Two Tivos To Paradise 05.30.14: The Flash, Community, Constantine, Louie, More
Posted by Al Norton on 05.30.2014
News and thoughts on the pilots for The Flash & Constantine, a potential new life for Community, Daredevil casting its titular superhero, the greatness of Louie and more!
Hello friends; what's good? This was a pretty great week for me as I had the biggest closing of my real estate career – I took home more than I made in 1991 at my first full time job – and while I fully believe money is not the end all, be all, I also soaked up all joy that comes with getting a deposit slip at the ATM with a big number on it; money doesn't buy happiness but it can certainly keep large amounts of stress and tension at bay.
Fox finally gives us a look at their new fall drama Red Band Society…
Season two of Showtime's Masters of Sex is not that far away…
How am I going be an optimist about news?
I Was Born In A Crossfire Hurricane, And I Howled At My Ma In The Driving Rain
My long holiday weekend got off to a great start last Friday when the fall pilots for NBC and The CW were delivered to my desk, meaning I got to watch both The Flash and Constantine. The deal with the pilots is the networks expressly state they are not for review purposes (sometimes they make editing changes, sometimes they recast roles) but they certainly don't mind when we have nice things to say...
The Flash was pure, unadulterated fun, an hour that went by fast (HA!) and established characters and story going forward. What set it apart from Arrow is a lighter tone; Arrow may have a sense of humor but the reason that shines through is that overall dark tone of the show, whereas Flash as a touch of mischievousness that goes a long way towards making it stand out while not skimping on those goose bump moments for longtime fans. Grant Gustin is a flat out star and will likely be the most in-demand magazine cover boy of the summer/fall, and the rest of the cast is solid (anytime Jesse L Martin gets on my TV screen I am happy). Can they do credible "villains of the week" while also balancing the long story arcs is a question we won't know the answer to until the fall/winter but for now, I'm sold.
My worry going into Constantine is that I have grown tired of "the fate of the world" as a plot device but the show is brimming with authenticity, meaning the story and the stakes are easy to buy into, as is the undeniable charisma of the lead character. There is no trying too hard here, just a good story that leaves you ready for the next episode (or six).
Gonna Take A Freight Train, Down At The Station, Lord, I Don't Care Where It Goes
The final numbers for the 2013-2014 TV season are in so let's take a look…
The Top 15 Shows, 18-49 Demos (i.e. the only numbers advertisers/networks care about)
1 - Sunday Night Football (NBC), 2 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3 - The Voice, Mondays (NBC), 4 - Modern Family (ABC), 5 - Grey's Anatomy (ABC), 6 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 7 - The Blacklist (NBC), 8 - Scandal (ABC), 9 - The Voice, Tuesdays (NBC), 10 - Resurrection (ABC), 11 - NCIS (CBS), 12 - Once Upon a Time (ABC), 13 - American Idol, Wednesdays (Fox), 14 - Criminal Minds (CBS), 15 - Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
The Top 15 Shows, Total Viewers
1 - Sunday Night Football (NBC), 2 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3 - NCIS (CBS), 4 - NCIS: LA (CBS), 5 - Dancing with the Stars, 6 - The Blacklist (NBC), 7 - The Voice, Mondays (NBC), 8 - Person of Interest (CBS), 9 - The Voice, Tuesdays (NBC), 10 - Blue Bloods (CBS), 11 - Resurrection (ABC), 12 - Criminal Minds (CBS), 13 - Castle (ABC), 14 - 60 Minutes (CBS), 15 - Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
The Top 15 Comedies, 18-49 Demos
1 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 2 - Modern Family (ABC), 3 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 4 - Family Guy (Fox), 5 - 2 Broke Girls (CBS), 6 - The Millers (CBS), 7 - Two and a Half Men (CBS), 8 - The Crazy Ones (CBS), 9 - Mike & Molly (CBS), 10 - The Simpsons (Fox) , 11 - American Dad! (Fox), 12 - New Girl (Fox), 13 - Mom (CBS), 14 - Bob's Burgers (Fox), 15 - About a Boy (NBC)
The Top 15 Comedies, Total Viewers
1 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 2 - Modern Family (ABC), 3 - The Millers (CBS), 4 - Two and a Half Men (CBS), 5 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 6 - The Crazy Ones (CBS), 7 - Mike & Molly (CBS), 8 - 2 Broke Girls (CBS), 9 - Mom (CBS), 10 - The Middle (ABC), 11 - About a Boy (NBC), 12 - Growing Up Fisher (NBC) ,13 - Back in the Game (ABC), 14 - Bad Teacher (CBS), 15 - We Are Men (CBS)
The Top 15 Dramas, 18-49 Demos
1 - Grey's Anatomy (ABC), 2 -The Blacklist (NBC), 3 - Scandal (ABC), 4 - Resurrection (ABC), 5 - NCIS (CBS), 6 - Once Upon a Time (ABC), 7 - Criminal Minds (CBS), 8 - Sleepy Hollow (Fox), 9 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 10 - The Following (Fox), 11 - NCIS: LA (CBS), 12 - Chicago Fire (NBC), 13 - Castle (ABC), 14 - Almost Human (Fox), 15 - Elementary (CBS)
The Top 15 Dramas, Total Viewers
1 - NCIS (CBS), 2 - NCIS: LA (CBS), 3 - The Blacklist (NBC), 4 - Person of Interest (CBS), 5 - Blue Bloods (CBS), 6 - Resurrection (CBS), 7 - Criminal Minds (CBS), 8 - Castle (ABC), 9 - Grey's Anatomy (ABC), 10 - Scandal (ABC), 11 - CSI (CBS), 12 - Elementary (CBS), 13 - Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 14 - The Good Wife (CBS), 15 - The Mentalist (CBS)
And I'll Be Gone Gone Tonight, The Ground Beneath My Feed Is Open Wide
The stories this week that didn't deserve a full solo item but were too big to get stuck in the notes section...
*Deadline.com is reporting that Hulu is in talks with Sony Pictures TV about a 6th season of Community. The story stresses that the talk are preliminary but that both sides seem interested and that it's a good fit in that the show's first five seasons are already available via the streaming service.
*Big Daredevil news this week; first, Charlie Cox, who played Owen Slater on Boardwalk Empire, has been cast as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. He also starred opposite Claire Danes on the big screen in Stardust. Secondly, Drew Goddard will not be the showrunner because he will be directing the big screen Spider-Man spinoff movie Sinister Six, with Steven DeKnight coming in to be in charge of Daredevil; DeKnight's resume includes writing and producing on Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Smallville, and Spartacus.
* Danny McBride and Jody Hill, who together created Eastbound and Down, are re-teaming for Vice Principals, a new HBO comedy series that McBride will star in. The pay cable channel has given a straight-to-series 19 episode order to the show, focused on a group of Vice Principals working at a public high school, but it's unclear how they will break that down (two 9 episode seasons, three 6 episode seasons). The comedy is expected to premiere in 2015.
*FX has given an August 4th premiere date to Partners, their Kelsey Grammer - Martin Lawrence legal comedy that's on a 10/90 deal (10 episode initial order where ratings goals being met will trigger an automatic 90 episode pick up). The show will run two episodes on Mondays for its initial five week run. Robert Horn (Designing Women, Living Single) and Robert Boyett (Family Matters, Two of a Kind, Full House, Perfect Strangers, Bosom Buddies) are co-showrunners.
*Netflix is in talks for a TV series based on the cult favorite comedy Wet Hot American Summer. The 10 episode season would be a prequel to the movie, with the focus on the characters when they were in high school. The first twist is that adults would still play those high school characters and the second, even better twist is the plan is to use the same cast as the movie, namely Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Banks, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black. Much like Arrested Development's recent Netflix run, each episode would focus on a specific character, so the filming schedule for each actor would involve just a few days work (with some crossover between episodes).
*Quentin Tarantino told an audience at the Cannes Filmed Festival today that he has roughly 90 minutes worth of footage from his Oscar winning movie Django Unchained that he didn't include in the movie and that he is considering re-editing the project, saying, "My idea, frankly, is to cut together a four-hour version of Django Unchained… But I wouldn't show it like a four-hour movie. I would cut it up into hour chapters. Like a four-part miniseries. And show it on cable television. Show it like an hour at a time, each chapter. We'd use all the material I have and it wouldn't be an endurance test, it would be a miniseries. And people love those."
*TTTP fave Mark Pellegrino (Lost, The Closer, The Tomorrow People) will star in A&E's new drama series The Returned. Executive produced by Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and recently given a direct-to-series 10 episode first season order, the show is an adaptation of a French hit about a small town that is rocked when several dead residents show up at their old homes very much alive. If you can keep this straight, The Returned is based on a French show of the same name, which itself is based on the movie The Came Back, while ABC's Resurrection is based on the novel The Returned.
*Jennifer Saunders has confirmed she is in the process of writing the script for a big screen version of Absolutely Fabulous, telling the audience at a Welch film festival, "I am writing the film as we speak – it's in the pipeline." The cult fave comedy - Ab Fab, to its fans - ran for three seasons in the early 90's on BBC and has been revived for full seasons and specials multiple times since.
*Modern Family may be ABC's single biggest moneymaker but that doesn't mean everything is hunky dory when it comes to $$$; there is a contract dispute with Christopher Lloyd, the show's co-creator and co-showrunner that finds both sides quite far apart. Steve Levitan, the show's other co-creator/co-showrunner signed a four year extension several months back but Lloyd and the network appear to be at a stalemate of sorts. If you've ever noticed how Modern Family can seem very different week to week, it's because Lloyd is in charge of 12 episodes and Levitan the other 12, each with their own writing team. The pair's creative differences came to a head after season two and rather than one of them leaving a mega-hit series, they came up with the split custody plan.
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…
A rerun of The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos; among new programming, Last Comic Standing won the night in both, up from the previous season's finale but down from the previous premiere...Gang Related opened to low totals and demos...Hell's Kitchen was down double digits in totals and demos...Black Box was down 27% to a new series low...Bad Teacher dropped to series lows in total viewers and demos...
FRIDAY Hannibal was not only up 11% from last week, it was up 19% from last year's finale (last year aired against the NBA Finals but still, up is up and VERY few show's finales were up from last year)...ABC's What Would You Do? premiere was even with last season in the demos and up 20+% in total viewers...
The 1.4 million viewers who watched The Normal Heart on Sunday night made it the 5th most watched HBO original movie since 2010 (out of 17).
MONDAY The Bachelorette hit a series low in the demos...MasterChef returned down 25+% from both last season's premiere and finale...24 dropped to a new demo low for this return run...American Ninja Warrior was down from last year's opener but won the night in the demos...
TUESDAY America's Got Talent returned big, winning the night in totals and demos (up from last year's opened in the former and down ever-so-slightly in the latter)...That lead-in helped The Night Shift set a 16 week total viewer high for NBC in that day/timeslot, with demos that were down a bit (but not a ton) from Chicago Fire's season finale...Extreme Weigh Loss was up from last year's debut and that strong lead-in allowed Celebrity Wife Swap to hit a season high, up 30% from last week...I Wanna Marry Harry opened super soft last week and then dropped 37% in total viewers and 43% in the demos in week two to finish last on the night among new programming...Riot was up a smidge...
WEDNESDAY So You Think You Can Dance won the night in the demos, down 16% from last year's opener...A Criminal Minds rerun was the most watched show of the night...NBC News' Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden won 10pm in the demos...The 100 was up 16% in total viewers...Motive last week's premiere...
All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…TBS cancelled The Pete Holmes Show after two seasons… CBS has pulled Friends with Better Lives and Bad Teacher from their lineup, replacing them with reruns of Mom and The Millers. Each had multiple episodes left in their runs (Lives had 4, Teacher 8) that will likely never see the light of day…Supernatural has upped TTTP fave Mark Sheppard - Crowley - from recurring to full time cast member for the upcoming 10th (and final?) season... Season four of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee premiers on Crackle on June 19th, with guests including Aziz Ansari, Robert Klein, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jon Stewart, and George Wallace…Christian Borle (Smash) is the latest to sign on for the upcoming season of Showtime's Masters of Sex, joining Sarah Silverman, Keke Palmer, Betsy Brandt, Courtney B Vance, and Rene Auberjonois as new full and part time additions… Stacey Dash, best known for her roles in Clueless (the movie & the TV show), Single Ladies, and The Game, has signed on with Fox News in a deal that calls for her to "offer cultural analysis and commentary across daytime and primetime."… NBCSN is staying in the MMA business, extending their deal with World Series of Fighting through 2017. They will carry 14 live events this year, including the first ever MMA broadcast on NBC when World Series of Fighting 11: Gaethje vs. Newell airs on July 5th…
Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
The best of what's around aka The Best Thing I Watched Over The Last Seven Days…
I thought the long break between seasons of Louie might make my expectations too high but the truth is the show has returned better than ever, which is saying something because it already was the best comedy on TV. Understanding that I am perhaps engaging in hyperbole, with Louis C.K. writing, directing, and editing all the episodes, and his deal with FX saying the network has no input/control over what he does, I am confident there has never been a show in TV history that truly expresses the artistic vision of its creator more than Louie. It's really remarkable as a viewer to know that literally everything we see is exactly as C.K. wanted it. I am in awe of his talent.
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…Mike Heck is one of the most underrated Dads in TV history, and his stock as a husband spiked on in The Middle's season finale when he shared his plans to take Frankie to Paris (or at least Paris at Epcot Center)… Motive opened with a strong episode, a compelling case and a reminder that this homicide detective duo's real world smarts and genuine chemistry is just about the best in the business. I'll take Motive over any procedural not titled Major Crimes…I enjoyed the season premiere of Last Comic Standing, which gave many of the competitors longer auditions/more airtime than in previous seasons. The Voice's impact continues to be felt throughout reality programming as there was no one on the stage that didn't belong there (i.e. no wastes of time/entertaining for the wrong reasons folks) and the judges commentary was all very supportive/constructive. That's not a bad thing at all, and I am curious as to what other changes the show has in store (how they will handle eliminations in particular, will they still do the thing where comedians challenge each other - "I know I'm funnier than...")… While I wish they would not be so obvious in going for those "this contestant walked on stage and you'll never believe what happened next" moments that populate our Facebook news feeds, America's Got Talent returned last night with the high production values that have made it the # 1 show of the summer the last 8 years…. I was NOT happy about the decision to eliminate the audition rounds from the new season of MasterChef, which premiered last night. Yes, this means you can increase the number of folks who get aprons since you'll have roughly 4 more elimination episodes but those opening weeks were my favorite part of the show and the best of its kind the genre had to offer this side of The Voice. My eyes were dry while watching last night and that's most certainly not a good thing. Also, bringing people into the final 30 and then eliminating several before they got to finish their first dish just seemed mean, and worse, gimmicky. The other thing that was strange about the whole thing is that it wasn't acknowledged in any way; why not have the voice over include something along the lines of, "we're changing it up this season" so as not to have viewers sitting there wondering if they somehow missed the audition episodes… Not that the current season hadn't been quite good already but the last two hours of Mad Men, including last night's mid-season finale "Waterloo", have confirmed its spot in the "Best Shows on TV" conversation, with Sunday's mid-season finale being a wonderful mix of plot and character development, featuring the cast at the top of their games…The first episode of The Night Shift may have been a big ratings winner but it was an even bigger mess, with two-to-three episodes worth of plot stuffed into the hour that also seemed like it was trying to match a season's worth of ER's trauma in just the pilot alone; I think the point I started laughing out loud was when the show's version of Doug Ross performed a tracheotomy on a little boy trapped in a car while hanging upside down as a huge storm was about to hit. As far as any sort of realism goes, it makes the Chicago shows (Fire & PD) look like The Wire. Another big issue is that while the cast has a lot of recognizable faces, Eoin Macken has zero presence and/or charisma as Dr. TC Callahan, which make everyone's worship of him seem that much more ludicrous. I may watch again just to see how they try to top themselves…So very, very happy that So You Think You Can Dance is back, Wednesday's audition episode giving me everything I'd ever want from a reality show - real people, real talent, real emotion…Three things I took away from the first two episodes of Undateable, which premieres tonight; First, Brent "Lemonhead" Morin can really sing. Second, the show is terrible. Third, it's quite funny anyway. The opening segment to the pilot was particularly bad and it gets somewhat better from there but the truth is it's all very generic (and that is emphasized by the overbearing laugh track) but the cast finds ways to get laughs in spite of this. Oh, the fourth thing you should know, as if you didn't already; Ron Funches is far and away the best thing about the show…Wednesday's One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles was not only a great history lesson for those with an interest in standup comedy, it was also the funniest thing I've seen in a long time, with some of the most talented people in comedy taking the gloves off to honor a legend. Spike is re-airing it multiple times this weekend so do yourselves a favor and seek it out.
TV Pick Of The Week Longmire is one of the single most underrated shows on TV, perhaps the best procedural on right now and yet calling it that seems like I am doing the show a huge injustice because its character development and long term storytelling are light years ahead of what's going on in the genre across most of TV. It's not in that group of "Best Dramas on TV" but it's leading the pack of shows just a notch below.
Don't miss the season premiere of Longmire, Monday at 10pm on A&E.
Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy programming from the coming week…
*Crossbones premieres tonight at 10pm on NBC…
*ABC is trying to take advantage of the empty Saturday night TV landscape with some family entertainment; first the return of Bet on Your Baby at 8pm (I contend Bet Your Baby would be a MUCH more interesting show) followed by the series premiere of Sing Your Face Off at 9pm…
*The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony airs on HBO Saturday at 8pm. This is what DVR's were invented for, to fast forward to the good parts!
*The new season of Food Network Star begins Sunday at 9pm.
*AMC's really great looking new drama Halt and Catch Fire premieres Sunday at 10pm…
*The CW's new Famous in 12 (Tuesday, 8pm) is likely terrible but has a slim, outside shot to be an interesting commentary on our celebrity-obsessed culture…Oh, who am I kidding…
ABC's Mistresses - last summer's best new guilty pleasure - is back for season two on Monday at 10pm…
*Jennifer Falls (Wednesday, 10:30pm) is TVLand's newest original comedy…
Two Tivos To Paradise @Midnight, About A Boy, After the Catch, American Idol, America's Best Cook, Antiques Roadshow, Beat Bobby Flay, Archer, Arrow, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Bakery Boss, Bitten, The Blacklist, Boardwalk Empire, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 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, 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, 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, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, Penny Dreadful, Project Runway, Project Runway All-Stars, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook Off, 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, Supernatural, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, True Detective, Under the Gunn, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, 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.