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post #96931 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 10:45 AM
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WARNING: Spoilers for Season 1 of "Sleepy Hollow" in this article.

Critic's Notes
Sleepy Hollow: 9 Reasons I Can't Wait for Season 2
By Kaitlin Thomas, TVLine.com - Sep. 20, 2014

Before it premiered last fall, I thought Sleepy Hollow was going to crash and burn—and that I would be there to dance around it while laughing maniacally. The premise sounded ludicrous on paper, and I wasn't entirely sure that Fox wasn't playing a prank on all of us. I wondered if the series wasn't created after one too many shots of tequila at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights—and to be honest, I'm still not fully convinced that wasn't how it came to exist. But I also don't really care about what went in to developing this show, because it turned out to my favorite new drama of last season.

Every week, I counted down the hours until the next new episode, and not just because it meant spending an hour with Tom Mison, although that was certainly a plus. Sleepy Hollow successfully meshed together several of my favorite things—supernatural phenomena, suspense, mystery, and plenty of humor—while also keeping me on my toes. John Noble's addition to the mix midway through was just a bonus, one that got even better when his true identity was revealed in the season finale.

Now, after nine long months, the series will finally return for Season 2 on Monday, September 22, at 9:00 p.m., hopefully bringing with it the same fast-paced, exciting, and capable storytelling that made it so worth watching in the first place. To celebrate, here are the nine things I'm most looking forward to in Season 2.

9. Ichabod vs. technology
What does Ichabod think about the iPhone 6? No, seriously, I want to know.

8. Seeing the dead return
I doubt anyone was as excited as I was when Evil John Cho returned from the dead after dying in the pilot, so here's hoping that he'll once again rise from the ashes to grace us with his flabby neck skin.

7. Those awesome opening credits
In a world where most title sequences have been replaced by single title cards or done away with all together, it's nice to have Sleepy Hollow's fun, creepy intro and theme music to get us in the right frame of mind each week.

6. Ichabbie's friendship
The duo's buddy-cup dynamic is the backbone of the show, and it's the little moments—like that time they celebrated trapping the Horseman with an awkward fist bump—that make it one of the best relationships on TV.

5. More cool baddies
Look at these fun guys! I bet they're a real hoot at parties! But if I can be serious for a second, Sleepy Hollow already has such a great villain in the Headless Horseman that I'd be willing to forgive the show if the rest of its monsters were subpar. The fact that it goes above and beyond with each new baddie, taking great care to make them look cool AND creepy, is like a delicious donut hole you didn't know you wanted.

4. Yolanda
Never has a disembodied voice been so important to a television show. Here's hoping Yolanda officially joins the team in Season 2.

3. Action! Adventure! Jokes!
Halfway through Sleepy Hollow's freshman season—yes, only halfway—Abbie and Ichabod captured the Horseman by using fake skulls to lure him into a trap and then immobilize him with artificial sunlight. They eventually interrogated him (via Evil John Cho, a necromancer) and it was AWESOME. If the show continues to pull off ballsy moves like that while keeping its tone light and its stakes high, we're in for another successful season.

2. Shocking surprises
Season 1 ended on a high note when we learned that John Noble's Henry Parrish was actually Ichabod and Katrina's son AND the Horseman of War. I'll just be over here cleaning up the bits of my brain that splattered across the wall when my head exploded.

1. The Horseman of War
The only thing better than John Noble is Evil John Noble.

http://www.tv.com/shows/sleepy-hollo...-141030400345/


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post #96932 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 10:49 AM
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TV Notes
Colin Farrell Is Officially In for Season Two of True Detective
By E. Alex Young, Vulture.com - Sep. 21, 2014

It looks like the rumors were true: Colin Farrell has confirmed that he'll star in the second season of True Detective. In an interview with the Irish newspaper The Sunday World, he said, "I’m so excited...I know it will be eight episodes and take around four or five months to shoot. I know very little about it, but we’re shooting in the environs of Los Angeles which is great. It means I get to stay at home and see the kids."

The paper reports that the plot will center on a "bloody murder of a corrupt city businessman found dead the night before a major transportation deal" with "three police officials from different cities" trying to solve it. As for who else will be joining him? Considering that everyone from Elisabeth Moss to Jessica Biel has been thrown into the rumor mill, it's safe to say that we'll just know when we know.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/colin...ure+Inbound%29


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post #96933 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 10:53 AM
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Critic's Notes
Two Ways to Accessorize Power
‘Madam Secretary’ and ‘The Good Wife,’ TV’s Mighty Women
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times - Sep. 19, 2014

A minaret at sunrise and the soft lament of a Muslim call to prayer. Nobody needs to wait for a location — Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran — to be tapped out in military-style type.

That image has become as common and convenient a signifier as helicopters flying over rice paddies to the sounds of Buffalo Springfield (“Stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down”) are for the Vietnam War.

If a show opens with a mosque bathed in dim light and mournful Middle Eastern music, then this must be a drama about Washington and the war on terrorism.

That’s how “Madam Secretary” begins on Sunday on CBS, and that familiar landscape (in this case, it’s Damascus at dawn) is an early clue that there is not a lot of creative license in this enjoyable but by-the-book drama about a female secretary of state.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the obvious inspiration, but this is Hillary with a human face: Téa Leoni, who has a husky voice and a loose, engaging manner, is an unusually likable beauty. As Elizabeth McCord, she has all the brains and determination of the original and none of the political ambition and baggage.

It’s a what-if scenario, a wish-fulfillment do-over in which Mrs. Clinton is dragged reluctantly into high office and spends her time there making the world a safer place, not planning her next move in Iowa.

And that’s why a closer model for Mrs. Clinton can be found in a different what-if scenario, namely that of “The Good Wife,” the series about a politician’s wife whose husband is brought down by a sex scandal. She stands by his side for a while, then leaves him and restarts her legal career from scratch.

That CBS drama returns for a sixth season on Sunday, and the premiere is bracing and unexpected. Especially given how long this show has lasted, it’s a credit to the imagination and energy of its married creators, Robert and Michelle King, that “The Good Wife” has remained so watchable.

But another reason for its enduring popularity is that Alicia Florrick, the betrayed wife played by Julianna Margulies, has guile as well as gumption. She is sympathetic but also devious and not beyond using connections, deceiving friends and twisting the truth to get what she wants, including, last season, her own firm.

In other words, Alicia is a closer match to Mrs. Clinton: believably imperfect even when legal plot twists grow convoluted and outré.

In some ways, “Madam Secretary” seeks to be realistic about Washington. The first episode involves hostage taking in Syria and even a failed rescue operation that eerily echoes the one that the Obama administration orderedover the summer to save James Foley and other Americans held by the group that calls itself the Islamic State, even though the pilot was filmed before revelations of the government attempt.

This is a prime-time network show, however, so the outcome is not as horrible as the videotaped beheadings that happened in real life.

The presentation of politics is just as sanitized. In this fantasy, Elizabeth did not seek a cabinet post; it was forced upon her. She is a former C.I.A. analyst who quit for unexplained ethical reasons and is content to teach political science and raise horses with her husband, Henry (Tim Daly), and their two children. Elizabeth reluctantly accepts the job only after the president (Keith Carradine), her former mentor at the C.I.A., insists.

She arrives in Washington, ready to make a difference and immediately gets on the wrong side of the president’s domineering and manipulative chief of staff, Russell Jackson, who so resembles former Vice President Dick Cheney that the actor, Zeljko Ivanek, sports a ghost of the crooked half-smile that Mr. Cheney was famous for.

Russell wants to be in charge. Elizabeth wants to save lives. In one of the show’s better scenes, Russell confronts Elizabeth after she handled a crisis without his approval. He asks her how she did it.

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth replies with a shrug. “By blatantly circumnavigating your authority?”

Television is suddenly full of women in power, and that is as much because of Shonda Rhimes and the success of her Washington melodrama, “Scandal,” as because of Mrs. Clinton. “Homeland,” the Showtime espionage thriller, has also opened doors.

“State of Affairs,” an NBC show coming in November, doubles down by stealing a bit from “Scandal” and a bit from “Homeland.” Alfre Woodard is the president, and Katherine Heigl is her most trusted, though personally troubled, national security adviser.

Oddly, these new dramas showcase bold women in command but are timid about tapping into the kind of cynicism and character assassination that helped “Scandal” and “House of Cards,” on Netflix, become hits.

ABC had enough faith in Ms. Rhimes, after her “Grey’s Anatomy” proved a hit, to back “Scandal” and won big. CBS, which has had so much success with squeaky-clean naval heroes on “NCIS” that it is adding a second spinoff, “NCIS: New Orleans,” on Tuesday, is evidently loath to try material that may be too dark for many viewers.

“The Good Wife” stands out because it strikes the right balance of network-mandated virtue and cable-inspired vice. “Madam Secretary” has some good moments, but it would be better if its heroine were just a little bit worse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/ar...ref=television


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post #96934 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 07:40 PM
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TV Review
‘Forever,’ actually, probably not
http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for...-probably-not/
Since when is 200 years "Forever"? And would someone really learn all that much in 200 years? Some might, most wouldn't. If he was 2,000 years old or more, you might be able to say forever and that he knew pretty much everything to do with death and murder.

When it comes to shows like this that are hyped so much, the question is not whether it is that good, it is what is so bad about this show it needs so much hype. Unlike the writer of the article, I doubt this show will even make it thru the whole season. More than likely it will be gone before Thanksgiving.

Selfie (ABC), Cristela (ABC), Black-ish (ABC), Bad Judge (NBC), A to Z (NBC), and Stalker (CBS) seem to be prime candidates for early departures also. Even though receiving critics' blessings, I don't get the appeal of Red Band Society (FOX). I watched the premiere. The kids are just too healthy to be confined to a hospital (even though some of them have serious medical conditions), having school classes there (really--hospitals provide education services for patients?), and just getting into all sorts of hijinks that the doctors and nurses just wink and snicker at (kids beings kids, underage beer drinking, partying the night before your surgery, HA HA).

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post #96935 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 08:04 PM
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Since when is 200 years "Forever"?
...since the show is being produced for a US audience. Remember that the US has been around for < 300 years, so most Americans think that 200 years is "a lot of history" and have no concept of the time scales used elsewhere in the world where historic sites have been around for thousands of years.
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post #96936 of 96960 Old 09-21-2014, 09:10 PM
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I doubt [Forever] will even make it thru the whole season. More than likely it will be gone before Thanksgiving.

Selfie (ABC), Cristela (ABC), Black-ish (ABC), Bad Judge (NBC), A to Z (NBC), and Stalker (CBS) seem to be prime candidates for early departures also. Even though receiving critics' blessings, I don't get the appeal of Red Band Society (FOX). I watched the premiere.
You have higher expectations for the survival of "Manhattan Love Story" and "Mulaney"?
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post #96937 of 96960 Old Yesterday, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mreedelp View Post
Even though receiving critics' blessings, I don't get the appeal of Red Band Society (FOX). I watched the premiere. The kids are just too healthy to be confined to a hospital (even though some of them have serious medical conditions), having school classes there (really--hospitals provide education services for patients?), and just getting into all sorts of hijinks that the doctors and nurses just wink and snicker at (kids beings kids, underage beer drinking, partying the night before your surgery, HA HA).
I watched the premiere on VOD earlier today and it felt somewhat like M*A*S*H from the patients' POV and with far younger patients. I'll give it another episode and see what develops, though I am sure I am the wrong demographic. (Being the wrong demographic doesn't stop me from enjoying Ferris Bueller's Day Off.)

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Dancing With the Stars (LIVE, 120 min.)
10:01PM - Forever (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Courteney Cox; John Cho; Jason Aldean performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory (Season & Time Slot Premiere)
8:30PM - The Big Bang Theory
9PM - Scorpion (Series Premiere)
10PM - Under the Dome (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Mark Harmon; animal expert Jack Hanna)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Bill Hader; Scott Bakula)

NBC:
8PM - The Voice (Season Premiere, 120 min.)
10PM - The Blacklist (Season Premiere)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Sofia Vergara; Megan Boone; The Black Keys perform)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Martha Stewart; Ana Gasteyer)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Season Premiere; comic Jim Jefferies; electronic artist Porter Robinson; director Ned Benson)

FOX:
8PM - Gotham (Series Premiere)
9PM - Sleepy Hollow (Season Premiere)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Knoxville
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Boston
(R - Feb. 11)
10PM - POV: Koch (90 min.)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - La Malquerida

THE CW:
8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - May 16)
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Mar. 21)
9PM - America's Next Top Model

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Reina de Corazones
9PM - En Otra Piel
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Jenny Nordberg)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Musician Tweedy)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Todd Barry; Jesse Joyce; Marina Franklin)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Zooey Deschanel; Breckin Meyer; Beck performs)


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post #96939 of 96960 Old Yesterday, 01:32 AM
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TV Review
‘Scorpion’ (CBS)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Sep. 19, 2014

Given the fortune CBS is spending on license fees for “The Big Bang Theory,” the network can be forgiven for trying to expand the show’s geek-chic vibe to its procedural-drama wheelhouse. So while “Scorpion” might boast factual inspiration (a true nerdy computer prodigy!), one needn’t be a genius to see this for what it is: an effort to create a hybrid version of “Mission: Impossible” and Sherlock Holmes with a team of brainy problem-solvers. Provided “the full resources of the U.S. government” to thwart appropriately ornate crimes, the participants in this mildy fun yet wholly disposable exercise would be wise not to dwell on calculating their chances of network survival.

Team leader Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) is introduced as a child, albeit one who brings the authorities descending onto his pastoral home by hacking into NASA.

Flash forward, and he’s put together a group of like-minded folk with genius IQs and the expected tics, including one dubbed a “human calculator.” This would be a handier skill in a pinch, frankly, if everyone didn’t already have an actual calculator on their mobile phones.

Walter and company are soon drafted into service by FBI agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick), a grizzled veteran trying to prevent a plot that will cause airplanes to begin dropping from the sky. In essence, the assignment morphs “It Takes a Thief” into “It Takes a Hacker,” producing one genuinely cool stunt that involves a low-altitude plane , and leads to the retention of the gang as a strategic response team — Homeland Security’s inhouse think tank (hardly a spoiler, since there would be no series otherwise).

The pilot also brings in what amounts to a set of ordinary eyes to marvel at Walter and company — Paige (Katharine McPhee), the single mom of a gifted son whose impenetrable brilliance has been misdiagnosed before Walter meets him. There’s an element of sweetness in that, offset slightly by its inherent manipulativeness and familiarity.

In terms of scheduling strategy, “Scorpion” moves into an hour where CBS’ comedies had been fading, but it still looks like a tall order for the show to gain much of a ratings toehold there. And while there’s something to be said for the brilliant inheriting the Earth, the series feels a little soft for a network with so many chalk-outline hours.

Then again, as one member of the group says during a tension-filled moment, quoting Han Solo to C3PO (naturally), “Never tell me the odds!”

'Scorpion'
CBS, Mon. Sept. 22, 9 p.m.


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...on-1201304983/


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post #96940 of 96960 Old Yesterday, 01:35 AM
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TV Sports/Business Notes
Backlash building? P&G pulls out of NFL promotion
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Sep. 21, 2014

Several NFL sponsors have voiced displeasure with the league over the recent spate of players arrested for domestic violence and the way the league has dealt with it.

Now one has decided to do more than just wag a finger.

Procter & Gamble has canceled an annual NFL promotion for its toothpaste brand, Crest, tied to breast cancer awareness month, which takes place every October.

The plan was to get a player from each team to wear a pink mouth guard during games and reach out to people on social media.

The NFL still plans to institute the mouth guards and social media elements but will do so without sponsorship from P&G, according to a statement released Friday.

“We are looking forward to our sixth year of the Crucial Catch campaign, in partnership with the American Cancer Society. We understand the ways the last week have impacted our partners, including Crest. Players will still have the option to wear pink gear, including mouth guards, as planned, this year,” the league said in a statement.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bac...nfl-promotion/


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Fall 2014 Preview
Cloudy Ratings Forecast & Where The Networks Stand
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 21, 2014

Premiere week used to be the ultimate battleground, and by the end of it, new series’ producers either celebrated or were licking their wounds, with a few left in the cloudymiddle. Delayed viewing has changed all that. “I don’t think early performance has ever been more clouded,” an industry source said ahead of the official start of premiere week tomorrow. Besides the handful of newcomers that would likely pop big or flop badly, it will be too early to tell for the majority of the shows whose premiere performance won’t come into focus until at least Live+3 numbers are in.

How dramatic is the change from last fall? All broadcast networks will issue some sort of l3/ l7 projections next weeks vs. only one, Fox, last fall. CBS made the official announcement this week. NBC and ABC have not weighed in officially but also will issue projections, ABC’s limiting them to returning shows for now. None have gone as far as FX, which recently announced it was abandoning completely live+same day ratings and would only report live+3 numbers, but that could come too.

There had been only a handful of premieres ahead of the official start of the season tomorrow. NBC had a solid preview for new crime dramedy The Mysteries of Laura while Fox’s reality series Utopia has faltered. Still, as a precursor to what may be in store for scripted dramas, the most heavily DVR-ed genre on TV, Utopia saw l3 lifts of over 50% despite reality series normally registering minuscule to none DVR gains. (There is no information yet on Mysteries’ l3 gains.) Even an old skewing reality series like ABC’s Dancing with the Stars just boasted its biggest ever l3 premiere percentage lift for its Monday season debut.

It is symbolic that the 2014-15 season will open at 8 PM tomorrow night with the biggest showdown of the fall – the season premieres of the top scripted series on television, The Big Bang Theory, going head to head with the season debut of network TV’s highest rated reality show, NBC’s The Voice, as the two face the highest profile new series, Fox’s Batman drama Gotham. With all three airing at the same time, along with ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, it is clear that the fast national ratings would only provide a ratings snapshot, indicating what viewers opted to see first, with the rest of their Monday 8 PM viewing reflected in Live+same day, Live+3 and Live+7 ratings.

The drama, Gotham, would likely be affected the most, with fast nationals representing the smallest portion of its total audience, followed by the comedy (Big Bang) and the reality series (The Voice). Big Bang’s temporarily move to Monday completely changes the dynamic on the night, reminiscent of CBS’ move in early 2001 to pit then-hottest reality series on TV, Survivor against the top-rated scripted series, NBC’s Friends, on Thursday.

Going into next week, dramas once again have a leg up with better overall awareness than comedies. Comic book fans have pushed the DC-branded new fall shows to the top of the list, including Gotham, Constantine and The Flash, with CBS’ NCIS spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans, ABC’s time-traveling drama Forever and the Shonda Rhimes-produced How To Get Away with Murder also scoring well.

As usual, comedies are way, way down the awareness rankings, with ABC’s Selfie and Black-ish among those getting some traction. Drama series’ success depends largely on strength of their premise — the billboards for CBS’ new drama Stalker don’t even include a mention of its well known stars, Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q, or its well known creator, Scream and The Following‘s Kevin Williamson, instead emphasizing the show’s theme with a striking image. Meanwhile, comedies rely heavily on cast chemistry, so they usually take time to gel.

With all that caveat, here is where each broadcast network stands heading into premiere week:

FOX

Fox is in worst shape among the major broadcast networks coming off a season where virtually all of its returning series posted major declines. Things have not been very encouraging so far this fall, with New Girl and The Mindy Project opening their new seasons down 30%-40% from last fall’s premieres (but on par or above their May finales), and the big-budget Utopia not posting an improvement over the cancelled fall 2013 entry X Factor. Teen hospital drama Red Band Society did not come close to the series opening numbers of Fox’s previous teen series, Glee, and will have to rely on time-shifted viewing and word of mouth.

All that puts extra pressure on Gotham. Despite its tough time slot, the Batman prequel is expected to open well and represents Fox’s best shot at a breakout hit. The question there is whether the show would sustain its opening numbers and broaden out beyond the core comic book fan base. Fox’s live-action comedies have been in free fall. It will be interesting to see whether propping some of them with animated shows on Sunday will help .

NBC

NBC just marked its first adults 18-49 win for the broadcast and full 52-week 2013-14 TV season. With the help of The Voice, The Blacklist and the Chicago Fire franchise, the network has successfully rebuilt Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

NBC’s new goal had been to fix Thursday night, which seems as daunting as ever this fall with decade-old Biggest Loser and two brand new comedies against football on CBS. NBC may have to wait until midseason to make an impression on Thursday when it has hot drama The Blacklist slated to take the tentpole Thursday 9 PM position. That would add a third strong launching pad for the network, along with the two editions of The Voice. But that also poses one of the biggest questions heading into the season — will NBC relocate Blacklist to Thursday in February if its replacement on Monday, new drama State of Affairs, which just went through a showrunner change, doesn’t get traction?

CBS

After striking out with all of its new drama series last season, CBS is making safe bets with spinoffs from its biggest drama franchises, NCIS (New Orleans) for fall and CSI (Cyber) for midseason. Because the network has so many established launch pads, its schedule is the neatest, providing maximum protection to newcomers: NCIS: New Orleans behind NCIS, the Tea Leoni starrer Madam Secretary paired with Julianna Margulies’ The Good Wife, Stalker with the similarly darker Criminal Minds. The wild card is light procedural Scorpion, as the network is trying to shake things up on its underperformed Monday night. The night is set to get a shot in the arm early in the season with temporary transplant The Big Bang Theory at 8 PM. (CBS’ new Monday also is propped up by NCIS: LA at 10 PM where the network has struggled since moving Hawaii Five-0 to Friday.) Speaking of a shot in the arm, CBS is getting NFL action on Thursday this fall. The network will also use spillover football audience on the East Coast tonight to boost the launch of its Sunday lineup that includes Madam Secretary.

ABC

Despite making headlines with a slew of flops last season and failing again to launch a comedy behind Modern Family, ABC actually tied NBC for the most new series launched during the broadcast season to get a renewal, 3 (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Resurrection and The Goldbergs). The network has put out new comedies Selfie and Manhattan Love Story to fend for themselves unprotected in the Tuesday 8 PM hour, but it has built a formidable “Shondaland” Thursday lineup with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and buzzed about newbie How To Get Away with Murder. That all-drama lineup appears primed for DVR viewing as the question is, how many Shonda Rhimes series can a viewer take in in one seating.

The CW

The CW once again is delaying the launch of its fall lineup until October to avoid the premiere onslaught. With its young skew, the network’s programming is so heavily consumed on digital platforms that president Mark Pedowitz once called for a Nielsen ratings reform. The CW has two well received new series this fall, Arrow offshoot The Flash and dramedy Jane the Virgin. The Flash should hit right into the CW’s genre sweet spot. The question is whether Jane, with its tone that is unlike anything else on the CW, would be able to fit in.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/fall-201...nbc-cw-837937/


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Critic's Notes
The Age of the Streaming TV Auteur
By Adam Sternbergh, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Sep. 21, 2014

There’s a memorable story in Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures, a great history of the 1990s indie-film boom, in which an upstart production company, eager to establish its bona fides, promises an absurd amount of money and unheard-of creative control to an in-demand filmmaker with a suddenly hot property to sell. The year is 1989, the company is Miramax, the filmmaker is a then-26-year-old Steven Soderbergh, the property is sex, lies & videotape, and the result was a renaissance. In the ’90s, startling, innovative, and personal films—by directors like Quentin Tarantino, Hal Hartley, Allison Anders, and Whit Stillman—flourished, buoyed by a new marketplace, and a hungry audience, that happily rewarded daring and creativity.

Twenty-five years after sex, lies & videotape, it’s hard not to think of a similar scenario that played out much more recently but on a very different screen: Netflix buying the rights to the show House of Cards. Netflix won that series essentially by offering two seasons, up front, guaranteed—a bid that was both fundamentally insane yet absolutely necessary for the company to establish itself as a legitimate competitor to HBO, Showtime, AMC, and so on. Four Emmy wins and one Golden Globe later, Netflix is no longer looking like the late entrant to the cable-drama sweepstakes but the early adopter among internet content companies, many of which are now angling to become producers of original programming. Earlier this year, Yahoo commissioned two TV-style original comedies; Vimeo has acquired the critically acclaimed web series High Maintenance; and Amazon, having already unleashed the exceptional comedy Transparent, launched an additional five new pilots—including, tellingly, The Cosmopolitans, from ’90s indie auteur Whit Stillman.

All of which is to say: The same swashbuckling energy that gave rise to the indie-film movement has migrated to TV programming online. By this analogy, Netflix is Miramax, Amazon is Fox Searchlight, and your laptop is the Sundance Festival—a clearinghouse for potential breakouts waiting to be discovered. No, Netflix, Amazon, and (Lord knows) Yahoo don’t know exactly what they’re doing yet—but that’s kind of the point. They have money, and they’re throwing it around basically to see what will stick, which is exactly the kind of environment that leads to a whole lot of misfires and a few genuine revelations.

Companies like Netflix and Amazon have one crucial advantage: They have a well-built technical infrastructure but little programming experience, while companies like HBO have excellent programming expertise but are playing catch-up on the technical end. One executive described the current climate to me as a horse race in which everyone’s competing but no one knows exactly where the finish line is. So every once in a while, someone just whips the horses to get the pack moving. Netflix’s decision to get into original programming, or HBO’s ongoing flirtation with a stand-alone HBO Go, is just that—whipping the horses. The result of all this horse-whipping is a series like Orange Is the New Black on Netflix—with its fresh, off-kilter voice and the most radically diverse cast on TV, a show that would be tough to picture on Showtime, let alone ABC.

It’s hard to say whether Amazon’s notion to finance original TV shows in order to promote Amazon Prime—effectively to nudge you to subscribe to free two-day shipping—is a good long-term business plan. But then, many of the most exciting new shows are web series that have no business plan at all. And it’s a great short-term opportunity for some weird, and occasionally awesome, new TV. The pilot episode of Transparent on Amazon, which stars Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender dad, was written and directed by Jill Soloway, and watching it, you think this is exactly the kind of personal vision that Miramax used to finance, before Miramax got bought up by Disney.

Since the ’90s heyday, nearly all of the indie shingles at major studios have been shuttered or reabsorbed into their parent companies. Even the Golden Age of TV, as personified by auteur-showrunners like Matthew Weiner and David Chase, has become stultified in its programming choices: “Prestige” cable series now honor the rules of their format as faithfully as the most formulaic prime-time procedurals. Halt and Catch Fire is Mad Men set in the 1980s computer industry; The Knick plays like Downton Abbey, M.D. For all its success, Game of Thrones is hardly the TV equivalent of Pulp Fiction; it’s more like the TV equivalent of Ben Hur or Lord of the Rings.

Which leaves room, ideally, for a TV equivalent of Pulp Fiction—something so audacious and daring that it will tilt the whole TV industry off its axis. And the new reality is, if there’s going to be a Pulp Fiction for TV, you probably aren’t going to see it first on TV. But definitely keep your laptop handy.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/age-o...eaming-tv.html


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TV Review
'Koch'
PBS documentary recalls the fervor and zest for battle of a highly opinionated three-term mayor
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Sep. 20, 2014

A year and a half after his death, Ed Koch can still wear you down.

Like Donald Trump, Al Sharpton and a few other camera-friendly public figures around New York in recent times, former Mayor Koch is a deceptively tough subject for a documentary.

His personality so dominated everything he did as mayor, from 1978-89, that it remains difficult to assess exactly what he accomplished under the veneer of 100% self-assurance.

This documentary by Neil Barsky, a Daily News reporter for part of Koch’s term, works diligently to find people, including both friends and rivals, who can address that.

Somewhat forgotten now, Koch’s first task was to keep the city from going broke.

He did, at the cost of having to forgo any ambitious initiatives he might otherwise have launched in his first couple of years.

He would eventually focus on nuts-and-bolts issues, from housing to safe streets, with results this documentary suggests were mixed — mostly an improvement, though not as much of an improvement as Koch would have you believe.

He disappointed the gay community by failing to heed the AIDS crisis, and much of the black community found him at best indifferent. Much of what he did seemed to be all about him.

What no one denied was that he loved the city fiercely, and the film seems to argue that in the end, Koch became what many pragmatic mayors become: a deal-maker, a guy who valued services and tried to please most of the people most of the time.

By the end of his life, the one-time reform liberal Democrat was pretty much a Republican.

And if you didn’t like that, Koch would doubtless have told you, that’s not his problem. It’s yours.

'Koch'
Network/Air Date: Monday at 9 p.m., CBS
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.1945787


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TV Review
Gotham: No Batman? No Bat-Problem!
By James Poniewozik, Time.com

This moody prequel is less a superhero show than a dystopian crime drama.

What is a superhero drama about if it’s not about superheroes? Last season, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD tried to answer that question by making an Avengers companion series about, well, the Avengers’ companions. By the end of the season, the show had started to find a voice and a drive of its own, but for a long time it dithered without stakes or apparent purpose; watching even its better-executed episodes was like waiting a long, long time in a theater lobby for the movie to start.

Fox’s Gotham (Mondays at 8:00 p.m., premiering Sept. 22) has a different and at least immediately better answer: a superhero drama without superheroes is about the world that needs saving.

Focused on the rise of young James Gordon (Ben MacKenzie)–someday police commissioner, now a detective–Gotham renders DC Comics’ alterna-city as a place of corruption, wealth and squalor whose civilians and cops have accepted injustice as a way of life. Creating this show as a prequel was a smart idea. We’re not visiting Gotham City in the lulls between when Batman shows up; we’re immersed in the conditions that will make Batman necessary.

Now, a disclosure: I am not the person best-qualified to tell you how faithfully Gotham renders the setting of the DC universe. Because I don’t care. I’ve watched my share of Bat-TV and Bat-movies, but I’ve never been a huge superhero genre fan, (and to the extent I am, I’m more of a Marvel guy). Maybe harder-core Batman fans will find an extra layer in how the series introduces familiar characters like Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)–now Oswald Cobblepot, flunky to preening gang boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). Or maybe–as I’ve heard from a few–they’ll find it heavy-handed in the way it nudges and winks in introducing them. As with Game of Thrones or Outlander, there will be Readers and Noobs, and no one can be both at once.

But watching as a Noob, you have the advantage of seeing Gotham not as Batman Jr. but as what it mostly is: less a superhero and -villain saga than a surprisingly fresh, dystopian cop show.

Gotham comes from creator Bruno Heller, who after making HBO’s Rome produced CBS’s The Mentalist, a crime drama that, while not groundbreaking, was about 50% better than it needed to be. It’s not so much an origin story–though, no surprise, we see the ur-moment when young Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered in front of him–as it is a root-causes story.

Heller has imagined the city as a noir capital; it seems to be night almost always, which seems to match the mood of the citizens. When Gordon vows that he’ll catch the Waynes’ murderer, Bruce’s servant-guardian Alfred (Sean Pertwee)–here, a stony tough guy–scoffs bitterly, “New boy, are you?” Other cops, like Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), feel otherwise: in their Gotham, there aren’t good guys and bad guys, only buyers and the bought.

Gotham is not big on realism; the sets look like sets, in a good way, reminiscent of comic panels. (This is one case where the cliché “The setting is the star” may actually be true.) But it brings an emotional realism to this stylized backdrop, especially McKenzie, who was excellent as an officer on Southland. When Gordon crisply scolds Bullock, “You’re a cynic–a slovenly, lackadaisical cynic,” he communicates not just his idealism, but a fastidious superiority that probably does not win him a lot of friends, and that appears to compensate for damage in his own backstory.

OK, this too is a variation on an old story. Gotham is not reinventing the dark cop show, or the dystopian drama, or the superhero genre. But it combines them in a way that’s invigorating–and, honestly, it’s probably better than a new series with this built-in fanbase needed to be.

I’m not sure I’ll be watching Gotham every week: I wasn’t looking for a new cop drama, and I’m not a part of the aforementioned fanbase. For all that, I found the first hour of Gotham a surprisingly interesting place to visit. You just might want to live there.

http://time.com/3394388/review-gotha...o-bat-problem/


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TV Reviews
'Scorpion' and 'Forever': Crime dramas with a twist
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Sep. 21, 2014

On TV, crime fighting is a recession-proof job market.

From superheroes to ordinary heroes, the industry is booming — and going to ever-greater and odder lengths to stand out in the market. In CBS's Scorpion, a group of outcast geniuses band together to stop high-tech criminals, as if the kids from The Big Bang Theory decided to become Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Forever, you get an immortal medical examiner who has had centuries to develop his deductive skills: Sherlock by way of New Amsterdam.

If you've forgotten New Amsterdam (and odds are you have), it was a 2008 Fox series that starred Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a similarly immortal, murder-solving hero. Forever substitutes Ioan Gruffudd, in his best role since Horatio Hornblower, and a smarter, lighter approach to the subject.

Unlike other eternally-with-us heroes, Gruffudd's Dr. Henry Morgan can die, and does so often Monday and Tuesday, when the show moves to its regular time slot. His blessing or curse is that he always comes back to life again, naked and in the water. Only one person knows his secret: Sidekick Abe (Judd Hirsch). Most everyone else, like Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza), knows there's something off about Henry, but they can't quite figure out the cause.

Henry's ability to cheat death may be absurd, but the writers seem to have thought through the gimmick, from the reason why no one catches on (if they do, he moves) to the skills a long life has allowed him to develop. They need to put a bit more thought into the mysteries themselves, which lean toward the clunky. But the appeal of the stars and the premise should buy them some time. Not an eternity, though, so use it quickly and well.

* * * *

Where Forever is clearly a fantasy, Scorpion is based on a real-life story of super-brain Walter O'Brien, played by Elyes Gabel. Walter has tried to create a fix-it business with a few fellow geniuses: a mechanical prodigy (Jadyn Wong), a world-class behaviorist (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and a math whiz (Ari Stidham) — but their inability to relate to normal people has left them underemployed.

Enter a government agent (Robert Patrick), who hires them, and a diner waitress (Katharine McPhee), who gets hired as their "normal world translator." As a newly formed "strategic response team," they race around Los Angeles to solve a software-created crisis, going through a series of increasingly desperate and mostly clever measures. They may be absurd, but they're enjoyable as long as you don't think about them too deeply. (Or, in the case of a final stunt with a car and an airplane, at all.)

Neither Scorpion nor Forever is doing much to advance the art of TV. But each counts as a well-produced, well-acted, light entertainment that generally avoids insulting your taste or your intelligence.

And for me, that's no crime.

SCORPION
CBS, Monday, 9 ET/PT
★★★ out of four

FOREVER
ABC, Monday 10 ET/PT; Then Tuesdays, 10 ET/PT
★★★ out of four


http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...ombo/15894823/


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TV Notes
‘Jane the Virgin’ Aims Beyond Its Latin Ethnicity
By Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times - Sep. 21, 2014

At first glance, the protagonist of “Jane the Virgin” bears little resemblance to any other character on television, never mind any viewer.

On Oct. 13, this CW comedy-drama will introduce its title character, an ambitious young Hispanic-American woman (played by Gina Rodriguez) who practices abstinence yet, through a series of coincidences and accidents, finds herself artificially inseminated with her boss’s child.

If audiences can look past this outrageous misadventure, they may see that they share more than they realize with Jane, who comes from a matriarchal, multigenerational household where more than one language is spoken and where she has been taught to value her chastity.

To Ms. Rodriguez, a daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants who was raised in Chicago, the pilot of “Jane the Virgin” presented what she called the “most authentic, genuine representation” of a Hispanic family she had seen on television, whose cultural traits are apparent without being blatant.

“For once, I was reading a script where they weren’t talking about my ethnicity,” she said in a recent interview. “They weren’t putting a Puerto Rican flag on my shoulder. They weren’t putting a taco in my hand.”

“Jane the Virgin” has already been cited as one of the most promising new shows of the fall season by the Television Critics Association, USA Todayand The Associated Press. “The wonder of the series,” Frazier Moore of The A.P. wrote, “is that it feels fully plausible, authentic and delightful, unfolding in a multicultural world.”

Loosely adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela, the show is one of network television’s latest efforts to create a show that will resonate with an English-speaking Hispanic audience while crossing over to an even wider, multiethnic viewership.

The appeal of such a show is obvious to broadcasters: According to the United States Census, 17.1 percent of the American population — more than 54 million people — identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Hispanic audiences are deeply engaged TV consumers, watching more than 127 hours of traditional and time-shifted programming a month, according to the most recent data from Nielsen.

Yet for decades, mainstream network shows that have worn a Hispanic identity on their sleeves have left these same viewers feeling that they were being pandered to.

“People tend to shy away when you bring out the Latin stick and hit people with it,” said Robert Rodriguez, the filmmaker and founder of El Rey, a new television network aimed at Latino viewers.

“They don’t want to feel like they’re going to school,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who is of Mexican-American lineage. “They want to feel entertained. So you’ve got to disguise it.”

For a show like “Jane the Virgin” to succeed, it must strike a delicate balance: specific but also universal, authentic without being condescending.

“It’s feeling like you’re not being made fun of, but you’re part of the joke,” said Maria Morales, executive editor of People en Español magazine. “If you want an audience, you have to treat them with respect.”

She pointed to shows like “Chico and the Man,” the 1970s NBC sitcom starring Freddie Prinze that was among the first to feature a lead of Hispanic descent, and that was both praised for its representation and criticized for ethnic stereotyping.

“People would say, ‘That’s too much, that’s over the top,’ ” Ms. Morales said. “But some felt these shows were extremely funny.”

More recent comedies like “George Lopez,” which ran on ABC from 2002 to 2007, have struggled to reach wider audiences and walk the line between inclusiveness and tokenism. One exception was the ABC comedy-drama“Ugly Betty,” a critical and ratings success that starred America Ferrera as a young Mexican-American woman in the cutthroat magazine industry.

Ms. Ferrera said “Ugly Betty,” which was adapted from a Colombian telenovela, succeeded because “it wasn’t about her being Latina.”

“It could have been the exact same show with a character of a different race,” she said. “It just so happened that because of the origins of the show and the people involved, they stuck to their guns.”

Ms. Ferrera, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Honduras and who grew up watching family sitcoms like “Full House” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” said the “misguided” decision that programmers make is “thinking of the Latino audience as some sort of homogeneous block.”

“There’s going to be Latinos who want to see family sitcoms, and there’s going to be Latinos who want to watch ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ ” she said. “To think you’re ever going to find the formula for bringing the Latinos, whatever that means — you’re not going to draw all of them.”

Before Mr. Rodriguez started El Rey, which features cult films and TV series, as well as original action shows like “Matador,” he said, “some big networks came to me and said, ‘Could you create a Hispanic show for us?’ ”

But what that audience wants, Mr. Rodriguez said, is “big entertainment, family entertainment, that everybody can see.”

“They don’t want to feel like they’re off in a corner, enjoying their little niche market,” he added.

Like “Ugly Betty,” “Jane the Virgin” was helped on its journey by Ben Silverman, the producer who also brought “The Office” to the United States.

When he is scouting shows from Latin America, “I want to keep the Latin element in them,” Mr. Silverman said. “I want to find the connective tissues that would also work for the U.S. Hispanic audience.”

With “Jane the Virgin,” Mr. Silverman said, “I definitely thought there was an opportunity to connect to them, specifically, but do it with a general-market, aspirational point of view.”

He added: “You don’t have to have Latin elements to them, necessarily. But I felt with those elements, there was a chance to tell the story more specifically and truthfully.”

Figuring out the specifics of the American show fell to Jennie Snyder Urman, who created the CW medical drama “Emily Owens, M.D.”

“It was such an outrageous title and such a strange log line,” Ms. Urman said. “At first, I thought: I can’t do this. There’s no way I can make this something you could actually believe would ever happen.”

But the more she thought about the title character and her family — a spirited, liberal mother (played by Andrea Navedo) and a more traditional grandmother (Ivonne Coll) — Ms. Urman said she came to see the show as “a fairy tale about fate and destiny.”

Nor did it matter, Ms. Urman said, that she was not Hispanic herself.

“I write men all day long, every day,” she said, “and that is a foreign culture to me. Jane, I understand.”

Ms. Rodriguez, who has previously appeared on “Longmire” and “Army Wives,” said she had tried to avoid roles that she felt reinforced ethnic stereotypes. For that reason, she said, she turned down the Lifetime series“Devious Maids,” from the “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry.

“That’s something I didn’t want to contribute to, the incorrect perception of a culture,” she said.

“The industry’s had this constant notion that Latinos have a different story,” she said, when “there’s nothing about me that’s different.”

What distinguishes Jane, she said, is not that she’s “a Latina girl that’s keeping her virginity,” but that “Jane is a type-A, super-organized control freak.”

“This is a type of girl,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “This is not a type of ethnicity.”

This fall will also see the debut of “Cristela,” an ABC comedy starring the comedian Cristela Alonzo as a Mexican-American woman with an unconventional extended family.

Though “Cristela” seems to flaunt ethnicity in a way that “Jane the Virgin” does not, Ms. Morales of People en Español said shows like these could happily coexist on her viewing schedule.

“I think there’s room for everything,” she said. “It’s not either-or.”

“I can always go to Univision and Telemundo to see someone like me on television,” Ms. Morales said. “But it’s also nice to flip the channel and see someone like me on ABC, on the CW. Why not?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/ar...ref=television


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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 22, 2014

CELEBRITY NAME GAME
Syndicated, Check local listings
SEASON PREMIERE:
I’m a sucker for the innocent playfulness and good fun of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night and CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and this new syndicated game show, hosted by Craig Ferguson, plays right into that affable, enjoyable sensibility. In Celebrity Name Game, the challenge is to identify celebrities in a series of different word games and rapid-fire question sessions. Sometimes the “regular contestants,” the civilians, are teamed with guest celebrities, as on Password. Other times, it’s Ferguson himself joining the fun and throwing the clues – though, in today’s premiere, the most fun came when one player, hoping to elicit the correct response of “Steve Martin,” gave the clue, “He’s a ‘Wild and Crazy Guy’ and ‘a Jerk.’” To which her partner quickly but incorrectly screamed, “David Letterman!” Joely Fisher and Ana Gasteyer are the celebrities who show up to play on Day 1. To find the station and time where the show is televised in your area, visit the Celebrity Name Game website.

THE BIG BANG THEORY
CBS, 8:00 p.m.
SEASON PREMIERE:
Because of CBS’s Thursday Night Football, TV’s most popular sitcom is being moved back to Mondays to begin Season 8, if only until football season is over. And tonight, CBS presents a double dose of fresh Big Bang episodes – to give the best possible lead-in, and traction, to the new CBS series Scorpion, which is about a group of brilliant geeks who form a team to solve crimes and help those in need. But for now, against Gotham, the geeks of Big Bang Theory may be facing their own arch-nemesis.

GOTHAM
Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
Ben McKenzie from Southland and The O.C. stars as Jim Gordon, who’s a newbie on the Gotham police force he eventually will end up running – as the much more familiar Commissioner Gordon. This series is a moody, TV noir prequel to the DC Comics Batman narrative, introducing some new characters while giving us hints of the pre-origin stories of some of the familiar villains. Gotham gets off to a strong start, and though there’s not one new series this fall that has to be seen, Gotham comes pretty close. For more, listen to my fall preview report for NPR on today’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, or visit the Fresh Air website after about 4 p.m. ET this afternoon.

SCORPION
CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
I was pleasantly surprised by this CBS procedural, because if it finds a way to continue to explore and expand upon the oddball personalities of the various members of this genius crime-fighting unit, Scorpion will differentiate itself easily from the other such shows out there – and, for a while at least, be paired perfectly with Big Bang Theory. I also found myself quite taken, this time around, by Katharine McPhee from Smash and American Idol, who, in this series, without singing a note, makes the strongest impression yet. Elyes Gabel stars, with Robert Patrick as the FBI agent who corrals these brainy misfits into a workable team. For more, listen to my fall preview report for NPR on today’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, or visit the Fresh Air website after about 4 p.m. ET this afternoon.

SLEEPY HOLLOW
Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
Just like the hero of Angel one season, the hero from a different time in Sleepy Hollow ended last season sealed in a coffin and left for dead. Or undead, or whatever. But don’t expect Ichabod Crane, played by Tom Mison, to think inside the box for long – not when he and his modern-day partner in evil-fighting (Nicole Beharie) have more demons to track, headless and otherwise.

THE BLACKLIST
NBC, 10:01 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
All we know about the start of Season 2 is that it takes place a few months after the events that ended Season 1 – events which seemed to really complicate any chance of a smooth relationship between federal agent Elizabeth (Megan Boone) and her father figure, and perhaps father, Red (James Spader). Oh, and that Mary Louise Parker from Weeds is joining the cast, at least temporarily. That should be fun: Spader and Parker are two of the most electric actors working in TV, and they’ve never worked together before.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV Review
ABC's 'Black-ish' Tackles a TV Topic That's Tricky-Ish
By Gerald Jordan, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 21, 2014

Thirty years after NBC's The Cosby Show introduced 34 million American homes to a well-to-do African-American family, ABC wants to up the ante with the comedy Black-ish (premiering Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET)...

It’s always an occasion for uneasy conversation among friends across that Continental Divide of race in America when national TV wants to show audiences what life is like for African Americans. Viewers of a seasoned age will recall the initial black cast / family on TV, Amos ’n' Andy. That minstrelsy, brought over from radio, wasn’t at all a source of pride in African-American households, but it was a look at actors who weren’t in service to whites. Peel away the layers of buffoonery, and there was a story with historic links to how lodges and fraternal organizations were sources of economic development and mutual assurance to a population zoned by law and by practice inside segregation.

A generation later, The Cosby Show demonstrated in sharp contrast that thoughtful, successful and positive black families did in fact exist – despite an off-putting observation by a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic who once called the TV family Huxtables “black like nobody else.”

That was the buzz of the time: The Cosby Show family was so well-to-do that they didn’t exist in real life. That short-sighted and ill-informed observation, and the conversations that accompanied it, showed just how little America knew of life for African Americans.

That’s precisely the danger of relying on TV situation comedies to show “real life.” Did Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver or The Donna Reed Show portray life for every white family in America? It’s an obvious answer that all viewers know well. The difference for white families depicted in those shows is that the ideal was conveyed, repeated, copied and engraved repeatedly before All In the Family, Married With Children and a few other notable zags from Robert Young and Donna Reed hit the small screen.

So-called reality shows shouldn’t be compared to scripted and edited sitcoms, but just imagine if a sitcom version of Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo had been presented in the 1950s and ’60s. The Beverly Hillbillies don’t count in this argument. And The Life of Riley wasn’t nearly so degrading to white middle-class families.

Black family comedies on TV have a reed-thin connection to the home life of most African Americans. Economic data and societal measures, for the most part, tell a different story in reality, in spite of what might have been conveyed by Good Times and The Jeffersons. All those comedies do, however, share the common thread of familial bond. Even George “Kingfish” Stevens loved his wife Sapphire, though their combative relationship belied that. And there’s no doubt how Cliff Huxtable felt about Claire and their children. Maybe that’s because along with the lead actor’s comedy genius, Cosby had a not-really-secret weapon in the wings. Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a brilliant psychiatrist and noted author, was a show consultant and adviser to Cosby.

For all the Census data that describe what life is like in America for persons of African descent, TV sitcoms just don’t accurately measure up. The key there, of course, is comedy. Documentaries, in the main, aren’t funny; they’re not supposed to be.

Imbedded in this observation is this reality: Black Americans have a shared experience in the broadest sense of how race is lived in the U.S., but region by region down to household by household, African Americans have varied experiences. So the Huxtables might be more familiar to college-educated professionals than Chris Rock’s family in Everybody Hates Chris. It’s difficult to find any redeeming quality in Meet the Browns. The show is over the top clownish -- but remember how Kingfish loved Sapphire.

Black-ish stands squarely on the shoulders of every attempt by TV comedy to show the lives of African Americans. Anthony Anderson, who portrays a successful executive, and Tracee Ellis Ross, playing his physician wife, are a prosperous couple whose four children know less than zero about what life is like for most African Americans. Laurence Fishburne, in his first comedy role, portrays the live-in grandfather whose black experience is oh so familiar, and an often painful reminder to his successful son.

The pilot gets off a few good lines, but much like the lead-in the show will get from Modern Family, the quality of writing will determine success. Does that seem too obvious? The point is that the cross-cultural gags – a son who wants a bar mitzvah – could get exhausted quickly. The writers will have to go deep to examine situations that are both real and can be spun into humor, closer, notably, to the satire of Modern Family and Frasier before it.

Some of the pursuits and observations by the woefully sheltered children in Black-ish come straight from reality. They are both funny and painful. African-American children who grow up in the suburbs do have some stinging cultural entanglements, particularly when they hit puberty and begin dating.

The Black-ish family is, nonetheless, African American, and their journey of discovery is poised to entertain and inform “the great unwashed” TV viewing audience. That’s more than a little disconcerting, but it’s the reality of prime time TV.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=8178


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TV/Nielsen Notes
For ‘Big Bang,’ a big return to Monday
Broadcast's No. 1 scripted show relocates from Thursday for five weeks
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 20, 2014

Four years ago CBS moved “The Big Bang Theory” from Monday to Thursday, in a successful bid to revitalize the night.

“Bang” has flourished since then, becoming broadcast’s No. 1 scripted series.

Tonight at 8 p.m. “Bang” returns to Monday with its one-hour eighth-season premiere.

The show has been temporarily replaced on Thursdays by “Thursday Night Football,” CBS’s new primetime NFL show.

Until “TNF” ends its run on Oct. 23, “Bang” will air on Monday, because the network couldn’t afford to keep its No. 1 program off the air for the first five weeks of the season.

The network is hoping that “Bang” can revive a Monday night that has seen big ratings declines the past few years. CBS will air the second-year sitcom “Mom” behind “Bang” starting next week, hoping to lift the newer show with a stronger lead-in.

“Mom” did okay last season, averaging a 2.1 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating. It retained 95 percent of the rating for its lead-in, “Mike & Molly.” That’s impressive, and CBS is hoping that “Mom” can hold a sizeable amount from “Bang,” too.

“Bang” averaged a 5.0 last season. It was the only scripted program on broadcast to average more than a 4.0 and one of just nine to draw better than a 3.0.

In tonight’s premiere, Leonard and Amy go to Arizona to find Sheldon and actress Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny, debuts her new pixie haircut that’s been getting a lot of buzz online.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/big...return-monday/


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TV Notes
Fall TV Season Has Buzz, but It’s Growing Softer
By Bill Carter and Emily Steele, The New York Times - Sep. 22, 2014

It is a throwback, an archaic model, a vestige of a fading business. So why does a ripple of excitement continue to surround the start of another television season?

Excitement may overstate the case. But among those in the business, as the broadcast networks once again offer full slates of original programming this week, a sense of eager expectation still beats in some hearts.

“Look at the season previews you still see everywhere — in print, online, in podcasts,” said Preston Beckman, who in his long career has programmed the prime-time schedules at NBC and Fox. “There is still going to be a lot of focus on the new network shows. I’m not saying it’s like it was in the glory days. But I do believe this is the time of year when the networks get a chance to step up to the forefront.”

But the broad pro-network view espoused by Mr. Beckman, who is now a programming adviser for Fox, is not shared in other quarters of the television business. Some in the industry wonder why there is a notion of a season kickoff at all because television programming is increasingly about timelessness and freedom of choice, with viewers deciding when they will watch programs.

“With the growth of mobile devices and on-demand viewing and all the rest, I think premiere week really doesn’t matter much anymore,” said Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, a media buying company. “Particularly among younger viewers, I don’t think premiere week means anything.”

In a recent report on the business, Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG Research said, “Consumer behavior is changing and it appears impossible to stop.”

Despite these doubts, the television season system remains intact, at least for now, driven by economic factors and a kind of Darwinian struggle to determine exactly what shows are fit to survive.

The annual picks for hits and misses continue to pop up. The biggest bets for hits this season have been placed on the Fox drama “Gotham,” the comedy “Black-ish” on ABC and the network’s drama “How To Get Away With Murder.” CBS, which has demonstrated the surest hand at finding steady performers, if not big hits, has a few that fit that description, led by the drama “Madam Secretary.” And in the biggest surprise, industry expectations are unusually high for “Jane the Virgin” and “The Flash” on the struggling CW network.

At the same time, conjecture abounds about things like which network is in the most trouble. The consensus: Fox, after its fortunes have declined in recent years with the descent of “American Idol” and the failure to find a fall reality series to fill hours — as “The Voice” does on NBC, “Dancing With the Stars” does on ABC, and “Survivor” does on CBS.

The main economic factor driving the fall season is the advertising-sale ritual called the upfront, which takes place every May. Networks unveil their schedules and begin negotiations with advertisers about the rates to be paid for an entire 52-week year — one that starts in September. Negotiations now include even the terms for rating, such as whether to count delayed viewing over three days or seven.

The upfront market was noticeably softer this year, with total spending estimated to have fallen 5 to 10 percent, to a total of slightly less than $9 billion. One explanation for the decline, television and marketing executives say, is that more advertisers have delayed spending to have more money available for commercial time later in the season. The shift can give marketers more flexibility and the chance to bargain for better rates. It also means a network can demand more money if a new show emerges as a major hit.

As the networks vie with one another, they are increasingly finding that they no longer have the fall season spotlight to themselves, even in premiere week. The rest of the business used to back off until after the network program stampede. But this year, for example, the FX cable channel is running the final season of its drama “Sons of Anarchy” right in middle of the network fall debuts, and scoring impressive ratings. Last season, AMC ran the finale of “Breaking Bad” on the first Sunday of the network season.

“Nobody’s afraid to take the networks on anymore, even in premiere week,” Mr. Adgate said.

The competition for viewers has never been more fierce. Last year, cable networks alone broadcast 144 original series, up from 29 a decade earlier. Even more original series are in the works this year, including “The Divide,” on the WE tv network, and “Fortitude,” a drama about a murder that shakes an Arctic town, on Pivot, a network focused on the millennial generation.

Netflix, the streaming service, has said that it will spend nearly $3 billion on content in the next year. It has several original series in the pipeline, including “Marco Polo,” a historical costume adventure. Amazon plans to release four original series, including “Transparent,” a comedy about a father who comes out as transgender to his adult offspring.

“The competition is not just other TV networks right now,” said Sarah Hofstetter, chief executive of 360i, a digital marketing agency with several television networks among its clients. “It is not just web series. We are in such an attention economy right now. If TV marketers are only looking at other TV programs, they already are way too far behind.”

The flood of new series is coming as people are spending less time watching live television. Live viewing dropped more in the second quarter of 2014 than in the previous eight quarters, with the greatest decline among younger viewers, said Brian Wieser, a media analyst with Pivotal Research.

The average adult watched four hours and 36 minutes of live television a day in the second quarter of 2014, down from four hours and 45 minutes two years ago, according to a recent Nielsen report. The time the average adult spent watching time-shifted television, meanwhile, jumped to 31 minutes a day in the quarter, up six minutes from two years earlier.

Still, Mr. Beckman argued that in spite of all the factors battering the tradition of the network premiere week, it retains value, mainly for the attention it still brings to a business that needs all the attention it can get.

“It’s not always going to be this way,” he said, “The eventual demise of a fall season is going to happen gradually, but it will still take a long time before it finally happens.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/bu...l?ref=business


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post #96950 of 96960 Old Yesterday, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by dattier View Post
You have higher expectations for the survival of "Manhattan Love Story" and "Mulaney"?
Don't think I've seen anything on them yet. That could mean if I did see something, I wasn't impressed and forgot about them completely.

Edit: Just checked the list of shows I plan to be recording and those two weren't on it. So that's why I didn't include them--I had no expectations for them at all.

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Nielsen Overnights
‘Utopia’ Falls Hard Again On Second Friday
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Sep. 20, 2014

Things were smoldering on Utopia (0.5/2) last night, and not just because of the heat wave that pummeled Southern California the last two weeks. Relationships, politics, shorty shorts and a move from 8 PM to 9 PM aside, the second Friday broadcast of the highly hyped Fox social experiment was down 28 % among adults 18-49 from the low of last week’s 0.7/3. Viewershipwise Utopia had 1.54 million watching last night. That’s 22% less than the 1.98 million that last Friday’s 1-hour show had.

Sharing the 9 PM time slot and running to 11 PM, a new Dateline (1.2/5) soundly beat Utopia by 140% among the 18-49s. Compared to last week, the NBC news mag dipped 7%. In fact, Utopia came last in its time slot among the Big 4 behind Dateline and a repeat of Shark Tank (1.1/4) and an encore of Hawaii Five-O (0.8/3) – which may be an ominous warning for what will happen when new shows start hitting the air on Fridays.

Of course Fridays are a hard night with viewership lower than the rest of the week but last night’s results can’t bode well in the Fox executive offices for the consistently struggling twice a week reality show. Compared to the 1.0/3 of its most recent airing on September 16, last night’s Utopia was fell a hard 50%. That Tuesday broadcast was actually the first time Utopia had seen a ratings rise since its September 7 debut, which got a 2.0/6. With numbers like this, the question of whether Utopia will keep grinding away or will the beginning of baseball on Fox in October provide the network with a perfect plug puller is getting all the more poignant.

On the flipside, unlike most reality series, Utopia has seen a good digital afterlife – at least for its first two shows. Live + 3 ratings for the Utopia’s debut saw a 20% rise in the key demo and the first Tuesday airing of the show jumped up 56%.

Other than Utopia, there was really only a spattering of more reality TV and news magazine shows on last night. Appearing on Friday for the first time, a special Big Brother (1.6/7) weaved together head of household competition and recapped the season so far. Leading up to its Season 16 September 24 finale, the special had 5.23 million viewers. On NBC at 8 PM there was another reality special with an edited version of the September 18 The Biggest Loser (0.7/3). In the same time slot, the CW’s Masters of Illusion (0.4/2) was even with last week. A new 20/20 (0.9/3) on ABC at 10 PM was also even from its September 12 show. NBC and CBS tied for the top spot among adults 18-49 with a 1.0/4 rating with the latter winning viewers with 5.37 million watching.

BTW – If you wonder why fast nationals were delayed today it’s because Nielsen were doing a planned system check.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/utopia-r...teline-837280/
What happens if the show gets canceled? It's obviously not a competition type reality show, more of a long-term social experiment. What happens to the people? Do they continue on for the full year?

Or are they told "OK, it's over, show got canceled, everybody pack up and go home."
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So, how did "Madam Secretary" did on its Sunday premiere?

SUNDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.


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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A solid start for ‘Madam Secretary’
New CBS drama debuts to a 1.9 in 18-49s and a strong 14.3 million
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 22, 2014

With a big lead-in from “60 Minutes,” fueled by NFL overrun earlier in the evening, CBS’s “Madam Secretary” posted a decent debut last night.

The new drama averaged a 1.9 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, as well as a 2.9 among CBS’s target 25-54s.

The 18-49 rating was just a tenth off of what “The Amazing Race” drew behind “Minutes” in its season premiere last year.

“Secretary” also drew 14.3 million total viewers.

The show got a big lead-in. “Minutes” averaged a 3.6 in 18-49s, its best season premiere rating since 2005, and 18.7 million total viewers, its best bow since 1997.

At 10 p.m., CBS’s “The Good Wife” saw mixed results. The show drew its largest season premiere audience in total viewers since 2011, 9.95 million. But it posted its lowest season debut rating yet among 18-49s, with a 1.3.

Note, CBS’s ratings are approximate because the football runover lasted about 64 minutes. That means “Minutes” didn’t start airing until 8:04 p.m. and “Secretary” at 9:04 p.m. and so forth, so the overnights, which measure timeslot and not actual program ratings, may not be accurate.

Elsewhere last night, the Fox finale of “American Dad” posted a 1.4 in the demo at 9:30. The show is moving to TBS next month.

As usual, NBC dominated the night with “Sunday Night Football.”

NBC was first for the night among 18-49s with a 5.6 average overnight rating and a 16 share. CBS was second at 3.8/11, Fox third at 1.2/4, Univision fourth at 0.7/2, ABC fifth at 0.6/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.

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.

Also, ratings for NBC’s NFL coverage are approximate as fast nationals measure timeslot and not actual program data.

At 7 p.m. CBS was first with an 8.3 for NFL overrun, followed by NBC with a 1.9 for “Football Night in America.” Fox was third with a 0.9 for reruns of “Bob’s Burgers” and “The Simpsons,” ABC fourth with a 0.8 for a repeat of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” and Univision and Telemundo tied for fifth at 0.4, Univision for “Aqui y Ahora” and Telemundo for the end of the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

NBC took the lead at 8 p.m. with a 6.1 for NFL pregame and the start of “Sunday Night Football,” while CBS slipped to second with a 3.6 for “60 Minutes.” Fox was third with a 1.3 for reruns of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.” ABC and Univision tied for fourth at 0.6, ABC for a repeat of “Once Upon a Time” and Univision for “Va Por Ti,” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.4 for “Yo Soy el Artista.”

At 9 p.m. NBC led with a 7.5 for football, with CBS second with a 1.9 for “Secretary.” Fox was third with a 1.4 for a repeat of “Family Guy” (1.4) and “Dad” (1.4), Univision fourth with a 0.8 for more “Va Por Ti” and ABC and Telemundo tied for fifth at 0.5, ABC for a repeat of “Resurrection” and Telemundo for more “Artista.”

NBC was first again at 10 p.m. with a 6.8 for more football, followed by CBS with a 1.3 for “Wife.” Univision was third with a 0.9 for “Sal y Pimienta,” ABC fourth with a 0.5 for a “Revenge” rerun and Telemundo fifth with a 0.3 for “Suelta la Sopa Extra.”

CBS was first for the night among households with a 10.7 average overnight rating and an 18 share. NBC was second at 8.6/14, ABC third at 2.0/3, Fox fourth at 1.5/3, Univision fifth at 1.1/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.5/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/sol...dam-secretary/


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TV Notes
’11/22/63′ Drama From J.J. Abrams Based On Stephen King‘s Novel Gets Hulu Series Order
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 22, 2014

11/22/63, a drama series adaptation of Stephen King‘s bestselling 2011 novel, produced by J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot, has landed at Hulu with a 9-episode straight-to-series order. The thriller is described as an event series, but the streaming service is open to additional seasons, possibly focused on other historic events. The pickup comes a year and a half after Bad Robot optioned the rights to the book through Warner Bros TV, where the company is based. “I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was in junior high school,” Abrams said. “The chance to work with him at all, let alone on a story so compelling, emotional and imaginative, is a dream.

Adapted for television by Bridget Carpenter (The Red Road), 11/22/63 centers on Jake, an unassuming divorced English teacher who stumbles upon a time portal that leads to 9/9/1958 and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963. But his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, his falling in love and the past itself … which doesn’t want to be changed. “If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event TV programming, 11/22/63 is it,” King said. “I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.” King, Abrams, Carpenter and Bryan Burk executive produce; Kathy Lingg co-executive produces, and Athena Wickham is producer.

11/22/63 marks the first original programming collaboration between Hulu and WBTV and reunites Craig Erwich, Hulu’s head of content, and WBTV. Before joining Hulu earlier this year, Erwich headed WBTV’s cable division Warner Horizon.

Bad Robot, which also produces CBS drama Person Of Interest, has been a little quiet on the TV front as Abrams has been busy directing and producing the next Star Wars movie. King’s books are a hot property for drama series at the moment. CBS has summer series Under The Dome and just gave a put pilot commitment to an adaptation of his novel The Things They Left Behind, produced by Greg Berlanti. King is repped by Paradigm.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/11-22-63...g-hulu-838422/


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TV Notes
‘Police Academy’ Cast Reunite for Syfy Monster Movie ‘Lavantula’
By Linda Ge, TheWrap.com - Sep. 22, 2014

From the network that brought us “Sharknado” comes the equally ludicrous and equally self-explanatory “Lavalantula,” the newest monster movie to air on Syfy.

A band of oversized, fire-breathing tarantulas will wreak havoc over Los Angeles and only the reunited cast of “Police Academy” can stop them. Steve Guttenberg stars as a washed up 90s action hero, and he's joined by Leslie Easterbrook and Michael Winslow.

Lavalantulas — as the title suggests — are giant, lava-spewing tarantulas who rise out of the depths of the Santa Monica volcanoes, which are apparently so dormant nobody ever knew they existed.

Currently filming in Los Angeles, “Lavalantula” also co-stars Nia Peeples and Ralph Garman, who's already survived Syfy's “Sharktopus,” a predecessor to the “Sharknado” phenomenon.

“Lavalantula” will air in summer 2015 on Syfy.

http://www.thewrap.com/police-academ...vie-lavantula/


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TV Notes
'New York Times' TV critic Alessandra Stanley defends her Shonda Rhimes article
By Arienne Thompson, USA Today's 'Entertain This!' Blog - Sep. 22, 2014

In the latest update to the controversy surrounding The New York Times‘ “angry black woman” piece about ABC showrunner Shonda Rhimes, the author of that article is defending herself against a deafening chorus of criticism.

TV critic Alessandra Stanley, in a response to public editor Margaret Sullivan’s investigation of how the piece was edited, says her critique of Rhimes’ How to Get Away with Murder was meant to praise, not insult.

In the review, I referenced a painful and insidious stereotype solely in order to praise Ms. Rhimes and her shows for traveling so far from it. If making that connection between the two offended people, I feel bad about that. But I think that a full reading allows for a different takeaway than the loudest critics took.

The same applies to your question about “less than classically beautiful.” Viola Davis said it about herself in the NYT magazine, more bluntly. I commended Ms. Rhimes for casting an actress who doesn’t conform to television’s narrow standards of beauty; I have said the same thing about Helen Mirren in “Prime Suspect.”

I didn’t think Times readers would take the opening sentence literally because I so often write arch, provocative ledes that are then undercut or mitigated by the paragraphs that follow.

Regrettably, this stereotype is still too incendiary to raise even in arguing that Ms. Rhimes had killed it once and for all.


Sullivan, who released an apologetic statement about the review Monday morning, says she will continue her investigation about how the article slipped by multiple Times editors without alarming any of them. She also notes that among the paper’s 20 critics, none are black.

I still plan to talk to Mr. (Dean) Baquet (executive editor) about the article, its editing, and about diversity in the newsroom, particularly among culture critics. The Times has a number of high-ranked editors and prominent writers who are people of color, but it’s troubling that among 20 critics, not one is black and only one is a person of color.

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/20...himes-article/


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TV Review
‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,’ Season Two
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Sep. 22, 2014

As a frequent critic of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” there’s modest cause for optimism as the ABC series begins its second season, albeit by making allowances for the show’s clunkier aspects. Still reeling from the reboot triggered by events chronicled in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the dissolution of the organization from which the program derives its name, the sophomore-year kickoff offers several new characters to care about – or more likely, not – as well as a guerrilla-type approach to thwarting evil. “Agents of SHIELD” remains a flawed construct, but the less viewers thinks about that, the more they’re apt to enjoy it.

Without giving too much away, the surviving members of SHIELD are trying to keep fighting the good fight, all under the watchful eye of Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. And in keeping with Marvel’s habit of integrating and cross-collateralizing its projects, the episode opens with a clever nod to the wider universe, before settling into that week’s threat.

In this case, it’s a villain plucked straight out of the comics, the Absorbing Man, brought pretty impressively to life, as he makes contact with various objects and assumes their properties. Meanwhile, the SHIELD agents are still adjusting to the betrayal within their ranks by Ward (Brett Dalton) and doing a little absorbing of their own – in this case, additional operatives recruited to augment their numbers.

Frankly, it’s too soon to draw any conclusions about the newcomers – though it’s nice to see Patton Oswalt back, even if his character doesn’t make much sense – and some holdovers weren’t all that memorable, either.

Yet as produced under Joss Whedon, keeper of “The Avengers” flame, and the stewardship of his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, “SHIELD” serves an obvious purpose as a weekly window into the Marvel universe, despite being confined to its outer regions. (Notably, Fox’s Batman prequel “Gotham” faces an even more formidable hurdle, since “SHIELD” is at least contemporary with what’s happening to the major heroes.)

Although there’s still more synergy than spark here (including, it should be noted, a gratuitous cameo by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos as himself in the premiere), the producers deliver a reasonably high action quotient on a TV budget and just enough ongoing mythology to cultivate a slightly bigger picture. And Marvel will augment its primetime turf with the upcoming “Agent Carter,” the “Captain America” spinoff featuring Hayley Atwell, battling the forces of HYDRA post-World War II.

Perhaps foremost, some of the hype surrounding “Agents of SHIELD” – driven by those huge boxoffice returns reaped by “The Avengers” – has cooled, fostering more realistic expectations. As a practical matter, ABC has also shifted the series into a more promising 9 p.m. timeslot, after asking the show to hoist the entire Tuesday lineup on its freshly minted shoulders last year.

Marvel clearly added to the program’s burden with the “Winter Soldier” tie-in (which did little to goose the ratings), a challenge the producers discussed in an interview with Variety. Still, the most committed devotees were as apt to dismiss naysayers as they were to overstate the extent of the show’s popularity.

Marvel’s gaudy run of hits – including this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” – and the relationship with Disney, a corporate parent eager to exploit that across the company’s assets, have only heightened the temptation to dig deeper into the comics vault, a maneuver that always comes with some risks.

In hindsight, though, it was unfair to expect “Agents of SHIELD” to be a superstar. The question now is whether the series can settle in and become what it was probably destined to be all along – namely, a utility player.

'Marvel's Agents of SHIELD,' Season Two
ABC, Tue. Sept. 23, 9 p.m.


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...wo-1201308912/


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TV Review
'NCIS: New Orleans' follows formula
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sep. 23, 2014

There’s a formula to the “NCIS” shows that works well, and you can see why in the series premiere of CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans” (9 tonight, KDKA-TV).

It features a father-figure leader, squabbling siblings/potential lovers who tease one another while doing the job and an upstanding, professional aunt/uncle working in the lab. That’s the lineup for the original “NCIS,” and it’s put to work again in this latest spinoff that offers another dollop of unchallenging, comfort food TV.

The “NCIS: New Orleans” cast was first introduced in an episode of the original “NCIS” last spring. Scott Bakula (“Men of a Certain Age”) stars as special agent Dwayne Pride, who’s less enigmatic and more nurturing than Gibbs (Mark Harmon, an exec producer on this show, too).

Pride’s team includes Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black, “American Gothic”), who enjoys teasing New Orleans newcomer Meredith Brody (Zoe McLellan) in a parallel to the Tony/Ziva relationship on original “NCIS.” CCH Pounder (“The Shield”) co-stars as tethered-to-the-lab forensics expert Dr. Loretta Wade, an analogue for Ducky on the original show. (Ducky makes a cameo via Skype in tonight’s “NCIS: New Orleans” premiere.)

If there’s a significant difference between the two series, it’s the camaraderie among the New Orleans team, who seem to hang out together more in their off-hours at a jazz club where Pride sometimes jumps on stage to sit in for a set, playing piano.

The New Orleans setting itself gives the show a different vibe (the show is filmed in Louisiana). The pilot isn’t too on the nose about its location — no one’s murdered on Bourbon Street — but it does try to weave its setting into the strictures of similar procedurals: A body part is found in a massive container of shrimp.

The setting seems to bedevil Mr. Bakula, a winning, likable TV star whose New Orleans accents seems to wax and wane; sometimes it’s noticeable, other times it’s not, and that inconsistency is sure to rankle some viewers.

The plot of the premiere focuses on a mentee of Pride’s who turns up dead. The episode follows the investigation into the young man’s death and introduces a potentially evil New Orleans councilman (Steven Weber) who seems destined to have a recurring role as an adversary for Pride.

If “NCIS: Los Angeles” was designed to be different — younger agents as the stars, an older woman as the boss figure — “NCIS: New Orleans” seems intent on being the spitting image of the show that started it all (if we don’t count “JAG,” from which “NCIS” itself was a spinoff). For some viewers this sameness will be like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers; for others “NCIS: New Orleans” might be too much the same.

‘NCIS: New Orleans’
When: 9 tonight, CBS.


http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201409230022


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TV Notes
Woman Implants Third Breast in Hopes of MTV Reality Show
By The Hollywood Reporter Staff - Sep. 22, 2014

A Florida woman says she spent $20,000 to have a third breast surgically implanted.

Jasmine Tridevil has posted photos on Twitter showing off her newly enhanced bust, and says she hopes her third breast will help her break into show business with an MTV reality show.

Tridevil says she's a massage therapist who saved up for two years to pay for the operation. But getting the extra breast took more than money — it also took finding the right doctor. She claims she called 50 or 60 doctors before landing on one who agreed to perform the procedure, and only after she signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“It was really hard finding someone that would do it, too, because they’re breaking the code of ethics,” Tridevil told Real Radio 104.1.

Tridevil has her sights set on an MTV reality show, and says she's been recording footage for the show by hiring a camera crew out of pocket. She says neither MTV nor a production company are involved at this juncture.

MTV declined to comment.

"I told my mom on camera, because that's going to be on my show," Tridevil said of her family's reaction to her extra breast. "My mom ran out the door. She won't talk to me."

Online some have speculated the whole thing is a hoax. Tridevil, who told the radio station that wasn't her real name, launched her Twitter account in August.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...t-hopes-734736


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Critic's/Nielsen Notes
Which Sophomore Shows Will Thrive, and Which Will Take a Ratings Dive?
By Josef Adalian, Vulture.com - Sep. 22, 2014

Network television’s new fall season kicks off today, officially ushering in the arrival of a couple dozen shiny new series. Broadcasters have invested millions in the production and promotion of these newcomers, and after months of hype, we’ll now finally get to see which ones have a future — and which will end up buried next to the corpses of long-forgotten short-timers such as My Own Worst Enemy, The Unusuals, or Life on a Stick. Vulture and other business and entertainment outlets will pay lots of attention to these debuts over the coming weeks (check back tomorrow for the first big Nielsen report card). Yet despite the understandable obsession with what’s new, network suits will be following another class of programs nearly as closely: the sophomores. These are the shows which defied network TV’s long odds to make it to a second season and now have to prove they really do have long-term value. This has become particularly true in recent years: With breakout hits less common, series which in the past might not have graduated to a second season are now getting more time to connect with audiences. Year two can be the time when network patience either pays off with a sophomore surge (see: Scandal, Chicago Fire) or is rewarded with definitive audience rejection (Smash, Revolution).

While it’s obviously too soon to precisely predict how the 2014–15 season’s crop of sophomores will end up performing, the early signs look promising. Unlike many past years, none of the seven series returning from last fall seem headed for certain doom right now, the way ABC’s Neighbors did last September or Fox’s Touch did two seasons ago. Even the shakiest sophomore ratings performer, Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, looks likely to make it to a third season, if only because Fox’s overall live-action comedy cupboard is so bare. If anything, there’s a case to be made that several of the sophomores are poised to take off in their second years, or at least grow their audience.

Read on for our guide to which returning series from the Big Four broadcast nets seem headed for a sophomore surge, based on how they finished their first seasons and how new time slots and new competition are likely to impact their performance this year. (One note: Don’t be alarmed by the absence of Resurrection, About a Boy, or Chicago P.D. Somewhat arbitrarily, we decided to only look at programs that debuted last fall, and to ignore reality shows altogether. The Vulture crystal ball can only predict so much.)

Sleepy Hollow (Fox)

Season one report card:
One of last season’s true breakout hits. Season one, which ran just 13 episodes, averaged over 11 million viewers and ended up a Top 10 hit among viewers under 50. The show’s Nielsen might was coupled with even better word of mouth, not because Sleepy redefined TV drama or soared to cable-like levels of sophistication, but because it was so much damn fun. In that sense, it most closely resembles ABC’s recent success with Once Upon a Time, a series that could’ve marginalized itself as geeky sci-fi but quickly established itself as one of TV’s few family-friendly adventures.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Moderate. Sleepy ended in fine shape creatively, with a great cliff-hanger and its fan base fully invested in the yarn producers had spun over season one. It’s hard not to imagine most season one viewers returning and maybe bringing with them a few friends or family members curious to see what all the fuss is about. But a couple of factors could dampen Sleepy’s momentum. For one thing, Fox’s decision to limit the show’s freshman season to 13 episodes means it’s been about eight months since a new episode aired — standard for cable shows, but unusual for broadcast series. What’s not known is whether the extra time will result in some viewers forgetting the show, or if the long break will actually have ended up giving audiences overloaded with choices more time to catch up via VOD or streaming. Equally mysterious is how well Sleepy will pair with new lead-in Gotham. The comic-book drama is Fox’s biggest fall gun, and it should draw big crowds its first week or two. But both Bones and the short-lived Almost Human were broader based than the niche-y Gotham and in some ways feel more compatible with the old-school entertainment that Sleepy serves up. Sleepy has proven it’s a self-starter that can do well on its own, but whether it grows in year two might well depend on how Fox’s 8 p.m. show does.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

Season one report card:
ABC’s biggest new fall show last year, a Top 10 hit among viewers under 50 and a big beneficiary of time-shifting (its demo numbers jump nearly 70 percent once DVR plays are counted). On the downside, loyal Marvel-istas complained bitterly about the show’s creative direction through most of its run (though buzz got better late in the season), and most media reports about S.H.I.E.L.D. painted the series (fairly or not) as a bit of a Nielsen disappointment given its auspices.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Low. ABC is moving the show to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, which means it no long will have to go up against NBC’s The Voice most weeks or CBS’s original recipe NCIS. But ABC is also doing the show zero favors by scheduling a pair of likely-to-be low-rated rom-coms (Selfie and Manhattan Love Story) as its new lead-in. Plus, despite attempts to make it a “villain of the week” procedural, S.H.I.E.L.D. is still at its heart a mythology-driven show, one not welcoming to outsiders not already familiar with its universe. If the audience still watching the show last May returns, ABC will be very happy with S.H.I.E.L.D., but a sudden season-two growth spurt seems unlikely.

The Goldbergs (ABC)

Season one report card:
When ABC first screened this ’80’s-set family comedy for critics and reporters over a year ago, two questions immediately popped up: Is Jeff Garlin always going to yell so much, and why isn’t this show scheduled on Wednesday nights? Garlin quickly turned down his volume just a scooch, but Alphabet execs (stubbornly, if you ask us) kept The Goldbergs in a Tuesday-night quarantine for the length of its first season, pairing it with the wholly incompatible, young-male-skewing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And yet, creator Adam Goldberg’s fictional version of his real-life fam hung in there, drawing a consistent audience of around 7 million viewers (including those who watched via DVR). While that’s not a big number by broadcast network standards, The Goldbergs did a very good job of bringing one of ABC’s key constituencies to Tuesday nights: Young women under 50. Among that target demo, The Goldbergs averaged a 2.5 rating, holding on to nearly all of its lead-in from S.H.I.E.L.D. (2.7 among women under 50) and within spitting distance of Wednesday comedies such as The Middle (2.8) and Super Fun Night (2.9, with the advantage of a massive 5.3 lead-in from Modern Family). Young males who came to ABC for their Marvel fix might not have had much use for The Goldbergs, but the masses of younger women who love ABC’s Wednesday comedies clearly demonstrated an interest in the show.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Excellent. Moving behind The Middle will give The Goldbergs a bigger, broader lead-in than it was getting from S.H.I.E.L.D. by the end of last season. (Last May, the latter series was averaging a little more than 5 million same-day viewers, while The Middle was drawing close to 7 million.) Plus, the best lead-in for a comedy is almost always another comedy. ABC has also done a great job giving Goldbergs added exposure over the summer, immediately shifting reruns to Wednesdays in June and running a couple of mini-marathons to hook in new audiences. Those Goldbergs reruns scored identical numbers to reruns of ABC’s other Wednesday comedies, suggesting the network has found a perfect home for its 1980s refugees.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

Season one report card:
If critical love and Nielsen numbers were aligned, this would’ve been one of last season’s biggest hits. Instead, Brooklyn has to settle for being one of the year’s best-reviewed new shows, a Golden Globe winner, and a so-so ratings performer (average audience: 5 million viewers). The show’s biggest problem last season was that it didn’t mesh with anything on Fox’s Tuesday comedy lineup. Instead of sticking with a logical plan and pairing Brooklyn with the late, beloved-by-many Enlisted, Fox at first tried to arrange a marriage with the bawdy multi-cam Dads. When that predictably failed, the network then put Brooklyn behind a fast-fading New Girl. Buzz on Brooklyn grew louder and more positive as the show found its comedic footing, but Fox was never really able to back it up with an appropriate companion. The good news: Enough viewers found the show anyway, and its DVR lift was a hefty 64 percent.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Moderate. Fox has shifted Brooklyn to an unusual time slot: Sundays at 8:30, hammocked between animated icons The Simpsons and Family Guy. Some TV types Vulture consulted think this is bananas thinking on Fox’s part, since there’s little history of 'toons and live-action shows playing well together on network TV. But, honestly, Sundays seem the safest spot on Fox’s troubled lineup for Brooklyn to build an audience. The Simpsons, particularly on nights when Fox has big NFL games, delivers a much bigger and broader lead-in than anything on Tuesdays. And while Brooklyn isn’t a particularly macho show, it did do much better among men than women last year; Fox’s Sunday schedule is a young-dude magnet. If live action and animation can coexist peacefully on Adult Swim, there’s no reason Bart Simpson can’t end up being Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s best bud.

Mom (CBS)

Season one report card:
It did fine on Mondays behind CBS’s Mike & Molly, holding on to most of its lead-in among viewers under 50. The problem for the Eye is that, with How I Met Your Mother gone and Two and a Half Men entering its final season, it doesn’t need another perfectly serviceable sitcom to fill a half-hour slot. It needs hits. And while the critical buzz on Mom was actually pretty darn good — particularly for actors Anna Faris and Allison Janney — the show had a hard time breaking out last season as part of a CBS Monday comedy block which had clearly seen better days. CBS execs, however, love their Mom, and given how hard it’s been for any network comedy to pop lately, renewing the show was a no-brainer.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Excellent, at least in the short term. Mom’s first six weeks of episodes will air behind original episodes of blockbuster hit The Big Bang Theory, which is temporarily relocating to 8 p.m. Mondays as a result of CBS’s Thursday football package. This will almost certainly lead to new viewers sampling Mom and a big surge in overall audience. On October 27, however, 2 Broke Girls will replace Bang as Mom’s lead-in, taking with it a huge chunk of the audience. And yet, Mom might still do better at 8:30 than it had been doing at 9:30 p.m. last season. While 2 Broke has lost some luster, it’s still got more buzz than Mike & Molly and skews a bit younger, both factors that should help Mom. Plus, reruns of Mom have done surprisingly well this summer, indicating viewers who’d heard good things about the show decided to check it out. And while Emmys don’t always translate into ratings, the fact that Janney took home a Best Supporting Actress statuette last month for her work on Mom certainly doesn’t hurt.

The Blacklist (NBC)

Season one report card:
A monster hit that helped transform NBC from also-ran to competitive player in the ratings game. Season one scored an average audience of just under 17 million of viewers, and while airing behind The Voice surely helped, by the end of its first year, Blacklist was bringing in its own audience. The surest sign it was no time-period hit: Over 6 million viewers made a weekly habit of recording and watching the show each week, more than any other show on TV (including CBS’s Big Bang Theory).

Odds of a sophomore surge: Moderate. Blacklist really doesn’t need to do any better than it already is: It’s a transformative hit for NBC and would still be so even if it declined a bit in season two. Complicating any forecast for its future: NBC is splitting the show’s second season in two and moving it to a new night. Fall episodes remain on Mondays at 10, but in November, the show disappears for three months before relocating in February to Thursdays at 9 p.m. There’s no reason to think Blacklist won’t do fine in the fall, though if ratings for The Voice continue to trend downward (as seems likely), it could hurt Blacklist on the margins. A bigger question mark is how the show does on Thursdays, when it’ll face off against ABC’s equally, er, red-hot Scandal and will have no big hit as a lead-in. There’s no doubt it will work on Thursdays, dramatically improving NBC’s ratings on the night and bringing much of its audience with it. NBC’s decision to herald the move by airing an episode of Blacklist after the Super Bowl could also help it find new viewers. But all the change, combined with the high bar Blacklist set for itself freshman year, makes a season-two uptick a 50-50 proposition at best.

The Millers (CBS)

Season one report card:
On paper, creator Greg Garcia’s family comedy was a big hit, drawing more viewers — over 12 million most weeks — than any new comedy on TV last year. In fact, The Millers is a classic time-period “hit,” its success almost entirely the product of the fact that it follows the juggernaut known as The Big Bang Theory. Almost one out of two Big Bang viewers changed the channel rather than watch The Millers, and almost nobody bothered to DVR it, either: The series’ ratings inched up just 12 percent once seven days of time-shifting were tallied last season, one of the smallest increases of any scripted show on network TV. (By contrast, another CBS Thursday show, Elementary, saw its viewership spike 82 percent post-DVR last year.) Still, 12 million viewers is still 12 million viewers, and CBS produces The Millers, giving it every incentive to keep it on the air until it collects enough episodes to reap millions in profit from rerun sales.

Odds of a sophomore surge: Low. The Millers will still air behind Big Bang when it returns next month, and the fact that it’ll be familiar to the Big Bang audience might convince a few to give the show a second chance. NBC has also abandoned (its admittedly low-rated) 8 p.m. comedy block, leaving CBS as the only sitcom alternative in the hour. And Sean Hayes has been added to the cast, though it’s not clear if that move will repel as many viewers as it attracts. But it’s also possible that Big Bang’s age, plus CBS’s decision to temporarily shift the series to Mondays before returning it to Thursdays, could shake up viewing habits enough to slightly weaken Big Bang’s same-day ratings. And that’s key for The Millers, since folks who watch Big Bang via DVR can’t simply stay tuned to watch the comedic stylings of Arnett and Martindale. What seems most likely is that The Millers will continue to do okay, drawing either a slightly larger or slightly smaller audience than it did last season and staying on the air for approximately 100 mostly forgettable episodes. Hey, it worked for Rules of Engagement and Caroline in the City!

http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/sopho...edictions.html


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