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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2861

post #85801 of 93656
TV Review
You Can Judge a SyFy Movie by Its Title
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 22, 2013

Here’s the movie Erik Estrada was born to make. Although had he known that, the onetime CHiPs heartthrob might have checked out years ago.

In the proud tradition of Sharktopus, Mansquito and Mongolian Death Worm, this is Syfy network’s Chupacabra vs The Alamo. It finds the 64-year-old Estrada back on a chopper at least every 10 minutes or so. He’s sometimes very obviously riding in a soundstage next to a simulated green screen stretch of roadway. But at least he never falls off.

Premiering Saturday, March 23 at 9 p.m. ET, Chupacabra vs The Alamo arguably is the best made-for-TV movie title since ABC’s 1982 epic, The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch. It also continues what now is a pretty long string of low-budget Syfy creature features intended to be bad in a good way. This one is fleetingly grin-worthy and gory through and through. Not that it’s nearly as much fun as Syfy’s 2012 holiday season classic, 12 Disasters of Christmas.

Estrada plays DEA agent Carlos Seguin. He lost his beloved wife two years ago and now is dealing with a super-insolent gang-banging son known as Spider (Jorgito Vargas Jr.) and a teen daughter, Sienna (Nicole Munoz), who also sasses him in an early scene.

So it’s almost R&R for Carlos to respond to a multiple corpse crime scene in and around a dank smugglers’ tunnel. One of the dead men is badly mutilated, and you can guess whodunit. But gruff Carlos initially is having none of this chupacabra nonsense, particularly when it comes from new partner Tracy (Julie Benson), whose mega-bosom is almost a supporting character. Or if you prefer, character development.

Even so, Carlos initially goes the sour ball route, foregoing any endowment fun and putting Tracy down at every opportunity until the chupas further make their presence felt. At a nighttime Cinco de Mayo party, for instance, a young teen who relieves himself is then relieved of his reliever. Chupas will stoop to anything.

Estrada’s Carlos eventually gets to jump a roadblock on his chopper — not really him, of course — while racing to the rescue of his trapped daughter and her friend.

“Chupa this!” he exclaims before blasting one of ‘em. That’s as good as this script gets. Carlos otherwise is stuck with lines such as “I will rest when the bad guys do.” And, “There’s something out there bigger than all of us.” And, “Ya see, I grew up on the streets.”

But yes, a big gang of hungry chupas eventually does get around to attacking the Alamo while Carlos, Taylor, Spider and an ad hoc army of thugs hole up inside. “Remember the Alamo” is mouthed more than once. And in the end, well, it would have been far better to let the chupas feast to their content on a small segment of the San Antonio population than to rather gleefully screw up the city’s main tourist attraction.

The special effects at best are cheesy, which is typical and maybe even intentional in a Syfy outing of this sort. Add a ridiculously generic, hard-pounding rock score and Carlos yelling “Be quiet!” in the chupas’ lair — which sort of defeats the purpose. But Estrada does exhibit some energy, and he’s had great reconstructive work done on his glimmering pearly whites.

Even grading on a curve, Chupacabra vs The Alamo fails to rise to the level of enjoyable stupidity. Better luck next time, which could just as easily be Super Gargantuan Gila Monster vs Six Flags, starring Greg Evigan and featuring Uncle Barky as Corpse No. 20. I’m game, and the Dallas-Fort Worth economy can always use a little boost.

GRADE: C-minus

post #85802 of 93656
Critic's Notes
‘Doctor Who’ clocks 50 fantastic years through space and time
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times' 'Hero Complex' Blog - Mar. 22, 2013

“Doctor Who”: The 11 incarnations of the Doctor include William Hartnell,
Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker,
Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant
and Matt Smith. (Getty Images; BBC; SyFy)

In the annals of space, time and television, there is nothing quite like “Doctor Who,” the British sci-fi series that this year is celebrating a 50th anniversary, in your Earth years. Only “Star Trek” comes close for persistence of a franchise, and it does not come close.

What sets “Doctor Who” apart is that, notwithstanding the distance from its paint-and-cardboard, spaceship-on-a-string early episodes to the beautifully realized, seamlessly fantastic creation it is today, the current series is the same one that began on the BBC in 1963 — neither a sequel nor a re-conception, but the identical show.

It has centered on the same character: an extraterrestrial Time Lord who travels all of creation in what looks like an old London police box and who has been played by 11 actors, each new Doctor a “regeneration” of the last, different but the same, the same but different. Whether a clown, a dandy, a toff or a don, curly-headed or lank-haired, younger and older, wilder or milder, tall or short (but mostly tall), they are all one.

It’s an invention whose necessity arose from the retirement after three seasons of the first Doctor, William Hartnell: The moment when the reedy, aristocratic Hartnell was succeeded by the thicker, excitable Patrick Troughton was the moment that fused the DNA of the character and the series that contains him — for, like the Doctor himself, “Doctor Who” lives by dying, by periodically cutting away old growth to let new shoots sprout.

QUIZ: Test your smarts as the Doctor turns 50

It survived even what might be called an extended state of suspended animation, from its cancellation in 1989 to its revival in 2005, interrupted by a single TV movie (and failed pilot) in 1996 and kept alive through a stream of radio dramas and novels featuring a variety of former Doctors and companions — he has a habit of picking up fellow travelers, usually British earthlings — that continues to this day alongside the recent series.

The cultural penetration of “Doctor Who” is deep and widespread in Britain, where every schoolchild knows what a TARDIS or a Dalek is. (The Doctor’s space-time machine and his greatest enemy, respectively, for you who don’t.)

There is a sense of possession there, and of passion shared across and among generations: Britons speak of “my Doctor” to denote the version they grew up on, or came to love best. (Good science fiction unites young and old: It lets adults play like kids, and treats kids like grown-ups.) And possibly not least, the series gives the nation a central role in the affairs of the universe: The Doctor may come from the planet Gallifrey, but he always speaks with some sort of British accent.

The show didn’t make its way to the U.S. until the 1970s, when it was spottily syndicated with fourth Doctor Tom Baker — with his Harpo Marx eyes and hair, his wide-brimmed hat and absurdly long mufflers, the Doctor previously best known to Americans.

A cult following formed here — there have been “Doctor Who” conventions in this country as far back as 1979 — but it was not until the 21st century revival that the series really caught hold, first on the network then known as the Sci-Fi Channel and now on BBC America.

Former show runner Russell T. Davies, who revived the series and was a fan from childhood, had worked in children’s television and created the original “Queer as Folk,” which reflects the range of sensibilities he brought to the job. His version sings with the show’s traditions and details, to the point that even the rhythmic pulse of its opening theme was converted into a plot point.

He has not so much changed the series as he has plumbed its depths and teased to the surface what it always contained, or at least implied: romance, trauma, humor, sexiness, poetry.

He also gave the TARDIS a soul and, crucially, made the Doctor not only the last survivor of his race (or so he believed) but also the instrument of its apparently necessary destruction; his Doctor is, newly, a haunted man. The character, who always had been a bit of a man on the run — “Run!” is, in fact, the first word the ninth Doctor speaks — was now also on the run from himself.

He’s a savior and a danger, depending on where you stand — a man without a mission except as missions find him. The 21st century Doctors — Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith — play him, in different ways (roughneck, charmer, weirdo), with the depth you’d expect of a man nearly a millennium old who has seen the best and the worst the universe has to offer, from one end to the other and from its first moments until its last.

Every regeneration of the Doctor means a parting, and there are further partings as companions come and go. The trepidation and excitement that attend these moments were only multiplied when, in 2009, Davies handed the keys to Steven Moffat, who brought with him new stars — Smith, the current Doctor, darkly goofy, and Karen Gillan, his first, now former companion — and a more cerebral sensibility; he loves making complicated puzzles with time, for dramatic or comic effect.

There are still those mourning the loss of Davies and of 10th Doctor Tennant, who, with companion Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, gave the series its first full-on (if not exactly consummated) romance, but Moffat’s work has its own moving poetry.

Yet loss is the heart of the show — there have been more tears shed or choked back here, surely, than in any other science fiction series — and there are episodes I cannot re-watch unless I am in a mood to weep myself. Loss — and the connection that loss requires — that’s what powers “Doctor Who.”

The time-twisting gives the stories an element of fate; it is a show about people who are meant to be together. And behind all the swashbuckling, the suspense, the horror and the fun, beats a tale of love and friendship and bonds that the farthest reaches of space and time cannot break.

post #85803 of 93656
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

They didnt want to move to wednesday like they did last year due to the republican convention because its the start of rosh hashana which i think runs to friday.

I'm quite sure that game was moved to Wednesday last year due to the fact that Pres. Obama decided to have a national address speech that Thursday.
post #85804 of 93656
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 23, 2013

Various Networks, Check local listings

Third-round games begin today, and there’s already lots of drama between the lines – and the lineups. The day’s action begins at 12:15 p.m. ET on CBS, when Ohio State (seeded No. 2 in the West) faces No. 10 seed Iowa State, which already knocked Notre Dame (No. 7) out of the tourney. Other games featuring second-round bracket-busters include 13th-seeded LaSalle, which beat fellow West team Kansas State (ranked No. 4), facing off against 12-seeded Mississippi, which in the previous round bumped off No. 5 seed Wisconsin. That game’s on TruTV at 7:40 p.m. ET. Oh, and there’s also Florida Gulf Coast, the 15th-seeded South team that upset No. 2 seed Georgetown, taking on San Diego State (No. 7) at 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS. Other games are spread between those networks and TNT.

Nickelodeon, 8:00 p.m. ET

Slimy actor Josh Duhamel is the host of this year’s kid-friendly funfest. Well, he may not have been a slimy actor when this show begins – but by the time it’s over, there’s a very good chance he’ll have been slimed.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

It’s “Girls with Guns” nights on TCM, and the action begins with this tightly coiled, slightly twisted 1949 cult classic, starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall.

TCM, 9:45 p.m. ET

Another entry in TCM’s “Girls with Guns” salute tonight, this one is an early one – less than a decade after movies made the transition from silent to sound. And it stars a real pistol in the title role: Barbra Stanwyck.

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

This is an observation, not a recommendation. Tonight NBC reveals the flaw in presenting its Saturday-night “same-week” prime-time reruns of new late-night episodes of Saturday Night Live. Namely, when the late-night show is in reruns, then the Saturday-night show has nothing new to present. So tonight, we get a cut-down Jeremy Renner / Maroon 5 episode of SNL at 10 p.m. ET, and a repeat Adam Levine / Kendrick Lamar SNL at 11:29 p.m. ET. If you’re going to watch both, especially for the second time, you’d better really, really like Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine.


* * * *

TV Review
Mirren/Pacino Pairing Keeps HBO'S 'Phil Spector' In Tune
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 23, 2013

Al Pacino doesn’t do subdued anymore, but Helen Mirren does.

And she’s brilliant while he has his wild-eyed moments in the HBO film Phil Spector, premiering Sunday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET.

Written and directed by the esteemed David Mamet (Glengarry Glenn Ross, Wag the Dog,) this 90-minute depiction of Spector’s first trial for murder carries an opening disclaimer that’s almost as odd as the accused’s assortment of wigs.

“This is a work of fiction,” viewers are informed. “It’s not ‘based on a true story.’ It is a drama inspired by actual persons in a trial, but is neither an attempt to depict the actual persons, nor to comment upon the trial or its outcome.” Or to borrow from a have-it-both-ways, late 1960s ad campaign, “Certs is two, two, two mints in one.”

Phil Spector in fact does connect the dots of its namesake’s eyewitness view to the death of Lana Clarkson, a struggling actress with numerous bit parts on her resume. They included a role as “Woman at Babylon Club” in Pacino’s 1983 Scarface.

Clarkson (very briefly played by Meghan Marx in the film) died in 2003 of a gunshot wound at Spector’s weapons-infested, Alhambra, California manor. He claimed she put a pistol in her mouth and killed herself. But prosecutors fingered Spector, and he first went on trial in 2007.

Pacino’s Spector doesn’t have his first scene until the 17-and-a-half-minute mark. But Mirren is immediately on camera as attorney Linda Kenney Baden, who has both the flu and an initial gut feeling that Spector in fact pulled the trigger.

“They let O.J. go. They let Michael Jackson go. They are not gonna let him go,” she gruffly tells lead attorney Bruce Cutler (solid work by the redoubtable Jeffrey Tambor).

Mirren’s early examination of the evidence — and a possible way out for “Philip” — might well remind some of her best-known character, detective Jane Tennison, from the Prime Suspect series. But that goes away when Kenney Baden first meets her man after prowling around his aggressively decorated pad.

Pacino’s Spector immediately launches into full ramble, touching at length on the Kennedys (he had no use for Teddy) before proclaiming, “I invented the music business. I put black America in the white home.”

As a producer/songwriter, Spector’s famed “wall of sound” technique yielded the likes of “Unchained Melody; You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling; Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel,” all of which are heard to very good effect in the film. It’s enough, all in all — listening to those tunes and watching two pros emote while the case at hand heats up.

“He’s a freak. They’re gonna convict him on ‘I just don’t like you.’ “ an associate of Baden is convinced.

“The facts do not support a conviction,” Kenney Baden comes to believe.

Spector (“I’m not standoffish! I’m inaccessible”) figures he’s a goner as far as justice being served. “What do they hate about me?” he asks. “I’m alive,” he answers.

Down the homestretch, Spector pays Kenney Baden his ultimate compliment in an up-close scene that both stars play to perfection. “I’ve met a lot of crazy people in my life,” he tells her. “I’ve met very few sane ones that I could talk to.”

The movie already has been criticized as slanted — by allies of both Spector and the dead Clarkson. But open-minded viewers aren’t likely to see it that way. This is mostly an imagined behind-the-scenes look at a circus trial, but with very little time spent in the courtroom. Instead, a mock cross-examination of Spector in preparation for his possible testimony gives Pacino a chance to blow sky-high while Mirren strives to calm him.

Spector’s eventual fate is fairly well-known, but there’s no need to specify here. In the end, Phil Spector succeeds on the strength of its two marquee thespians. Mirren is wonderful throughout, Pacino scores in double figures and they have enough scenes together to make it all well worth your while.


Edited by dad1153 - 3/23/13 at 6:10am
post #85805 of 93656
TV Review
‘Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story’
Lifetime's take on real slaying focuses on case's horror, not guilt or innocence
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Mar. 23, 2013

You have to wonder whether convicted killer Chris Porco would have tried to stop this film about his murder case if he’d actually seen it.

Porco was convicted of killing his father and severely maiming his mother with an ax while they slept in their Delmar, N.Y., home. His alleged motive was collecting on their $2 million life insurance policy.

While he’s serving 50 to life, he maintains his innocence. A number of other people believe him, including his mother.

The film notes all of that. By the standards of Lifetime ripped-from-the-headlines movies, almost all of which aim to reduce viewers to a gasp of horror at some despicable villain, “Romeo Killer” plays like a documentary.

That doesn’t mean Porco (Matt Barr) comes across as someone we like, or someone we think got railroaded. He’s oily and arrogant. The detective who nails him, Joe Sullivan (Eric McCormack), says Porco thinks he’s better than everyone else and can fool everyone else, and that’s true.

While the movie Porco is forced to admit mistakes, he’s never in any danger of plunging into humility. His unspoken sense of cockiness contributes to a courtroom loss he doesn’t expect.

“Romeo Killer,” like the prosecution, lays out the way Porco could have committed the crime. It doesn’t flat-out declare that he did, though it never suggests an alternative perp.

The real-life Porco sought and temporarily won an injunction this week forbidding Lifetime from showing the film. That stay was quickly reversed, leaving Lifetime to bill “Romeo Killer’ as “the movie Chris Porco didn’t want you to see.”

Or maybe he just doesn’t want to see himself. Who wants to watch films of a game your team lost?

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

post #85806 of 93656
Originally Posted by vonzoog View Post

I'm quite sure that game was moved to Wednesday last year due to the fact that Pres. Obama decided to have a national address speech that Thursday.

Thats right got my conventions swapped it was 2008 they still played thursday but moved the game to 7:00 due to the repub speech later that night.
The move totally killed the rating though as its the lowest rated nbc kickoff game ever.
post #85807 of 93656
Originally Posted by vonzoog View Post

I'm quite sure that game was moved to Wednesday last year due to the fact that Pres. Obama decided to have a national address speech that Thursday.

The speech was his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. That agenda had been set for a long time. The candidate always speaks the last night. It is carried by all the networks, the same as they carried Ronmey's speech at the Republican National Convention. The NFL did not want to go up against that. This year it deals with parking and traffic problems since the two stadiums share a parking lot. Also it is late in the season for the O's and they could well be in a pennant race. If the played a day game that would not necessarily solve the problem if there was a rain delay or the game went into extra innings. Also both baseball teams play a night game out of town and would have to get back to Baltimore for a day game. The O's made the right decision.
post #85808 of 93656
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
‘The Neighbors’ on ABC
A Sitcom That Some Find, Well, Alien
By Joel Keller, The New York Times - Mar. 22, 2013

I'm so glad to see this show get some positive reviews now. My wife and I have liked it since the beginning, but even we found ourselves waiting for it to fail because of all the negative press before it was even broadcast. So much for the critics who tried to kill it before it ever had a chance to prove itself. biggrin.gif
post #85809 of 93656
Originally Posted by tomhunter8 View Post

I'm so glad to see this show get some positive reviews now. My wife and I have liked it since the beginning, but even we found ourselves waiting for it to fail because of all the negative press before it was even broadcast. So much for the critics who tried to kill it before it ever had a chance to prove itself. biggrin.gif

This is one of my guilty pleasures and I do hope it doesn't get cancelled. It is kinda hit or miss though, I thought the musical episode (he's fallen in the well!) was weak but the drivers ed episode was stellar as was the camping trip.
post #85810 of 93656
Originally Posted by mylan View Post

This is one of my guilty pleasures and I do hope it doesn't get cancelled. It is kinda hit or miss though, I thought the musical episode (he's fallen in the well!) was weak but the drivers ed episode was stellar as was the camping trip.

I loved the driver's ed episode. I too hope it sticks around.
post #85811 of 93656
FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85812 of 93656
Nielsen Overnights
‘Last Man Standing’ & ‘Malibu Country’ Season Finales Up, ‘Touch’, ‘Rock Center’ & ’20/20′ Rise
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Mar. 24, 2013

Friday night saw the season finales of ABC comedies Last Man Standing (1.6/6) and Malibu Country (1.4/5). Wrapping up its second cycle, the Tim Allen starring Last Man rose 14% from last week’s show. Having moved from its first season Tuesday slot to Fridays for Season 2, the series was up 18% in total viewers from its May 8, 2012 Season 1 finale and dipped just 6% from last year’s closer. Last Man Standing was the number 1 show of the night in both the Adult 18-49 demo and in total viewers (7.85 million). In fact, Last Man matched its November 2, 2012 season opening number among 18-49 for its highest result in the key demographic. Bringing its freshman season to a conclusion, Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire, saw a sometimes-rocky first run end 27% up from last week’s season low. It was also up 25% in viewers over its March 15 show to 7 million watching. That made Friday’s episode the third most watched Malibu Country since its November 2 premiere and its second week November 9 show. After a Shark Tank (1.4/4) repeat, which rated higher or equal to originals on other networks, ABC closed the night with a new 20/20 which was up 14% from last week. For the second week in a row, ABC won the night in total viewers and among Adults 18-49. So far this season, ABC is the top network among Adults 18-49, gaining 13% year to year with its best delivery on the night since the 2008-2009 season.

The 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (1.0/3) continued Friday on CBS. The primetime games last night saw Iona take on Ohio State and Iowa State versus Notre Dame. Measured in the primetime 8 PM to 11 PM period, the tournament was down from the 2.2 rating of comparable games on March 23, 2012. However, with the nature of live sports, and with the first game starting at 7 PM and the second game running past 11 PM, Friday’s numbers are approximate at best right now. The tournament runs until April 8.

Fox started off Friday with a Kitchen Nightmares (0.9/2) repeat followed by a new Touch (0.7/2). After hitting a series low last week, the Kiefer Sutherland show shot up 17% last night. Now in its third week of its second season, Fashion Star (0.7/2) was even with its March 15 show as was Grimm (1.4/4). While the reality show and the procedural fantasy drama held on to their audiences and even both saw small rises (1% and 5% respectively) in total viewership against strong competition like the college basketball tournament, Rock Center With Brian Williams (0.9/3) went for the big play. The news magazine show lit it up with a 50% rise from last week’s rating. Maybe it was the profile of WME chief Ari Emanuel, his Chicago Mayor brother Rahm and his other brother, doctor Zeke. Maybe it was just the right night, right slot. Either way, something was rockin’ at Rock Center on Friday. The CW had a repeat of The iHeartRadio Album Release Party With Justin Timberlake (0.4/1) and then a new Cult (0.2/1). The freshman series was even with its March 15 show, which was up 50% from its March 8 episode.

post #85813 of 93656
Originally Posted by mylan View Post

Originally Posted by tomhunter8 View Post

I'm so glad to see this show get some positive reviews now. My wife and I have liked it since the beginning, but even we found ourselves waiting for it to fail because of all the negative press before it was even broadcast. So much for the critics who tried to kill it before it ever had a chance to prove itself. biggrin.gif

This is one of my guilty pleasures and I do hope it doesn't get cancelled. It is kinda hit or miss though, I thought the musical episode (he's fallen in the well!) was weak but the drivers ed episode was stellar as was the camping trip.

It has become one of my favorite prime-time sitcoms. ABC, if you must cancel someone, take Suburgatory or Last Man Standing or Happy Endings instead.
post #85814 of 93656
TV Review
Monsters and Mysteries in America (Destination America)
By Allison Keene, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 24, 2013

Buried deep within your cable package is a channel you probably haven't switched to very often: Destination America, which is part of the Discovery network. The channel says it's "emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. " This apparently includes introducing us to something called the Sheepsquatch, featured on the new series Monsters and Mysteries in America, which travels around the country chronicling the unexplained.

Destination America seems to primarily have two niche interests, the paranormal (with series like Paranormal Project, A Haunting, Ghost Town Gold and Hidden in America) and food (United States of Food, Fast Food Mania, Food Factory, BBQ Pitmasters), particularly that which regards burgers, steaks and bacon. The programming is like one long backyard cookout where everyone is talking about that one time somebody thought they saw a ghost.

The channel itself has actually been around since the mid-90s as a holding ground for Discovery's more niche programming and reruns. It went from Discovery Traveling & Living to Discovering Home & Leisure to dropping the Leisure and later morphing completely to the short-lived Planet Green, which featured ecologically-themed shows built around celebrities (it was a bust). Last year, the channel decided to turn the dial in the opposite direction, focusing on meat and ghosts, in the name of Americana (the channel has also aired many 9/11 tributes).

As for Monsters and Mysteries, the show kicks off its first week focusing on Appalachia, a place a lot Americans are already afraid of just on its own. So what do the "shoot first, ask questions later" Appalachian people fear? Sheepsquatch, aliens and the Mothman, and other things you find deep in the woods (Hint to the people of West Virginia: stop going so deep into the woods! As one Sheepsquatch believer says, "I think he just wants to be left alone.") Appalachia is not the only region targeted with tales, though; in the second week, the show moves to the Pacific Northwest, where the original Sasquatch, a lake monster and other spooky sightings are detailed.

This series, like most of Destination America's fare, seems born from a genuine place, which deserves some credit. It takes a serious documentary approach to its bizarre subjects, creating reenactments and featuring first-hand accounts of the monsters in question (having three monsters in each episode also gives just the right amount of time to each before getting too repetitive). It's refreshing in its lack of snark, and even though there are many unintentionally hilarious moments ("he thought the night would offer up romance … but it lead to a monster instead"), it's not the exploitation TV that is rampant in the current documentary scene. Instead, there is just a collection of odd little vignettes which make for great, bizarre conversational fodder, and are surely sending hack writers everywhere scrambling to write a "based on a true story" schlock-horror (or next Syfy original movie) script for Sheepsquatch.

Monsters and Mysteries is not going to go into the canon of great TV, but who can resist a show that describes the Sheepsquatch as "a crossover between mutton and man. A sheep ... that's gone savage." That's fantastic stuff if you're in the right mood for it. It's tinfoil hat time for sure (the military makes a lot of appearances regarding the alien and Mothman stories, allowing just enough doubt to launch a thousand conspiracy theories), but it's also kitschy, lower brain state fun.

The Bottom Line: A surprisingly fun entry into monster show canon.
Airdate: 10 p.m. Sunday, March 24 (Destination America)

post #85815 of 93656
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 23, 2013

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

This is an observation, not a recommendation. Tonight NBC reveals the flaw in presenting its Saturday-night “same-week” prime-time reruns of new late-night episodes of Saturday Night Live. Namely, when the late-night show is in reruns, then the Saturday-night show has nothing new to present. So tonight, we get a cut-down Jeremy Renner / Maroon 5 episode of SNL at 10 p.m. ET, and a repeat Adam Levine / Kendrick Lamar SNL at 11:29 p.m. ET. If you’re going to watch both, especially for the second time, you’d better really, really like Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine.[/size]

This one will surely have the Jeremy Renner "Standoff" pre-recorded skit in it -- the funniest thing on SNL this season, IMO. I laughed 'till I cried. Worth watching just for that. biggrin.gif
post #85816 of 93656
No political comments, please.

The Sunday Conversation: Shepard Smith
The 'Fox Report' host dishes on his time in Rome for the papal conclave, what phones he takes to bed, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart and more.
By Irene Lacher, Los Angeles Times - Mar. 23, 2013

Shepard Smith, longtime host of the nightly "Fox Report," is Fox News Channel's No. 1 anchor. That's thanks in part to his mix of folksy accessibility and anchor-worthy gravitas, which have earned him a perch at Politico.com, where his news clips are regularly featured in a regular column, the Daily Shep.

So you were on smoke watch in Rome. How did Fox News cover the papal conclave and what was that scene like?

Well, I did it in '05, and it was different because it began in a mourning phase [for Pope John Paul II] because he was such a popular figure. [This time] we had people in St. Peter's Square and others in our [ad hoc] studio, which was a rooftop with a tent on top of it. So we sat out in the rain for 12 or 14 hours a day. But it really was fun. We all just stared at that smokestack, and we read up on all the men who were in contention for this, and [then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio] was eighth on our list.

How do they make the smoke go from black to white?

They put chemicals in with it. In '05 they used a different formula and it really was gray, and nobody really knew what was going on. This time, they added chemicals to make it fully black, as we saw on Day 1 of the vote. But on Day 2, we had black in the morning and then in the afternoon it looked completely gray, and I'm like, "That's white, everybody." There's no gray in the Catholic Church apparently, like there is in the rest of society. It's black or white.

I saw your interview with Father Jonathan Morris ...

Longtime [Fox News] contributor, wonderful man.

Yeah, where you said that you thought that the Catholic Church was out of step with the modern world.

Did I say that? I think I might have been quoting others who have said that, but I feel ya.

I think you were not quoting other people when you talked about the status of women in the church.

Well, I should have. The fact is, women have more positions of authority within the church than they ever have, but women can't be cardinals. And we're talking about 2,000 years of scripture here, and there's that, but I think these are questions that are worth asking in 2013. In 2013, we all know women can do anything men can do. And why is it that women don't have as much of a voice in the church?

Did you say that you thought the media spent a ridiculous amount of money covering the conclave?

I was actually just commenting on the amount of money that we do spend, like organizations around the world, to come and watch a smokestack. That's not to say I don't think it was worth covering, I do. It affects 1.2 billion people, and I certainly thought it was worthy of our coverage. But we spent an inordinate amount of time on this, and there's a lot going on in the world.

What news sources do you consume every day?

The New York Times, the New York Post, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, and local newspapers all over the country, the Huffington Post, Foxnews.com and the Daily Beast and Talking Points memo and the L.A. Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Miami Herald.... I'm on everything, all day, every day. If it were fattening I would be obese.

Actually, I read that you sleep with your Samsung Galaxy — in your bed? Not next to it?

Actually, it's not a Samsung Galaxy, it's a Nexus 6. The Blackberry and the iPhone are by the bed, and the Nexus 6 is in the bed. That's an embarrassing thing, and I wish I'd never admitted it. But the first thing, before coffee, before bathroom, I log on. These are bad habits that I need to break, but I need to know right when I wake up what is about to happen today.

Has that affected your personal life?

Well, it always has. You're beholden to the news cycle. There was a time when I just didn't make plans, but now I make them and break them.

You seem to be an anomaly at Fox News. You seem to disagree with your peers there on issues like gay rights, global warming and the public option for healthcare, and on the Web you seem to get more reader criticism from the right than the left. So why are you at Fox News?

I've always been at Fox News. They tell me my job is to find out what happened and tell people about it and to try to figure out what's truth and what's spin and report it. I try to stake my ground not on the left or the right but on the side of truth and facts. Then if you want to believe something else, then have at it. But it's not my job to delve into those opinionated things. Global warming is real.

So were you surprised when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow stated publicly that she's a big fan of yours?

I know Rachel. I'm a fan of Rachel's. But what she said very generously is I do regular guy and voice of God at the same time. By voice of God, she means you can be a news anchor and be taken seriously and then when it's fun, you can have a little fun. We all know each other in this business. It's a very small community, and we all pretty much like each other. And I admire and respect Rachel. Everything in this thing we do to me is Ole Miss and LSU. I love Ole Miss; I hate LSU. And that's how MSNBC and Fox News viewers are, and I understand it and I respect it because I hate LSU.

Mediaite noted that Fox News didn't cover a couple of car chases in L.A. a couple of weeks ago that would have fallen into your time slot. Did you decide to stop covering car crashes after your show mistakenly broadcast a suicide after a car chase last September?

We had a five-second delay, which had always served us well, but the technology failed and after that, all the technology was rebooted and all the people were retrained and all the apologies were issued and now we're more careful than before. It means I'm not trusting the technology to save us as much. Risk and reward, I'm balancing differently. I'm not saying we'll never cover a car chase, but I am telling you we are going to be extra cautious.

You seemed very upset when that happened.

I was upset. The last thing I want to do is give somebody a nightmare. If you want to see something like that you can go on the Internet and choose to see it, but when you come to my program, there's almost an agreement between me and you that I won't do that to you without letting you know first.

Is it true that you tape Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Are you a fan of their shows?

Yes, I am a fan. I think they're both geniuses. Jon Stewart and I used to live in the same building. I would see him outside coming in with pizza, because I get off work at 8, and he always seemed to be bringing pizza home and smoking cigarettes back when he used to smoke. I remember after the attack of 9/11, from our building, we could see the World Trade Center and then when the smoke died down, you could actually see the Statue of Liberty. And I remember Jon Stewart coming back on the air and talking about just that, that we still have our liberty, and that was very powerful for me.

post #85817 of 93656
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

["The Neighbors"] It has become one of my favorite prime-time sitcoms. ABC, if you must cancel someone, take Suburgatory or Last Man Standing or Happy Endings instead.
Spare "Happy Endings"!  Take "Malibu Country" or "Last Man Standing" or "How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life" or even "Suburgatory," but not "Happy Endings."  It has me laughing more than the rest of ABC's sitcoms combined (including the other two, "The Middle" and "Modern Family," which I didn't list because presumably they're locks for renewal), unless HtLwYPftRoYL turns out to be far far better than its promos.  (Is anyone else already turning away at yet another repeat of the close-up on Brad Garrett's chest hair?)
post #85818 of 93656
Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

I loved the driver's ed episode. I too hope it sticks around.

I have to admit, it is a great show to watch with the kids. I totally dogged it after the first episode, but it is a great family show.

post #85819 of 93656
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
ABC Says You Can Save Happy Endings
By Zach Dionne, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 22, 2013

So this is odd. ABC just put out a little promo spot to remind everyone that Happy Endings has moved to Fridays in hour-long bursts, generally signs of an underperforming series being euthanized. It's an almost completely normal clip, informing us of the time slot switch, showing us a couple microscopic slices of comedy — but it's bizarre in its opening-line insistence that viewers can save the show. [CLICK LINK BELOW TO SEE CLIP]

Don't forget to stay home on Friday night and watch Happy Endings, everyone, so you can probably not save it at all anyway. Just kill it or let it live, ABC. Come on.


This is stupid! If I am not a Nielson "family", then my watching it live or on DVR (which is what I normally do) does not matter...
post #85820 of 93656
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
8PM - Once Upon A Time
9PM - Revenge
10:01PM - Red Widow

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - The Amazing Race
9PM - The Good Wife
10PM - The Mentalist

7PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
9PM - All-Star Celebrity Apprentice (120 min.)

7PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Nov. 25)
7:30PM - The Cleveland Show
(R - Dec. 2)
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Nov. 25)
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
9PM - Family Guy
9:30PM - American Dad

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Live From Lincoln Center - Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway ... All of 'Em!!!
9PM - Masterpiece Contemporary: The Song of Lunch
(R - Nov. 13, 2011)
10PM - POV: Girl Model (90 min.)

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Nuestra Belleza Latina (125 min.)
10:05PM - Sal y Pimienta

7PM - Movie: Mary (2012)
post #85821 of 93656
TV Notes
Michael Bloomberg, Wayne LaPierre talk guns on 'Meet the Press'
By Hal Boedker, Orlando Sentinel

Which Sunday morning show will generate the most headlines?

I'm leaning toward NBC's "Meet the Press," which airs at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NRA President Wayne LaPierre discuss gun control with moderator David Gregory. They will be interviewed separately, so the content of what they're saying is likely to come through without the theatrics of a debate. NBC's Richard Engel assesses President Barack Obama's trip to Israel. A panel discussion brings together Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen; EJ Dionne of The Washington Post; and David Brooks of The New York Times. Attorney David Boies talks about arguing for repeal of California's Proposition 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court.

CNN's "State of the Union" could make news with Eric Shinseki, the secretary of Veterans Affairs. The program airs at 9 a.m. and noon. The noon show features reaction to the Shinseki interview from Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Peter Gaytan, executive director of the American Legion. Candy Crowley also talks to Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., about guns, civil unions and the slaying of Colorado's prison chief. A panel discussion brings together California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund; CNN's Ron Brownstein; and Republican strategist Ana Navarro.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks to Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." The program airs at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. The panel will be Juan Williams, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post and former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind. A discussion on gay marriage features Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace and Gary Bauer, president of American Values.

Economist Paul Krugman of The New York Times visits "Fareed Zakaria GPS" at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on CNN. Other guests are astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History and Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore.

Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, an advocate for same-sex marriage, will be part of a panel on the issue on CBS' "Face the Nation." The Bob Schieffer program airs at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-channel 6. The other panelists are Austin Nimocks (also on "State of the Union"); Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry; and David Frum of The Daily Beast. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., discusses the latest foreign-policy hot spots. A panel on foreign policy brings together Tom Friedman of The New York Times, Bobby Ghosh of Time magazine and CBS' Clarissa Ward. CBS' Jan Crawford and John Dickerson offer political analysis.

Karl Rove will be part of a political roundtable on ABC's "This Week" at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. The other panelists are Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC's Terry Moran and Jim Messina of Organizing for Action. A panel on foreign policy brings together ABC's Christiane Amanpour, Rana Foroohar of Time, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Dan Senor, co-founder of Foreign Policy Initiative. Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi preview her HBO documentary "Fall to Grace" about his life. George Stephanopoulos moderates.

post #85822 of 93656
TV Review
‘Married to Medicine,’ consider splitting
Here's another women-going-at-each-other show on Bravo
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 21, 2013

The female rich are different from you and me. But they’re all the same.

That’s the lesson we’ve been taught in the last decade by Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise and the other reality shows, chiefly on VH1, that have ripped off its theme and format.

Like those shows, Bravo’s new series “Married to Medicine” teaches us that all affluent women enjoy throwing parties to which they’ve invited at least two people who can’t stand each other. After the inevitable fight, they get together in smaller groups over glasses of wine and discuss the conflict while planning another party to which the same antagonists will be invited. Repeat until canceled.

Moreover, these women tend to be married to hard-working nonentities who are happy to subsidize this activity until death or divorce does them part.

“Married to Medicine” has a slightly fresh angle: The six women featured are doctors’ wives or female doctors. But nothing in the premiere episode, airing this Sunday, March 24, at 9 p.m., makes this social scene feel sufficiently distinct from previous shows in this genre. In fact, since it’s set in Atlanta and features a mostly black cast, it comes across as a spinoff of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” that wasn’t spun far enough off. The familiarity is wearying.

Whereas most wives shows introduce the characters before they all head to the first party, this one starts off at the party, held at the house of a doctor’s wife named Mariah, who also handles the narration. “Everybody always asks me if I’m the queen bee,” she tells the camera. “My answer to them is ‘Did you not check your email? Of course I am the damn queen bee!’”

Mariah is married to a Bangladeshi-American orthopedic surgeon named Aydin. “We’ve just created out own race,” she says. “We’re blackadeshis.”

The only white woman at the party is a tall blonde named Kari, who brags that her husband, Duncan, is an orthopedic surgeon too. She is evidently proud of her looks. “This does not happen easy,” she says, gesturing toward her head and chest like a spokesmodel. “It takes work.”

Their friend Toya, who is married to an emergency-room doctor named Eugene, says she is from a rough neighborhood in Detroit but “you have to leave that ghetto mentality, that behavior, at home.”

The next two guests, Simone and Jackie, are obstetrician-gynecologists and former partners. Jackie, who says she is known as Dr. Diva because she always looks her best, tends to patronize the others. The more down-to-earth Simone admits that “medical school kicked my ass.”

These shows always have a designated outcast. In “Married to Medicine,” that woman is the last arrival to the party, Quad, who has been married for three months to a psychiatrist named Gregory. Kari gets on Quad’s case by repeatedly referring to Gregory as a psychologist.

Toya tells the camera that although she declined Quad and Gregory’s wedding invitation, just before the ceremony she was included on a mass text message from Gregory that said the wedding was off.

Quad tells us that he sent it impulsively after they had a fight. A mean person might try to annoy Quad by pretending to sympathize with her.

That apparently would be too subtle for a show like this. Toya instead keeps asking Quad rhetorical questions about what happened, finally saying, “Who would marry a man who would do that to them?”

After a fight that involves a lot of finger- and hand-waving, the party is declared ruined. For the producers, of course, the party is a great success.

Toya tells the camera, “I can see ghetto a mile a way. [Quad] probably dated a drug dealer at some point, and she lucked up with a doctor dude.”

The next day (at least in reality-show time), Kari has Toya and Mariah over for champagne by her pool, where Mariah, who had said that Quad was her favorite, says that she’s worried she can’t invite Quad to her next party, which the husbands will be attending.

Later, Mariah goes to Jackie’s and covers the same territory. Jackie tells the camera, “When people lose their manners and act out in a social setting — especially women of color — I get offended.”

Simone stops by Jackie’s office. After they roll their eyes over Quad, Jackie insults Simone by referring to her as a “full-figured girl.”

Kari gets dolled up for a romantic night at home with her husband, who instead wants to talk about his business. Then he gets a page and has to leave.

Toya tells her husband she feels “trapped” and wants to move to a bigger house in a better neighborhood. He says, “Happy wife, happy life.” That’s what Joe, Teresa’s husband, used to say on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” before the couple declared bankruptcy.

And poor Gregory and Quad have to rehash the night he sent that text.

All this leads up to Mariah and Kari’s party, held by the lake behind her large McMansion. The episode ends with Quad arriving and saying, “Let the good times roll.”

This cast is clearly giving the producers what they want, unconcerned with how they or their friends will appear. People of all races who are concerned that “Married to Medicine” is making black women look irrational, flighty and self-involved should note that similar shows have made women of all races, colors and creeds look equally bad.

We’re sure the people who run Bravo would describe themselves as feminists. It would be interesting to see how they justify airing these female minstrel shows.

post #85823 of 93656
Originally Posted by hearth View Post

This is stupid! If I am not a Nielson "family", then my watching it live or on DVR (which is what I normally do) does not matter...
You're not the only person who sees those spots.  The idea is that the campaign will also be seen by some Nielsen families.
post #85824 of 93656
SATURDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85825 of 93656
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 24, 2013

Various Networks, Check local listings

Today's all-day action begins at 12:15 p.m. ET, on CBS, with West teams Ohio State (seeded No. 2) and Iowa State (seeded No. 10) taking the court. Two top-seeded teams play today, also on CBS, but they're not playing each other. Those perennial fan favorites, the Indiana Hoosiers (seeded No. 1 in the East), face No. 9 Temple at 2:45 p.m. ET, after which Kansas (No. 1 in the South) plays North Carolina (No. 5) at 5:15 pm. ET. Other games include two featuring scrappy underdogs. In the West, Old Miss (seeded No. 12) and La Salle (No. 13), having upset higher-ranked teams in the previous round (No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 4 Kansas State, respectively), do battle against each other, at 7:40 p.m. ET on TruTV. And finally, Florida Gulf Coast, the lowest-seeded team still alive in this year's tournament (it's No. 15 in the South bracket), tries to continue its good fortune after toppling No. 2 Georgetown. At 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS, it faces San Diego State, ranked No. 7.

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s Live from Lincoln Center outing has singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth taking on not only a bunch of songs, but trying on a bunch of different roles, as she digs deeply into her suitcase (literally) to affix herself with props and bits of costume (a shawl here, some eyeglasses there) to embody, as she explains, “the dames of Broadway… all of them!” Check local listings.

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Matthew Perry, who has a recurring role on this series, returns tonight, in an episode that also features other guest stars, including John Noble, late of Fringe. Perry’s character has risen through the ranks to play the most prominent political opponent for Peter (Chris Noth), whose estranged wife (well, not so estranged at all, these days), Alicia, is this series’ central role, played so well by Julianna Margulies.

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s episode ended with Andrea (Laurie Holden) recaptured by the Governor just before reaching safety and rejoining her old gang at the prison. That show’s final image was of Andrea in the Governor’s home-made torture chamber, bound and gagged. This is the penultimate episode of Season 3, so the tension is high, the plots are boiling – and almost every character on this show really is at risk. So, in essence: Not to be missed.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star in this compelling, if slippery, HBO Films production, which uses the impending trial of Phil Spector (accused of murdering an actress in his home by putting a gun in her mouth; he pled not guilty) as a launching point for an intense, and intimate, character study. Pacino goes from rant to rant, and wig to wig, as the former “wall of sound” music producer, while Mirren matches his fury with her calm as his attorney.


* * * *

TV Review
Golden Dreams, Broken Promises
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 23, 2013

It's a bit of a Cinderella story: A young Siberian farm girl — one of a hundred girls auditioning for an international modeling agency — gets whisked off to Tokyo for her shot at becoming a fashion model. She is promised $8,000 in work; her family agrees and sends her off into the unknown.

As you might guess, it's not necessarily a happily-ever-after tale. On Sunday, March 24 at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings) the PBS series POV (Point of View) presents Girl Model, the story of aspiring model Nadya, as the final installment of its 25th anniversary season.

The 2011 film, by A. Sabin and David Redmon (Kamp Katrina, 2007), is a signature POV verité-style piece, a quiet, evocative work with the main players telling things from their point of view, without narration. While Nadya is part of the main focus of the film, equally up front is Ashley Arbaugh (right), the scout for the Switch Modeling Agency. She travels across Russia, her assigned territory, looking for young girls to send off to Tokyo. Tokyo is Arbaugh's main market of expertise. She knows Japanese taste, and understands what the Japanese market wants to see.

Apparently advertisers crave young, innocent, pre-adolescent models. Girls of 13 are told to say they are the marginally acceptable age of 15. Says Arbaugh, a former model herself, "the business is obsessed with youth. And especially, my business in Japan. You can't be young enough. And youth is beautiful. Because there's luminosity, something in the skin … and that's what my eye has been trained to see from Japan."

The switch here for Arbaugh is not just the title of the agency for which she works. As a young aspiring model she was taken to Japan in 1999, thousands of miles away from her family. She had little money, and found herself stuck in a country where she could not speak the language. Now she is charged with scouting new models and bringing them to the agency.

"I hated it, so much," she says. "I've never been so down. I remember there were days when I literally would stay in my apartment, and stay in my bed all day. I was so depressed. All I could think of was, why am I really doing this, what am I going to do with my life, when can I go home?"

Arbaugh's fate then is Nadya's today. Nadya (left) and the other girls are transported to Tokyo with the promise of glamour and money, but as the documentary reveals, their modeling contracts don't always produce. And the contracts, all written in the agencies favor, can be terminated immediately if the girls even gain one centimeter in the waist, hips or bust.

The girls, miserable, lonely and realizing that the "guaranteed" money might not be there after all, start to slip into debt to the agency, which charges the girls for everything from the pictures displayed in their portfolios and phone calls home to rent and food in hyper-expensive Tokyo. The girls joke that they have chocolates and biscuits, and those fattening luxuries will be their ticket back home. They can always eat to get out.

Girl Model starts and finishes with an ominous tone that suggests things can get much worse for young girls working so far from home. But the basic topic — the industry of youth-obsessed beauty — is tough and sobering enough.

Says Rachel, 23, another former model and shepherd for young girls in Tokyo, "who is to blame? We can't blame the girls because they're being sent. We can't blame the families, because maybe they're in need. Can we blame the agency that will take them on because there is a client that will take them? Can we blame the clients that pretend, or won't know, actually, how old they are? They all play blind, really."

Maybe the only part left out of Rachel's analysis, in the end, is the public — the ones paying for all those fashion magazines. Their eyes are wide open. And their thirst for youth is insatiable.

post #85826 of 93656
TV Notes
HBO’s Phil Spector: David Mamet And His Exceedingly Strange Movie
By Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture.com (New York Magazine)

Writer-director David Mamet’s HBO movie Phil Spector (9:00 p.m. Sunday) is a curious creature. It makes a big deal out of being a drama that’s not meant to represent reality, but it’s about a real murder case, all of its major characters are based on real people, and you come out of it feeling as though you’ve just seen an impassioned legal argument: the Celebrity Defense. It’s an exceedingly strange movie. It genuinely seems to believe its title character, cantankerous, spaced-out record producer Spector (Al Pacino), who’s on trial for blowing a woman's brains out, when he yammers about all of the musical celebrities that lived more sordid lives than he did but were forgiven their transgressions and canonized as pop-culture legends anyway.

Spector is thus transformed into an Ayn Rand hero, the Howard Roark of overdubbing, a genius besieged by parasites; incredibly, the movie doesn’t seem to be kidding. The various women who testified to his misogynist mentality, hot temper, controlling personality, and love of guns during Spector’s first trial are abstracted by being shunted offscreen, the better to let Spector and his defense team (led by Helen Mirren’s Linda Kenny Baden, who represented him in his first murder trial, which ended in a hung jury) tarnish them as gutless nobodies who would never have dared to publicly defame Spector if he weren’t already tarred as a woman-hating killer by the press. (“They came out when it was in their interest to come out!” Spector rails.) And the culture as a whole is depicted as appallingly ungrateful for failing to balance Spector’s personal flaws against his achievements as a record producer and … what? Believe his ridiculous story about the victim, nightclub hostess Lana Clarkson, ending a date with him by sticking a pistol in her mouth and pulling the trigger?

Rather than summarize the elisions and distortions in Mamet’s script, I’ll refer you to this Los Angeles Times piece by Harriet Ryan, who covered both Spector trials. Suffice it to say that the movie presents the defense’s farfetched ballistic arguments as eminently reasonable, and implies that a key witness lied about hearing Spector make an incriminating statement after police coerced him. I wouldn’t mind the fiction/reality disconnect if the movie had bigger aesthetic or rhetorical fish to fry, as Oliver Stone did in JFK or as Kathryn Bigelow did in Zero Dark Thirty, but it just seems weirdly defensive and petulant about Spector’s fate, and its larger argument about celebrities not being able to get fair trials because they’re celebrities is neither novel nor especially engaging.

Mamet has always had a thing for righteous macho martyrs — see Oleanna, about a professor whose pending tenure is scuttled when he is accused of sexual harassment by an ambitious young female student*, and Hoffa, which compared the mobbed-up labor leader to Jesus and wasn’t remotely joking — but now that he’s entered a right-wing troll phase of his career, he’s cranked up the persecuted truth-teller affectation to the point where you can picture Mel Gibson talking him off a ledge. I’m pop-psychoanalyzing Mamet here not because I particularly enjoy it, but because Phil Spector’s tone and thesis are so out-of-nowhere weird that it doesn’t really make sense as anything but an example of an artist projecting himself onto another artist and saying, “I feel you, bro.” There are points in which Spector’s rococo monologues evoke Mamet’s editorial page rants and his books about creativity, cranky rambles in which he often comes across as one of those old rich guys who thinks that being an old rich guy makes him an expert in everything. (Mamet-ologists will recognize Spector’s invective against psychiatry, a hobby horse that Mamet has been riding since 1987’s House of Games: “Freud was essentially, and God bless him, a confidence man,” Pacino’s Spector tells Baden. “He didn’t invent a cure, he invented a disease.”)

Pacino is predictably outstanding as Spector; he captures the man’s trembling arrogance, which always seemed rooted in childhood fear. It’s such a fully thought-out performance that when Spector shows up for his courtroom appearance wearing a giant blond afro wig that looks like the Death Star by way of Art Garfunkel, it somehow makes sense. Pacino and Mirren’s teamwork keeps Phil Spector watchable even when it’s dousing itself in dramatic ethanol and lighting a match. The script’s notion that Baden and Spector are outcasts who found each other is corny, but the actors sell it so enthusiastically that it rings true and touches the heart — at least until you remember that Clarkson is still dead.

post #85827 of 93656
TV Review
‘Max Steel,’ stolen for the most part
Disney XD series brings nothing new to kids animation
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 22, 2013

Kids’ TV shows are always talking about the importance of imagination. That’s odd, because kids’ TV shows are often so unimaginative. Probably the worst offenders are sci-fi and superhero cartoons, which are content to recycle visuals, premises and plots from previous cartoons, which cribbed them from somewhat more original works intended for adults.

Disney XD’s new animated series “Max Steel” is a good example of this type of creativity-challenged show. Cobbled together from ready-made sources with no apparent interest in coming up with a fresh twist or a new slant, it fails to make much of an impression, either positive or negative. The creaky computer-generated animation doesn’t help.

Premiering Monday, March 25, at 4 p.m., “Max Steel” is a reboot of an animated series that aired in the States from 2000 to 2002. The new version is about a teenager named Max McGrath (voiced by Andrew Francis), who moves to a new town and is immediately bullied by a kid named Butch (Brian Drummond) on his first day of school. He’s helped out by a pretty girl named Sydney (Sarah Edmonson) and a nerd named Kirby (Richard Ian Cox).

While fleeing Butch and his gang on his bicycle, Max discovers that he has super strength. The subsequent fight releases a burst of energy that’s detected by the boss (Mark Oliver) at Trans Human Industries, who wears a Darth Vader-like respirator.

Max’s uncle Forge Ferrus, who has been following him, takes Max to the offices of N-Tek, a secret organization founded by Uncle Ferrus, as well as by Max’s father and a man named Miles Dredd, both of whom died in an accident while Max’s father was investigating an energy form known as TURBO.

It turns out that Max can produce his own TURBO, which the big bad boss at Trans Human Industries needs to survive. When Max’s uncle puts him into a chamber designed to stabilize his energy, it instead produces an overload of power. Suddenly, a ” techno-organic bioparasitic warrior” thingamajig named Steel activates and forms a cyborg with Max, with Steel in control.

Most of these story elements — the new school, a bully surprised by hidden powers, the dead scientist father, the shadowy mentor — are so overused that the writers of this series might have assumed they were obligatory and thus didn’t feel they were being lazy.

The same probably goes for the show’s look. As in so much sci-fi of the last 35 years, the design of the futuristic hardware borrows heavily from the original “Star Wars” movies.

Max’s banter with Steel might remind older viewers of the interplay between Michael and KITT on another late-20th-century pop-culture landmark, “Knight Rider.”

The computer animation is adequate for action scenes, but close-ups and wide shots of people doing simple things like walking are bizarrely artificial. Kids are going to recognize that the show is cheaping out.

“Max Steel” is debuting in connection with a revamped line of action figures. Perhaps if it were intended to stand alone, its creators might have tried to provide something new.

post #85828 of 93656
TV Notes
'Mary Tyler Moore' Cast to Reunite on 'Hot in Cleveland'
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Mar. 22, 2013

"Hot in Cleveland" is hoping its new casting gimmick will turn the world on with a smile.

The TV Land hit, which was recently renewed for a fifth season, is staging a reunion of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" cast for an upcoming episode, with Mary Tyler Moore, Cloris Leachman and the ailing Valerie Harper (all in photo at left) joining forces with "MTM" alum and "Hot in Cleveland" star Betty White and recurring cast member Georgia Engel.

The episode, which does not yet have an air date, will focus on Elka (White) and Mamie Sue (Engel) reuniting their bowling team GLOB: the Gorgeous Ladies of Bowling. The team, which fell apart decades earlier after its championship season led to swollen egos, includes members Diane (played by Moore), Peg (Leachman) and Angie (Harper).

Moore has guested on "Hot in Cleveland" before, playing Elka's cellmate in the show's second season.

Harper, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the spinoff "Rhoda," announced earlier this month that she has brain cancer and might have as little as three months to live. Leachman played resident busybody Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977.

Unfortunately, Chuckles the Clown was unable to make it for the reunion, having been tragically killed by a rogue elephant while dressed as Peter Peanut in a circus parade.

post #85829 of 93656
TV Notes
A Man of Many Realms, Most Recently Daytime TV
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times - Mar. 25, 2013

Steve Harvey and Ted Harbert go way back — all the way to 1994, when Mr. Harbert, then president for entertainment at ABC, ordered a Harvey-led sitcom called “Me and the Boys.” The sitcom failed, as most do. But in 2011, “when my name came across his desk, he remembered me,” Mr. Harvey said this month, sounding appreciative still.

At the time Mr. Harbert, the new chairman of NBC Broadcasting, needed ideas for his stations’ flagging daytime schedules. When his staff members handed him a page-and-a-half-long list of names of possible syndicated talk-show hosts, Mr. Harvey’s name stood out.

Today both men are thankful it did. Since its September debut “Steve Harvey” has been the surprise hit of daytime TV, averaging a rating of 0.9 among women ages 25 to 54. It’s been gathering steam, posting a 1.0 rating in February, enough to tie Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show for the first time. Mr. Harvey’s show is already posting a slight profit, according to Endemol, the company that produces it for NBC, which then sells it to stations across the country.

“Frankly,” Mr. Harbert said, “it’s hard to get real solid wins in the television business these days, and this is just a solid win.”

The ratings have cemented Mr. Harvey’s status as one of the foremost entertainers in America, one who juggles a national morning radio show, the game show “Family Feud” and side projects — if they can be called that — like a feature film, “Think Like a Man,” that made $100 million last year.

Mr. Harvey, a stand-up comic who used to see himself in the late-night mold but now hosts advice segments like “United Dates of America,” is adjusting to all the attention. Recently The Hollywood Reporter dared ask in a headline if he was “the next Oprah.”

“That’s a scary headline, man,” he exclaimed in a telephone interview before saying all the right things about Ms. Winfrey being “one of a kind.”

It’s true that no daytime host is likely to ever reach Ms. Winfrey’s ratings highs. Among talk show hosts, Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil) and Ellen DeGeneres are the closest, with a 1.7 rating among women 25 to 54, compared with Ms. Winfrey’s 3.1 in her final season in 2011. But stations still want to draw the biggest audience they can at 3 and 4 p.m., leading into their local newscasts and their prime-time lineups. Mr. Harvey’s show, seen at 3 p.m. in many markets, has helped them do that for a fraction of the cost of Ms. Couric’s show.

While Ms. Couric and Ms. Winfrey, now on her own cable channel, compete for boldface-name interviews, Mr. Harvey gravitates toward normal-people stories, relationship advice and inspiration (“Harvey’s Heroes” is a recurring segment), much as Ms. Winfrey’s show did in the 1980s and ’90s. Ms. Winfrey must like what she’s seen because she agreed to appear on Mr. Harvey’s show this month, an implicit endorsement. Their conversation will be televised at the end of April.

“I won’t be Oprah, but maybe baby Oprah,” Mr. Harvey said with a laugh after he’d let his guard down a bit about that scary headline. “Just call me little O!”

While many of his older fans are, like him, African-American, Mr. Harvey has demonstrated that he has significant crossover appeal. When discussing the show he likes to say, humbly, that, “I’m not an expert on anything except manhood.” But that’s valuable, it seems, to the women who make up most of the daytime TV audience and are coveted by advertisers.

Asked why Mr. Harvey had clicked with viewers, Mr. Harbert credited “the personal connection between Steve and the audience” and the entertainment value of the show. Yes, humor helps a lot. When a segment is “not a home run,” as Mr. Harbert gently put it, “Steve’s funny.”

Similar logic spurred the producers of “The Price Is Right” to have Drew Carey, a comedian, replace Bob Barker in 2007. Last week Cedric the Entertainer was named Meredith Vieira’s replacement on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

Endemol had been pursuing the bald, mustached Mr. Harvey since the 2009 release of his book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” But Mr. Harvey and his business partners weren’t quite ready. “They wanted Steve to get more exposure,” David Goldberg, chairman of Endemol North America, said. “At his core Steve will always be a comedian, but they wanted people to see him beyond the host of ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ and a sitcom star.”

Taking over “Family Feud,” which Mr. Harvey did in 2010, helped do that. That game show had been on the chopping block, but its ratings rebounded as soon as Mr. Harvey stepped in, and he received the bulk of the credit for the revival. By the time Mr. Harbert was staring at a list of potential host names, Endemol was negotiating with Mr. Harvey about producing a talk show for him. Mr. Goldberg then entered into parallel negotiations with NBC, which became the show’s distributor.

Mr. Harvey used his morning radio show and a stand-up comedy tour to promote the new series. Bill Carroll, who helps stations choose syndicated shows at the consulting firm Katz Television Group, called Mr. Harvey’s show “the most promising of the new syndicated daytime talk offerings.”

Ms. Couric has a bigger daily audience, 2.48 million in February versus 2.24 million for Mr. Harvey, so her show has been promoted as the No. 1 freshman talk show of the season. By some measures hers is the strongest new daytime talk show since 2009, when “The Dr. Oz Show” started. Over time her wider reach could translate to bigger wins among 25-to-54-year-olds. But Ms. Couric’s ratings are often lower than her lead-in, an industry term for the preceding show (which varies by market).

Mr. Harvey’s ratings, on the other hand, are usually up from his lead-in, helping shows later in the day. Ms. DeGeneres’s “Ellen” show, which follows Mr. Harvey’s on most of NBC’s owned stations, is up 13 percent in the demographic year over year, while nearly every other daytime talk show is down year over year; Mr. Harbert attributed some of those gains to Mr. Harvey. This month the distributor of “Ellen,” Warner Brothers, renewed that talk show through 2017.

Maybe most important for the freshmen, Mr. Harvey’s show costs a lot less to produce than Ms. Couric’s does. As a result stations pay less to carry it, improving their bottom lines.

Of course NBC will expect them to pay up when their deals come up for renewal. That’s when syndication typically pays off, a few years into the life span of a new show. “We’re already talking to stations about deals for 2014 and 2015,” Mr. Goldberg of Endemol said. “And those deals will be a lot better than they were when we went into 2012.”

post #85830 of 93656
TV Notes
On 'Revolution,' the power surges
By Carol Memmott, USA Today - Mar. 24, 2013

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! BOOM!

Explosions rattle the grounds of a former U.S. Naval Reserve Center in this Atlantic Coast port town. Standing at a safe distance, the cast and crew of NBC's Revolution, including Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito, are grinning like kids in a candy shop, capturing the action on their smart phones.

As the perfectly timed explosions are set off, buildings rigged to "blow up" fall down. Smoke and debris fill the air. Once Wilmington firefighters, on set in case of a malfunction, give the go-ahead, everyone gets ready to film another scene.

Fans of the post-apocalyptic series that takes place in a world without power will have to wait to find out who and what caused the explosions, but it's all part of Revolution's trajectory as the power, at least in a limited capacity, is harnessed.

"The bad guys (now) have power and the good guys don't, and it gives the bad guys an overwhelming advantage," says series creator Eric Kripke. "It was about giving the bad guys the Death Star and giving the good guys crossbows, swords and whatever few guns they're able to scrounge together."

The Revolution saga, which returns Monday at 10 ET/PT, is set 15 years after a blackout that renders everything from computers to cars to airplanes to phones obsolete. When public order breaks down, regions of what was once the United States of America fall prey to militias and despots. The secret to getting the power back appears to be connected to mysterious pendants sought by the good guys, as well as the bad.

Revolution's 10-episode run last fall, on a network that desperately needs more viewers, ranked as the top-rated freshman series among the key younger audience advertisers seek. The series so far averages a total of 8.4 million viewers.

Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) and niece Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) are at the heart of Revolution's story line, as they and their followers including Nora Clayton (Daniella Alonso) and Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth), fight and/or elude Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons), president of the Monroe Republic, who with his militia desperately seeks the pendants so they can use their power to take over what was the continental U.S.

While the episode being shot on this sunny, late winter day won't air until April (the reserve center is standing in for a military encampment in Georgia), the evolution of Revolution since its Nov. 26 midseason finale is inextricably linked to the explosions and their aftermath being filmed this day.

"It kind of becomes a different show now because there is some power," says Burke, wearing Miles' signature brown suede duster. "The set-up for the whole story and the first season was, 'Where'd the power go?' What happened to it? And how do we get it back?' Now we have it and it just gets completely chaotic and way more expansive."

When the season's front half ended last fall, the Mathesons and their followers looked to the skies, where, for the first time, one of Monroe's helicopters rises into the air, guns at the ready. The event sets the stage for everything that will happen as Revolution moves forward.

Until now, most of the action sequences have been propelled by hand-to-hand, door-to-door fighting and homemade bombs. That's not going away, which makes the actors very happy.

"It's kind of like playing cowboys and Indians," says Burke, whose Matheson is the show's swashbuckling anti-hero. He credits stunt coordinator Jeff Wolfe, who worked on the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies, for Revolution's organic fighting style.

"It's really sort of like making up dance moves as you go along," Burke says. "Jeff will send me a video of what he's choreographed, usually the day before or day of, and I'll watch it in between takes. Then we'll go and run it a few times and then normally we shoot it within hours."

Esposito also revels in the show's physicality. He plays the militia's Tom Neville, a meek insurance adjuster before the power meltdown, who now does Monroe's bidding as an enforcer who takes a bit too much pleasure from his duties.

"From a young man I loved Flash Gordon," says Esposito (who played drug lord Gus Fring in AMC's Breaking Bad). "I loved The Wild Wild West. I loved all the shows that had action and had all those stunts. I always wanted to be that pseudo action hero."

Wolfe says he's created a fighting style for the show that is far less choreographed than that in the Pirates movies. It combines traditional fencing techniques with mixed martial arts and down-and-dirty street fighting. "That's why I designed the swords with brass knuckles, so that they can actually fight and then hit and punch."

No one's exempt from the show's physicality.

"Charlie very much becomes a warrior," Spiridakos says; many have compared her Charlie to The Hunger Games' Katniss. "She gets a lot tougher. Her biggest battle is, is she going to be able to keep her humanity through all of this or is she going to go to a dark place she might not be able to come back from?"

The bottom line for Kripke, who refers to Revolution as "The Waltons with swords," is its relatability. "When you make a genre show, it's very important to put the genre in the background and focus on the humanity. That's a way to keep it grounded."

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