry without ever really making any strides. I should say that it really should be about the job going to the best person for it and blah blah blah but I can't deny I'll always root for the underdog, and so seeing someone swoop down from up north and crack the door wide open for themselves always puts an extra big smile on my face.

More than that, though, the Canadian actors I have had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing, or otherwise working with have been some of the most genuinely nice people in this business, in this town, and dare I say in this country. So many come to Hollywood as the top whatever from their small hometown, used to being the big fish and assuming things will fall in line just the same here. Even more have heard nothing but praise and blown smoke for years, so they, too, have an odd sense of entitlement. And even the ones who just want to put their heads down and work can burn out or become jaded super quickly. But for whatever reason, at least in my experience, Canadian actors can keep it all in stride. That isn't to say they, too, don't burn out, but they seem to appreciate the chances they have been given more, and they probably know that if they don't shoot to Brad Pitt level stardom here they always have a warm and loving home to return to in a place that will applaud them for going for their dreams anyway. They come from a hearty stock, those Canadians. Just consider Taylor Kitsch or Stephen Amell.


Writer's Block and the Wannabe: On Ben Affleck as Batman...

Earlier this week, as I was rewriting my original television pilot The It Couple for the short-form web format, it dawned on me that the two biggest and most passionate ideas I've had for television shows have not really been my stories to tell. I wasn't stealing them, but I was certainly re-imagining them from things that happened to friends of mine. And that kind of halted me in my tracks. Maybe there's a reason nothing has ever come of them: I didn't exactly ask these people for their blessings in sharing their stories (even if I changed enough about them for my own loglines and arcs). So it really made me rethink a lot of things. And that sank me into a writer's block of sorts in general, suddenly zapping my creativity. In order to combat that, I took to Twitter, not to waste time clicking on random BuzzFeed lists or looking at celebrity Instagrams, but for renewed inspiration. I asked my followers to throw some topics at me-- anything, everything, whatever came to mind, improv style. I said I would write about whatever was pitched my way to exercise my muscles. 

Here is the first, from 's submission of "your thoughts about Affleck as Batman? :-)"

Gotham City, first class!

When a 25 year old Ben Affleck won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, most of my friends expected me to be excited that someone so young and so new to the industry was taking it by storm. It should have been a shining example of how I, too, could someday pave my own path and make an extraordinary mark at a young age. Instead, though, I was focused on the controversy surrounding the win, as mild as it was, mostly because Affleck and best friend/co-writer Matt Damon were being poised as the golden boys and next new wave of Hollywood. There was talk that their script had been rewritten. Now, a lot of people have script doctors, and everyone has to do more than one draft when notes come down from studios or directors or A-list talent that sign on but want specific things from your project. That's all part of the business. But this didn't seem like that. This seemed like massive rewrites-- major changes-- and by someone who didn't even bother to get a thank you in their acceptance speech. It rubbed me the wrong way. As did the seeming cockiness and typical "kid with the keys to the kingdom" entitlement that followed. Damon put his head into his work and focused on being taken seriously, while Affleck made all of the mistakes of a trust fund frat boy, only on a much larger level. It was equally tragic and typical that someone who really did have a raw, innate talent seemed happy to focus on fame and celebrity, rather than the work. 

In that pocket of time was the superhero film Daredevil (2003), in which Affleck seemingly tried to blend the serious thespian side of himself (playing blind is a challenge considering how much an actor can and usually will get across with his or her eyes) with the campy (he's a blind superhero, for crying out loud!), but in that one role, and that one movie, an actor's greatest internal struggle seemed to be explained. There's the part of the actor that wants to do serious dramatic work and win praise from critics and the industry alike, but there's also the part of them that acknowledges they're basically big kids playing dress up, and they want to embody as an adult a bigger scale version of what they used to play when they were kids. For some, that's cops and robbers; for others, pirates or haunted houses; for many, it's superheroes. 

I personally find it very hard to take superhero movies seriously. You can have some of the best actors in the business in the roles (and Batman specifically already has), but at the end of the day, you're still dealing with a fantasy world that requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. For me, the most surprising thing about Affleck as the new Batman was not that the industry let him do it but that he wanted to in the first place. He has come from such gritty, grounded work lately (and he's onto another one in adapted thriller Gone Girl), it seemed like the allure of big studio movies for the mainstream had dulled with his time and experience. But then again, it's still playing one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and who wouldn't want to challenge themselves that way? Everyone knows Batman; everyone has an opinion on what he should look like, sound like, fight like, etc-- from the comics, the previous incarnations on screen, and the adolescent pedestals on which he was placed-- the greatest acting challenge for Affleck here won't come from the script at all but simply breaking through perceptions and pre-judgments. 

Affleck is in a rare position within this industry: he pushed through the fluff and the booze-filled bad decisions to come out the other side with that raw talent intact and actually matured from what he experienced. He didn't lose himself in the bright lights after all, and he proved himself on both sides of the camera for having a truly unique and interesting voice. Now he is not only allowed but encouraged to indulge both sides of himself as an actor; Affleck is having his cake and eating it, too.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

'On Writing' with Janine Sherman Barrois...

Remember Janine Sherman Barrois' name. The television scribe who got her start on half-hour comedies like The Jamie Foxx Show and The P.J.s then spent nine years in the "John Wells camp" transitioning into much more serious storytelling fare. Television has been her home and her heart because it's a place where you can go on a real journey with characters, telling "a story that keeps changing and keeps evolving," and her career is certainly a marker of that. Barrois decided to make the switch to drama from comedy because she wanted to be "writing about life and death"-- something she has mastered as an executive producer on Criminal Minds.

"That's what I think about; I think about life and death and humanity. In comedy you just sort of write to the joke; you don't really write to the nuance of human behavior... In comedy, you're usually writing three jokes per page, so there's a rat-a-tat-tat to the voice, and in drama you're writing the way people speak. And people speak in a way that's naturalistic." Barrois said.

"I had to learn it all over again, and John Wells would initially criticize my work to say 'It sounds a little too vignette-y' because I was writing to a moment versus letting the moment unveil itself naturally."

Wells, who Barrois credits with bringing out the best in her writing, instilled the "Let the moment be real" motto in her while she was working with him on Third Watch and E.R. There she had to adjust to the different act breaks, dialogue beats, and overall story scope of an episode, let alone season, that drama can deliver. But it was also where she was really allowed to hone dichotomy in the tone of her work-- writing a light moment and then juxtaposing it with an intensely dramatic one.

"That John sort of saw as a skill of mine...and sort of taught me to use the humor in the one scene and leave the audience feeling like we'll go to the next scene and maybe it will be humorous, but then we break their heart," Barrois said.

Being able to surprise an audience with emotions is just as important as being able to do so with plot points and twists in the dark and complex stories Barrois works on every week for Criminal Minds-- a show that comes with its own special kind of formula (a teaser and four acts) because it is a procedural, but the key is to embrace those elements and know that the characters are what will make the motions special and unique.

"You basically, in any sort of drama that deals with loss, cops, or medicine, you're dealing with something's happened and your heroes have to figure out why it's happened, how it's happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. So the same sort of tools you'd use on E.R. to understand why a patient is dying is the same sort of investigative tools that you use when you're on Criminal Minds and you're seeing a girl is killed and she is turned into a marionette. Why is this happening, and how can we stop this? They're all mysteries," Barrois said.

"The psychology of people sort of transcends all of the shows I've been on."

Barrois also believes greatly in the act of collaboration-- not just within the writers' room but with her series stars, as well. After all, the writers' room staff can change from season to season, but the actor will inhabit the role for the entire run-- whether it's a few episodes or nine years. As Barrois put it, "The people that are acting those [characters] every day have a concrete idea of what those characters would do."

With Criminal Minds specifically, Barrois worked closely with Shemar Moore for a pivotal season eight storyline that revisited his character's childhood abuse. It was something that had been tipped for the character in a much earlier season but really became an important part of a case of the week later, ultimately calling back the earliest days and paying off a character detail in a big way, "peeling back a layer on an established character." While this is something Barrois finds most rewarding about working on a show like Criminal Minds, where a unique challenge is constantly creating new and exciting stories for characters the audience feels they know like their own family, she is also excited to dive into bring stories and characters that are completely of her own design to the television landscape, as well.

"One of my agents said 'Listen, you have to write a show that you would want to watch for seven years and also that you would want to work on 100 hours a week. What show is that?' There was one that was percolating, and I started talking about [it] from complete passion, and it had drama; it had humor; it had nuance of life. And you could see in the room-- my agent said 'That's the show. The other shows are ideas, but that's the show because that's the show that's going to keep you up on Christmas Eve to get that draft done when everybody else is wrapping gifts," Barrois said.

Of course Barrois' personal excitement is only a small portion of the process of creating and pitching the show. She will pour her heart and soul into every page, but she still has to find a producer who believes in it as much as she does, and then hope the network wants to make that same show, as well. Although Barrois admitted "everybody wants to have a hit" and she does pay some attention to trends in order to keep in mind what is selling these days, she noted that the most important thing for a new series is that it has your complete passion, as well as a "humanistic" approach. That is what will ground the series and keep it relatable, and in many ways universal, too.

"As an artist or a writer, you can't actually sit around in your office or in your bedroom in your pajamas, trying to predict what the whole country wants. You have to grab onto the zeitgeist, find something that you want-- that you're delivering this big, big show or this nuanced idea that people, maybe they've seen a version, but they haven't seen your version," Barrois said.

Coming from such hit shows as she has, Barrois is also aware that what the industry may want from her may not be 100% what she wants to put out to the market. While she obviously believes in compromise with her team once the show is already a living, breathing organism, she noted the importance of sticking to one's guns in the earlier stages of the series-- to ensure that she not only wants to make but feels like she can make is ultimately the one that she agrees to make and that gets sold.

"Being a professional writer, you have to make some sort of compromises, but I think you have to keep asking yourself 'Is this the show I want to make?' when you're addressing notes. I mean, there's clearly a point where you want to sell it, so you want to give the buyer what they want, but at the end of the day, you're going to be the one left holding the bag, so you've got to make sure that it's a product that you like," Barrois said.

"If someone has an idea that adds to it or compliments it, I really listen to my gut and go 'Is this what I really feel or is this what I feel because I'm listening to trends or what's hot? Am I really doing this because it's what I love?' At the end of the day, I worked really, really hard to get to this point...and the only way I can prove it was worth it is to get to write something I really love."

Director's Blog #4: It's All Coming Together-- I Hope...

Dating in L.A. and Other Urban Myths is officially well into our post-production stage; congratulate us!

... Okay, maybe I shouldn't jump the gun-- because the production stage may be complete (and successfully so, I must reiterate), but the truth is, there is still a lot of work to be done, and some of it seems the most daunting because it's the kind that is out of the director's (my) hands. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

From LA Examiner: Sam Underwood Reflects on 'Dexter'; Lucas Grabeel Talks 'Switched at Birth'; Mark Pellegrino Previews 'The Tomorrow People'; Krista Allen on 'Melissa & Joey'...

"Tina Fey heads to FOX with a new sitcom ordered straight to series"

Tina Fey is back in the television business! 30 Rock came to a planned end earlier this year on NBC with Liz Lemon (Fey) finally "getting it all"-- and adopting two kids who were pretty much miniature versions of Tracy and Jenna anyway, proving all of her life was preparation for that moment. But Fey is already jumping back into original series work with a currently untitled new comedy for FOX... [MORE]

"Sam Underwood reflects on his Dexter arc"

On Showtime's eighth and final season of serial killer drama Dexter, the writers deftly brought the show's themes full circle by introducing a new budding serial killer Zach Hamilton (Sam Underwood) and putting Dexter Morgan himself (Michael C. Hall) in the mentor seat the way his father before him was for him. Tasked with either killing the kid or helping him control his compulsions through the code, Dexter chose the latter, a bit at the insistence-- or manipulation, depending on where you stand-- of Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling). As it turned out, that wasn't the best decision for either Dexter or his young protege... [MORE]

It has been a long and somewhat rocky road for Toby Kennish (Lucas Grabeel) on ABC Family's Switched at Birth. To an outsider, it may look like the young man is extremely together. He has a comfortable and stable position in the family business, and he's on track to get married and therefore more officially settle down. It's a far cry from the kid who was in over his head with gambling debts when we first met him on the show! But that doesn't mean that Toby's necessarily on the right track for him. After all, he has given up a lot of what he really loves as he sprints toward this "mature" future that everyone assumes they "should" want... [MORE] 

"Is Mark Pellegrino the hero of The Tomorrow People? He weighs in on motivation"

Mark Pellegrino has played a lot of unconventional villains on television shows. From Rita's abusive, addict ex-husband on Dexter, to Lucifer incarnated on Supernatural, to Monroe's once-right hand man on Revolution, Pellegrino has perfectly portrayed men who will stop at nothing to follow out a plan they feel is necessary-- even if they are misguided. Once again, his role on The CW's The Tomorrow People fits nicely into that pocket of complex individuals driven by a very specific mission and sense of morality. And once again, Pellegrino isn't looking at the role as a villainous type but instead hoping to layer enough motivation and meaning into him that the audience will understand his stance and perhaps even root for him... [MORE]

"Exclusive Sneak Peek: Joe Lawrence romances Krista Allen on Melissa & Joey"

Last year Krista Allen was part of a very "inside Hollywood" red carpet relationship story on the dramatic The L.A. Complex on The CW, but last we saw her, she was settling a bet between Jeff and Audrey on the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement. When LA TV Insider Examiner had sat down with her to talk about the former, she mentioned wanting to move her career in the sitcom direction, so the latter project was a perfect fit. And so is her latest gig, ABC Family's Melissa & Joey, on which she is set to appear on in the episode entitled "Teach Your Children"... [MORE]

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On 'Dexter's' Battle with Addiciton and Dr. Vogel as Dr. Drew...

This is the post about Dexter I'm really happy to write. Sure, in it I have to admit I was wrong about Zach Hamilton (Sam Underwood)-- R.I.P.-- but I'll take being wrong over Dexter himself (Michael C. Hall) ending up on a protege's table any day. And this time Dexter didn't even have to be sucker punched in the gut by learning that someone he was confiding in-- someone he was teaching-- was going to turn around and stab him (literally). Sure, it hurts the same, just in a different way, that Zach became a victim of someone else-- and probably partially because Dexter couldn't see the bigger picture. And if Zach was a surrogate son or little brother even for a minute, it was still a blip on the radar that didn't go unnoticed-- by Dexter or by Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling). But that's what's so fascinating: Dexter has always been so entrenched in stepping back and observing everything around himself and his prey, to the tune of missing out on the more important, personal moments. He was always lost in his Code that way. But as he finally started to realize in "Are We There Yet?" he may actually want something more.

Sometimes there appears to be a very fine line between a true sociopath and just a really good liar. In the beginning, Dexter was written in a way that made the audience wonder, perhaps assuming the worst as we're often loath to give killers the benefit of the doubt, but then wanting to believe the best, as we got to know the hero and tragic man within Dexter. Hall always seemed to play Dexter on the edge-- but not of psychosis, of addiction. Unfortunately it was never something I had a chance to talk to him about-- how conscious a choice that was, if that's how he personally viewed it, etc. But in the moments when Dexter would lose himself in the hunt for another fix, his eyes getting tweaky, his inner monologue sounding more desperate and urgent, it seemed quite clear that his Code was something to manage a compulsion, not a psychosis. 

But here's the thing: addiction can never truly be cured, just getting it under (what often proves to sadly only be temporary) control. Addicts struggle for years, often for their entire lifetime, with the notion of "containing" it-- claiming one drink or one bump or one shot is all they need to take the edge off. Dexter never made any such claims. In a way, he was a much more self-aware addict, even if he wasn't willing to give it that name. Addicts are selfish when they are in their disease. They will stop at nothing to get the fix they believe they need, and that means hurting those in their way-- loved ones or complete strangers. Dexter hid his proclivities from his friends and family and co-workers, but as time went on, he was more burdened by these lies than his acts themselves. He had come to care about some of those in his life just as much as he cared about himself. In the earliest seasons, Dexter lashed out at anyone who found out his secret, killing them to cover his own ass. He justified it; he reasoned with himself about it; he said it wasn't a break in the Code because the first rule of the Code was not to get caught. 

But then he was confronted by someone he loved perhaps more than himself, and he suddenly saw his behavior reflected. If it had happened years earlier, he wouldn't have been ready, and he probably would have killed Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), too-- and then been so tormented about it, he would have sunk deeper. But when it happened he had accepted certain things about himself and his life. He understood he lacked certain control (losing Rita pretty much solidified that), and he had distanced himself from the scramble to regain it. The things he had learned-- about his brother, his mother, Harry-- all gave new perspective to this Dark Passenger anyway. He wasn't asking for help to get rid of it completely, yet he was starting to see the lies that came with it. And since he was faced with a lot of more "real" options-- his sister, his son, Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski)-- he finally seemed to realize he had a choice to let the light in so the darkness wouldn't envelop him completely.  

People with obsessive tendencies can still outgrow phases, even if those phases completely overtake their lives for awhile first. Maybe Dexter would have been a sullen, violent, angry teenager in a dark phase without Dr. Vogel. But with her, he turned into a full-blown addict. There is something really poetic in the fact that he thinks he's coming out of it now thanks, in part, to Hannah, a woman with a darkness in her, too. There's a reason real doctors tell recovering addicts not to get into relationships in rehab: because two people with the same proclivities often find it easier to use one another as a crutch when they backslide. But it feels good going down, doesn't it? 

(I love Hannah. I love Dexter and Hannah. I have made no secret of that. But as surreal as some of the things Dexter has gotten away with have been, this is not a soap opera, and I have no delusions that they can sail off into the sunset together. Maybe if she hadn't escaped from jail-- if she had just done her time and then come back to him upon release. But not like this.)

There is a great chance Dexter is a much more interesting man because of Dr. Vogel, and there is a great chance he did much more good than he would have otherwise because of her, too. But there is no doubt that she set him down a very specific, very narrow, very all-encompassing path. He was so focused on getting to the end of that path-- because each time it led him to a new kill-- he missed the beauty of the nature around him. He missed the possibility of life around him. Sure, life is messy. Sure, he has always had more chances of getting caught while he was juggling, entangled in relationships above and beyond the one with his Dark Passenger. But those complications, and how we handle them, are the point of life-- of truly living, of proving our character. No one who is deep in an addiction is alive. 

But for Dexter, getting lost in the Code also meant he missed-- or just wasn't willing to see-- that the person who most deserved his table was the one who turned him in the first place.

When we believed Harry (James Remar) was the one who gave Dexter his coping mechanism, we could cock our heads sadly for the boy who lost his youth to a well-meaning but misguided man. But the reveal that it was actually a doctor who "prescribed" this moderation for the man means Dr. Vogel is the Dr. Drew of Dexter. She used him, not explicitly for fame, though I have no doubt she has been recording and writing about her recent escapades with him for another book, probably to be published posthumously-- whether that death is his or hers, though, remains to be seen. She managed success with Dexter in that he accepted her skewed morality and "worked" by it, but there were countless others she tried to do the same with but couldn't convince-- people with true psychoses or ones who could just see through her, or even people who were spurred on to take violent action for the first time because of her methods and encouraging. People who went onto do things worthy of Dexter's table. But people who without her influence may have never needed Dexter's table at all. Because maybe Dexter wouldn't have even needed a table.

If Dexter had seen her directly as a youth, he probably would have seen through her, too, but she was smart enough-- cunning enough-- to keep him at arms' length. I wouldn't put it past her to have had a physical hand in Harry's death, too. 

Dr. Vogel is quite literally the drug dealer who got Dexter hooked in the first place. Because of her he couldn't see the forest through the trees, but I only hope now his proximity to her allows him to actually see her for who and what she really is. He's had so many brushes with people right under his nose not turning out to be who he believed, but never before was someone so perfectly deserving of the fate he usually delivers than this particular one. She's manipulated him his whole life, and now, like any true sociopathic serial killer who needs to escalate over time, she has stepped up to doing so directly, taunting him, touching his family and friends, circling him. She might as well lift her leg and pee, but this isn't her show, and she is not the hero here. I said before that I feared the student might overtake the teacher in the Sam/Dexter relationship, but I, too, couldn't see the forest through the trees, focused so narrowly on only one small part of the story, distracted from other important details. All along Dexter may have been about that very theme-- first it was Dexter trying to pay homage to and respect Harry, all while advancing above and without him, and now, well now it's about Dexter realizing the monster who made him and stopping her from toying with him, let alone turning out anyone else.

Dexter should have seen right through Dr. Vogel when he finally met her this season, but his quest for a family-- any family-- overpowered any identifying factors that said she was one of his. After all, he respects and honors his Dark Passenger-- he sees its value-- so he was oddly inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt, even after learning of some of the other experiments she was involved in and that some of her clients still went on to be violent under her influence. He works so hard at knocking off criminals and serial killers, but in many ways, they're the lowest level of the totem pole. If he had stepped back and breathed in the bigger picture*, he would have seen that by eliminating the one at the top (in this case, Dr. Vogel), dozens others could be saved. Hopefully he will realize that before it's too late and the series goes dark.

Though it's not the same as killing the head vampire and therefore breaking the line in lineage-- and even if it's the act that finally exposes him-- it would be quite satisfying for a recovering addict to take out the person who so drastically altered the course of his or her life, wouldn't it? At least he wouldn't be living in the lie, in the addiction, anymore. And once you shake that, you can finally be free in the way it matters most. It's certainly very late in his life to be realizing he wants-- he deserves-- more, but it's still early enough to give him a fighting chance at getting it.

* I am sure there is a "bigger picture" for Dr. Vogel, too-- a reason she has devoted her life to attempting to aid these damaged young men and women. I'm sure a part of her is overcompensating for something while another part of her believes she really is helping, in her own twisted way. But this is not "The Dr. Vogel Show," and I don't care much to learn her reasons and motivations. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Worry and the Writer...

I've always had a lot of issues with control. When you grow up feeling like you don't have any, it's really easily to unconsciously hoard any little bit that opens itself up to you. You grab it so tight, you don't realize you're doing more harm to yourself until your nails have broken the skin, and you're bleeding everywhere. 

When I was younger, first developing my voice as a writer, I was afraid of workshopping my stories in class. A part of me irrationally feared criticism-- not because I poured so much of myself in my work that it would be like they were saying they didn't like me, but because I left it all on the page, and if someone said it wasn't good enough, I knew I didn't have the tools to fix it. A part of me irrationally feared theft, too. You can't copyright an idea and all of that. The idea that an angsty teen wouldn't write anything worthy of a middle aged creative writing teacher claiming as her own never occurred to me. My writing was all I had, and I guarded it like it was my newborn cub, and we were fending for ourselves in the wild.

As I got slightly older and set out to take L.A. by storm (ha!) I still worried, but this time it was more about "workshopping" with the industry, i.e. having to take notes and tweak a project based on the buyers' brands and trends and interests. I didn't want to put my name on something that didn't live up to my standards, especially if that something was going to be used to launch myself into a career and make myself and my writing known by it in the first place. 

Compromise is a part of the creative process in this business, but to do so means to relinquish some control-- creative or otherwise-- over something that will no longer just be "yours." I got my first taste of this right after college when I attempted to work with a writing partner for the first time after literally a decade of holing up by myself in my bedroom to churn out page after page, script after script, alone. It was not easy. The truth was, we were not equal partners because the story came from my brain, the characters were all based on people in my life, and it was real and maybe a little too close to me personally. I had more at stake, and that was obvious to both of us, but I also pushed harder for it to be made, and that became obvious to both of us, too. But mostly I was just so used to working my specific way, with my specific voice, that when I felt we were straying, I would get irrationally frustrated-- with both the process and the story itself.

It was always the opposite when I was helping someone else brainstorm a story or flesh out characters, arcs, or ideas. By taking some objective control I felt useful; I felt empowered; but most importantly, I felt energized and creative again. 

Most recently, a friend came to me with an idea for a television show. He basically pitched me over email, and I came back with some thoughts and questions off his basic premise and from the standpoint of what I though the executives in the room would want to know, so leaving him with things to think about as he created his world. He wrote the script, and I gave him some notes on that. We went back and forth with characters and scale and tone. I was acutely aware that some of the notes I was giving him were subjective, personal preference type things, but I made sure to be explicit about that so he could take them or throw them away based on how they aligned with his vision for his baby. Still, I was inspired-- partially by his really interesting idea and partially by how easy and rewarding the process felt. So I asked him to take a whack at something of mine-- something that I started, knowing full well just how specific my own vision and tone and characters for it were.

But the crazy thing is that as time went on with this particular story idea, I went through all of the stages of writing fears that I should have experienced for all the years leading up to it. I worried a studio or a network would pull a My Stepmother is an Alien with it*; I considered turning it into a novel instead of a TV show just to ensure my version was told**... but then I worried my version wasn't good enough anyway. I considered that as a sign for a little while that this shouldn't be the mark I make, either. But then something remarkable happened. Rather than put it on a USB to never think about again, I started testing the waters and pitching the idea to friends, some of whom are writers, too, and some of whom are in the industry-- but some who were not but could be a potential audience. I sent the script around for notes. I put it away for a few months, then re-read it and gave myself notes. And when I saw flaws I could name but for which I couldn't execute a fix properly, I admitted that maybe this was one I should just hand over to someone else***.

I don't know if that growth is real maturity as a writer, coming up so much later in my life and career than it should because I kept myself stunted and segregated for so long, or if it should be considered giving up. If you had asked me at various points in my own life, I would have given you both answers. I'm true artists have one way of thinking about it, while those more focused on the business have another.

Reading my friend's ideas and the first few pages of the draft he said he was inspired to start certainly had my still-subjective-and-much-too-close-to-the-story alarms going off about little details, but when I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture I realized a couple of key things. First, I must have been onto something because this guy has babies of his own-- he doesn't need my scraps-- and yet he felt compelled to work on something. But more importantly, the things I worried about not being clear between character relationships given that some of them had years of history that I wasn't willing to exposit in a monologue of any kind (for example), he understood immediately. We traded emails about the tone and backstories in a way that got me re-excited for my own work. That never really happened before.

That is one instance where I don't think "growth" has anything to do with it, though. The truth is, I spent so many years worrying about the unknown because I feared the worst about it. I've always considered myself a pragmatist, and I include a note in many job application cover letters that I'm great at seeing all angles to a project and therefore able to anticipate problems before they arise to work on ensuring they never have to. It is a skill that comes in handy for corporations and productions and high pressure, fast-paced professional environments, for sure. But it can kill creativity because the exhaustion that comes with it is stifling and stunting on a personal level.

So can the desire-- or the need-- to always be in control, even of the fictional, the abstract, the in process. Old adage about grabbing grains of sand aside, creating means constantly evolving and changing, and at times adapting. If you can't-- or aren't willing to-- do that, you have no place being in the creating business at all. 

* The original script was a dark tale about child abuse at the hands of a new family member. Hollywood watered it down, sensationalized it, and added the sci-fi element. Some (I) would say they bastardized it. I heard this story in film school, and it solidified all of my fears about collaborating with suits.

** I still may do this, but more as an exercise to keep me writing and to work through some character snags and keep the story alive. No one is giving me any studio or network meetings for the show right now, so there's no point to writing subsequent episodes past the pilot. But I, personally, still want to hang out with these characters some more.

*** It's why I entered it into a pitch competition and not a script one.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

From LA Examiner: 'Whodunnit?' Season Finale Photos; 'Husbands' Season 3 Scoop; CW Seed Launches; Wilson Bethel Talks 'Hart of Dixie' S3...

"First Look: Whodunnit?'s season finale returns to the dead"

With only four "guests" remaining on ABC's murder mystery reality series Whodunnit?, everything is on the line for the three remaining contestants. Well, there are actually four left alive, but one of them is a double agent-- the killer hiding in plain site among the "scared" and "spared"-- and he or she doesn't have as much at stake. After all, the winner who is able to finish the final game testing "speed and memory" will unmask the killer and win $250,000. Who takes home the check and the bragging rights? And who goes home in handcuffs? All is revealed-- and oh yeah, the dead return!-- on "Golden Cuffs"... [MORE

"Husbands' Jane Espenson & Brad Bell talk transitioning season 3 to CW Seed"

Fans of Husbands have a big reason to celebrate: though season three has found a new home (on CW Seed), the series will not be delivering a new tone or even new stories based on what their new network may have wanted. Instead, Jane Espenson and Brad Bell said that CW Seed just wanted them to keep doing what they were doing-- which means more of the humor and heart you have come to know and expect, even if there are some new faces popping up in Cheeks (Bell) and Brady's (Sean Hemeon) world... [MORE] 

"CW Seed launches with Husbands, The P.E.T. Squad Files, Gallery Mallory, & Backpackers"

The CW has officially launched their new online network CW Seed, and the four series that are kick-starting the original content are available for your devouring right now! ... [MORE]

"Wilson Bethel previews clothed Wade on Hart of Dixie S3 & new online series"

While George Tucker (Scott Porter) seems to spiral a bit, at least early on season three of Hart of Dixie, Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel) is actually getting things together-- well, as much as he can. The fun-loving, laid back guys tends to get in his own way when it comes to relationships, but it has been proven that when it comes to business, a lot of other obstacles pop up... [MORE]