Two Tivos To Paradise 11.23.12: The Big Bang Theory, Community, Revolution, Shark Tank, The Voice, and more!
Posted by Al Norton on 11.23.2012
News and thoughts on The Big Bang Theory being the # 1 comedy on TV, Chevy Chase leaving Community, Revolution's four month break, and more!
Hello friends. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family. We started with breakfast at IHOP with my Dad and then an early dinner with the other side of the family. Mrs. Tivo gets a turkey from work every year, which we'll cook on Saturday so it's almost like two Thanksgiving. Also of note at our house is this morning's return of The Elf on the Shelf; known as "Goody" by the twins, he will be what we hold over the kids heads in the hopes of manipulating them into good behavior the next month.
Here's a look at the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special…
Season two of Smash is coming in 2013…
No giveaways this week but coming up in next Friday's column, a long running series makes its first appearance in one of our contests. I had a quick chat with Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B- In Apt 23) that ran this week – use the links below to pull it up – and this Sunday my one-on-one with The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan will be live on the site.
Excited about the return of Cougar Town next month?…
I'm tryna find the right words to describe this news without being disrespectful.
Our Whole Universe Was In A Hot Dense State, Then Nearly 14 Billion Years Ago Expansion Started, Wait! The Big Bang Theory hit a series high in total viewers last Thursday with 17.4 million viewers, a week after it tied its previous series high of 16.7 million.
It's pretty impressive for a show in its sixth season to hit a ratings high so I thought it time to revisit my feelings about the show; regular readers know I am not a fan of the show, for reasons both legit and less so. My dislike for the comedy came first because CBS used it to fill the hole created by their cancellation of The Class, a warm and charming little comedy that deserved a MUCH better fate (as evidenced by how well the cast has done since, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jason Ritter, Jon Bernthal, Andrea Anders, and Lizzy Caplin), and second because the pilot subscribed to the most obvious kind of big-strong-lunkhead-takes-geek's-pants humor, and I mean that literally; one of the comedic "high points" of the pilot is Leonard and Sheldon getting pantsed by Penny's ex-boyfriend. It was not a difficult decision for me to not come back for more.
The show has gone on to do quite well without me as a viewer, improving its ratings every year except for an ever-so-slight drop in season four when they moved from Mondays at 9:30pm – where they enjoyed the huge lead-in audience from Two and a Half Men – to Thursdays at 8pm, and the current season average audience is more than double what they pulled back in season one. One of the things that helped the show make the jump in season five to MEGA-HIT status was that reruns began airing on cable and in syndication, with TBS giving the show a major showcase that helped bring in new viewers.
I have gone back and watched multiple episodes each season to see if my feelings would change and they have to the extent that I think the cast is pretty strong and inhabits their characters as well as any on TV, but my issues remain. First off, as good as I think Jim Parsons is, I simply don't find Sheldon to be a compelling presence. He is made more so by Mayim Bialik's Amy, for sure, but the comparison I go back to all the time is Dustin Hoffman in Rainman; great work but I wouldn't want to see that character every week or I'd go nuts.
Also annoying is the laughter. Yes, there is a live studio audience, and yes, like any show that has a live studio audience, those laughs are "sweetened" in post-production, and in the case of Big Bang it's to the point of distraction, almost like the later years on Happy Days where episodes seemingly went from 22 minutes to 18 minutes with all the applause breaks (Seinfeld had the same issue with Kramer in the middle seasons).
My feelings about Big Bang aren't that much different than my feelings for all of Chuck Lorre's CBS comedies (Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly); a premise that might actually have something to it, a strong cast, and then episode after episode after episode after episode of beating the same jokes into the ground.
And finally, while we all know/have known people in our lives who would qualify to be categorized under the "geek" umbrella, I simply don't recognize most of the people who populate the Big Bang universe; they are almost all caricatures to me, where a little goes a LOOOONG way.
Do I think The Big Bang Theory is terrible? Do I have a problem with it being the most watched comedy on TV? The answer to both questions is no; I think it's ok but watching an episode has never made me want to watch another, and the fact that it knocked off Two and a Half Men as the # 1 comedy on TV tells me all I need to know about the value of such a title. The TV universe is a vast and infinite place where there is plenty of room for folks to love their Big Bangs while others take pleasure from a Louie, a Community, an Archer, and then there are some who like all of the above. A show doesn't need me on board to justify its existence, especially when there is a strong and passionate fan base to please every week.
When Are You Gonna Come Down, When Are You Going To Land?
Last Friday was "Black Friday" for three new series, with CBS cancelled Partners – pulled immediately from their lineup – and ABC announcing no new episodes of Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue would be made, although the current plan is for the network to continue to air the remaining episodes of their initial order of 13 in their respective timeslots. Because enough notice was given to the show's writers, each will be able to turn their final episode into an actual series finale.
Clearly ABC has to rethink their Thursdays at 8pm strategy as the last three seasons they've used that slot to launch a new show, and if Last Resort does end up getting to air the full 13 they ordered it will be the first of the three to get that far; Charlie's Angels and My Generation qualified as full fledged bombs. The same might be said for Sundays at 10pm since Pan Am, Good Christian Belles, and now 666 Park Avenue have failed there in the last 12 months. Actually, I am fairly certain the network would love to go back revisit their decision to cancel GCB at this point.
There are no easy time slots on TV anymore, and not every show can be a hit, but one wonders if the issues are with the shows ABC is making or the timeslots they are giving them. Last Resort wasn't award worthy – it's was overly complicated, to say the least – but it was solid and the cast was excellent, and perhaps re-airing the start of the season during the holidays, when there is almost no new network programming to speak of, could have led to some sort of momentum going into mid-January. 666 Park Avenue started weak but quality wise was getting better each week. Obviously a factor is that the network has three new dramas that need to find a spot in their line up; my guess is Zero Hour ends up Thursdays at 8pm, with Mistresses taking Sunday at 10pm and Red Widow taking Tuesdays at 10pm when Private Practice signs off early next year.
I haven't mentioned Partners because frankly, Partners was awful, even more so when you consider the talent level of the cast, and it doesn't deserve another second of our time.
My Tea's Gone Cold, I'm Wondering Why I Got Out Of Bed Alone
The holiday might have been yesterday but the marathons run through the weekend. Here's a quick guide…
TODAY Forever Knight (Chiller); 6am, 11 episodes House Hunters/House Hunters International (HGTV); 6:30am, 27 episodes America's Next Top Model (Oxygen); 8am, 12 episodes BBQ Pitmasters (Destination America); 8am, 8 episodes Counting Cars (History); 8am, 24 episodes The Dick Van Dyke Show (TVLand); 8am, 8 episodes The Parkers (BET); 8am, 17 episodes Storage Wars Texas (A&E), 8am, 14 episodes Doomsday Preppers (Nat Geo); 9am, 18 episodes Diners, Drive-In's, & Dives (Food); noon, 20 episodes The Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo), noon, 15 episodes Say Yes to the Dress (TLC); noon, 15 episodes Gold Rush (Discovery); 1pm, 9 episodes Duck Dynasty (A&E); 3pm, 26 episodes A Haunting (Destination America); 4pm, 19 episodes Awkward (MTV); 4pm, 12 episodes
SATURDAY Giuliana & Bill (Style); 9am, 9 episodes Star Wars Episodes I, II, & III (Spike); 9am My Fair Wedding with David Tutera (WE); 10am, 15 episodes The Steve Harvey Show (BET); 10:30am, 14 episodes Law & Order: SVU (USA); noon, 14 episodes Parking Wars (A&E); 3pm, 8 episodes Happily Divorced (TV Land); 6pm, 1o episodes South Beach Classics (Destination America); 6pm, 24 episodes Storage Wars (A&E); 8pm, 13 episodes
SUNDAY NCIS (USA); 9am, 14 episodes Bridezillas (WE); 10am, 16 episodes Snapped (Oxygen); noon, 10 episodes Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo); 1pm, 9 episodes Moesha (BET); 11:30pm, 19 episodes
It's Time To Play The Music, It's Time To Light The Lights The Muppet Show video of the week…
But You Were Up To Your Old Tricks In Chapters Four Five And Six
All you need to know about the Nielsen's for the past 7 days…
THURSDAY The Big Bang Theory hit a series high in total viewers last night with 17.4 million. This new mark comes just a week after tying the old mark of 16.7 million, so clear Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, and company have the big mo on their side…Two and a Half Men hit a season high in the demos…Person of Interest rose to a season high in the demos, tying Grey's Anatomy for the 9:00 win…Elementary won 10pm in totals and demos…The X Factor was up in totals and demos while lead-out Glee was down double digits in the demos…
FRIDAY Shark Tank, as usual, won the night in demos...Malibu Country dropped 24% in the demos and from week one to week three is down a whopping 43% in that measure (NOT a good sign for the show's long term future)...Undercover Boss won 8pm in totals and demos...CSI:NY was the evenings most watched show with 9.5 million viewers...
The American Music Awards dropped 21% in the demos to hit an all-time low...Family Guy had the top scripted demos of the night...Sunday Night Football won the night in totals and demos...It's not official yet because the football overrun plays a role but The Good Wife may have been the most watched scripted show of the night... Sofia the First was a huge hit for Disney, with 5.1 million total viewers and the largest cable audience of kids 2 - 5 years old in five years.
MONDAY The Voice hit a Monday season low but still easily won the night in demos...A Two and a Half Men rerun in the Partners timeslot topped the demos put up by the now-cancelled series by 17%...DWTS was the most watched show of the night and jumped 10% in the demos...Revolution easily topped 10pm in the demos...Hawaii 5-0 finished second in totals and demos at 1pm, up in both measures...
TUESDAY Vegas and Private Practice, both on at 10pm, were the only two shows to come in with higher demo numbers than their previous outings...Setting or tying new series demo lows were The New Normal, The Mindy Project, Parenthood, Ben and Kate, Happy Endings, and Don't Trust the B- In Apt 23...NCIS hit a new season low and NCIS: LA tied one, although the former was still far and away the most watched show of the night...The Voice was down 15% but still easily won the night in demos
All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Chevy Chase has reached an agreement with the producers of Community to leave the series immediately. His run in's with the shows creative team have been well documented, so this isn't exactly a shock. 10 or 11 of the 13 episodes ordered for season four have already been filmed so Chase's Pierce will only be absent from the last couple of episodes. While a 5th season is unlikely, that would be when his absence would be the most glaring. No word yet on how they intend to write Pierce out of the show…Syfy will premiere the reality competition show Robot Combat League on February 26th. Hosted by Chris Jericho, the show is a mix of the movie Real Steal and TV shows like Robot Wars and Battle Bots, featuring 1000 pound robots doing battle in a cage while controlled by shadow boxing adults…In what would be a major casting victory for NBC, the network is negotiating with Hugh Laurie to star as Blackbeard in their new pirate drama Crossbones, written and executive produced by Luther creator Neil Cross…Turner Classic Movies has reached a deal with Johnny Carson's estate that will allow the network to air Carson on TCM next summer, a series made up of interviews with movie stars from The Tonight Show. This deal licenses use of 50 interviews, some not seen since their original airing, and the group includes 20 Oscar winners, with names like Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, and Gregory Peck among those who will be featured…Julia Roberts is executive producing Paranormal Housewives, a drama series in development at Lifetime. Written by Katie Ford (Miss Congeniality), the show is inspired by a group of Southern Californian women who broke into the male dominated field of professional ghost hunters. The three real life ladies will work as consultants on the show. Ford's resume includes both Miss Congeniality films, the Little House on the Prairie mini-series, and more than a dozen episodes of Family Ties… Janina Gavinkar (True Blood, The League, The L Word) will do multiple episodes of Arrow…Annabella Sciora will guest on Blue Bloods…TTTP fave Greg Germann will appear on NCIS later this season…Constance Zimmer (Entourage, Boston Legal) has landed a multi-episode run on Grey's Anatomy, as has Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck)…Starz has cancelled Boss after two seasons but reports say they are considering a two hour movie to wrap everything up…TTTP fave Anna Chlumsky, currently a regular on HBO's Veep, will have a recurring role on NBC's Hannibal next spring….Hot in Cleveland will do a super-sized live episode in June…Keenan Thompson is starring, writing, and executive producing a comedy series in development with NBC that has his SNL boss Lorne Michael's on board as an executive producer; the untitled comedy finds Thompson playing a man who moves from his NYC home into a situation where he, his family, and his in-laws all live under the same roof…February Sweeps will find CBS doing a CSI crossover special, with Gary Sinise appearing on the 2/6 episode of CSI and then Ted Danson guesting on the 2/8 CSI: NY…Mark Wahlberg, Steve Levison, and Rob Weiss, who teamed up to created and produce Entourage for HBO, are joining forces again for the Fox comedy The Happy Tree, about young man recovering from a nervous breakdown brought on by his high stress corporate lawyer gig who accidentally ends up as the face of the marijuana legalization movement…Discovery cancelled Dirty Jobs…How I Met Your Mother will get the first one hour episode of the show's run; the holiday themed episode airs on December 17th…
Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
(The Best of What's Around aka The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last 7 Days…) Don't Trust The B- In Apt 23 hit a comedy high point last week when Chloe took over People Magazine – long story, essentially she was trying to prove June was a sheep by getting People to name James Van Der Beek The Sexiest Man Alive and cause June to find him sexy – scenes that gave Krysten Ritter as good as showcase as I have seen for her amazing comedic talents. The phrase tour-de-force was created to describe the work she did in this episode, as good as any performance by a woman in a comedy in 2012.
Ritter has shown her talents in previous comedies, and was a standout in her dramatic turn on season two of Breaking Bad, but Chloe is a part that is tailor made to her skill set; some comedians get great mileage out of insecurity but no one minds absurd levels of confidence for laughs the way she does. This week's Thanksgiving episode was also good, showcasing how manipulative Chloe is without it ever seeming forced.
She may not get the publicity of the Fays, Poehlers, and Deschanels of the TV world but Krysten Ritter is kicking ass and taking names these days.
People Say I'm Crazy Doing What I'm Doing. Well, They Give Me All Kinds Of Warnings To Save Me From Ruin
What's flashed before my eyes the last seven days…
Easily the highpoint of The Voice this week…My major takeaway from last week's Shark Tank - other than that Kevin should drink wine during EVERY episode - is that Ruck Pack could be HUGE. The line that Major Dyer used during the presentation - "Everyone has a battle to win" - is MONEY and their advertising/marketing should be built around it as a way to open the product up to the general public and not just the more health conscious folks…Really enjoyed this week's Grey's Anatomy, from the mis-sent emails to a huge reminder of why I love Bailey so much to Christina's new (seemingly cool) boss to Alex growing up (finally!!!) to the very interesting plot twist at the end, I was highly entertained from start to finish!... What I enjoyed about this week's HIMYM was Ted's admission/acknowledgement that he is a bit of, well, a loser. Not that we all aren't dramatically less cool than we picture ourselves to be but this is the type of moment that can propel someone forward, with that sort of introspection a key part of becoming the person you always wanted to be, i.e. someone who is ready to meet the Mother of his children. The moment he shared with Lily at the end was VERY sweet, and then cut with a great joke. Is there a way to check Google and/or iTunes to see if there a surge of Dishwalla-related activity?...There just aren't enough superlatives in the world to praise the work the Homeland leads are doing on a weekly basis…I had started to wonder how it was I was going to make a choice between Homeland, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy in next month's Best of 2012 column but Tuesday's Sons made my decision a LOT easier; I can't remember the last time I saw SO much plot in one episode of TV (a 90 minute episode, I know), let alone doing so without things seeming forced. I do believe that you could teach a class in the way the shows storylines simmer and crisscross, in individual episodes, seasons, and throughout the series run…New Girl now has two fantastic Thanksgiving episodes under its belt in two seasons, with this week's being an instant classic. Nick finding out his zombie book was a Twilight knock off may have been the highlight. Any show that gives such a spotlight to the music of Jim Croce deserves a special Norty Award, for sure…Happy Endings wasn't uproariously funny this week but it's full on embrace of all things obscure – the Rock Bottom Remainders? Really?!?! – is impressive…
TV Pick Of The Week
While the reasons that NBC would think to give Revolution a four month break when it's the hottest new series of the season and their top performing drama in years (and years) is beyond me but that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to Monday's fall finale of the show any less. Even though they continue to embrace a formula that seems destined to wear thin (Miles is almost captured/someone almost dies/flashbacks tie together into twist reveal ending), there is no question that the show deserves every bit of success it has enjoyed because it has put together a strong cast, an emotionally compelling focus – what we will do for family – and there are some pretty cool action sequences.
Will I be as excited for the show's return come March? That I cannot say, and that's the John Pinette sized gamble the network is taking.
Don't miss the fall finale of Revolution, Monday at 10pm on NBC.
Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…
*It's the end of a tween era tonight when iCarly (8pm, Nickelodeon) brings its five season run to a close.
*Killer Karaoke is the latest reality competition series from TruTV, premiering tonight at 9pm…
*Were you one of the fourteen people that enjoyed Made in Jersey? Then you'll be thrilled to learn CBS is running the left over episodes on Saturdays at 8pm starting tomorrow.
*Lifetime's best hope for Liz & Dick (Sunday, 9pm) is that it is the kind of bad-but-not-on-purpose-bad that ends up as a camp cult classic…
*Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is back for the first of four holiday specials this Monday at 9pm, with Jenny McCarthy on board to help.
*Rizzoli & Isles (9pm) and Leverage (10pm) are back for a run of winter episodes starting Tuesday on TNT.
*A Charlie Brown Christmas makes its first appearance of the season this Wednesday at 8pm on ABC.
*Hot in Cleveland – TV Land's biggest original series ever – is back for a new season this Wednesday at 10pm.
Two Tivos To Paradise 3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Ben and Kate, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Fast Food Mania, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Franchise, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters Academy, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Gossip Girl, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Happy Endings, Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, Last Resort, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, Next Iron Chef, The Office, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Project Accessory, Project Runway, PSYCH, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Raising Hope, Real Time With Bill Maher, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Revolution, Royal Pains, Rules Of Engagement, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Texas Multi Mammas, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, Wilfred, Worst Cooks In America,
People Love You When They Know You're Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.
We'll be back next week with a look at the last seven days in TV headlines!
Sources for this week's column include Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Hollywood Reporter (plus the web sites for those publications) as well as Aintit.cool.com, TVline.com & Deadline.com.