Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 7

American Idol

1. Q: Are you going to have to put Steve on a five second delay on (‘American Idol’)?
Steven Tyler: Fuck, no. (Pauses) I question whether I should have done that just now.

2. Q: So how does it feel to be a Latina on (‘American Idol’)?
Jennifer Lopez: I don’t know how it would feel to be anything else.

3. “Having done ‘The Shield’ and ‘The Chicago Code,’ I’d feel much more comfortable being pulled over by the Chicago PD than the LAPD at this point.” – Shawn Ryan, “The Chicago Code”

4. Q: Can you talk about how you find the voices for new characters like this? Do you work with the producers and they say, “We kind of want this sound,” or do you look at the character sketch and say, “Hey”? How does that work?
Eugene Mirman: We went on a year long walkabout, and then it came to us.
Kristen Schaal: Trying to go get in touch with our, like, spirit animals. Like mine’s a tiger, and I studied tigers for a year.
Eugene Mirman: That doesn’t answer your question at all. We played around in the studio over a period of probably year and a half or two recording and rerecording stuff for this pilot, and sort of, with both us and direction from Loren and FOX, sort of, I think, found the tone and voice, but also I have a spirit animal too.
Kristen Schaal: What is it?
Eugene Mirman: I’m not telling anybody. No one cares.
Kristen Schaal: Sounds like a turtle.
Eugene Mirman: It’s a “minx,” if that’s an animal.

Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal, “Bob’s Burgers”

Bob's Burgers

5. Q: For the showrunners (of ‘Terra Nova’), I have a time-paradox question.
Brannon Braga: Oh, dear God.
Q: Aren’t the people who sent them back, who aren’t going back with them, worried about being fixed out of existence? And what exactly are they hoping to achieve by doctoring the past, and why are the people in the present not worried about being unmade by them?
Brannon Braga: I feel like we’re at a “Star Trek” convention.

6. Q: I have a question about the timeline (of ‘Terra Nova’). 85 million years ago, it seems to me 20 million years from then, there’s a giant asteroid that destroys all life on Earth?
Alex Graves: Yes. The series will not go 20 million years.
Brannon Braga: Let’s just say that they’re acutely aware of that fact and have a plan in mind.
Rene Echevarria: And they have 20 million years to effect that plan.

7. “I take the subway all the time, and when I go on, the first thing I do is I say, ‘Don’t everybody get up. It’s me. It’s Colonel Quaritch from ‘Avatar,’ but keep your seats,’ you know, because I really don’t want to be recognized by people.” – Stephen Lang, “Terra Nova”

Stephen Lang

8. “I had this idea where it was basically like…I’m pretty responsibile. I work hard at what I do, but I sometimes forget to return DVDs…back when you actually returned DVDs…or I forget to pay parking tickets. Then I realized that, if I just budgeted like $300 a year for the cost of being Bob, like a Bob Tax, that I wouldn’t beat myself up about it or whatever.” – Bob Fisher, “Traffic Light”

9. “(With ‘Lone Star,’) we made a show that we really loved, and we thought that the creators were very talented, and they made an excellent show. I think, for the most part, you guys really believed in the show and liked the show as well. And we put the show on, and not enough people showed up to watch it. And we were very disappointed in that. And it’s the reality of the business that we’re in. It’s intensely competitive. It’s always more competitive year after year. And you make the show — the best shows that you can. The truth is that it failed. It failed to meet the expectations that we had. It doesn’t mean that that we don’t like the show, that we don’t respect the people who made it. Kevin (Reilly) and I talk about this a lot. I’d much prefer to fail with a show that we’re creatively proud of than fail with a show that we’re — I guess ’embarrassed of’ would be one word — that we don’t believe in, that we don’t think has a level of originality and creativity.” – Peter Rice

10. Odette Yustman: I have a love interest (on ‘Breaking In’). I have a boyfriend named Dutch, who is played by the genius Michael Rosenbaum. He’s a supercool guy, and I think that they are going to try to bring him in more throughout the series, but he’s a very interesting fellow. He sells clean urine on eBay. Enough said.
Q: I’ve got to ask because I think this needs to be known: what on earth does anyone do with clean urine? Who would buy it?
Christian Slater: Drug testing.
Bret Harrison: To pass a drug test, yes.
Christian Slater: Drug testing. See, what you do is…well, we can really do a whole lecture here.

  

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Greetings to the New Series: “Terriers”

One hates to fall back on the hoary old “if you looked up such-and-such in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of (INSERT NAME HERE)” cliche if it can possibly be helped, so rather than bringing up the topic of character actors and plugging the name “Donal Logue” between the parentheses, can we at least agree that there are precious few individuals who are so readily identified as “that guy who was in that thing we watched that time”?

I mean, seriously, God love you, Donal, but it takes a real character actor to be able to headline two seriously funny sitcoms (“Grounded for Life” and “The Knights of Prosperity”), one of which ran for five freaking seasons (that’d be the former), and still be known as “that guy who was in that thing we watched that one time.”

Still, my fingers are crossed that Logue’s latest series, FX’s “Terriers,” will be the one that finally cements his name in the collective consciousness of today’s TV viewers…and, for that matter, let’s hope it also helps out his co-star, Michael Raymond-James, because these two guys have got some great chemistry going on. Fortunately, with a trio of executive producers that includes Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”), Ted Griffin (“Ocean’s Eleven”), and Tim Minear (“Angel,” “Firefly,” and “Dollhouse,” as well as several series not created by Joss Whedon, including “Wonderfalls”), it was always a given that “Terriers” would capture the attention of the critics, and by virtue of being on FX, the chances of the show surviving long enough to build a decent-sized audience are pretty solid.

Oh, and did we mention that it’s also really, really good?

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TCA Press Tour, Summer 2010: Day 8

Much as the CBS family of networks split their efforts into two days worth of panels – one for CBS, the other for Showtime and The CW – so did Fox give us some breathing room by placing their presentations for FX’s slate of new programming on a separate day. (I wish to God NBC / Universal would take a cue from their peers. I’m so sick of being rushed through a mishmosh of NBC, USA, Bravo, and SyFy series in one long can’t-stop-won’t-stop day.)

Executive Session

Your personal mileage may vary, but for my money, John Landgraf is one of the nicest network heads currently in the game. He’s very low-key, but he’s always ready to give you a quote when you’re looking for one. Today, he offered up the following bits and pieces about the future of FX.

* “Louie” has been renewed for a second season of 13 episodes.

* Ben Garant and Tom Lennon, late of “Reno 911!,” are going to do a pilot for FX called “The USS Alabama.” It’s another partially-scripted, partially-improvised series, and, according to Landgraf, “It takes place in space on the USS Alabama with a crew of spacefarers who might not be too much brighter than the cops in ‘Reno 911!’”

* There are two other pilots in the works as well, the first being “Outlaw Country,” which will star Mary Steenburgen. “Some really talented young actors have joined that cast,” said Landgraf. “That goes into production in, I think, six weeks. It’s a fantastic script. Something we’re really, really excited about.” The other is “Wilfred,” a comedy pilot based on an Australian comedy series, which completed principal photography last week.

* The “Damages” deal done with DirecTV is different from the one that was done with “Friday Night Lights” in that FX will not be offering up the episodes after they’ve run on DirecTV. “The season that has aired, which was the third season of ‘Damages,’ is the last season it will air on FX,” said Landgraf. “For us, we’re also producers on ‘Damages.’ We’ve been co-owners and co-producers through FX Productions, and DirectTV felt very strongly. They were willing to underwrite it, and to a very substantial amount financially, they enabled it to move forward. That was the deal that Sony worked on very aggressively, but they wanted it exclusively, so this was really the best and only way for ‘Damages’ to move forward. So we stepped aside as a network entity, and we’re still involved as a production entity.”

Sons of Anarchy

I don’t know that there’s any series currently on the air that I feel worse about not watching than “Sons of Anarchy.” Everyone tells me it’s fantastic, I have every reason to believe that those people are right, and yet I just haven’t had the time to go back and revisit the show’s first two seasons. But that won’t stop me from bringing you the info that creator Kurt Sutter and his cast provided to us during the show’s panel, of course.

As far as the “big bad” for Season 3, as it were, Sutter says, “We have a couple dual storylines going in Charming and as well as in Belfast, but I guess if you had to pin it down to one specific adversary, I would say that it’s probably the Titus Welliver character, Jimmy O.”

What of the theme of the new season? “I don’t know if there’s one specific overriding theme,” said Sutter. “I think the theme is always about family and Jax sort of defining his role as a father and as a partner and as a son and as a member of this club, and the Abel storyline drives us through pretty much the entire season, and…I don’t want to give anything away in terms of what that means and where that takes us, but, you know, the thing is our seasons, the actual span of time within our seasons is very short. It’s potentially a couple, two or three weeks. So there isn’t a lot of time that passes where you can have a lot of things unfold organically. So it is a very concentrated period of time which I think helps feed, I think, the sense of urgency for the tasks that they have at hand this season.”

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Sons of Anarchy 2.13 – Na Triobloidi

If you didn’t know Kurt Sutter worked on “The Shield” prior to last night’s episode, you probably figured it out by the time it was over. All I have to say is that Shawn Ryan taught him well, because the season finale was just as heart-wrenchingly upsetting as any hour of television Ryan produced in the past. Let me explain. I don’t mean it was upsetting in the sense that I didn’t enjoy it, but rather that when it ended, all I could think about was the fact that I’d have to wait nine long months for its conclusion. Many critics have argued in the past that shorter TV seasons improve the quality of the show (and I agree), but if there’s any downside to that model, it’s that you have to wait even longer for their return.

Though the season finale left quite a few cliffhangers for fans to dwell on during the winter months, there was at least some feeling of completion with the death of AJ Weston. After the sheriff’s department was forced to let him go because Chucky’s testimony didn’t hold up, Weston is warned to get the hell out Charming as fast as he can. Before he leaves, however, Weston convinces Hale to set up a supervised visit with his kid, and when Jax catches wind of the news, he intercepts him to deliver his revenge. At least Weston took it like a man, because the same can’t be said of Ethan Zobelle. Of course, that’s because Zobelle is a different kind of monster completely. In fact, it turns out he’s an FBI snitch, which forces Hale to cut him loose as well, only for Zobelle to go run to the Mayans for protection.

sons_of_anarchy_2-13

While the Sons wait out a seemingly inevitable showdown with the Mayans in the middle of town, Zobelle plans his getaway to Budapest. His daughter wants to say her goodbyes to Edmond first, though, and it turns out to be an unwise decision, because Gemma follows her there and shoots her dead. What Gemma doesn’t realize is that Agent Stahl is also in the house – still trying to get her shit together after she killed Edmond during an attempted escape – and now Stahl has framed her for both murders. She’s nice enough to give Gemma a head start, but that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. After all, regardless of when he gets caught, it’s going to be pretty difficult to prove her innocence when the only other witness in the room is not only the real murderer, but a federal agent as well. Getting the Sons out of those gun charges is one thing, but how are they going to get Gemma out of this mess? You’ve got me, but for the time being, Wayne seems content with the idea of running away with her.

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TCA Tour: “Lie to Me”

“Lie to Me” is a series which I would’ve watched a heck of a lot more if it hadn’t always been up against a series that I already had an existing addiction to, but every episode that I did see was enjoyable, so I’ve already got my order in for a copy of the Season 1 set, so that I can be properly prepped for Season 2. There’s also another really good reason to be ready for the show’s sophomore outing: they’ve added Shawn Ryan – a.k.a. the man behind “The Shield” – to the series’ production team.

How did such a thing come to pass? In a nutshell, Samuel Baum asked him to join, and although the two hadn’t really known each other, Ryan was swayed both by a sudden opening in his schedule and the company Baum was keeping.

“I came out and helped out a little bit on the last couple episodes as a favor to the studio,” explained Ryan. “I didn’t really know Sam, but I had a couple of my old ‘Shield’ writers who were over there, and I thought, ‘Well, that will be cool.’ I enjoyed it: I got to meet Tim and the rest of the cast, I dug the show. ‘The Unit’ was unceremoniously dumped by CBS, so I suddenly found myself with a little time, and I thought I could bring something to the show. It was something that excited me. You see the actors here: it’s an incredible cast, and I just want to get to know these characters better. And believe me, there’s enough work on a TV show for both Sam and I. So it really is a very cooperative, very friendly relationship. There was no “All About Eve” sort of situation here. There’s plenty for both of us do. In terms of what I think I might bring to it, I think I’m trying to push it a little bit more in a character direction, add a little bit of adrenaline to the show, but really sort of dig deep.”

So by “adrenaline,” are we talking more explosions, or what?

“No, no, I don’t mean that exactly,” Ryan said. ” Listen, the show is ultimately based on a group of scientists. And Mekhi (Phifer) plays a character who is not a scientist. But the fact is they are people who are diving into the middle of charge cases and accusing people of being liars. That can lead to consequences. So I don’t mean adrenaline in a ‘Shield’ sense or a ’24’ sense, but they are going to put themselves in some emotionally and physically harrowing situations at times. And I think the pace of the show will increase slightly. And we have a lot of story to tell, and I just think there’s some juice that can be added to the show in a fun way.”

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