Category: The Shield (Page 2 of 11)

TCA Tour: FX Executive Session

John Landgraf, President of FX, just sat down and gave us his Executive Session, and here’s what came out of it:

* FX pursued six pilots this time around – three dramas, three comedies – and they’ve already picked up two of those. The first is an animated series entitled “Archer,” which stars Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, and H. Jon Benjamin, and is set at ISIS, an international spy agency where global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. (I’ve seen the first episode and it’s very Adult Swim, but that’s to be expected from a show created by Adam Reed, the man behind “Sealab 2021” and “Frisky Dingo.”)

The second, “Lawman,” was developed by Graham Yost (“Boomtown”) and stars Timothy Olyphant (“Deadwood”) as Raylan Givens, a character created by Elmore Leonard in his short story, “Fire in the Hole.”

* The network is also working with Louis CK, is looking into “Terriers,” created by Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin, and a pilot entitled “Lights Out,” which was written by Justin Zackham (“The Bucket List”) and stars Holt McCallany, Elias Koteas, and Melora Hardin.

* Landgraf was absolutely not surprised about the lack of Emmy nominations for “The Shield.” I find that sad.

* The current “Rescue Me” season,, which Landgraf says they are “unbelievably satisfied” with, will consist of 22 episodes, and FX has picked up 18 more for next season, though they are contemplating expanding that order. When the show returns next summer, it will probably be earlier than it was this year. (The delay was predominantly due to the writer’s strike.)

* “Testees” will not be back for a second season on FX, but it will have a second season…in Canada, where it was apparently more successful.

* Announcements regarding the cast of Season 3 of “Damages” will hopefully be made within the next week or two, and Landgraf says, “I don’t think anyone in this room would guess who they’re going to.” The network was naturally disappointed with the ratings of the series in Season 2, but he admits, “It’s a very demanding show. It’s one where you can’t watch 3, 5, 7 episodes out of 13. You’re either in or you’re out.” This obviously doesn’t fit the current mindset for TV viewers, who he describes as being “more interested in dating than marriage,” but the series is what it is.

“If we came back with ‘Damages’ and it was Patty Hughes as Perry Mason, and every year she broke someone down on the stand and got her man or woman, you guys would literally be eviscerating me,” said Landgraf. “And I would deserve it.”

Lastly, here are the premiere dates for your favorite – and soon-to-be-favorite – FX series:

Sons of Anarchy,” Season 2 premieres on September 8th
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Season 5 premieres on September 17th
Nip/Tuck,” Season 6 premieres on October 14th
Archer,” premieres in the fall
Damages,” Season 3 premieres in January 2010
Lawman,” premieres in the spring of 2010
Rescue Me,” Season 6 premieres in the spring or summer of 2010

TCA Tour, Day 2: “Occupation”

I knew less about “Occupation” than any of the four series that were being spotlighted during the course of BBC America’s time at the TCA tour, but I certainly recognized the actor who was in attendance to promote the show. James Nesbitt’s been working steadily since he turned up at the 2007 TCA tour to sing us a song or two and tell us about “Jekyll,” having played both a tabloid journalist (“Midnight Man”) and Pontius Pilate (“The Passion”), but this time he’s part of the ensemble of “Occupation,” a series which takes a look into the lives of three soldiers who all return to Iraq for the wrong reasons: one for love, one for money, and one for duty.

We do see at least one American within the context of “Occupation,” but for the most part, we’re offered the British perspective of the war in Iraq. It’s a side of the story that we haven’t really gotten to see before, but creator Peter Bowker (“Viva Blackpool”) believes that the themes of his series are fairly universal.

“I think it’s about love, about what it is to be a man, and it’s about doing the right things for the wrong reasons and the wrong things for the right reasons,” said Bowker.

He is not, however, going to hazard a guess as to how Americans will respond to the series. “I think fairly typical things happen in any wars that are engaged in,” he said, “and I think that in this particular war, although it took awhile longer in Basra for the local population to become alienated from the Brits, I think it did happen. I think maybe the surprise will be that it’s not a war drama in that the whole thing isn’t set actually in the war. One of the starting points for this for me was ‘The Deer Hunter’ and noticing in ‘The Deer Hunter’ how little screen time, relatively speaking, is spent in Vietnam. As a writer, ultimately, for me what happens afterward is a far more interesting dramatic field than actually what happens during wartime.”

In order to acclimate himself to the material of “Occupation” as much as possible, Bowker worked with the charity Combat Stress, which counsels traumatized ex-servicemen.

“What the counselors said there was that the mind-set of soldiers who were seeking help was very similar to the mind-set of soldiers coming back from Northern Ireland, in that it didn’t seem entirely clear what the aims of the war were, and going in to ostensibly help a civilian population, which then became hostile…and with good reason, in lots of cases,” said Bowker. “That seemed to be the mind-set. The thing they said that was most significant was the speed with which ex-servicemen were seeking help from the Iraq war. They had never seen that before. They thought of a new intensity, but they said that was partly because young soldiers were no longer seeking solace in alcohol, they were seeking solace in drugs…and we do touch on that in the piece.”

If you’ve never been a situation such as this, then it may strike you as a bit unlikely that a soldier would make a concerted effort to return to the country where he once fought a war. Nesbitt has a theory about that.

“In the arena of war there is, sort of bizarrely, a sense of security for soldiers, because they’re more comfortable in their uniforms, I think, than they are in their civis,” he said. “I think the rhythm that war gives them with the camaraderie, which we discovered, was so important to them – that they can confide in each other, that they are completely together – is in stark contrast to them coming away from that situation losing the uniform, going back into a family life where they feel terribly displaced because of what they’ve seen and what they’ve gone through. They can’t really share that with their partners and their families. I was struck very much by how they’ve lost the rhythm of how to behave physically and emotionally at home. In our piece quite early on, you see when my character comes home he just doesn’t know how to be with his family. They don’t know who turns the kettle on. They don’t know how to react. It was something about the human element of the impact of war that it has on the families that struck me as something that I think is and will hopefully be universal.”

“Occupation” premieres on BBC America in October.

Please, won’t you lend a television critic a hand?

The Television Critics Association has officially begun the gearing-up process for its 25th annual awards, which will honor the finest work of the 2008-09 season as selected by the association’s 200-plus member critics and journalists. One of those members is yours truly, and I figured I’d see what the readers of Premium Hollywood had to say about the nominations and who they’d like to see win the various categories. I’ll have to submit my votes by June 10th, but since the winners won’t be announced until August 1st (the ceremony takes place at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, CA, with Chelsea Handler opening the ceremony), so speak up quickly. There are a couple of things I’m on the fence about, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts before I make my final selections.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

* “Battlestar Galactica” (SciFi Channel)
* “Lost” (ABC)
* “Mad Men” (AMC)
* “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
* “The Shield” (FX)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

* “30 Rock” (NBC)
* “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
* “The Daily Show” (Comedy Central)
* “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)
* “The Office” (NBC)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

* “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
* “Friday Night Lights” (NBC/DirecTV)
* “Lost” (ABC)
* “Mad Men” (AMC)
* “The Shield” (FX)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT MOVIES, MINI-SERIES AND SPECIALS

* Summer Olympic Coverage (NBC)
* “24: Redemption” (Fox)
* “Generation Kill” (HBO)
* “Grey Gardens” (HBO)
* “Taking Chance” (HBO)

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

“Fringe” (Fox)
“The Mentalist” (CBS)
“No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” (HBO)
“True Blood” (HBO)
“United States of Tara” (Showtime)

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

* Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
* Steve Carell (“The Office”)
* Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)
* Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”)
* Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”)

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

* Glenn Close (“Damages”)
* Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”)
* Walton Goggins (“The Shield”)
* Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
* Hugh Laurie (“House”)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING

* “Camp Rock” (The Disney Channel)
* “The Electric Company” (PBS)
* “Nick News” (Nickelodeon)
* “Sid the Science Kid” (PBS)
* “Yo Gabba Gabba” (Nickelodeon)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS & INFORMATION

* “60 Minutes” (CBS)
* “The Alzheimer’s Project” (HBO)
* “Frontline” (PBS)
* “The Rachel Maddow Show” (MSNBC)
* “We Shall Remain” (PBS)

HERITAGE AWARD

* “ER” (NBC)
* “M*A*S*H” (CBS)
* “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
* “The Shield” (FX)
* “Star Trek” (NBC)

TV Roundup: “The Shield” creator joins “Lie to Me,” “24” gets real and more

– I haven’t watched “Lie to Me” because I am generally anti-procedural these days, but the news that “The Shield” and “The Unit” creator/producer Shawn Ryan is joining the series as its showrunner has me intrigued. Unfortunately, this probably means the end for “The Unit.” R.I.P., my friend.

– Even though the finale to the eighth season felt a lot like a series finale, a ninth season of “Scrubs” looks like a lock because Zach Braff has agreed to appear in six episodes. Six episodes? For real? What’s the point?

– “Glee,” the latest from “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy, got a great review from EW.com, even though the reviewer is not a musical kind of guy. “Glee” is a musical comedy, with an emphasis on comedy. It debuts next Tuesday on Fox.

Kiefer Sutherland tells Reuters that the eighth season of “24” is probably the “most realistic” yet. This is good news because the last seven seasons have gotten increasingly ridiculous.

Seven shows that just don’t get enough love

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to put together a list of my favorite television moments before the end of 2008, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the tube. (Come to think of it, maybe my television addiction was the reason I didn’t have the free time to write about the best of 2008. Hmm.)

Anyway, here is a list of seven terrific shows that seem to be flying under the proverbial radar.

1. “True Blood” (HBO)
Alan Ball, the writer of “American Beauty” and the creator of “Six Feet Under,” brings us a series based on vampires in the Deep South. The series is based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series of books and stars Anna Paquin — whom I argued, under the moniker of Eli Cash a few years back, would have made a better Penny Lane than Kate Hudson — as a mind-reading waitress in a small town in Louisiana. The first season was excellent, though it got off to a bit of a slow start. Paquin is the key, but her best friend Tara (played by Rutina Wesley) often steals the show.

2. “Dexter” (Showtime)
Everyone’s favorite serial killer is back for a third season. Dexter Morgan works for the Miami Police Department as a blood splatter analyst and he spends his night hunting and killing the worst criminals in South Florida. This series has been excellent from the start, and shows no signs of slowing down. This season brought in Jimmy Smits as an Assistant District Attorney with a serious dark side. After “Six Feet Under,” I thought I’d always see Michael C. Hall as the openly gay David Fisher, but now I can’t imagine him as anyone other than the dark and secretive Dexter.

3. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (FX)
Maybe this show just too crass to be mainstream, and thinking about it, that’s probably what makes it so great. “Sunny” really hit its stride in the third season, and the fourth season was even better. The show follows a group of friends (and Danny DeVito) that own a bar in Philadelphia. Every episode has its own completely ridiculous premise, but once you accept that every single character is a selfish, narcissistic moron, it becomes that much funnier. As far as sitcoms go, for me, the excellent fourth season put it in the same tier as “The Office,” “30 Rock,” “Weeds” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and that’s some good company.

4. “Summer Heights High” (HBO)
Anyone who dug the U.K. version of “The Office” should check this series out. It’s an Australian mockumentary that follows three characters — the effeminate drama teacher Mr. G, the snotty private school transfer Ja’mie and the disruptive Tongan student Jonah — which are all played by the same actor, writer/creator Chris Lilley. Watching a grown man run around in a school dress is ridiculous, but that’s part of the fun. Lilley is extremely talented; it can’t be easy to morph into three very different characters every week. The humor is outrageous and the situations (especially involving the clueless Mr. G) can be David Brent-type awkward.

5. “Supernatural” (CW)
This sci-fi/fantasy series started off in typical “freak of the week” fashion with a different monster to defeat each week, but as it got into its third season, it really developed some serious, serialized chops. Now in its fourth year, the show continues to follow two brothers who are “hunters,” i.e. they fight all manner of evil — demons, vampires, ghosts, etc. Even in its first year, the show held my attention, but with all the happenings of the last two seasons, new episodes don’t sit on my TiVo for very long. Viewers who like sci-fi/fantasy should definitely check out “Supernatural.”

6. “The Unit” (CBS)
I think a lot of people write off “The Unit” as a typical CBS show like “CSI” or “NCIS” (or some other acronym), but as the show as worn on, it’s simply gotten better and better. The subject matter is ripe with storylines; the show follows members of a Special Forces unit (led by super-badass Jonas Blane, played wonderfully by Dennis Haysbert) and their families. A quick look at the production staff reveals a couple of big names — David Mamet (“The Untouchables,” “Glengarry Glen Ross”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) — that instantly give the show some serious credibility. Early on, the series could get a little “hooah!” and focus on the wives a bit too much, but the later seasons have struck the perfect balance between the professional and the personal.

7. “Brotherhood” (Showtime)
It doesn’t have as high of a profile as “The Sopranos” and maybe it’s not as addicting, but “Brotherhood” has the same feel and the same quality of writing. It follows two brothers in Providence, Rhode Island. One is a corrupt state congressman trying to do right by his family and the other is deeply involved in organized crime. Those that miss “The Sopranos” or “The Wire” should definitely rent the first season of “Brotherhood.”

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2021 Premium Hollywood

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑