Smash: Checking in with Episode 2

So far, the part I enjoy the most about this show is the behind the scenes interaction between the writers, director & producer. (l to r: Jack Davenport, Angelica Huston, Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Jaime Cepero)

I’m a firm believer that you really can’t judge a new series on its pilot alone.  It takes at least 4 weeks for a show to tell you what it is.  With that in mind, I tuned into last night’s episode of Smash with an open mind, looking to see it calm its frenetic pacing and start defining both its direction and its characters.  There was some of that going on – I feel like the pacing slowed a bit and didn’t seem to be as concerned with telling all stories at all times – but I’m still not convinced that Smash will live up to its concept though.  And here’s why: Continue reading

TV Trend: Airing Pilots Early (Thoughts on Touch and Smash)

Will airing Touch's pilot 2 months before the official premiere pay off for Fox?

Fox aired the pilot for Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland, last night, almost two months before the show’s official premiere on March 19th in a move that has become a new marketing tool for networks.  Instead of launching right into a show’s season, many networks are choosing to air pilots early or make them available online far in advance of their premiere dates (like what NBC is doing with Smash).  I’m not sure I think this is a good idea.  If I don’t like the pilot, I have no reason to tune in for the next episode because by the time the second episode airs it will probably be a little “out of sight, out of mind”.  I will often give shows multiple weeks to win me over, but with this strategy, by the time the second episode airs, other new shows have the opportunity to claim its spot in my DVR. Continue reading

Music Video Appreciation: Snow Patrol “Called Out In The Dark”

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a new music video that I liked.  This morning I saw Snow Patrol’s video for “Called Out In The Dark” which is just charming and fun and I really loved it.  I think part of why I liked it so much has to do with my experience working in commercial production.  I’m a big fan of behind the scenes stuff which is the focus of this video.  I love the part where lead singer Gary Lightbody flies across the green screen and his torso disappears thanks to his green t-shirt.  I also think Jack Davenport (from the upcoming Smash) is kind of fantastic and just generally like the concept.  Plus, DANCING!

NBC’s Mid-season Schedule: My Thoughts

Yesterday, NBC announced some pretty major shifts in its mid-season schedule and I, like every other TV fan in the universe, have some opinions.  Here’s a look at the current NBC line-up:

And here is the mid-season schedule with some notes:

There are an awful lot of changes going on, some of which I approve and some I wholeheartedly do not.

Approve: Bringing back 30 Rock.  Even though I don’t really “get” it, it’s a pretty buzz-worthy show and using it to start off Thursday nights is a good move.

Disapprove: Benching Community.  Community is hysterical, hip and utterly watchable.  I understand that it doesn’t get the ratings that NBC wants to see, but I think it’s totally lame for the network to bench it without giving a return date.  It has me worried for my favorite study group.

Approve: Moving Up All Night to Thursdays at 9:30pm.  First of all, I think the 9:30pm time slot is far more appropriate for this comedy than its current 8pm berth.  Secondly, it has been one of the stronger freshman comedies this year so it makes sense for NBC to want it as a part of its strongest line-up.

Disapprove: Moving Whitney to Wednesdays at 8pm.  Look, I’ll admit that Whitney has its moments that make me giggle, but half-way through the season, the show is still leaving me pretty cold.  I guess I just feel like the characters don’t actually seem to like each other very much so why the hell are they spending so much time together?  On top of my own personal opinion, the general audience seems to be offended by the very fact that it was given a full-season pick up.  NBC would have been better off leaving Whitney off the schedule and moving Community to Wednesdays.

Approve: Pairing Smash and The Voice on Monday nights.  Hopefully Smash will live up to expectations and rock our socks off, but even without that, if The Voice lives up to its first season promise, Smash should be able to hold onto enough of that audience to survive.

Disapprove: Getting rid of Prime Suspect for new drama The Firm.  It was announced today that production on Prime Suspect has been halted and in its place, NBC is putting this remake of the Tom Cruise movie.  I haven’t seen anything of The Firm, so I really can’t judge, but I do like Prime Suspect so I’m disappointed to see it going away.

Basically, the NBC schedule is a sinking ship regardless.  As of right now, they don’t really have any tent-pole shows and they seem scared of the shows they have that do attract critical attention (ie Community).  I do give them credit for making some big shifts in order to try something new, I just wish that they did that with the integrity of their audience, rather than the numbers, in mind.

 

 

NBC Reveals Its Fall & Mid-Season Schedules – Updated

Get ready for a busy week: Upfronts start today!  NBC started the week off with six new shows in the fall and two new additions mid-season.  Perhaps the biggest news of the schedule is NBC’s decision to bring The Sing-Off into the fall rather than holding it for the two weeks during the holiday hiatus.  Very interesting (more later).  Without further ado, NBC’s schedule!

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Pilot Pickups & Cancellations – Did any of your favorites get cut?

The news of pilot pickups has been coming fast and furiously this week leading up to the network upfronts next week.  Earlier this week, Fox announced the cancellation of 4 shows and the pick up of 2 comedies and 2 dramas. Today, CBS announced it would be picking up JJ Abrams’ Person of Interest (that makes two pick ups for Mr. Abrams for those of you playing along at home), the comedy Two Broke Girls starring Kat Dennings.  They’ve been a bit slow to get out of the gate and haven’t announced any big cancellations as of yet.  However,  in a shocking turn of events, they passed on the Sarah Michelle Gellar drama The Ringer, but gave it to their sister network, The CW, so all is once again right with the world now that Buffy will be back on TV.

ABC announced that it is cancelling Brothers & Sisters, Off The Map, V, Detroit 187, No Ordinary Family, Better with You (BOO!) and Mr. Sunshine while picking up 12 new shows: Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen, Apt. 23 (formerly The Bitch in Apt. 23 starring James Van Der Beek as himself – awesome), Work It (which sounds like an updated Bosom Buddies), the sitcom Suburgatory, Man Up, Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am (about flight attendants in the 60′s), Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches from Darren Starr), Once Upon A Time (a fairytale drama), Revenge (a Hamptons-set take on the Count of Monte Cristo), Scandal (from Shonda Rhimes), and thriller The River.  They also announced second seasons of Happy Endings and Body of Proof.

Meanwhile over at NBC, we have seen the last of The Event, Outsourced (definitely not a surprise) and Law & Order: LA.  The peacock network renewed Parenthood, Harry’s Law and Chuck (for a final season) as well as greenlit Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (based on Chelsea Handler’s book), Bent starring Amanda Peet as a divorced single mom, Free Agents about PR execs, BFFs (which sounds stupid already), The Playboy Club, Awake (described as Inception for TV), Grimm (a fairytale cop drama), the Prime Suspect remake, and Smash (a musical drama from Steven Spielberg).  Also, despite all the fanfare, NBC did not pick up the Wonder Woman pilot from David E. Kelley (after seeing the costume and stills, I can’t say I’m surprised).

There’s a lot of blood in the streets of Hollywood this week, but I’m particularly disappointed about any of these decisions (except for Better with You.  BOO! ABC, BOO!!).  I’m excited by almost all of the pilots and other than Off The Map (which I only want to continue because I adore Zach Gilford) and Better with You (which, who knew I was so involved with?) I’m not upset about any of the cancellations.  I’m a little disappointed that the networks made all of these announcements ahead of next week’s upfronts.  It will certainly detract from the drama of the week, but I’m sure there will be much more to come and this is all very exhausting.  As it stands, I feel like there is some real potential in these new shows (and I’m sure there are going to be some fantastic bombs as well).  Next week each network will get the chance to trot out all of their stars, new and old, when they present next seasons shows to advertisers, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to really dig my teeth into their new schedules.  Let’s hope the networks still have some scheduling surprises in store to reveal next week, otherwise it’s going to be kind of a let down.   [Vulture] and [EW.com]

Network Pilot Possibilities: What looks good

I am not such an insider that I get to preview pilots or scripts before a show gets picked up by a network.  I, like the rest of the TV watching world, have to wait until upfronts in May to learn which new shows are being produced and wait until the fall season premieres to actually see those shows.  The people at Vulture/New York Magazine are not so unlucky and have done a slide show of some of the most promising pilots. After reading through their list, I’m not as sad about the prospect of having to lose shows that I love (bubble shows like Chuck and Better With You) in order to make room for them.  Here are the eight shows I’m most excited about from this list and the reason’s why the networks won’t pick them up.

Please note: this analysis is based purely on what I read in the linked Vulture slideshow and my personal opinions.  I have not seen anything else about any of these shows. Continue reading