People Talking About TV
“Most people cite The Real World, launched two summers prior, as the founding moment of modern reality television. But its documentary style was only part of the equation. After the Bronco chase, Hollywood seemed to collectively realize what happens when you mix celebrity, steadicams, and a power-hungry ensemble of wannabes — huge audiences congregate. O.J.’s escapade supplied the defining characteristics of the paradigm, making way for such hyperreal spectacles as Survivor, Celebrity Rehab, The Bachelor, and the Housewives franchise.” Here's a very convincing argument for O.J. Simpson’s bronco chase being the real start of reality TV as we know it, god help us. I tried to watch the premiere of American Crime Story, and while I don't think I want to watch this week-to-week, I am really enjoying all the writing about it. Also from Decider, watching the show as a millennial. The A.V. Club gave the second episode a B, Vulture checks the facts, and here's the Marcia Clark cigarette count.
“Disney thought recent subscriber losses were the result of cord cutting, based on Nielsen estimates of multichannel-household pay-TV losses in 2015. Then it concluded that the declines were really driven by ESPN’s absence from “skinny” bundles, the cheaper offerings of limited menus that are becoming more prevalent.” 92 million subscribers is nothing to sniff at, but the Walt Disney Company has become accustomed to everything making all of the money.
“Country house visiting has a long and surprising history. It dates to the eighteenth century and the desire of estate owners to show off their growing collections of art and artifacts, accumulated through expanding networks of global trade and empire. But only the well-connected and the well-off could visit, or rather, be shown around discreetly by a servant. This sort of visiting is familiar to the readers of Pride and Prejudice, where it sets up a climactic encounter between its protagonists. Isobel Crawley recalls: “Even Elizabeth Bennett wanted to see what Pemberley was like inside,” to which Violet tartly replies: “A decision which caused her a great deal of embarrassment, if I remember the novel correctly.”” Watching Downton Abbey with an historian gives the history of visiting great houses, something the Crawley’s weren’t all that familiar with until this week’s episode.
It looks like everyone is coming back to Stars Hollow. Milo Ventimiglia and Jared Padalecki are both coming back to Gilmore Girls, presumably to remind Rory about how they used to date. Sutton Foster, the star of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s sadly cancelled Bunheads, will also have a role in the new episodes.
The BBC’s Top Gear has a final list of hosts, and apparently Clarkson, Hammond and May needed to be replaced by six people. (And a Stig.)
Netflix’s Black Mirror is (unsurprisingly for anyone who’s watched it) attracting some big names. Director Joe Wright will take on an episode with Bryce Dallas Howard and Alice Eve.
Amazon has ordered 13 episodes of Thunderbirds Are Go, the new uncanny valley version of the classic show. Seriously, I don’t know why this new show needs CGI.
Starz has picked up The White Princess, a sequel to their series The White Queen. It will air in 2017.
USA has ordered 10 episodes of Shooter, starring Ryan Phillippe and Omar Epps. It’s based on the movie of the same name.
Casting: Lee Majors has been cast as Ash’s father on Ash vs. Evil Dead. Gabriel Mann has booked a recurring role on Ray Donovan. I still think ABC should have done a Nolan Ross spin-off when Revenge ended. Elizabeth Mitchell will star in Freeform’s horror anthology series Dead of Summer. Lauren Cohan will take a break from killing zombies to guest star on The Mindy Project.
Pilot Casting: Courteney Cox will star and produced a comedy for FOX called Charity Case, about a woman who inherits her late husband’s charitable organization. Candice Bergen has been cast in ABC’s Pearl, a comedy about a matriarch who wants to control every aspect of her family’s life after a cancer diagnosis. Hayley Atwell has been cast in ABC’s Conviction, which makes me really worry about the future of Agent Carter. Nasim Pedrad, who was always great in the kid roles on SNL, will play a 14 year old boy in FOX’s Chad: An American Boy. Adam Campbell, who plays Logan on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, will be one of the leads in Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s NBC pilot. Cole Sprouse has been cast as Jughead in the Riverdale pilot.
Yay! Netflix has renewed Master Of None for a second season.
Two Sons Of Anarchy producers are developing a period drama for HBO based off the bestselling book Lawrence In Arabia. I'd watch that.
People are making a big deal about HBO Now only having 800,000 to 1 million subscribers, but it launched when the last season of Game of Thrones was on, and HBO’s slate of fall shows didn’t exactly make people run to sign up.
What To Watch
HBO’s Vinyl starts this Sunday and the critics are split on this one. The reviews are either kind of a shrug, we’ve seen all of this from Scorsese before, this is nothing new, (Variety, Slate) or Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture claiming it’s the first must see show of 2016. (Tim Goodman is also full of praise, but not that much praise.) If you need a letter grade, Entertainment Weekly gave it a B- I watched every episode of Boardwalk Empire (from the same crew) so I’m in for this one. Plus, costumes!
The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, because nothing says Valentine’s Day like a small town overrun with the undead. If you can't wait, you can watch the first four minutes of the episode right here.
Last Week Tonight also returns this Sunday, and it's worth watching John Oliver talk about the Super Bowl, and make fun of Coldplay, on Late Night.
Scandal returns tonight, with a six month time jump, which is a good move for the show. They should consider doing one of these a season.
Girls and Togetherness, one of which I suggest to people, and the other one I enjoy for the reaction it causes online, return on Sunday. Maureen Ryan reviewed both for Variety.
Hulu’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63 starts on Monday, and Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+, and Variety called it “uneven,” but praised Hulu for trying something ambitious with their original programming. I am going to watch the pilot and see what I think.
Better Call Saul is back on Monday, and Tim Goodman worries about the transformation of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman. Alan Sepinwall also has the same concern, but they both have it because Jimmy turned out to be such a good character, that neither want the show to rush the transformation. Season one was so much better than I was expecting it to be. Also, they released another comic book.
Decider’s list of the 10 cooking shows you should binge watch on Netflix is a winner. I've told so many people to watch Mind of a Chef.
Io9 has a list of 16 mostly under the radar genre shows from the last couple of years that are great, but haven’t really got the attention they deserve. I completely agree about iZombie and Agent Carter. I watch those as soon as they air.
Odds and Ends
I’ve been arguing recently that people should have a base of pop culture knowledge, and this video of a bunch of classic film references on The Simpsons is a perfect example of why. The jokes are better if you know what they are making fun of. Otherwise it’s just a horse head in Lisa’s bed.
Someone made a map of all the TV shows from the U.K., and where they are set compared to where they are actually filmed. So if you ever wanted to know where Top Gear is filmed, or if Downton Abbey is actually in Yorkshire, check this out.
TV Guide has the “definitive ranking of Shondaland baes.” Somehow they managed to get Scott Foley into the top 10 twice.
Trailers: Ooh, I can’t wait for the new season of House of Cards. Nobody has ever been as big of a threat to Francis Underwood than Claire. I was already pretty excited for the new season of Archer, and these clips aren’t helping. If you don’t want to know what happens in the second season of Outlander, you should probably skip this trailer. Netflix’s Flaked reunites Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett, and Arnett finally gets to play a real person. A kind of messed up person, but still. Broad City returns next week, and this trailer finally gives us more information on what’s up with Abbi and Ilana. Andrew Dice Clay’s Dice starts on Showtime in April, and it actually doesn’t look half bad. Good cast too.
I am not even going to try to do this Friends IQ quiz because I won’t get any of the questions right.
The Tonight Show, The Roots and guest Ryan Reynolds found out the hard way that Katie Holmes is surprisingly ruthless at musical beers.
The Late Late Show sent James Corden’s parents to San Francisco to cover the Super Bowl. They are extremely game for whatever.
Based on these clips from the SNL rehearsals, it’s really amazing that Larry David made it through the Kevin Roberts sketch without laughing. He’s laughing so hard that he’s basically the same color as the suit they made him wear.
Thanks for reading! I will have lots of stuff on The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey in Tuesday’s Watercooler.
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