Thursday, February 28, 2013

From LA Examiner: Full PaleyFest Details; FOX's Summer 2013 Schedule...

March 1st 2013 starts the Paley Center for Media's annual PaleyFest, two weeks worth of television panels and screenings with your favorites from current series Arrow, Community, Nashville, and Dallas, to name a few. If you're going to be in the Los Angeles area, there is still some time to get tickets to select events, but if you're not in town or missed out on your favorite show, don't worry, you can watch the fun times through Paley live-stream... [MORE]

FOX has announced its summer plans today, and on the line-up are a couple of returning reality favorites, a couple of new hopeful reality favorites, and one scripted comedy we honestly thought would never see the light of day... [MORE]

Danielle's Dish: 'The Carrie Diaries', 'The Celebrity Apprentice', 'Happy Endings', 'Nikita', and 'Switched at Birth' Spoilers...

Danielle’s Dish is back this week with all-new scoop on all-new shows. As always, you can feel free to submit your requests for shows featured here—or specific questions and wonderings—on Twitter. And remember: SPOILERS AHEAD!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'Supernatural' "Remember The Titans" Recap...

I never much cared for the film version of "Remember The Titans," but then again I never much cared for football. Those athletes, while absolutely gifted in one very specific area, are often so celebrated they get away with a lot of crap in other areas. They're treated like Gods because they can willingly throw their bodies into other bodies to slow down opponents, tackle, or catch a ball. I don't get it. But then again, I'm not into organized religion of any kind, and sports are just the outskirts of that. I admit, going into The CW's Supernatural episode also entitled "Remember The Titans" was tough for me because I already knew it would be dealing with Gods-- specifically Prometheus (John Reardon)-- and that rendered the first third of the episode, in which the mysterious zombie-like man with amnesia died, came back to life, couldn't remember who he was, and died again, rinse repeat, a bit unnecessary. I never like to sit around and wait for a show to catch up to where I already am, even if where I already am I only am because of reading episode summaries. And even if the waiting comes with a couple of great lines ("real life Kenny" and "What dies a lot, has Jason Bourne skills, and a history with violent women?" "You").

There are probably some Supernatural viewers who go into the episodes without knowing anything about them-- even reading the summaries-- but I feel like with a fan base this serious, those lone few are the, well, lone few. So it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that the show must know that-- and know how smart the audience is-- and still deliver so much filler at the top of the episodes, which only makes the resolutions at the end feel even more rushed. Yes, tonight we got some nice mentions of Castiel (Misha Collins) and Kevin (Osric Chau) and even reminiscing over Bobby (Jim Beaver) while we waited, and yes, I will be grateful for the shirtless (even if he was in the morgue) Reardon. But the whole bit with meeting Shane's son and baby mama (Brooke Langton) only served to make my mind start wandering about the kid. He's half-God, half-human, so he had to have some kind of special abilities, too, right?

Well, obviously. And in TV-only perfect timing, he just turned seven months before, which was the exact age when the curse would kick in! It all seemed quite convenient and lucky-- too much so. It's natural for his mother to start hunting for his father only now-- now that her kid is "sick" and she may need something from him. But she certainly seemed to know about Prometheus already; she took the news of who he really was in an amazingly well-adjusted way, but still with a smirk like she was trying to hide something we can't believe Dean (Jensen Ackles) didn't call out.

The fact that she actually wasn't in on it-- some kind of God groupie or lackey or whatever, sent to actually hunt Prometheus and bring him back to the mountain from which Zeus never wanted him removed in the first place was a huge shock and disappointment. I was so sure that was where things were headed; her behavior was so suspect. But looking back on the episode, nothing in the story was actually using the character as a red herring; it was all in Langton's performance. And I'm not sure the direction was intentionally leading us down a road of suspicion with her; I think the uneven-ness in her scenes (one minute she's asking a nosy question, the next she knows more than Dean, and there's always her nervous little smirk) just had me looking for something that wasn't there, trying to put an important meaning on what otherwise just didn't work.

But where the episode really got interesting for me was with the idea that Prometheus was a proto-God, a God before the Gods. I immediately imagined him as a prototype that didn't quite work right, hence the curse, but Sam (Jared Padalecki) shut me down instantly, explaining that Zeus actually cursed Prometheus to relive dying every day. And what a curse that is. I don't fear death itself, but I do fear dying. It's so rare you just pass away peacefully in your sleep; for most it is painful and actually a process. For Prometheus, death came differently all the time, so he could never get too comfortable or numb to the feelings. In this episode alone, we saw him get hit by a car, heard he was mauled by a bear, and then he suffered some kind of heart attack. It was a way less funny version of "Mystery Spot."

And I have to admit I enjoyed the way the "Romeo and Juliet" aspect of Prometheus and Artemis (Anna Von Hooft) the episode delivered. Sam proved his knowledge of yet another nerdy thing, but more importantly we got another look at the lengths ones will go to for love and family, and the sense of sacrifice was universal. It didn't matter if you were a Winchester or a God, you put your blood ahead of yourself. If you're the good guy, that is.

Additional Remarks: Dean's pride in talking about the "Men of Letters" was adorable. He was showing off, but he wasn't showing off for some girl, so it was clear being a legacy of something good actually meant something to him. Sam's been eating a lot of burgers lately; what's gotten into him!? Castiel isn't God, but I like that Dean talks to him as if he is. Maybe more prayers would go answered if people talked to individual angels instead of all bombarding God.

From LA Examiner: Meet Anthony Ruivivar on 'Southland'; Dillon Casey Previews Division Life on 'Nikita'; Melissa Rosenberg & Radha Mitchell Talk Flawed Females + Families in 'Red Widow'...

TNT's Southland is no stranger to mixing its partners up, never wanting the audience to get too comfortable-- with the relationship dynamics or the situations into which the characters are thrown everyday on the job. So it wasn't surprising to see John Cooper's latest trainee just quit on him early on. Out of that dissolved partnership comes a much more interesting, challenging one anyway. Cooper decides he is done with the boots for awhile and just wants to "be a cop" with another guy who knows what he's doing having his back. Enter Anthony Ruivivar... [MORE]

"Dillon Casey previews Sean's "bad few weeks" on Nikita + trouble with Alex!?"

The CW's Nikita always zigs where you think it will zag and vice versa, and in doing so, it often switches up the character standings and dynamics. When Amanda (Melinda Clarke) set it up to look like Sean (Dillon Casey) was a murderer, the new Division had to do some quick thinking and even quicker footwork to save Sean-- by killing him to the outside world. Though Sean ultimately agreed to let his friends help him, he couldn't hide the reservations written on his face about faking his own death and joining the institution he always hated... [MORE]

"Melissa Rosenberg & Radha Mitchell preview Red Widow (VIDEO)"

ABC may be single-handedly shooting down the argument that there aren’t strong female-centric series on network television these days, as they are about to debut Red Widow, which comes from acclaimed executive producer Melissa Rosenberg and stars Radha Mitchell as a woman forced to make some tough decisions to save her family. While Mitchell’s Marta is certainly tougher than most, the series is not going to shy away from her flaws or her dark side, characteristics which Rosenberg feels make shaping new characters the most fun... [MORE]


'Happy Endings' Ushers In A New TGIF on ABC...

When I was a kid, TGIF was everything. I'd go over to a friend's house, and we'd order pizza and camp out in front of the TV for all of our favorites: Full House, Step by Step, whatever. But like I said, this was when I was a kid. Around age twelve it stopped being cool to hang out in someone's house on Friday nights. My friends were joining teen clubs (hanging out in a random rec room or basement, really) or going to keg parties the high school kids threw in the park. Admittedly the keg parties were never really my style-- even these days, I prefer a quiet night in or dinner with friends to some kind of crazy rager or club night. So Happy Endings moving to Friday nights gives me personally an excuse to stay in or have a gang hang 'round the TV like the days of yesteryear.

But then again, I like watching "live" TV more than most. 

Intellectually, working in the entertainment business, I know how bad a Friday night at 8 p.m. time slot can be for a show. Shows are often sent there to be burned off or because a network doesn't have high hopes for a show's performance on any night, and something has to go there, so it might as well be something that doesn't pull in massive numbers or ad sales anyway, right? Well, I think that's a crappy way of thinking about it, and I'm going to start looking at the new hour of Happy Endings on Fridays as being a mature version of TGIF. 

Yes, yes, I know that's, in a way, what ABC was doing earlier this season with Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, but at least now the "F" in that equation will stand for Friday and Funny.

The cast of Happy Endings is with me on the TGIF thing. They had a few other things to say about their move when I was on set with them this week. I think I like Adam Pally's sentiment best:

"Happy Endings was built and made to play whenever you want to see it, and that's why it's such a fun show-- because you can pop it in and enjoy the jokes and enjoy the characters at any time."

So let's all make a pact to watch Happy Endings on Fridays-- if not live, at least DVR and view multiple times over the weekend! Some of my other favorite shows have come back from Friday night "death" slots, so here's hoping Happy Endings will, too. If so, it may just prove to be ABC's pinch-hitter, ala CBS and Rules of Engagement. But again, actually funny.

Happy Endings moves to Fridays at 8 on March 29 2013.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From LA Examiner: 'Community' Photos; Jessica Lucas Talks 'Cult'...

Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: I am completely torn over Community season four. On the one hand, I want to love it so much because I love Greendale, and I love this crazy study group, but on the other hand, NBC appears to be doing everything possible to make it hard to love it. Yes, the show is tonally different inherently within each episode because it is under new management, so to speak, but airing episodes out of their proper order is not helping the matter! And the next all-new episode, "Alternative History of the German Invasion" mixes both of these continuity-screwing elements in what I fear may be the worst possible way... [MORE]

Jessica Lucas may just have the most important role on The CW's Cult. As a member of the show within the show's production staff, she has an insight and an access into what's going on in a way that Jeff (Matt Davis) desperately needs to learn if he's going to get to the bottom of what's going on and find his brother (alive). She is young and smart and knows the value of researching outside of what the production is willing to share with her, too. And as it will turn out, she may have an extra special, personal connection to the show, as well... [MORE]

Monday, February 25, 2013

'The Following' Thoughts & Theories: "The Fall" Review...

We need to talk about so much in tonight's The Following, I'm going to break it down scene by scene, in most cases. If you haven't seen the episode, "The Fall," yet, you might want to read along with watching. There is just so much to consider!

So let's start with where we left off last week: Paul (Adan Canto) had a cut to the back of Ryan Hardy's (Kevin Bacon) head, and little Joey (Kyle Catlett) was still upstairs, too far from the door to make a run for it. Paul immediately got a little hotter in my eyes (I may have a problem) with his authoritativeness with Hardy, but that took all of two seconds to fall apart, when he realized he had no plan for this moment. Things had gone terribly, terribly wrong to lead him to this moment, and Joe (James Purefoy) doesn't want Hardy dead. Not yet, not like this, anyway. Of course, the other two farmhouse psychos ran in to see Paul with his gun on Hardy, and Emma (Valorie Curry) quickly took control of the situation, as she has always done with her band of merry followers, only for Hardy to spit back at her that it's over because there are teams of people on their way, from the FBI to HRT, which I admit, I thought he made up to just keep spitting acronyms at her. It worked. Even she looked a little panicked for a moment. But not Hardy. No, Hardy seemed to take real joy in letting these guys know just how cornered they were, even though he was the one literally backed against the wall, unarmed, hands up in a defensive pose. To me, the flicker in Hardy's eye and the odd calm in his voice didn't scream "qualified cop" but instead "suicidal dude." To me, it was almost as if he wanted Paul to shoot him, as if he was trying to goad Paul into shooting him. The kid was upstairs, safe, and Mike (Shawn Ashmore), even if no one else, actually would be there soon. He did what he needed to do, and he's just self-deprecating enough to think he's not worth anything else. The cat-and-mouse with Carroll has been what gave him energy, new life, and now it was looking like it was over. 

But Hardy's no martyr, and this was an episode only half-way through the season, so of course he made it out unscathed. And pretty quickly he exhibited signs of taking pleasure in toying with Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul in very similar ways to how he has been toyed with by Carroll and his followers. They say there's a thin line between cop and criminal, and I have no doubt there's a darkness within Hardy that actually would have had him snap Jacob's neck if Jacob came close enough to him. But I also think Hardy was smarter than that and knew he'd never have to exhibit such a darkness-- to show anyone outside of his own mind just how similar he is to Carroll. He knew Jacob was the softest one, the most sensitive and tentative. He knew he could crack Jacob, if only given the chance and time alone.

Call me extra special twisted, but I love that this new follower Charlie (Tom Lipinski), who I mistakenly assumed was Roderick last week, was a veteran. There's a thin line between soldier and criminal, too. I can't help but wonder if those four people he just wanted dead were people he killed before or after serving. I feel like they probably happened after. He was trained to be a killer overseas, actually allowed (paid!) to do it, and that broke the dam within him that didn't stop him from taking out the others that annoyed or angered or whatevered him. 

The fact that Carroll was teaching him to "feel," at least in his words, fascinated me. Joining Carroll in this mission certainly gave a number of the followers we have met so far purpose and direction and a way to channel their rage, but in this case, it almost seemed the opposite. He was taking a guy who had snapped and trying to show him how to be human again. He fit his followers into the right task for what they needed, not what he wanted. He is more selfless than I first considered. But in Charlie's particular case, it made him weak. A few more minutes alone with Claire, and she probably would have cracked him.

And, was it weird to anyone else that no one mentioned how Claire (Natalie Zea) was missing, and when Mike finally cracked the email, no one even seemed surprised to learn she had been "taken?" I know they have their hands full at the farmhouse, but you'd think the departments would communicate with each other, especially during these extra trying times...

I also loved the rare moment of vulnerability from Emma (though I loved her expected moment of ruthlessness, leaving the guys behind, so much more!), and I half expected Paul being the one to comfort her would be what sent Jacob over the edge and made him attempt to make his first kill. I didn't think it would be Hardy snarking about it, that's for sure, but I have to admit, I actually did want to see him kill that girl. She has been so expendable this whole time, and yet she still lives? That's one thing I can't forgive this show for doing.

"The Fall" did something really interesting tonight in taking the chatter around the show ("you love Paul, but he loves Emma, and Emma just wants to control you all" and "Joe was my choice") and brought it into the dialogue in a very meta way. Hardy and Parker both seemed to know the answers to the questions they were asking, but they were riling up their respective criminals and answering some subtle psychological show issues for the cheap seats in the back at the same time. But even while Parker was playing a little dumb with Emma on the phone, I feel like it may have been partially for show for Mike and the other agents around her.

When Agent Parker (Annie Parisse) was first introduced weeks ago, I talked a lot about my suspicions of her and her seeming admiration of Carroll. Tonight, I felt she led us further down that path with an equal admiration of Emma. By telling Emma that some people could only "dream" about killing a parent, Parker was relating to her in a way that didn't seem to be just for Emma's benefit. There was no need to coax a suspect like Emma at that point; there was nothing to be gained from getting her on your side or making her feel identified with. Parker seemed to be doing that for her own benefit. Maybe that carried over into her discussion of Emma's art, too. Much the way I project a lot of what I want a show to be onto it, I feel like Parker was projecting onto Emma, too. 

I know Parker's flashbacks were supposed to humanize her, to show why her interest in cults was a different kind of obsession, but it didn't work that way for me. For one thing, the double layer flashback took me out of the regular origin story/sequel format of the show. For another, it actually worked to further solidify my own theory simply because of from where she came. When you grow up entirely in a cult, your actions may have you rebelling, running away, realizing its wrong, but you've been taught from so early to believe in it anyway that when you actually do walk away, the void grows. It's a different void from Emma's or Jacob's or Paul's, but it's there. And hearing Emma imply what she did about the guys her mother brought home was close enough to Parker's personal story to see the deeper similarities that could bond them in brokenness. Like Carroll and Hardy, these two have the same scars, but they went in different directions.

I also have to vehemently disagree with Parker. It is not a "primal need" to want to belong; it is an emotional necessity only born out of great separation early on in one's life. You look at kids on a playground or in a high school hallway, and you can pick out the ones who want to belong so badly they will alter their personalities, their looks, their behaviors to do so. They may be a good majority (especially at that age), but they are not everyone. The others, the ones who dare to be themselves, even if that means standing aside, are the leaders-- the Hardys and the Carrolls. Parker thinking "unity" is everyone's common goal just proves what a follower she is. Even if she's not one of Carroll's devotees, she has that mentality ingrained in her nonetheless. Why else wouldn't she have burned that necklace years ago?

Jacob has that mentality, too. It's why he didn't leave Paul, even though Paul was bleeding out, and he certainly could have gotten farther on his own. It's why he probably truly believed it when he told Paul he'd get him help. The fact that they're wanted men, with their faces plastered everywhere never even coming into his mind. He was just so desperate to get back what he lost at the farmhouse. And that included Emma, even though she ultimately ditched him for the mission, for Carroll. She'll choose Carroll every time because even if she was a leader of those three, she's still a follower in the end. The fact that she felt badly about ditching was unexpected and awesome, though.

Carroll said it way too on-the-nose when he explained the escape from the farmhouse, the FBI realizing he has planted people in law enforcement, and his request for prison transfer (which is what his lawyer was getting to in her press conference, but they edited her speech so you only heard the start of that sentence before cutting away-- leaving something for next week, I suppose), was the next part of the story. That all was obvious. The locations will be shifting, but what really matters is how dramatically the relationships have changed between all our regular players. Emma, Jacob, and Paul are one thing, but Hardy and Claire are quite something else. He has treated himself like a failure the majority of the time, but now she is looking at him that way, too. And honestly, I can't blame her. He didn't even try to shoot out the tires as Emma drove away. I mean, really, how hard is it to shoot out tires!?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Introducing the Revamped 'Danielle's Dish' Spoiler Column...

Once upon a time, I used "Danielle's Dish" as a tag for the more spoiler-y of my specific episode preview posts on my LA Examiner column. I asked readers on Twitter to submit questions about the next episode of X show, which I was screening in advance, and I would do the best to give the people the answers they were seeking...without completely giving away the episode's secrets. Now, though, I am reviving that idea into a brand new, more general spoiler column. Yes, I'm diving into the dark side!

I screen so much TV in advance of airing, and I chat with so many wonderful talent in the world of television, I often find out great tidbits that might not make it into their own individual articles but are certainly still worth sharing. You, my lovely readers, are still welcome to submit questions through Twitter, but you won't be limited to one specific show or episode at a time. Ask anything, about any show, and where I can, I will include it in this column, which I am aiming to post bi-weekly, with the shows discussed varying each time. If there's a show I've been leaving out that you want explored, comment, and I will bring it to you the next time.

'King of the Nerds' Creates a Nerd Rap Anthem...

I am kind of obsessed with this nerd rap from last night's King of the Nerds. Like, would put it on my iPod obsessed. It's not a surprise it was the winning song because the challenge was to create an anthem for the show and for nerds in general, and that is truly what this is. It's catchy, but it's also just kick-ass.

Plus, Garfunkel & Oates were judges, and they are amazing. So, basically, this show has won major pop culture cred and props with me!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

From LA Examiner: 'Parks and Recreation' and 'The Following' Photos...

The big day is finally here, arriving a bit quicker than originally expected, as NBC's Parks and Recreation is throwing Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie's (Amy Poehler) wedding tonight... [MORE]

Things are moving along at quite the anxiety-producing clip on FOX' The Following. It's been a few weeks since Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) were in each others' lives again, and it seemed like Carroll had been sitting and planning this for so long that Hardy was constantly going to be playing catch-up... [MORE]

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

'Supernatural' "Man's Best Friend with Benefits' Recap...

It always makes me nervous when a drama, especially a supernatural one like The CW's Supernatural, involves a dog. Even if the title of the episode has "Man's Best Friend" in it, it's rare those furry, four-legged buddies actually survive to have a happy ending. Sam (Jared Padalecki) may have saved a dog during his "year off," but he ultimately left it. And in the past, the dogs we have met have been hell hounds, or overprotective neighbors who just happen to turn into the family pets, or werewolves of sorts. "Man's Best Friend with Benefits" dealt with the middle rung of that crazy ladder, as the dog in question actually turned into a woman-- but only after Sam had bonded with it (perhaps feeling some guilt over the dog he left behind? I know I think he should have!). The episode dealt more with the recurring theme of the Winchesters having to choose to help something they would normally simply "put down," so to speak, which with nothing new to add, was just a way to kill time and feel useful while the Winchesters waited for Kevin (Osric Chau) to get them word on the next trial.

In this particular case, though, the dog was actually a "familiar," a witch's companion, splitting her time between human and animal form, and she brought the boys bad news: one of their old buddies, who had helped them on a previous case, became obsessed with alchemy and witchcraft and was now at a critical point of practice. During the day, he worked as a homicide detective, and at night, he started experiencing terrible side effects of witchcraft-- because as we all know, magic always comes with a price-- and all this familiar wanted the boys to do was put aside their "ignorant bigotry" to help their once-ally. 

But we hadn't seen this guy before, so it made it harder to care about him. The bias against this guy wasn't really ignorant, if you ask me. He chose to become a witch, to dabble in dark arts about which he knew the consequences, Dean (Jensen Ackles) said it best. So giving him the benefit of the doubt to help him get to the bottom of whether he was actually killing people or not seemed like a courtesy they didn't have to extend, especially considering this is so small in their laundry list of problems. Maybe I just have a trigger-happy mentality, especially after everything I've seen on this show, but whether or not another witch was controlling him into thinking he killed people, actually using him to kill people, or none of the above, it's still witchcraft, and witchcraft is bad. There's no gray area here. Have we learned nothing in eight years!?

(For those who are keeping score, this particular witch actually was innocent. But another witch was the "doer," doubling his crimes by framing James, so...witchcraft still = bad, just like I said.)

I was oddly fascinated by the idea that familiars and their witches could communicate telepathically, that they're more like peers than masters/property. They're each others' companions, sure, but they look out for each other, not in a one-sided way, which is really how any good dog/owner relationship goes, but few dive deeply enough into to discuss aloud. I'm a dog person, that's no secret, so those little details spoke to me on a personal level. But then it got really weird and uncomfortable with the sex. What originally seemed so sweet became gross. They ruined the one thing that was at least unique about this episode-- okay, it was maybe more unique with this detail, but not in a fun way.

And the fact that this other witch was setting James up because he was jealous over his sexy time relationship with his familiar? Made it a little bit ickier.

The majority of the episode, dealing with whether or not this particular witch's dreams of murder were just dreams or something more and the chaining-him-up method to keep strangers safe until they knew the truth was just redundant. Shades of Madison, for sure, but then couple that with how quickly he advanced in his career with witchcraft on his side, and it reminded of the crossroads demon deal returned to just last week. It was very talk-heavy, too, with the confrontation with Spencer at the end, in which he attempted to get into the boys' heads, feeling kind of tacked on, with the defeat too quick and easy.

"Man's Best Friend with Benefits" was fine as a stand-alone episode, an interesting hodgepodge, complete with a perfect wrap-up brother heart-to-heart in the car on the way out, but it wasn't interesting enough not to keep the mind from wandering, wishing the episode would also check in on Kevin, even if all he was doing was more "morning routine" of 5 a.m. calls, hot dogs, studying, and now, I assume, pills. 

Additional Remarks: The fact that Dean doesn't really like, let alone understand, dogs is a major point loss for him. Major. Not cool, not cute. And since he refrained from bestiality jokes, not like him. While Ackles infused his usual brand of humor through Dean's facial expressions, this episode was written differently than usual. It had a much more serious tone than was necessary, especially by comparison to others around this episode. James Pizzinato's Drexel could have provided some much needed humor, but he was sadly underused here, too.

From LA Examiner: 'Suburgatory' End of Season 2 Spoilers; Michael Cudlitz Talks About 'Southland'; Colton Haynes talks 'Arrow'...

One of the things LA TV Insider Examiner has always loved, respected, and admired about ABC and Emily Kapnek’s Suburgatory is that it is not “just” another sitcom. Yes, it is a half-hour (format) series heavily based in comedic elements. In that way, it is not afraid to take big, bold sweeps at broad comedy, like Dalia (Carly Chaikin) and Tessa (Jane Levy) getting into a dance-off. But underneath the jokes is a whole lot of heart and some very serious character arcs that allow for growth. To use the dance-off as a continued example, that all spurred out of Dalia not feeling like she could match up to Tessa because Tessa is better at her than everything from school to driving... [MORE

Michael Cudlitz has always called his TNT Southland character Officer John Cooper a "lovable a**hole" but also a "particular a**hole" when he's training, and his season five trainee is not only someone he does not particularly gel with but also someone whom he feels is not quite right for the job in general. Add that to the fact that personally, Cooper is kind of a mess, with his boyfriend leaving him and his post-rehab occasional drinking, and season five may be a turning point for Cooper. Not only may he be pushed to his limits with "the boots," but Cudlitz pointed out that he is assessing his life in a much larger way... [MORE]

"Colton Haynes talks about his "smart ass" Roy Harper on Arrow"

Yet another member of the Queen family on The CW's Arrow is about to be targeted by a sort-of villain when Colton Haynes' version of Roy Harper steals the scene (pun intended). But he is hardly some fat cat, twirling an evil mustache, worthy of being crossed off of The Arrow's list. Roy Harper (Haynes) is a kid from the wrong side of Starling City-- the part that Oliver (Stephen Amell) had noted had fallen apart when he first returned. Growing up in poverty has hardened Roy and made him act badly out of necessity, but he is about to glimpse a much different kind of life by his interaction with Thea Queen (Willa Holland)... [MORE]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From LA Examiner: Robert Knepper Talks 'Cult'; 'Golden Boy' Advance Review; Exclusive Donnie Wahlberg Video; Tyler Posey Previews 'Teen Wolf' S3 + Premiere Date...

It’s a bit eerie how closely Robert Knepper’s own career has mirrored that of his new Cult character Roger Reeves. As T-Bag on Prison Break, Knepper couldn’t walk down the street without strangers giving him the side-eye, slightly forgetting that the man in front of him is not actually a sadistic criminal. As Billy Grimm on the "Cult" series within Cult, everyone, including the main character Jeff (Matt Davis) assumes Roger is just as manipulative as Billy. In fact, it will be easy for fans of The CW’s Cult to lose Roger in Billy Grimm in the beginning of the series, too. We get to know the fictional character who may be influencing some very terrible, very real events immediately in the pilot, but in truth Knepper has to tackle two guys within the series, and there’s a chance they could not be more different... [MORE]

Walter Clark (Theo James) has a chip on his shoulder. Having been on his own, on the streets, from the age of nine, as he says “stealing food for him and his sister and then working two jobs,” he has a strong sense of what he wants and more importantly, what he feels is owed to him. He’s impulsive, angry, a bit arrogant, and worse absolutely ambitious. All of these qualities could make him the best cop in the NYPD, or it could make him the dirtiest. CBS' Golden Boy pretty much lives or dies on Walter’s shoulders, and while James is a natural leading man, he is not enough to save this from the clunky tropes of a simple cop show trying too hard to be more meaningful than that. Not to mention how hard it can be to enjoy watching a show when you want to kick the main character’s cocky little teeth in... [MORE]

"Exclusive: Behind-the-scenes with Donnie Wahlberg for Boston's Finest"

Donnie Wahlberg may just be the busiest man in show business. We'd even say he's busier than Seacrest. Between his dramatic starring role on CBS and his constant New Kids on the Block touring and recording, he is already doing the jobs of multiple men, but he's about to add reality producer extraordinaire to his ever-growing list of current credits, with Boston's Finest, coming to TNT... [MORE]

"MTV announces Teen Wolf S3 return; Tyler Posey previews new Scott + new Alphas"

MTV has announced a premiere date for the super-sized season three of Teen Wolf, so who better than to bring you some new season scoop than the show's star, Tyler Posey!? LA TV Insider Examiner was on-set with Posey (and the rest of the Teen Wolf crew, but we'll get to them closer to premiere) in Los Angeles recently to see what everyone's favorite Beacon Hills High werewolves, hunters, and laymen have been up to... [MORE]


Celebuzz 'Cult' Preview: Matt Davis Breaks Down His New CW Series...

The CW's newest mid-season drama, Cult, is already proving itself to be quite buzzworthy simply because of how confusing it appears to be.

The mythology-heavy series takes a stab at obsessive fandoms, a "show within a show," and even the online world of investigative journalism. Individually, each of these elements certainly seem juicy enough to pique our interest, but how will the show hold up over all?

Monday, February 18, 2013

'The Following' Thoughts and Theories: "The Siege"...

Kevin Williamson has said his new FOX drama The Following is really two shows within one. You have the flashbacks that show Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon) hunt for Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) the first time; that’s the origin story. Then you have the present day search for Joey (Kyle Catlett) and additional cat-and-mouse, and that’s the sequel. But when I look at The Following, I see more layers than that. Hardy and Carroll’s twisted relationship is one show, certainly, but the dynamics between the “three psychos living in a house” are just as fascinating and therefore worthy of their own special show, implied threesome or not (after all, that threesome wasn't exactly sexy time but simply a show of unconditional love and support for a guy who was pretty devastated he couldn't be what he thought they wanted him to be). But time for that is coming to an end because The Following isn't f*cking around.

I honestly didn't expect Emma (Valorie Curry), Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and Paul's (Adan Canto) undoing to be little Joey, but it just goes to show you how much smarter and savvier kids today are, and how desperate and oddly trusting these three are. Paul's inclination to smack Joey around for using the phone may have been aggressive and barbaric, but Emma's need to coo and nurture is coming from a place of being in love with the kid's father. She doesn't want to look bad in Joey's eyes. You know, in case she's his new step-mom someday.

Okay, that line of reasoning may be a bit extreme, but it certainly seemed like she had weeks and months on end of a slow seeding that the stories he has heard about his dad-- about right and wrong, good and evil-- aren't true. But it goes back to what I said a few weeks ago, when the trio sent the video of them trying to teach Joey to be okay with killing an animal: she could fill his head with all the words she wants, the hole inside of him that would drive him to act the way they want him to simply isn't there.

Joey certainly has better instincts than a couple people in this show. The sweet old farm neighbors didn't think to lock their door, even though they were convinced they saw the boy from the news and his serial killer/cult member kidnapper. The small town cop's hands were shaking when he drew his gun, and little creaks in the old wood made him announce himself. There is no room in a show this smart for stupid characters like that, and I'm glad the show is ruthless with its treatment of them. But their presence here certainly allowed for a fascinating dichotomy with Hardy, who for the first time, looked completely healthy, alert, and like he was in top shape both physically and mentally. He emotionally matured enough to tell Claire (Natalie Zea) they had to have a conversation about their relationship; we didn't see him swig from his special "water" bottle once; and he managed to have the self-control not to just shoot wildly into the brush, ambushing Paul and Jacob as he saw them head back into the farmhouse (although he did waste precious time with that rube of a cop...). Maybe FBI work is like riding a bike, or maybe Parker (Annie Parisse) deputizing him gave him the confidence boost he needed, but this time it wasn't Carroll directly that seemed to give him energy and purpose. It was the pure adrenaline of the situation Carroll created.

What was most interesting to me about "The Siege" was not the man-hunt closing in on that farmhouse where you knew one chapter you had come to love was drawing to a close, but rather the whole new one opening with Roderick (Tom Lipinski) and Olivia (Renee Elise Goldsberry). First of all, Emma's actions in the first few episodes certainly made it seem like she believed she was second in command to Carroll himself, but tonight she deferred to and relied on instructions from someone else, someone clearly above her, and I can't wait to find out why. Not only who this guy is and why he's more trusted by Carroll, but also why Emma would be willing to take a backseat to someone she can't possibly have the level of feelings for the way she has with the others. And Roderick has now taken Claire in what I feel like has to become an easy swap-out kidnapping. Hardy has found Joey, but the job's not done; now they have to look for his mom...and you know, the rest of the followers.

But it was the use of Olivia as a mouthpiece in the media to deliver news to his little tribe and his ex-wife that may provide the most potential going forward. She clearly used Carroll in the origin story; she represented him just long enough to make a name for herself, gain notoriety, and drive up her rates, and then she decided she was done. And I'm willing to bet no one ever treated Carroll like that in the past; he has always been the manipulator, and here, he was a bit manipulated. But his plans for her were not to torture and chase the way he has with Hardy but instead to corrupt her, to use her to carry out parts of his plan without her knowing the whats, whys, hows, or how bad her involvement will make it for other people. He's ruining her reputation and her psyche in a completely psychological way. It's kind of nice to know Carroll isn't so narrowly focused on Hardy alone anymore.

Though, can we talk about how useless Hank (Josh Segarra) turned out to be? Snipping off two unnecessary fingers, even from a dominant hand, and then botching the getaway because he got trigger-happy? He was not worthy, something some may be thinking about Jacob. Personally, I do need more of Jacob's back story, please and thank you, because I just can't quite grasp what was so terrible about his life that he felt pretending to be a killer (and potentially having to become one) would be better than what he currently had going. Thankfully, I have a feeling we'll be getting much more of that next week when my favorite trio is faced with Hardy in their presence and will probably be a bit torn apart with their reaction to him. Paul may want to blow his brains out, but they are all under strict orders to keep him alive for Carroll. So when Mike (Shawn Ashmore) and the rest of the FBI finally roll up and turn the tables on them (because, come on, cliffhanger or not, that's where this is going), Jacob just has to be the first to crack, right?

DanielleTBD Takes...Texas?

Congratulate me, you guys! I'm an official Semi-Finalist for ATX Television Festival's Pitch Competition (presented with Final Draft)!

Late last year I decided to enter this pitch competition for the second annual Austin Television Festival because I was getting nowhere with trying to find representation for my pilot script out here, on my own, and I equally couldn't get meetings at studios without having an agent submit-- or a well-known showrunner/EP already attached. ATX has attached a number of acclaimed writers and producers (Liz Tigelaar, Bill Lawrence, Kyle Killen, to name a few) to judge this contest, so I figured it couldn't hurt attempting this unorthodox way to get them to see my idea. 

The show I submitted to this competition is called The It Couple, and oddly, it is not one I have talked much about here. Maybe it's my paranoia that someone will see the idea on this blog and do their own version, only to sell it first-- or maybe it's because it's loosely based on some people I know-- but I've kept this one kind of close to the chest. The show is designed as an hour long relationship dramedy for a network with a core demographic of women 18-34. At this point, I feel like it would be a great fit on The CW, ABC Family, MTV, or hopefully even "regular" ABC. It's focused on a young, unconventional couple in Hollywood and is a story of people bringing out the best in each other and a look at how complicated modern relationships can be. It’s also a story of lies, perception, betrayal, and playing with the idea of truth, integrity, and love, and how society traditionally defines all of those things. 

ATX wanted a pitch under 90 seconds, which if you know me-- or if you watch my vodcasts-- being concise is difficult! I don't love just sitting in front of a camera, talking at it, so I was only present in the intro and outro, explaining the show. The middle "meat" part of the pitch was my voice-over, going into greater detail about my characters and season one arcs, while the images on screen changed between photos of the "types" for each major player. 

... I know that really doesn't tell you much. I'm deliberately trying not to say too much at this point. Depending on how the results of the competition turn out, I may be able to post my pitch video here so you can see what about it worked-- and judge the show idea for yourself. But for now, please just wish me luck. This is a show that has been rattling around in my brain for awhile now, and I've been trying to pitch it on my own for over a year-- but this is the first bite of success I feel like I've had. It's certainly not a traditional way to get yourself heard or your stuff read, but hey, nothing I've ever done in my career has been the traditional way, and most of it has been that way on purpose!

Besides, the timing couldn't be more perfect, as I find myself currently looking for employment, toying with the idea of just going back into production at least part time anyway. Is this a sign I should? Maybe. Or maybe it's just a sign that I need to take the "it can't hurt" attitude as my own personal mantra and motto more often.

From LA Examiner: 'The Following' Photos; 'Castle' Advance Review...

FOX's The Following is about to unfold its fifth chapter and LA TV Insider Examiner is on the edge of our seats with excitement and anticipation because this is the first episode we have not yet seen ahead of its airing. Given what we do know about the series so far, things are only going to get more intense as Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) hunts for an unknown, unseen amount of Joe Carroll's (James Purefoy) followers... [MORE]

ABC's Castle is a lot of fun when it takes on the lighter side of its characters, but every now and then it gears up to deliver a gut-punch of a dramatic episode. Now, in the first part of this two-episode story arc, "Target," Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) begin a murder investigation that also exposes a plot to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman. First they think it might have something to do with terrorism, than the businessman's Egyptian enemies, and that's all juicy and international enough for any "Nikki Heat" novel, but the world of Castle is a bit more grounded than that. When it turns out that Alexis (Molly Quinn) is friends with this kidnapped girl and was actually taken along with her, too, because she was a "witness," that's when things really sober the NYPD up... [MORE]

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Celebuzz 'Revenge' Recap: "Sacrifice"...

The looming murder on ABC’s Revenge—something that was glimpsed in the first episode of the season but only revealed with the most recent episode, “Sacrifice”—has been pretty much the only thing I have been interested in all season. Well, that and getting to know Aiden (Barry Sloane). So it felt like a long time coming to finally get some answers.

Thankfully, the Revenge writers knew just how much anticipation was around this episode, especially after killing off only incidental characters throughout the rest of the season, so the result was an hour chock full of changes—many more than just the fatal one we expected.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

'On Writing' with 'Suburgatory's' Emily Kapnek...

 One of the things I have always loved, respected, and admired about ABC and Emily Kapnek’s Suburgatory is that it is not “just” another sitcom. Yes, it is a half-hour (format) series heavily based in comedic elements. In that way, it is not afraid to take big, bold sweeps at broad comedy, like Dalia (Carly Chaikin) and Tessa (Jane Levy) getting into a dance-off. But underneath the jokes is a whole lot of heart and some very serious character arcs that allow for growth. To use the dance-off as a continued example, that all spurred out of Dalia not feeling like she could match up to Tessa because Tessa is better at her than everything from school to driving. Suburgatory is not afraid to move its story along—or better yet, dive deeply into story arcs at all—and at times it even seems to genre-bend, leaning more towards a drama, just being told in a tightly packaged twenty-two minutes. This kind of outside of the network box format and thinking is all courtesy of Kapnek. 

 "I’m a big believer in chasing story and embracing story and...'it’s never too soon' for me. I love the idea that there’s a graduation day coming for Tessa, and what does it mean for the future? Would she move back to New York, and what would that mean for George and Dallas? I think it’s so fun to have change and have characters evolve and have shows evolve and reinvent themselves. You don’t know how long you’re going to get; you never know when something’s going to happen. I figure just go for it! Go for the great stories and don’t be afraid!" Kapnek said over lunch earlier this week.

"It’s funny because some of the things about our show not fitting into a certain template or not feeling like there is this super consistent model, those are some of my favorite criticisms of the show because I love shows that are like that. Life is like that. When you’re watching a show that feels incredibly formulaic that you could almost watch with the sound off and know what’s happening, it’s my biggest pet peeve. I love that our show is just a little unpredictable, and we’ll go where you didn’t think we were going to go."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

'Supernatural' "Trial and Error" Recap...

"This whole saving the world thing is a marathon, not a sprint."

It is season eight of The CW's Supernatural, and that line, advice from Sam (Jared Padalecki) to young prophet Kevin (Osric Chau), is certainly exemplified simply by the show not only being around for this many years but still going as strong as it has over such a long stretch of time. Putting Yellow Eyes and Lucifer, the battle between Heaven and Hell, doppelgangers, Leviathans, demon blood, and lost loved ones aside, Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are embarking on their greatest mission yet: closing the gates of Hell forever. Only, only one of them can complete the trials and therefore that epic task.

In "Trial and Error," Kevin finally cracks the tablet to learn what the first of three trials that one man must complete in order to close the gates is: killing a hell hound. It's not easy, and he thinks he has a mini stroke while doing it, so clearly his answer should be to go to sleep for a week, but instead he pops some pills to get to work on the second trial. I just want to put it out there that I fear he will OD and die before giving the boys the instructions for the final trials, and that worries me more than any hell hound or spying angel!

Anyway, after watching a hell hound so brutally rip his brother apart years earlier, it would only seem fitting that Sam would want to stomp off and get his Lurch-like revenge, but that is actually not the story that transpired tonight. Instead, it was Dean who put forth his soldier mentality and decided he would be the one to kill the thing and take on the trials in general. There was no discussion about it; he pulled rank as big brother and the guy who didn't see a future outside of hunting; he'd rather go down swinging for the cause.

It is no secret that my heart breaks for Dean Winchester. For as much as I think I am more personally like Sam, I greatly admire Dean's focus and determination and willingness to put countless other people before himself. Here he certainly thought he was doing Sam a favor by taking on the hard work so Sam could have a future, just like he had been doing for years, all those years ago, when he took care of him in seedy motel rooms while their dad was off on a job. But Dean was also making himself a martyr here. By saying he didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel, after this fight, the way Sam does, he was pretty much resigning himself to die with gun in hand. And going in thinking you may not come out alive is not the right attitude to have when going into such a fight like this.

Sam didn't argue, but he didn't just sit back and let Dean steamroll him, either. They both went to check out a Waltons-esque story of a family who hit oil where they never should have, assuming someone in that clan made a deal with a crossroads demon in order to do so. When they got there, though, it took all of one evening before the first family member was ripped to shreds, only for it to turn out that his deal was to win the heart of a woman who didn't normally give him the time of day (reminiscent of a certain magical wishing well wish, wasn't it?). The rest of the clan flew in the next day, and Sam and Dean had their hands full with them, especially the poor man's J.R. Ewing and his Real Housewives rip-off daughter.

It didn't take long for the family to reminisce, unprompted, over the "nice, British fellow" who had dinner with them ten years ago. It was Crowley himself who sealed their fates, and though this task seemed quite menial for the King of Hell, well, everyone has their fun somehow! His, as it turned out, was in not telling these people just how bad (or when!) they would die when he warned them they wouldn't go to heaven if they took his deal.

But in addition to one of the sisters dealing with Crowley, so did the ranch hand (Danay Garcia), who Sam and Dean had ruled out for being "the help." She wanted her mother cured of Parkinson's, striking a chord with Dean, who just scenes earlier was settling into his room in the Men of Letters bunker by leaning a childhood photo of him and his mother against a table lamp. I will say I was surprised to learn it was she who made the deal. The way she was overtly flirting with Dean, but he was rejecting her, had led me to believe she could have actually been a demon in disguise, standing guard for the hell hounds. But maybe I'm just on high alert to such sinister ideas because I have watched this show for too long. Dean was simply a man on a mission, and honestly, if I knew I was about to die, I'd want to sleep with him, too!

Dean and Sam both prepared themselves to go after the hell hounds, but in the end it was Sam's blade who struck the fatal blow. Dean wanted to try again, so that he would be the one to go on to complete the rest of the trials, but Sam stopped him with a perfect speech about not wanting his brother to go on a suicide mission but instead trusting him.

I never got the impression that Dean didn't believe in his brother-- or believe that he would be better suited for these trials than his brother. I always saw his sheer instance on always being on the front-lines an act of his own self-identification: hunting was his greatest purpose and the only thing he knew, and if he wasn't out there, doing the tough stuff, he didn't know what he would be doing-- or who he'd be. But the moment at the end when he saw the wind get knocked out of Sam after completing the trial, there was a little glimmer in Dean's eye that seemed to be fear-- fear for his brother's safety, of course, but also, maybe, fear that he wouldn't succeed. And if Sam fails, they both fail; the human race fails.

Additional Remarks: I seriously hope the boys don't have to flee that Men of Letters bunker in a hurry any time soon because they will loose all those fantabulous guns! Sam should know Dean can cook; Dean cooked meals for him all the time when they were kids. Sure, it was mostly Spaghetti-Os and cereal, but everyone starts somewhere. I did love how Sam appreciated the burger after all; salads are not food, Sam; be more like your brother! The glowing of Sam's arm at the end seems like the kind of thing that will spread and take over more of his body as the other trials are completed. So the question is: if he does succeed at completing them, just how badly will he be changed?