Category: TCA Blog 2008 (Page 2 of 11)

TCA Press Tour, Day 10: ABC’s returning drama panels

Even though each of these panels was its own entity, it just seemed best to combine them all into one posting, since I think most people really just want the bullet points about what we can expect from the new season. If I’m wrong, don’t be afraid to tell me so, but in the meantime, here’s what was doled out…

Desperate Housewives

* The big news, as noted in the previous entry, is the five-year jump between last season and this season…or the “One Tree Hill”-ing of the series, if you will. (Look, I’m telling you, this description is so fetch. It’s totally gonna take off.)

* Gale Harold is playing Susan’s new love interest. “He’s kind of an interesting artsy guy who’s very much very different from the previous man in her life,” says executive producer Marc Cherry, “and he will present her with all sorts of new challenges, especially the fact that she kind of doesn’t really even want to be in a relationship. She’s not sure. So that’s kind of some of the colors we’ll be examining there.”

* There are no immediate plotlines planned which surround Andrew’s gayness, but “but some part of Andrew’s personal life will come up and probably cause problems for Bree soon enough,”says Cherry.

* Eva Longoria’s character, Gabrielle, is looking decidedly haggard after the five-year jump, but, then, that’s what happens when you pop out a pair of chubby little darlings in a short amount of time. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

* When asked where Edie’s character would be going this season, Nicolette Sheridan instantly deferred to Cherry, who would only say that “Edie will come back to Wisteria Lane in a very surprising way, and we’re not telling you anything more than that.”

* Neil McDonough is going to be moving onto Wisteria Lane. “He will be bringing the mystery with him,” says Cherry, “and all I’m going to tell you is he has revenge on his mind.”

* Even though he and Susan are no longer together, you will see Mike Delfino in the show. “It will be revealed what happened to Mike and Susan,” said Cherry, “and that’s all I’m going to tell you.” (Do you sense a recurring theme here?)

* The time jump has resulted in some of the actors and actresses playing the kids on the show to fall out of the show by necessity, but at least in the case of Andrea Bowen, who played Julie Mayer, Cherry says, “We’re going to bring her back and try to come up with stories to bring her back,” with fellow producer Bob Daily adding, “I think we’re hoping to see some of those kids in flashbacks.”

* In further discussion of the five-year jump and how much in the way of flashbacks we’d be seeing, Cherry reiterated that they were very much committed to staying in this new time period, with Daily clarifying, “I think the fun for us and the audience is revealing in dribs and drabs what you missed in those five-year periods. Sometimes that will involve flashbacks and sometimes it won’t. I think we’re trying to parcel that out over the first half of the season and then leave some mysteries open.”

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The bitch is back, baby!

Confirmed: Shannen Doherty is returning to “90210.” So sayeth producer Gabe Sachs.

Shannen Doherty

At first, we thought he had hired her as a director of an episode, but, in fact, there will be an episode where West Beverly High puts on a musical, and Brenda Walsh will be the director of that musical.

Per the official press release handed out by The CW after the “90210” panel, Brenda’s departure for London resulted in her ultimately becoming a successful theater actress, splitting her time between London and New York. She soon transitioned into directing for theater and had equal success in that career, which is why West Beverly High has approached her to return to her alma mater as a guest director for the school’s musical production.

And like you haven’t already heard, but Jennie Garth will be returning as Kelly Taylor (now a West Beverly High guidance counselor) and Tori Spelling will be back as Donna Martin, who now owns an upscale boutique. More importantly, though, Joe E. Tata will be back as Nat…and, yes, he’s still the owner of The Peach Pit. Well, he’s the owner of *a* Peach Pit, anyway. It’s not quite the same place you remember, apparently…but more details on that when I write up the “90210” panel in its entirety.

TCA Press Tour, Day 10: ABC’s Show Runners panel

This was a nice idea: get the show runners for ABC’s returning dramas on one panel, and let the critics pummel all of them with questions at one time. It kinda worked…but it also kinda didn’t, with the biggest issue being that the panel ended up being dominated by the producers who also had panels for their own shows. Obviously, I would’ve liked to hear a lot more from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (“Lost”), but I guess it really wouldn’t have mattered a whole lot even if they hadn’t had Marc “Chatterbox” Cherry, producer of “Desperate Housewives,” off to their left, since those guys aren’t exactly known for their loose lips.

Here’s some of the info we managed to gleam from the various show runners…


* We were given no answers as to when the Oceanic Six will return to the island, nor when the two timelines of the show might merge. “Season 5, obviously we’re not going to talk too in depth about,” admitted Lindelof, “but suffice to say, it’s very exciting for us to be 86 hours into the show. We’re going into Season 5, and the fact that people are still asking us, ‘What is the show going to be next year? How are you guys going to tell stories?’ It’s enormously cool. All we can say is it will take place in some time.” (This was the most illuminating thing offered by Lindelof during the entire panel, just so you know.)

* When someone pressed the issue and asked if the Oceanic Six and those remaining on the island would spend any quality time on screen…perhaps a visitation, perhaps a dream sequence, Cuse responded, “Obviously, the turn that’s happening with the characters off the island is that the island does seem to be drawing them back, and Ben makes it kind of clear at the very end of the finale that it’s important that they go back to the island. So that, hopefully, is going to be something that you see a lot of in Season 5, and that’s something we are excited about: the journey about how those six kind of return to the island…or contemplate returning to the island.”

* Lastly, Cuse provided the only actual fact about the upcoming season: “There will be more of Daniel Dae Kim in the series in some form.”

Grey’s Anatomy:

* Shonda Rhimes was – shocker! – tight-lipped about the reported major plotline for Izzie (Katherine Heigl’s character), saying only, “Storywise, we have a really great story worked out that we’re all very excited about.” The end. Ugh.

* She did, however, open up a bit about the lesbian storyline that was introduced last season. “We have a really interesting, wonderful, funny way of laying out the story of Callie and Erica that I’m pretty excited about,” she said, “that I feel like is not necessarily your typical — if there can be a typical — way of dealing with the storyline. What I love is we sort of sat down with GLAAD and talked about women who figure out that they’re lesbians later in life and what that means, and we really were able to find some really great, humorous, and serious emotional stuff to play that’s going to feel really interesting and also affect their lives in the hospital.”

Private Practice:

* Rhimes really only offered one thing for her other show: “Our medical cases this season are really laid out in terms of having real medical and ethical dilemmas and the problems that doctors sort of face every day: what do you tell a patient? What don’t you tell a patient? I don’t think that we’re talking about less soap per se, in that word, but I think that we are talking about sort of making the medical cases stronger so that the soap is supported.”

Desperate Housewives:

God love Marc Cherry. If you looked up “hoot” in your Funk and Wagnalls, there’d be a picture of him. But he spent more time talking about how there should be less sports metaphors in conversation and more Broadway musical metaphors, and that ate up a sizable amount of time during the panel. Funny stuff, but not illuminating from a show standpoint. But we still managed to glean a few items of interest…

* As already leaked by Marcia Cross, the show has jumped ahead in time by five years, thereby inspiring accusations that the series is pulling a “One Tree Hill.” (Actually, no-one even remotely said this, but I’m trying to popularize it, so don’t be afraid to say it to someone yourself.) Of the primary cast members, Eva Longoria has apparently suffered the worst as far as how her character looks.

* Carlos will still be blind…for a little while, anyway.

Ugly Betty:

* Silvio Horta was asked if he’d always intended to get rid of Henry or his departure was to do with Chris Gorham, the actor who played the character. “You know, it was neither,” said Horta. “Part of it was going into the strike and having that time to really think where this was going. I think we kept rushing it and thinking we were going to continue the relationship. We had no end point in sight. And thinking about it and where we could go, I just didn’t see where there was a place that was exciting that I wanted to write about and where I thought the audience wanted to watch it. So it just made the most sense to part ways. Chris is great – this is the second show I did with him – and hopefully he’ll be a part of this at some point. It doesn’t mean that the door is closed to him being a part of this at any point. But it just felt like it was time to move on.” It is perhaps telling…or, okay, perhaps not…that, when asked if Henry would be back at all in the new season, Silvio replied, “I can’t tell you.”

Brothers & Sisters:

* Greg Berlanti only got one question about this show, too, and that was when someone asked if he was repeating himself by having a missing sibling in the last season. “Hopefully, as it plays out, people won’t feel that way,” he said, “and we certainly aren’t designing the story in the same way. I mean, I definitely, toward the end of the year…I think it was a byproduct a little bit of the strike in terms of we had wanted to lay out the story a little bit better initially, and we wanted to dismount from the story a little bit better. And everything was sort of abbreviated. So I don’t think we quite pulled it off entirely. But I’m looking forward to this year. I think people will enjoy the way it plays out.”

Dirty Sexy Money:

Not a word. Maybe Berlanti was saving his strength for later in the afternoon, when the show got its own panel.

TCA Press Tour, Day 10: ABC Family Channel / Disney Channel

My Disney Channel coverage is going to consist solely of me saying that there’s a new Cheetah Girls movie on the horizon where the gals take on India (“The Cheetah Girls: One World”) and that, while they might be hot, the Girls were way too damned perky for a 9:00 AM panel, constantly giggling and talking over each other. (Pity the poor transcriptionist.) Despite some insidiously catchy songs and Bollywood-styled production numbers, there’s no chance in hell that I’m going to be watching this…well, that is, unless my daughter wants to watch it. But she’ll only be three when it airs, so I’m hoping she’s not quite of “Cheetah Girls” age yet. If your kids are in that demographic, though, God speed to you.

Okay, how about a little ABC Family Channel love? This network keeps impressing me with its programming, even if they aren’t necessarily aimed at people my age. They first caught my attention with “Kyle XY” (which returns in January), kept it and held me rapt with “Greek” (returning on August 26th, woo-hoo!), and now that they’ve added “The Middleman,” they’ve secured a position where I’m instantly curious about pretty much anything they put on the air. Of course, by casting Molly Ringwald as the mother of a pregnant teen in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (which just got picked up for 13 more episodes, by the way), they’ve made an entire generation feel really, really old, but at the same time, that generation suddenly has ABC Family Channel on their radar, and I sense that will pay off handsomely for them in the future.

Coming in September is a six-hour miniseries event from the producers of “Alias” and “Gossip Girl” that should really grab those of us who appreciate a chick who knows how to kick ass: “Samurai Girl,” starring Jamie Chung, Stacy Keibler, Brendan Fehr, and Kenneth Choi.

Though “Samurai Girl” is based on a popular series of books by Carrie Asai and Annabelle Verhoye, producer Andre Nemec says we shouldn’t be looking for a precise translation from print to screen. “We really took the spirit and the archetypal nature of characters from the books,” said Nemec, “but because we didn’t really want to tell a story that had already been told, we spun a little bit of a different web. You can read the books, and they’re exciting and they’re wonderful and, obviously, the base for all of this, but the show goes off into a different direction in terms of the overall arc of the story, so it’s exciting and new.”

Hmmm. That sounds a little dodgy, but having checked out some of the miniseries, I do have to admit that it looked great and flowed nicely between drama, action, and even comedy…but, most importantly, Jamie Chung kicks some serious ass…and looks good doing it.

TCA Press Tour, Day 9: ABC’s “Scrubs” panel

Man, I love “Scrubs.”

I’m not gonna tell you that I love every episode equally, because I think even the show’s most diehard fans would concede that it hasn’t entirely been firing on all cylinders for the last year or two, but even the episodes that weren’t consistently great invariably still had moments that made me laugh out loud. So when Bill Lawrence says he’s excited about the prospect of this new season and that he’s feeling creatively reinvigorated, I couldn’t be happier.

“I’m really proud of the show this year,” he assured us. “If you go online, there’s a lot of nerds and blogs…I say “nerds” affectionately…that love to say this season was the best or that season was the best. But I’m going to put some of the shows that we’ve done this year out to people that are interested early before we premiere because I’m really proud of them, and I think they’re as good as anything we’ve done.”

Let’s start off with a few revelations that Lawrence laid out during the course of the panel:

* Ken Jenkins will remain a regular on the show. “Dr. Kelso won free muffins for life on the show,” Lawrence reminded us, “which gives him an excuse to hang around the hospital and be somewhat of a different character.”

* Courteney Cox will be appearing for a three-episode arc as Dr. Kelso’s replacement as Chief of Medicine, and “we would have her back in a heartbeat,” said Lawrence. “I wrote on the first year of ‘Friends,’ so I know her a little bit, and her greatest attribute, besides the fact that she is hilarious and just a great actress, is that she is what we call a gamer. She is up for anything, and I don’t think you get that all the time with high-profile actresses.”

* Don’t hold your breath waiting for another musical episode. “I think we were not the first people to do a musical, nor do I think we are definitely the best people to do a musical, even though I liked ours,” said Lawrence. “I think for us to do another one would be slightly insane, but, as always on this show, there’s a huge musical presence and already there’s a fantastic song that we wrote called ‘Steak Night.’ But probably not another musical.”

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