Tag: Flight of the Conchords (Page 2 of 3)

TCA Tour, Day 2: “The InBetweeners”

If your name is Will, you wear glasses, and you occasionally had a rough time of it in high school when it came to fitting in, then you will likely find that it’s quite easy to enjoy the new BBC America sitcom, “The InBetweeners.”

Actually, I guess that’s a pretty tiny demographic, so let’s try this: if the idea of an amalgam of “Freaks and Geeks” and “American Pie” delivered in a British accent fills you with joy, then, boy, do Iain Morris and Damon Beesley have a show for you.

Their best-known American credits…okay, fair enough, it’s really their only one…are as the writers of a couple of “Flight of the Conchords” episodes, but with “The InBetweeners,” they’ve put together a raunchy look at teenage life that, at least based on the episodes I’ve seen, is a bit like “Skins” without all the depressing bits…which is to say that the teenagers here are committing the sort of debauchery that you’d like to think that your own teenagers wouldn’t indulge in, even if you’re pretty sure they do, anyway.

“It’s not in any way, I think, really heavy,” said Joe Thomas, who plays Simon on the show. “I suppose it’s heavy in the sense that it’s sort of about inadequacy and expectations not being met and teenager years being sort of perpetually disappointing to a degree you wouldn’t even have thought possible given the last disappointment. But ‘Skins’ has, like, death in it and big themes, whereas we have…”

At this, Morris interrupted his star. “The best example is probably that, in the first series, you might see Joe’s naked bottom. In the second, you’ll see his penis in a wet sock. That’s how we moved it on. That’s how we’ve tried to develop the show and try and just get those themes going through. Of humiliating Joe Thomas.”

“Yeah,” confirmed Thomas, “that’s one of the themes.”

Regarding comparisons to the work of Judd Apatow, Morris is more than happy to consider his work part of the tradition of comedy humiliation. “It’s those things like ‘American Pie’ and ‘Animal House’ and ‘Swingers’ and things that were sort of character stays of men in a way that had humorous content. And in one of the episodes, the last episode, there’s a sort of homage to ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ by which I mean a joke we stole wholeheartedly. Do mention it to Judd if you see him.”

Now, there’s one thing for Americans to keep in mind (as if we’d ever forget): our television standards are more stringent than those of the Brits. This necessitates certain changes in various episodes that air on BBC America, and you can bet that “The InBetweeners” is a series which will require a bit of tweaking.

“We actually do bleep certain words,” said Garth Ancier, President of BBC Worldwide America, then backpedaled slightly and clarified, “We don’t bleep them. We do audio deletes, which is actually a different way of dealing with it. But we do do audio deletes on certain words that start with ‘F,’ and we do pixilate occasional nudity and things like that. Look, we have to live within the U.S. system. These are shows that are airing on free over-the-air television in the UK on E4 and Channel 4, but the U.S. audience is a little tamer, and so we have to calibrate where it should be, and we do. We do it with ‘Skins,’ too.”

“Sounds like bad news for Joe Thomas bottom fans,” said Morris.

Continue reading »

TCA Update: HBO Executive Session

The HBO executive session with Michael Lombardo (President, Programming Group and West Coast Operations) and Richard Plelpler (Co-President) just wrapped up, and here were the highlights:

* Before Plepler and Lombardo took the stage, we were treated to the trailer for the network’s new 10-hour miniseries, “The Pacific,” produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman. Let’s just go ahead and give the Emmy now, shall we?

* “True Blood,” “Hung,” and “Entourage” will all be coming back for new seasons next summer.

* Conversations are underway to potentially bring back “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”

* Neither was willing to offer up any information about how Evan Rachel Wood would look as the vampire queen at the end of the second season of “True Blood,” for fear that they would suffer some horrible fate at the hand of Alan Ball. They did, however, assure us that surprises are in store, and that it totally delivers.

* “Little Britain USA” is not coming back, but they’re talking about bringing creators Matt Lucas and David Walliams back for some specials. It’s still in the development stage, but the intent is to come back with a whole new cast of characters and a whole new approach to their television appearance. In short, they will be back on HBO, though whether it will be at the end of next year or later remains to be seen.

* Season 2 of “Eastbound and Down” will begin shooting it sometime at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, and it will air next year.

* David Simon’s new series, “Treme,” will be on the air next April, fingers crossed. The current intention is for “The Pacific” to premiere mid-March, and, at the end of its run, ‘”Treme” will begin.

* The pilot just wrapped for Martin Scorcese’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and they are anxiously awaiting a cut from Marty so that the series can receive a green light. Provided it’s as good as they’re presuming it will be…and, thus far, “everything we’ve seen is fantastic, big, everything we hoped it could be”…their fingers are crossed that a pick-up is imminent.

* As for Season 3 of “Flight of the Conchords,” the official word is, “When they’re ready, we’re ready.”

* They have begun receiving episodes for Season 2 of “The Life & Times of Tim,” and they describe them as “funnier than the first,” but they haven’t yet figured out where they want schedule the show. They do, however, have an upcoming series that could fit the bill nicely…

* They’ve ordered an animated show from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, based on their long-running series of podcasts. I’m saying it right here: the time is right for Karl Pilkington mania to grip the States!

* Although the histrionics of Jerry Rice probably didn’t help things any, the big reason that the Bengals are the focus of this season of “Hard Knocks” rather than the Cowboys is that the network wanted to open up a new team to the audience and show a different organization and the habits and attitude of that team.

* Season 4 of “Big Love” is scheduled to kick off in January.

* Season 3 of “In Treatment” is something they’re trying to put together, but given that the show was adapted from an Israeli series that only ran for two seasons, they’d have to create all-new scripts for a third season. Still, it’s a good sign that Gabriel Byrne is “very interested” in returning.

* And, lastly, they are forever trying to figure out a way to extend the length of Bill Maher’s seasons, in order to give him more time on the air. Whether that’s a good thing or not, you be the judge.

“Lost” time warps its way to #1 spot on Bullz-Eye’s TV Power Rankings

With the writers’ strike finally behind us, the television industry has sprung back remarkably well. Granted, it isn’t all puppy dogs and ice cream for all of our favorite shows, but after the strike forced us to cancel the spring edition of our semi-annual TV Power Rankings, it’s nice to be able to show some love for those series that had been gone for far too long. A quick look at our Winter 2008 list may suggest that a major shakeup has occurred in our new Top 20 below, but seven of the shows from last November are either on hiatus or cancelled. Likewise, nearly every eligible show previously on hiatus has snuck its way back into the Top 20, while five new shows have also cracked the list. Most of these are experiencing some of their best seasons ever, and though “Heroes” continues its mighty fall, the return of “24” only further cements the notion that TV is back and better than ever.

Below you’ll find a few entries, but be sure to check out the full list, where we’ve also included links to DVD reviews and interviews, as well as a host of Honorable Mentions and our list of favorite shows currently on hiatus.

Continue reading »

“Flight of the Conchords” picks up where it left off

Judging by the first two episodes of the second season of “Flight of the Conchords,” there will be no sophomore slump from the New Zealand folk duo struggling to make it big in New York City. In the second-season premiere, “A Good Opportunity,” Bret and Jemaine fire their manager, Murray, because he’s too busy dealing with another (more successful) band. They immediately get a gig writing a jingle for a commercial and hilarity ensues. Literally.

The second episode — “New Cup” — might have been the best yet. It focuses on all the repercussions of Bret’s decision to purchase a $2.79 mug so that the duo could both have a cup of tea at the same time.

Thus far, it appears that there is a bigger focus on the writing and less of a focus on the music in the second season. The humor was always there, but the writing seems sharper and more directed. While in the first season the musical interludes were quite memorable, they’ve been sort of an afterthought this season. Murray seems to be getting more screen time, and given the hilarious dynamic between he and the duo, it’s definitely not a bad thing. Hell, I chuckle whenever he says the word “Bret.”

If you haven’t checked out “Flight of the Conchords,” the first season is available on DVD. To me, it just may be creeping up on “The Office” as the best comedy on TV.

It’s time to set your TiVos…

There are a number of new (and returning) shows making their season debuts this month. Here is a list of the scripted shows that premiere in the next two weeks (through 1/19):

SCRUBS (ABC)
1/6/09 at 9:00 PM & 9:30 PM
8th season premiere

NIP/TUCK (FX)
1/6/09 at 10:00 PM
5th season winter premiere

10 ITEMS OR LESS (TBS)
1/6/09 at 11:00 PM
3rd season premiere

DAMAGES (FX)
1/7/09 at 10:00 PM
2nd season premiere

FLASHPOINT (CBS)
1/9/09 at 9:00 PM
2nd season premiere

MONK (USA)
1/9/09 at 9:00 PM
7th season winter premiere

PSYCH (USA)
1/9/09 at 10:00 PM
3rd season winter premiere

24 (FOX)
1/11/09 at 8:00 PM
7th season premiere – special night and time

KYLE XY (ABC FAMILY)
1/12/09 at 9:00 PM
3rd season premiere

THE BEAST (A&E)
1/15/09 at 10:00 PM
(from A&E’s press release, November 2008) A&E Network will premiere the original scripted drama series, “The Beast” on January 15th at 10PM ET/PT. “The Beast,” starring Patrick Swayze and Travis Fimmel, centers on an unorthodox but effective FBI veteran, Charles Barker (Swayze), who takes on a rookie partner, Ellis Dove (Fimmel), to train in his hard-edged and psychologically clever style of agenting. In the premiere episode of “The Beast,” the mischievous Barker hazes Dove as they go undercover on their first case to infiltrate a weapons smuggling ring. Barker brilliantly manipulates situations, constantly tests his new partner’s abilities and pushes him to delve deeper into the roles of the undercover characters he creates. Although Dove takes a liking to Barker, the new job takes its toll on him. The stress and danger of being an agent quickly makes him realize that he can no longer maintain normal relationships outside of work. Yet that’s not the worst of it. The rookie is confronted with a larger challenge: An FBI Internal Affairs team feels Barker may have gone rogue and they try to enlist Dove as a double-agent in the bureau’s investigation of his mentor.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC)
1/16/09 at 9:00 PM
3rd season premiere
(Note: I’ve been watching this season and it’s as good as it has ever been.)

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (SCI-FI)
1/16/09 at 10:00 PM
4th season winter premiere
(Note: Be sure to check back for our weekly blog of the final season.)

THE L WORD (SHOWTIME)
1/18/09 at 9:00 PM
5th season premiere

BIG LOVE (HBO)
1/18/09 at 9:00 PM
3rd season premiere

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO)
1/18/09 at 10:00 PM
2nd season premiere

THE UNITED STATES OF TARA (SHOWTIME)
1/18/09 at 10:00 PM
(from Showtime’s press release, June 2008) Showtime Networks has fast-tracked the pickup of THE UNITED STATES OF TARA, a new 12 episode half-hour comedy series starring Academy Award(R)-nominated actress Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) as a wife and mother who suffers from disassociative identity (formerly multiple personality) disorder, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime. The comedy series, a co-production of Dreamworks Television and Showtime Networks, will delve into how a dysfunctional family, including Tara’s working husband played by John Corbett (“Sex and the City”), copes with the various identities that may appear on any given day and range in age, temperament and even gender.

SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL (SHOWTIME)
1/18/09 at 10:30 PM
2nd season premiere
(Note: I’ve seen the first few episodes of the second season and there was no fall off.)

Check back on 1/19/09 and we’ll have another list of debuting shows for you. If you can’t wait, the Futon Critic has a complete list of January premieres.

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2021 Premium Hollywood

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑