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post #95431 of 95460 Old Yesterday, 10:39 PM
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TV Review
Syfy’s ‘The Almighty Johnsons’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Jul. 10, 2014

Occasionally, a lack of resources breeds ingenuity, and so it is with “The Almighty Johnsons,” a Syfy import from New Zealand. The out-there premise — four brothers, each of whom, upon his 21st birthday, acquires the powers of a different Norse god — yields fewer pyrotechnics than one might expect, but creates intriguing discussion about the show’s peculiar backstory. Decidedly different content standards between American and Kiwi censors (there’s some obscured nudity and a lot of bleeped-out expletives) creates a bit of awkwardness, but here, that’s a quibble. While it’s popular for series to talk about their mythology, not many revel in the process with quite as much gusto as this one.

The introduction to this Asgardian birthright comes through Axl (Emmett Couling Skilton), who is just celebrating his 21st birthday. In the midst of his party, however, he’s dragged away from the friend who constantly looks longingly at him (“Whale Rider’s” Keisha Castle-Hughes, all grown up) by his three brothers, who fill in the disbelieving lad on the family legacy.

Not only do they each have unusual powers — diminished, admittedly, from what they once were — but Axl might be the reincarnation of Odin, which has enormous consequences. Simply put, he can either unite the gods and restore them to their lost glory, or, if he fails to achieve his destiny, lead to all of their deaths.

Written by James Griffin and directed by Mark Beesley, “Almighty Johnsons” contains only the smallest dollops of special effects, as the premiere relies on the characters talking about what might happen. Indeed, big brother Mike (Tim Balme) helps convince Axl — skeptical at first, but increasingly excited at the possibilities — by playing rock-paper-scissors, which, thanks to his god-like powers, he never loses. It’s about as low-tech a demonstration of magic as one could conceive.

And yet, it’s all strangely compelling and fun, if still a little half-baked, including what’s motivating the rival group apparently determined to prevent Axl from completing his mission by trying to kill the poor kid off.

Syfy has built international acquisitions of programs that fit its brand into the network’s programming — much of it from Canada, such as “Lost Girl” and “Continuum” — with mixed results.

By that measure, this Kiwi extract is certainly a cut above. And while the feeling isn’t quite like being struck by Thor’s proverbial thunderbolt, for a hardy few who don’t mind their gods in street clothes, it will be easy to develop a pretty sizable crush on “The Almighty Johnsons.”

Syfy's 'The Almighty Johnsons'
(Syfy, Fri. July 11, 10 p.m.)


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...ns-1201259342/
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post #95432 of 95460 Old Yesterday, 10:45 PM
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Naked and Afraid’ stars discuss surviving the wilderness in the nude: ‘The naked part just adds to the challenge’
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jul. 9, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS -- Several survivors of Discovery’s hit reality show “Naked and Afraid” insisted to TV critics at the TCA Press Tour Wednesday that “naked” is the least significant part of the experience.

“You’re not thinking about being naked, you’re thinking about surviving,” said Jeff Zausch.

“Clothing offers protection, like from bugs,” said Dani Julien. “The naked part just adds to the challenge.”

The premise of the show is that a man and a woman – strangers – are sent into a wilderness environment with no food or water and must survive for 21 days.

It was Discovery’s all-time highest rated premiere when it launched last season, with four million viewers.

“The first half hour, when you meet, is as awkward as it looks,” said Zausch. “But you forget about the naked part pretty quickly.”

Executive producer Steve Rankin said stripping the contestants of their clothes does have a psychological impact.

“It adds to the vulnerability,” he said.

The producers pixilate frontal nudity for the contestants, a process Rankin said is handled by six graphic designers “who go frame by frame.”

He joked that some male contestants “want us to make them a bigger blur.”

The contestants said that while they were all experienced survivalists, they also did some preparation for the show.

“But no, you don’t walk around naked,” said Justin Bullard. “That just adds to the degree of difficulty when you get there.”

Julien said she walked barefoot for a month to get her feet in shape. She also said that unlike most TV performers who try to lose weight when they know their body will be exposed on camera, “I gained about 10 pounds to store more protein.”

Contestant Eva Rupert said that the nudity and the rest were entirely incidental.

“Being on this show was a life-changing experience,” she said. “Being naked was just one more way it brought you down to the core of your existence.

“It was an opportunity to grow as a person. It was an honor to be on the show.”

When the contestants were asked “what was the most messed-up thing you did in the wilderness,” Rupert said, “Nothing was messed up, really. It was all about what you had to do to survive.”

Zausch said “biting the head off a lizard” was “something I didn’t expect I’d be doing.”

Contestants don’t win a prize for surviving, but they do get paid for their filming time. The show has been shot in places such as Madagascar and Namibia.

The Discovery series' success has spawned other “naked” shows, including VH1’s upcoming naked dating show. The producers of “Naked and Afraid” downplayed any sense they had pushed an envelope or helped launch a trend.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.1861011
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post #95433 of 95460 Old Yesterday, 10:51 PM
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
New season of 'Masters of Sex' turns up the angst
By Ann Oldenburg, USA Today - Jul. 10, 2014

When last we saw sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, they were

sharing a moment straight out of a romantic comedy: It was raining. Bill had just arrived at Virginia's place. She opened the door. And he declared he couldn't live without her.

It was a sweet

ending for Season 1 of the Showtime drama.

So Season 2 (Sunday, 10 p.m. ET/PT) kicks off with Masters and Johnson happily in love with each other?

"Hardly," says executive producer Michelle Ashford. While much is known about the real-life careers and events in the lives of Masters and Johnson, Ashford says the series is creating much of the emotion and chemistry that sizzled — and fizzled — between the two.

"One thing we know for sure: They didn't spend a ton of time in any kind of romantic, blissful state," says Ashford. "They were a very curious couple. It becomes clear that they were never in the same spot emotionally at the same time. If one had just said, 'I love you and you love me; let's go forward happily,' the story would have been very different. They were very complicated."

One fallout of the complicated couple is that this season, which features new stars including Sarah Silverman, Courtney B. Vance, Keke Palmer and Danny Huston, might offer less sex.

Less sex?

"Someone on our crew said, 'I think there is less sex this year,'" says Ashford, who concedes the crew would know since "they have to stand all day and watch it."

Michael Sheen, who plays Bill Masters, says, "From my point of view, we see more. We certainly start to have more focus on what's happening between him and Virginia."

LIzzy Caplan, who plays Virginia Johnson, says it was easier to get into the "mind-set" of her character with a season under her belt, so to speak.

In "Season 1 we were figuring out who these people were, who we wanted them to be on-screen. Second season, even though there was almost a year between, it was easier to switch back into that mode."

But getting naked is never a breeze. "I feel as comfortable as a person can feel doing something so strange," says the actress. "There was only one moment this season where I was in my trailer thinking, 'I just don't want to do this. I want to run away.' It wasn't like I was hanging upside down from the ceiling. It was just fear. And I know I have to do it, and it's the safest possible environment. I let it pass and got it done."

Because Masters was kicked out of his hospital in the first season, his career is in flux, and that also affects their relationship, as she relies on being part of his work.

"Things get rough for Virginia," says Caplan. "The relationship between Bill and Virginia gets a whole lot darker. These are two people who really get to know the depths of each other in ways that nobody knows. He shares with Virginia stuff nobody has ever heard come out of his mouth before. They come tangled up with each other, and sometimes it's lovely and sometimes it's not."

While Masters is finding his way in the professional world, single mom Johnson has to bide her time. "She's a survivor, a bit of a cockroach, if you will," says Caplan. "Virginia is always setting up backup plans for herself." Some of those plans revolve around the story line between cancer-stricken Dr. Lillian DePaul (Julianne Nicholson). "It gets brutal," says Caplan, adding that those scenes are some of her favorites this season in a job she loves.

"I'm beyond happy," she says. "Happy doesn't even begin to describe it. I recognize daily how lucky I am that I'm a comedy actress that got a shot at a real dramatic role on a show that's rich and complex. The pinch-me moment has yet to wear off."

And maybe it won't for many years.

Season 2 covers 1958 into 1961, the beginnings of the sexual revolution. Masters and Johnson didn't marry until 1971. "Our show is going to change a lot every year," says Ashford. "It's because their lives changed very radically."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...heen/12384237/
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Dave Grohl Talks ‘Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways’ HBO Docuseries
By The Deadline.com Team - Jul. 10, 2014

Dave Grohl was TCA’s only one-person panel today as he took the stage to talk about his eight-part documentary series following himself and his band Foo Fighters as they record their 8th album in 8 different American cities. Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways debuts on HBO in October and the as-yet-untitled album will be released in November.

Grohl — also director of the feature film doc Sound City — said the idea for the series (coming on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the band) came to him when the last Foo Fighters record was being made in his garage. “I thought maybe we should do a documentary about the band, about the last 14, 15 years, that would explain why we were making a record in my garage,” he said.

He added, that while working on Sound City he learned that fusing music and documentary together could reach a whole new audience. “Music can seem a little one dimensional…but when you get a little deeper into the artist or the song, it creates this emotional connection,” he said.

Grohl spoke passionately about how isolated American cities and their modest recording studios played a role in developing an authentic, culture-based sound. “These studios, they are churches, monuments, history has been made in these shitholes all over the country,” he said.

Grohl took a good natured swipe at TV’s many music competition shows. Making music, he said, should not be about standing in a line-up to “have a bazillionaire tell you that you are a bad singer. Don’t get me started…” he joked.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/dave...ocuseries-tca/

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
HBO Reveals Details Of Mike Nichols/Meryl Streep ‘Master Class’, Queen Latifah ‘Bessie’ Project, Launch Date For ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Final Season

HBO parsed out some details on Mike Nichols directing of Meryl Streep in the network’s adaptation of Master Class, Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about Maria Callas. The project is a reteaming of Nichols and Streep, who worked together on the premium channel’s Angels In America nearly a decade ago. Master Class begins production in early ’15, depicting the master classes the operatic great gave to hand-picked students at the Juilliard School in the early 1970s.

During its day at the TCA Summer Press Tour, the network also reiterated that Queen Latifah will star in and exec produce HBO Films’ Bessie, about blues singer Bessie Smith, written and directed by Dee Rees, with shooting in Atlanta, debuting next year; Michael K, Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles Dutton and Mo’Nique co-star. The project focuses on Smith’s growth from struggling young singer into “Empress of the Blues” and one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

Boardwalk Empire’s eight-episode fifth and final season launches September 7, HBO said today. While the first four seasons of the series from Terence Winter and director Martin Scorsese were set during Prohibition in the ’20s, when Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) was the undisputed leader of Atlantic City, the fifth season is set in the depths of the Depression in 1931, with Nucky plotting a post-Prohibition future.

Jonah From Tonga, a new comedy series from Chris Lilley, debuts August 8. It centers on Jonah Takulau, whose father banishes him to the island of Tongapatu when he’s expelled from Summer Heights High, in order to spend time with his extended family and get his life back together.

The pay cable network, which recently announced a Monday night documentary block, confirmed its docu lineup for the second half of 2014. Among the new films to debut in the weekly slot are Kate Davis and David Heilbroner’s The Newburgh Sting (July 21), an inside look at the rarely told story of the FBI’s involvement in a homegrown terror case; Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words (August 4), exploring Nixon through thousands of hours of recently declassified audiotapes recorded in the White House, with Peter Kunhardt directing; and Jeremiah Zagar’s Captivated: The Trials Of Pamela Smart (August 18), looking at the 1990 trial of the 21-year-old woman accused of plotting her husband’s murder, which was the first trial televised gavel-to-gavel. Steve Buscemi’s A Good Job: Stories Of The FDNY (Sept. 8) details life working for the New York City Fire Department; Hunted: The War Against Gays In Russia (October), is the story of a group of citizens who attack and torment gay men and women in that country; directed by Ben Steele. And Nancy Kates directed Regarding Susan Sontag (December), which profiles the life of the literary, political and feminist icon through archival materials and accounts from friends, family, colleagues and lovers, as well as her own words, as read by Patricia Clarkson.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/tca-...-final-season/
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Critic's Notes
False Starts Before Cable’s Golden Age
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Jul. 10, 2014

In the golden age of the high-class cable drama, it’s easy to forget that no cable channel started its life with such fare. HBO and Showtime? Movies. AMC? Old movies. USA? Sports. ABC Family? Pat Robertson.

But over the years, these channels, and many others that began with just baseball games, infomercials, talk shows or network reruns, have found the new religion of original scripted dramas and comedies. It’s a trend that shows no signs of stopping. On Wednesday, WE begins its first scripted series, “The Divide,” a legal drama. Bravo, once an arts and film channel and more recently home of the “Housewives” franchise, is in production on its first scripted series, Marti Noxon’s “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.”

With shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Masters of Sex” and “Louie” now defining excellence in prime time, let’s take a look at back at where some of today’s top cable channels got their start in the scripted-series business. It wasn’t always Emmy nominations and Top 10 lists. (A few of these shows, including “Faerie Tale Theatre” and “Hey Dude,” are available from major streaming-video services. Episodes of nearly all of them can be found on YouTube.)

Showtime, ‘Faerie Tale Theatre’ (1982-87)

Long before “Masters of Sex” (or “Gigolos”), the actress Shelley Duvall, fresh off “The Shining,” hosted, produced and occasionally starred in this great-looking, ambitious series of fairy-tale adaptations. The first episode featured Robin Williams as the Frog Prince and was written and directed by Eric Idle; later episodes included Francis Ford Coppola’s “Rip Van Winkle” starring Harry Dean Stanton and Roger Vadim’s “Beauty and the Beast” with Susan Sarandon.

HBO, ‘The Hitchhiker’ (1983-87)

“Fraggle Rock” began the same year, but we’ll give the nod to this noirish half-hour mystery anthology. The Hitchhiker (played for most of the show’s run by Page Fletcher), a self-righteous noodge in a weather-beaten jacket, narrates tales of moral perfidy with supernatural twists and tasteful nudity. Maybe things haven’t changed that much at HBO in 30 years.

USA, ‘Sanchez of Bel Air’ (1986)

“Monk,” beginning in 2002, set the pattern for USA’s current lineup of lightweight, amusing dramas. But the channel’s first scripted effort was this Hispanic family comedy starring Reni Santoni and, as the neighbor, the onetime pop idol Bobby Sherman. A promo clip on YouTube indicates why you’ve never heard of the show: “Look at the bright side. Your son isn’t gay, and your daughter’s not pregnant.” Pause. “At least not yet.”

Lifetime, ‘The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd’ (1989-91)

Jay Tarses’ show was ahead of its time in many ways — a single-camera sitcom without a laugh track, a forerunner of legions of romantic dramedies. It could set your teeth on edge with its forced whimsicality at the same time that it provided long stretches of sharp, funny writing and excellent performances by Blair Brown as Molly, a divorced woman trying to make ends meet in New York, and David Strathairn as Moss, the shy bookstore owner who gave her a job and became her lover. NBC gave it two partial seasons before canceling it; Lifetime picked it up in one of the first instances of a cable channel rescuing a network show.

Nickelodeon, ‘Hey Dude’ (1989-91)

Technically, the first Nickelodeon scripted original (in a schedule dominated by children’s variety shows) was “Out of Control” in 1984, but that was sketch comedy. This sitcom western set on an Arizona dude ranch was the channel’s first scripted narrative show, and set a durable pattern — cute teenagers taking pratfalls and learning life lessons — for the channel’s live-action programming. TeenNick will recognize the 25th anniversary of “Hey Dude” with a marathon on Monday.

MTV, ‘Dead at 21’ (1994)

This early move away from music videos (the channel’s logo still read “Music Television”) was a paranoid science-fiction thriller with psychedelic touches. The premise — that the 20-year-old main character had been subjected to a high-tech medical experiment that would kill him when he reached 21 — anticipated cyber-dramas like “Jake 2.0” and “Chuck” and may have been a perfect expression of the young-adult narcissism that has been the channel’s stock in trade. (Of course, the reality series “The Real World” had established that even earlier, in 1992.)

AMC, ‘Remember WENN’ (1996-98)

More than a decade before “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” made AMC cable drama’s heavyweight champion, the channel carried this much — much — lighter drama about the glory days of live radio (though darkness occasionally crept in, courtesy of World War II). Heavily nostalgic with a redeeming dose of astringency, it presented the lives and loves of a Pittsburgh station’s staff in the melodramatic and farcical styles of the programs we saw them producing.

Syfy, ‘Mission Genesis’ (1997)

Six clones, made from the cells of exceptionally accomplished people, are sent into space to reboot the human race on a new planet. Based on the “Deepwater Black” young-adult novels, this was the first scripted series for what was then the Sci-Fi Channel. Syfy would hit its heyday in the next decade with another space opera, “Battlestar Galactica,” but the channel has become more earthbound since then — none of its current dramas take place off the planet.

TNT, ‘The New Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1997-98)

This blissfully low-rent, amateurishly acted series, filmed in Lithuania, told new stories featuring a Robin and Marian with impressively styled and blow-dried hair. TNT continued in the fantasy-action genre with the better-known “Babylon 5” the next year, but now focuses on crime and legal dramas. The adolescent’s-adventure spirit of “Robin” continues, though, in the channel’s outlier series, the postapocalyptic war story “Falling Skies.”

FX, ‘Son of the Beach’ (2000-2)

Remember when FX was mostly a bunch of young people sitting in a room in the Flatiron district talking about pets or music or the news of the day? Oddly, it didn’t last. Beginning in 2002 with “The Shield,” the channel would become one of cable’s strongest, most interesting sources of drama and comedy. But before that came this sitcom, a broad satire of buoy-and-bikini beach-rescue shows.

ABC Family, ‘Wildfire’ (2005-8)

In the channel’s corporate history, which stretches back to Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, there had been earlier scripted shows, like “State of Grace” under the Fox Family label. But its modern era begins with this teenage drama about a troubled girl whose life is changed by a stint at a horse ranch. In the channel’s current roster, the earnestness of “Wildfire” is reflected in a show like “The Fosters” but not so much in its biggest hit, the dark soap opera “Pretty Little Liars.”

TBS, ‘10 Items or Less’ (2006-9)

We’re fudging a little here — in its TBS superstation days, when it was known for reruns, movies and Atlanta Braves games, the channel had some original nighttime soap operas. But on TBS proper, the first scripted show was this downsizing comedy about a family grocery store. Another comedy, “My Boys,” began the next night, and TBS has kept its focus on original sitcoms.

WE, ‘The Divide’ (2014)

WE began life 17 years ago as Romance Classics, a movie channel, before being re-branded as WE: Women’s Entertainment and then just WE. Before now, it has spent its money on reality shows aimed at women like “Bridezillas” and “Braxton Family Values.” A desire to draw in more men may have something to do with the channel’s surprisingly high-profile foray into scripted drama, which was created by the screenwriter Richard LaGravenese (“Behind the Candelabra”) and the actor and director Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”). Marin Ireland plays a caseworker for an Innocence Project-like organization investigating whether a death-row prisoner was wrongfully convicted.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/ar...ref=television
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Then for not being a comedy I typically laugh alot during the episodes.
Surprisingly, I do too, Aaron. Based on comments here, I was all set to turn it off after a few minutes, but I don't see any reason for the disdain shown here. True, it's not close to reality, but I like the main characters together. I won't miss it when it gets cancelled, but I think it's a bit of fun to watch for a summer series.

Cheers, Dave
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Or why 'Fargo' is a "miniseries", but 'True Detective' is a series.

Yep, it's even more of a mess than usual.
True Detective may be rotating the players and decade but the storyline is still continuous and being told over several seasons.

Fargo was one story with a set of specific characters and done.

Plans for a possible season two are most likely going to involve different, unconnected stories and characters. Hawley said it would be silly to have the same amount of weird stuff happen to the same people in the same place. So as long as the show doesn't revisit the same characters and stories and since the nominations are announced before any real plans for a season two, then the first season exists on it's own as a miniseries.


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True Detective may be rotating the players and decade but the storyline is still continuous and being told over several seasons.
That's not as I understand it. That story, down in the bayou, is finished and they'll start over someplace else next season with new actors and a new location. Is that not the case?

Apparently, the reason those two shows were nominated in different categories in spite of being structurally similar is that the creator of TD got a type of credit that forced it into the "series" category.
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jul. 11, 2014

THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

This new Netflix documentary – another move forward into HBO-type programming territory, with its first nonfiction effort – is a family affair all the way but a good one. The subject of The Battered Bastards of Baseball is a 1970s Class A baseball club called the Portland Mavericks – at the time they played, the only independent minor-league outfit not affiliated with a major league team. Instead of a farm team for the bigs, the Mavericks were an unruly bunch of mostly overage dreamers, castoffs and rebels (the movie’s title comes from a team description by its most famous player, former major league pitcher Jim Bouton, whose tell-all book Ball Four told enough to make the Mavericks the only team that would take him, at least for a while). The story of this team is worth telling because of how they played on the field, how competitors played against them, and what the team meant to the city, its players, and especially its owner, former actor Bing Russell. Bing’s much more famous Hollywood movie-star son, Kurt, is one of the people telling his dad’s story on camera – and the brothers telling the story behind the camera, as directors, are Maclain and Chapman Way, Bing Russell’s grandsons. Telling you why this documentary is so satisfying would ruin too many of the surprises – but do check out this very affectionate and entertaining tale of the best-named club in baseball – true Mavericks, who, according to one proud player, “led the league in stubble.” Available any time.

MOYERS & COMPANY
Public Television, Check Local Listings

The session of the U.S. Supreme Court that just ended wrapped up its latest round of rulings by making some important rulings on telecommunications, campaign finance reform, birth control and other hugely significant topics. Two-thirds of the Court’s rulings were unanimous, the first time that’s happened since the 1950s. What’s going on, and why? On this weekend’s new edition, Bill Moyers interviews two veteran Supreme Court watchers: Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times and Daliah Lithwick, a senior editor and columnist at Slate. For dates and times when this series runs in your area, check the Moyers & Company website.

FROZEN
Starz!, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 2013 Disney film now ranks as the world’s top-grossing animated movie of all time, and its soundtrack is, by far, the biggest-selling U.S. album of 2014. “Let It Go,” the anthemic power ballad driving much of this success, won the Oscar for Best Original Song – and tonight, Frozen premieres on Starz. Kristen Bell provides the speaking and singing voice of Anna, and Anna’s older sister, Elsa, the one who gets to sing “Let It Go,” is played by the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem. Well, that’s according to John Travolta, anyway. Actually, Elsa is played by Broadway star Idina Menzel, formerly the star of Wicked. That musical captured the imagination of a new generation of Broadway theatergoers – but Frozen captured just about an entire new generation, period. Tune in and see, and hear, why.

PATHS OF GLORY
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Stanley Kubrick directed and co-wrote this intense, disturbing 1957 movie about soldiers who defy what seem to be recklessly risky orders in World War I, and are targeted for their actions. Kirk Douglas stars, and the actor was so impressed with Kubrick’s handling of this film that Douglas called in Kubrick to direct Spartacus three years later. This is less of a war film than an early anti-war film, and is all the stronger for it. And it’s followed, at 9:45 p.m. ET, by one of the earliest and best anti-war war movies ever made (also about WWI), 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front.

CASTLE
TNT, 8:00 p.m. ET

Orange Is the New Black fans, take note: This 2011 outing of Castle features a very smart, pre-Orange turn by Laura Prepon, who guest stars as an actress named Natalie Rhodes. She shows up at the precinct to research a movie role – just as author Rick Castle (series star Nathan Fillion) did when he first met up with Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) in the series pilot. But now, Natalie is there to research the role of Nikki Heat, the heroine of Castle's successful cop novel – and a character based on Beckett. So Natalie is shadowing Beckett, and absorbing more of her mannerisms, and looks, every time she shows up. It’s a cleverly written hour, and a very playfully performed one, especially by Katic and Prepon.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

Emmy/Critic's Notes
66th Primetime Emmy Noms A Mishmash of Delivery and Categories
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Jul. 10, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- Do you pay an extra premium for HBO? Is a Netflix subscription part of your monthly charge card bill? Do you even have cable -- or a satellite dish -- at your disposal?

If not, the top vote getters in television's four showcase competition categories have all managed to elude you. The 66th Primetime Emmy Award nominations, announced Thursday during the early stages of summer's Television Critics Association "press tour," were a bigger mishmash than ever of delivery systems and ill-fitting categories.

HBO, as usual, had the most nominations (99 this time). Its Game of Thrones led all drama series contenders with 19 nods, while The Normal Heart topped the made-for-TV movie field with 16.

FX claimed the most-lauded miniseries with Fargo, which notched 18 nominations. And Netflix's Orange is the New Black (right) outpaced all comedy series contenders with 12 nominations -- even though the hour-long "broadband" series is really no more a comedy than HBO's prison-set Oz was. Well, maybe a bit more of one.

Netflix's 31 nominations, more than double the 14 it had last year, ranked a heady seventh on Emmy's list of top performers. It has more contenders than Fox, AMC, Showtime or the Sundance Channel and is in the vicinity of both PBS (with 34) and ABC (37).

The conventional broadcast networks were led by CBS' 47 nominations, just one ahead of NBC. But CBS was a no-show on Emmy's elite list of programs with 10 or more nominations in major categories. And NBC's Emmy hopes hinge primarily on two series with double-digit nominations but little oomph on the big awards night. Saturday Night Live topped all "Variety Program" nominees with 14 while The Voice had 10 nods to lead the still relatively new "Outstanding Reality-Competition Program" category.

The Peacock had high hopes that its first-year success story, The Blacklist, would break through in a big way among the drama series contenders. But it had just one nomination, for "Outstanding Stunt Coordination." FX scored big with both Fargo and American Horror Story: Coven, which had 17 nominations. But the network's The Americans again was all but ignored, receiving a lone nomination for Margo Martindale's "guest actress" performance as the Communist agent, Claudia.

Perhaps The Blacklist and The Americans both should have entered what's now become the fraudulent "Outstanding Miniseries" category. That's how American Horror Story, HBO's Treme and BBC America's Luther got nominated, even though all three dramas have had multiple seasons on the air. It's also how Fargo avoided a direct collision with HBO's True Detective, which entered in the "Drama Series" category despite being no different than Fargo in its intention to introduce new characters and murder cases in its second season.

The "Best Drama Series" field still has a lot of juice, with True Detective going against Breaking Bad's last season in addition to fellow contenders Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

The "Best Comedy Series" finalists are also an interesting group, with ABC's Modern Family again trying to defend its title against The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Silicon Valley, Veep and the pretender in the field, Orange is the New Black.

The showcase competition, though, may be in the "Lead Actor in a Drama Series" category, where Matthew McConaughey (top) seeks to follow up his Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club with an Emmy for the role of detective Rust Cohle in True Detective. But can he topple Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad? McConaughey's True Detective co-star, Woody Harrelson, perennial nominee Jon Hamm of Mad Men, Kevin Spacey from House of Cards and the surprise in this category, Jeff Daniels of HBO's The Newsroom, round out the field.

This field would have been even spicier with Billy Bob Thornton in the mix. But his malevolent Lorne Malvo of Fargo instead is in the "Lead Actor In a Miniseries or A Movie" fold, where his main competition could be co-star Martin Freeman (with Thornton, left) or Benedict Cumberbatch from PBS's Sherlock Holmes movies.

The "Lead Actress in a Drama Series" category includes first-time nominee Lizzy Caplan for her role as sex researcher Virginia Johnson in Showtime's Masters of Sex, which will begin its second season on Sunday, July 13. But the favorite might very well be Kerry Washington of ABC's Scandal.

Whatever happens on the big night -- Aug. 25th on NBC -- the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences must do a better job of policing its categories. And as "broadband" providers such as Netflix continue to multiply, it also might be nearing the time to split the Emmys into separate divisions.

The sheer amount of quality programming has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. That's a good thing. The problem now is how to deal with all the traffic jams without turning some of the categories into free-for-all farces.

A complete list of Emmy nominees are here.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=7745
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TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 11, 2013

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” 11:35 p.m.
Live Schreiber, Rob Reiner and Gabriel Iglesias all guest.

Best bet on cable: Disney Channel, “Girl Meets World” 8:30 p.m. After a week off following its premiere, the new comedy returns to its regular timeslot.

Top sporting event: NBCSN, “Tour de France,” 8 a.m. Live coverage of the seventh stage, which goes from Épernay to Nancy.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: CBS, “Bad Teacher,” 8:30 p.m.
Meredith tries to fix the school science fair after she enters a secret betting pool.

Best bet on cable: Animal Planet, “Bad Dog!,” 8 p.m. Season premiere. Videos include a dog that keeps escaping the backyard, and another that terrorizes a kitchen counter.

Top sporting event: ESPN, Univision, “Soccer,” 3:30 p.m. The World Cup third-place game between Brazil and the Netherlands.

SUNDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: ABC, “Rising Star,” 9 p.m.
The reality competition’s duels round begins.

Best bet on cable: FX, “The Strain,” 10 p.m. Series premiere. New drama opens with a mysterious virus related to vampires spreading through New York City.

Top sporting event: ABC, Univision, “Soccer,” 2 p.m. Germany takes on Argentina in the World Cup final for the third time (1986 and 1990).


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bes...ts-weekend-40/
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TV Review
The Strain: Contagion of Evil
Its visual terrrors are nothing compared to the story's complexity and ambition.
By Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal - Jul. 11, 2013

Nobody repelled by the graphic ads for "The Strain"—there have been complaints—has cause to worry about worse to come. Once this thriller establishes itself as the complex and ambitious enterprise it is, the visual terrors, of which there are plenty, come to feel distinctly minor. That isn't to say that the special effects aren't dazzling in their grim way. What happens to the bodies and minds of those humans in the series who are afflicted by a strange biological entity that has rooted itself inside them becomes clear at first only in flashes that are all the more chilling for their brevity. But there is, surrounding the drama of these victims, another one: that of a mysterious circle of conspirators and their enablers—officials and workers who by ignoring strict security rules, accepting a little bribe money, have unknowingly made it possible to transport and spread the deadly elements into the country.

The consequences reveal themselves slowly as the story begins with an international airliner arriving at JFK Airport with a full load of apparently dead passengers. It will require the scrutiny of a top epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), to discover the cause—organisms concealed within a huge box in the cargo hold that have the power and, as we see, the implacable will to destroy every human they can reach. It's a process meant to begin in New York, according to the elaborate designs of the conspirators responsible for shipping the box.

Only one person has recognized instantly the significance of this piece of cargo and its resident evil. That's the elderly Manhattan pawnbroker Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), whose ornate walking stick is equipped with a sword, and whose arm bears an Auschwitz number. Once this visionary with the haunted eyes arrives on the scene, there's little doubt of the large symbolic aspiration at work in this saga. Setrakian, survivor of a death camp, has reason to remember, to know intimately, the mind of the plot's smoothly diabolical—and unmistakably German—chief architect, Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel). Hearing of the strange airport event, Setrakian rushes to alert Goodweather to the cause of the passengers' deaths, the dangers of the box's contents—warnings, needless to say, the scientist dismisses. Until he becomes desperate enough to listen.

Time is everything in this 13-part series created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan and based on their "Strain" fiction. Time that allows for depth, for the small novelistic details that distinguish the script, that creep in at the most surprising times to turn an encounter of the blackest violence into commentary, a moment's revelation. For instance, about the sort of thing a loving and deeply religious wife of one of the airplane victims is willing to do to a neighbor who's been vicious to her dog. This horror tale moves with a deliberation that pays off—that regularly dances away from its scenes of unspeakable mayhem to the quieter dramas of ordinary life. To an intense family dinner in East Harlem, for instance, or to a family-court hearing where Goodweather has taken time out from his battle against the deadly force about to destroy millions, if not everyone on the planet, to fight for joint custody of his son.

The payoff is a work powered by imaginative energy, intelligence and a skilled cast, all of it adding up to smashing entertainment.

THE STRAIN
Sundays at 10 p.m. on FX


http://online.wsj.com/articles/telev...-fx-1405035910
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Wow my Sunday nights are becoming crowded this Summer. Another show to watch .
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Critic's Notes
False Starts Before Cable’s Golden Age
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Jul. 10, 2014

AMC, ‘Remember WENN’ (1996-98)

More than a decade before “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” made AMC cable drama’s heavyweight champion, the channel carried this much — much — lighter drama about the glory days of live radio (though darkness occasionally crept in, courtesy of World War II). Heavily nostalgic with a redeeming dose of astringency, it presented the lives and loves of a Pittsburgh station’s staff in the melodramatic and farcical styles of the programs we saw them producing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/ar...ref=television
'Remember WENN' was a great show. We really enjoyed it and was bummed when it was over.
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Wow my Sunday nights are becoming crowded this Summer. Another show to watch .
Agreed, lots of good stuff this summer. I've said it before, if it's on FX or AMC I'm giving it a shot. They've earned it with their track record.
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TV Notes
Showtime's 'Masters of Sex' better than ever in season 2
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix - Jul. 11, 2013

Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson spend much of the second season premiere of the Showtime drama "Masters of Sex" (Sunday at 10) trying to redefine the nature and parameters of their relationship after the events of the show's marvelous first season. Are they now a couple? Is this just an affair? Is it still simply one small component of their groundbreaking study on human sexuality?

If Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) need more time to figure out what they're doing, "Masters of Sex" certainly does not. It was one of TV's very best dramas a year ago, and in many ways the start of season 2 suggests it's gotten even better.

The first season ended with both disaster and epiphany, as an early version of the famous Masters and Johnson study was greeted with horrified indignation by Masters' medical colleagues, but also with the suddenly-unemployed Dr. Masters finally admitting that his desire to sleep with Mrs. Johnson had little to do with contributing to the study and a whole lot to do with his emotional feelings for his adventurous, independent, sexy, whip-smart partner.

(Warning: the next paragraph will fit the Matthew Weiner definition of a spoiler, and only the Matthew Weiner definition of a spoiler.)

This was a big moment. Given that "Masters" creator Michelle Ashford has a whole lot of chronological ground to cover just to get from the late '50s of season 1 to the 1966 publication of Masters and Johnson's book, she could have easily pulled a "Mad Men" and bounced forward significantly in time, only revealing later what happened in the immediate aftermath of Master's declaration to Johnson. But the new season only jumps ahead a small amount — enough time for various characters' situations to have advanced, but not so much that we miss all of the real emotional tumult from the events of last year.

So we get to see just how complicated things remain between Bill and Virginia — he did, among other things, run to tell his feelings to Virginia on the day his wife Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald) gave birth to his son — and we also get to see Bill's mentor Barton Scully (Beau Bridges) continue his primitive gay conversion therapy for the sake of his wonderful but unhappy wife Margaret (Allison Janney). Both Bridges and Janney were amazing in the first season (and were, like Lizzy Caplan, deservedly nominated for Emmys yesterday), and though their availability this season is limited due to their CBS sitcom commitments, Ashford and company get outstanding use out of them when they're around.

There is, in fact, a fair amount of turnover in the supporting cast. Annaleigh Ashford (no relation to Michelle), who plays ex-prostitute (and sometime expert source for Bill Masters) Betty, had to leave the first season early to star in Broadway's "Kinky Boots." Now she's back — and Betty plays a crucial role in the next phase of Masters' work — while Bridges, Janney, Nicholas D'Agosto (Virginia's boyfriend Dr. Haas), Rose McIver (Barton and Margaret's daughter) and Heléne Yorke (frequent sex study participant Jane) are all moving on to other gigs, while still popping up when they can. But there are many impressive new faces, including Danny Huston and Betsy Brandt, plus the reassuring return of others like Teddy Sears (as cheerfully adulterous Dr. Austin Langham) and Julianne Nicholson (uptight, cancer-stricken pap smear advocate Dr. Lillian DePaul.)

The main attraction, though, remains Masters and Johnson, and Ashford has somehow found a way to even more intensely focus the show on these two temperamental opposites, their dysfunctional relationship, and their common fascination with both sex and each other. These remain wonderful performances from Sheen and Caplan, and the writers do an impressive balancing act of shifting sympathies between them — especially considering that Masters is such a cold, controlling bastard much of the time. Virginia is the warmer, more open, more inherently likable of the two, yet there are ways in which she is weak, or selfish, or just wrong, and times when Bill can be remarkably compassionate, insightful and/or articulate about his needs or the needs of others.

It's a great duet between actors, and characters, and the relationship is so full of twists and turns and ambiguity that the show could probably get away with eliminating all the other characters and just present a series of one-act plays featuring only Masters and Johnson.

In fact, that's essentially what the season's terrific third episode, "Fight," is. Without giving too much away, what's remarkable about the episode is how it simultaneously feels exactly like the famous "Mad Men" episode "The Suitcase" (much of the action even revolves around a heavyweight title fight), and also really nothing like it, because of the specificity of these two characters and their relationship.

Now, I wouldn't want to eliminate all the other fascinating characters who walk in and out of Bill and Virginia's life. They're played by great actors in their own right, and those other stories shed copious light on the ways in which sexual and emotional issues have changed enormously since the '50s, and the ways in which they haven't. "Masters of Sex" has much more on its mind than simply the tumultuous relationship between its two famous central characters. But if it just had those two, it would still be among the best things you could watch on television this summer.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-wat...er-in-season-2
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TV Review
‘Ray Donovan,’ Season 2
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Jul. 10, 2014

Ray Donovan, the Hollywood fixer in the show by the same name, is going to be preoccupied for a time fixing his family – and himself. That was where season one ended and season two picks up, in this Showtime series of intermittent appeal, where Liev Schreiber’s taciturn leading man is frequently eclipsed by the raging id that is his ex-con father, played with unrestrained gusto by Jon Voight. Several cast additions enliven the show, but the dark turn into priestly abuse and revenge has left the series toting excess baggage – and not just a baseball bat – in these opening frames.

For those who missed season one (and SPOILER warnings for those who might begin belatedly), Ray’s emotionally damaged brother, Bunchy (Dash Mihok), turned out to be not the only family member molested by a priest, who the brothers (and it bears repeating: No trio of on-screen siblings have ever looked less alike) eventually dispatched. This not only undermined a budding romantic relationship for third brother Terry (Eddie Marsan) but has clearly exacted a toll on Ray, at least if his eerie dreams and strange behavior toward his wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) are any indication.

The closing events of the first season – involving the death of a mobster Ray enlisted to whack his dad, Mickey – have also put Ray squarely in the crosshairs of an ambitious new FBI L.A. Bureau Chief (Hank Azaria), who labels him a “bagman for movie stars,” forcing the fixer to schlep to Mexico, trying to bring his dad back to clear up the mess.

If all that weren’t enough, Ray’s revelations to Abby have left their own relationship teetering – she even drags him to couples therapy, while experiencing her own midlife crisis – and his teenage kids continue to act out in rather tiresome pay-cable ways.

As created and written by Ann Biderman, there’s certainly a lot to chew on here, with the inevitable detours into salacious stories involving pro athletes and “American Idol” contestants. That includes not just the central cast but side players like Azaria, Wendell Pierce, Ann-Margret and Vinessa Shaw, the last as a Boston reporter nosing around regarding what really happened on that dock last year.

Still, “Ray Donovan” remains somewhat limited in its appeal – featuring colorful characters, yes, but at times constricted by Ray’s cowboy nature, which includes a professional knack for finding weak spots and exploiting them. Perhaps that’s why Voight’s Mickey is such a vital component – unlike his son, a man who talks softly and totes around a big stick, somebody who never knows when to shut up.

Showtime effectively launched the series behind “Dexter,” and now “Ray” will be asked to stand on its own. And while the series possesses enough pleasures, guilty or otherwise, to warrant a secure place in the DVR queue, it still feels like a program that is finding its way – seeking a balance between the seedy underbelly of L.A. glamor and the most dysfunctional of family dramas, connected by a fixer who’s mostly a downer.

Syfy's 'Ray Donovan'
(Showtime, Sun. July 13, 9 p.m.)


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...ns-1201259342/

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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Big surge for CBS’s ‘Big Brother’
Rebounds from last week's series low with a 2.0 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 11, 2014

Last night several shows rebounded from low ratings induced by the impending July 4 holiday last week, the strongest among them CBS’s “Big Brother.”

“Brother” posted a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, up 25 percent from last week’s 1.6, a series low for the long-running reality show.

“Brother,” which aired at 9 p.m., was easily the night’s top show.

Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” was the night’s No. 2 program with a 1.5 at 8 p.m., up 15 percent from last week’s season-low 1.3.

Lead-out “Gang Related” also grew, to a still-weak 0.8, up a tenth.

Elsewhere last night, NBC’s two comedy premieres posted unremarkable ratings. “Welcome to Sweden” drew a 0.9 at 9 p.m., while lead-out “Working the Engels” posted a 0.7.

That didn’t help the 10 p.m. reality show “Last Comic Standing,” which tied a series low with a meager 1.0.

On ABC, all three of its shows were up at least a tenth from the previous week, though all of them also drew below a 1.0.

CBS finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 1.4 average overnight rating and a 5 share. Fox and Univision tied for second at 1.1/4, NBC was fourth at 0.9/3, ABC fifth at 0.8/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/3 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. CBS and Fox tied for first, each with a 1.5 rating, CBS for repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Millers” and Fox for “Kitchen.” NBC and Univision tied for third at 0.9, NBC for “Hollywood Game Night” and Univision for “De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero.” ABC and Telemundo tied for fifth at 0.7, ABC for “Black Box” and Telemundo for “Reina de Corazones,” and CW was seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “The Vampire Diaries.”

CBS led at 9 p.m. with a 2.0 for “Brother,” followed by Univision with a 1.4 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo.” ABC was third with a 0.9 for “Rookie Blue.” NBC and Fox tied for fourth at 0.8, NBC for “Sweden” (0.9) and “Engels” (0.7) and Fox for “Gang Related.” Telemundo was sixth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “The Originals.”

At 10 p.m. Univision was first with a 1.1 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos,” with NBC second with a 1.0 for “Comic.” ABC and Telemundo tied for third at a 0.9, ABC for “NY Med” and Telemundo for “El Señor de los Cielos,” and CBS was fifth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “Extant.”

CBS also led the night among households with a 3.6 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 3.1/6, NBC third at 2.3/4, Fox fourth at 2.2/4, Univision fifth at 1.5/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/2 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/big...s-big-brother/
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
MTV Orders Fantasy ‘Shannara’ to Series; ‘Catfish’ Gets 4th Season
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jul. 11, 2014

MTV has given a straight-to-series order to “Shannara,” a fantasy based on a series of Terry Brooks novels that began in 1977.

Also, hoaxing people online is apparently still a thing: The network also ordered a fourth season of “Catfish.”

The network made the announcements at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The network ordered a 10-episode first season, but the show will have plenty of material from which to draw: There are more than 20 books in Brooks’ series.

Jonathan Liebesman (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) will direct the first two episodes and executive produce. Writers Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville”) will executive produce, and Jon Favreau, Terry Brooks and Dan Farah will also executive produce. Sonar Entertainment is MTV's producing partner and the international distributor.

http://www.thewrap.com/mtv-orders-fa...ts-4th-season/
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TV Notes
Thomas Jane to Star in Syfy's 'The Expanse'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 11, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Syfy's Leviathan Wakes adaptation The Expanse has cast its leading man.

Hung alum Thomas Jane has nabbed the starring role in the cable network's adaptation of James S.A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes book series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The drama is described as a thriller set 200 years in the future and follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective (Jane) and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.
STORY: Syfy's Plan: More Space Operas, Less 'Sharknado'

Three-time Golden Globe nominee Jane will play the world-weary Miller, a native of "the Asteroid Belt" between Mars and Jupiter. Miller is a detective for a corporate security force operating as the law in the Belt. Ragged, in search of something even he can't identify, Miller remains a dedicated cop with great instincts who discovers a newfound sense of purpose when he’s put in charge of the investigation into a missing heiress.

The series hails from Alcon Television Group, with Oscar-nominated screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) attached as writers and exec producers. They'll serve as showrunners alongside fellow EP Naren Shankar (CSI). Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co. developed the pitch with Fergus and Ostby and are also on board to exec produce. Alcon co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson will exec produce alongside company president Sharon Hall. Alcon's Ben Roberts will co-produce, while Ben Cook will produce. The series marks the first series order for Alcon Television Group, a division of Alcon Entertainment.

Jane, repped by Paradigm and Ziffren Brittenham, has three features due this year: The Veil, Somnia and Vice as well as a role in History's miniseries Texas Rising. His credits include The Mist, Dreamcatcher, Thin Red Line, Boogie Nights and 61*.

Syfy picked up The Expanse straight to series with a 10-episode commitment in April as part of its push to go back to its roots in the sci-fi/fantasy series it once ruled with Battlestar Galactica. The cable network has also ordered originals Z Nation, 12 Monkeys, Olympus, Dominion and six-episode space opera event series Ascension, to join a roster of originals that also includes Helix, Defiance, Haven, Lost Girl and Continuum.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...expanse-718034
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That's not as I understand it. That story, down in the bayou, is finished and they'll start over someplace else next season with new actors and a new location. Is that not the case?
You might be right. I could have sworn when the show started the PR said it would be following elements of the storyline through every season. Reading one of the interviews today the general thought is that "the tone" will be the same through all the seasons.

I wonder of the original idea got dumped when they couldn't get Harrelson and McConaughey back?


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Summer TCA Tour Notes
MTV’s ‘Happyland’ Q&A Derailed By Incest
By Lisa De Moraes, Deadline.com - Jul. 11, 2014

“Incest is hot and we’re going to have fun!” MTV‘s Happyland star Bianca Santos said this morning during the new series’ Q&A session at Summer TV Press Tour 2014 .

“Now we have our lead!” responded journalists, in their heads — and one said out loud, in a followup question.

Right before the Q&A started, critics were treated to a clip from the pilot episode of the soapy teen comedy exploring the underbelly of a popular theme park. At the every end of the clip, Santos’ character, Lucy — around whom this show’s universe revolves — makes out with the theme park’s new hottie, only to discover they’re siblings– oh, yeah, SPOILER ALERT.

Understandably, that informed the questions they asked of the show panel up on stage – to the surprise, and weirdly, the annoyance of some panelists.

Questions such as: “So, why the twist — why the brother and sister making out thing, how does that relate to the other things (in the show)?” And, “Without getting too heavily into spoilers, where does this go after she realizes it’s her brother.”

Panelists were quick to point out the two characters did not know they were siblings when they made out. Show creator Ben Epstein noted the show itself is supposed to be fairytale-ish — dashing young new guy shows up suddenly and Prince Charming-ly, sweeps heroine off her feet, etc. — but adds the “MTV edge to it, and makes it all weird and crazy.”

That’s when Santos jumped in with ,”Incest is hot and we’re going to have fun!”

“She kissed him and they are siblings. That does not sound complicated — that sounds horrifying,” one TV critic said, giving panelists a sneak peek at her review of the show.

Conversation grew strained at this point.

“The show is super emotionally grounded,” one cast member said, and, no, not ironically.

“I understand you’re all trying to get off the incest thing,” one TV critic told panelists like she meant it to sting.

“No, please, bring it back – we haven’t had enough,” an actor snarked back.

“Look, I didn’t put it in the pilot,” the critic snapped back, noting the series is billed as a comedy, but “I don’t think there’s a funny Flowers In The Attic.”

Exec producer Neil Meron, a seasoned veteran of Press Tour Q&A kerfuffles, jumped in: “They MIGHT be brother and sister.”

“As Neil said, they may be,” added his producing partner Craig Zadan. “And, they basically kissed. They didn’t make out. Nothing sexual happened.”

That seemed to calm down the press. Santos did not want them calmed down. She began to prattle on merrily about how she expected viewers to “go ‘Holy Crap!’… with the reveal of the incest.”

“We first tried that, when they kissed, he turned into a vampire, then a werewolf — we decided against it,” Zadan joked, dousing the flame Santos attempted to light.

Last October, MTV picked up Happyland , along with the comedy Faking It, to series with an eight-episode order. The two were MTV’s first scripted pilots greenlit by the network’s new-ish president Susanne Daniels and head of scripted Mina Lefevre. Happyland is written by Epstein and executive produced by Storyline’s Meron and Zadan; the pilot, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, starred Santos, Zulay Henao, Shane Harper, Katherine McNamara, Cameron Moulene, Brady Smith and Ryan Rottman.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/happ...an-neil-meron/

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
MTV’s ‘Finding Carter’ Is “A Women’s Story”, Say Producers
By The Deadline.com Team - Jul. 11, 2014

MTV’s new original family drama Finding Carter centers on a teenager (Kathryn Prescott) who learns the woman who she thought was her mother actually abducted her as a toddler and must adjust to life with her biological family while looking for her on-the-lam “mom” (whew).

One questioner today at TCA pointed out an unusual occurrence for the TV press tour: The 8-person panel of actors and executive producers included only one man. (The lineup: actors Prescott, Anna Jacoby-Heron, Milena Govich, Cynthia Watros, lone-guy Alexis Denisof and EPs Terri Minsky, Deb Spera and Maria Grasso.)

Coincidence? The producers don’t think so. Spera noted “our DP is a woman” and that everyone is very cognizant of the fact that three women are at the helm of what is essentially a women’s story. “I don’t think of it as deliberately: ‘Oooh, I have to have women,’ it’s just that women understood the emotion of the show,” said Minsky. “I hired people who understood the show.” She noted that many elements of the show grew out of her relationship with her own daughter.

Prescott agreed. “In so much TV you see women who are secondary characters … they are only there be cause of their relation to a male lead,” she said. “What’s great about this is it’s about Carter, her two mothers, her relationship with them.” Her character will have relationships with boys, but “it’s not like the central story line. It’s very secondary.”

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/tca-...say-producers/
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Technology Notes
Apple TV more cloudy with chance for more movie extras
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Jul. 10, 2014

Apple TV is spiffing up its movie extras.

Some new features that take advantage of the company's cloud-based system make it easier for consumers who buy movies via Apple TV to watch iTunes Extras.

As of today, hundreds of films including Frozen and The Avengers have extras that automatically appear in users' Apple TV libraries. Previously, you could get extras but had to download them, which could be time-consuming. (You have to have purchased the film via iTunes or Apple TV; rentals do not come with extras.) You can also preview iTunes Extras before you purchase the film.

Among the new iTunes Extras available today are concept art for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and behind-the-scenes clips from The Lego Movie. Extras can include alternative and deleted scenes, short films, photo galleries and cast and crew information and other bonus content provided by filmmakers and studios. Some extras may have appeared on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and other digitally distributed versions of the movie.

With the help of studios, Apple hopes to deliver more dynamic ways to watch bonus content, based on themes and categories rather than sequentially. For instance, the Apple TV version of American Hustle lets you view scenes based on the popular songs playing in the soundtrack.

The update increases the "value to consumers for collecting films digitally," says Jason Spivak, executive vice president of worldwide digital distribution at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "It's about being able to bring more to the experience than just the film itself."

Apple is also letting studios tap into the cloud-based system to constantly update exclusive iTunes Extra content for films to perhaps add material weeks and months later.

For the movie Mistaken for Strangers — about two brothers, Matt Berninger, lead singer of indie-rock band The National, and younger sibling Tom — Starz Digital Media created three exclusive extras. "Filmmakers who love their movies, especially independent filmmakers, are constantly putting new content together," says David Katz, vice president of digital media at Starz Entertainment. "(They) can come to us with new stuff and we can go to Apple and say here's new stuff that we can put (that) into the extras and say, 'Maybe we should re-promote this title'."

Other studios on board include Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Pixar, Universal and Warner Bros.

"iTunes has a long history of mobilizing innovations that raise the bar that began with music," said Mary Daily, president and chief marketing officer for worldwide marketing at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, in a statement. "With iTunes Extras, they are setting the stage again with the next iteration of digital movies."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/p...date/12474055/
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Obituary
Dick Jones dies at 87; actor who provided voice of Disney's Pinocchio
By David Colker, Los Angeles Times - Jul. 9, 2014

Actor Dick Jones appeared in more than 100 films and television shows in his long career, but he is best known by far for a role in which he was not seen on screen. At about 10, when he was known as Dickie, Jones was chosen by Walt Disney to be the voice of Pinocchio in the classic 1940 animated film.

At the time, it wasn't common for children to voice roles in animated movies. "They started off with adults, and when Walt first heard the ones trying to act like kids, he said no," Jones said in "The Making of Pinocchio," a 2009 documentary.

Disney wanted a real youngster for the part of the wooden character who wanted to be a real boy, and Jones' voice entered animation history.

Jones, 87, died Monday night after a fall at home in Northridge, said his son, Rick Jones. The cause of death has not been determined.

Jones' preteen voice and performance was a spectacular fit for the character, said Mike Gabriel, an artist and director on several recent Disney animated films. "He's just unbelievably lovable and likable in his innocence, in his excitement about everything," Gabriel said of Jones' performance. "You just fall in love with that little guy the minute he starts talking."

But Jones was anything but naive about Hollywood, even at that young age. He had already acted in several films, and he didn't always like what he saw.

Richard Percy Jones was born Feb. 25, 1927, in McKinney, Texas. His father was a newspaperman and his mother was a bit of a stage mother. By the time he was about 5, Jones was performing at rodeos, billed as the world's youngest trick rider and roper.

His big show-business break came when movie cowboy Hoot Gibson saw him perform at a rodeo in Dallas. "Hoot told my mother the famous words, 'That kid ought to be in pictures,'" Jones said in a 1984 Los Angeles Times interview. "She said, 'Whoopee!' and away we went to Hollywood."

His first movie appearance, uncredited, was in the musical number "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" in the 1934 Al Jolson film "Wonder Bar," in which he appeared in blackface. He worked almost steadily, often in westerns.

He was in a variety of big pictures, including "Stella Dallas" (1937), "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939), "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) and "Destry Rides Again" (1939). He was also in some "Our Gang" shorts.

But he wasn't much enjoying the acting life. "I didn't like going to school on the set. I wanted to get back to the public school," he said. "I wanted to be a real boy."

He called some of his fellow young actors "Hollywood phonies." Worse, some were becoming addicted to drugs. "I don't know how I didn't get on it, but I didn't," he told Leonard Maltin in a 2008 interview. "I didn't make many close friends."

The voicing of "Pinocchio," which took place over about a year and a half, was more enjoyable, in part because he got along well with adult actor Cliff Edwards, playing Jiminy Cricket. At times Jones' lip movements were filmed in close-up to help guide animators working on the character. For the musical number "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee," he was dressed in costume and filmed as he danced, also as a reference for animators.

The most difficult sequence was when Pinocchio had to speak while under the sea. "They had a real problem trying to make me sound like I was underwater," he said in the Times interview. He was even subjected, briefly, to an infamous interrogation technique.

"They had me lie on a table and poured water in my mouth while I tried to read the dialogue — I almost drowned." The problem was finally solved by the use of a rotating gadget while he spoke.

It was the biggest role of his movie career. He was drafted into the Army in 1944, and after his discharge he appeared in several more films. In the 1950s, his career got a boost in early television, with roles on shows such as "The Lone Ranger." And he played the title role in the 1955 "Buffalo Bill Jr." series.

But late in the decade, when landing roles became tough, he started to get involved in real estate. "He didn't want to do commercials," Rick Jones said. "So he said, 'The heck with it,' and got himself a regular job."

Jones founded a real estate agency. His last acting roles in the 1960s included episodes of "The Blue Angels" and "Wagon Train."

In addition to his son Rick, Jones is survived by his wife of 66 years, Betty; son Jeffrey, sisters Jennafer Jones and Melody Hume; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituar...708-story.html
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TV Notes
Fox Halts Production on Naked Dating Show Pilot
By Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Jul. 11, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has pushed back its plans for its own naked dating series, TheWrap has learned.

Simon Andreae, Fox's executive vice president of alternative entertainment, was fast-tracking the still-unnamed pilot with producers A. Smith & Co. Productions, but the top brass at Fox has put it on hold, individuals with knowledge of the network's plans said.

With producers hired, casting completed and plans to build the set made, the project was reviewed earlier this week and a decision made to hold it pending new leadership as Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly left in June and his replacement hasn't been announced.

One of those individuals said the show had been outright killed, but another insider said it was merely on hold pending Reilly's replacement. A network spokeswoman declined to comment.

There was no official word on the cost of shutting down the planned production, but studio pilots typically cost in the $2 million range.

Fox's version of what has become a hot idea in Hollywood would have had its naked participants date each other on a set in front of a studio audience. One of the insiders said the pilot description has “overtones of a live sex show.”

VH1, the first to bring the concept to fruition in the United States, premieres “Dating Naked” on July 17. In contrast to Fox's version, it places its contestants in exotic locales where they meet others of the opposite sex in the nude and then decide which one they'd like to continue seeing.

This is just the latest hiccup in Andreae's short time at the network. As TheWrap previously reported, game show “Boom” caused internal strife over sensitivities within the company's sales force to the theme of a fake bomb exploding. And the reality chief's large-scale rollout of “Utopia” has been plagued by more internal fighting and doubts as to whether it is worth its $50 million price tag.

The status of “Boom” is unclear. The show was not presented at the upfront advertiser presentation in May, and it has not been given a premiere date. Fox currently plans to air it in the midseason.

In other Fox reality programming, Fox last month pulled the Ryan Seacrest-produced dating show, “I Wanna Marry Harry,” and improv series, “Riot,” from their schedule due to low ratings. On ‘I Wanna Marry Harry,’ young women believed they were competing for the British royal's heart but were instead dating a Prince Harry lookalike. On “Riot,” performers worked upon a stage with a steep incline.

Former head of alternative TV, Mike Darnell greenlit “I Wanna Marry Harry.” “Riot” was greenlit by Reilly.

Andreae joined Fox in October, replacing Darnell, the network's longtime alternative chief.

http://www.thewrap.com/fox-naked-dat...old-exclusive/
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You might be right. I could have sworn when the show started the PR said it would be following elements of the storyline through every season. Reading one of the interviews today the general thought is that "the tone" will be the same through all the seasons.

I wonder of the original idea got dumped when they couldn't get Harrelson and McConaughey back?
Everything I read leading up to and even after the show aired indicated what Archie is saying, each season would be a separate story with different actors/characters. The theme would stay the same, but they would be individual stand-alone stories. And I don't believe Harrelson and McConaughey were ever planned on doing more than the one series.

What you described sounds very similar to The Wire, where the same characters flowed through the show all the way through, along the way some additions and some subtractions, with only the theme of each series focusing on a different story/subject. I think True Detective is somewhat similar, just not with the same characters.
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I wonder of the original idea got dumped when they couldn't get Harrelson and McConaughey back?
I think the main reason HBO got Harrelson & McConaughey for TD in the first place is they didn't have to come back. It was always intended to be a true one-and-done AFAIK.
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post #95458 of 95460 Old Today, 01:20 PM
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
MTV Orders Fantasy ‘Shannara’ to Series; ‘Catfish’ Gets 4th Season
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jul. 11, 2014

MTV has given a straight-to-series order to “Shannara,” a fantasy based on a series of Terry Brooks novels that began in 1977.

Also, hoaxing people online is apparently still a thing: The network also ordered a fourth season of “Catfish.”

The network made the announcements at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The network ordered a 10-episode first season, but the show will have plenty of material from which to draw: There are more than 20 books in Brooks’ series.

Jonathan Liebesman (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) will direct the first two episodes and executive produce. Writers Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville”) will executive produce, and Jon Favreau, Terry Brooks and Dan Farah will also executive produce. Sonar Entertainment is MTV's producing partner and the international distributor.

http://www.thewrap.com/mtv-orders-fa...ts-4th-season/
Holy crap, Shannara is one of the greatest series of books ever and I just picked up his newest one that just came out. Awesome news!!!

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TV Notes
Thomas Jane to Star in Syfy's 'The Expanse'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 11, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Syfy's Leviathan Wakes adaptation The Expanse has cast its leading man.

Hung alum Thomas Jane has nabbed the starring role in the cable network's adaptation of James S.A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes book series
Starring role? In the books Miller is a main character, but by far not the lead. Wondering how they're going to twist this or if they're just sticking with the first book. I'm more interested on how they're going to handle the height difference between the humans who live in The Belt and "the Earthers."

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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'Remember WENN' was a great show. We really enjoyed it and was bummed when it was over.
I remember 'Remember WENN' as well. What a wonderful show, full of heart, humor, and terrific performances from a first-rate cast. A real TV treasure if you can find it anywhere today.
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