Tag: Michael Chiklis (Page 1 of 3)

ABC: What’s New for Fall 2010


No Ordinary Family (Tues., Sept. 28 @ 8:00 PM, ABC)

* The competition: “NCIS” (CBS), “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “Glee” (Fox), “One Tree Hill” (The CW)

Starring: Michael Chiklis, Julie Benz, Romany Malco, Autumn Reeser, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Stephen Collins

Producers: Greg Berlanti (“Eli Stone”), Jon Harmon (“Tru Calling”), David Semel (“Life”), Morgan Wandell

Network’s Description: The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie, and two teenage children, Daphne and JJ. To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and distinct super powers. Will their newfound abilities finally bring them together or push them further apart? For the Powells, embarking on a mission to understand their new abilities becomes the key to rebuilding their family life, as they learn what defines and unifies them. Despite the fact they can collectively lift a car, run at lightning speed, read your mind and calculate the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower — all before you say “superhero” – they are first and foremost an average family with everyday problems.

The Buzz: Decidedly strong at Comic-Con, as you’d expect, and there’s no question that ABC’s treating it as a major player in the season, given all of the intrusive pop-ups promoting the series during its current programming. The big question, though, is whether or not non-nerds (and as a nerd myself, please understand that I’m simply using this phrase as to separate us cool kids from those other people) can be sold on the show.

Pilot Highlight: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the members of the family discovering their respective abilities make for the most fun, but as for the best of that bunch, it’s a tie between Jim learning how to jump and Stephanie speeding around the track.

Bottom Line: The pilot is a heck of a lot of fun, offering a sense of humor and a sense of adventure that’s more like a live-action “Incredibles” than another “Heroes,” but given the tough competition, superhero fans had better tune in from the get-go, keep on coming back for more, and spread the good word on the show for all they’re worth if they want “No Ordinary Family” to stick around.

Detroit 1-8-7 (Tues., Sept. 21 @ 10:00 PM, ABC)

* The competition: “The Good Wife” (CBS), “Parenthood” (NBC)

Starring: Michael Imperioli, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds, D.J. Cotrona, Jon Michael Hill, Shaun Majumder, Natalie Martinez, Erin Cummings

Producers: David Zabel (“ER”), Jason Richman (“Bangkok Dangerous”), Kevin Hooks (“Prison Break”), David Hoberman (“Monk”), Todd Lieberman (“The Kill Point”)

Network’s Description: What does it take to be a detective in one of America’s toughest cities? Follow one homicide unit as Detroit’s finest reveal the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism that characterize these inner city cops in this series shot entirely in Detroit, Michigan. There’s the damaged but driven Detective Louis Fitch, a wily homicide vet who is the most respected — and most misunderstood — man in the division; Detective Damon Washington, Fitch’s new partner, who finds the first day on the job is a trial by fire, complicated by the imminent birth of his first child; Detective Ariana Sanchez, sexy, edgy and beautiful, who has emerged from a rough background to become a rising star in the department; narcotics undercover cop John Stone, a streetwise smooth talker, clever and quick with a smile made for the movies, who is teamed with Sanchez — a combustible pairing rife with conflict and sexual tension; Sergeant Jesse Longford, a 30-year veteran and sage of the department struggling with his impending retirement from the force and the city he loves, who, together with his partner, Detective Vikram Mahajan — a fully Americanized son of Indian immigrants — form an amusing mismatch of experience and enthusiasm, intellect and instinct, old school and new world, but whose combined skills have never encountered a case that couldn’t be cleared; and all are headed by Lieutenant Maureen Mason, a strong-willed single mom struggling to balance home and work. The unit works with the primary medical examiner, Dr. Abbey Ward, who has an unusual hobby in her off-hours-roller derby. The men and women of Detroit Homicide are as smart and tough as they come. They have to be, as they struggle with their own inner demons, using only their sharp sense of humor to keep them grounded while working the neighborhoods of the historic Motor City.

The Buzz: The show earned a few headlines when it had to deal with an impossible-to-predict change from its original faux-documentary format after a real death in Detroit during the filming of an episode of A&E’s “The First 48” led the city to ban camera crews from following cops around. The producers, of course, have put the most positive possible spin on the situation, but given that it was one of the few things that instantly helped the show stand out from its fellow police dramas, you know it had to hurt, especially since there hasn’t really been any buzz about the show.

Pilot Highlight: The conclusion to Washington’s first day as a detective. You won’t see it coming, and it wipes away many of your concerns that the show might wallow in schmaltz.

Bottom Line: The cast is strong, but the show still ends up feeling like a typical cop drama. Having both Imperioli (“Life on Mars”) and McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”) back on the beat is nice, and the last scene of the first episode will no doubt bring just about everyone who’s watching back for Episode #2, but it still may not be enough to help “Detroit 1-8-7” compete against two shows that absolutely do have buzz.

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TCA Press Tour, Summer 2010: Day 6

Day 6 of the TCA Press Tour was all about the American Broadcasting Company – that’s ABC to you and me – presenting their slate of programming for Fall 2010, along with a couple of new entries that are technically midseason entries but will likely find themselves slotted into the schedule sooner than that. (You know how it goes: there’s always a show or two that gets the boot within a couple of episodes, thereby giving one of the relief squad a chance to go in early.)

Give Kevin Brockman, ABC’s head of publicity, full credit for getting the first big laugh of the day: he walked onto the stage holding a giant stuffed pink elephant named Binky, allowing him to be flanked by the real elephant in the room while addressing the metaphorical one, which was the somewhat unexpected departure of Steve McPherson, the network’s former President of Entertainment.

“On Tuesday, we issued a statement announcing Steve McPherson’s resignation from ABC Entertainment Group,” said Brockman. “I realize you all may have questions, obviously. That is what you do for a living. But to save us some time and hopefully make this as productive as possible, I just want to say that Tuesday’s statement still holds. It is literally all we are going to say on the subject. So you may ask, but you will get the same answer. So I’m just saying please know that is the statement. We have given it. We will give it again if we need to. But in the spirit of trying to make things as productive today, just realize that that’s where we are. We really have nothing more to add.”

And, indeed, they did not. Someone tried a bit later in the morning to get Paul Lee, McPherson’s hastily arranged replacement, to say something on the matter, but…well, we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s talk about the panel that preceded Mr. Lee’s executive session.

Detroit 1-8-7

Can it really be possible that “Detroit 1-8-7” is the first police drama to be set within the city of Detroit? That would seem to be the case, and yet it seems like such an incredible oversight that it’s never been done before. More impressive, however, is the fact that the show is actually being filmed in Detroit.

“There are a lot of benefits to shooting in Detroit,” said producer David Zabel. “Included in that is that there is a bit of an infrastructure forming of crew. We are filling out our crew with a lot of locals. A lot of locals are working on the show, and hopefully in the long run what will then happen is that a lot of the locals who are working at mid-level positions are going to get better at these jobs and rise up and be doing more of the key department-head work as well. Overall, they’ve been doing quite a bit of feature work in Detroit, so there’s some aspects there that are well in place, but there are some things that are a little bit of a learning curve, and we’re sort of going through that together. A lot of the key department heads are from Los Angeles for now, but the vast numbers of the crew are largely local hires. In certain key departments we had to bring from L.A. in order to have qualified people so that we could deliver the show. Also, they are shooting seven features right now in Detroit, so even the talent pool that exists locally in Detroit is spread a little thin right now. But as the series goes on, I think we’re going to get more and more people that are local working on the show.”

As happy as I am for Detroit that they’ve got this series filming in their fine city, I must say that I got more than a little bored with the plethora of questions about that particular aspect. I was much more interested in the fact that the original conceit of the series as seen in the pilot which was screened for us in advance of the TCA tour – the detectives were being filmed as part of a documentary – has been thrown out the window due to the fact that, as a result of an unfortunate event in Detroit, the city has banned documentary filmmakers from following police officers around. With that having been put into play, they couldn’t exactly show such a thing going on within “Detroit 1-8-7,” now, could they?

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The Shield 7.13 – Family Meeting – Series Finale

Another one of television’s great dramas has come to a close, and if I were to rank the series finale compared to some of the other big ones from the past year or so, it would probably fall somewhere between the disappointing conclusion to “The Sopranos” and the pitch-perfect ending to “The Wire.” It wasn’t great, but it was certainly satisfying, and it wrapped up just about every loose end other than Aceveda’s bid for mayor. Fans of the series have been following these characters for seven years now, and instead of just running through the episode as usual, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to discuss the fates of each character one at a time.

Vic Mackey:

For as much bad shit that happened throughout the episode, this was probably one of the more shocking of the bunch. A lot of people didn’t think it was possible for Vic to get his comeuppance without death or incarceration, but when you consider the kind of person that he really is, it made sense. Vic only needs a few things in life – family, friends, and a badge – and the fact that he no longer has any of them is kind of like sentencing him to his own personal hell. Olivia said it best after Vic begged her to tell him where his children were: “You said goodbye to them the minute you shot another cop in the face.”

The Shield 7.13

All of Vic’s friends are gone, Corrine has put his kids into witness protection, and his new gig at ICE is a boring desk job typing up weekly analysis reports on gang activity in the city. Some might say he’s got it good compared to what could have happened (after all, he’s only obligated to work at ICE for three years and he’s a free man), but the look on his face when he was being shepherded through the mandatory tour of the facilities said enough. That last moment when he grabs his gun and walks out of the office seemed to indicate that he might actually be okay with the cards he’s been dealt, but if that’s the case, then it doesn’t seem like he’s really paid for his crimes at all.

Shane Vendrell:

I’d like to say that I didn’t see Shane’s suicide coming, but it’s been building to this for the past few weeks. In fact, Shane has been in a downward spiral longer than it may seem, and this isn’t the first time he’s contemplated killing himself either. It’s been so upsetting to see him become this way over the last few seasons (as he was one of my favorite characters when the show debuted), and it’s even more upsetting that the writers decided he was such a selfish person that he would kill Mara, Jackson and his unborn baby girl as well. Shooting yourself is one thing, and you could even make an argument as to why he killed Mara as well (though that’d be a hard argument to make considering she was pregnant), but what about poor Jackson? Shane certainly deserved to die, but not on his own terms, and most certainly not after he’s just murdered his own family. With that said, Walton Goggins has never deserved an Emmy nomination more. His performance throughout this season has been nothing short of spectacular, but the scene with him talking on the phone with Vic was some of his best work yet.

Ronnie Gardocki:

Poor, poor Ronnie. He might not have been as innocent as Lem, but he also wasn’t as bad as Vic or Shane either. The chances of him escaping arrest, however, were pretty slim after Vic hung him out to dry last week. There was always the chance that Vic had a backup plan to help Ronnie escape, and I even thought at one point that he might make a deal with Claudette to renege on his deal with the feds in exchange of letting Ronnie go free, but that became less and less likely as the episode went on. And when Claudette ordered Ronnie back to the Barn after he helped Vic take down Beltran, you just knew it was only a matter of time before he’d be arrested. It’s too bad it had to come to this, as I’ve really grown to appreciate Ronnie over the course of the series, but what I don’t understand is how it’s even possible? Can they really take Vic’s confession and use it to prosecute Ronnie, because if so, that sucks.

Dutch Wagenbach:

Not everyone had an unhappy ending, and if there’s one person that deserved it the most, it’s Dutch. Sure, he wasn’t able to put Lloyd away himself (which was kind of bittersweet not only because that was Dutch’s main storyline for the season, but also because we never actually got to see Lloyd confess to murdering his own mother), but at least he managed to score a date with Billings’ lawyer. Plus, after Claudette eventually does retire (which will probably happen sooner rather than later), he’s probably the top candidate to take over as captain. It’s just too bad it didn’t happen in tonight’s episode, because it would have been the perfect topper to one of the best TV characters of the last decade.

David Aceveda:

After taking all of the credit from the Beltran bust, Aceveda appears to be a shoo-in for mayor. But is that really the end of his story? I was left wondering whether or not Aceveda had any involvement in the death of Andre Benjamin’s character. It seemed too much like coincidence that he’d be shot the same day that he challenged Aceveda at a community meeting (and was doing a darn good job of winning supporters), but at the same time, there wasn’t any real evidence that supported that theory. You’d think Ryan would have at least hinted at it if was true, and I don’t recall Aceveda acting suspicious in his final scene with Claudette. Then again, I wouldn’t put it past Aceveda to take such precautions, and it’s just one of the many questions left unanswered after tonight’s finale.

Now, I know that I said I was going to discuss each character one at a time, but the truth of the matter is, it’s getting late and there isn’t a whole lot to say about the rest of the cast. Claudette has finally cleansed the Barn of all things Vic Mackey, and that seems good enough for her, especially now that she’s accepted the fact that she’s dying; Billings won his case against the city and was rewarded with a whopping two days of pay; Julien, Danny and Tina seem poised for promising careers within the department; and Corrine finally got free of Vic’s control.

All in all, not too shabby for a series finale. From the looks of the comments pouring in on last week’s blog post, however, not too many fans are as content with it as I am. Still, even though it wasn’t perfect, Shawn Ryan deserves credit for being able to wrap up as the series as well as he did. It’s always difficult to say goodbye to the shows you love – especially ones as good as this – and though you could debate for hours on how the show should have ended, at least we got a real ending and not some freaking black screen of death.

The Shield 7.12 – Possible Kill Screen

If there’s one conclusion to “The Shield” I never thought possible, it was Vic Mackey receiving a Get Out of Jail Free card for all the crimes he’s committed in the past. Death? Sure. Jail? Why not? Heck, I’d even expect Vic to run away to Mexico before the feds ever agreed to give him full immunity, and after the events of this week’s episode, I still don’t think that’s how it’ll end. Of course, I have to start at the beginning first, as so much happened tonight that it felt epic compared to most weeks.

After Shane and Mara’s last robbery failed to yield the kind of cash they were hoping for, the fugitive couple has hit a dead end. Mara physically can’t take anymore, and she’s not doing so well mentally either after killing two people in an attempt to save Shane from a robbery gone wrong. With her shoulder busted and her pregnancy in its final stages, she begs Shane to throw in the towel and take her home. Shane isn’t doing so hot (he might have a big of drug problem and he nearly kills Tina when she tries to bring him in), but he isn’t about to give up any time soon. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shane has much of a choice. The presidential motorcade that will allow them to make their escape is less than 24 hours away, but with Mara hurt and no car to get around, it’s only a matter of time before Shane either gets arrested or killed.

The Shield 11.12

Sure, they’ve got Corrine working to find them a new mode of transportation (which Vic agrees to take care of), but when the meet is compromised when Vic smells a trap, it pretty much guarantees that Shane and Mara are screwed. It also means that Corrine has to be arrested and thrown in jail to give Vic the impression that she wasn’t in on the set-up, and now, all Vic can think about is saving his annoying traitor of a wife. Luckily, Olivia has managed to secure Vic a job at ICE, as well as full immunity as long as he is able to successfully take down Beltran and his drug ring. When he discovers that the deal is only for him, however, and not Ronnie as well, he quickly turns it down.

That is, until he hears about Corrine’s arrest, at which point he promptly goes back to make the deal. As part of receiving immunity, Vic must confess to every crime he wishes to be protected from, and before he’s even finished with his first statement (the murder of Terry Crowley), Olivia is appalled. Her boss couldn’t have put it any better when he says, “He’s our bastard now.” It was an award-worthy performance by Michael Chiklis for sure, but the look on Claudette’s face when she arrives to find out that Vic has just been exonerated of every bad thing he ever did was absolutely priceless. Claudette takes her anger out on Dutch by firing him, only to realize that it’s the lupus that’s making her act that way. I think it was a given that Claudette would no longer be sitting in the captain’s chair by the end of the series finale, but this more or less confirms that she’ll be gone, and Dutch, most likely, will take her place.

As for Vic, well, he’s put himself in quite the predicament. Not only has he just screwed over Ronnie (who deserves this about as much as Lem getting a grenade dropped in his lap), but Olivia as well, who must now live with the fact that she set a guilty man free, and even set him up with a sweet three-year gig that brings in just over $60,000 a year. I’d hate to think that Vic doesn’t have some kind of contingency plan for Ronnie, but who knows at this point? One thing’s for sure: when Vic finds out about Corrine’s betrayal, it isn’t going to be pretty. That is, unless Ronnie (or God help him, Dutch) decides to strike back at Vic first. Should be an interesting season finale.

The Shield 7.11 – Petty Cash

Does Vic Mackey ever read the newspaper? Because if he did, maybe he would know that there are a lot easier ways to find a job than getting in bed with the Mexican drug cartel. Vic’s been really pushing his luck this season, but none of that compares to his latest plan, which involves convincing Beltran to do business with the blacks (who control 40% of the drug trade in Farmington) and then skimming cash from their first deal. Forget for a moment that Vic has severely pissed off his black associates by essentially forcing them into business with the Mexicans, because once Beltran finds out about Vic stealing money from him, all bets are off.

Vic is hoping that the feds will be able to nail Beltran before it ever comes to that, and for the time being, his plan seems to be working. Not only has he gained trust with Beltran (claiming that he’s his own personal action hero), but he also has the cash needed to pay back Shane. Of course, he’s so busy running around town like a chicken with its head cut off that he gets Ronnie to deliver the package to Corrine. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that by doing so, he’s also escaped certain arrest at the hands of Claudette, who’s idly waiting by with Dutch to pounce on him when he arrives. That’s the good news. The bad news is that now Claudette has even more to pin on poor Ronnie when it’s time for his comeuppance.

The Shield 7.11

Vic hopes that he’ll be able to change both his and Ronnie’s futures by securing jobs with ICE and thereby earning immunity from their less righteous pasts, but while helping bring down Beltran should make Olivia’s boss at least consider that option, he knows that it’s going to take a little more than that. This explains why he’s returned Olivia’s blackmail file to her with no strings attached. Of course, though he isn’t holding the file as leverage against her like Aceveda, giving it back to her and then demanding a big favor is pretty much the same thing. It seems to have worked, however, and Vic and Ronnie are one step closer to being clear of this giant shit storm. They’ve even intercepted the letter that Shane sent to Claudette, but when Ronnie opened it, all he found was a note addressed to him teasing how he was Vic’s little bitch.

No matter what happens in the end, one thing is for sure: Shane is a lot smarter than everyone thought. By sending that bogus letter and setting up the meet that he had no intentions of going to, Shane bought himself a lot of time – time that he needed to put together some extra cash before him and Mara leave town. Though his first plan to rob a stash house doesn’t go quite as planned, Mara suggests they break into the safe at her real estate company. Though they got much less for the cashier’s checks than they were expecting, it should be more than enough to get them where they need to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to matter in the long run, because unless Vic gets off scot-free, there’s no reason Shane should either. Then again, Vic seems to have won over the approval of Corrine yet again with his handling of Cassidy in his final scene, and though it may not seem like she has any more worth to Claudette and Dutch, she might just end up being the wild card when all is said and done.

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