Aaron Sorkin Goes Back to the Well

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 31, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

…the same well that only lasted a combined three seasons on network.

The series stars Jeff Daniels as the co-anchor of a cable news show who must deal with a new team after his fellow host jumps ship for another job and takes most of the staff with him. Waterston will play his boss.

Olivia Munn and Alison Pill were recently added to the cast as a sexy financial analyst and an associate producer on Will’s show, respectively.

Sports Night and Studio 60 combined on a news set. No, but it’s a show about a news show so it’s completely different, right??


Update: Speaking of never-dry wells.

George Lucas

George Lucas says he already has 50 hours worth of scripts ready for a live-action Star Wars television series — but he’s waiting for a technological breakthrough to lessen the cost of shooting.


Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 17, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

Lisa Edelstein is leaving House.

I think it’s a little weird that she would choose to leave for what has been reported as the last season of the show. Maybe her character isn’t getting enough to do since the breakup?

I’m a little dismayed, a little okay with this. House was never going to wind up the series in a happy place, and it’s oh-so-much-more realistic that he gradually forgets about Cuddy and moves on, because that’s life. However pleasant it is to imagine that people carry the torch for their true loves forever, it’s not really all that true. I wouldn’t mind a return of the “asylum” phase of the show where House was with somebody who could have been The One under other circumstances, then let her go when he saw what the real circumstances were, and/or him meeting somebody who could be The One but we won’t know because the show ends, like Veronica Mars ended, with ambiguity and on the sense that the main thing is that House, like Veronica, is still walking through it all.

It is too bad, though, when an integral character doesn’t make it to the end. But I’m interested to see how they’ll play her out.

Dancing in the Dark

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 10, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

**SPOILERS** for Dancing with the Stars, Week 8.


False Alarm, House

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn @ 9:53 am

Robert Sean Leonard has signed a contract for next season, which TVGuide.com calls “its eighth and likely final season.” Hmmm. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’d hate for the show to jump the shark, which it has somehow avoided so far even though some of the plots are getting wilder and Wilde-r, so to speak. Well, at least they won’t have to do anything without Wilson. Hurrah!

Dancing with the Stars Getting Out of Control

Filed under:Television,WTF? — posted by Anwyn on April 26, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

I just watched Monday’s performances. The elimination is going on right now.

What? It’s less than a week till finals, and I know you don’t prefer to hear about my struggles with the parol evidence rule.

What Dancing god did Ralph Macchio tick off? Why does he get these impossible songs? Who does paso doble to “Everybody Dance Now?” And no, I don’t care that its actual title is “Gonna Make You Sweat.” That’s a horrible title. Who does samba to “Sweet Home Alabama?” These were not good music choices, Music Choosers. Foxtrot to “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was pretty awful too, but on the other hand, I didn’t care what Kendra did until I saw her samba last night. Those were some dance moves. Well done. But back to Ralph: What?

I am a little worried for Ralph. It breaks my heart for both of us that he’s almost fifty years old, and he has these hollow eyes that put me in mind of somebody dying of consumption. But nevermind all that–who is torturing him by making him dance to wildly inappropriate songs? And again with the fog machine, during Romeo’s waltz, and again with the inappropriate lighting, strobes–strobes!–during the inappropriate paso doble.

True, everything the judges said about Ralph and Karina getting back up to finish the dance was right on, they never wavered after that and it was glorious. But the fall cost them, as the judges gave them straight 8s, and I can’t help wondering if the incongruous music contributed too.

We’re not even going to discuss Bruno, Tom, the Elton John video, and Bruno’s choice description of Tom afterwards. The whole show needs to cool its jets.

But speaking of cool, it has to be said: Hanson can out-sing the Jonas Brothers any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw

Filed under:Oh Hell No,Politics,Television — posted by Anwyn on April 17, 2011 @ 12:31 am

This past Tuesday’s episode of The Good Wife guest-starred Fred Thompson as an actor/politician/lawyer never addressed by name, though listed in the closed-captioning as “Thomas.” Clever.

The plot showed Lockhart/Gardner representing an Underdog against an Evil Oil Company based on work conducted in Venezuela, until their case is taken over by Fred Thompson because Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez nationalized the Underdog company. And Fred Thompson is his lawyer. And Hugo Chavez appears (from the neck down, anyway) via videoconference as a lunatic who babbles about all the Americans wanting his oil except Courtney Love. And the true-blue liberal Lockhart/Gardner lawyers stare at him as though he were a particularly odious bug … while Fred Thompson acts as his lawyer with a genial smile disguising a pirahna mentality and, to wrap up, proclaims, “He’s really a nice guy once you get to know him. Sings like an angel.”

Right, because it’s Republicans who sing the praises of Hugo Chavez while Democrats just deplore him, isn’t it?

I am so disappointed that Fred Thompson agreed to do this lying piece of script.

If it was the show’s intent to make a good-faith showing that not everybody in Hollywood is on Sean Penn’s side of this argument, then they should have stopped at making that argument and not spun into it the vicious lie that Republicans, reasonably well-known ones at that, are. Disgusting.

Update: I should clarify that I’m disappointed Thompson agreed to do this hack hit script as himself. As a well-known Republican. Had he been playing a character, John Smith Lawyer who came in to take over the case, well, that’s an acting job and not a hatchet job. But that’s not what this was. His name was never mentioned; Josh Charles’s character walks up to him in disbelief, clearly recognizing him as Fred Thompson; the federal judge in the plot fawns all over him for “inspiring young people” on Law and Order. Sad.

Some Thoughts About Dancing with the Stars

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on April 14, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

Deep, no?

I’ve gone back to Dancing with the Stars after being away from it for a few seasons, both because I missed it and because it’s a fantastic stress buster. Excuse me if I mix up elements of this season with those of last season–I’m watching last season during the week when I’ve already watched this season’s episode (though this week, I have not gotten through the current episodes yet, so don’t tell me who went home. I hope it was Kendra. Bad dancing and bad attitude don’t or shouldn’t last long on this show. Update: Noooooo, Sugar Ray went home and the Playboy B*tchy stayed.)

    –I like the Theme Weeks. Rock Week, Classical Week, TV Theme Song Week, etc. They bring a punch of extra interest for very little cost in the format of the show.

    –I don’t like the new lighting. Remember in The Cutting Edge when Doug and Kate skated in the dark under spotlights, because it wouldn’t have been dramatic enough for the movie otherwise, even though in the Olympics they always skate in full light so the judges (and audience) can see what they’re doing? Yeah, the new lighting is like that for me. The spotlights make it harder to tell how well somebody is really dancing. I should think it would make it harder for the judges too.

    –Along those same lines, two of the Baby Pros danced a waltz this week to show us how it’s done–and the fog machine obscured their feet the whole time. Obscured their feet. On a dancing show. Are the show runners trying to tell us they think America doesn’t care about how well the technical parts of the dances are performed? Or that they think we shouldn’t care? There are other effects like plumes of fire (! a little too close to the band IMHO) that also obscure our view of the dancers. Because apparently I watch it for … Bruno? No. Let me see the dancers, including the feet, please.

    –If they think we don’t care about how the dances are performed, I have to concede that in the case of Bristol Palin, it appears they are right. I don’t want to wade too far into a quagmire here, but Bristol’s performance and people’s reactions to it puzzled me. The judges seemed to go out of their way to take it easy on her–and frankly, I appreciated that a little bit, since the poison and vitriol that have been heaped on that girl and her mother (her whole family, really, but primarily them) is beyond human reckoning at this point. They constantly told her how “correctly” she danced and that she’d be doing well if she’d just put more into the performance side of it. And she never did. I’m not through with the season yet–Rick Fox just got eliminated–but she had no fire at all. I can understand that. She’d never been a performer, she was nineteen, I get it, but since she really couldn’t bring it, why did we vote her back again and again, on into the finals, America? At some point sympathy for what she and her mother have had to deal with isn’t enough. And yes, she and Mark were getting death threats and I have my ideas about what I’d like to do to the senders thereof, but it really isn’t enough to justify all those votes. It was painful for me to watch her go through it week after week while never understanding what was needed to make it click–and still messing up on steps far into the season, and then still going through the motions of saying for the camera that she was going to bring it. Ouch. Not looking forward to seeing how that plays out in the finals. Yes, I know it was last season. I’m slow.

    –Bruno. I once had a professor who taught a class at 11 a.m. To start class, he would say, “Good morning!” And when we’d mumble back, he’d get on the Sighy Look and say “Now, come on, it’s a beautiful day, you can do better than that” etc. etc. That works as an ice breaker. It works as a refresher once in a while. He did it Every. Single. Class. “Good morning!” Mumble mumble. Sigh. “Now, come on, it’s a beautiful day [etc.]… let’s try that again: Good morning!” Louder mumble. Bruno is like that. Bruno, we get it. You are flamboyant. You love it when the dancers do something to be flamboyant about. But it’s Every. Single. Dance. on Every. Single. Show. You stand up, holler something flamboyant and, 50-50 chance, completely inappropriate. And then sometimes you gyrate. Stop it. Just bring it out when the performance really warrants it. Please please! You are tiring out your own schtick. And Len is enabling you by putting on his Disgusted Look and cuddling up to Carrie-Ann. If he would stop reacting, maybe you’d stop too?

    –Speaking of inappropriate, do we really need all these dancing Playboy Bunnies? I guess there’s always been an element of “this is not a family show,” given the way female ballroom dancers dress, but that seems a bit much, especially since they are usually such bad dancers anyway. And WHO hired Wendy Williams or whatever her name is? And WHY?

    –I’m trying really hard to come up with another “I like” to balance all this negativity, but really, the fundamentals of the show are still the fun basics they’ve always been, and I still love it. Don’t change!

Update: Having watched the semifinals and Brandy’s elimination, I’ll balance my criticism above with a couple of points:

–1) Bristol’s semifinal paso was amazing, and up UNTIL the Brandy elimination, I can fairly say Bristol was not saved over anybody who shockingly and overtly needed to stay, not even Rick Fox. Kurt Warner was very cute and very competent, but in actual dance technique he wasn’t noticeably better than Bristol, and just like a friend tells me that women get their LSAT scores padded in the admissions office, men get their performances “padded” in the minds of viewers because it’s amazing enough if they can even do the steps, have rhythm, and have a smile on their face while they perform. Women of the same ability level suffer by contrast, because as they said in, again, The Cutting Edge, the man is the stem, the woman is the flower, and a lot more is expected of her in performance.

–2) Once it’s a done deal, the judges really shouldn’t make it harder on the person who is staying by calling it “shocking” right there on the show. Let the pundits and bloggers and celeb gossips call it “shocking” tomorrow. Be sorry for the person departing without overtly devaluing the effort of the person staying. When Brandy’s name was called, Bristol’s first look was not at Mark, it was not a grin of relief, it wasn’t even an open-mouth WTF? at the camera. She immediately looked at Brandy, and she was concerned for her hurt. The judges may not have gotten enough real emotion out of her to suit them during the dances, but it was there then. She’s not dumb and she must have known that the gossip would tear her apart tomorrow; don’t make it worse by calling it a shock right there on the show. Maks was even able to be gracious, saying one of the reasons his parents came to this country is because the people vote.

Do I care too much about a competition that ended last November? Well, maybe.


Filed under:Cool,Movies,Television,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn @ 10:27 am

This has to be the ultimate (and, probably, only) crossover between Firefly and The Lord of the Rings. As a bonus, it’s a Jayne shirt.

Why is it a crossover? The Chinese says “Fighting Elves.”

Via Whedonesque.

Likes Holmes Without Watson

Filed under:Not Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn on April 8, 2011 @ 11:27 am


House & Wilson’s relationship on the show has evolved somewhat; Wilson has learned a bit from the constant kicks to the head; I’d like to see it evolve a little more. The show might survive without Wilson but it will be severely diminished. House is one of the few shows I know of that not only survives, but survives well, when its cast is changed out–partly because House himself changes so little that it becomes necessary to change up the people around him to keep the show moving–but this would be a blow to the roots. I have a lot of faith in the show’s writers, more than in, say, the writers of Chuck (which is a whole ‘nother topic) that they still have a lot to say about Wilson and can bring him to an even newer, more balanced place. I have faith they could manage without him, but the should would be considerably less. Come back, James!

What Could Go Wrong?

Filed under:Politics,Television — posted by Anwyn on March 10, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

Julianne Moore to play Sarah Palin in HBO movie penned by Evil Nerd Nemesis actor Danny Strong.

Nerd Nirvana

Filed under:Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn on February 22, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

How many can fit in the Nerd Herder?

Come Back, Chuck!

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on October 29, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

Earlier than expected: NBC has ordered six more episodes and will likely bring Chuck back in January rather than March. Hallelujah.

Bonnie Hunt’s Pretty Cool

Filed under:Cool,Heh,Politics,Television — posted by Anwyn on September 12, 2009 @ 9:49 am

Interviewing Rod Blagojevich and using words unfamiliar to him, such as “accountable.” Apparently it kind of pissed him off.

Blagojevich became so riled by the questioning, Hunt jokingly asked for “a sidebar.”

“You went to law school, I didn’t,” she says. “I’m only a nurse, but I might inject you with something just to get you to quiet down.”

If we can’t have any more movies like Return to Me, at least we can hope she’s going to keep interviewing bigger and bigger politicians in the same way.

Via Hot Air headlines.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace