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Two Tivos To Paradise 07.26.13: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and more!
Posted by Al Norton on 07.26.2013

Hello friends. This is a big weekend for me for a number of reasons, starting with today being my 13 year dateaversary with Mrs. TiVo; we had our first date on July 26, 2000, dinner at a now defunct Allston restaurant called Six Burner followed by ice cream sundaes at McDonalds (the line at JP Licks was WAY too long). It was the start of 26 being my lucky number, as we were married on a 26 (October 2002) and our kids were born on a 26 (August 2008). The second big part of my weekend is that we are taking the twins to the annual minor league game at Fenway Park on Saturday, which this year is followed by a concert by Kidz Bop.

The third and final noteworthy part of the weekend is that Sunday is the seven year anniversary of the first edition of Two Tivos To Paradise! Life has not been the same since July 28, 2006 and while I will save my big chunk of thank you's for the upcoming 350th column, I do want to thank all of you for coming along for the ride; I certainly can't commit to being here for another seven years but for as long as I can keep doing this, it's for and because all of you.

Veteran character actor Dennis Farina has passed away at age 69. The former Chicago Police Detective didn't start acting until age 37 but still managed to appear in over 75 movies & TV shows. His TV work included starring roles in Crime Story, Law & Order, Luck, Buddy Faro, and In-Laws, with a notable guest run on New Girl last season.

Here's a great faux trailer from CollegeHumor.com that fans of late 90's era MTV will appreciate…

High quality Shakespeare is coming to PBS this September…

Watch The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare's History Plays Preview on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

Baby you a song, you make me wanna role my windows down and news.

Comic Book Characters Never Grow Old, Evergreen Heroes Whose Stories Were Told
Comic-Con has given us a TON of content for this week's columns, a mix of breaking news and brand new videos for fans to enjoy. What follows below are some of the more noteworthy highlights…

*First off, here's a video that anyone who's watched even one episode of How I Met Your Mother will enjoy…

*Fans at Comic-Con got the first look at the full pilot, meaning they were also the first to find out that Cobie Smulders reprises her Avengers role of Agent Maria Hill in the pilot for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; not only is she featured in a big way in the opening hour but reports have her returning for multiple other episodes during the season. The new show premieres on ABC on Tuesday, September 24th in what is sure to be the most watched series premiere this fall (by a WIDE margin, too).

*The new season of The Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, October 13th, followed immediately by the new season of Talking Dead. Here's a look at the trailer…

*The folks at Breaking Bad released this video to get fans ready for the final run of episodes (and at the same time it was confirmed that Chris Hardwick, who hosts Talking Dead, will host the Talking Bad, the half hour talk show that will air immediately following each new episode of the final run)…

*The new season of The Following will open with an extended version of the scene that closed season one (the knife attack in the kitchen), followed by a one year time jump. Series creator Kevin Williamson said season two would be more "character driven" and less FBI man-hunt, and it was also confirmed that James Purefoy's Joe Carroll would be back for season two.

*Here's the first look at the upcoming Veronica Mars movie (the first three minutes is behind the scenes footage, with the actual trailer kicking in around the 3 minute mark)…

*Naveen Andrews (Lost) will play Jafar the evil Genie – the main villain - on ABC's new Once Upon a Time in Wonderland this fall.

*NBC Universal is developing an adaptation of the comic book series Clone. David Schulner, who writes the book, is writing the pilot and executive producing along with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, whose Skybound publishes Clone. The book/show is an action thriller about a person who has multiple versions of himself alive in the world. Hopefully this goes better than Schulner's last project with NBC, the cancelled-after-two-weeks Do No Harm.

*Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse), who has guested on several episodes of Person of Interest during the show's first two seasons, will be become a full time regular this fall, making her the second new full cast member along with TTTP fave Sarah Shahi. The show takes over the Tuesdays at 10pm timeslot in September – with NCIS & NCIS: LA as lead-in's – and is poised to make the job from solid ratings performer to big time hit show.

*Here's the Being Human "sizzle reel"…

*News out of the Arrow panel included Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, Southland, Ugly Betty) joining the cast as a character inspired by New Teen Titans villain Brother Blood as well as Michael Jai White coming on board as Bronze Tiger, who joins forces with China White as part of the Suicide Squad that fans of the Green Arrow comic book will know well. The upcoming season will also feature the introduction of a Black Canary but possibly not THE Black Canary. Here's a look at the "sizzle reel" that ran at Comic-Con…

*Timur Bekmambetov, who directed Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is developing a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz as a Syfy mini-series. This story finds a modern day warrior transported to the post-apocalyptic future where he teams up with Heartless, Brainless, and Coward - three warriors he meets upon arriving- to take on the evil wizard who has enslaved the citizens of Oz. This is the second re-imagining of the classic children's novel/movie the network has done recently; Tin Man, which starred Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neil McDonough, and Richard Dreyfus, aired in 2007 and was nominated for 9 special effects/design/makeup Emmys.

Just A City Boy, Born And Raised In South Detroit, He Took The Midnight Train Going' Anywhere
Ryan Murphy revealed this weekend that the plan for Glee is to complete the two episodes for season five that have already been written (a long planned Beatles tribute two hours) and then the third episode of the season will deal with last week's death of cast member Cory Monteith, after which the show will take an extended hiatus. Murphy also confirmed that Monteith's character Finn would pass away, although he said the episode that will deal with it and serve as a tribute to both the actor and the character, has not been written yet. No word yet on when the show will return from the hiatus but it's likely to be early 2014.

This makes a lot of sense to me and seems like the good way to go. It's not like there is a ton of precedent when it comes to how a TV show handles the shocking death of one of its lead actors, but doing the tribute episode and then taking a break, so that when they return they can begin the moving on process, is a solid plan.

I have complete confidence that Murphy and the writers will create a moving and fitting goodbye to Finn but I am a little nervous about the way Fox will promote this episode; there is a fine line between recognizing the inherent emotion in something like this and being blatantly manipulative, and I understand that sensitivity is not a word frequently associated with the marketing of an hour of television, but I do hope that everyone at Fox realizes that less is more in a case like this. People are going to want to watch for obvious reasons so there's no reason to beat folks over the head with it.

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…

The audience for Thursday's re-airing of Sharknado on Syfy was up 38% in total viewers and 24% in the demos from those who watched the premiere the week earlier, so clearly the social media buzz had some impact…Big Brother hit a season high and won the night in totals and demos...Wipeout and the just renewed Rookie Blue were each up 10%...Hollywood Game Night was down in the demos but still easily won 10pm...Hell's Kitchen was down a bit but still was the night's number two demo performer...

8.4 million watched the premiere of Teen Beach Movie on Disney, with demos that topped by 50% anything that aired on the broadcast networks. To put in perspective, that number is more than 4 times the amount of people that watched the premiere of the much more buzzed about Sharknado two weeks ago…

Red Sox - Yankees continues to be good for business; Saturday's match up provided a season high for Fox (up 39% from week 16 last year) and Sunday night's extra inning affair was a season high for ESPN as well (up 50% from week 16 last season)… Big Brother's hot streak continues, setting a new season high in total viewers and tying Thursday's season high in the demos - and winning the night in both measures...Celebrity Wife Swap was down 15%, with Whodunnit? dropping 10%...Crossing Lines was up 10%...

The Fosters continues to shine in the ratings in its first season; last night's episode hit a series high in total viewers and demos, up more than 30% in each measure from its debut. Even more important, it high season/series highs in the network's target demo of women 12 - 34, the third time in four weeks it has done so; the show's numbers are up 50% in that measure since its premiere and it's the top new cable series of the summer with that group... Under the Dome was up 10% in the demos to win the night in that measure (as usual) plus was up 3% in total viewers to win that category as well (again, as usual)...Mistresses was up 21% in total viewers and 20% in the demos...The Bachelorette was up 10%...American Ninja Warrior matched last week...Get Out Alive was up 10%...

AGT won the night in totals and demos in easy fashion, up 12% in the latter...Whose Line is it Anyway? was down 22% in total viewers and 20% in the demos in week two but still way outperformed the timeslot average for The CW...Extreme Weight Loss matched last week's demos while improving a smidge in total viewers...So You Think You Can Dance was down 10% in the demos...

AGT won the night in total viewers and tied for the demo win but also hit a season low in the former, down 21% from last week…MasterChef was up 10% to tie for the demo win…Camp was down double digits from last week but did tie a CSI rerun for the 10pm demo win…Big Brother matched last Wednesday…

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors… NASCAR and NBC Sports Group have signed a huge 10 year deal that begins in 2015 and gives NBC Universal exclusive rights to the last 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and the final 19 Nationwide Series events each year through 2014. ESPN had been the previous owner of this broadcast package. The package that had aired on TNT is currently up for bid as well, with Fox considered the likely home. Look for NBC Universal to heavily hype this major acquisition during the 2014 Winter Olympics…Syfy has ordered a 90 minute TV movie adaptation of the Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated 1995 movie 12 Monkeys that will likely serve as a back door pilot for a series. Written by Travis Fickett (Nikita, Terra Nova) and Terry Matalas (Nikita, Terra Nova) and directed by Jon Cassar (24, Revolution, Nikita, Fringe, Person of Interest), the story follows James Cole, a convicted criminal in the post-apocalyptic United States who agrees to travel back in time to current day to get information on the virus that wiped out most of the world…Nate Silver, who rose to fame when his analysis of polls and data let to successfully predicting the outcome of elections the last few years, has left the NY Times and signed a deal with ESPN where he is expected to be a contributor to Keith Olbermann's new ESPN2 talk show as well as a writer for ESPN.com. Before bringing his formulas to the world of politics Silver was a pioneering sabermetrician and was at one point a managing partner of Baseball Prospectus. Part of this deal will also find Silver working for ABC News during election years…Disney XD has picked up a third season of Marvel's Ultimate Spider Man, the channel's most watched original animated series…Actors lined up for guest spots on the upcoming season of Family Guy include Peter Dinklage, Bryan Cranston, Jon Cryer, Ashton Kutcher, Jeff Daniels, Adam Levine, Conan O'Brien, and Liam Neeson…WE has ordered its first scripted series; The Divide is a legal drama from Richard LaGravenese (Behind the Candelabra) that was originally developed at AMC and looks at the legal system through the eyes of an attorney working on a death penalty cast for The Innocence Project. John Tinker (Chicago Hope, LA Law, St Elsewhere, Judging Amy, Breakout Kings) has signed on a showrunner, with Tony Goldwyn executive producing and directing the pilot. Look for the show in the first half of 2014…ABC is getting a jump on the 2014-2015 season by developing Lawless, a legal drama from KJ Steinberg (the executive producer of Mistresses) and Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland production company. The show follows a plays-by-her-own-rules female attorney who returns to her home town to fix some of the broken things she left behind. The show is inspired by real life lawyer Wynona Ward, who left a career as a truck driver to become a lawyer at age 41 and provides free legal work for victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse, founding the non-profit organization Have Justice Will Travel…Oscar nominee Terrance Howard has joined Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, and Melissa Leo in the cast of Fox's upcoming Wayward Pines, an event (i.e. mini) series executive produced by M. Knight Shyamalan…Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Stargate: Atlantis) has joined Julianne Nicholson (Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) in the Sundance series The Red Road. The story follows a small town sheriff trying to keep the peace between two battling communities in the Ramapo Mountains. Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband) is writing, with Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Dead Like Me) serving as the executive producer/showrunner…David Denman, best known as Pam's ex Roy from The Office, has signed up for multiple episodes of Parenthood as a stay-at-home Dad who bonds with Julia. Denman's resume includes Drop Dead Diva, Person of Interest, and Grey's Anatomy, although he'll always be Skip the Demon to me…O.J. Simpson's promoter tells the NY post that should Simpson win his appeal and be sprung from his Nevada prison cell, there have been preliminary conversations with FX about him playing a version of himself on Anger Management... It's been rumored and/or assumed for months but Jason Sudeikis made his departure from Saturday Night Live official during his guest appearance on Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman…CBS is launching a new Saturday reality programming block aimed at 13 - 16 year olds and focused on healthy lifestyles. The CBS Dream Team, It's Epic premieres on September 28th and consists of 6 half hour series including Lucky Dog (animal trainer takes rescue dogs and gets them ready for adoption), Dr. Chris Pet Vet (follows day to day activities of very busy veterinarian), Recipe Rehab (two chefs compete to make low cal version of a family's favorite dish), Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals (the award winning Chef instructs the audience on how to make easy, healthy, and delicious meals in just 15 minutes), All in with Laila Ali (presents inspiration stories of determination and achievement from around the world), and Game Changers with Kevin Frazier (stories of professional athletes using their fame to do good)… Henry Winkler will play Jean-Ralphio's (Ben Schwartz) Father on the season premiere of Parks and Recreation, a role that could easily becoming recurring the same way Jenny Slate's part as Jean-Ralphio's sister did…Michelle Forbes (The Killing) will do multiple episodes of Chicago Fire...Bates Motel has signed Michael Vartan, Kenny Johnston (Sons of Anarchy, The Shield), and Rebecca Creskoff (Hung) to recurring roles...Lauren Stamile (Burn Notice, Grey's Anatomy) will guest on the season premiere of The Mentalist...The great Roger Bart, last seen on TV on Revenge, will appear on multiple episodes of the upcoming final season of HIMYM...David Anders career goal of guesting on every show on TV will get one step closer to reality when he appears on Criminal Minds early next season...

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
AKA The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last Seven Days…
The last time I loved a new show as much as I do Ray Donovan was Suits, which is very high praise from me. While on the surface the shows have very little in common is that they are both high quality and also the kind that make you want to text your friends your favorite lines from to see if they get it. It's both a good show and a fucking awesome show.

Let's get the obvious out of the way; while there's no guarantee he's going to win, there's really no question that Jon Voight will be nominated by every award giving body that honors television. It's really unbelievable what he's doing, playing such a loathsome individual that the audience both wants to see get what's coming to him and also just plain wants to see. He's funny, crude, and is thoroughly convinced he's the sharpest if not the smartest person in the room at all times, which of course just makes him that much more dangerous. The character is both familiar and unique and the word spellbinding comes to mind.

The rest of the cast is excellent as well, from the leads down to the bit parts, and the Hollywood industry rings true. In just four weeks the show has established its sense of humor as well as its heart while giving away just enough of its backstory to keep us begging for more.

The two moments in episode three where I knew I was fully hooked were Abby's yoga break down, which I totally bought into - it didn't feel forced to me at all – and then the scenes at Bunchy's support group, where Mickey couldn't keep him mouth shut, making the audience at home both laugh out loud and cringe at the same time. Bunchy's answer to the question, "how are you doing?" after Mickey left was dark comedy perfection.

The winners of the 2013 Norty Awards will be announced next month and I am fairly confident that Ray Donovan will factor heavily in the 2014 nominations.

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…Week two of Hollywood Game Night was a blast, with Community's Yvette Nicole Brown proving to be the THE celebrity partner of choice. Week one was fine but last night was the hour that showed how much fun the show can be. It's not award winning TV or anything, just a highly pleasant way to spend an hour in the summer. I get why they showed the episode they did as the premiere – it had significantly more star power – but this was the one that would have hooked more viewers…Having Whose Line is it Anyway? back on my TV is a very good thing as it is most definitely a "Guaranteed Good Mood" show. I do, however, wish that Aisha Tyler didn't say, "the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter" after EVERY commercial break…Casey Wilson and Adam Pally did a pretty good job on The Jeselnik Offensive this week, particularly in the "What's Their Problem" segment…The final 45 seconds of The Fosters – now THAT's how you do a cliffhanger…Baby Daddy continues to 100% serve its purpose as a gently entertaining half hour that helps one wind down from a long day…One of the things I like about Counting Cars is the way they balance the spotlight between the personalities and the work they are doing on the cars themselves…It's amazing to me that the amateur cooks on MasterChef are always seemingly more talented than the pack of rejects Fox rounds up for Hell's Kitchen…I am happy Top Chef Masters is back but I don't like scenarios where the winners each week are determined by anything other than who is the better cook, and when you add in things like skydiving and immunity won for them by others to the mix, it just comes across as beneath them…

TV Pick Of The Week
Some quality viewing options continue to come from non-traditional sources, as is the case with The Awesomes, which premiere Thursday on Hulu.com. An animated superhero comedy from Seth Myers and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon producer Michael Shoemaker, with voices from both Seth and his brother Josh Myers (MadTV) as well as Bill Hader, Bobby Lee, and the great Steve Higgins…

Don't miss the series premiere of The Awesomes, Thursday on Hulu.com.

3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Burger Land, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Counting Cars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Feed the Beast, Flipping Out, Food Court Wars, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Graceland, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Happy Endings, Haunted Collector. Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Game Night, Hollywood Treasure, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, Iron Chef America, The Jeselnik Offensive, Justified, Key & Peele, 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 Runway, Psych, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Raising Hope, Real Time With Bill Maher, Ray Donovan, Rectify, 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 Friday with all the latest headlines from the last seven days.

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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