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Another Downton Abbey wedding, FOX goes back to 2005, and how The Bachelor chooses an occupation for you.

Tuesday January 19th 2015

The Watercooler

“His lament for the lost days— his memories of women climbing the grand staircase at evening’s end, the candlelight flickering over their faces, their diamonds twinkling in the dimness—is an elegy for an entire age gone by, and it gave me goosebumps. This is what Downton Abbey does best, capturing a sense of something grand and glorious, even foolhardy, that’s gone forever.” The A.V. Club gave this week’s outing of Downton Abbey a B, and that scene really was a great comparison to Downton, which is a house that still employs and under butler and doesn't have underthings drying in front of the drawing room fireplace.

“And while we’re sure we were supposed to clap in glee at the sight of Tom returning to the family fold, we couldn’t help thinking that despite all the battles Mrs. Hughes had to fight in order to yank control of her wedding away from her employers, she was still stuck playing second fiddle to the Crawley family and their ongoing dramas at her own reception. We would have loved to have seen even the slightest flicker of annoyance cross her face at Tom’s grandstanding, but we suppose that would have been too much to ask of Fellowes.” Seriously. He could have waited outside for a couple more minutes. And was he even invited? As far as anyone knew, he was in Boston, right?

“Denker is never scarier that when she's being helpful, and Spratt clearly knows he's in for the business.” Can we have a spin-off of Denker and Spratt? I’d watch that. Maybe they could solve crime or something?

The Business

FOX has decided they want to go back to 2005, so they are bringing back 24, minus Jack Bauer. They are also going ahead with that limited series version of Prison Break.

Netflix has ordered another 13 episode season of Jessica Jones, and announced a whole bunch of dates for new and returning shows.

Netflix has given a straight to series order of eight episodes to Haters Back Off, from YouTube favorite Miranda Sings.

PBS will air Hamilton’s America, a doc about the making of the musical that you can’t get tickets to, sometime this fall.

Matt Groening is reportedly in talks with Netflix for a new animated series. Based on his other shows, whatever it is, I will watch it.

HBO’s Westworld is planning on a brief hiatus from production, they say it’s because they need to finish the last four scripts, but others are pretty sure there’s a robot uprising.

Casting: Tim Curry will play the Criminologist Narrator in FOX’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. Damn it, now I have to watch this thing, don’t I? Neil Patrick Harris will play Count Olaf in A Series Of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. Trisha Yearwood will play Mary in FOX’s live musical The Passion. It will be staged live in New Orleans, including a procession to the Mississippi River. Charisma Carpenter has booked a multi-episode arc on Chicago P.D.

Renewals: In today’s unsurprising news, FOX has renewed Empire for a third season. Netflix renewed Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a third seasonScream Queens will return for a second season, and if you find this baffling, because it was terrible and had terrible ratings, click the link. Spike has renewed Lip Sync Battle for a third season.

Chuck Lorre is reportedly pitching a comedy set at a Colorado marijuana dispensary, and honestly, how has it taken this long?

It’s still at the pilot stage, but Jordan Peele is writing a pilot for FX that will star Tracy Morgan. I'd watch that.


People Talking About TV

“To film The Bachelor, Kelly Travis took six weeks off her job doing business development for a construction company. She made it through five episodes, enjoyed hanging on some Vietnamese beaches, was eliminated peaceably, and accomplished her goal of barely conversing with Bachelor Juan Pablo at all. When the contestant bios were released online before the season premiere, she was back at work in Atlanta. And suddenly there was a photo of her grinning face next to her name, her age (27), and the words “Occupation: Dog Lover.” “I was like, ‘WHAT??’ Travis said. “I have a job. Now everyone who watches this show is going to think I don’t.”” Behind the scenes on how they choose your occupation on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and how a good number of the contestants all have the same real life job.

“While watching Making A Murderer I went through a series of emotions: Anger, confusion, frustration, feeling powerless. But one emotion that didn’t hit me? Surprise. I was not shocked that the justice system was so flawed and that the Manitowoc County sheriff’s department was dauntingly untrustworthy. Why? I’m a woman of color.” From Fusion, what Making a Murderer is teaching white people. On a less depressing note, there’s a Tumblr devoted to the “early-mid 2000s normcore style of Dean Strang.” 

“In terms of the profitability issue, Landgraf characterized it as part of a larger contrast between traditional TV companies and tech-centric newcomers. Profitability isn’t as much of an issue for investors when it comes to Netflix et al as it is for Fox because “there’s a perception that is very carefully cultivated by Silicon Valley that they’re going to take over everything. You’re buying the future. (Whereas) we have to return a profit for our shareholders,” he said.” FX’s John Landgraf talked about “Peak TV” and how difficult it can be to get talent, and compared it to Moneyball. There’s also some good stuff on ratings, what shows FX lost out on, and a revision to the actual number of scripted shows.

“Continuing with my bad fast food analogy, too much crappy food would inevitably make us throw up, but that’s not even the real problem (although I do suspect news of a Gotham spinoff would, in fact, make me vomit). It’s that what is marginally a treat when it comes once a week is purely disgusting when consumed twice a week.” Rob Bricken at io9 is really not onboard with the idea of a Gotham spin-off.


What To Watch

I have a list of 12 new shows to talk about for Thursday, but thankfully today is a little lighter.

The one returning show I am excited about this week is Agent Carter, which returns tonight. There are two episodes on tonight, plus ABC has a special before about the history of Captain America. Does Peggy still need everyone constantly reminded about her relationship with Steve Rogers? Anyway, Peggy is off to punch everyone in L.A.

War and Peace is hard to avoid, since it’s playing on History, A&E and Lifetime this week. The first episode of six aired last night, and even though it glosses over a lot, and it would have to, the book is really long, it’s still looks like they spent a ton of money on it.

Shout Factory TV has a ton of episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, including the 1974 episode featuring David Bowie.

It got OK reviews when it premiered, but the good reviews for The Grinder keep piling up. This one calls it a worthy descendant to Arrested Development.

Do you have 7.5 hours to spare? Then the news that HBO will air an uncut chronological version of all three of The Godfather movies this month might interest you. There are even scenes that were cut out of the theatrical versions. But is it enough to get me interested in watching the third movie again?

If you need something light after watching several hours of something like Making a Murderer or Game Of Thrones, then perhaps Alan Sepinwall’s review of Angie Tribeca will convince you to binge watch TBS’s new comedy. I watched the first three episodes last night and it is indeed extremely silly, but if you are in the right mood for it, or you are a big fan of anything featuring Leslie Nielsen, then this is the show for you.

If you are looking for a new show, then maybe this list of the 18 best currently airing shows will help.

It won’t help you now, but IndieWire’s list of the 17 most anticipated new shows of 2016 might get you excited about future TV. I will be watching at least the pilot of every one of these.

The A.V. Club gave the pilot of Billions a C, and I have to agree. The writing is so obvious, I almost laughed when they cut to the poor dog with a cone. "Aw, they took his balls, NOBODY IS GOING TO TAKE MY BALLS." And ugh, so much tough guy talk. Will you guys let me know if it gets better? Or if they just hand the show over to Maggie Siff’s character?

Mark Your Calendars: Season four of The Americans begins on March 16th.


Odds and Ends

SNL had Adam Driver as the host this week and I though he did a great job, though the writing was kind of flat. (Though Cecily Strong’s Jasmine getting hit with a giant bird is solid. I laughed really hard at that.) The highlight for most people though will be the Kylo Ren episode of Undercover Boss.

Rachel Bloom from Crazy EX-Girlfriend used to be an intern on SNL, and she has some stories for Seth Meyers and the Late Night audience.

All three players guessed wrong on Jeopardy last night, which I guess is the best outcome if you are one of the contestants who guessed wrong?

If you are like me, then you will appreciate Vanity Fair’s look at the costumes from PBS’s Mercy Street. 

Trailers: Pee Wee’s Big Holiday arrives on Netflix on March 18th, and there’s a teaser trailer. I basically have Pee Wee's Big Adventure memorized, so this exciting. Last Week Tonight returns on February 14th, and I can’t wait. I can definitely wait for Fuller House. Here’s the newest trailer that exists. Orange Is The New Black returns June 17th, but the first trailer doesn’t tell us a whole lot. Netflix’s Love looks very Judd Apatow, and I can add it to my list of shows that are filmed in L.A. and actually looks like L.A.

Uproxx gives a convincing argument for Jim being the villain on The Office.


That's all for today, but I will be back on Thursday with more. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

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