Aug 282012

On Tuesday, August 27 Fox made two pilot episodes from their fall comedy lineup available to wider audience via online services, like Hulu. While this new trend of testing the market before broadcast is getting ever more popular among major networks, FOX pulled new record by jumping almost entire month ahead, as both shows were scheduled to première on September 25.

"The Mindy Project" Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahir in “The Mindy Project”

First of the two was “The Mindy Project”. As the working title turned final cut suggests, the focus of the show is one Mindy (Lahiri), played by Mindy (Kaling – from “The Office”), thus joining short list of comedy shows this year where main character is named after portraying actor (e.g. Charlie as Charlie in “Anger Management”) as if to avoid confusing the leading actor too much with being “in character”. Mindy, (the fictional one, of “The Mindy Project”) is a twenty something, freshly made M.D. of obstetrics and gynaecology  stomping through life in Bridget’s (Jones, of the “Bridget Jones Diary”) shoes of an aspirated, driven, self sufficient single lady but with the finesse and dating habits of Carrie (Bradshaw, of the “Sex and The City” fame) and fierce bravery of Ally (McBeal, from “Ally” the show, naturally). The premise is uncomplicated, the cast is studded with doctors resembling male models and the supporting cast is full of equally pretty faces. They even dragged in Mindy’s colleague from “The Office” for a guest appearance. What could possibly fail? Well… how about the lead for starters…

Continue reading »FOX new comedy pilots “Ben & Kate”… «

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Aug 232012

Short list of the most interesting film titles on release in cinemas this September. As usual the choice is purely subjective, just my selection of flicks to take your mates and dates to. Most titles will be in nationwide distribution across US and will be available in most English speaking countries, although as you can see by some entries below – if a movie is in limited distribution but gives the right vibe – it ends up on the page anyway. As usual, if you have any notes or suggestions, please do not hesitate to submit them via comments feature at the bottom of the page. Type away. I do not byte.


Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana in "The Words"

Writers block. Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana in “The Words”

The Words

Plot: A writer at the peak of his literary success, discovers the price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.

Why watch: Beautiful cast, interesting premise.

Genre: Drama

Production: USA

Director:  Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal

Script:  Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde,  Ben Barnes, J.K. Simmons

United States Cinemas: Friday September 7 2012

New Zealand Cinemas:  Thursday 8th November 2012

No details of international distribution. Fix it CBS Films or the rest of the world will watch it online.


Continue reading »Cinema movies to see in September 2012 «

 Posted by at 00:06
Aug 212012
MTV's "The Inbetweeners" (US)

“…dude, we look nothing like The Inbetweeners”

When US networks remake British TV series, especially cult comedy shows, we can always expect steady stream of outrage and anger from domains. It was no different with “The Inbetweeners”. After MTV revealed first trailer promoting the US remake, the official YouTube channel was flooded with “thumbs down” ratings that would put Rebecca Black’s musical productions to shame. But in all honesty – transplanting good British scripts with good cast across the ocean more often than not – actually does work. During first season Ricky Gervais’ “The Office” replanted onto US soil was nearly word for word copy of the British original. Although American version at first visibly lacked Mackenzie Crook’s caricature Gareth and Martin Freeman’s heart warming Tim, thanks to brilliant cast it quickly outgrew the old script and found its own direction by simply focusing on character building. In matter of weeks we stopped comparing it to old show and seamlessly accepted the crew of Scranton office led by Michael Scott (arguably much easier to relate to and funnier to watch than Ricky’s own David Brent). The same can be said about Shameless. Where British original was held together by top cast for the first two short seasons and then quickly and abruptly plunged downhill, the moment writers across Atlantic took over from the imported story line in American version, Shameless US continued to grow and entertain for all the right reasons.

MTV had no such luck however. Their attempt to americanize “Skins” failed miserably, despite word for word and scene for scene transposition of the UK script. The casting choices were questionable, tweaked characters did not work together, delivery was set to shock rather than interest and eventually after 10 slow episodes the show hit the can. It felt like show runners did not understand the idea at all.

Continue reading »The Inbetweeners US – pilot review «

 Posted by at 07:36
Aug 202012
R.I.P. Tony Scott

Anthony David Scott (1944-2012)

Tony Scott, British movie director of (among other titles) “Top Gun”, “Days Of Thunder”, “Crimson Tide” and  “Enemy of the State” and brother of film maker Ridley Scott, has passed away in Los Angeles on August 19.  Scott, who was 68, is survived by wife and their teenage twin sons.

 Posted by at 03:35
Aug 192012

The process of selling American TV series to foreign networks, similar to mechanisms behind cancellations and renewals within US networks, is full of oddities and decisions beyond comprehension of viewers like you and me. Sometimes it looks like failure of some titles to break outside of US might be due to very poor distributor or underwhelming performance from sales team. Lifetime or Starz – for example – have extremely bad luck selling anything in UK, with barely any titles filtering through for years now. Other series seem to attract bids from “mickey mouse” fringe networks without long-term commitment guarantees or any kind of viewership that would warrant handing over broadcast rights. In both cases, it’s the viewers that suffer. We live in digital age, if viewers can not find interesting titles on their screens, they reach for alternative means, and end up watching grey zone downloads, from which there is rarely any point of return. So – distributors – do you freaking job, and UK networks, stop screwing around. Below is a list of last season titles  that are either unknown in Britain or UK viewers can not find them on their silver screens anymore:

Ashley Judd and Sean Bean in ABC's "Missing"

“…well, one doesn’t simply get on air in Mordor”

5. “Missing”

When ABC announced action packed TV series with Ashley Judd, pre-emptive acquisitions around the world started almost immediately. 10 episodes of the high budget, big names show about retired CIA operative chasing kidnappers of her only son across several continents and countries aired in US between March and May 2012, and almost immediately the show was syndicated across 24 countries worldwide, from Russia, through Philippines all the way to Brazil. But when in May 2012, after leaving the plot open-ended for season two, ABC heavy handedly chopped “Missing” together with “Pan Am”, “The River” and few other high budget titles from its schedule, taught by the previous expensive lessons, UK networks hit the brakes and the show never found a home on British Isles. “Missing” was not my cup of tea, I felt it was too “nineties” and over the top, but there is no denying that it is well put together, well casted and solid family/teenage entertainment. It is a shame it was not shown in UK. It is even bigger shame season two was cancelled.


Continue reading »Top five US TV shows not airing… «

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Aug 152012

In addition to our still updated list of brand new TV shows for this season below is the shorter to read list of brand new TV show titles scheduled to première on US networks in September 2012.


September 3,  Monday AE 9/8c “Coma” Two part mini series about hospital doctor investigating unusually high number of deaths among patients who previously shown no signs of terminal diseases. Based on novel by Robin Cook and movie by Michael Crichton. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott produce. Cast: Steven Pasquale, Geena Davis, James Woods, Ellen Burstyn and Richard Dreyfuss

Matthew Perry in NBC's "Go On"

“Did you just call me Chandler?” Matthew Perry is Ryan King in NBC’s “Go On”

September 11, Tuesday (I genuinely think those will be rescheduled to September 18, I’m not sure if America is ready for comedy premieres on 9/11 anniversaries yet).

NBC 9:00/8:00c “Go On” Recently sampled TV show about radio talk show host joining a therapy group after personal loss. From  writer/producer of “Friends” Scott Silveri. Cast: Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Allison Miller. Read pilot review.

NBC 9:30/8:30c “The New Normal” New comedy show about surrogate mother to a gay couple. Cast: Andrew Rannells, Ellen Barkin, Justin Bartha, Georgia King, Bebe Wood.



Continue reading »TV show premieres scheduled for September 2012 «

 Posted by at 00:05
Aug 142012
The Cast of NBC "Animal Practice"

“… I don’t understand, it seemed funny during table reading?”

As part of their Olympic previews, on Sunday NBC broadcasted pilot episode of “Animal Practice” – a short form “broad audience” comedy prepared for Wednesday 8pm slot. The premise and setup are simple – bunch of doctors and nurses in veterinarian clinic is joined by new owner, who shares romantic past with main doctor. For added laughs the clinic is visited by patients in need of special care – be it – suicidal cats or dogs with owners that are willing to pay to put them down behind their daughters back. As you can see the bar is not exactly set very high.

“Animal Practice” was picked up to series in May 2012, and in the same time Irish actress Amy Huberman who played female lead role in the original pitch pilot was replaced by Joanna Garcia-Swisher (“Reba”, “Privileged”). Joining Joanna Garcia is “Weeds” regular Justin Kirk as a capable vet and keen women psyche observer Dr George Coleman, sidekicked by a team of most intolerable and lame animal clinic staff in northern hemisphere. You know the show is in trouble when capuchin – Crystal The Monkey (“Night At The Museum”, “The Hangover II”) is the least annoying and, most of the time, best actor out of the lot. Continue reading »NBC’s “Animal Practice” pilot review «

 Posted by at 01:44
Aug 092012
Perry Laura Benanti and Matthew Perry in NBC's "Go On"

“…seriously? We were given the same time slot as “New Girl” and “Happy Endings”?”

After the final curtain at iconic show “Friends” Matthew Perry had not much luck on silver screen. Nothing was wrong with any of the scripts he picked. Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” was good and smart, with brilliant cast and solid story lines, but barely survived just one season. “Mr. Sunshine”, which Perry co-created with Marc Firek and Alex Barnow was not bad either, but between super badly picked title and niche quirkiness of the premise it failed to capture wider audience and sunk with 4 out of 13 episodes unaired. This year Perry comes back to the roots and stars as lead in NBC’s comedy “Go On”, a show created by “Friends” writer Scott Silveri. Silveri had his fair share of silver screen bad luck himself. Having co-created one stinker of a “Friends” spin-off show based on Matt LeBlanc’s character Joey Tribbiani he then tried the  3 girls vs 3 boys carbon copy setup with short-lived “Perfect Couples”  which failed after 11 episodes despite what seemed like unsinkable and well selected cast.


In “Go On” Silveri sends Matthew Perry into slightly different direction. A sports radio show host who recently lost his wife to unfortunate road accident tries to move on with his life by jumping back into what he loves the most – his  work. Suspected of being in state of denial he is forced by overprotective boss to attend mandatory sessions with “life transitions” support group before he can return back to studio. The addition of an up beat character ends up having profound therapeutic impact on the group. And eventually seemingly random life events also convince the protagonist himself that remaining within the group beyond minimum requirement set by his workplace, actually does help him to move on as well. Continue reading »Matthew Perry’s “Go On” – pilot review «

 Posted by at 17:32
Aug 012012
Sacrificial Engineer in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus"

“..hey guys, this black goo thing seems to be doing different things every time, how do you know my hair will grow back if I drink it?”

Not really a surprise to anyone who saw the movie, but last week Twentieth Century Fox has officially confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter  that the studio is going ahead with “Prometheus” sequel. And this time around most of the pieces of the puzzle seem to be in the right place – Ridley Scott is actively developing the follow-up, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace are already contracted to return. But most importantly, the article hinted that “new writers are being approached for this next installment because Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof may not be available.” So there we have it – here is to the hope that the studio will absolutely make sure Lindelof is otherwise engaged and the man responsible for turning the plot of an absolute visual masterpiece into complete drivel has nothing to do with Alien adjacent universe ever again. I’ll drink to that!

I’m rather happy Fassbender is returning in the sequel as the Peter O’Toole admiring artificial intelligence, although the cheeky part of me still wants to ask – if you had any say in what the sequel was about – what would you rather want Vickers miraculously survive the whole comical croissant straight line outrun attempt, and now face Deacon on LV-426 in a classic female protagonist vs evil  xenomorph alone-in-enclosed-spaces horror slasher, or would you rather spend three hours following Dr. Shaw with droid’s head in a bag sobbing every few minutes in all distant  corners of the universe while looking for opportunity to ask Mala’kaks her eternal vagina monologues question – “why do you hate me?”)

 Posted by at 21:21