Friday Linkspam

+ AMC Execs Attempt Some Damage Control on the Walking Dead Set

The behind the scenes brouhaha between the AMC execs and the shocked cast and crew of The Walking Dead is still unfolding, but it’s hard to imagine the wunderkind cable channel coming out of this without a few dints in its armor. Frank Darabont, on the other hand, is already shopping around a new show.

+ EW’s Exclusive Photo of Modern Family’s New Lily

I’m going to miss the stoic Hiller twins, but I’m sure Aubrey Anderson-Emmons will do her best to match their combined adorability quotient.

+ Vote in the Anglo Fan Favorite Favorite Quarter Finals

Why wasn’t I alerted of this sure to be historic poll sooner? I’m not going to be able to rest now until David Tennant rules them all…it’s possible I’ve been reading way too much GRRM lately.

+In Plain Sight Picked Up For Final Season

There was a flurry of cancellations announced this week, including IPS, which will bow out after five seasons next year. Eureka will go dark in 2012 and those Wisteria Lane ladies can finally move off that accursed block at the end of season eight.

+Psych Returns to USA on Oct. 12

And original flavor Buffy is guest starring in an episode this year! See it’s not all bad news today.

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Something Good To Watch: Warehouse 13

Show: Warehouse 13; created by Jane Espenson and D. Brent Mote
Time Commitment: Two back seasons, plus a third season currently airing (30 hour-long episodes at present)
Who’s Going To Like It: Fangirls looking for lady-positive sci-fi and the fanboys who are smart enough to do the same. People who still love cheesy ‘80s shows. Your friend who can’t wait for Halloween to break out his Indiana Jones costume.
What it’s about: Two Secret Service Agents, a curmudgeonly, but lovable Warehouse caretaker, and a tech savvy super hacker retrieve powerful artifacts that once belonged to historical and/or mythological figures and store them in “America’s Attic”— Warehouse 13.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Let’s get this is out of the way first, Warehouse 13 is the television equivalent of popcorn. It’s fun and crunchy, but at the end of the day you’re still going to be craving some steak. But that shouldn’t deter you from watching the series. It may be disposable television, but it’s important disposable television.

Warehouse 13 passes the Bechdel Test nearly every week without breaking a sweat. At last count it featured five strong female characters on a semi-regular basis (as opposed to three males), all of them well-rounded, and most of them holding a position of power. Two of those characters are women of color.

Even more impressive is the diversity in their personalities, the way the characters are at once traditionally feminine and subverting our expectations of femininity. Myka is both an avid reader and a skilled fighter, and she’s usually the lead agent when she’s in the field with her partner, Pete. Claudia is a super hacker (and fan favorite). Leena is a loving, aura-reading B&B owner. Mrs. Frederic, a slightly terrifying, but ultimately caring, boss with a mysterious past. HG (yes, they made HG Wells a woman) is perhaps the most captivating of them all, as she skillfully straddles the line between brilliant super villain and a mother mourning the loss of her child. Each of them is fully realized, none of them are defined by their love lives. It’s so refreshing, some days I could almost weep from happiness.

That’s not to sell the male characters short. Pete is a sweet-natured goofball with his very own spidey sense and Artie is possibly the show’s best character and he’s a chubby fifty-something who’s more brain than brawn. This season they added a new agent, Steve Jinks, who recently revealed that he’s gay. Like the other characters, he’s not defined by his sexuality; it’s merely a part of him. Just like his infinitely cool lie detecting skills. This level of diversity in a show with such a tiny cast (and a genre show at that) is as unheard of as it is refreshing.

But what keeps me coming back to Warehouse 13 is the team dynamic and the endlessly fun steampunk sensibility woven in the premise. The characters are a family—a weird, dorky family that spends their days chasing after Lewis Carroll’s looking glass and Richard Nixon’s shoes. The quirk level is off the charts, but like all of my favorite shows, it has a huge heart.
Standout Episode: 1×08 “Duped” is one of my personal favorites for the awesome use of the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit” in the climatic final scene, but 3×05 “3…2…1” was a terrific, time-hopping outing that hinted at the depth Warehouse 13 is capable of achieving when the mood strikes.
Where To Watch It: The new season airs Mondays on SyFy at 9:00 PM EST. You can catch up on season 3 at Hulu. Seasons 1 and 2 are available from Netflix and Amazon.

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Oy With the Poodles: Amy Sherman-Palladino Just Got a New Gig

A part of me was beginning to give up hope on Amy Sherman-Palladino’s particular brand of whip-smart, ‘30s era classic romcom dialogue ever returning to my television screen. In the years since Gilmore Girls left us (and even before), ASP has seen three projects never get off the ground and one fail outright. The most promising of those, at least from a premise standpoint, was the Nick and Nora Charles with kids series set in Manhattan that never made it past the script stage during the last days of The WB. ASP was dangerously and tragically close to becoming a one-hit wonder.

Happily, news broke today that ASP is adapting The Nanny Diaries for ABC. It’s not a done deal yet, but the material is perfect for ASP’s sensibilities (and ABC’s lady-friendly lineup) and the fact that it’s far, far away from the CW is a plus in ASP’s favor. Gilmore Girls, despite its many wonderful teen characters, was always an adult show, just as ASP is someone who is meant to be writing for grown ups.

With any luck, by this time next year we’ll once again be basking in the pure, sweet joy of rapid-fire quipping on everything from Proust to The Brady Brunch and the sort of expert dissection of the American family and class structure that was always ASP’s specialty.

Fall 2012 can’t get here soon enough.

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Friday Linkspam

Before we get to today’s linkspam, I have a quick announcement: I’m now covering Wilfred and Haven for the fantastic new online magazine Wit&Fancy, so if you’re looking for my weekly reviews for Wilfred they’ll now be exclusively over there. Please check out the other articles when you stop by, it’s a terrific magazine created by smart, witty ladies that covers a wide variety of subjects from a young, female perspective.

Now as Miranda Hart would say, on with the show:

+Jane Espenson Introduces First Marriage Equality Comedy

Husbands from former Buffy writer Espenson and Brad Bell will debut online in September and be comprised of eleven episodes, each one two minutes in length for a total of 22 minutes—the standard length of a traditional sitcom pilot, and hopefully a big hint to networks if it turns out to be as cool as everything else Espenson touches.

+ SMG Clones Herself for Ringer

No, not really. Come on, guys. In other SMG is awesome news, she’s the latest celeb to agree to return to All My Children for its swan song.

+ 8 Things We Learned at Hart of Dixie Press Tour

Rachel Bilson’s new show is just one of several new shows set in the deep south. The trailer made me cringe, but Bilson’s charming as always. Personally, I’m more interested in Good Christian Belles (previously, more promisingly titled Good Christian Bitches) starring my beloved Kristin Chenoweth.

+First Look at American Horror Story

I was already excited about this project, but now that Tim Minear is on board, I’m going to have to start counting down the days to October 5th.

+ Downton Abbey: A Touch of Class

One lucky reporter’s recap of a recent visit to the set.

+ Freedom in an Unfree World: A Libertarian Examination of Firefly

Today’s Smart Pop Essay is well worth a read for Firefly fans.

+ Finally, I think I’ve shared this video on every social media site on the web now, but I just can’t get enough of it.

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Something Good To Watch: Party Down

Show:Party Down, created by Rob Thomas, John Enbom, Paul Rudd and Ron Etheridge
Time Commitment: 2 seasons, 20 half-hour episodes
Who’s Going To Like It: Judd Apatow devotees. People who have/had crappy jobs. Adam Scott fans. Veronica Mars fans. TV nerds.
What it’s about: Six wannabe actors, writers and entrepreneurs employed by the LA based Party Down Catering Company and the parties they cater for the Hollywood elite.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Each episode covers a different party and each party is more soul-crushing than the last for our characters who range from brittle and sarcastic to naively optimistic. The characters are in a near constant state of ennui, but none more so than Adam Scott’s Henry, an actor who was poised for stardom, but ended up flaming out and becoming known as the “are we having fun yet?” beer commercial guy before calling it quits and taking a job catering for the sort of parties he used to be invited to.

I will admit Scott was my original motivation for checking the series out. I’ve been working my way through his back catalogue since he arrived on Parks & Rec, and Party Down’s impressive pedigree caught my eye. For me, Scott was the best reason to watch. Life has kicked the crap out of Henry, and Scott plays him with a world-weary bitterness that is at times sad, but more often than not, hilarious…as long as you like your comedy to have some bite.

For those heathens among us who are not Scott devotees, you will be pleased to know that the rest of Party Down’s cast is a who’s who of the brightest stars in comedy today: Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, Martin Starr, Lizzy Caplan, Jennifer Coolidge, Ken Jeong, Kirsten Bell, Steven Weber and Rob Corddry all appear at one point or another. As does nearly the entire cast of Veronica Mars, thanks to Thomas and his admirable penchant for actor loyalty. The writing and directing credits aren’t too shabby either. Think of Party Down as the comedy equivalent of the cool kid’s table at your high school, only you can sit at this table without having to sell your soul— you might have to drop a few bucks at Amazon though.
Standout Episode: 2×07, “The Party Down Company Picnic” wherein our heroes go head to head with rival catering company, Valhalla Catering, a hilariously ultra-efficient bunch that the Party Down employees are routinely humiliated by. Check out this scene for a glimpse at the most serious game of kickball ever. Language NSFW.
Where To Watch It: Netflix Streaming, sporadic reruns on Starz, or you can purchase the dvds on Amazon for a pretty decent price.

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Friday Linkspam

+ Why The Walking Dead Is Better Off Without Frank Darabont

An insightful article that addresses the ongoing leadership shakeup at The Walking Dead and explains why Darabont’s exit will actually make the show better.

+ TCM Summer Under the Stars Begins August 1st

The annual festival kicks off with a day of Marlon Brando flicks. Classic movie fans rejoice…and vow not to leave their homes until September.

+ Martin Starr Guest-Starring on Community

Starr brings his (freaks and) geek-cred to Greendale.

+ Is AMC the new HBO? Or Is It the Other Way Around?

A round-up of highlights from the AMC and HBO TCA panels.

+ 25 Great TV I Love You’s

A sweet little list, but completely invalid without the heart wrenching season 3 ‘I love you’ between George and Mitchell on Being Human. So what if it wasn’t romantic? It was still wrenching and beautiful. Here, see for yourself, but beware, it’s a massive spoiler.

+ And now in the words of Jon Stewart, your moment of zen:

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The Changing Face of BBCAmerica

BBCAmerica has been a channel in a constant state of flux in recent years. At one time, it was the premiere destination for British imports, but recently it has become preoccupied with picking up the slack for the SyFy channel (which in turn has become like a genre version of its sister channel USA) by bringing viewers a wide variety of genre series, many of them American made. That was good news for SciFi fans, perhaps, but disheartening for everyone else. Thankfully, that’s all about to change.

According to a press release, BBCA has ordered its first original scripted series, Copper, set to debut Summer 2012. The series will follow an Irish cop as he works his beat in 1860’s New York, and it comes with an impressive pedigree thanks to co-creators Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street) and Will Rokos (Southland). In addition to Copper, the channel also announced it had picked up two original reality series from brand-friendly stars Graham Norton and Richard Hammond, with five more original reality series currently in development.

After years of filling their schedule with imports and classic American series, BBCA is now officially joining the original programming race and if Copper is any indication, they’re positioning themselves to become a prestige destination on par with AMC.

That doesn’t mean the channel is turning its back on genre viewers or fans of quality British television, it seems just the opposite is true. BBCA is finally restoring some semblance of order and diversity to their schedule with new themed programming blocks focusing on Drama, Comedy and SciFi series.

The “Dramaville” block, hosted by Emmy-nominee Idris Elba, debuts August 17, with the ‘50s era newsroom drama The Hour, followed by season two of Luther in the fall and new series Whitechapel in the winter, is sure to help BBCA compete with PBS’s Masterpiece series and lure back viewers looking for more serious fare than the channel has become known for showing in recent years.

The already established “Ministry of Laughs” comedy block is getting an infusion of new blood on July 30, thanks to family-centric series Outnumbered and Friday Night Dinner. Britcom fans were perhaps the group hit hardest by BBCA’s growing pains, but the comedy block’s new schedule is a step in the right direction, bringing American viewers a variety of popular sitcoms that have never been available on our side of the pond before.

Finally, genre fans need not worry about BBCA outgrowing its stalwart “Supernatural Saturday” block. The last half of Doctor Who season six debuts on August 27, and when The Doctor completes his run in October, new series Bedlam will be there to take his place. This is of course, in addition to the near endless Battlestar Galactica and The X-Files reruns already populating the schedule.

These blocks, along with the robust and ever-growing reality line-up and a new season of Law and Order: UK, are a clear sign that the BBCA brand is getting a much needed makeover. The channel’s focus on a cohesive, ordered schedule as well as a new found interest in the original programming game could put it in a position to be a forced to be reckoned with in coming years. Either way, the news is terrific for fans of quality British programming—especially for the ones who happen to be American.

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Something Good To Watch: Misfits

We’ve all been there: you’re talking up your favorite show to a friend, co-worker or obstinate family member when they suddenly wrinkle their nose and say, “There’s nothing good on television these days.” Or worse, “I don’t watch television,” a phrase always uttered with derision.

I know it’s tempting to argue with these inane statements, but before you start proselytizing about the wonders of Mad Men, remind yourself that the real problem is these poor, lost souls don’t know how to watch television. Even the most hardcore television fans can find themselves stuck in a show rut, watching their Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs on an eternal loop and bemoaning the good old days.

The problem is there is a lot of truly terrible programming to sift through— soul-crushing reality shows, formulaic procedurals and a glut of Two and a Half Men reruns— before you can find the good stuff. And sometimes the good stuff isn’t even on the television, but instead it lives only on the wild, undiscovered plains of the internet.

It’s a daunting task for anyone, but doubly so for folks who aren’t already television junkies. That’s where I come in: every week I’ll spotlight a show, some currently airing, some long cancelled, that’s worth watching. I’m a firm believer that there’s a show out there for everyone, even your non-television owning, foreign film watching hipster friend, and Something Good To Watch will help you find it. Continue reading

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10 ’90s Kid Shows That Need To Be In Syndication Immediately

Gather round my fellow twentysomethings, tonight is the night we can finally give in to our inner nine year old and bask in the orange-tinted nostalgia of classic Nickelodeon favorites “All That,” “Clarissa Explains it All,” “Keenan & Kel” and “Doug.” They’re the first group of shows to christen TeenNick’s retro “The ‘90s Are All That” block designed to turn our already underemployed, Peter Pan-esque generation into insomniacs as well— the block runs from midnight until the wee hours of the morning. But who’s complaining? I’ll gladly sacrifice a little sleep for another glimpse at my childhood crush (and Clarissa’s BFF) Sam. Of course, I guess that’s a little creepy now. Never mind, tonight we all get to be nine again. At least for a few hours.

TeenNick promises that this is only the beginning; they have plans to bring us even more of our favorites in the coming months. That’s great and all, but now that the nostalgia switch in my brain has been tripped, I find myself longing for the classic PBS, Disney and even UPN shows of my childhood too. Below, I offer ten more beloved series that deserve to be dusted off and introduced to the jaded, Miley Cyrus loving kids of today. Or you know, just us sleep-deprived twenty-five year olds longing for the good old days when kid shows featured talking dogs and a floppy-haired Ryan Gosling.

Continue reading

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Friday Linkspam

I took a brief hiatus this week to work on a personal project, but with all the juicy tidbits and trailers coming out of Comic Con this weekend, I couldn’t resist popping in long enough to compile a super sized edition of the Friday Linkspam. Below you’ll find links to trailers, teases and articles with all the latest news coming out of San Diego (and elsewhere).

+ BBC censoring “Torchwood” Sex Scene, Americans Suddenly Feel 90% Less Stodgy

Tonight’s episode of “Torchwood” is rumored to contain the series’ steamiest sex scene ever, but fans watching on the BBC will be none the wiser. The scene will be cut to “protect the children,” but should they really be watching “Torchwood” in the first place? Did their parents not see what happened in the mini-series? Perhaps, parents showed it to their kids as a cautionary tale. If that’s the case, Britian’s children must be freakishly well-behaved now.

+ “Game of Thrones” Comic Con Panel Recap

The cast talks about the future of the series, staying faithful to the books and why we won’t be seeing the lengthy battle scenes Martin so enjoys penning.

+ Showtime debuts sneak peek of new series “Homeland”

The new series stars Claire Danes, Damien Lewis, Morena Baccarin and Mandy Patinkin, and focuses on the aftermath of a POW’s homecoming and a potential terrorist conspiracy. Fun stuff.

+“Wilfred” Director Teases “Lost”-esque Finale

It sounds like “Wilfred” is going to get even weirder soon.

+ABC Releases Nifty Batch of Posters for “Once Upon a Time”

+ Five Things You Should Know About The CW’s “Secret Circle”

I would also add, we should be aware that the pilot will most likely be terrible, but if it follows in the footsteps of its sister series “The Vampire Diaries,” it will become unexpectedly awesome by episode five.

+SMG Talks “The Ringer”

Gellar returned to Comic Con this year to talk up her new noir-flavored series.

+ “The River” writer Michael Green, Drops Some Hints About the Promising Mid-Season Series.

This is an excellent interview with Green. “The River” is easily the new show I’m most looking forward to watching. It’s just too bad it’s not debuting in the fall.

+FX Orders Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story”

FX has officially picked up Murphy’s new horror series starring Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton. It’s set to debut in October.

+Can Comic Con Save the “Locke & Key” series?

Fox passed on the “Locke & Key” pilot, but the creators are hoping positive buzz might bring the project back from the dead.

+

No matter how repetitive “Dexter” gets, I can’t seem to let this series go. The promo offers us a brief glimpse of Colin Hanks and Mos Def in action, and in case you couldn’t tell, this year’s theme is religion. The promo’s so subtle you may have missed that.

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