- Direct TVViacom family of networks (Comedy Central, SpikeTV,MTV,VH1,Nickelodeon,BET and others) if the two are not able to reach an agreement by 12:01 am July 11. Viacom wants a 30% raise from Direct TV. The satellite provider kindly laughed at the offer and points to the flagging ratings of channels like MTV and Nickelodeon. The little guy gets screwed when these big corporations have their pissing matches. Direct TV serves 20 million homes about 15% of homes in the US so odds are one of you Pups have this.
- Dan Harmon did a really nice interview about that whole being demoted (read fired) from Community on G4.
- Legend of Korra is getting another 26 episodes, not including the 14 episode Book 2 set for 2013. The show averaged over 3 million viewers in its first season and was a critical success. UPDATE: Korra will be 56 episodes over 4 books from Comic-Con panel
- In more DirectTV vs Viacom corporate pissing match Viacom has pulled down ALL their programing from their websites to view. So now everyone is just getting screwed if they forgot to record Daily Show.
- Comic, Peter Panzerfaust being turned into motion comic and possible live action TV series by the BBC. The comic is a retelling of Peter Pan only set within an Nazi occupied France.
Perception S1 Ep01 “Pilot”
Yes this is the place where I previously decreed that there is no TV for me on Monday nights. Well that kind of changed, maybe. TNT has begun airing a new show, Perception. Perception is a procedural with a quirky detective. Dr. Daniel Pierce(Eric McCormack) isn’t really a detective, he is a consultant for the FBI and happens to partner with a brilliant former Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook). Together they are going to solve all the strange murders the FBI gives them.
Generally speaking procedurals and quirky detectives aren’t really my thing blame Law and Order being on all the time. The consistent formula episode to episode make it easy to pick up but once you see the lines in the coloring book it becomes so blase. What makes this formula bearable in shows is the characters. Without interesting characters one wonders why you would watch.
Other than Dr. Pierce none of the other characters strike me as something beyond their role. Take his former student and current adorable FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook). Other than being adorable and possessing abnormally strong legs nothing really makes her intriguing. She has been demoted because she likes to overstep her justistriction, how cute for a case of the week show. Or Pierce’s live in assistant Max Lewicki, who I thought was named the wiki for a fair portion of the episode, right now other than being perhaps a bit nerdy nothing makes him necessary than beyond his role.
It is for that reason that the first half of this show was so painful to sit through. If you removed any mention of TNT Perception would be right at home next to the Mentalist on CBS or USA. We are introduced to Dr. Pierce, a neuroscience professor at a unnamed college. Other than wearing a scarf, listening to classical music on a cassette player and looking like a hipster nothing really makes him unique. He is that fabled cool college professor that the girls love and guys want to be. Is he eccentric? Yes. But not memorable. That is until we discover that Dr. Pierce is a schizophrenic. The show is A Beautiful Mind but with a case of the week!
After this revelation the case work doesn't get any more interesting.What is interesting is how his schizophrenia “helps” him along. He begins seeing someone who isn’t really there that is taunting him to solve the case with that brilliant neuroscience brain of his. Having him diagnosis people with various mental disease with very little interaction isn’t that unique, somewhere out there is a House marathon.
The addition of the schizophrenia is possibly a interesting gimmick, since you can now question who and what is real and what isn’t. At the same time this is a gimmick that could wear out fast. How much they play with that will determine if the show continues to be interesting or not. Luckily Eric McCormack is fun to watch so even if everything is bring paint by numbers he should be able to camp it up.
C Not great but quirky characters have to start somewhere. It also has Lavar Burton.
Sports Night S1 Ep03 04 "The Hungry and the Hunted" "Intellectual Property" NETFLIX
Jeremy is getting “The Call”, which is slightly better than a poke in the eye. It should be a good thing even if everyone around him won’t tell him what it is. Having everyone repeat it was a funny way to get across that he is the new guy and just saying something over and over again makes it funny eventually. The laugh track in this scene overpowered any subtlety from it. Jeremy is getting his first producing assignment, a 7 minute segment on hunting much to his obvious discomfort at it.
The rest of the crew has to go to a CSC function with Natalie becoming a total busybody. She is so certain that Casey and Dana should be together it's annoying. Despite her best intentions the fabled ship does not sale. Dana already has a boyfriend or something named Gordon.
Jeremey soon returns and we get yet another speech to close out the show. Two of them in fact. Of course the trip into the wilds isn’t going to end well, Jeremey was hospitalized after collapsing. His heart really wasn’t in this one because hunting is wrong and it’s not sports and if there is anyone who knows sports it’s Jeremy. The speech is done well even though it’s a little cliche and fast. Joshua Malina is able to draw you in as he recounts seeing a deer shot in front of her family. In the end we are left with: hunting is bad and certainly not sporting.
This leads directly into the far better speech from Isaac (Robert Guillaume) concerning trust. Sports Night is the island of misfit toys for sports journalism. Everyone in the building has their own quirks. Every One of Jeremy's ex-employers all said the same thing “he knows his stuff but doesn't fit in well here so advancement is limited”. As the father figure of the show Isaac automatically trusts and sees a greatness in Jeremy. Jeremey being the new guy doesn't have that trust and has a mountain of student loans to pay back so his assumption of doing what your told makes a lot of sense.
“The Hungry and the Hunted” was a chance for Sorkin to have another big speech, his second time endng an episode with one. “Intellectual Property” is Sorkin doing a fight. Dana and Casey are in full on will they won’t they mode. I hate these types of relationships in TV, they can come off as a cheap way to give the show a serialized feel or easy excuse to just toy with fans as the show goes on. One of the upsides to a will they won’t they couple is the inevitable fights. Both partner knowing exactly where the weakest spots in the armor are. At fist Dana and Casey passive aggressively try to explain a way Casey’s betting she will have fun this weekend. An innocent enough comment but in the context of the episode the spark that lit the powder keg. Casey soon denies ever having feelings for her ever, which Dana calls bullshit on pulling on their 15 year history together of him always going after her when he was at a low point in life. She buys lamps he tries to get Dana.
According to Danas history its been to long for them to be a couple. Even if these feelings are now genuine their past tells Dana to not even try. In the end she is going to be left high and dry. It’s an entirely understandable point of view that most people could understand. For a comedy that's a really strong base to play on. This is still a comedy so when Gordon shows up it’s clear he isn’t going to be making it in the long run. Felicity Huffman and Peter Krause play off each other really well you can feel the tension I half expected them to end up kissing by the end (another annoying trope I hate).
The overall storys of any given episode aren’t all that great. But as a means to initiate character interaction they are great just simple enough for them to work and not obtrusive.
Dallas "The Enemy of My Enemy" S1 Ep06
J.R. has thrown John Ross into the briar patch to see if he will get himself out. J.R. is a cold dastardly man but I wonder how much he knows about his son's business partners. He may be a bad man but this is his son you can’t have someone be that heartless.
John Ross has Southfork for now and needs to get the oil out of the ground asap. Or else his vague South American business partners may or may not kill him and otherwise threaten bodily harm to the people he holds dear. Being able to drill is meaningless if you lack the means to transport the oil. This means we get more squeezy Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi). Who unsurprisingly reneges on his deal with his ex-wife and sends his trucks in at the behest of Sue Ellen Ewing. Josh Henderson might be better than the other youngsters on the show but that is more due to his character than his skills as an actor. Seeing him have to squirm his way out of the briar patch was mildly entertaining. Something about Henderson doing nothing but act smug and self assured is fitting for the naive character of John Ross.
His cousin, Christopher, is not that interesting. This week teaming up with Bobby to find the safety deposit box key that could hold a contract dividing the mineral rights of Southfork from the property rights. All of this after Christopher comes out about blackmailing John Ross with a sex tape, much to his father's displeasure. Having Bobby be the white knight ,mothers favorite, of the group is fine and having a character of staunch morals is necessary for this show. One of the ways he got that way though was by screwing up along the way, having to do business with men like Harris Ryland. Christopher has attempted to make these same mistakes but is pulled back by his father before they going too far. This has robbed Christopher of any sort of depth, he is hot headed he needs to fail eventually.
With J. R. in Vegas it seems like the show is setting up the next season's big bad in the form of Cliff Barnes. Things are back in the building phase which at the moment isn’t that interesting.
The Newsroom S1 Ep04 “I'll Try to Fix You”
Everything about this episode was about as subtle as a jack hammer. From the dumb broads Will tries to sleep with, to Maggie’s totally unprofessional behaviour towards Jim, to “Fix You” by Coldplay playing in a slow motion montage as the news team has to put aside their petty bickering and relationship drama to serve their god the news.
Will McAvoy’s romantic life is a comedy of errors. This isn’t too surprising since he is emotionally stunted and socially awkward. Even if he didn’t have those faults Will can not be a ladies man. Will is on the lonely road trying to civilize and stop gossipers from turning everyone into gossiping old women. It doesn't help his people keep setting him up with several shallow women. If it didn’t do that though than we would have nothing to laugh at.
These scenes were funny, McAvoy is written to be just aware enough to know why he manages to keep getting drinks in his face. There is a bit of catharsis with seeing a self assured robot like Will fail at something. These failures need to happen to prove these characters somewhat fallible. It isn’t much but just enough. That is until Charlie has the realization that the CEO is having her own gossip mag, TMI purposely paint will in a negative light so she can fire him! It’s a conspiracy. That doesn't make the scenes with women as false but now they are going to be viewed in the context of conspiracy and not hilarious failure.
This was a shipping heavy episode as the Jim-Maggie-Don love triangle becomes a square with the introduction of Maggies roommate. Don turns into an evil mastermind by setting Jim up with the roommate, slowly getting Maggie to realize she might lie Jim just a little. What was surprising though is how Sorkin has the character of Maggie become a totally unprofessional bitch towards Jim. It’s all out of left field, yes Maggie has been shown to be a bit inexperienced but a totally unprofessional person. Not really.
Than there is the final minutes set to “Fix You” by Coldplay. Montages are supposed to be as subtle as a jackhammer from the Odessa Steps in Battleship Potemkin to Rocky working out to “Eye ofthe Tiger”. The team has to put down their grievances and go to work and live up to their motto of good news. Everything plays out in an over dramatic fashion yet devoid of real tension. The evil ratings guy barging into the studio imploring Will to call Gabrielle Giffords’ death because NPR and every other network is saying it is so. In refuting evil ratings guy Will declares war on his parent company and he is going to do it right until they take Newsnight from his dead hands. This whole scene didn’t need to be set to “Fix You” by Coldplay. As a montage it loses the quasi real time tension the finale of the pilot.
This was a mixed bag episode. On one hand it was hilarious with a running Bigfoot joke with awkward characters being forced out of their comfort zones. On the other hand the drama is just kinda shallow like the gossipers Sorkin (rightly) skewers over and over.
Leverage S5 Ep01 “The (Very) Big Bird Job”
Yes tonight marks the return of Walter White. Tonight also marks the return of one of TNTs best shows Leverage. Early in the week I watched the premiere of Perception largely zombified by how clearly it paints within the lines of its genre. Leverage dose paint within the lines of its genre as well, but there is an air of fun about it that makes the show extremely tolerable. They steal and con people every week, things start off good than go bad, finishing with a cleanly edited sequence explaining how the con of the week was pulled off without a hitch, despite appearances. It isn’t as time tabled as Law & Order but it’s pretty close.
Unlike Law & Order or Perception this show isn’t dealing with grisly crime scenes,rape, or any of that depressing stuff. Instead we get a cartoony ceo to con, since the number 1 rule of the show is all CEOs of large companies are inherently eccentric,stealing,conniving, possible murderous people. This weeks murdering CEO is a head of a cargo shipping company, who really loves the Howard Hughes and his Spruce Goose. Somehow that all came off very Jeff Bridges-esque. He is an evil corner cutting money grubbing guy who hates government regulation and in an attempt to make a buck two of his men were killed in a crash.
The gang gets back together after taking a vacation from one another, laying low after the mega con they pulled in the season finale. Seeing everyone meet up and explain what they did but not quiet is a great example of the type of humor this show has.
What absurd con will the gang pull this week? Trick him into stealing the Spruce Goose of course. This show is pretty absurd and doesn't take itself too seriously. During the briefing Elliot begins berating Hardison not because he got them a job while they were on vacation, but their new bat cave is behind a brewery that they will now run and most importantly bar food is the hardest thing to put on a menu!
Things inevitably go south with the revelation that the clients deceased husband managed to get proof of negligence and now his wife and daughter are in danger. So now the team will not only trick the CEO into stealing a gigantic plane but uncover a conspiracy all within 52 minutes. In the end the gang manage to get the CEO to belive he is in league with international terriorsts,one of which he “murders”. All while uncovering secret stealth technology hidden in the Spruce Goose that is worth BILLIONS of dollars. These are all things that quickly keep move the plot along until you get to the final 13 minutes when the nicely edited reveal of the plan is shown and you go “O” or laugh.
This is a heist film every week so things move fast but the beginning as ends are always filled with just enough character stuff to give them a personality beyond their tag lines: the Mastermind,Hacker,Hiter,Theif, and Grifter. The season premiere closes with cryptic words being shared by Hardison and Ford about secrete plans and lying. Just enough to keep people interesting in an over arching storyline but easily regurgitated to the uniformed next week. This and the relatively well characterized band of thieves makes Leverage just a fun show to watch.
B They be stealing the gold for 14 more episodes