News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Beverly Hills -- There will never be another "Downton Abbey" -- except, there has to be. Viewers demand it, public TV demands it, financial backers demand it... The problem with success, and "Downton" is the single most successful scripted series in PBS history, is that more success must follow. It is the way of the commercial TV world, and now that PBS has gotten a tase of an almighty hit, it stands...Read more »
Beverly Hills -- Fans of "The Simpsons" learned some time ago that the show would "kill off" a key character this season -- "kill off" being but a transitory condition in the realm of animated series often but not always measured in episodes, or until the fan outcry is so annoying that the creators have no choice but to relent and bring the deceased back to life.
But that's beside...Read more »
"True Detective," HBO's first-year anthology series that was expected to make a showing at the 66th prime-time Emmy nominations announcement Thursday morning, made a showing -- and then some. The series scored a nod for best drama, catapulting it instantly into a rarefied orbit with multiple nominees "Breaking Bad," Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men" -- each of which also received a best drama nod.
In addition, both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson -- the series' leads -- scored best actor nominations. That was a bit of a surprise, in that only McConaughey was considered an absolute lock. McConaughey is, by the way, almost certainly the favorite to win going into the August ceremony.
Meanwhile in terms of sheer numbers, FX's "Fargo" and "Game of Thrones" ended up in the winner's circle. "Fargo" got a total of eighteen nominations. "GoT" got nineteen.
The list of comedy award nominees was virtually a mirror of last year's list, with one notable exception: HBO freshman "Silicon Valley" also made the cut. Yes, indeed, it was a very, very good morning for HBO -- much less so for Showtime which got shut out for "Masters of Sex," but which did score one very big hit: Lizzy Caplan in the best actress category.
Meanwhile, "Modern Family" -- nominated of course -- now has a chance to win five best statues in a row. Here's your list... and do check back for more analysis, and head here for the snub list.
"Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards," "Mad Men," "True Detective"
What it means: That the strong remain strong. This list was absolutely predicted by everyone on the planet with a Twitter account and love of good-to-great TV. Certainly "TD" will have a few detractors -- HBO managed to get it into the prestigious drama category as opposed to the much less prestigious miniseries one. "TD" deserves to be here but "Fargo" fans would argue that it does as well. "Fargo" did well this morning - both Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton got nods - but it was still relegated to the mini cat. Will "TD" upset "Bad," which is looking to repeat? I kind of doubt that -- in Emmys, advantage usually, but not always, lies with the incumbent. But, of course, we shall see.
Comedy series: "Big Bang Theory," "Louie, "Modern Family," "Orange is the New Black," "Silicon Valley," "Veep"
What it means: "Orange is the New Black" is a comedy? Did voters happen to see a different version from the one I saw? "Orange" is not a comedy, but it is a drama, although Netflix -- now a powerhouse in this industry -- managed to convince voters and the Emmy management apparatchiks otherwise. "Bang" certainly has the advantage here.
Lead actor in a drama: Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey
What it means: Clearly it means just one thing -- will Jon Hamm finally win for crying out loud? I mean enough already.
Lead actress in a drama:
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex"; Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"; Julianna Marguiles, "The Good Wife"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"; Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
What it means: As always, the lead actress is the most hotly contended category is all of Emmydom; this extremely strong list still managed to leave out other quality candidates, yet no one can really argue with what's here. Caplan's inclusion is not a surprise but given the tough competition, a real achievement nonetheless. My hunch is that this race will come down to Wright and Margulies.
Lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Martin Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Billy Bob Thornton
Lead actor in a comedy:
Louie CK, "Louie"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Ricky Gervais, "Derek"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
What it means: Gervais is the huge upset here. I certainly didn't see this coming. But again, Parsons remains the fave.
Lead actress in a comedy:
Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"; Melissa McCarthy, "Mike and Molly"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Rec"; Taylor Schilling, "Orange is the New Black"
What it means: Without knowing just yet which episodes were submitted, it's hard to know how this will shake out. But I very much like Dunham's chances here. Nevertheless, this is Louis-Dreyfus's to lose -- which she pretty much has not yet. She's won the last two lead actress awards, and has to be absolute favorite to win again. Under normal circumstances, I would complain bitterly about the Emmys' utter predictability -- except that she is excellent and so is her show. No crime at all if she does win again. But still, Dunham is your dark horse.
Lead actress in mini/movie: Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor"; Minnie Driver, "Return to Zero"; Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, both "American Horror Story"; Cicely Tyson, "Trip to Bountiful"; Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils of Babylon"
Fellow human beings, I put this before you: Should "Community" return, specifically to Hulu, which has, more specifically, begun talks with Sony which, adding a bit more specificity, wants to keep the show going?
It's out there -- don't take my word for this. Google it. The trades reported the news Wednesday.
I can't even begin to count the reasons why it should stay, even if one by...Read more »
Fox needs a hit, and not just one with the numbers "24" in the title. It also needs to think about an "Idol-less" future or one where a once-reliable tent poll is no more reliable or even a tent poll. It needs a hit.
But who or what? "Utopia," the unscripted series, will air twice a week -- one of outings on Friday at 10, which is a recognition on the part of Fox that there is nothing to gained...Read more »
"Lindsay" -- which yours truly called "utterly absorbing," an opinion clearly in the minority and possibly an overstatement when viewed in the cold light of dawn -- was seen by only 693,000 viewers. That seems like a small number in TV terms because it is.
OWN did see the sliver lining, of course: "This marks OWN’s highest rating in the Sunday 10 p.m. hour in 27 weeks among women 25-54."
And in fairness to, ummm, myself, I did indeed think "Lindsay" was absorbing if only because it tried to humanize her, which doesn't exactly happen every time you see her on screen. This coulda been a disaster. It was not. Have at me if you disagree... Comment below!
Sure, skepticism is warranted. Sure, derision, too. Sure, you've been down this road before, manipulated by some network to watch because it's all part of the TV game ... or the sordid part of the game, anyway.
But here's a contrarian thought: What if Lindsay Lohan's OWN special isn't half-bad? What if...?
Sight unseen -- and none of us have seen anything except for that commercial that was released Tuesday -- I've come up with a competing theory. Here's the column in Friday's paper:
"Lindsay," OWN, Sunday, 10 p.m.
What it's about: This eight-part "docuseries" by filmmaker Amy Rice -- a staffwriter for HBO's "The Newsroom" and director of 2009's well-regarded fly-on-the-wall doc, "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" -- followed Lindsay Lohan around New York after her release from rehab last summer. In the opener, she moves back to New York "to work on her sobriety and to rebuild her career." Reports say the shooting of this was tumultuous. OWN provided no review copy.
My say: "I know" -- says the subject of this series which OWN declined to preview for the press except in a two-minute sizzle reel -- "that this is my last shot at doing what I love to do."
And where have we heard the subject of this series say that before? Just before her last "SNL" appearance to Matt Lauer? Or was it on "GMA," before the "Liz and Dick" debacle? Last shots, in fact, are what Lohan specializes in because an enabling media industry -- motivated by the primal twin urges of greed and self-interest -- continue to serve them up to her.
As a result, us gawkers and other assorted rubberneckers tend to approach any Lohan project these days with a (healthy) brace of skepticism.
But there's reason to approach this particular project another way -- with a measure of cautious hope. That reason is Amy Rice, a thoughtful and obviously intelligent filmmaker who probably has no interest in putting a torpedo in the side of her career just as it's getting underway.
Sure, there is such a thing as take-the-money-and-run. There's also something called professional pride. My hope -- maybe yours, and if Lohan has any measure of self-respect, her's too -- is that pride trumps personal profit here.
Believe it or not, there is something compelling to be done on Lohan: A uniquely American story (or tragedy)? A cautionary tale? A portrait of addiction, or narcissism, or the toll Hollywood takes on the fragile, or the toll the paps take on celebrity? Take your pick, and there is much to pick from.
Rice got unlimited access. We'll all find out together whether she used this access wisely.
Lindsay Lohan: "There's nothing left in having a drink for me . . ."
Oprah Winfrey: "You need to cut the [expletive] . . ."
And there you have the bookends -- telling ones -- of a two-minute sizzle reel OWN released late Tuesday of its new eight-part series, "Lindsay," which premieres Sunday night at 10. (OWN has declined to offer review copies for reasons unknown.)
The tease features an intermittently calm Lohan with a frazzled Lohan: "People have this image of me that it is chaos. I don't want all of the negative [expletive] that's going on, and the stress that might show through on camera . . ."
Then, of course, there's chaos: Lohan tells off dad Michael ("You weren't good for me for a long time in my life") and she gets locked out of her Manhattan apartment. (Reasons also unclear.)
Cut to the director of the series, Amy Rice, who looks balefully into the camera. "So we were supposed to start shooting at 12:30, and Lindsay was locked out of her apartment . . ."
The reel ends with an assistant to Winfrey saying Lohan wants to back out of the taping. Then, it's Oprah's turn to stare balefully into the camera: "This is exactly what everybody said was gonna happen . . ."
And so it goes. Are these 120 seconds representative of an eight-hour docuseries, filmed after Lohan was released from rehab last summer? We'll all have to find out together, which is exactly what OWN and Oprah have planned.
Bottom line: If you can judge a series by the promo - and of course you can't - this one does look intriguing. Warning: Oprah drops an expletive at the end of the preview that may be offensive to some viewers.
[Meanwhile, for those readers just cynical enough to think this whole thing is a play, or ploy, to get Lindsay more employment, congratuations! You may be right. This just in from CBS: "Actress Lindsay Lohan is set to guest star on 2 BROKE GIRLS, Monday, April 14 (8:00-8:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. She will play Claire Guinness, a soon-to-be-bride who asks Max and Caroline to make her wedding cake. As Max and Caroline get to know her, it quickly becomes clear that Claire has trouble making decisions. "]
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