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Two Tivos To Paradise 02.22.13: Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Downtown Abbey, More!
Posted by Al Norton on 02.22.2013





Hello friends. Another weekend, another snowstorm; last Sunday's wasn't so bad, especially in the wake of Nemo the week before, but this coming one looks like a solid 6 – 8 inches of heavy, wet snow. My back says "thank you", Mother Nature.

I realized this week that we had not done a giveaway in 2012 so let's remedy that now; we've got season seven of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia…AND season three of Modern Family!!! Both come on Blu-ray with a ton of cool extras, and all you have to do to enter to win is go to Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise on Facebook, click "Like" if you have not already, and then post "Hey TTTP, I wanna laugh" on our wall. As long as you have a US or Canadian mailing address and haven't won anything in the last six months, you'll be entered to win! One entry per person and we'll choose a winner at random on Monday afternoon, so good luck!

Also, while we're discussing the FB page, there are reasons other than the giveaway to check it out; we post breaking TV-related news as it happens plus lots of fun interactive stuff so you can praise/rip shows in a forum that's respectful of everyone's passion for the tube. It's a lot of fun and we'd love to have you join our community.

Here's the first look at NBC's Hannibal





This HAS to be better than Southie Rules, right?!?!?!...


Wicked Single
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Wicked Single, Wicked Single



We had two interviews run yesterday – our chat with Will Dailey (the official singer/songwriter of TTTP) was up on 411's Music page while our one-on-one with TTTP fave Rick Hoffman (Suits) was on the Movies/TV page. Check them out via the links below and be on the lookout for our conversation with Eric Close (Nashville) next Wednesday.

And he's long gone when he's next to me and I realize the blame is on news.

For He May Be She But What I'm Told Is Never For Certain
We've been covering pilot season for a few weeks and I thought I'd take a few minutes to review what I think are the 10 most interesting new projects. These aren't necessarily the 10 most likely to make the airwaves this fall, just the ones I am most intrigued by. Keep in mind that I know nothing other than what is written below – I haven't actually read the scripts nor seen any footage – so I am gauging my interest on who is involved and/or the subject matter. ..

*Crazy Ones is a comedy for CBS from 10 time Emmy winner David E Kelley about a man who runs an advertising agency (Oscar winner Robin Williams) and his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who works as the agency's creative director. James Wolk (Lone Star, Political Animals) plays the agency's top copywriter.

*Mom is a CBS comedy from Chuck Lorre where Anna Farris plays a fresh-out-of-rehab Mom trying to put her life back together. Emmy winner Allison Janney plays her Mother, who has issues of her own, with Nate Cordrry (Harry's Law, Studio 60) as Farris' married boss she is sleeping with and Matt Jones (Breaking Bad's Badger) as her ex/the father of her child.

*About A Boy is NBC's half hour adaptation of the book by Nick Hornby (which also was turned into a movie), with Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) writing and executive producing and Jon Favreau directing. David Walton (New Girl, Bent) stars as a maturity-challenged guy who develops a friendship with the young boy who moves in next door. Golden Globe winner Minnie Driver plays the boy's newly-single Mom.

*Beverly Hills Cop is CBS' small screen adaptation/sequel to hugely successful movie franchise that focus on Axel Foley's son Aaron (Brandon T Jackson) as he moves to Beverly Hills to get out of his Dad's shadow. Shawn Ryan (The Shield) is writing and executive producing, with Barry Sonnenfeld directing. Eddie Murphy will executive produce and reprise his role as Axel in the pilot. Other cast members include Kevin Pollak and David Denmen.

*Rake is a Fox drama inspired by an Australian series where Greg Kinnear plays a brilliant but self destructive defense attorney. Miranda Otto plays his ex-wife, with Bojana Novakovic as the prostitute he has been seeing for years who is also a law student. Peter Tolan (Rescue Me, The Larry Sanders Show, Murphy Brown) is the showrunner.

*Trophy Wife is an ABC comedy about a former party girl (Malin Ackerman) who falls for an older man (Emmy winner Bradley Whitford) with two ex-wives (Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden and SNL alum Michaela Watkins) and three manipulative kids. Natalie Morales plays Ackerman's best friend.

*Influence is an ABC drama pilot from Kyle Killen (Awake, Lone Star) about two brothers, one a genius with mental health issues and the other an ex-con conman, who run a business that helps people solve problems using human science and manipulation. Steve Zahn will play the brother who is a well known expert on the study of human behavior and who also doesn't not take medication for his bipolar disorder.

*S.H.I.E.L.D. is an action drama for ABC from Joss Whedon set in the Marvel Universe world and featuring Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson role from the movies. Not sure I really need to write more than that one sentence.

*Fox's untitled comedy set in a police station on the outskirts of New York City is from Mike Schur and Dan Goor, who teamed up for Parks and Recreation, and stars SNL alum Andy Samberg in his first series lead alongside Emmy winner Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, and Stephanie Beatriz (Modern Family).

*Bloodline is an NBC action-noir-drama with more than a little Kill Bill running through its veins. A late teens girl (Skyler Samuels, The Nine Lives of Chloe King) is caught in a war between two families of assassins, realizing her fate involves taking on her Mom (KaDee Strickland, Private Practice) in a fight to the death. Tom Everett Scott plays her Dad, who didn't know she was the product of a one night stand until just now, and Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) is the head of one of the two warring families. The pilot is written by David Graziano (Southland, In Plain Sight, Day Break, Lie to Me, Terra Nova) and directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights – both big and small screen, Hancock, The Kingdom).

Take A Little Trip, Take A Little Trip, Take A Little Trip And See
Matt Williams, who paired with Rosanne Barr to co-create Rosanne and did the same with Tim Allen to co-create Home Improvement, has signed with Lionsgate to work with George Lopez on a new family comedy. Williams will be the showrunner on the series, which doesn't have a script or even a plot outline yet, but what is known is that it will be shopped to networks in the 10/90 format created by Tyler Perry and used by TBS with Are We There Yet and FX for Anger Management. 10/90 means a 10 episode first season will be made and the contract will stipulate that an automatic order for an additional 90 episodes kicks in if certain specific ratings thresholds are met. Williams' resume also includes a writing/producing stint on The Cosby Show, a co-creator credit for A Different World, and six Emmy nominations.

I have no issue with the business side of this arrangement – seems to work for all parties – but there's something about the way the creative process is hijacked with these shows that rubs me the wrong way; this isn't someone having the idea for a show and then building it around a star, it's a show created around a financial formula, and I don't think there is a lot of great product that comes out of that thinking. Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware TV is a business where the goal is to make money, I just can't think of a truly great show where the creator sat around thinking, "hmmm, what show can I do that will make me a lot of money?"

Lionsgate is also working on a show that would follow the same 10/90 formula and feature Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence and Martin Lawrence. All that's known is that it would be some sort of comedy that would play off of the difference in their two personalities but the reason that is all there is known is that that's literally all there is; there is no script, no writers, just an executive saying, "think of how funny it could be?" FYI to Lionsgate – make Lawrence the erudite one while Grammer plays the cruder, more blue collar street guy and you've got your show right there.

I respect the role finance plays in the world of television but when it starts to replace the creative process instead of work concurrently with it, there is a problem.

Like A Coin In Your Mint, I Am Dented And I'm Spent With High Treason
For the past few months we've told you about new programming the big five networks have in development but now we've entered the next stage, with pilots being ordered for the 2013-2014 season…FYI - Any show listed below has been given said order…

ABC
Rockmond Dunbar has signed on to Doubt, David Shore's (House) new drama about a former cop who now works as a low rent lawyer. Dunbar plays his former partner who is still on the force and helps him out on cases…Isaiah Whitlock, Jr. (The Wire) is one of the Lucky 7, a drama about seven folks who work together at a gas station in Queens who all go in on a winning lottery ticket…Matt Craven signed for one of the leads on The Returned, playing the sheriff in the small town of Arcadia whose wife, dead and buried two years ago, turns up at his front door as if nothing has happened, an occurrence that starts to happen to folks all over town…Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) will play Rob Corddry's wife on the comedy Spy…George Segal has joined the cast of the comedy How The Hell Am I Normal…Mandy Moore is one of the leads in Pulling, a comedy about three female friends refusing to conform to the way society says they should handle getting older…Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote the screenplay for the first Twilight movie and is executive producing the upcoming ABC drama Red Widow, has been brought it as showrunner for Big Thunder, the action drama that is inspired by the Disney ride Big Thunder Mountain…Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) is the lead in Killer Woman, a drama about the only female Texas Ranger, with Marc Blucas (Necessary Roughness) in the cast as well…Raza Jaffrey (Smash, MI-5) is the first actor attached to Gothica, a drama set in modern day that involves Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and other literary creatures living among us…

FOX
Former Desperate Housewives (and Sports Night) star Felicity Huffman is looking to get back to series TV, signing to star in Boomerang; executive produced by John Wells (Southland, ER, The West Wing), it's about a family of assassins who are employed the government. Huffman plays the family matriarch in a script by Davey Holmes, whose impressive writing and executive producing resume includes Pushing Daisies, Awake, Shameless, In Treatment, The Chicago Code, and Damages…Jason Ritter is half of the couple at the center of Friends and Family, an adaptation of the BBC's Gavin & Stacey… Corey Reynolds first gig after The Closer may be with Fox as he has signed on to Delirium, a sci-fi drama with Emma Roberts and Billy Campbell in the cast... Geoff Stults, who became a TTTP favorite for his work on The Finder and then his run on Ben and Kate, is sticking with Fox by starring in the comedy pilot Enlisted. Written by Kevin Biegel (Cougar Town, Scrubs), it focuses on three quite different brothers all working together on the same small Florida Army base. Other reasons to like the project include Keith David being in the cast and Mike Royce (Men of a Certain Age) on board as an executive producer…Suan Kang (the Fast and Furious movies) and Ramon Rodriguez (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) are two of the stars of Gang Related, about a gang member who infiltrates the San Francisco police department. Allen Hughes will direct the pilot, the first time the movie director has handled a pilot…Orlando Jones is on board of Sleepy Hollow…Catherine O'Hara is a part of the comedy To My Future Assistant, about a group of assistants at a high powered NY law firm that bond with each other to stay sane…Michael Pena will star in The List, an action drama about Federal Marshall who is searching for the people who found the top secret list of people in the Witness Relocation Program and is killing them one by one…

NBC
Krysten Ritter, fresh off of Don't Trust B in Apt 23, will play the lead in Assistance, a comedy adaptation of a play where Ritter's character is being pulled in all directions by her demanding boss, her work husband (colleague she is close with), and her actual fiancé. Will Ferrell is one of the executive producers…Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) will play the 17 year old daughter Christina Ricci wakes up to find she has in Girlfriend in a ComaReno 911 co-creator and star Thomas Lennon has signed on to the untitled Victor Fresco (Better Off Ted) comedy pilot that stars Sean Hayes as a guy dealing with a crazy new boss at work (Lennon) and new custody of his teenage daughter. Golden Globe & Tony winner Linda Lavin plays Hayes' Mother. Hayes, who earned a combined 13 Emmy & Golden Globe nominations for his work on Will & Grace, will next be seen on a multi-episode run on Smash and has been very busy as an executive producer, including Hot in Cleveland, Grimm, and The Soul Man. FYI – this show just barely missed making the Top 10 list above…

CBS
Jason Isaacs (Awake) has signed to play the lead character in Surgeon General (from Lie To Me's Samuel Baum)…David Alan Grier will play the principal in the small screen adaptation of Bad Teacher…Jason Lee may be returning to TV this fall; the My Name is Earl and Memphis Beat veteran is starring in the CBS pilot Second Sight. Executive produced by Michael Cuesta (Homeland) and Carol Mendelsohn (CSI), the show is about a New Orleans police detective who has a secret medical condition, an ocular disorder that leads to hallucinations from his subconscious, hallucinations that help him solve cases. Clive Owen played the lead role in the 2000 British series this project is an adaptation of…Michael Rady, fresh off of Emily Owens MD, has joined Josh Holloway in the cast of Intelligence…Tate Donovan has joined Dylan McDermott and Toni Colette in Hostage…Will Arnett will star in an untitled comedy from Greg Garcia (Raising Hope, My Name is Earl) playing a recently divorced guy who suddenly has to deal with his parent's marital issues as well…David Harewood is reuniting with his Homeland bosses for Anatomy of Violence, a procedural from the executive producers of the Showtime hit about a criminal psychologist who specializes in sociopaths…Joey McIntyre - yes, THAT Joey McIntyre - has joined the cast of the comedy pilot The McCarthys, about a Irish family in Boston upset that their gay son (Jake Lacy - The Office, Better With You) doesn't spend enough time with them. Also in the cast are current Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) and Jack McGee (Rescue Me). McIntyre would play another of the McCarthy sons…Oscar winner Mira Sorvino will play Jim Gaffigan's wife in a comedy written by Gaffigan and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me, The Larry Sanders Show)…

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
Ratings Notes From The Last Seven Days…

THURSDAY
Zero Hour's premiere numbers last night weren't as low as Do No Harm - the all time lowest demos for an in season premiere of a scripted drama - but they were low enough to set a new all time low bar for ABC in that measure. To put in perspective, the demos were 48% lower than Last Resort's premiere and 38% down from last March's Missing debut...Community took a huge dive in week two, down 42% to a new series low in the demos...A rerun of SVU topped the demos Do No Harm put up last week by 42%...The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos...Scandal won 10pm in the demos - not uncommon at all - but also put up higher numbers in that measure than it's Grey's Anatomy lead-in, the first time ever that's happened...Person of Interest won 9pm in totals and demos...American Idol was down 12% in the demos, with lead-out Glee down 23%...There was not a single show that aired on the big 5 for the night that was up from last week, with only Scandal and Elementary matching last week (EVERYTHING else was down), likely due to Valentine's Day

FRIDAY
The Job was down 22% from last week's poor premiere numbers and finished fourth in the hour in demos. It's highly unlikely episode three sees the light of day...Shark Tank won the night in demos...Blue Bloods was the nights most watched show with 10.6 million viewers...

SATURDAY
The premiere of Beyonce: Life is But a Dream pulled in 1.8 million viewers on Saturday night, the largest audience for an HBO documentary since 2004 when Nielsen changed how it measured audiences.

SUNDAY
B>Revenge rallied strongly from last week's series low, up 29% in the demos...The Amazing Race won the night in totals and tied for the win in demos but both were series lows for a premiere episode...Family Guy tied Race for the night's demo crown...The Good Wife dropped to a series demo low while The Mentalist, which is likely a bubble show, finished second in the demos at 10pm to the second hour of a (repeat) SNL special on NBC...The Cleveland Show, which some are questioning the future of, did not help its cause with a 21% demo dip... While the total viewers for Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead were down 11%, the number was still an impressive 11 million, and the demos will end up as tops for the week for any regularly scheduled program on ALL OF TELEVISION!!!... 8.2 million watched the heartbreaking season three finale of Downton Abbey on Sunday night, up +50% from the last episode of season two. The overall season three average was up 66% from season two... The premiere of Killing Lincoln was watched by 3.4 million people, the largest average audience in National Geographic Channel history.

MONDAY
The Following was up 17%...The Bachelor was up 11% to hit a season demo high for the second week in a row, which helped lead-out Castle jump 10% to its own season high...HIMYM & The Biggest Loser both enjoy small demo gains at 8pm...90210 was down 24% in total viewers and at this point is pretty much a lock to be cancelled at the end of the season...Mike & Molly built on its 2 Broke Girls lead-in and was the most watched scripted show of the night...

TUESDAY
Cult opened to some pretty low numbers, 40% less in total viewers than the recently cancelled Emily Owens MD premiered to in that same timeslot, with lower demos as well...Body of Proof was down 29% in total viewers and 49% in the demos from its season two premiere...Smash was down 25% in the demos and finished last in that measure as well as in total viewers at 10pm...NCIS won the night in total viewers (21 million) and demos...NCIS: LA won 9pm in both measures...Go On and The New Normal were both down a smidge...The Taste and <>Off Their Rockers were the only programs that had any week-to-week gain, and those were still slight...

WEDNESDAY
CSI was up 20% from last week's series low to win 10pm in totals and demos...American Idol won the night in totals and demos, up a bit in total viewers while down a tad in the demos...The Middle and <>The Neighbors were each up 10+% in the demos...Whitney tied a series low...Modern Family had far and away the best scripted demos of the night...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…FX has picked up a second season of The Americans…TV Land has given a 12 episode first season order to Kirstie's New Show, which marks the sitcom return of not just lead Kirstie Alley but also series regulars Michael Richards and Rhea Perlman. Alley stars as a big time Broadway actress whose world turns upside down when the son she gave up for adoption 26 years ago turns up at her door. Perlman plays her executive assistant/best friend and Richards is her limo driver. The three actors have combined for 23 Emmy nominations (with NINE wins)… Emmy winner Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) has signed to star in the Showtime pilot The Vatican. Written by Paul Attanasio (<>House, Homicide: Life on the Street) and directed by Ridley Scott, the script finds Chandler playing a Cardinal who is Archbishop of NY and whose progressive thinking is energizing some while causing others to think he needs to go. The channel's press release calls the show, "a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics – set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church."… Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) has landed the lead in CBS' upcoming Under the Dome, joining a cast that includes Mike Vogel (Pan Am), Britt Robertson (Secret Circle, Life Unexpected), Aisha Hinds (True Blood), and Natalie Martinez (CSI: NY). The adaptation of the Stephen King novel will premiere on June 24th and as part of a new deal, episodes will be available on Amazon Prime just four days after they air on CBS…The 2013 Writer's Guild Awards were given out last Sunday, with TV winners including Breaking Bad (Drama Series + Individual Drama Episode for The Other Woman), Louie (Comedy Series), Modern Family (Individual Comedy Episode for Virgin Territory), Hatfields & McCoys (Long Form Original), Game Change (Long Form Adaptation), Portlandia (Comedy/Variety Series), The Simpsons (Animation Series), Young and the Restless (Daytime Drama Series), and Sesame Street (Children's Series)… Mark Consuelos and Matt Malloy have joined John Goodman in the Amazon comedy pilot Alpha House - written by Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Trudeau - all three playing Senators who are Washington DC roommates…The 63rd annual ACE Eddie Awards - for excellence in editing - were given out last Saturday, with TV winners including Nurse Jackie (Handle Your Scandal episode, Best Half Hour Series), Breaking Bad (Dead Freight, Best One Hour Commercial Series), The Newsroom (Pilot, Best One Hour Non-Commercial Series), Frozen Planet (Ends of the Earth, Best Non-Scripted Series), and Hemingway & Gellhorn (Best Made for TV Movie)… Fox is giving New Girl and The Mindy Project a nice boost by airing new episodes of each following the American Idol results show on Thursday, April 4th. This is perhaps the best indication yet that Fox intends on bringing Mindy back for a second season (or at least is giving it every chance possible to become enough of a success where the decision is an easy one)… Law & Order: SVU is reaching to the world of cable dramas for an episode this spring that finds both The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan and Homeland's David Marciano guest starring…OWN has ordered up a third season of Tyler Perry's For Better Or Worse while at the same time acquiring the 45 episodes from the first two seasons that aired on TBS. The comedy was the # 1 show on all of television among African Americans in 2011. The entire cast is expected to return…truTV is clearly happy with the performances of Impractical Jokers and Hardcore Pawn: Chicago as they've added 13 more episodes to the season two order of the former and eight episodes to the first season of the latter. That means Jokers second season will total 28 episodes while the Chicago edition of Pawn will have 17 episodes in its freshman run…Steve Carell will make an appearance on Pawn Stars later this spring, showing up in Vegas and negotiating with Rick on the price of something. Carell also filmed a spot for his new movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone that will air during the March 11th episode of Pawn Stars, one of those new "integrated ads" that seem like a scene from the show unless you pay close attention… Chris Hardwick's Nerdist Industries has signed a development deal with AMC that includes the network working on a TV series version of Nerdist's YouTube channel series All Star Celebrity Bowling. Also part of the deal is Nerdist's YouTube channel airing bonus footage from AMC's The Talking Dead, which Hardwick hosts…NBC has confirmed that Mel B will be taking Sharon Osbourne's spot as a judge on America's Got Talent this summer, joining Howard Stern and Howie Mandel, who have both renewed their contracts. Mel B is most famous for being one of the Spice Girls but does have reality show experience having been a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor. Taping for the audition rounds of AGT begin the first week in March in New Orleans…Fox is developing Crash and Burn, with The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Ann Hurd on board. The show, set in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970's and focused on a Hollywood stunt man with issues at home and at work, is written by Jeffrey Lieber (Lost, Necessary Roughness) and inspired by the non-fiction book The Full Burn.

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 Seven Days…
Man, did The Jeselnik Offensive make me laugh! Anthony Jeselenik's first show, a week-in-review series for Comedy Central, was really quite funny, coming at the format in a new way that both embraced and mocked it; that's a tough combination to pull off but it worked quite well in its opening half hour.

Obviously they are not re-inventing the wheel here but their acidic look at the week's big news items certainly sets it apart (in the same way The Burn is set apart), and the fashion segment was a fantastic parody of the type of regular segments shows like that do. Even better was Latino Voices, a brief but marvelously absurd few moments that had me in stitches.

Also noteworthy was Defend Your Tweets, where he presented each of his panelists with a random tweet they had sent out in the recent past and challenged them to defend it. It was clear both of his guests did not know this was coming, and I mean that in the best of all possible ways.

I like the idea that Comedy Central may rotate series with the same general theme (comedically dark look at the news) in that spot all year, so there's always new episodes but the individual slant on things changes every 8 – 10 weeks. The Burn was a good start and now The Jeselnik Offensive has more than picked up the baton and starting running.

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…Friday was perhaps my favorite Shark Tank of all time; you had a $1 million investment (in a great company where the deal made sense for both sides), a very cool feel-good story where the investment could make two Sharks a TON of money (not to mention how much the product could come in handy in a few years when my twins are driving), and Kevin O'Leary once again proved why he is so much like Simon Cowell (he can be incredibly mean but it's never for the sake of being mean, it's simply his passion coming through. Doesn't make it any less hurtful to those who coming swimming but at this point anyone who steps foot in the tank has to know what they are getting into)…Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell is one of my favorite reality competition shows in that someone gets a JOB at the end, which is very cool, and that while I am sure things are edited to enhance drama – this is reality television, after all – there is essentially very little they can do to change from what actually transpires, so what we see really is four people fighting for something they both want and need, nothing more and nothing less…Certainly a hook-up heavy episode of Glee last week, which much to my sheer pleasure featured yet another Kenny Rogers duet from the 80's…I haven't seen last night's Parks and Recreation as of this writing but part one of the wedding episode was a riot, with great appearance from Councilman Jamm and Paunch Burger as well as the introduction of Ron Swanson, TV host…I loved Daniel Sunjata's work as Franco on Rescue Me and have been incredibly impressed as the roles he's taken since have gone a long way to establishing just how much range he has; his characters on Grey's Anatomy and on Smash (he started a multi-episode run on Tuesday) couldn't have less in common with the fireman who first brought him to my attention. Can't wait to see Graceland this summer on USA!!!..One of the things that has made Justified so damn good this season is the development of Sheriff Shelby Parlow's character. Jim Beaver, coming off his great run on Supernatural, and the writing staff have found ways to make Shelby anything but what he seemed like when we met his last season. I've said it before and I'll say it again; the next poorly cast role on the show will be the first…Sunday's Once Upon a Time was far and away the best of the season; even though the twist was pretty obvious, the execution was flawless, including having the reveal take place in the opening 5 minutes instead of waiting until the closing scene. I've sung Robert Carlyle's praises on this page any number of times but he was amazing last night; he plays Rumpelstiltskin a little differently in every flashback (which is how it should be since we see him at different stages in his life) and it's a remarkable joy to watch… Monday's HIMYM was a perfect example of a well executed (mostly) throwaway episode; the multiple versions of the same story got funnier every time, as did Barney's insistence that he was there, but with the notable exception of Lily's career path, not much happened. And that's ok - while the show obviously has an on-going story arc, not every outing has to be about meeting the Mom or something similarly large. As long as it's funny, and last night's was, the episodes can sometimes just be. Alyson Hannigan continues to really stand out this season…New Girl is back on a role, with at least 3 or 4 top quality episodes in a row after their 2 week let down earlier in the year (no doubt caused by naming them the Top Comedy of 2012)… I really have no strong opinion on the majority of this week's Modern Family because Phil's pratfalls while breaking in his new bowling shoes in the opening was perhaps the single funniest thing I have seen in 2013, so everything that followed was really an afterthought to me…Danielle Panabaker is doing some impressive work these days, with her recurring characters on Bones and Necessary Roughness bearing no resemblance to each other while each being quite believable portrayals…Loved the scene in this week's House of Lies where Kristen Bell's Jennie realized she had handled her date with who turned out to be a pretty good guy in an absolutely terrible way. Those little moments of self realization will help her down the path to fully acknowledge and deal with her feelings for Marty…

TV Pick Of The Week
I'm pretty excited for The Oscars this Sunday in that Seth MacFarlane is the funniest person to front the show since Jon Stewart in 2008 (I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin but it's a different kind of funny to host a show like this) and I expect a monologue that makes a lot of fun of how much Hollywood loves itself. Plus he's clearly thrilled to have the job, and that goes a long way towards my enjoyment. Since my twins were born 4+ years ago I've seen less than a dozen movies in the theater, so I won't have any strong opinions on winners and losers, which means I can focus on the two most important part of the show, the aforementioned monologue and the red carpet pre-shows that comes first.

Don't miss The 85th Annual Academy Awards, this Sunday at 8:30pm on ABC, with the network's pre-show beginning at 7 and E!'s coverage essentially running all day.


As an added Oscar-centric bonus, here's a cool video that has clips from EVERY Best Picture winner…





Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Most of the week's major programming is covered about but here as some other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…

*PBS amazing American Masters series begins its 27th season tonight with Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock and Roll; anyone with even a passing interest in the history of music will want to check it out…






*Out There premieres tonight at 10:30pm, a new animated series on IFC from Ryan Quincy, who won two Emmys for his work on South Park. The voice talent is top notch, including Fred Armisen and Pamela Adlon.

*A new season of The Haney Project (Golf Channel, 9pm) begins Monday with Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps looking to improve his game.

*HBO's newest mini-series Parade's End premieres on Tuesday at 9pm with parts one and two, followed by parts 3& 4 on Wednesday, and the finale on Thursday…





*Golden Boy is a new crime drama on CBS that debuts Tuesday at 10pm. Let's hope it does better than most of the other mid-season replacements have this season…





*Robot Combat League starts its inaugural season this Tuesday at 10pm on Syfy…





*Duck Dynasty is a bit of a pop culture phenomenon and I know it has a big following among my readers, which is why I am pointing out that season three kicks off this Wednesday at 10pm on A&E.

*Boston's Finest is TNT's latest attempt at developing reality programming…





Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, 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, Deception, 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 International, Ghost Lab, Glee, 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, The League, 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, 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, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, 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 all the headlines from the last seven days plus a review of the Oscars.

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.





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