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Critic's Notebook
Mr. Television: I Know A Seret

by Marc Berman MediaWeek in his weekly column Mister Television 23 April 2007

Warning: If you don't want to know what's going to happen on some of your favorite series as they wind down this season, then stop reading. With that spoiler alert out of the way, here's how I know. As a TV critic, I often find out what is going to happen on shows before they air. And I have found out some juicy storylines for the May sweepswhich kick off on Thursdaytoo good to keep to myself.

So, let me begin with two long-running shows that will have their series finales: The King of Queens and 7th Heaven.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) After a brief separation, Carrie (Leah Remini) and Doug (Kevin James) of The King of Queens reunite and on the final episode, decide to adopt a baby. And that's not all. Kooky Arthur (Jerry Stiller), who occupies the basement, is moving up and out with a marriage to either guest star Lainie Kazan, who appears in the final three episodes, or real-life partner Anne Meara, who plays the mother of one of Doug's friends. That means, of course, that Doug's long-awaited dream of a private recreation room will most likely be thwarted by plans for a nursery.

The Camdens of 7th Heaven will sign off on May 13 after a record 11 seasons for a family drama, with Eric (Stephen Collins) and Annie (Catherine Hicks) buying an RV and hitting the road (with the family, of course) to see the country after a visit from a "guardian angel." It's a simple ending for a family drama that never got the attention it deserved.

In returning-series news, two main characters on ABC's Desperate Housewives will be walking down the aisle. Teri Hatcher's Susan will marry James Denton's Mike, and Eva Longoria's saucy Gaby is rushing into a big wedding extravaganza with just-elected mayor Victor. But all, unfortunately, is not well on Wisteria Lane: Lynette (Felicity Huffman) finds out she has cancer and Mike's shady brother Terry moves in, which opens the door to a new mystery to solve in 2007-08. Bree fans will be happy to know that the hostess extraordinaire will be back for the season finale on May 20.

Desperate Housewives lead-out Brothers & Sisters, which also closes the season on May 20, will focus on the premature birth of Julia's twins and a blackmail attempt against Robert. Poor Sally Fieldit's never a dull moment.

On still-mysterious Lost, no season-finale is complete without someone dying. Who that will be is still anyone's guess (OK, I don't have all the answers). The survivors of Flight 815 will have another showdown with the "Others," the origins of the Dharma Initiative will be explained, and the beach occupants divide into two camps: one run by Jack (Matthew Fox) and the other Sawyer (Josh Holloway). One old face you will not be seeing is Harold Perrineau as Michael, who actually turned down an opportunity to return in the season finale. At this point, we have to assume that Michael and Walt are safe and sound at home.

Grey's Anatomy will feature Kate Walsh's Addison traveling to Santa Monica, Calif., and into her own spinoff series; Mark (Eric Dane) treating a patient who wants more than just surgery and the long-awaited wedding of Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Preston (Isaiah Washington). That means Diahann Carroll will be back as Preston's mother Jane, who is not a fan of Cristina.

Over at the CSI franchise, there will be plenty of goings-on. The parent show will reveal the identity of the "miniature killer," and Sara (Jorja Fox) turns up missing, which means that Grissom (William Petersen) has to come clean about their romantic involvement. CSI: Miami will focus on Horatio's plane crashing in the Everglades. And a vicious drug lord will be captured on CSI: NY.

NBC's Heroes, the biggest freshman hit of the season, will feature the surprise return of Simone, who is alive and well and has super abilities of her own. Directly opposite Heroes is Fox's 24, which promises to end day six on an explosive note (is there any other way on 24?) as Kiefer Sutherland's Jack discovers that Audrey is still alive. From what I have heard, the death toll on the season finale is high.

No season-ending show is complete without a break-up (or two). On Gilmore Girls, Rory (Alexis Bledel) will graduate from Harvard, dump Logan and move to Iowa for a job with an online magazine. And another long-running CW favorite, Smallville, will conclude with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) telling Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) their marriage is over.


65,603 Posts

Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0

Technology Notebook
Blu-ray burning its high-def DVD rival

By Thomas K. Arnold The Hollywood Reporter April 23, 2007


OK, first I have to confess my own bias. I've bought into HD-DVD and are an ardent supporter/proponent of the format.

That said, isn't it odd that not a single member from the HD-DVD exclusive or neutral studios was interviewed for this story? Read it again, only spokesmen for the Blu-ray exclusive studios were interviewed. Yes, Blu-ray had a solid Q1 result but the article fails to mention that Blu-ray achieved its sales with a hardware advantage over HD-DVD of nearly 10:1 (about 3.1 million PS3's worldwide, 1.1 million here in the US, and a handful of stand-alone BD decks versus approx. 200,000 stand-alone HD-DVD decks and add-ons for the XBox 360 system). The attach rate of BD movies bought per hardware compared to HD-DVD given the amount of BD-compatible PS3's out there is puny (and to be honest, HD-DVD's attach rate is only slightly higher than BD's). Also not mentioned: sales for both formats combined amount to less than 1% of of home video sales to date.

Then there's this little bit of news that came over the weekend and has been the rage on the HD-DVD/Blu-ray forums:

Technology Notebook
Wal-Mart Enters HD Packaged Media in Earnest

By Erik Gruenwedel Home Media Magazine - April 20, 2007

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart, heretofore a spectator regarding HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, is quietly ramping up efforts to overcome its late arrival to the next-generation optical media party.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is selling the recently reduced $399 Toshiba HD-D1 player ($348 online) and Blu-ray RCA HD V5000 ($450) and Philips BDP900 ($898) in about 750 stores, with movies in both formats available in additional stores, according to a company spokesperson.

Melissa O'Brien, senior manager of corporate communications for merchandise, said the chain will carry Sony's new Blu-ray player when it is released. Wal-Mart also stocks Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, which includes a Blu-ray drive.

Wal-Mart's beachhead in high-def packaged media could evolve into something more significant following a report the retailer had ordered 2 million Chinese-made HD DVD players for $100 million.

AVS Forum reported that upstart Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer Fuh Yuan had partnered with TDK in China to manufacture the projected $299 players.
( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2&page=1&pp=30 )

Spokesperson O'Brien wouldn't comment on the HD DVD player order but said Wal-Mart is in the process of revamping its electronics department to entice both tech savvy early adopters as well as general consumers with improved products at discounted prices.

[Most] of the shoppers asking about and purchasing either Blu-ray or HD DVD are already pretty savvy technically about both they are the kind of consumer that absolutely wants the very best and latest in quality that's available, said O'Brien via e-mail. It's not quite yet a product the average shopper is attune too, but we anticipate that will change very soon as prices continue to come down.


____________________________________________________________ _____

Not to mention the fact that Samsung, a Blu-ray ally that released the first commercial BD player back in July of '06, has announced it will sell a neutral HD-DVD/Blu-ray player that spins both discs: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=837860 .

Sorry if this is slightly off-topic, but Sony and Blu-ray are trying to make it seem like this war of the high-def optical formats is already lost for HD-DVD. They've been doing this all along since CES 2007 when in fact, behind-the-scenes, the dominos are stacking up in favor of HD-DVD. Key players in the Blu-ray camp are either defecting or going neutral. And America's #1 retail store chain ordering 2 million HD-DVD players at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars for below-$299 (most expect $199) HD-DVD decks in time for Black Friday is too huge a development to ignore. Good for Blu-ray that it had a killer first quarter of 2007, when sales of movies are at their lowest after the holiday season and HD-DVD went for almost an entire month without releasing any titles.

And shame on the Hollywood Reporter for not finding one freaking HD-DVD advocate to make their Blu-ray loving piece come out as even remotely fair and balanced. Say, did Newscorp buy the Hollywood Reporter overnight and I wasn't told about it?
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