News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
David Duchovny, Charles Manson...unrelated names until this point in time: NBC has given a straight-to-series order for his '60s era period drama entitled "Aquarius" about Charles Manson, and the cop - played by DD - who chases him. Word of this show has been "out there," so to speak, but a 13-episode order? That's unusual and indicates a.) This might actually be a good series; and b.) Duchovny,...Read more »
After this day ... wait for it ... no more "wait for it" jokes here. Promise. Meanwhile, here's my appreciation of "How I Met Your Mother," ending Monday after nine seasons.
"How I Met Your Mother" series finale, WCBS/2, Monday, 8 p.m.
What it's about: That long -- very long -- weekend on Long Island finally wraps Monday night, along with one of TV's beloved comedies, ending after nine...Read more »
Louis CK returned as host of "Saturday Night Live" and even the barest glance at Twitter yesterday seemed to suggest a desultory afterglow -- lowest rated, or near-lowest rated edition of the season, and therefore ho-hum.
But as usual, viewers who didn't bother to tune in missed one of the best episodes of the season -- excellent cold open, parodying President Obama's health care hard-sell, and easily the best host monologue of the entire season. Who knows really why ratings were low ... but there were nonrepresentative. (Many good skits, too.)
Meanwhile, here's CK's monologue -- actually an unusually non-blue eight minutes of very good and thoughtful material. "Thoughtful material" in a host monologue? Imagine that.
Quiz time: What were the final words uttered/muttered/sputtered by Rick in the closing seconds of last night's fourth season finale of "The Walking Dead?"
(And I first offer here the obligatory "spoiler alert!" for those who have yet to watch, or don't even realize that Rick survived -- because of course he did, contrary to whatever chatter was going on this season.)
a.) "They just made a major and unfortunate mistake -- unfortunate for them!"
b.) They don't know who they're dealing with -- maybe they should ask Joe."
c.) "I'm hungry . . . for neck."
d.) "Hasta la vista, baby."
e.) None of the above (though a. is a close approximation.)
Correct answer is e.), which means Armageddon approaches again, in the fifth season -- which, by the way, signals yet another major migration for our small survivor pod as they head to Washington. In other words, Terminus is quite obviously not a long-term solution.
What is one to make of Terminus, first seen a couple of episodes ago and which clearly -- to anyone who lived through Woodbury -- was one of those too good to be true places?
Clearly to me it represents some sort of railroadized version of a Nazi death camp -- with its sloganeering and soothing bromides offered by strange unbalanced people who are (were) too smooth, too unrattled, too well-fed.
You expect a sign above the entrance to read: "Arbeit Macht Frei."
And then the railroad cars.
A quick glance at any "Dead" affiliated Wiki indicates that "Terminus" was the original name given to Atlanta, where a railroad terminus was built; I have no idea whether that is true, but it seems compelling enough. Who are these people? Why are they here? Why the enforced enslavement, or is the spirit of the Gov'nah alive and well, in other communities of the living?
What Sunday night's fourth season indicated, or demonstrated, is that Robert Kirkman's overall vision, as delineated by Scott Gimple -- who's done a good job with this brutal franchise as new showrunner -- is like a savage hall of mirrors: The dead aren't the ones to fear, as much as the living. Communities can't form without the requisite distillation of all that is terrible and loathsome in human nature -- the need to conquer, to control, and then ultimately, destroy.
And Rick, recognizing that, has been reduced to his most fundamental nature, too -- ripping out the carotid artery in Joe, while a geyser of blood sprayed his face.
Zounds, that was awful. But it was what this world has become, only worse.
Next season, (apparently) Washington. Our small and brutalized group should feel right at home there.
"Good Morning America's" Josh Elliott -- coveted by NBC longer than the Yankees had coveted Masahiro Tanaka -- is finally going to NBC: The official line: He's joining NBC Sports, but few really believe that's the final stop for the soon-to-be former "GMA" news anchor who will be replaced by Amy Robach.
Ben Sherwood, the ABC News chief, said this in a memo, also distributed to the press:
"As many of you know, we have been negotiating with Josh these past several months. In good faith, we worked hard to close a significant gap between our generous offer and his expectations. In the end, Josh felt he deserved a different deal and so he chose a new path. I want to thank Josh for his many contributions to GMA and ABC News. Later in the week, we will bid him farewell."
Elliott's an interesting play for all sorts of reasons, but pre-eminent among those is the possibility that he will someday, and sooner than later, replace Matt Lauer. Lauer was damaged in the wake of Ann Curry's ouster, and while "Today's" ratings have improved, Matt's have not, necessarily.
Ask anyone in an official capacity at NBC about who will one day replace Matt and the answer is (not yet officially, because this is not yet "official") Willie Geist.
The reasons for Geist are compelling: He's an excellent broadcaster and a very smart guy, who has written books and knows how to interview stars (in one segment) and brain surgeons (in the next).
But it's unclear whether he has -- to use the old phrase -- lit up the boards. NBC wants an electric personality to replace Matt (when his deal ends). Lauer's long and hugely successful run ends next year, and so does his (estimated) $25 million-per-year contract. So now let the babbling begin: Will Josh be the guy? (Per reports, in the New York Post about two weeks ago, Josh wanted $8 million to stay at ABC; ABC wanted to cough up half that amount. Hey, it's TV. What can I say?)
Don't be surprised to see him on "Today" when he joins up to talk about . . . sports. And who knows what else! He's a member of the "family" now. Is Elliott the "electric" personality that NBC hopes he will be? We'll all find out together -- but he was part of a team that toppled the longest winning streaks in morning TV history. Maybe that's "electric" enough.
Meanwhile, back to the Yankees analogy: NBC is deploying a strategy that George would admire. Pick apart the winning team until . . . it's winning no longer. Smart strategy, but an expensive one, too.
"How I Met Your Mother" ends Monday, and in anticipation of that event, look at a.) My series appreciation, below; and b.) two video clips.
First, a quick glance at the last show, and the second, of Cobie Smulders, on "CBS Sunday Morning" this weekend to talk about you-know-what. Anthony Mason does the honors here:
So there is life after One Police Plaza and it's uptown, at ABC News: The network has announced that former NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has joined as a consultant. No specifics on exact start date or shows where he'll make appearances - but you can make the reasonable assumptions that he starts immediately and will appear across all ABC News platforms, including online. Besides his years...Read more »
Jimmy Kimmel - who not only seems to know more about pop culture than any other late night host but who actually seems to appreciate it more than any other - took after the titans of pop fluff last night. We speak of the Kardashians. Results are amusing...
Lindsay Lohan appears on "Ellen" this Monday, and -- don't worry -- we have clips. But she does indeed have a lot to say -- about dating, post-rehab, Wilmer Valderrama and Oprah.
Of the Queen, she calls her a "guiding force," which is what I guess Linds and I have in common: O is my guiding force, too.
Clips below, but here's a quick quote from her life in re-hab -- the sixth or seventh such stint ended last summer and, as you may know, she's been in a Sunday night "docuseries" on OWN charting her post-rehab life in New York, and the series has not exactly been burning up the Nielsens. This visit to "Ellen" may be some sort of stratagem, one assumes, to light a fire.
"When I went to Cliffside, I really wanted a moment for myself and I learned a lot of different tools and things that I didn’t in the past. In the past, a lot of it, people don’t know this, but I was sent to rehab to avoid you know, them trying to put me in jail. So it wasn’t something that I necessarily wanted or was ready for. It was something that it was kind of just going with the motions. And this was the first time where I went to Shawn Holley, my lawyer, and said look, I need some time. I need to figure something out. And it was through kind of, you know, meditation and learning different things that . . . and just growing up as well and being like I’m tired and I want to be working and all these other girls are doing this and I’ve been doing this my whole life …and maybe, you know, that’s what makes me happy. So I’m just going to do what I have to do to get there again."
Joan Rivers returned to "The Tonight Show" last night after a 28-year absence marked by recriminations, ill feelings, and insidery show biz back-biting.
And of course she was late to the set.
In fact, Rivers had a very brief cameo on Jimmy Fallon's very first show last month, but let's call last night the first real return.
But no matter. History of sorts was made and even if the return of the former late night queen was a bit blue, a little bit muddled -- and utterly devoid of truth -- so be it. Joan returned to the set that made her famous.
The best part: A nice gracious nod to Johnny -- no last name needed, right? -- which I suppose means no hard feelings anymore.
The interview pointed up the weakest aspect of the new host who otherwise -- as my few readers well know -- I have praised to the Studio 6B rafters. He is in fact doing a bang-up job, except his interviews tend to be exercises in non-information, as last night revealed in abundance.
Why did you not get invited back, he asked her?
He knows why, of course. Everybody knows why. But I also suspected the question was basically just a set-up for one of her oldest jokes.
The reason (if you actually don't know, by the way) is the second to last clip here. While Rivers was chief stand-in at Carson's "Tonight" -- one of TV's greatest gigs because Johnny did take quite a few days off in the latter years as you'll recall -- she took a job at Fox to host a late night show and direct competitor to Carson. She never told Johnny; he saw her move as a betrayal (and it was certainly that) and he never spoke to her again. Rivers has made all sorts of excuses over the years -- oh, Edgar made her do it! (Edgar Rosenberg, her husband and agent, now deceased.) She couldn't tell Johnny because that would scuttle the deal. And so on.
But the fact remains. Joan betrayed Johnny.
Jay Leno, out of respect to Carson, kept her off his show. Jimmy, who's had her on "Late Night," certainly felt no compunction to do the same. In fact, he's right -- there is no reason. It's all ancient history. (Her "Late Show" essentially launched Fox back in October of '86, and the network fired her the following May.)
Another odd sidebar: David Letterman, who revered Johnny, buried the hatchet with her about four years ago.
Clips. The second one is from her "Tonight" days, and is fascinating because Johnny holds up the photo from Joan's first date on "Tonight," 21 years earlier. Jimmy did the same last night.
Meanwhile, I've put up the Letterman interview, too. Dave lays it all out very well. Infinitely better than last night's somewhat sad return.
She was often funny during her long association at "Tonight," and could've -- just possibly, maybe, who knows! -- even been the next "Tonight" host. But alas.