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post #8011 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 02:52 PM
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I started watching BSG. You guys are so screwed. EVERYTHING I like gets canceled.
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post #8012 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Sports
NBC Tweaks 'Sunday Night Football' With New Technology
Net Aims to Make Games More Understandable, Enjoyable
By Jon Lafayette Television Week

NBC is adding new tricks to its playbook to boost ratings for its second season of "Sunday Night Football."

Some of the technology NBC Sports will be using to make the games more enjoyable and easier to understand for viewers comes from the labs of parent company General Electric.

It is using surveillance technology from General Electric to upgrade a feature it calls "NBC It." On replays, it allows NBC to magnify an area of the screen, giving a closer look at whether a player's knee was down or his foot was out of bounds.

The new technology ensures that when a small part of the screen is blown up, it doesn't get blurry.

"SNF" producer Fred Gaudelli plans to use "NBC It" on plays in which officials' rulings are challenged by coaches and on other occasions when the viewer might want a tighter look at a play.

NBC also is rolling out a virtually enhanced goal line for replays of plays inside the five-yard line when it looks like the offense is about to score.

Starting with an overhead view from NBC's cable-cam, the technology raises the goal line on replays, enabling the viewer to see where it is, even if the real goal line is covered by a pile of players.

"You'll have a much clearer and hopefully more understandable view of whether or not the player crossed the goal line," Mr. Gaudelli said.

NBC also has a new high-tech telestrator. Analyst John Madden won't be touching it, but technicians in the production truck will be able to provide viewers with several new views of the action.

Mr. Gaudelli calls one application the "cone of vision." Working with a cable-cam behind the quarterback, it allows viewers to see what the passer sees as he searches for a receiver.

"We used this the other night [during an exhibition game] in Philly with their rookie Kevin Kolb," he said. "The guy happened to have a lot of protection that night, and he was really taking his time scanning the field. It was pretty interesting."

NBC will be using virtual technology to project the down and distance onto the field before the start of plays, as some networks have already done. (The information will continue to be shown on the on-screen score bar.) The team colors for the graphic will emerge from a feather on NBC's peacock logo.

"I just think it's easier for the viewer to not have to look down at the score bar, then come back up to watch the play," Mr. Gaudelli said. "It will be there in front of him, so I think that will be an added benefit."

http://www.tvweek.com/news/2007/09/n...t_football.php
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post #8013 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeowMeow View Post

I started watching BSG. You guys are so screwed. EVERYTHING I like gets canceled.


Already happened. Thanks for nothing.
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post #8014 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:05 PM
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I suspect that's a pretty good "selling crap" spin job about the Flash Gordon numbers.

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best series premiere numbers this year

Of the new series that permiered on SciFi? Not a terribly long list was it?

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
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post #8015 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:18 PM
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Farscape- they're doing webisodes or something, aren't they? Not as good as getting the whole show back (for those who liked it), but far better than nothing at all. Personally I thought the show slid into irretrievably stupid in season four and I gave up on it. The BDSM queen was the final straw for me. Guess I just prefer my camp in moderation. *shrug*

Caprica- I thought this was already scrapped? Or at least not likely to air as a full series. I could be mistaken, but I thought I read that somewhere.

Dresden- It was fun while it lasted, but it was never going to be as well-done as the books, even allowing for all the changes.

Eureka- Fun show. The best part is the continuity- things that happen in earlier eps actually get mentioned later on! It isn't a manic serialization like Lost, but it's so refreshing to see a show that doesn't use the Big Red Reset Button after every bloody ep.

Doctor Who- So far I'm managing to cope with the news that there'll be a year-long hiatus between S4 (starting next year) and S5 (scheduled for 2010). I guess it helps knowing that there's still Torchwood (for what it's worth) and the upcoming Sarah Jane Adventures as well as three DW filler projects in the interim.
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post #8016 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

Already happened. Thanks for nothing.

So what's the real deal with BSG, did it get canceled or did the writers decide to wrap it up, I was under the impression that they writers were the ones that decided to finish the story after this season, or do we really even know?
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post #8017 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:24 PM
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That's the case - but ending or cancelled - we still only get one more season.
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post #8018 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

That's the case - but ending or cancelled - we still only get one more season.

True, but it's still so much better when the show, especially a serialized show like BSG quits on it's own terms.
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post #8019 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

True, but it's still so much better when the show, especially a serialized show like BSG quits on it's own terms.

God, isn't that the truth! I sometimes think, in many cases (except 1-season wonders), that I'd actually prefer losing an extra season of some shows so they can conclude well vs. just cutting them off mid-stride with no warning or ending.

Ray
"You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place." -Jonathan Swift
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post #8020 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
Web Buzz Places All Bets on ABC's Pushing Daisies
By John Consoli MediaWeek.com Sept. 3, 2007

A quirky ABC drama about a pie shop owner who helps a detective solve crimes by bringing dead victims back to life is poised to be this fall’s surprise hit, according to Brandintel, an online consumer-buzz measurement service busily tracking the broadcast networks’ prime-time lineups.

Brandintel, a unit of Brandimensions that monitors chatter (both positive and negative) on message boards, last year accurately predicted NBC’s Heroes and ABC’s Ugly Betty would be big successes, even as media agencies gave them a thumbs-down. For this fall, it reports that Pushing Daisies, panned by most agencies as a potential early cancellation, is the most anticipated new show going into the 2007-08 season.

Among 22 scripted shows set to premiere later this month, Brandintel puts a total of five ABC shows in the top 10. Besides Pushing Daisies, they include the dramas Private Practice (ranked No. 2), Dirty Sexy Money (No. 5) and Big Shots (No. 7) along with the sitcom Samantha Who? (No. 10).

NBC scored three shows in the top 10: dramas Bionic Woman (No. 3), Chuck (No. 4) and Journeyman (No. 9). Other anticipated debuts include Fox sitcom Back to You (No. 6) and CBS drama Cane (No. 8).

In an unusual twist, ABC not only has the two most anticipated shows, but also the two judged most likely to fail—sitcoms Carpoolers and, at the very bottom, Cavemen, based on characters from the popular Geico ads. “Despite generating high volumes of discussion, the novelty behind Cavemen has worn off with viewers,” read a Brandintel report.

Pushing Daisies is generating an 8.8 percent share of all online discussions about new shows, placing third behind Private Practice (9.4 percent) and Bionic Woman (18.2 percent). But it has the most positive Sentiment Score (4.3 out of a possible 5), which indicates positive or negative feelings about the show and signals a viewer’s intent to watch.

Bionic Woman has garnered an especially heavy amount of discussion, and scored a 3.4 in Sentiment. Much of that discussion has focused on former Grey’s Anatomy cast member Isaiah Washington joining the cast.

Dirty Sexy Money has the second highest Sentiment Score, with a 4.1, followed by Back to You (4.0), Chuck (3.9) and Private Practice (3.8).

Interestingly, Heroes (which ranked second on last year’s Brandintel list) and several of the shows in this year’s top 10 were shown, or had some representation, at the annual Comicon comic-book convention. Pushing Daisies was one of two ABC shows featured at Comicon (along with Lost) this past summer. NBC rolled out the Bionic Woman and Chuck pilots.

Skeptics of online buzz measurement conclude most series earning positive chatter are “high concept” shows that target younger, more tech-savvy audiences, skewing the results.

“Most traditional procedurals are not going to make the top 10 list,” said one network programming executive who declined to speak for attribution. “You tend to find more sci-fi, fantasy and off-beat shows on the intent-to-view list. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into solid ratings.”

Michael Coristine, an analyst for Brandintel, disagreed, pointing out that top 10 shows like Back to You, Cane and Journeyman all skew older. He added that discussions are not being driven by tech-savvy viewers, and shows including Pushing Daisies and Bionic Woman are grabbing the interest of older viewers.

Coristine said Pushing Daisies was drawing positive comments for audiences across the age spectrum, primarily because of its premise about a man with a “magic” touch.

The positive chatter greeting Private Practice can be attributed to the fact that it’s a spinoff of the highly successful ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy, Coristine said.

Meanwhile, he added, Dirty Sexy Money is being buoyed by its all-star cast, which includes Peter Krause from HBO’s Six Feet Under and the venerable Donald Sutherland as the family patriarch.

“In the past three years, there has been an evolution toward older people becoming more active on the Internet,” Coristine said. “The Internet does get a higher concentration of users under 49, but we are always able to get enough of a relevant sample over 50.”

Steve McPherson, ABC Entertainment president, said while he is heartened by the study, he believes “buzz will get viewers to initially watch, we then have to make sure the shows are consistently good so that viewers keep coming back each week.”

Steve Sternberg, executive vp of audience analysis at Magna Global, agreed. “Preseason buzz might help a show get somewhat more viewer sampling, but it seldom correlates with shows that actually become successful.”

McPherson acknowledged that Pushing Daisies “is a very different animal, not just another cop show,” a series that is “outside the norm of traditional network shows.” But he believes if more nontraditional shows like Ugly Betty, Lost and Desperate Housewives can work, so can Pushing Daisies.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1003634097
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post #8021 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The Business of Television
In a Promo, Writers and Editors Have Kind Words for ABC Shows
By Andrew Adam Newton The New York Times September 3, 2007

To promote its fall lineup, ABC Television produced three half-hour preview shows that are the stuff of a television executive’s fantasy: they feature editors and writers from three big magazines who have traded their critics’ hats for pom-poms.

“I think if you liked ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ you’re going to love ‘Private Practice,’ ” gushes Alynda Wheat, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, in one of the shows.

About another new program, Ms. Wheat says, “If there’s anything this season I’m excited about, it’s ‘Dirty Sexy Money.’ I mean, it just seems like so much fun. And it’s probably going to be the thing we’re talking about come fall.”

Working with a network to promote its shows may come across as contrary to journalistic objectivity, but the editors say it was just a lending of expert opinion.

“We participated in the ABC special because our staffers are TV experts offering commentary,” wrote Suzy Berkowitz-Weksel, a spokeswoman for Entertainment Weekly, in an e-mail message. “Their remarks are entirely separate from whatever reviews our critics later deliver.”

If Ms. Wheat or the 17 other journalists involved — including Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, Craig Tomashoff of TV Guide and Galina Espinoza of People magazine — had anything negative to say about ABC’s fall programs, their comments were not shown, at least not in the parts that ABC, owned by Walt Disney, posted to YouTube.

That did not sit well with Roy Peter Clark, vice president of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. “The basic question is: Do the editors have a free and independent and uninhibited voice in these programs?” he said. “I would not agree to do something like this unless there were some kind of prenuptial agreement that stated that I was free to express — and they were required to air — any negative critiques I might have of the new programming.”

Sandi Shurgin Werfel, a spokeswoman for People, said in a written statement, “We didn’t get involved with the editing of the program — we never would, since it’s not our show.” Both People and Entertainment Weekly are published by Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner.

“We provided staffers to offer comments about the programs,” she said. “We made it clear we would not endorse the shows.”

Pete Haeffner, senior vice president and publisher of TV Guide, did not respond to a message seeking comment. A senior writer at the magazine, Michael Ausiello, had plenty to say, however, about “Caveman,” an ABC comedy.

“It’s funny because you wouldn’t think ‘Caveman’ would be a show about issues and stuff,” Mr. Ausiello tells the ABC audience in a preview. “But you really kind of walk away from it, you know, learning a lesson.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/03/bu...gewanted=print
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post #8022 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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It doesn't seem funny at all to me in the slightest that Ausiello would find himself -- on camera, of course -- in such a breathless and fawning "show".

We can only hope that maybe, some day and some how, he might learn his own lesson, you know, a little something about ethics and stuff.
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post #8023 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Q&A
Ask Matt
The Effect of “Men in Trees'” Off-screen Romance, Cynicism on Cable, the Return of “The Shield” and more!
By Matt Roush TV Guide Senior Critic Monday, September 1, 2007

Question: Like many fans, I was upset when ABC shelved Men in Trees to run other, inferior programming. In the meantime, I'd heard about the on-set romance and subsequent divorces that happened after Anne Heche and James Tupper became an item. Anne Heche's divorce seemed particularly nasty. The new season is starting soon and now I feel that this show has been poisoned for me. It's been so long since a new episode was on that I've lost interest, and while I don't want to begrudge Heche and Tupper's right to be with each other, their romance has left a bad taste in my mouth. Neither of these actors has the same likability for me that they once did, and I have become a bit ambivalent about what happens to their characters. Similarly, I have a bad reaction to the firing of Isaiah Washington on Grey's Anatomy. Whether or not it was justified, the way ABC handled the whole situation (and a disappointing third season) has ruined some of the magic that made Grey's Anatomy must-see TV at my house. So my question is: Do you think the execs at ABC have contaminated the lasting power of these two shows? Has ABC ruined Men in Trees by keeping it off the air for so long? Was Grey's Anatomy ruined when they made Shonda Rhimes fire Washington? Do you think other TV viewers are also turned off by the rumors, gossip and scandal surrounding these shows?— Kristin A.

Matt Roush: My hope, and maybe it's a thin and feeble one if too many people obsess on what's reported in the relentless world of celebrity gossip, is that if both shows continue to produce great entertainment — and in the case of Grey's, execute the course correction to lighten things up, as Shonda Rhimes has promised — viewers will continue to rally behind them. There's no question that ABC has damaged Men in Trees by airing no new episodes since February, and its fortunes will almost certainly be dimmed by the new Friday time slot (a night where it languished last fall until it moved behind Grey's). But as many of us discovered to our delight, Men in Trees became about so much more than just the Marin-Jack relationship, and I can't wait to get back to Elmo. As for Isaiah Washington, at this point I think it's fair to say that that debacle was a public-relations disaster from all sides. Neither he, the show, nor the network/studio emerged very well from that poorly handled mess. In both cases, I really think it's up to the shows' writers to keep delivering, despite all the off-camera hubbub, and for the fans to respond in kind. If the shows don't step up this fall creatively, they'll deserve whatever comes to them. But speaking for the fans, I think we should meet them at least halfway. If you can't look past the headlines to enjoy the shows on their own merits (if in fact they still have them, which I hope they do), too bad for you.

Question: I'm really not enjoying Flash Gordon, which surprises me, because I really want to like it. I have happy childhood memories of watching the Flash Gordon cartoon, and as cheesy as it was, I thought the movie with the Queen theme song was wonderful. But this show has left me cold. The premiere took a ridiculously long time to get from Earth to Mongo, and it's not as if all that time was dedicated to developing the characters, since they seem to have the emotional depth of cardboard. And why does Ming the Merciless look like Rick Springfield? I understand some of what they're doing: Instead of a stolen spaceship going to Mongo and being stuck there, which would mean a ridiculous amount of money for a television show, you have a teleportation device. That way, you can have half the story be on Earth (no special effects) and the other half be on Mongo, which seems like an acceptable device to both update this idea and save on costs. But you'd think the few special effects would be something, considering the amount they're saving with this premise. Instead, we have Ming's chief scientist riding what seems to be a unicycle, and not even the laser blasts are convincing. I keep expecting Baron and Vultan to show up, but no such luck. Where did this show go wrong?— Lyle

Matt Roush: A lack of imagination and vision, a lack of proper budget allocation, a lack of professional execution in front of and behind the camera: those are pretty good places to start when trying to describe one of the year's least clever and least watchable fantasy outings. What a waste of a fun title.

Question: It seems, more and more, that cable television has taken the cynical route. Shows like Damages and Rescue Me offer a very harsh view of the world. Even comedies like Californication serve up bad behavior as a form of entertainment. I don't doubt that, at least with Damages and Rescue Me (I haven't had the opportunity to watch Californication), the writing is top-notch and the acting impeccable. But at what point did television (cable in particular) become bad-as-we-want-to-be? Do you think that cable has now created a landscape where show producers push the envelope just because they can? The offerings may be fun to watch, if you like that sort of thing, but I can only imagine the dreck that will come out in the future, with loads of illicit sex, swearing and sliminess, and viewers may end up desensitized to it. Clearly, I prefer shows in which I wouldn't mind hanging out with the main character (and my parents taught me that swearing too much just meant you had a poor vocabulary), but I'm not so sure it's a good thing in general that we, as a TV-watching society, are going down this particular road.— Lisa

Matt Roush: If everything cable offered this summer was this twisted and cynical, I might empathize with you more fully. But the menu is much more diverse than you describe, and it's not all about the sort of dark-to-perverse "edge" you often find on FX and the pay channels. In fact, the more popular breakout shows tended to be much more mainstream, led by TNT's hits The Closer (yes, there's death each week, but the tone is much lighter than even most of CBS' procedurals) and Saving Grace, which buffers its edge with a theme of redemption from on high. Add in USA Network's upbeat hits Monk, Psych and the new Burn Notice, Lifetime's soapy smash Army Wives, TBS' enjoyable sitcom My Boys and even HBO's offbeat comedy Flight of the Conchords — which, to its credit, doesn't conform to the cult of cruelty — and you've got plenty of choices that won't get you depressed or creeped out. True, critics often are drawn to shows that push the envelope, because they tend to be different and surprising, and on FX and pay cable, the acting and writing generally do aim higher than you get on basic. But that's not all that's been worth watching this summer.

Question: What is it about Californication that I just don't get? I don't find it funny, the stories are uninteresting, and the acting leaves much to be desired. To me, it's another attempt by the industry to look at itself and make viewers care about Hollywood's inherent struggles, but it's not working. The show feels irrelevant — that's the only word I can come up with. Also, just because a show allows great latitude (in cussing, nudity, subject matter) doesn't mean it should have nonstop swearing, sex and self-absorption. The Sopranos took the same liberties but did it well; Californication doesn't have a clue. I gave the show three episodes, watched each twice, but I must bow out. I can't wait for the return of Dexter, the best show to come along in years.— Ellen

Matt Roush: Well, no one can accuse you of not doing your homework. Watched each episode twice? Of a show you hate? I rarely get to do that with shows I love! I think we can agree this show just isn't your cup of bitter tea, and I'm sure you're far from alone. Your criticisms of the show being so self-absorbed and indulgent are well taken, but consider this view (which I tend to agree with more) from Jennifer in California, and maybe you'll see what others are "getting" out of the show: "I do realize that whether someone likes or dislikes a show is all about personal tastes, but I had to stick up for Californication. (I admit up front I am a David Duchovny fan.) This show is not for everyone, but it is for adults and it is funny. Hank is a cad but he is a cad with a heart. Just last week, he showed a side to him that actually put the needs of the woman he was with above his own. If you watch the show and don't just watch the T&A, you can see a guy who so wants his old life back and just can't seem to get his act together to do it. He realizes this, yet he still keeps doing the stupid stuff. It seems more real to me than most of the sitcom scenarios we get on the network programs."

Question: Love your column, I've been reading it for years. I wanted to offer one more take on the profanity-on-TV debate. In a recent column, Karen L. wrote: "I don't believe in censorship, but I do believe in editing. Using any adjective over a dozen times in one or two minutes is sloppy writing, and that applies to swear words as well." Well, I can't help but think of a scene from The Wire that proves how occasionally, on an amazing show, the exact opposite can be true. Remember the classic, completely brilliant murder reenactment scene, in which two of the detectives pace around deep in thought and say nothing but the F-word over and over again for five minutes, in exquisitely myriad variations? Just goes to show that there is a time and place for both profanity and extreme repetition. (By the way, your column is responsible for me discovering The Wire in the first place. Thank you!)— Jane

Matt Roush: My pleasure, and thanks for reminding me of this indelible scene, which was incredible not only for its realism but for its unexpectedly incongruous humor.

Question: You have dealt with the issue of swearing on cable rather extensively in the past several columns; it seems to be an issue that is touching a nerve. I wonder if it's possible to admit that, no matter how opposed to censorship one might be, there is something about certain words that causes a mental or physical reaction. The F-word in particular is hard to stomach for many otherwise liberal-minded people, even in small doses. It always angers me when I'm watching a perfectly acceptable PG-13 movie, and just because the filmmakers can insert one F-word into the mix, they do. It's understandable that many viewers in the post-Sopranos era would be disturbed by the trend. Even David Chase grossly overdid it at times. But it certainly is possible to write entertaining, realistic television without these words. Look at Arrested Development, where the "scripted" bleeps were among the funniest things on the show. I think it's a blessing that this lamented masterpiece did not go to HBO or Showtime, where the bleeps would have been removed. It wouldn't have been the same show, and much of the audience wouldn't have continued watching because of it. I wonder if David Chase even considered that perhaps his dialogue might have shown more imagination and intelligence in trying to get around the foul language, as network writers must do. Not everybody appreciates the "realism" that isn't really real, because relatively few people actually talk that way.— Kelly

Matt Roush: I have to admit, I didn't see the discussion carrying on this long and with this much variety, but it has been a lively detour during these late summer months. I guess Saving Grace has been good for something after all (if memory serves, Grace's potty mouth was the starting point for all of this). Excellent point about the calculated comic bleeping of Arrested Development and how much funnier that was than if they'd been given free rein to be profane on cable. I would argue, though, that the use of profanity by David Chase on The Sopranos and David Milch in Deadwood did serve a creative purpose in establishing the worldviews of these very specific characters. While it might have been self-consciously overdone at times, I don't think it was laziness, as some have charged.

Question: While I appreciate HBO's programming quality, it is sometimes impossible to keep up with which season of which show is beginning when. Considering how well-received the second season of Big Love was, I find it hard to believe that we'll be waiting an entire year for another installment. Have you heard anything about when a third season may be scheduled?— Chrissy

Matt Roush: A little early for that, considering that we're still reeling from the cliff-hangers from last week's finale. With HBO as with much of cable, it's not easy to get a handle on confusing scheduling patterns, but given that the show was a modest success this summer and the network will need an anchor for next June, I wouldn't be surprised to find it returning a year from now. Although with no more Sopranos or Deadwood or Rome episodes on the back burner, HBO may need to use it earlier in 2008 (depending on production). The show premiered its first season in March 2006, so that's a possibility as well, I guess. It's impossible to say, this early on, but it's hardly a new experience to wait nine or 10 months between seasons of many shows on cable.

Question: Big fan of your stuff, keep up the good work. A quick question about The Shield: I am aware that next year's final season will consist of 13 episodes, but do you happen to know when the season will begin? I assume it will follow the trend of past years and begin in March. Have you heard anything to the contrary?— Justin

Matt Roush: No set date announced yet, but I would think either January or March/April is likely, depending on how FX juggles its other assets in those months, including the not-as-highly anticipated returns of Dirt and The Riches. The final season is set for early '08, regardless, and I'm counting the days as well.

Question: Recently, a few readers wrote in about Tyler Perry's House of Payne, debating whether or not there is merit in airing a show simply because it features minorities. I'm a black man who loves television, and as time passes, I've noticed I don't really care whether or not a show features minorities. If the show is good and the cast is talented, who cares what race they are? Do you think we've finally come to the point where there won't be "token" minorities on a show just for the sake of avoiding cries of discrimination? It seems that diversity in casting is just happening naturally, based on talent, and that both the viewers and TV execs are happy with the result. Lost is a smash success lauded for its international cast, Ugly Betty is a hit with a largely minority cast (Latinos and blacks and gays, oh my!), and there is of course Grey's Anatomy, which has characters from several minority groups. I read somewhere that the character of Dr. Bailey on Grey's was originally described as a blonde white woman, until Chandra Wilson auditioned. She got the part despite that because she was the best woman for the role, not because the execs just wanted to throw in another black face. I think we've finally moved past such silly debate as whether or not tripe like House of Payne should exist because of its minority cast. Instead we can all rejoice that the powers-that-be are hiring the best actors for the job — and those actors come in every shade of the rainbow.— Gregory

Matt Roush: I would like to adopt this rosy view that the networks have embraced color-blind casting for real and for good, but they still have a long way to go. Undoubtedly, the situation has improved from the days when every sitcom appeared to be set in a New York where only whites hung out with each other. ABC has absolutely made great strides with mass-appeal, thoroughly integrated shows like Lost, Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy, and I hope that's the wave of the future. Thanks regardless for bucking the trend and accentuating the positive. That's rare in my mailbag.

Question: I recently watched TV Guide Network's look at fall TV programming, and I enjoyed your commentary. But I did have a few questions: My gut is telling me to watch Moonlight, but I keep feeling that it's going to get canceled about as soon as Threshold was a few seasons back. Makes me not really want to tune in as I'm inclined to. I'm also super-excited about Bionic Woman. Do you think NBC is willing to work with the show and give it a proper chance to shine?— Bryan

Matt Roush: At this point, with the new season merely a few weeks away, I'd say go with your gut. What can it hurt, even if the shows don't ultimately make it? If you're curious to watch, what's stopping you? Of the two shows you mention, I figure Bionic Woman has a better shot than Moonlight, if only because of brand recognition and the amount of promotion the show is already getting (not all of it focused on the Isaiah Washington stunt casting), and I think NBC would be patient in letting the show find its (bionic) legs. Moonlight is a question mark for all of us right now because of its early growing pains and the comings-and-goings among its creative staff, and because we have yet (as of Labor Day) to see an actual pilot. Plus, NBC is flush with success and optimism for its superhero shows in the wake of Heroes, while CBS' track record for launching shows like this is much spottier. Nothing's guaranteed, obviously, but at this time of year, I tend to urge rather than dissuade people from watching any TV show that has piqued their interest.

http://www.tvguide.com/Ask-Matt#01menintrees
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post #8024 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 07:10 PM
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This is not going well for Sci Fi's new shows since they announced SG-1 cancellation. They cancelled Dresden, Painkiller Jane, and its the last season for Battlestar Galactica.

And I expect that Flash Gordon will be not long for this world. You can only get away with derivative plots and bargain basement budgets for so long.

When Sci-Fi made the decision to move to more "human-based" (i.e. cheap) shows they should have made the decision to actually make an effort to make them half decent. They seem to think that science fiction fans will lap up any old rubbish if it has a CGI effect or a guy in a rubber mask.

The new Sci-Fi channel is starting to remind me of the new NBC. Hmm, I wonder why?


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post #8025 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 07:22 PM
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TV Q&A
Ask Matt
Mad Men's Ad Strategy, Cavemen's Commercial Origin, The Company's Promo Overload and more!
By Matt Roush TV Guide Senior Critic Friday, August 31, 2007

Question: I enjoyed TNT's The Company and am currently catching up on ESPN's The Bronx Is Burning. My question is, why did TNT have to inundate its presentation of this otherwise serious program with crawling advertisements for other shows? I'm aware that I can also catch Saving Grace on TNT the network takes every opportunity during the commercial breaks to let me know. Why do I need to see a miniature Holly Hunter walking around at the bottom of the screen during The Company? By comparison, ESPN, a network that arguably doesn't need to take itself as seriously, presents The Bronx Is Burning with only a small network logo in the corner of the screen. TNT had every reason to treat The Company with respect the show was well executed on many levels. But even the failure to let the ending credits play uninterrupted for a few seconds got on my nerves. Decisions like these indicate that TNT was far more interested in using every imaginable opportunity to shove obnoxious ads down viewers' throats. Ben

Matt Roush: I was having this very conversation less than a week ago with a fellow critic, comparing the relentlessly obnoxious TNT promo assault with the relatively restrained approach on, of all channels, Spike TV, with its miniseries The Kill Point. Like ESPN, Spike didn't intrude on the action with more than a network logo in the corner of the screen. Since (recurring theme here) I didn't watch The Company live, I was unaware of how intrusive TNT's logos were, and I agree they couldn't be more inappropriate for such a solemn project as this CIA miniseries. I have been mightily annoyed by the Holly Hunter promos (flowing hair and all) as they crowd the screen throughout each episode of The Closer, a show I actually do watch in real time some weeks. To show just how badly promos like this can backfire, read this rant from Beverly, of Traverse City, Michigan: "Save us all from Saving Grace on TNT! I wouldn't watch the show if someone paid me to now, because I'm so sick of the constant promos. We are inundated with one after another, at high volume, including the risqué content (watching the actual show is bad enough... it should be on pay TV, if anything, like all other 'paid business of this sort'). Last Monday was the last straw: There were four promos in a row for this same show! Give us a break!" I think this is what you might call a classic turnoff.

I was finally pushed into writing to Matt Roush as well. And complaining to ABC Family. I turned on the finale of Kyle XY tonight to find a promo the size of a billboard taking up the right side of the screen advertising Lincoln Heights.

I watched for five minutes then turned off. I'll tune in again on Wednesday night after Lincoln Heights airs to see if it's any better.

This promo situation is becoming ridiculous. I remember when people complained about the size of network bugs and now we have huge ads overlaid across the screen for 45 minutes.

At least USA is still holding out. For now.


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post #8026 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 07:27 PM
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And I expect that Flash Gordon will be not long for this world. You can only get away with derivative plots and bargain basement budgets for so long.

When Sci-Fi made the decision to move to more "human-based" (i.e. cheap) shows they should have made the decision to actually make an effort to make them half decent. They seem to think that science fiction fans will lap up any old rubbish if it has a CGI effect or a guy in a rubber mask.

The new Sci-Fi channel is starting to remind me of the new NBC. Hmm, I wonder why?

I would guess that Flash will finish it's entire 22 episode run, I wish they would have upped Eureka to 22 episodes, it's a good show, seems like it would make more sense to try out the new shows with a 13 episode run, instead of committing to 22 episodes, PKJ may have been because of Loken, but I can't imagine anything that would have required FG to have a 22 episode commitment.
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post #8027 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 07:36 PM
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True, but it's still so much better when the show, especially a serialized show like BSG quits on it's own terms.

Problem is when will it actually end? I've seen a rumor floating around the BSG thread in the nonHDTV forum on this board that SciFi wants to split the final season 20 episodes into two parts: 10 that air in January 2008 and the final 10 airing in January 2009!

Anyone with solid info on this to confirm or deny the story?
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post #8028 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 08:23 PM
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I would guess that Flash will finish it's entire 22 episode run, I wish they would have upped Eureka to 22 episodes, it's a good show, seems like it would make more sense to try out the new shows with a 13 episode run, instead of committing to 22 episodes, PKJ may have been because of Loken, but I can't imagine anything that would have required FG to have a 22 episode commitment.

Absolutely. Why they gave Flash Gordon a full season is a mystery. There was nothing in the scripts that would have sold me. I can only assume it's because they can get 22 episodes to fill a timeslot for the price of 13 of Eureka.

They would have been better boosting the budget of Eureka instead of putting Flash Gordon on the air. Eureka has the potential to be a really good show instead of merely a good time filler, if they upped the production values and brought in some better script writers.


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post #8029 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 08:25 PM
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Problem is when will it actually end? I've seen a rumor floating around the BSG thread in the nonHDTV forum on this board that SciFi wants to split the final season 20 episodes into two parts: 10 that air in January 2008 and the final 10 airing in January 2009!

Anyone with solid info on this to confirm or deny the story?

I hope not, it's bad enough waiting till January as it is, that would really suck to only show ten shows and then take another year off. I would be hoping we'd be getting the spin off by that time;
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post #8030 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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You might think some of these cable nets might have learned from the steadily lessened ratings for "The Sopranos" what truncated seasons and long, long layovers do to an audience.

But apparently you would be wrong.
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post #8031 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 09:09 PM
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True, but it's still so much better when the show, especially a serialized show like BSG quits on it's own terms.

As someone who came to BSG late (and therefore has been able to watch the show pretty much solid from miniseries to end of season 3 without interruptions) I think the show lost a lot of its steam after they got past Kobol.

Season 1 may be the single best season of any television show ever aired. Bill Adama being shot is the biggest "Wow!" moment I've ever watched in a TV show. I admit, I lost a bit of my respect for the writers when Adama lived. The willingness to kill the father figure of the show would have distinguished it from anything else on TV

Season 2 was ok-to-good until they wrapped up Kobol. Pegasus was awesome, but then season trailed off into genuine sucktitude with all the meaningless episodes.

New Caprica was good, but I'm not certain was necessary if it was only going to span four episodes. Couldn't they have written these plots into the existing old Caprica storyline with Anders? Much of season 3 is in the forgetable-but-not-bad range. The writers did a lot to redeem one of their best characters, Tigh. But, the writing just wasn't very tight when you get down to it.

The season 3 finale was brilliant. Acidy, strange with all kinds of implication that you ain't seen nothin' yet. I do thing it has the potential to jump the shark from here, but it could also be really neat to see everything come crashing into place.

We'll see.
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post #8032 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 09:24 PM
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I would guess that Flash will finish it's entire 22 episode run, I wish they would have upped Eureka to 22 episodes, it's a good show, seems like it would make more sense to try out the new shows with a 13 episode run, instead of committing to 22 episodes, PKJ may have been because of Loken, but I can't imagine anything that would have required FG to have a 22 episode commitment.

Eureka follows a pretty tight formula- some gadget or test goes wrong, Carter has to figure out how to fix it. I rather have 13 entertaining episodes per season with better scripts than trying to stretch it out to 20 episodes per season.

But why Flush Gordon got a 22 episode order is beyond me. They presumably saw a cut of the pilot episode. Maybe there was a financial deal involved that required a full 22 season order for a future syndication run. Or they should do a urine test on the executives who ordered the full 22 episode run. Oh well, who knows, maybe FG will actually get better in future episodes. They can't get any duller and lamer - one would hope.
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post #8033 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 09:49 PM
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Eureka follows a pretty tight formula- some gadget or test goes wrong, Carter has to figure out how to fix it. I rather have 13 entertaining episodes per season with better scripts than trying to stretch it out to 20 episodes per season.

But why Flush Gordon got a 22 episode order is beyond me. They presumably saw a cut of the pilot episode. Maybe there was a financial deal involved that required a full 22 season order for a future syndication run. Or they should do a urine test on the executives who ordered the full 22 episode run. Oh well, who knows, maybe FG will actually get better in future episodes. They can't get any duller and lamer - one would hope.

Universal seems to want to run Scifi on a very tight budget now. It's a shame because it was on a path to be one of the top tier cable channels that people must have. Now if we don't get another BSG series it's just another We, A&E or any other channel you would rather live without. I'd rather see them press D*, E*, and cable for more money so we can have quality shows. I mean seriously WHY is wrestling on Scifi??????????? How ling before we have crossovers with it? I can see the Hulk
playing Hulk already. Universal should start working with the BBC again to make other scifi shows like they did with BSG if the budget is a concern.

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post #8034 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I suspect many channels are preparing themselves for a possible a la carte world -- or modified version of a la carte --and are thus offering more of a variety of "attractions" so that a greater pool of people see them as indispensable.

But I agree with generalpatton78 -- the flip side to that argument is that they all become to some extent the same and alienate their core audiences.
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post #8035 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 11:24 PM
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Actresses flock to TV, where scripts are
Film veterans find plum roles on the small screen

By MARY McNAMARA
Los Angeles Times
Sept. 3, 2007, 4:45PM

"I'm in a dog park, Ray," she says, her voice a symphony of emotions, her face, behind the retro society sunglasses, alive with irritation, exhilaration and genuine amusement. Even her shoulders radiate the complicated thrill of it all. It is a quintessential big-screen moment, elevating what could have been a simply sarcastic response into a pastiche of mischief and magic.

In the past, such a performance would initialize a countdown to launch. Here was an actor the small screen would not be able to hold. She would soon be exploring the glittering firmaments of Hollywood.

But in this case, of course, the star is Glenn Close.

Close has never shied away from television. She followed her breakthrough roles in The World According to Garp and The Big Chill with Something About Amelia, a groundbreaking TV movie about incest. Throughout her career, she has returned to the medium, whether it be in Sarah, Plain and Tall or as a season-long guest star on The Shield.

But Damages on FX represents the kind of commitment — six years — that film stars have long been reluctant to make to television, and Close is not the only one taking the plunge. Movie stars, and movie-star moments, are crowding the airwaves these days. Over at TNT, Holly Hunter is taking a fairly ridiculous concept — Touched by an Angel meets NYPD Blue — and turning Saving Grace into a captivating character study.

For years, Hollywood has climbed craggy peaks and begged various oracles to tell them, once and for all, why people aren't going to the movies anymore. Never mind that plenty of people are going to the movies (just ask Spider-Man or Harry Potter, who pulled together, alongside friends Shrek and Jason Bourne, to create this year's $4 billion summer). Although the male-lead action franchise seems pretty healthy, the mid-budget thriller, the romantic comedy, even the costume drama — what fantasy films once were — are gambles few are willing to take. And so entire genres have been all but abandoned.

Technology, we are told, is to blame, all those iPods and video games; popcorn costs too much and people refuse to turn off their cell phones in the theater, which ticks off anyone over the age of 30, who now have 100-foot plasma screens, movies on demand and no desire to leave the house, anyway. It's hard for a poor multibillion-dollar industry to compete when all anyone wants to do is play with TiVo and YouTube.

Um, OK , but whose fault is it that Close and Hunter are on television? Or Lili Taylor, Parker Posey, Mary-Louise Parker or Kyra Sedgwick? A few years ago, these were all film actresses and now they each have their own series. Even Susan Sarandon is back as the bodacious babe on Rescue Me.

Which is terrific for us audience members, but unless the movie industry has made peace with being the purveyors of blockbusters, Judd Apatow comedies and not much else, why are they letting go of some of their best talent?

Since its inception, television has been threatened as the doom of movies. And we may be reaching the point where it's actually true. TV has never looked so good, with cable channels from Lifetime to AMC finally following the HBO model and creating edgy original series with the look (Mad Men, Army Wives), cast (Damages, John From Cincinnati) and soul-searching (Weeds, Big Love) of good indie films. And not even indie films but good mid-budget films, the kind they used to make in the '70s and '80s when movies didn't have to make a profit on the first weekend.

It is not difficult to imagine that many of these projects did their time as film pitches. Saving Grace and Damages could easily have been films in a time when character-driven psychological thrillers such as The Client, Jagged Edge and Conspiracy Theory thrived.

Jodie Foster may still be able to find work on the big screen as a tightly wound protagonist, but she's had to become a small but hard-bodied action hero to do it. Critically appreciated but less established actors such as Julia Stiles and Virginia Madsen are forced to take tiny roles in male star vehicles (the Bourne films for Stiles, Firewall for Madsen). Meanwhile, Grey's Anatomy has become a think tank of performers who couldn't find enough work in film, including Ellen Pompeo (whose breakout role was with Sarandon in Moonlight Mile) and Madsen's Sideways companion, Sandra Oh.

Film stars migrating to television isn't new — Barbara Stanwyck starred in The Big Valley — but for so many to be moving over so young is rather astonishing.

Challenging roles for women over 40 have been few and far between since Joan Crawford and Bette Davis faced off at the box office, but now, with blockbusters and male-oriented sex comedies ruling the big screen, women under 40 are having a hard time.

Some actors like Parker say they chose TV because it offers financial stability and a saner schedule, but let's be real: This is not the U.K. Stardom American-style still has a media hierarchy, and TV, no matter how rich and fascinating the show, is not on the top of the food chain. For performers such as Close, Hunter and Parker, TV is where you turn when the feature scripts are not very good, or simply not there. Which, for an industry constantly complaining about its financial health, is just ridiculous. That none of the struggling screenwriters out there, no power-mad producer or studio executive, can create vehicles for these award-winning, money-making women is either sexism on a boycott-inspiring scale or a total failure of imagination.

The kids are back in school, and blockbuster fatigue will set in. But you all just keep blaming those iPods; we'll invite a few folks over and turn on the tube.

RESOURCES
ON DAMAGES

On tonight's episode, 9 p.m. CT on FX, Patty (Glenn Close) tries to find out what Gregory knows before it's too late, and Frobisher (Ted Danson) plots a strategy that could redeem his legacy. In an early episode of Damages, civil-suit litigator Patty Hewes is standing somewhere on Manhattan's Upper East Side having an "accidental" meeting with the attorney for the CEO she is attempting to sue for fraud. "If you could just give us a number," he insists, attempting to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/tv/5104134.html
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post #8036 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 11:37 PM
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Television
Aug. 31, 2007, 7:25AM

Victoria Beckham to guest star, playing herself, on ABC's 'Ugly Betty'

LOS ANGELES — Victoria Beckham, now living in Los Angeles, is going Hollywood.

Despite her recent denials about being interested in an acting career, Beckham, aka Posh Spice, is taking a first step by playing herself on an episode of the ABC comedy Ugly Betty this coming TV season.

In announcing the casting Thursday, the network said Beckham will play a celebrity bridesmaid at the wedding of Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) and publisher Bradford Meade (Alan Dale).

Posh moved from England to L.A. in July after her soccer-star husband, David, signed a five-year contract to play for the Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

At the time, she denied that she had aspirations for an acting career. She's slated to take part in a Spice Girls reunion tour beginning in December, and has launched her own fashion label called dVb and her own line of fragrances.

Ugly Betty returns for its second season on Sept. 27.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/tv/5097921.html
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post #8037 of 95480 Old 09-03-2007, 11:50 PM
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Controversial remarks and a physical altercation fuel Big Brother 8

Associated Press
Aug. 30, 2007, 9:16AM

NEW YORK — It's just another summer in the Big Brother house. Or is it?

Bloggers have condemned scandalous remarks about incest, race, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation made by contestants. Message board posters have debated about a physical altercation involving two participants and a lit cigarette. And thousands of YouTube watchers have eavesdropped on one contestant's unfiltered thoughts about Jewish people.

. . .

For the complete Associated Press story at the Houston Chronicle web site, click on the following link:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/tv/5094804.html
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post #8038 of 95480 Old 09-04-2007, 05:28 AM
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TV Q&A
Ask Matt
The Effect of Men in Trees' Off-screen Romance, Cynicism on Cable, the Return of The Shield and more!
By Matt Roush TV Guide Senior Critic Monday, September 1, 2007

Question: What is it about Californication that I just don't get? I don't find it funny, the stories are uninteresting, and the acting leaves much to be desired. To me, it's another attempt by the industry to look at itself and make viewers care about Hollywood's inherent struggles, but it's not working. The show feels irrelevant that's the only word I can come up with. Also, just because a show allows great latitude (in cussing, nudity, subject matter) doesn't mean it should have nonstop swearing, sex and self-absorption. The Sopranos took the same liberties but did it well; Californication doesn't have a clue. I gave the show three episodes, watched each twice, but I must bow out. I can't wait for the return of Dexter, the best show to come along in years. Ellen

Matt Roush: Well, no one can accuse you of not doing your homework. Watched each episode twice? Of a show you hate? I rarely get to do that with shows I love! I think we can agree this show just isn't your cup of bitter tea, and I'm sure you're far from alone. Your criticisms of the show being so self-absorbed and indulgent are well taken, but consider this view (which I tend to agree with more) from Jennifer in California, and maybe you'll see what others are "getting" out of the show: "I do realize that whether someone likes or dislikes a show is all about personal tastes, but I had to stick up for Californication. (I admit up front I am a David Duchovny fan.) This show is not for everyone, but it is for adults and it is funny. Hank is a cad but he is a cad with a heart. Just last week, he showed a side to him that actually put the needs of the woman he was with above his own. If you watch the show and don't just watch the T&A, you can see a guy who so wants his old life back and just can't seem to get his act together to do it. He realizes this, yet he still keeps doing the stupid stuff. It seems more real to me than most of the sitcom scenarios we get on the network programs."

I hate to say this but after last night's episode of "Californication" I'm giving up on the series. I'm a huge Duchovny fans from even before "The X-Files" when he was doing wrap-around scenes for Zalman King's soft-porn anthology series "Red Show Diaries" (a Showtime original, so "Californication" is like a return home for David). The self-absorption and unfunny characterizations (I haven't laughed once in the past four episodes) are getting dull. Not even the prospect of gratuitous T&A is strong enough to keep me from drifting off while I'm watching the T&A (bad sign!). Guess it's just "Weeds" and OAR HD movies from Showtime for me until "Dexter" premieres in another four weeks (hooray! ).
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post #8039 of 95480 Old 09-04-2007, 05:56 AM
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I hate to say this but after last night's episode of "Californication" I'm giving up on the series. I'm a huge Duchovny fans from even before "The X-Files" when he was doing wrap-around scenes for Zalman King's soft-porn anthology series "Red Show Diaries" (a Showtime original, so "Californication" is like a return home for David). The self-absorption and unfunny characterizations (I haven't laughed once in the past four episodes) are getting dull. Not even the prospect of gratuitous T&A is strong enough to keep me from drifting off while I'm watching the T&A (bad sign!).

Sounds similar to postings I've made in the 'Californication' thread. I really wanted to like this show but it's got serious structural flaws, the biggest of which is that it's just not funny. That ain't a good thing for show that purports to be a comedy. Absent the welcome return of gratuitous nudity to prime time, it doesn't have much going for it.
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post #8040 of 95480 Old 09-04-2007, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

Sounds similar to postings I've made in the 'Californication' thread. I really wanted to like this show but it's got serious structural flaws, the biggest of which is that it's just not funny. That ain't a good thing for show that purports to be a comedy.

Where have I heard a similar complaint about an alleged comedy not being funny??!! Oh yeah:

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