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Two Tivos To Paradise 3.28.14: How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead, Psych, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, More
Posted by Al Norton on 03.28.2014

Hello friends; what's good? How are your brackets doing? I'd ask if anyone was still alive in the $1 Billion Bracket Challenge but it seems a waste of perfectly good font. Besides, there is only one sport to be thinking about right now and that's baseball, with my beloved Red Sox beginning their season long defense of last year's World Series Championship on Monday afternoon in Camden Yards. The temperature outside as I type this certainly doesn't seem like baseball weather but when I sit down on the couch and turn on the TV on Monday at 3pm, I'll be plenty warm and all will be right with the world.

A longer look at 24: Live Another Day, premiering on May 5th…

AMC has high hopes for their new period drama Turn

If I could, baby I'd give you my news.

The Sun, The Rain, The Sweet Despair, Great Tales Of Love And Strife
How I Met Your Mother brings its nine season, 200+ episode run to a close on Monday night with a hour long, two part series finale where we see Ted and the Mother finally meet face-to-face. The show has never been a favorite come awards time (at least not in the major awards, although it has won Five Emmys in art direction, editing, and cinematography categories), and has been a solid but not spectacular ratings producer, but it has had a legion of devoted – and sometimes frustrated – fans following along on Ted, Robyn, Barney, Marshall, and Lily's journeys since 2005.

It's hard to talk about the show as a whole without referencing how mediocre this final season has been, with several VERY high quality episodes surrounded by so much filler, almost to the point where it was taking away from people's anticipation of the finale. What saves the season was the casting of Cristin Milioti as the Mother; she's been amazing from the start and the episode focused on her backstory was perhaps the best of the season. Her being able to embody the woman we always wanted Ted to end up with is what made the meandering these last few months tolerable.

I come to praise Ted, not to bury him; Ted Mosby is frequently referred to on the internet as one of the most annoying characters in sitcom history and to me that is a) high praise and b) another way of saying one of the most real characters in sitcom history. Let's face it, we all are at least a little annoying, and we all have our obsessions and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are, and Josh Radnor's portrayal of Ted over the years has not in any way shied away from fully embracing that, with no shading towards making Ted more likeable and always striving to make him like more someone you recognize. We've all made LOTS of bad relationship decisions – both in terms of who to have relationships with as well as what actions we do or don't take while in those relationships – and I would submit that a large chunk of those who find Ted to be in any way irritating are perhaps subconsciously reminded of some of the bad calls they have made in their lives.

I have enjoyed Marshall and Lily, loved seeing Robyn and Barney grow into folks who were perfect for each other, and been incredibly impressed at the litany of recurring characters and plot threads the writers were able to juggle, rewarding long time viewers with call backs to things from seasons past. The last five minutes of the episode from two weeks ago, with Ted running through what had/would become of many of them was almost payoff enough for sticking with the show even when things dragged.

ALMOST payoff enough. After just under nine full seasons, the fans deserve a strong sendoff on Monday night, one worthy of the time invested. I do not put much stock in the idea that Mother is dying and/or dead, and while it wouldn't be shocking if one of the leads has passed away in the future – I mean, we ALL are going to pass away in the future, I would be surprised if they went that route, too. The internet theory that Ted has Alzheimer's, which is why he is telling his kids these stories now, before he forgets, is the one I find most plausible, but I am still not fully convinced we aren't going to get a full on happy ending.

I have no regrets about the nine seasons I've spent watching How I Met Your Mother as it has made me laugh and boosted my spirits on too many occasions to count, and I've fully invested in these characters in a way that I have few other sitcoms. I think the highest praise I can give the show is that it made me cry more than any other comedy I've ever watched, and it earned each and every one of those tears. Farewell gang at MacLaren's.

I Leave My Heart Open But It Stays Right Here Empty For Days
Some stories from the week not worthy of their own items but too big for the notes section…

* I was already sold on the Amazon pilot Hand of God, where Ron Perlman plays a judge who lives life to the fullest, including drugs, alcohol, and a high priced mistress, but who starts to believe he is hearing the voice of God speaking to him through his son, who is hospitalized and on a ventilator, but now that Garret Dillahunt has been cast as one of the other leads, I am chomping at the bit to get a look. Ben Watkins (Burn Notice) wrote the script, with Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, World War Z, The Kite Runner, Monster's Ball) directing…

* A new season of Last Comic Standing will premiere on NBC on May 22nd, with JB Smoove hosting and a judges' panel of Rosanne Barr, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Russell Peters. The 13 episode 8th season of the reality competition series is promising new twists and changes to the format. The show will air a two hour premiere that first night a 9pm before settling into a Thursdays at 10pm home.

*HBO is in talks with the creators/executive producers of The Comeback about a return to the airwaves, likely in the form of a mini-series. The show's only season ran for 13 episodes in 2005 and earned three Emmy nominations and a strong cult following.

*Fox has released spring/summer premiere dates (series premieres marked with an "*"...

Fri, 4/11 - Kitchen Nightmares

Tue, 5/13 - Riot*

Mon, 5/19 - Masterchef

Thu, 5/22 - Gang Related*

Tue, 5/27 - I Wanna Marry Harry*

Wed, 5/28 - So You Think You Can Dance

Mon, 7/21 - Hotel Hell

This schedule does not include Enlisted, with no return date set, meaning this Friday's episode may be the last one we ever see. Also worth noting is just how terrible an idea I Wanna Marry Harry is, a reality series where 12 single American women are brought to a palatial estate in Berkshire, England and led to believe they are competing to marry Prince Harry. The person they are actually trying to win over is Harry lookalike (and commoner) Matthew Hicks, who has been given a makeover to fit the part. Ryan Seacrest is executive producing.

*USA has picked up 10 episode first seasons of two new medical dramas...

-Complications stars TTTP fave Jason O'Mara (Terra Nova, Life on Mars) as a cynical ER doctor whose life is changed after he gets involved in a drive-by shooting, saving the life of the victim and killing one of the attackers. The show is created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice, The Good Guys), who also had The Comedians picked up by FX last week.

-Rush stars Welch actor Tom Ellis as a concierge Doctor who will treat anyone, anywhere, if they can pay his price. Jonathan Levine, whose big screen resume includes 50/50 and Warm Bodies, is writing/executive producing (and he directed the pilot, too).

Like A Coin In Your Mint, I'm Dented And I'm Spent With High Treason
Pilot season is here and as such warrants its own section…
SEVEN time Emmy winner Tracy Ullman has been cast as the therapist James Roday and his to-be-cast wife start seeing in CBS' Good Session...Mena Suvari signed on for the lead in Hysteria, an Amazon pilot from Shaun Cassidy (Invasion, American Gothic)...Three time Emmy winner Patricia Witig (Thirtysomething) is on board of The CW's Identity, where a young woman gets a lifesaving transplant from a just discovered half-brother only to be asked by the CIA to spy on her new found family...Alfre Woodard will play the President of the United States in NBC's State of Affairs, which if picked up would be Katherine Heigl's first series since Grey's Anatomy...Lindsay Sloane is the latest to join the cast of CBS' remake of The Odd Couple... Fox is thrilled to have landed British writer-actor Nick Frost to star opposite Justin Long in their comedy pilot Sober Companion; Frost, in his first American TV role, will play an alcoholic attorney who is sentenced to have Long's eccentric character become his sober companion (and take over his life). The show is from David S. Rosenthal (The Middle, Gilmore Girls, Spin City) and Jennie Snyder Urman (Emily Owens MD, Men in Trees, Gilmore Girls, Lipstick Jungle)…

It's Time To Play The Music, It's Time To Light The Lights
The Muppets 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…

CBS' coverage of the NCAA's won the night in totals and demos...Community was up 28% in total viewers along with a modest demo increase...OUAT in Wonderland was up 19% in viewers while somehow matching last week's series demo low...Grey's Anatomy and Scandal were both up a bit, the latter being the top scripted demo performer of the night...Reign was up 10% in total viewers and 40% in the demos...Parenthood was up a bit in total viewers and matched last week's demos...For the second night in a row American Idol established a new all-time demo low, down 13% from Wednesday (and from last Thursday)...

Who's Line is it Anyway? returned up from its season finale, topping Rake in the 8pm demos and giving The CW its best numbers in that day/timeslot since May 2011...Shark Tank won the night in the demos while also enjoying its second largest total viewers numbers ever...Hart of Dixie was up 19% in total viewers and a small amount in the demos from its last Monday night airing...Grimm was down a smidge while Hannibal matched last week...

A solid season finale ratings wise for Girls, up 6% from last season's sign off. It was down a bit from the series high that was the season 3 premiere, but that also had True Detective as a lead-in... American Dream Builders was DOA, ranking last on the night in the demos among the big four...Believe was down 20% and is now down 50% from its premiere...Crisis also dropped 20%...Resurrection was down 19% but still won the night in total viewers and demos (among the broadcast networks)...The Good Wife was up 15% while The Mentalist dropped 8% (numbers may be adjusted due to NCAA overrun)...Family Guy put up the second best demos on the night...Revenge won 10pm in the demos...

HIMYM was up 17% from last week to win the scripted demo title for the night (as they have done for roughly two months now)...The rest of CBS' lineup was up modestly in the demos...DWTS was the most watched show of the night with 14+ million viewers, down 7% in that measure and 15% in the demos from last week's premiere...The Voice won the night in the demos...The Blacklist was up, once again winning 10pm in totals and demos...The Following tied last week's series low...Bones matched last week...The Tomorrow People took a big tumble from last week's move to Monday night, down 30% in total viewers and 25% in the demos...

NCIS was the most watched show of the night, up a bit in both total viewers and demos...NCIS: LA won 9pm in totals and demos...Person of Interest took advantage of less competition than usual to win 10pm in totals and demos, up double digits in both...Brooklyn Nine-Nine was up a smidge in the demos for its season finale...Glee matched last week...The Voice won the night in the demos...Supernatural was up 13% in total viewers...About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher were each down a small amount in viewers and in the demos but both handily beat their comedy competition for the hour...Mind Games was down 20% in viewers and 14% in the demos and is now clearly just playing out the string...

Arrow was up 12% but The 100 dropped 22% from last week's premiere numbers...For the second week in a row - and just the second week ever - Survivor topped American Idol in the demos, the latter winning 8pm in that measure as well as in total viewers. It was a season/cycle high in total viewers for the long running CBS reality competition series…Modern Family won the demo crown for the night...CSI was a rerun but still was the most watched show at 10pm, tying Nashville for the demo win...Mixology was up 42% from last week when it had a full block of reruns as its lead-in...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Amy Acker (Person of Interest, Angel) will guest star on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season as...spoiler alert...Agent Coulson's ex-girlfriend, the cello player who has been referenced multiple times this season. Her character- Audrey - believes Coulson to be dead because that belief keeps her safe…Ryan Murphy used to Twitter to announce that the new season of American Horror Story would be titled American Horror Story: Freak Show, which seems to confirm the reports from a couple of weeks back that the season would be focused on a carnival…Paul Guilfoyle, who has played Captain Jim Brass on CSI since it began 14 seasons ago, will be written out of the show this May. Brass is one of two remaining characters from the pilot and has appeared in 312 of the 313 episode of the CBS procedural that have aired. This was a decision made by producers, not something that Guilfoyle asked for. His final appearances will be in the May season finale…ABC has ordered a six episode season of The Bachelor in Paradise, where alums from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette travel to tropical location and renew their search for love (so it's a spin on their previous series Bachelor Pad). The log line for the series says, "The romantic dating series will feature new twists, shocking surprises, unexpected guests and some of the most unlikely relationships in Bachelor history, plus all the usual romance, drama and tears we've come to expect from the Bachelor franchise. It all comes together in the romantic television event of the summer." The show will run in late summer, after The Bachelorette finishes up its season…CMT has picked up a second season of Party Down South, set to premiere June 5th. Season one was the network's highest rated original series ever…Spike has ordered a 20 episode fourth season of Bar Rescue…WE tv has picked up a 26 episode fourth season of Braxton Family Values along with a 10 episode second season of SWV Reunited… A&E has pulled the Mark Wahlberg executive produced Breaking Boston after just one airing as last Thursday's series premiere drew just over 300,000 viewers; as a point of reference, season one of Wahlburgers averaged 3.5 million viewers…Those Who Kill, pulled by A&E after just two very low rated episodes last month, will begin airing on LMN (Lifetime Movie Network) on Sundays at 10pm starting this week. The two episodes that ran on A&E will air at 8 & 9pm leading into the new episode. When it was pulled from the air the network said they planned on bringing it back with a new marketing campaign but this move seems to say they are simply going to burn off the episodes and move on, as evidenced by the announcement coming on the show's FB page as opposed to any sort of press release…Morgan Spurlock will host and executive produced Seven Deadly Sins, a seven (DUH) part documentary series for Showtime that takes a darkly comedic look at lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Said Spurlock, "For years, I've wanted to do an Alfred Hitchcock Presents-style show comprised completely of nonfiction stories, a series just as dark and twisted as anything fiction could imagine, and now I'm thrilled to have that dream come true with Seven Deadly Sins." The series debuts on June 19th…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
The best thing I've watched this week…
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon continues to churn out buzz worthy videos…

And then this happened on Friday night…

I'd say you have to have seen Footloose to fully appreciate the genius of that clip but come on, who hasn't seen Footloose?!?!?

The reason why Fallon's segments are working so well are a) they are funny/entertaining in their own right and b) they never seem to be trying to create a viral video (ahem, Jimmy Kimmel), they just do their thing and put it out there and folks either jump on board or they don't.

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…I recently did a six episode marathon of The Mindy Project and now that I am fully caught up I can say this season is very funny, improving on last season while still maintaining an almost madcap energy to the various shenanigans. Adam Pally has been fantastic and they are using the various supporting characters with much better balance. I am interested to see where they take Mindy and Danny at this early stage in the show (too early to make them a couple, most likely) and I love the chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina (one of TV's most underrated actors)… The Walking Dead's Glenn and Maggie rank very high on my list of current TV couples. I know their circumstances make the obstacles other couples face look like nothing but those high stakes aren't the only reason why they work so well, and I am rooting for them as much as I am any other duo on the small screen right now, despite knowing that the overall tone/theme of the show does not bode well for any sort of long term relationship success…Tell the truth, when you were watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager, did Shailene Woodley's performance as Amy give you ANY clue that she'd become such an in-demand actress, working in both critically acclaimed indie movies as well as headlining an action franchise?!?!?... We're a few weeks into Seth Myers run on Late Night and the best part of the show continues to be the post monologue sit-down at his desk, after he does he running bit with Fred Armisen but before they launch into any sketches. Myers talking to the audience about his life is funny in a way that I get why he was a finalist to be Kelly Ripa's co-host on Live; the opening "host chat" is that show's most important segment and it's clear Myers would have excelled in that format…There is no doubt that the world is a happier, better place when there are new episodes of Who's Line is it Anyway? on the air…Another week, another Saturday morning post where I praise a strong episode of Grey's Anatomy and profess my love for their recent obsession with 80's covers. Sam Smith's version of How Will I Know was a huge standout. Kevin McKidd will never win an award for his work as Owen but it's one of the most natural, non-actor-y performances on network TV… Last Thursday's Community wasn't as good as their original Dungeons & Dragons episode, nor was it a laugh-out-loud affair, but it was a testament to the writing staff, with a script that ran circles around 99.9% of comedies on TV in terms of complexity, detail, and nailing its characters perfectly… A strong season finale from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, demonstrating how far they've come in just one season, from a moderately funny show with a great cast to one of the best comedies on TV. Can we get a whole season of trips to the thrift store? PLEASE?!?!?... It was obviously not the most uplifting of episodes but the writing on last night's New Girl was fantastic; the dialogue between Nick and Jess was both on point and in character and made the conclusions the two reached understandable. Great work by Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel…I have to give the Psych series finale pretty damn close to an A+, with some great comedy, a couple of fantastic cameos, and enough emotion to make me dab my eyes once or twice. Really great stuff…Modern Family was high quality farce this weekend, with a wonderful domino of miscommunications leading to wonderful comedy. I was thrilled to meet Rebarka and then even more so to see Gloria in the maid's outfit…

TV Pick Of The Week
This has been an interesting season for The Walking Dead, especially the second batch of episodes, as the characters have started to come together, literally and figuratively, after time apart. The tensest show on TV found a way to get even more so by adding in some new blood to the mix, testing the loyalties of the characters we've come to know the last few years.

TWD does season finales right – can't think of one that didn't keep me on the edge of my seat (actually, sometimes they get me up and pacing the living room) – so I am sure Sunday's hour will be an exhausting viewing experience, and I mean that as the highest of praise.

Don't miss the season finale of The Walking Dead, Sunday at 9pm on AMC.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy programming from the coming week…

*Cinemax is airing The Godfather Trilogy on Saturday night at 7pm.

*CBS' new comedy Friends With Better Lives is getting the prime post-HIMYM series finale slot, guaranteeing a good number of viewers will check it out…

*MTV's House of Food (Monday, 10pm) is best summed up as Real World: Chef's Edition

*Inside Amy Schumer, one of the funniest new shows of 2013, is back Tuesday at 10:30pm for a second season…

*Triptank (Wednesday, 10:30pm) is Comedy Central's newest sketch comedy show, this one animated…

Two Tivos To Paradise
@Midnight, About A Boy, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Beat Bobby Flay, Archer, Arrow, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Bakery Boss, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Bitten, The Blacklist, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Burger Land, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Counting Cars, The Crazy Ones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Cutthroat Kitchen, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dancing with the Stars, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Enlisted, Face Off, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Flipping Out, Food Court Wars, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Mine, Glee, Graceland, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Growing Up Fisher, Haunted Collector, Haunted Highway, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii Five-0, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Seth Myers, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The League, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, MasterChef, MasterChef: Junior, Masters of Sex, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, New Girl, Next Iron Chef, The Originals, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Project Runway, Project Runway All-Stars, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook Off, Raising Hope, Ray Donovan, Real Time With Bill Maher, Rectify, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Royal Pains, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, Trophy Wife, True Detective, 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 in 7 days with all the latest TV news!

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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