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TV Notes
SAG Awards TV: Hourlong Series Sweep Drama & Comedy Races, Netflix Rises, Viola Davis Scores Freshman Win
By Nellie Andreeva, - Jan. 27, 2015

What does a half-hour comedy series need to do to win a comedy SAG Award these days? That was the question posed by this year’s awards, which snubbed what had been considered comedies for decades in favor of genre-bending hourlong series that straddle the worlds of drama and comedy. The three comedy series SAG Awards went to Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black (best ensemble, actress Uzo Aduba) and Showtime’s Shameless (actor William H. Macy).

These were the first SAG Awards nominations for the two shows in their first season competing as comedy series. Netflix and Showtime made the controversial category switch last spring, going into the Emmy Awards. For Shameless, it came after the series competed as a drama for the first three seasons to very little awards attention. For Orange, the change was made after a run as a drama yielded only a Golden Globe nom.

The completed domination of the comedy field by drama series with comedy elements tonight will likely reignite the debate whether the TV Academy needs to better redefine the comedy category.

Among the actors in half-hour comedies that lost out to Macy tonight was Jim Parsons, still in search of his first SAG Award. It is a head-scratcher — the Big Bang Theory star has now won four Emmys for his showy role on the biggest show on television but is yet to get a recognition from his peers.

And Orange ended Modern Family‘s four-year streak as best comedy ensemble as the acclaimed ABC comedy was left empty-handed.

A big leap for Netflix, from three nominations last year to three wins tonight to top the network list — two for Orange and one for House Of Cards (drama actor Kevin Spacey).

HBO was second, taking home both long-form categories, for Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart) and Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge). It was a first award for both for their HBO movies. For Ruffalo, it came at the very end of The Normal Heart‘s awards cycle, so this makes up for previous snubs, while Olive Kitteridge is yet to compete at the Emmys.

The drama winners were all over the place. With no big frontrunner like last year’s Breaking Bad, the actors guild went with old favorite — 2013 winner Downton Abbey repeating as best ensemble — and a newcomer — How To Get Away With Murder‘s Viola Davis.

While the SAGs failed to nominate three first-year shows that triumphed at the Golden Globes, Amazon’s Transparent, Showtime’s The Affair and the CW’s Jane The Virgin, they still awarded a freshman in HTGAWM‘s Davis in her first major recognition for the twisty murder mystery.

On a night where there were no black nominees on the film side, it was nice to see Davis, Aduba and the diverse cast of Orange onstage, a recognition of the fact that television offers more, flashier, award-worthy roles for minority actors right now.

HTGAWM and Downton Abbey held the flag for broadcast TV, which was shut out until the very last two categories.

It’s hard to believe but HBO’s True Detective ended its awards run without a single major acting nod for its A-list leading duo of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Did they split the vote by competing against each other in every race? In their final ceremony for the broody HBO cop show, they saw the drama actor SAG Award go to House Of Cards‘ Spacey, his first for the Netflix political drama.
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TV Review
‘Arthur: Fountain Abbey’
PBS Kids' lovable animated aardvark has fun with the upstairs/downstairs theme of 'Downton Abbey'
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jan. 26, 2014

PBS has found a charming way to cross-promote “Downton Abbey” to a demographic that goes to bed long before “Downton” hits the air.

Monday’s new episode of “Arthur,” a PBS Kids show that stars an aardvark, is called “Fountain Abbey,” gently playing off the stately mansion and the sometimes less-than-stately characters who inhabit it.

In this episode, Arthur’s friend Muffy learns her great-great-grandmother lived at Fountain Abbey, an old British estate that looks exactly like Highclere Castle, the setting of “Downton Abbey.”

Muffy assumes this makes her a princess and begins treating her family and friends in ways that the haughtiest of “Downton” dowagers would never consider.

It’s hilarious, particularly because it doesn’t last long enough to wear out the jokes. Like most shows for young kids, “Arthur” only runs 10-15 minutes per story — a cue you often wish some prime-time shows would take.

In any case, Muffy’s balloon deflates quickly when she finds a diary and realizes her great-great-grandmother was a maid.

But wait! Her friends keep reading and they discover the truth is somewhere between princess and maid, with an ending that cheers Muffy right up.

You didn’t really expect a depressing ending, did you?

The trappings of the show may not mean that much to kids who haven’t seen the original, but they’re fun for grownups who have.

The setup shots, the re-creation of the rooms, the music, the characters and the tone are clearly the work of fans.

“Arthur” has tackled adult turf before, with parodies on “The Sopranos,” “Oprah,” “Law & Order” and other shows. Like those, this will amuse adults while not puzzling “Arthur” fans. Too much.

'Arthur: Fountain Abbey'
Network/Air Date: Monday at 12:30 p.m., Ch. 21 (Check Local Listings)
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)
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TV Notes
Thirty Years of Thundercats: Five Things You Don't Know About the Cartoon
By Chris Barnes, - Jan. 23, 2015

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the ThunderCats television show debuting on television. Along with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and The Transformers, the series and its accompanying toy line were popular with boys (and their cool sisters) who grew up in the 1980s.

From first sight (or as ThunderCats leader Lion-O would say, "sight beyond sight") I was hooked. The series' premise is ridiculously simple: A small group of survivors from the dead planet Thundera arrive onto the planet Third Earth. From there they encounter all kinds of new characters: the cute robot-bears the Berbils, the enigmatic galactic samurai Hachiman and the evil mummy Mumm-Ra, who would become the lead villain of the series.

And I know that I wasn't the only one. Thirty years later we still see people wearing clothes with art from the series. Family Guy has made countless references to the show. Nelly and Diddy even rap about the show in the song "Shake Ya Tailfeather."

So for today, take a few minutes out of your day to scream the ThunderCats' battle cry "ThunderCats ho!" and watch clips of their long-suffering and somewhat annoying friend Snarf as a way to remember your childhood. Here are five things that we learned about the ThunderCats.

The ThunderCats are related to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: In a weird kind of way, this is true. The original concept of ThunderCats -- cat-like people -- was created by Ted Wolf back in 1981. This idea was then pitched to the television production company Rankin-Bass (who brought us Rudolph and Frosty the Snow Man, among other classic holiday television specials) for development into the cartoon show that we wound up seeing. Several people were involved in shaping the property, including designer Mike Germakian, who came up with the logo and many of the character designs, and cartoonist Leondard Starr who is responsible for writing several key episodes and the series bible, which explains the characters, their world and everything in it. You can actually view the original press kit here.

The show featured a visually impaired hero: In 1986 the character of Lynx-O was introduced to the world of ThunderCats. What made him unique wasn't the fact that he was another feline hero but the fact that he was blind. According to the television show, he lost his sight in a fiery accident, but that didn't stop him. Lynx-O was portrayed as being not only one of the wiser Thundercats but one of the better combatants. He also introduced children of the 1980s to the Braille writing system; the characters used something called a "braille board" to not only read and use computers but pilot the flying ThunderStrike vehicle.

That voice sounds familiar: If you ever wondered if the character voices on ThunderCats sounded similar, you were right. Led by Larry Kenney (the voice of Lion-O), the voice acting throughout the series was handled pretty much by eight different actors. Earle Hyman, who voiced the gruff weapons master Panthro, was an extremely busy actor in the 1980s, also playing the Emmy Award-nominated role of the grandfather Russell Huxtable on The Cosby Show.

Are the toys worth anything? Simply put, yes. As the ThunderCats are still popular, the toy line is in high demand with collectors. One of the rarest figures include the Thunder Wings Lion-O, which recently sold for $710.

ThunderCats spin-off: Thanks to the success of the series, Rankin-Bass produced two similar cartoon shows: SilverHawks, a team of space-dwelling cyborgs who fight a crime ring in outer space, and TigerSharks, amphibious heroes who protect the planet Water-O. Neither was a direct spin-off of ThunderCats, but they were animated in the same style and had many of the same writers as well as voice actors.

In 2011 there was a darker remake of the ThunderCats on Cartoon Network that acknowledged that the characters of both TigerSharks and SilverHawks exist in the same universe as the ThunderCats. As for the relaunch, it lasted for one season before being cancelled along with its accompanying toy line.
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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)

8PM - The Bachelor (120 min.)
10:01PM - Castle
(R - Oct. 13)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Channing Tatum; NFL player J.J. Watt; ZZ Top performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials 2015
9PM - Scorpion
(R - Nov. 3)
9:59PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Oct. 13)
* * * *
11:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Louis CK; The Lone Bellow performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show (Regis Philbin guest hosts; Martin Short; Susan Sarandon; Alan Alda; Tony Danza)

8PM - The Celebrity Apprentice (120 min.)
10PM - State of Affairs
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Bradley Cooper; singer Harry Connick Jr.; Big K.R.I.T. performs with Raphael Saadiq and The Roots)
(R - Jan. 5)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Jessica Lange; Molly Sims; TV hosts Men in Blazers; Maya Rudolph sits in with the band)
(R - Jan. 6)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Megan Boone; alternative band Self; podcast Who Charted)
(R - Sep. 24)

8PM - Gotham
9PM - Sleepy Hollow

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Austin
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: San Jose
(R - May 24, 2010)
10PM - A Path Appears (Series Premiere, 90 min.)

8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - Que te Perdone Dios... Yo No

8PM - The Originals
9PM - Jane The Virgin

8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore
12:01AM - At Midnight (Ken Marino; John Gemberling; Tymberlee Hill)

11PM - Conan (Ellar Coltrane; Jukebox the Ghost performs)
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Originally Posted by Chere View Post
I'm strictly OTA but can't overstate how potentially huge this thing is. This is potentially Napster for the satellite/ cable co industry unless they start to figure this out and I'm extremely leery as to what the final outcome will be once the dust settles. I know of at least 10 people that are salivating and will be cutting the cord once this service starts and that's not even considering word of mouth and the news blitz that'll encourage & push more people to try it out.

Maybe it's time I seriously consider one of those ridiculous long term ISP contract price lock guarantees.

Interesting times....
This is a step in the right direction. After spending the last eight years without Pay-TV (And blabbing about it) I'm resting my case. I have some good news and some bad news to report. The good news is I'm actually considering to jump on this bandwagon, since I'll have access to the ESPN Channels along with HGTV. (I only watch the latter once a year (January 1) because they televise the Tournament of Roses Parade WITHOUT COMMERCIALS!)

Now the bad news, I'll have to wait until Spring to subscribe, because this past October my Lawnmower died, and I'm currently saving up for a new one.
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