All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Friday, July 28, 2006

America Does Indeed Have Talent

We have a talent for making two great tastes taste great together!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nobody's Watching picked up by NBC

A couple of years ago, Scrubs scribe Bill Lawrence created a show called Nobody's Watching. It was the story of two guys, best friends united by their mutual love of sitcoms. Lamenting the sad state of sitcoms today, they decide to create their own and move to California to do so. They end up with a development deal with the WB and the show was supposed to chronicle their ups and downs of putting together the best sitcom ever.

In a way, it kind of sounds a lot like the season four arc to Seinfeld.

The show never made it past the pilot stage, despite having some good buzz.

At this point, you'd think the show would be dead and gone.

But now we've entered the new Internet era. The pilot was posted to YouTube and became something of a success. 300,000 people watched the pilot and enough people liked what they saw to tell a friend or blog about it. (I watched the pilot and it is pretty funny). The show had potential, but alas it seemed it would never be realized.

Well, someone at NBC figured that a show that was creating its own buzz and fanbase might be worth giving a shot to. NBC has ordered six episodes of Nobody's Watching for a mid-season berth on the network.

Now, networks spend a lot of money each year trying to find the next big thing that the American public is going to like and embrace. Does the success of Nobody's Watching mean that the networks might try to find new ways to get some direct feedback on pilots and ideas in development? Would you want to watch a streaming episode of a new show and give feedback on it? Would this lead to better shows or just more of the same?

In an interesting turn of events, the failed CW pilot Aquaman showed up on I-Tunes this week. For two bucks, you can see what might have been.

I do wonder if the CW and Warner Brothers (who produced the show) are hoping for some kind of viral marketing and buzz for Aquaman similiar to what has happened here with Nobody's Watching. If there is a positive response to the pilot and a clamor for more, might Aquaman be green-lit for mid-season or next season?

Also, might we be seeing the start of a revolution on content delivery? If people are willing to pay two bucks per episode of a show and you get enough paying customrers, might the networks suddenly be left out of the equation? If the end user can fund the show either by buying it on-line or having it delivered on demand to a DVR, would this be a viable way to produce and distrubute a show? Also, if a show were to go this route, would it be free of the network demands on it in terms of standards and practices?

On the flip side, how hard might it be for the creators to still achieve their vision of the show if the fans feel an even greater sense of ownership of the show since, by golly, we paid for it.

Arrested Development Syndication News

I was going to call this one Arrested Development news, but I thought might give many false hope that the show had been revived.

Arrested Development and its 53 epiosdes of comedy brilliance will go into syndication this fall. And fans can find it one of three ways. One will be on cable's G4 network, which gets farther away from the original premise of the show about computers and technology every day. Another is in HD on Demand.

The third way is on-line with MSN's new video service. But unlike other services that offer episodes of shows on-line, MSN will make AD available free of charge.

Yes, you read that right--free.

Take that iTunes!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The return of Babylon Five

This news should make fellow B5 junkee, Kat Coble extremely happy.

Rumors are circulating from the ComicCon Babylon Five panel that the universe that is Babylon Five will return in series form. The series will be done as direct to DVD anthologies. Here's some details from Ain't It Cool News about the series.

So I thought about it, and I suggested a bunch of short films. Little mini-movies or an anthology show set in the Babylon 5 universe. I pick a character and develop an hour-long story around that character. Stories that I wanted to tell during the B5 series but never had the chance to develop. They said, Okay. I said I wanted complete creative control. Do not change my words that I write, and I want that in writing. They said, Okay. And I want to direct. They said, Okay.

This project was green lit less than two weeks ago. Its going to happen. Production starts in September in Vancouver, Canada. Post-production will occur from October to February with a release of the first three anthologies in the second quarter of 2007.

Also, reading the article, JMS is apparently suddenly a big commodity in Hollywood again. He's got a lot on his plate from the new B5 to writing for Marvel's flagship The Amazing Spider-Man to a new script that is to be directed by Ron Howard.

But let's face it--the exciting news is that B5 could be back...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rumor: SciFi to plan schedule around BSG

Gateworld is reporting this morning that SciFi is considering running the entire season of Battlestar Galactica (which kicks off again October 6) in one, long 20 episode block. Last year, the series ran in two blocks of 10 epiosdes each with a mid-season cliffhanger.

This move would create a six month gap in the seasons of Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis if it were to become a reality. It also shows that while there are other shows on SciFi that attract a good audience (such as last week's premiere of Eureka) that in terms of buzz and attention, SciFi knows where it's bread is buttered--and that is Battlestar Galactica. It could also be seen as SciFi trying to find a way to offer original programming year round to attract and keep viewers to the network.

Friday, July 21, 2006

BSG Season Three Promo

SPOILERS within! You have been warned!

This minute long preview aired during the premiere of Eureka Tuesday evening.

Dear heavens...October cannot get here fast enough!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Heath Ledger?!?

As the Joker in the Batman Begins sequel?!?

Slice of SciFi is reporting that the Latino Review is reporting the story that Heath Ledger is the lead actor to be the Joker in the next Batman movie.

Now before you hit comment to mock me, consider that the Latino Review also broke the story that Brandon Routh was cast as Superman....

Kevin Smith vs Joel Siegel

Movie critic Joel Siegel was at a critic's screening for Kevin Smith's highly anticipated (at least by me) Clerk's 2.

Siegel took offense to a running gag in the film and decided to walk out on the film. According to reports, Siegel made sure everyone in the theater knew he was walking out.

Smith isn't too happy about it--not just the fact that Siegel walked out but that he made such a distraction of himself doing it. In fact, Smith posted about the incident on his MySpace blog.

Then, the two got into on the Opie and Anthony show. But the funny thing is that Siegel doesn't realize for a good amount of time that he's debating with Kevin Smith. You can hear the interview here. I love the pause when Siegel realizes that he's been talking to Smith and then starts to backpeddle.

First of all, I have to say to Joel Siegel, it's a Kevin Smith movie! What'd you expect--fluffy bunnies and everyone hugging?

Clerks 2 opens tomorrow in theaters.

Netflix subscribers can preview two NBC pilots

Starting Aug 5, Netflix subscribers can check-out a DVD containing the pilots of two highly anticipated NBC series as part of their subscription service. The DVD will contain the full pilots for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Kidnapped, as well as previews and teasers for the rest of NBC's new fall line-up.

NBC had a simliar promotion last year when they offered subscribers of Entertainment Weekly the full pilot of My Name Is Earl as part of their regular magazine subscription. But the premire epiosdes of shows have never been released in this massive a campaign and so far in advance of their premiere dates (almost a good six weeks) before. NBC is hoping to capture a target demographic that uses Netflix as well build some early word of mouth for these both shows and the rest of their fall line-up.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Yes, it could capture an audience for these shows but will people be interested in watching the premieres six weeks later? Will audiences instead, having already seen these respective pilots, tune into other premieres and skip these episodes?

It's a risky strategy for NBC, but when you're in fourth place, you've got to do something to make a splash.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This is what entertainment is all about ... idiots, explosives and falling anvils.

Last Saturday morning, I stupidly left the television on Channel 5 for a couple of hours. The combination of Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues and whatever other cloying garbage passes for children's entertainment these days made my brain scream for the sweet embrace of death.

Not to get all Grandpappy-ish, but in my day...

Violent cartoons, crypto-dope fiend puppets and slightly pervy playhouses were what we watched.

And by golly we liked it!

For example, let's look at the offerings on a Saturday morning in 1974. Here is what I would typically watch, instead of that edumacational crap the kids are force-fed today.
8:00--Yogi's Gang
8:30--Flipping between Scooby Doo, Where Are You and Bugs Bunny.
9:00--Hong Kong Phooey or Emergency plus Four. That's right ladies, a cartoon Randolph Mantooth.
9:30--This was a real toss-up. CBS had Partridge Family 2200 A.D., ABC had New Adventures of Gilligan, and NBC had Run, Joe, Run. Of the three, Run, Joe, Run was the best. And by the best, I mean didn't suck as much as the other two. The Gilligan cartoon wasn't horrible. Not like the Partridge Family living in a Jetsonian future with recycled Josie and the Pussycats plots.
10:00--This was a no-brainer. Land of the Lost.
10:30--Depending on the mood and which one was a rerun; Sigmund and the Sea Monsters vs. Shazam.
11:00--Is there any doubt? Superfriends, bitches.
11:30--Star Trek: The Animated Series. No, I don't want to go out and play. I'm watching TV, goddammit!
12:00--U.S. of Archie. Ahead of its time. Spoofed by South Park when Cartman goes back to witness the founding fathers debate war with England.
12:30--Hey, hey, hey! Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. My favorite episode was the one about prison rape.
1:00--"Hey Mom, what's for lunch?"

There you go. At least five hours of eating bowls of Chocolate-Coated Sugar Bombs and sitting three feet from the television every week didn't hurt me none. The kids today are going to wind up being precocious little turds from watching the dreck that passes for children's television these days.

Luckily, you can find the good shows on DVD. Adult Swim has started rerunning Pee-Wee's Playhouse. There is no good reason to make your kids watch the crap of today, when the crap of yesterday is so much better.

Oh, and this long-winded trip down memory lane is to mention in passing that:

Star Trek: The Animated Series is coming to DVD.

Buffy Season Eight...

No, Joss Whedon isn't reviving his classic TV series for the small screen (if he were, I'd barely be able to type with my excitement...).

But he is scripting a continuation of the Buffy saga from Dark Horse comics. EW has the first cover at their web site if you're interested.

The new series picks up after season seven with a new army of Slayers. There will be Dawn agnst and a new big bad for the storyline, which Dark Horse is keeping secret (The Master, anyone?) . The first issue goes on sale at ComicCon this weekend and I know I'll be keeping my eye out for this new series in comic book stores.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Veronica Mars News

TV Guide's Michael Ausiello is at the fall press tour (along with a lot of other media type people) and is posting reports in his blog at TV Guide On-Line.

Yesterday was the press tour for the new CW. There were some interesting tidbits about Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars in his notes.

But one of the most interesting and potentially SPOILERy (turn back now if you don't want to know...) is that....

...uber-VM fan Stephen King might cameo in the third episode next year.

First Joss Whedon and now Stephen this show rocks. So, if you're not watching yet--why the heck not?!?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just another step toward the world predicted by MInority Report

Reading USA Today's coverage of the CBS press-junket for the fall season, I came across this interesting tid-bit of how some of CBS's line-up will be marketed this fall...
In the latest marketing gimmick to promote fall shows, CBS has scrambled together "egg-vertising," ads that will be laser-printed onto fresh eggs sold in supermarkets. Individual eggs will be inscribed with such slogans as "CBS Mondays: Leave the yolks to us" and "CSI: Crack the case on CBS," which will appear alongside expiration dates and "traceability codes" for the ovoid edibles.
Advertising and marketing is becoming more and more pervasive.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Battlestar Start Date Set

Mark you calendars....season three of Battlestar Galactica starts Friday, October 6 at 9 p.m. CST. according to the Unofficial Battlestar Galactica blog, which got its info from the Futon Critic.

Two things: I know where I'll be Friday, October 6th and man, it can't get here soon enough!

See the Emmy nominated episodes

Last week, the Emmy nominations were announced and TV fans everywhere let out a collective "What the heck?" and "Why wasn't ________ nominated?"

So, apparently this new system is not working.

But are you curious about which episodes from last season were screened and given nods and those upon which the categories will be voted?

If you are, this is your lucky day. The L.A. Times blog The Envelope has a full list of the nominated episodes as well as links for most of them on YouTube to watch the episodes. Not all the episodes are up yet, but they hope to have them all posted by mid-August.

As interesting as seeing the epiosdes from the series that were nominated is, I'd also be curious which episodes were submitted for those obvious omissions. (I know, for example, that Lauren Graham submitted the polarizing season finale for Gilmore Girls as her entry).

The Office Webisodes Available.

The first two webisodes for The Office are on-line. It's a running story about the accountants at Dunder Mifflin trying to find a $3000 discrpency in the books.

New webisodes go live each Thursday.

Best Game Show Hosts

GameShow Network is doing a countdown of the greatest game shows of all-time.

RetroCrush has taken the ball and run with it, offering up the top 30 game show hosts of all time. The top five are:
  1. Gene Rayburn
  2. Bob Barker
  3. Richard Dawson
  4. Monty Hall
  5. Alex Trebeck
You can see the rest of the list here. The list is nice becuase it's got tons of links to YouTube clips of the hosts doing what they do best.

Only one woman--The Weakest Link's Anne Robinson--made the top 30.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Emmy nods are out...

So, the nominations for the Emmy awards are out and all I can say is--this new system isn't working. Here they are:

Outstanding Drama Series: Grey's Anatomy, House, The Sopranos, 24 and The West Wing
Outstanding Comedy Series: Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusisam, The Office, Scrubs and Two and a Half Men

Lead Actress/Drama: Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Allison Janney (The West Wing) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Lead Actor/Drama: Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Denis Leary (Rescue Me), Christopher Meloni (SVU), Martin Sheen (West Wing) and Kiefer Sutherland (24)

Lead Actress/Comedy: Stockard Channing (Out of Practice) Jane Kaczmerek (Malcolm in the Middle), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback), Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Lead Actor/Comedy: Steve Carell (The Office), Larry David (Curb), Kevin James (King of Queens), Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Charlie Sheen (Men)

Supporting Actress/Drama: Candice Bergen (Boston Legal), Sandra Oh (Grey's), Chandra Wilson (Grey's), Blythe Danner (Huff) and Jean Smart (24)
Supporting Actor/Drama: William Shatner (Boston), Oliver Platt (Huff), Michael Imperioli (Sopranos), Gregory Itzin (24) and Alan Alda (West Wing)

Supporting Actress/Comedy: Cheryl Hines (Curb), Alfre Woodard (Desperate Housewives), Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds), Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and Megan Mullally (W&G)
Supporting Actor/Comedy: Will Arnett (Arrested), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Bryan Cranston (Malcolm), Jon Cryer (Men) and Sean Hayes (W&G)

Here are some of my initial reactions....

Ok, how the hell did West Wing get a nod for best drama over the clearly superior dramas Battlestar Galactica and last year's best drama winner Lost?!? I'm beginning to think the production staff has comprimising photos of the Acadamy members that they're using to threaten them should they not get a nod...

How did Lost get shut out of all the nominations?!? Is it some insane backlash for the not being able to figure out if there was a new episode on a week to week basis?

OK, I know it was a pipe dream to hope that BSG, Lauren Graham and Kirsten Bell would all get nods, but surely at least one of these three is worthy! To say nothing of Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell from Battlestar.....

And wait--House gets a nod but not Hugh Laurie?!? How in the world?!? Hugh Laurie is the REASON TO WATCH House! Not that it's not good, but without Laurie's stellar work, it's just another medical drama.

OK, things they got correct....Denis Leary for Rescue Me, a nod for Scrubs (hopefully it wins this year) and Jean Smart and Greg Itzin for 24.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New Doctor Who Companion Revealed

Rose Tyler leaves the TARDIS this weekend when Doctor Who's twenty-eighth season (second season of the new series) comes to a close.

This morning the BBC officially unveiled the new companion for when Doctor Who returns next year. Her name is Martha Jones and she'll be played by Freema Agyeman.

Agyeman was in this week's episode "Army of Ghosts" as a different character. She will join the TARDIS crew in the first regular episode next year, meaning the Doctor will be wandering the universe solo for the Christmas special later this year.

Official press-release and a picture are on the BBC's web site.