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post #96781 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:11 AM
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Critic's Notes
Waiting for ... 'Godzilla'?
By Mike Snider, USA Today's 'Cutting the Cord' Column - Sep. 13, 2014

If you are like me, you can't always catch a movie at the multiplex.

And the summer box office figures reflect that either there's a lot of you like me out there — or maybe this season's release slate didn't quite appeal to you.

This summer's $4 billion box office take is about 22% less than last year's and the largest summer-to-summer decline on record.

Still, there was some summer eye candy I wanted to see. I did make it to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in July — two thumbs up — but I missed several other comic book and sci-fi flicks during their theatrical runs, including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

So what's a movie lover to do when they want to catch up? Well, you have a growing list of viewing options — at varying price points.

Hollywood is increasingly making movies available for online purchase and rental, ahead of the Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases and pay-TV video-on-demand. So, if you just can't wait, you can pay a bit more and see it before the packaged discs hit the stores. Conversely, if you want to rent from a kiosk, you may find yourself waiting a bit longer than in the past.

Let's say, like me, you missed Godzilla in the theater and you want to exorcise that 1998 version with Matthew Broderick from your memory and catch up on the big guy's latest adventure starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad).

The Blu-ray, which starts at about $23, and DVD come out Sept. 16. But if you want to watch the movie before that, you can download a high definition version for $19.99 from iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and M-Go. (Amazon, Google Play and M-Go also offer a standard-def version for $14.99.)

If you can wait and don't want to own the movie, once the discs are out, you can use a service such as Amazon or iTunes and rent the film for $6 or less. If you have a pay-TV service, the film is usually available to rent on demand at this point, too. However, you will have to wait nearly a month if you want to rent an actual disc from a Redbox kiosk, which costs less than $2 — and even longer to see the film on HBO, Showtime or Netflix.

Getting similar treatment is Edge of Tomorrow (now retitled as Live Die Repeat/Edge of Tomorrow), out on Blu-ray Oct. 7, but available now on iTunes and Google Play, and Transformers: Age of Extinction, on home video Sept. 30, but hitting iTunes Sept. 16.

Consumer adoption of online sales and subscription streaming services — and the turning away from buying packaged discs — is driving this mutation of so-called movie availability "windows."

The Digital Entertainment Group recently reported that sales of Blu-rays and DVDs fell 8% during the first half of 2014, but still accounted for $3.3 billion — far from a dinosaur format. Over the same time, electronic sales rose 37% to $671 million and subscriptions rose 26% to $1.9 billion.

As consumer behavior changes — in this case, purchases of tickets and discs declining — Hollywood needs new ways of recouping its investments in movies. "There are a lot more outlets for content now than there ever really have been for video," says Glenn Hower, a research analyst at Parks Associates. "So the studios have to seriously examine their windowing process and develop a couple of different release periods."

We shall see what windows viewers choose to open most often in the days to come.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/p...dows/15460863/


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post #96782 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:27 AM
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The 2014/15 Season
It Was Good Enough for Frasier and Mary
‘Gracepoint,’ ‘Wayward Pines’ and Other Shows Are Set Far From the Coasts
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

A few weeks ago, when the New York Yankees were on the road playing the Baltimore Orioles, Brandon McCarthy, the Yankee pitcher, made this wisecrack via Twitter: “forgetting to pack my wearable ‘NO, I HAVEN’T SEEN THE WIRE’ sandwich board before coming to Baltimore has proven to be disastrous.”

For better or worse, some towns and cities end up being defined by their presence in a television show. Baltimore is a case in point, at least for fans of the HBO series “The Wire,” which was set there.

The coming season will give a few new locales a chance to join the club. Perhaps teams heading into Battle Creek, Mich., to play the town’sIndependent Basketball Association team, will soon be making sandwich-board jokes as a result of the forthcoming series named for that city.

Television tends to be lazy when it comes to locating shows. Plenty, of course, are set in fictional places, including the forthcoming Fox shows “Gracepoint,” which takes place in a nonexistent California coastal community, and “Wayward Pines,” named for a made-up Idaho town. A wearying number of other series take place in either New York or Los Angeles. So when a setting comes along that is not New York, not Los Angeles and yet real, it can help a series stand out.

Whether that’s a good thing for the town involved is another matter.“Reckless,” a CBS legal thriller-melodrama hybrid full of tawdry goings-on, has not exactly improved the image of Charleston, S.C., where it is set.“Topless Prophet,” a Cinemax reality show about so-called gentlemen’s clubs in metropolitan Detroit, is not doing that beleaguered city any favors.

“The Wire” wasn’t the most flattering portrait of Baltimore either, but the series developed such cachet that some of it rubbed off on the city despite the drug dealing and dysfunction depicted.

Other cities have no doubt found it easier to embrace their TV incarnation. Minneapolis has a statue of Mary Richards, Mary Tyler Moore’s character from her namesake show. The New York village Sleepy Hollow, the setting for the Fox cult hit named for it (though, as is often the case, the show is not shot there), was the subject of a batch of feature articles last fall.

Reality-TV towns can jump on a bandwagon too. On the home page of the Monroe-West Monroe, La., Convention and Visitors Bureau website the first thing you see is a picture of the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty.” Springfield, Ore., which likes to think that it is the Springfield where “The Simpsons” is set, just added a Simpsons mural to its arts center.

So here is a frivolous look at some less-than-familiar locales we’ll be visiting in the coming months. Will the exposure generate the kind of interest that results in T-shirts and bus tours? Only time and ratings will tell:

SEATTLE Television has been drawn periodically to Seattle for a while: the old series “Here Come the Brides,” about loggers and their womenfolk just after the Civil War, was set there. More recent shows include the sitcom “Frasier” and the current Netflix drama “The Killing.” Now a reality show and a company that produces what the city may be best known for are hoping to cash in: “Grounded in Seattle” is coming to We TV beginning Oct. 11. According to an announcement from the Barista Coffee Company, the series will be a “brutally honest look into the lives behind the scenes of girls from a variety of backgrounds” who work as costumed baristas in the company’s coffee stands. It will also apparently be a brutally honest version of product placement.

JASPER, ALA. Syfy has built a roster of quite good scripted shows, but on Oct. 7 it tries what sounds like an amusing twist on a workplace reality show: “Town of the Living Dead,” a series about the making of a zombie movie. The show is to chronicle efforts of a few amateur filmmakers in Jasper, near Birmingham, to complete “Thr33 Days Dead,” which they are said to have been working on for six years. Hey, the film must be real: It has a Twitter account and a trailer (which looks terrible).

BOSTON The city has, of course, been the setting for other shows — ever hear of a sitcom called “Cheers”? — but the attempts at a Boston accent have rarely been as grating as they are on the “The McCarthys,” a CBS comedy to debut Oct. 30. The repartee, though, is pretty good as chatty family members meddle in one another’s lives. Laurie Metcalf makes a dandy matriarch.

MODESTO, CALIF. This city is the setting for a midseason ABC series called “American Crime” that is likely to generate attention, with Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton among the stars. The story, the show’s website says, involves an attack on a white couple and resulting racial tensions, and some locals have not been thrilled. “It’s a sensationalistic, inaccurate media portrayal of fictitious crime in our community that exploits victims of crime and our community,” the Stanislaus County sheriff, Adam Christianson, told The Modesto Bee.

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. Behind-the-scenes names attached to the CBS police drama “Battle Creek,” expected midseason, include Vince Gilligan, the creator of “Breaking Bad,” and David Shore, whose credits include “House.” An F.B.I. agent (Josh Duhamel) is dispatched to set up a satellite office in Battle Creek, where he ends up in a buddy-cop partnership with a reluctant detective (Dean Winters). The interagency tensions are familiar but allayed with touches of humor.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/ar...ref=television


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post #96783 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:31 AM
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The 2014-15 Season/TV Review
‘Red Band Society,’ likable lot of kids
Fox's new dramedy captures the best of young adult fiction
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

In what’s known as young-adult fiction, the main characters often find inspiration, wisdom or comfort in books. Even if that’s self-serving on the part of the authors, we should still be grateful to them for teaching kids the benefits of reading.

The first episode of Fox’s new dramedy “Red Band Society,” about a group of seriously ill hospitalized teenagers, has an implied pro-reading message, along with many other strengths of good young-adult fiction. Although the characters are often stereotypical, they’re surprisingly good company, and they all have potential to grow. Even regular adult viewers could enjoy themselves.

Premiering on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 9 p.m., “Red Band Society” is set in the pediatric section of a Los Angeles hospital — the title refers to the patients’ wristbands, not R-rated movie trailers.

The biggest stereotype among the main characters is Kara (Zoe Levin), a head cheerleader and mean girl who is taken to the hospital after she faints while berating the rest of the squad during practice. Kara is placed in a room with Charlie (Griffin Gluck), who delivers the omniscient voice-over narration, even though he is in a coma.

Kara draws the attention of Leo (Charlie Rowe), a wheelchair-bound cancer patient who had been romantically involved with Emma (Ciara Bravo), an anorexic perfectionist. Leo’s best friend is Dash (Astro), a street-wise kid with cystic fibrosis.

The boss of the pediatric section is Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer), a familiar no-guff type who bullies a naïve new nurse, Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse), who otherwise doesn’t do much but look pretty. The same could be said for Dr. Jack McAndrew (Dave Annable), a pediatric surgeon who reluctantly agrees to treat Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), who also has cancer.

Jordi’s name points to the show’s origins: It was developed by Margaret Nagle from a Catalan-language Spanish series called “Polseres Vermelles.”

In the premiere episode, Jordi is about to have his leg amputated by Dr. McAndrew. So the boys decide to throw a farewell party for the limb on the hospital’s roof. Emma and Jordi joke about putting his leg in the refrigerator like a slice of wedding cake and taking it out for occasional walks.

The cynical dialogue coexists remarkably well with some moments of pure sentimentality. A mystical near-death experience has Kara considering someone else’s well-being for the first time in her life.

Since this is a show about teenagers, flirting and crushes are important, but as the success of both the book and the movie versions of “The Fault in Our Stars” has shown, teen romance is a lot easier to take seriously when it’s shadowed by mortality.

The actors playing the teens are good, even when they’re overwritten, like Kara, or underwritten, like Jordi. As Leo, Charlie Rowe has to deliver an excerpt from a Shakespeare speech. That moment might thrill high school English teachers, but it could have stopped the show — and not in a good way — if Rowe hadn’t kept it subtle.

Octavia Spencer, a Best Supporting Actress winner for “The Help,” can’t be blamed that her most famous role is so similar to this one, and that the sassy black woman is such a cliché in general. One hopes that the writers will help her broaden the character.

Now that the exposition is mostly out of the way, one also hopes that the show will go lighter on the narration in future episodes. The writing is serviceable, but it falls short of the profundity and hilarity toward which it seems to be striving. Charlie basically makes the same joke in voice-over — about Kara’s being heartless — that another character made previously in dialogue.

Parents might be unhappy with the show’s casual attitude toward beer drinking and pot smoking.

“Red Band Society” has to maintain a difficult balance between taking things too seriously and taking them too lightly. The premiere episode handles the task well.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/red...e-lot-of-kids/


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post #96784 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:39 AM
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TV Review
Nickelodeon’s ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Sep. 13, 2014

Watching Nickelodeon’s “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn” — a live-action series about squabbling, highly un-identical 10-year-old quadruplets — the mind soon drifted from the show’s loud, chaotic comedy (such as it is) to the logistical hurdles of producing a series where young kids, subject to various labor restrictions, occupy virtually every scene. Seen strictly in that context, the sitcom (paired with another recently introduced half-hour, “Henry Danger,” a goofy but more promising concept) becomes moderately interesting. Although even then, it’s probably best to indulge such curiosity with the sound down.

The kids (three boys and a girl) all feature different personalities, making it hard for them to get together on just about anything. In the premiere, they manage to bond over ruining a signed athletic jersey that’s the prize possession of their dad (Brian Stepanek) — who runs a sports/activity restaurant called Get Sporty! — worrying that their screw-up is going to cost them the dog they’ve just adopted.

Not surprisingly, the opener contains a lot of screaming and sight gags, from what resembles a slime fight in science class (a throwback to Nick’s roots, certainly) to pelting people with a snowball launcher. One of the boys also has an eye for girls, but as played, that’s relatively harmless, if mildly creepy.

Created by Matt Fleckenstein (who per press notes is dad to five children within five years of each other), what’s missing is the underlying point of this, other than multiplying the popular children’s programming formula of mismatched twins (or identical cousins) by a factor of two and, more practically, creating a lot of work for on-set tutors.

Near the end, the kids have to own up to their misdemeanors, bringing down not-so-tough love from mom (Allison Munn) and dad, who frankly deserve a whole lot worse for the terrible rhyming names with which they have saddled their boys.

“Who wants to clean up the puke in the sky-diving simulator?” the folks ask.

Assuming the simulator is situated far from a TV that’s showing “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn” … Me! Pick me!

Nickelodeon's 'Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn'
Nickelodeon, Sat. Sept. 13, 8:30 p.m.


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...wn-1201298288/


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post #96785 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:45 AM
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TV Review
'Deliverance Creek'
Civil War-era Missouri makes a turbulent backdrop for Lifetime feature starring Lauren Ambrose, Wes Ramsey and Katherine Willis
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Sep. 12, 2014

"Deliverance Creek” is what the TV biz calls a “backdoor pilot,” meaning that its real goal is for the story to continue as a weekly series.

If it does, let’s hope it gets less murky — which could happen, since this two-hour movie does sort out many of the plotlines from the popular Nicholas Sparks novel.

“Deliverance Creek” is set in Civil War Missouri, where you can’t tell many of the players even with a program. It lays out wartime life in a border state where the tension can quickly turn lethal and rule of law often seems to be only a rumor.

The clearest and best thing about the TV production is Lauren Ambrose as Belle Barlowe, a woman trying to hold onto her ranch.

Her husband, who went off to join the Confederate Army, hasn’t been heard from in two years, with no indication whether he’s alive or dead.

His absence has crippled Belle’s finances, though it hasn’t had much impact on her heart. She didn’t exactly marry the fellow for love, and now she’s having a good time flirting with Nate (Wes Ramsey), the town sheriff.

But Belle has very nasty neighbors, Jeb and Cordelia Crawford (Barry Tubb and Katherine Willis), who want her ranch and hold the papers on it.

Meanwhile, Union and Confederate soldiers swagger through town, along with some outlaws posing as soldiers, and this inevitably leads to a major tragedy for Belle.

A rapid-fire series of actions and alliances resets the opening lineup and presumably tees everything up for a potential series.

The question is whether the story could spin out over multiple episodes, and how it would integrate subplots like the Underground Railroad.

It would be a bold stroke to try.

'Deliverance Creek'
Network/Air Date: Saturday at 8 p.m., Lifetime
Rating: ★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.1937742


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post #96786 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 07:54 AM
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The 2014/15 Season
Fall TV: A day-by-day look at new shows
By Robert Bianco, USA Today

MONDAY

State of Affairs
NBC, Monday, 10 ET/PT, Nov. 17


Katherine Heigl returns to TV in this off-kilter vehicle that seems to imply that the CIA analyst who puts together the daily briefing book for the president (Alfre Woodard, adding gravity to an otherwise weightless project) is essentially in charge of all foreign and domestic policy. It's an interesting concept for a spoof, but if there are any actors on earth who could sell that idea as a drama, let's just say State hasn't found them.

TUESDAY

Selfie
ABC, Tuesday, 8 ET/PT, Sept. 30


Having thrived as a myth, play and musical, Pygmalion transforms into a sitcom about friendless, self-obsessed social media fanatic Eliza Dooley, who's rebranded by marketing guru Henry Higenbottam. Karen Gillan and John Cho are appealing as the My Fair Lady stand-ins and the pilot has some amusing moments — but as sturdy as the premise has proven to be, it's not clear that it can support weekly installments.

Manhattan Love Story
ABC, Tuesday, 8:30 ET/PT, Sept. 30


Take one of TV's most problematic genres, the romantic comedy, and layer on the medium's most overused gimmick, voice-over narration, and what do you get? A headache — and a very good reason to avoid this bottom-rung effort that allows us to hear everything a newly involved couple is thinking. Odds are what you'll be thinking, ABC won't want to hear.

Marry Me
NBC, Tuesday, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 14


Here's good news for fans of ABC's Happy Endings: Its star, Casey Wilson, is back on TV as a slightly crazy woman engaged to a slightly saner man (the always charming Ken Marino) in this comedy from Endings' creator (and Wilson's husband) David Caspe. Here's the bad news for NBC: Most people were not fans of Happy Endings, and it's not clear why Marry Me would change their minds.

NCIS: New Orleans
CBS, Tuesday, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 23


CBS, at least, certainly hopes that all you need to know is in the title. But for those who would like to know more than the obvious — this is yet another spinoff of NCIS, this time set in New Orleans — we can also supply the names of the stars, including Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder and Lucas Black. CBS isn't the only place where shock will abound if that doesn't add up to a hit.

WEDNESDAY

The Mysteries of Laura
NBC, Wednesday, 8 ET/PT, Sept. 17


Will & Grace's Debra Messing shines in this cop/comedy hybrid about a NYPD detective who's great at solving murders and terrible at controlling the twin boys she's raising without much help from her soon-to-be-ex-husband (Josh Lucas). If you like shows of the Castle/Bones/Mentalist variety, you'll see promise in Laura — assuming the writers can get past their apparent belief that misbehaving kids are always hilarious and working mothers are some kind of exotic species.

Red Band Society
Fox, Wednesday, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 17


Mix Grey's Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars with The Fault in Our Stars, throw in some spirituality in the form of a comatose boy who miraculously communicates with other seriously ill teens, spice it with Oscar winner Octavia Spencer as a tough but loving nurse, and what do you get? A show about a group of mostly high-school-aged sick kids living in an L.A. pediatric ward that may appeal to their peers — and will most likely leave adults wishing Spencer were spicing up something else.

Stalker
CBS, Wednesday, 10 ET/PT, Oct. 1


Kevin Williamson, the writer behind such hits as Dawson's Creek, The Vampire Diaries, Scream and The Following, goes the thriller route with this drama about an LAPD anti-stalker unit. Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott star, but the question raised by the pilot is less whether you want to watch them than whether you want to watch a show that sets a woman on fire as an opening come-on.

Thursday

Gracepoint
Fox, Thursday, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 2


If you've seen Broadchurch, the terrific British mystery on which this show is based, you're likely to be non-plussed by the seeming shot-for-shot similarities of the pilot's direction, which can't compensate for some weaknesses in the casting — and put off by Broadchurch star David Tennant's uncertain American accent in this version. And if you haven't seen Broadchurch? Well, really, just see it.

Bad Judge
NBC, Thursday, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 2


So here's the rule. If you're going to put "bad" in your title, you can't complain if unimpressed critics latch on to it as an evaluative description. Yes, it's lazy. In this case, it also happens to be accurate.

A to Z
NBC, Thursday, 9:30 ET/PT, Oct. 2


When the overly romantic Andrew (Ben Feldman) meets the overly practical Zelda (Cristin Milioti), sparks don't exactly fly, but romance does result. As you'd guess, NBC would love it if you followed their affair from beginning to end, or A to Z. Whether you want to commit depends on how fond you are of extended romantic comedies — or of any comedy that tends toward the coy and cute.

The McCarthys
CBS, Thursday, 9:30 ET/PT, Oct. 30


Laurie Metcalf, Jack McGee and Tyler Ritter lead an able cast in this sitcom about a close-knit, sports-crazed Boston family whose only non-fan, the gay son (Ritter), ends up working for his father as an assistant high school basketball coach. The pilot is a little strained and extremely conventional — but that cast may be enough to keep you watching for a few weeks as you wait and hope for improvement.


SUNDAY

Mulaney
Fox, Sunday, 9:30 ET/PT, Oct. 5.


Oh my. Manhattan Love Story is a more abrasive sitcom, but it is, at least, a recognizable sitcom. It's not clear what Saturday Night Live writer and standup John Mulaney thinks he's doing with this painfully laugh-free, Seinfeld-inspired comedy, which plays like a series of unrelated scenes pieced together at random. If you watch, try to figure out how the show signed Martin Short and Elliott Gould, both of whom should know better.

* * * *

Here's when to expect your returning favorites:

Sept. 11: The Biggest Loser (NBC)

Sept. 15: Dancing With the Stars (ABC)

Sept. 16: New Girl (Fox), The Mindy Project (Fox)

Sept. 21: 60 Minutes (CBS), The Good Wife (CBS)

Sept. 22: The Voice (NBC), Sleepy Hollow (Fox), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), The Blacklist (NBC)

Sept. 23: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), NCIS (CBS), Chicago Fire (NBC), Person of Interest (CBS)

Sept. 24: The Middle (ABC), The Goldbergs (ABC), Modern Family (ABC), Nashville (ABC), Survivor (CBS), Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Sept. 25: Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Scandal (ABC), Parenthood (NBC), Bones (Fox)

Sept. 26: Shark Tank (ABC), 20/20 (ABC), The Amazing Race (CBS), Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), Blue Bloods (CBS), Dateline (NBC)

Sept. 27: 48 Hours (CBS)

Sept. 28: Once Upon a Time (ABC), Resurrection (ABC), Revenge (ABC), CSI (CBS), The Simpsons (Fox), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), Family Guy (Fox)

Sept. 29: Castle (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2 Broke Girls (CBS), Mom (CBS)

Oct. 1: Criminal Minds (CBS)

Oct. 2: The Vampire Diaries (CW), Reign (CW)

Oct. 3: Last Man Standing (ABC)

Oct. 5: Bob's Burgers (Fox), America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

Oct. 6: The Originals (CW)

Oct. 7: Supernatural (CW)

Oct. 8: Arrow (CW)

Oct. 22: The 100 (CW)

Oct. 24: Grimm (NBC)

Oct. 30: The Millers (CBS), Two and a Half Men (CBS), Elementary (CBS)


http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...-day/14973571/


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post #96787 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 08:03 AM
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The 2014/15 Season
Characters Inspired by You-Know-Who
‘Madam Secretary,’ ‘State of Affairs’ and Other Series Channel Hillary Rodham Clinton
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times

It could have been that photograph of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the White House Situation Room watching, hand over mouth, as cameras showed the SEAL Team Six raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

Or maybe it was the moment she blew up at senators questioning her handling of Benghazi. (“What difference at this point does it make?”)

For some reason, Mrs. Clinton is embedded in several new fall dramas, most obviously “Madam Secretary,” a new CBS drama with Téa Leoni playing a take-charge secretary of state. There are also imprints of Mrs. Clinton on an NBC show, “State of Affairs,” in which the president is a woman (Alfre Woodard) and her most trusted adviser (Katherine Heigl) is a bold C.I.A. analyst who daily assesses — and almost single-handedly averts — national security threats.

In both pilots, Hillaryesque heroines lobby for risky rescue operations in the Middle East and then watch via satellite as the mission unfolds. Both women defy naysayers who question their foreign policy decisions.

Five years ago, the only successful television drama about a woman in politics was “The Good Wife” on CBS, and that was about the blindsided wife of a philandering governor. A few years before, ABC tried to make a go with Geena Davis as the first female president in “Commander in Chief.” That show fizzled and was canceled.

But what is especially striking is that in an age of deep cynicism about Washington, the new portraits of women in high office are painted in rosy shades of respect and admiration. While many of their more self-serving colleagues pursue ignoble agendas, network heroines in top positions are multitasking do-gooders trying to keep the nation safe.

That may be welcome news to Mrs. Clinton, who has not yet announced whether she will run for president in 2016, and who is still floating high on suspense and raised expectations. But it’s a little dull for viewers in the mood for a juicier and more realistic drama à clef.

The White House is one of the few conspicuous glass ceilings left, so maybe television writers are reluctant to make light of so important a milestone.

Unless, of course, the Republican National Committee and other conservative groups that lobbied successfully last year to prevent NBC from going ahead with a mini-series starring Diane Lane as Mrs. Clinton had a point. The complaint then was that networks would favor Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy under the guise of providing entertainment; the committee threatened to boycott the debates held by networks that went ahead with their Hilliographies. (CNN also gave up on a planned documentary.)

Now, the joke is on those conservative scolds: These fictionalized versions are not as easily swatted down.

Mrs. Clinton is not the only muse shaping the new fall season of course. Carrie Mathison, the bipolar C.I.A. officer played by Claire Danes on “Homeland” (Showtime) has several imitators. Hope Davis plays a former K.G.B. undercover agent pressed back into service by a Putin-era spy ring on “Allegiance,” an NBC drama that also owes a lot to “The Americans” on FX.

And Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the ABC dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” may actually be more influential than Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Rhimes is an executive producer of a new ABC series that takes all the sex, power and conspiracy she packed into Washington and crams it into a law school classroom.

On the new show, Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating, a criminal defense expert who is as smart and scary as Glenn Close on “Damages” or John Houseman on “The Paper Chase.” Keating doesn’t teach constitutional law, she teaches a criminal defense course that is also the title of the series, “How to Get Away With Murder.”

There isn’t a lot of sex in the pilot of “Madam Secretary,” but there is plenty of West Wing power mongering and conspiracy. Only the heroine, Elizabeth McCord, is above the fray. And as secretary of state, she has to find a way around a hostile, hawkish and power-hungry chief of staff who seems a lot like Dick Cheney.

Elizabeth is an idealized version of Mrs. Clinton, with all the smarts and drive and none of the ambition. Unlike the real Mrs. Clinton, this secretary of state didn’t run for president; she didn’t even want to be in the cabinet. Elizabeth is a former C.I.A. analyst turned college professor with a husband, two children and a horse farm who is dragooned into public service. “You quit a profession you love for ethical reasons,” the president tells her. “That makes you the least political person I know.”

The chief of staff assigns a stylist to give Elizabeth a more pulled-together image. Elizabeth resists, until she finds a way to use the makeover to further a worthy cause.

The pursuit of virtue seems almost perverse, given how well other series have done by focusing on the underbelly of politics. Ms. Rhimes showed the way with “Scandal”; everyone on that baroque nighttime soap has a fiendishly selfish agenda, especially the female vice president, though Olivia Pope, the Washington fixer played by Kerry Washington, is more noble than most.

Cable and Internet shows are even less inhibited. The women on the Netflix hit “House of Cards” are as corruptible and ruthless as any man, and the women on the Amazon show “Alpha House” are almost as foolish. On “Veep,” a satirical comedy on HBO about a vice president with her eye on the Oval Office, Julia Louis-Dreyfus channels all the pettiness, calculation and craven inaction that lie behind the C-Span curtain.

Political purity doesn’t require chastity. Maybe because Carrie on “Homeland” made it safe for a strong heroine to have casual sex with strangers, networks are daring to showcase heroines who engage in risqué — not to say risky — behavior by night.

It’s not promiscuity for pure pleasure, though. Not exactly. On “Homeland,” and also on “Black Box,” the recently canceled ABC medical drama about a bipolar neurosurgeon, hypersexuality is a symptom of the heroine’s condition. On “State of Affairs,” it’s a coping mechanism: Ms. Heigl plays Charleston Tucker, a high-level C.I.A. analyst whose fiancé was killed in a war zone and who assuages her grief by drinking heavily and picking up men in bars. Grief also drives Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) on “Forever” on ABC to booze-soaked one-night stands.

Neither woman seems interested in dating or even polite morning-after chatter. Jo sneaks out of a man’s apartment and is irritated when he follows her out and asks to see her again. “If I want to find you, I will,” she says.

There are no such lapses on “Madam Secretary,” of course. That heroine is too busy balancing family responsibilities and the affairs of state to contemplate an extramarital affair. That’s a guy thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/ar...ref=television


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post #96788 of 96804 Old 09-13-2014, 08:28 AM
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 13, 2014

GREAT PERFORMANCES: “STAR-SPANGLED SPECTACULAR”
PBS, 8:00 p.m.

Here’s a live musical performance that’s guaranteed to be off-key. Well, off-Key, anyway. It’s a celebration, live from Baltimore, of the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s composition of what became our national anthem. At some point in tonight’s show, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (pictured), backed by the U.S. Marine Band and the Morgan State Choir, will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” – but before that, lots of other people will sing other songs in this televised concert. Included on the set list: Train and Melissa Etheridge singing “This Land is Your Land,” Kristin Chenoweth singing “Till There Was You,” and Smokey Robinson singing “The Tracks of My Tears.” I’m not sure what, if anything, that has to do with “the Star-Spangled banner,” but really, who cares? Check local listings.

BELLE DE JOUR
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

In 1968, when Catherine Deneuve starred in this moody and surrealistic Luis Bunuel film, she was taking quite a risk. Bunuel had famously, and infamously, jump-started the surrealistic movie movement, way back in 1929, by collaborating with Salvador Dali on Un Chien Andalou, that short film with the unforgettable slit-eyeball shot. And here he was, decades later, wanting to make a movie in which Deneuve plays a frigid housewife who moonlights – daylights, actually – as a prostitute. It was a big leap, but Deneuve, at the time among the most beautiful and acclaimed young actresses in France, already had demonstrated a desire to break out of any preconceived cinematic constraints. She starred for Roman Polanski in the brilliant, disturbing Repulsion in 1965, playing a woman who descends into madness – and here, three years later, she collaborates with Bunuel on a movie that’s just as singularly daring, just as indelible – and just as skilled at mixing reality and fantasy.

FRUITVALE STATION
Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

Michael B. Jordan is a movie star here – in this 2013 fact-based drama, he plays the central character in a story about an ill-fated young man on New Year’s Eve. But fans of quality TV have tracked his star appeal for a while now – as Alex in Parenthood, as Vince in Friday Night Lights, and, long before those excellent performances, as Wallace in The Wire. So don’t be surprised if he draws you in here. He’s been doing that for years.

DOCTOR WHO
BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET

Some of the Doctor’s most chilling adversaries have been the ones that exist just on the periphery of perceived reality – the dangers that lurk just out of sight, out of frame, in the shadows and under the bed. Here comes another one – and the entryway this time is the mirror. And a children’s poem.

THE CHAIR
Starz!, 11:00 p.m. ET

This is the second episode of this new Starz! series, which really gets you closer to the personalities, and artistic styles, of the two fledgling directors selected to adapt and film the same script. For anyone with Hollywood dreams, it’s amazingly instructive, and, at times, maddening. Just as it should be.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV Review
PBS ‘Roosevelts’ Biography is Ken Burns’ Best
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 10, 2014

Ken Burns and his team have made some astoundingly instructive and entertaining nonfiction series for PBS. Their new epic, on the Roosevelts, is their best yet…

I say that knowing, full well, what an outrageously sounding claim it is. Since his perceptive and evocative Brooklyn Bridge PBS debut in 1981, Burns has become, and remained, our country’s preeminent documentary filmmaker.

The Civil War, in 1990, was the long-form nonfiction triumph that vaulted him to the top of the history heap – and since then, he’s never been seriously challenged, much less toppled. Baseball in 1994. The War in 2007. Prohibition in 2011. The Dust Bowl in 2012. And those are just the highest of high watermarks, in a career that also included such less expansive but no less rewarding productions as his history of early radio (1991’s Empire of the Air), and his perceptive biographies of, among others, Thomas Jefferson in 1997 and my personal favorite, Mark Twain, in 2001.

That’s an amazingly long and impressive career, and one that smacks of loyalty as well as quality. Burns tends to find people whose talents he values and respects – writers, narrators, vocal actors, fellow producers and editors – and work with them again and again.

Burns’ approach to his chosen subjects never varies much: There’s always a lot of exhaustive research, both historical and through available photographic archives, combined with original photography shot at surviving locations. Actors are chosen to read the words of historical figures, and the emphasis, invariably, is on bringing history, and those who made it, to vibrant, relatable life. All this while never, ever underestimating the intelligence, curiosity or stamina of his audience, of whom he often asks an almost ridiculous commitment of viewing hours, and good faith, to absorb his latest documentary series.

The latest offering from Ken Burns and his colleagues, for example, is a 14-hour TV program split into two-hour portions, and doled out over seven sequential nights, starting Sunday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET. It’s called The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and it’s a joint biography of Theodore Roosevelt, his fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Teddy’s niece Eleanor Roosevelt.

Taken separately, any of these three historical figures could have justified a full-fledged Ken Burns biography. But by combining their family stories into one naturally and emotionally connected arc, The Roosevelts tells a story that stretches over more than a century, touches on so many themes and moments from previous Burns documentaries – yet emerges, by the end, as a narrative so complex, so revealing and ultimately so inspirational, it deserves to be embraced, and devoured, as the best thing Burns has done to date.

He has, of course, as always, relied upon and benefited from some ridiculously invaluable help. Geoffrey C. Ward, a biographer of FDR, is the scriptwriter of this entire mammoth enterprise. He’s not the only wonderful writer Burns has worked with over the years, but he’s certainly one of the best: his writing credits for Burns include The Civil War, Baseball, The War, Mark Twain and others.

But here, for The Roosevelts, he’s on camera as well as behind the scenes, and slowly but surely emerges as this documentary series’ Shelby Foote, the historian who made The Civil War connect with millions of viewers because of the raw authenticity and naked passion of his spoken accounts. Ward, for this series, is as much of an MVP on camera as he is as a writer.

And there are other all-stars who, though never appearing on camera, also are key reasons why The Roosevelts: An Intimate History flows so beautifully. Paul Giamatti, as the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, captures both his bluster and his private insecurities. Edward Herrmann, as FDR, perfects, once again, the role he first embodied superbly decades ago in ABC’s Eleanor and Franklin telemovie. And as the voice of Eleanor Roosevelt, Meryl Streep does some amazing vocal work, her voice seeming to age decades, and be laden with increasing emotional weight, as The Roosevelts works its way through the decades.

Sunday’s Part 1 ends as Teddy, at age 42, suddenly inherits the office of President of the United States, ascending as the youngest President in American history to that point. In Part 3, Franklin’s story moves to the foreground, and he ascends to the Presidency at the end of Part 4. By midway trough Part 7, only Eleanor is left – but the family story, thanks to her, still has a way to go. And viewers, without doubt, should go every step of the way.

For my full review of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Wednesday’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, please visit the Fresh Air website.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=8117


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The 2014-15 Season/TV Review
‘Gotham,’ back to where it all began
Fox drama does an able job blending the various versions
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 11, 2014

The origin stories of superheroes share a lot with the origin stories of religious figures. They’re retold often, and it’s hard for people who aren’t true believers to judge whether they’re canonical.

When in the first episode of Fox’s new drama “Gotham,” set in Gotham City during Bruce Wayne’s boyhood, Bruce’s parents are once again gunned down by a mugger while taking a shortcut through an alley, most viewers will know that the incident will inspire Bruce to spend his life battling crime.

In the 1989 Tim Burton movie, the mugger turned out to be Jack Napier, who became the Joker. In other versions, the mugger winds up being a Gotham crime boss. In still others, his identity isn’t important.

A plethora of familiar Batman heroes and villains appear as their younger selves in the first episode of “Gotham,” which will air on Monday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. Devotees of the movies and comic books will enjoy geeking out over the versions of the back stories presented on the show, even if they find them heretical.

Normal human beings can have a good time following the main plot: James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), the future police commissioner of Gotham City, tries to battle corruption as a rookie detective. The one-good-cop story is hardly new, but the show and the actor handle it well.

The premiere episode opens with a young woman (Camren Bicondova) who will evidently turn out to be Catwoman, bounding from roof to roof. After committing a few petty crimes, she witnesses but does not intervene in the murder of the senior Waynes.

Called to the scene, Jim Gordon’s senior partner, Det. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) tries to avoid taking on what he considers a dangerously high-profile case. But Gordon has already consoled Bruce (David Mazouz), so the case is theirs.

Harvey and Jim go to interview Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), a nightclub owner who controls the neighborhood where the murders occurred. While there, Jim interrupts a beating being administered by Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), a young associate of Fish’s whose nickname is Penguin.

Along the way, Jim and Harvey also encounter a riddle-loving forensic scientist named Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), the future Riddler, and a plant-loving girl named Ivy (Clare Foley), presumably the future Poison Ivy.

The show is set in the murky but handsome Gotham of the most recent Batman movies. The creators settle for some cliché locations: A perp tries to flee through the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, and mobsters hang captives from meat hooks in a slaughterhouse.

The time frame is impossible to guess: The detectives wear hats but carry cellphones.

Ben McKenzie, who has matured impressively since breaking out on “The O.C.,” brings an imposing presence to Jim Gordon. We believe he’s tough enough to fight the corrupt forces controlling the city but smart enough not to risk his life or that of his loved ones.

McKenzie may be taking the role a little too seriously, but he’s nicely counterbalanced by Donal Logue, who provides the proper amount of levity for a show that, after all, is about adults who dress up in costumes to perpetrate or prevent felonies.

The Penguin’s origin story starts promisingly in the premiere, with Robin Lord Taylor giving the character a convincing blend of obsequiousness and sadism. The brief glimpses of the other villains make it impossible to judge whether their subplots will be worth following.

Most viewers will be content to let young Bruce mature off-screen. Although it would seem foolish to make a Batman series in which he is a relatively minor character, “Gotham” starts off fine without him.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/got...-it-all-began/


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The 2014/15 Season
Fall TV: Robert Bianco's Top 10 new shows to watch
By Robert Bianco, USA Today

CW is two for two this fall.

Batting a thousand, of course, may not be all that remarkable when you've only taken two swings at bat. But what does count as remarkable is that those two series, Jane the Virgin (Oct. 13, Mondays at 9 ET/PT) and The Flash (Oct. 7, Tuesdays at 8 ET/PT), are more than just home runs. They're the two best broadcast pilots of the new season. And that, mind you, on a network where the word "best" has most often been followed by "avoided."

New shows, to be sure, are the very definition of "works in progress": Some will build on their pilots, and some will collapse. But it's always better to start off well, and these two shows start off best.

Not entirely coincidentally, Jane and Flash encompass the season's two most important trends: an increase in diversity and an influx of comic-book-based shows. With its focus on a Hispanic girl and her extended family, Jane joins such shows as ABC's Black-ish, Cristela and the upcoming Fresh off the Boat in going beyond diverse ensembles to actually delving into the minority experience in America. As for Flash, it combines with NBC's Constantine, Fox's Gotham and ABC's midseason Agent Carter to swell the ranks of shows featuring DC or Marvel characters, now represented by Agents of Shield and Arrow.

Still, reducing Jane to a trend hardly does justice to an hour-long soap that is both the year's best new comedy — which isn't saying all that much — and best new pilot, which is. It's a series that also seems set to make a star out of Gina Rodriguez, who won most critics over with her performance.

Rodriguez stars as a virginal young college student and devout telenovela fan who becomes pregnant after an accidental artificial insemination. That's a shock not just to Jane but to the two devoted women with whom she lives: her strict grandmother and her wilder mother, who became pregnant at 16 by a man Jane doesn't know — but we do.

Based on a popular Venezuelan series,Jane uses its outlandish soap concept both to mock the form and to explore the appeal telenovelas have to their largely Spanish-speaking audience. (Jane's grandmother barely speaks English in the show.)

But at heart, Jane isn't a spoof; it's a sweet, funny show about a family struggling to find its way through an impossible situation while finding its way in America. And that's a struggle with which many can identify.

You're not really meant to identify with the struggle facing young Barry Allen, the fleet-footed hero at the center of the season's best new drama, The Flash. But you are meant to enjoy it, which is what may lift Flash above Fox's more ambitious but also more ponderous Gotham. There's a lightness to The Flash that's missing from most of TV's other superhero hours, and it makes for a welcome change.

For that, give some of the credit to Grant Gustin (Glee), who is easily appealing as the slightly geeky Barry. Spare some for the show's concept, which allows Barry to be happy with his powers rather than haunted by them.

And then give the rest to the Flash himself — if only because he isn't burdened by the sometimes crushing weight of fan demands faced by any new adaptation of Superman, Batman or Spider-Man. He can more readily slip under the radar — just like his network, at least for now.

If the promise of Jane and Flash hold true, that radar may have to readjust.

The Rest of the Top Ten:

3) Black-ish (ABC, Sept. 24, Wednesday, 9:30 ET/PT)

Anthony Anderson stars as a prosperous African-American executive who worries that his children are losing their cultural identity in a comedy that harkens back to those All in the Family days when shows had social goals to go with their comic ones. The pilot may not be as funny as the show will need to be to prosper, but for awhile, great intentions, and a strong cast led by Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne, may be enough. There may be better shows out there than Black-ish, but if there's one show that would improve TV just by working, this is it.

4) Gotham (Fox, Sept. 22, Monday, 8 ET/PT)

Welcome to Batman: The Early, Early Years, in a series that turns the spotlight on a pre-Commissioner Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). In the course of a dark, rainy and sometimes surprisingly violent hour, this newly hired detective will cross paths with the men and women who will become Batman, Catwoman, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and The Penguin (in a particularly impressive turn by Robin Lord Taylor). He'll also encounter the excess hype and scrutiny that faces any show in the Dark Knight canon, along with the doubts of those who may wonder why they should watch a Batman show without Batman. Those may be the hardest villains to vanquish of all.

5) How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, Sept. 25, Thursday, 10 ET/PT)

For those who find Grey's Anatomy too staid and Scandal too wild, Shonda Rhimes offers a midway course: a hot-but-not-quite-boiling legal thriller driven by a murder mystery and fueled by sex. The wonderful Viola Davis stars as a law professor and practicing lawyer who uses her top students as clerks, giving them practical experience in the ways of homicide trials. As they may or may not be burying a person they may or may not have murdered, it's possible their experience became a bit more practical than the prof intended.

6) Madam Secretary (CBS, Sept. 21, Sunday, 8 ET/PT)

When the secretary of State dies, the president convinces CIA analyst-turned-college professor Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) to take the job. Elizabeth is bright, outspoken and incapable of being managed, to the dismay of her staff (including Tony winners Bebe Neuwirth and Patina Miller) and the delight of her husband (Tim Daly). The plot isn't always convincing, but Leoni most definitely is — and if nothing else, it's nice to see a show about a woman who is good at both her job and her personal life.

7) Forever (ABC, Sept. 22, Tuesday, 10 ET/PT)

Some premises are better left unexamined. Like, say, that of Forever, an entertaining twist on the standard TV detective story that stars Ioan Gruffudd as a New York medical examiner with impressive deductive skills. As well they should be: He's been honing them for more than 200 years, thanks to an act of bravery that left him immortal. Oh, he dies — multiple times in the pilot alone. He just keeps coming back to life, with Judd Hirsch at his secret-keeping side.

8) Constantine (NBC, Oct. 24, Friday, 10 ET/PT)

NBC joins the comic-book craze with Constantine, an adaptation of the Hellblazer series that inspired the Keanu Reeves feature film. Matt Ryan stars as a sharp-tongued Brit fighting to save the world from demons and rescue his own lost soul from their hellish homeland. The pilot was more enjoyable than that description might suggest, but the show is being reshaped — so someone clearly didn't think it was enjoyable enough.

9) Scorpion, (CBS, Sept. 22, Monday, 9 ET/PT)

This solid CBS procedural is based on a true story, but you can be forgiven if you spot some comic-book inspiration in its tale of a group of eccentric, poorly socialized geniuses who band together to fight high-tech criminals. Elyes Gabel stars as the chief misfit, with Robert Patrick as his government minder and Katherine McPhee as a waitress who serves as a "normal world" interpreter. Think of her as Big Bang's Penny and Gabel as a crime-fighting Leonard, and you won't be too far off.

10) Cristela (ABC, Friday, 8:30 ET/PT, Oct. 10)

ABC has a knack for finding talents, from Rebel Wilson to this season's Cristela Alonzo, who deserve their own shows. Unfortunately, as Wilson learned with Super Fun Night, the network doesn't always have a knack for shaping shows around them — leaving Alonzo with a loud, somewhat clumsy comedy that can best be considered a work in progress. Still, the work could be worth it: She's funny and the show's focus on a Mexican-American woman pushing past societal and family expectations is timely.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...-ten/14936509/


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FRIDAY'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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post #96792 of 96804 Old Yesterday, 05:13 AM
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This is off topic but this month I've communicated with more recent "cord cutters" than ever. Some have even cancelled Netflix. Most have changed the habit of going to see movies in a theater because of rising costs and positive reviews written about mediocre movies or movies with PC messages.
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post #96793 of 96804 Old Yesterday, 08:57 AM
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The 2014/15 Season
Fall TV: Robert Bianco's Top 10 new shows to watch
By Robert Bianco, USA Today


7) Forever (ABC, Sept. 22, Tuesday, 10 ET/PT)

Some premises are better left unexamined. Like, say, that of Forever, an entertaining twist on the standard TV detective story that stars Ioan Gruffudd as a New York medical examiner with impressive deductive skills. As well they should be: He's been honing them for more than 200 years, thanks to an act of bravery that left him immortal. Oh, he dies — multiple times in the pilot alone. He just keeps coming back to life, with Judd Hirsch at his secret-keeping side.


http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...-ten/14936509/
Sorry, I thought this show was called "New Amsterdam". Oh wait, that was a few years ago and lasted maybe one season. Why do this again? Talk about a lack of fresh ideas! This is not even a good idea recycled!
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post #96794 of 96804 Old Yesterday, 10:01 AM
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Sorry, I thought this show was called "New Amsterdam". Oh wait, that was a few years ago and lasted maybe one season. Why do this again? Talk about a lack of fresh ideas! This is not even a good idea recycled!
I watched the pilot on Hulu and it wasn't too bad, I doubt I'll stick with it though, I'm to the point I almost watch cable shows exclusively, I'm probably at 95% cable/ 5% network or pretty close. I guess network may be higher if I count PBS.
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SATURDAY'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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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

ABC:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - May 11)
8PM - Countdown to Miss America (LIVE)
9PM - The 2015 Miss America Competition (120 min., LIVE)

CBS:
7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (continued from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8:30PM - Big Brother
9:30PM - Unforgettable
10:30PM - Unforgettable (Season Finale)

NBC:
7PM - Football Night in America (80 min., LIVE)
8:20PM - Sunday Night Football: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (LIVE)

FOX:
7PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Nov. 3)
7:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Dec. 1)
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Apr. 6)
8:30PM - The Simpsons
(R - Apr. 13)
9PM - American Dad (Season Premiere, 60 min.)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Get Action (1858-1901) (Miniseries premiere, 120 min.)
10PM - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Get Action (1858-1901) (120 min.)
(R)

UNIVISION:
7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Va Por Tí
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

TELEMUNDO:
6PM - Movie - Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
8PM - Yo Soy El Artista (Series Premiere, 2 1/2 hrs.)
10:30PM - Suelta La Sopa Extra: Yo Soy El Artista

HBO:
11PM - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver


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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 14, 2014

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT
PBS, 8:00 p.m.
MINISERIES PREMIERE:
Ken Burns, writer Geoffrey C. Ward and the rest of Burns’ eager and talented collaborators present what emerges, ultimately, as the finest Ken Burns epic to date: a joint biography of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The voices of those formidable historical figures are provided, respectively, by Paul Giamatti, Edward Herrmann and Meryl Streep, with narration by Peter Coyote and on-camera observations by, among others, Ward himself. Tonight’s Part 1, while we hear all three Roosevelt voices, focuses on Teddy, who takes tonight’s entire program to ascend to the U.S. Presidency. Watch this entire series, which unspools on PBS in two-hour chunks over seven consecutive nights – and record it, because you’ll want to see it again and again. And to hear my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which includes audio samples from several episodes, visit the Fresh Air website. Check local listings.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET

The San Francisco 49ers won its first game of the season with ease, having its way both offensively and defensively against the Dallas Cowboys. The Chicago Bears, meanwhile, lost its first game the hard way – in overtime, against the Buffalo Bills. Tonight the 49ers and Bears play each other, with San Francisco enjoying home-field advantage.

THE 2015 MISS AMERICA COMPETITION
ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Once called a pageant, and now renamed to reflect not just something less superficial but also something intended to last past the calendar year, tonight’s live TV special is titled The 2015 Miss America Competition. It’s still, in essence, the same beauties on parade event that began in Atlantic City in 1921, the year of Prohibition and the initial setting of Boardwalk Empire. The Miss America pageant, now on ABC, may have lost some of its luster of late – but hey, so has Atlantic City. Yet as cultural artifacts go, this particular event has enough history to warrant a peek.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE
HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Speaking of Boardwalk Empire, this show’s final season has Nucky (Steve Buscemi) planning for the repeal of Prohibition, and planning to go legit in the liquor distribution business. But that doesn’t come easily, and there are factions out to remove Nucky from the equation entirely. Yet just as transition doesn’t come easily, Nucky doesn’t go easily. Nor does Chalky, another Boardwalk Empire character with a keenly honed knack for survival.

HARRY AT 30
BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tomorrow, on Sept. 15, HRH Prince Henry of Wales – that’s Prince Harry to you, and to me, and almost everybody else – turns 30 years old. (Older brother, Prince William, is 32, making these siblings the exact ages of my own son and daughter, respectively. Never realized that before.) Tonight’s BBC America special looks at Prince Harry’s life to date – which gives the network one more chance to court Anglophiles by replaying footage from the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, the boys’ parents.

MASTERS OF SEX
Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

After all this time, last week’s episode ended with Masters (Michael Sheen) confessing to Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), in the privacy of their hotel room, that he had a sexual problem. Maybe this week’s episode will begin with him telling her what it is… as the plot, like their relationship and their affair, continues to thicken.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/


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Nielsen Overnights
Fox’s ‘Utopia’ Has Quiet Friday Debut Opposite Soft Competition
By Rick Kissell, Variety.com - Sep. 13, 2014

Fox’s ambitious new reality series “Utopia” was hoping to recruit some new viewers opposite softer competition on Friday, but its premiere on the night produced more low numbers.

Ratings for Friday shows are generally lower than other nights because fewer people are watching television, but last night also marked the first time that “Utopia” didn’t have to go up against CBS’ similarly-themed “Big Brother.” That didn’t seem to make a difference, though, as the show delivered its lowest ratings in its three airings to date.

In preliminary “live plus same-day” estimates from Nielsen, “Utopia” averaged a 0.7 rating/3 share and 1.8 million viewers overall — down from the 0.9 demo rating and 2.5 million it drew in its first Tuesday performance. The show had bowed to a 2.0 rating and 4.6 million total viewers when it had a special post-NFL premiere last Sunday.

Competitively, “Utopia” tied NBC’s repeat of reality show “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” for second among the Big Four in 18-49 during the 8 o’clock hour. Both shows edged ahead of CBS’ special “48 Hours” report on Oscar Pistorius (0.6/3 in 18-49, 4.3 million total viewers).

ABC led the hour with repeats of comedy “Last Man Standing” (0.9/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall at 8 and 0.8/3 and 4.4 million at 8:30).

With the start of the new TV season right around the corner, Fox may have a tough decision to make on “Utopia,” which is scheduled to air twice a week (Tuesday and Friday). It doesn’t figure to stay on the schedule much longer if it remains at a sub-1 demo rating.

NBC was the ratings winner on this Friday, powered by a two-hour “Dateline” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall).

http://variety.com/2014/tv/ratings/f...on-1201305150/


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Obituary
Theodore J. Flicker, Creator of TV's 'Barney Miller,' Dies at 84
By Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter - Sep. 13, 2014

Theodore J. Flicker, a veteran TV writer and director who co-created the ABC sitcom Barney Miller, died Friday in his Santa Fe home. He was 84.

Barbara Flicker, Theodore's wife of 48 years, told The Hollywood Reporter that her husband had suffered from hypersensitivity pneumonitis, known colloquially as "hot tub lung," and she believes that his years of working with clay as a sculptor led to the infliction. He had been treating the condition with steroids.

Barbara said that, just three hours prior to his death, she and Theodore had attended his art show together. "He looked wonderful, and he felt wonderful, and he just crashed," she said.

She is heartened by the fact that so many people were affected by Theodore and his work and have reached out to her since his death. "People were really involved with Teddy," she said, adding that he was "really interesting."

Theodore was best known for his work as a TV writer and director. He and Danny Arnold co-created the cop sitcom Barney Miller, which ran for eight seasons from 1975 to 1982. Theodore worked as a director on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and wrote for The Mod Squad.

In addition to his work in TV, he directed and co-scripted the 1964 film The Troublemaker, and his screenplay for the 1967 James Coburn film The President's Analyst earned him a Writers Guild Award nomination.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...tor-tvs-732688


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The 2014/15 Season
Modern Romance, With Laughs
‘Manhattan Love Story’ and ‘A to Z,’ New Network Sitcoms
By Mike Hale, The New York Times

Are you one of the people mourning the loss of the old-fashioned (as in 1990s) rom-com? Do you feel that romantic comedies haven’t been the same — or haven’t even existed — since the last time Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks made a movie together?

Then you might find some relief in an unexpected place: the fall television season, where two new sitcoms are doing their part to keep the tradition alive.

ABC’s “Manhattan Love Story” (beginning Sept. 30) and NBC’s “A to Z” (Oct. 2) are taking the same unusual approach. Each promises to tell the complete story of a particular romance, from first meeting to — well, that’s unclear, though it’s hard to imagine they’d have unhappy endings, other than early cancellation. “A to Z” even tells us how long its couple will date, down to the hour. (It’s a little over eight months). And the makers of both shows — perhaps feeling that a romantic comedy without well-known stars is a tough sell in the current TV marketplace — are emphasizing the movielike gimmicks in their storytelling.

In addition to that ticking clock, “A to Z” comes with narration (by Katey Sagal) that telegraphs the twists of the narrative and occasionally points out when the characters aren’t being honest with each other. “Manhattan Love Story” has a similar device to save the writers time and effort in drawing the characters: We sometimes hear the couple’s thoughts, usually when the thoughts directly contradict what one of them is about to say.

If these premises and techniques sound vaguely familiar, you may be remembering CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” which ended its run this spring. It also employed an omniscient narrator, like “A to Z,” and presented itself as the story of a single, successful romance. The difference was that “Mother” set itself up as a mystery — we didn’t know who the female half of the couple would turn out to be — and that element of delayed gratification became a problem as the popular series stretched out over nine seasons. “A to Z” and “Manhattan Love Story” take an opposite approach, appearing to put all their cards on the table, a tactic that may make the shows easier to follow but also seems as if it might work against extended runs.

Beyond the storytelling devices, the shows present a resolutely conventional picture of modern romance — the same picture, actually, just with the genders reversed. In each case an alpha — defensive, superior, emotionally semi-available — meets a sensitive, slightly scattered, easily wounded beta.

In “Manhattan Love Story” the alpha is the male, Peter (Jake McDorman), a young New Yorker first seen walking down the street giving a mental yes or no to every woman he sees. We’re supposed to hold his obsession with appearances against him at the same time that we recognize it as typically masculine. This is the sort of show in which men are evil, or gay, until proven otherwise.

Peter’s opposite number is Dana (Analeigh Tipton of “America’s Next Top Model”), a new arrival from Atlanta whose femininity is largely defined by her inability to send text messages correctly. She’s the naïve, sentimental one, though this being a contemporary comedy her thoughts sometimes run to orgasms and expensive handbags. Peter’s tragic flaw, as it turns out, is not his shallow focus on cheekbones and breasts but his “hip ironic distance” (the show’s words), his tendency to make a joke out of everything. In terms of romantic comedy tradition, sarcasm apparently has replaced pomposity or indifference or a wandering eye as the quality that the heroine must beat out of the hero for the wedding to take place.

In “A to Z,” it’s the woman, a lawyer named Zelda (get it?) played by Cristin Milioti, who’s the hard case. Because she’s a woman in a network sitcom — and not in a spring replacement show like “Bad Teacher” — she can’t be shallow and predatory like Peter. Instead she’s defensive and suspicious of men, with an explanatory back story involving a hippie mother who couldn’t tell her who her father was.

The soft half here is Andrew (Ben Feldman of “Mad Men”), who — in a device that’s either cleverly twisted or simply implausible — works for an Internet dating service and maintains a deep belief in soul mates and true love. “A to Z” is the more sentimental of the two shows, and this is reflected in how Andrew and Zelda meet: She walks into Wallflower Online Dating to register a complaint, and he’s riveted by her, staring across a crowded office-park atrium. In “Manhattan Love Story,” by contrast, Peter and Dana meet through a dreaded setup.

So while Dana tries to humanize Peter, Andrew will try to break down Zelda’s defenses. (Each of these campaigns seems largely to have succeeded by the end of the pilot. Apparently we need that kind of reassurance to come back in future weeks to see what can go wrong.) You hope none of them get to see NBC’s “Marry Me,” another new sitcom (beginning Oct. 14) about a modern relationship.

“Marry Me” is the writer and producer David Caspe’s follow-up to his ABC show “Happy Endings,” and once again his emphasis is on never-ending, call-and-response gags, pop-culture references and wordplay, on defining characters through their verbal resources. (The characters here are actually guilty of what Peter is accused of in “Manhattan Love Story.”) Behind the barrage of dialogue is a story about a couple (Casey Wilson and Ken Marino) who have been together for six years without marrying, and who, in the pilot, make a series of disastrous attempts at proposing to each other that leave them unsure whether they truly belong together, or even really know each other. The incipient couples of “Manhattan Love Story” and “A to Z” wouldn’t want to see this in their futures, but to a lot of mating-age 21st-century TV viewers, it might look a lot more real.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/ar...ref=television


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The 2014/15 Season
TV fall season's best and worst bets
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sep. 14, 2014

First the good news: There’s nothing new this fall that’s as egregious as last fall’s Fox clunker, “Dads.”

Now the bad news: There’s a lot of mediocrity and the stuff that’s promising tends to be more guilty-pleasure good than smart-sophisticated good.

But the four promising series listed here appear poised to offer the most entertainment value based solely on their pilot episodes.

ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” offers more “Scandal”-ous-style crazy twists and turns that may not necessarily seem realistic or believable but provide a fun ride nonetheless.

The CW scored with its only two new fall shows: The soapy, sweet “Jane the Virgin” and the optimistic superhero drama “The Flash.”

And NBC’s “Marry Me” revives the out-of-left-field comedy of the late “Happy Endings,” coming as it does from the creator of “Happy Endings” and one of its stars.

Among the least promising new fall shows are three unfunny comedies – NBC’s “Bad Judge,” ABC’s “Manhattan Love Story” and Fox’s “Mulaney” – along with yet another terrible, women-in-jeopardy crime procedural from CBS that will probably be a hit in spite of its awfulness because enough CBS viewers clearly like terrible, women-in-jeopardy crime procedurals that the network keeps spitting them out.

MOST PROMISING

“How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC).
“Jane the Virgin” (The CW).
“Marry Me” (NBC).
“The Flash” (The CW).

LEAST PROMISING

“Bad Judge” (NBC).
“Manhattan Love Story” (ABC).
“Mulaney” (Fox).
“Stalker” (CBS).


http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201409140005


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TV Notes
We'll see Joan Rivers on the new season of 'Celebrity Apprentice'
By Ann Oldenburg, USA Today - Sep. 12, 2014

Joan Rivers may be gone, but she will be back on TV soon.

Donald Trump, who knew Joan well, recalled her win on his Celebrity Apprentice in 2009 while talking to Extra earlier this week.

“It was a big moment in her life,” Trump said, one that had a “huge impact” on her.

He also said that we’ll be seeing Rivers on the new season of Celebrity Apprentice.

“We just finished shooting Season 14, and Joan is a big part of two of the episodes. I mean a big part, and she was fantastic. Joan worked so hard, she studied, she wanted to know all about the contestants that were remaining, what were their good points, their bad points. Joan was a hard worker… I think people are going to get a big kick, she was terrific.”

NBC tells us that there is no premiere date yet, and that although there has been lot of buzz about the cast since March, it has not officially been announced yet. Rivers does appear in two episodes as a task adviser; she’s not in the premiere.

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/20...ty-apprentice/


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TV Notes
Gary Busey Becomes First American to Win British ‘Celebrity Big Brother’
By Jason Hughes, TheWrap.com - Sep. 13, 2014

While not as grueling as the traditional iterations of “Big Brother,” Great Britain's “Celebrity Big Brother” does require its celebrity houseguests to spend a month together with cameras watching their every move. In the 14th edition, Gary Busey became the first-ever American to emerge from the house a winner.

Olympic boxer Audley Harrison came in second to the 70-year old actor. “They've picked Gary and I'm okay with that,” he said.

Busey said that his time in the “Big Brother” house actually helped him. “This show showed me things about myself that need to change,” he said. “‘Big Brother’ is perfection and they gave me guidance.”

Harrison acknowledged that Busey had shown some growth and change during his time in the house with the actor. Busey was up for eviction multiple times, setting a new “Celebrity Big Brother” record with 24 total nominations for eviction.

Busey was one of three Americans in the latest season of “Celebrity Big Brother.” He was joined by actor Leslie Jordan and “The Hills” star Stephanie Pratt. Past Americans to appear on the show include Evander Holyfield, Dustin Diamond, Michael Madsen, Tara Reid, Heidi Fleiss, Ivana Trump, Coolio, La Toya Jackson, Verne Troyer, Dirk Benedict, and Dennis Rodman.

http://www.thewrap.com/gary-busey-be...y-big-brother/


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TV Review
Debra Messing might not be enough to save 'The Mysteries of Laura'
By Bill Harris, Toronto Sun

There was one point in the first episode of The Mysteries of Laura that I laughed quite hard, but perhaps it's an “inside baseball” type of joke.

New York homicide detective Laura Diamond, played by Debra Messing, arrives at a mansion as part of an investigation. The lady of the house says to Laura, “A middle-aged police woman! Just like Rizzoli! I love that! ... It's clear your face has seen so much.”

It's a reference to the cop series Rizzoli & Isles, in which Angie Harmon plays Rizzoli. Funny line.

But I'm focusing on the funny here because The Mysteries of Laura does the same – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Debuting Wednesday, Sept. 17 on NBC and CTV, The Mysteries of Laura basically is a one-hour cop comedy with some drama thrown in, as opposed to the other way around, which is more common.

Tonally, The Mysteries of Laura actually is only a couple of beats away from Andy Samberg's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine clearly and unapologetically is a sitcom. We're supposed to take The Mysteries of Laura at least somewhat more seriously than that, but I'm not sure if I can.

Based on a Spanish show, The Mysteries of Laura focuses on the title character, who is a working mom raising twin boys who just happen to be total terrors. Cute terrors, but terrors nonetheless.

Laura is good at her job, but she's also kind of a “hot mess,” and she worries that she's coming up short on the mothering side. Laura's husband Jake, played by Josh Lucas, also is a cop. He apparently cheated on Laura and she has signed the divorce papers, but he has not. They clearly still have feelings for each other, but as you would imagine, it's complicated.

The Mysteries of Laura is supposed to be an amusing look at the struggles of a modern working mother. But I guess my initial reaction would be that it is neither particularly insightful on that front, nor particularly hilarious. Messing, understandably, sees it differently.

“This is a dream come true for me because I get to be in the centre of a mystery (every week), the world is delightful, and it's a 'dramedy' - I didn't have to choose," Messing explained. "This was the first time I've read a script for network TV where I didn't have to choose, 'Do I want to do a comedy or do I want to do a drama?' It's both, and I'm so grateful and so excited to start this adventure, because it does feel like uncharted territory on primetime TV.

“The thing that is challenging is finding the funny in the drama and finding the drama in the funny, in order to maintain one consistent tone. I really related to the fact that it was almost as if she were two women. When I go to work and I know that my child is safe and in school and taken care of, I can focus all of my attention on my work, and I am a very different person than when I'm running around like a chicken without a neck at home. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to show both worlds simultaneously.”

Ultimately, your interest level in The Mysteries of Laura will depend almost entirely on how charming and funny and watchable you find Debra Messing to be. Hey, she's a fine actress with great hair and an impressive resume. But in the first episode at least, she seems to be frantically trying to carry and save some of the scenes. It's as if the script merely said, “Debra does something cute here,” and then they left it to her.

What works on network primetime TV these days is, indeed, a mystery. For Laura, that'll be the toughest case to crack.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/09/11...eries-of-laura


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