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<p>Josh Holloway of &quot;Intelligence&quot;</p>

Josh Holloway of "Intelligence"

Credit: CBS

Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence'

It's like 'Chuck' only for CBS, so much less fun and more likely to be popular

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Intelligence" (CBS)
Airs:Mondays at 10 p.m. at Midseason
The Pitch: "He's like Chuck, only without that pesky nerdiness. And likability."
Quick Response: Josh Holloway's character in "Intelligence" is like Chuck Bartowski except that his Intersect is more of an in-brain dial-up modem giving him access to all of the world's networked data, but when it comes to the physical side of things, he has an advanced military record already. That means that the character has no charming awkwardness, because he was already a cocky Alpha before he got his enhancements, leading to a guy who would be really unappealingly smug except that he's played by Holloway and may be unappealingly smug despite being played by Holloway. This could just be a personal preference thing. As a kid, I loved "Greatest American Hero" and was less interested in "Six Million Dollar Man" -- I like the humility of a person who gets improvements he may not necessarily be prepared to handle, as opposed to a efficient killing machine who just gets new powers. And those new powers are already well-established when the series begins. It's a mistake of point-of-entry perspective, since we don't get to see Holloway's character adapt and the only character coming into this high-tech world for the first time is Meghan Ory's secret service agent, who doesn't seem especially shocked by anything she's discovering. If nobody on-screen is impressed, it's harder for people in the audience to be impressed. [You'll recall that "S.H.I.E.L.D." has three point-of-entry characters, which I said was maybe too many, but at least the pilot doesn't lack for people being in awe.] But I guess this is the way CBS likes it. This is cold and impersonal stuff, paying lip-service to the idea of an ongoing mythology, but delivering a pilot that's mostly perfunctory exposition -- "We gave a human the kind of power that had previously only been found in a machine. We created a man who was the first of his kind, an advanced intelligence agent." -- and belabored procedure, which I think will play just fine for a CBS audience. I suspect that that's not the audience that reads my blog and that the audience that likes the kind of TV I like will wonder why, other than Holloway's gruff sarcasm, the pilot is so devoid of incredulity-defusing humor and why the chemistry-free chatter -- it's not even up to the level of "banter" -- between Holloway and Ory is expected to be enough to instigate the Will-They/Won't-They investment that the show needs to thrive (even if all suggestions are that it won't be an immediate thing). Nothing in the "Intelligence" pilot was straight-up bad, but the visualization of the main character's skill-set is lackluster, the action sequences are weakly choreographed and the long-term plot is tough to care about. So it comes down to: Do you like Holloway, Ory and Marg Helgenberger? Are you willing enough to watch a show with them to see if "Intelligence" ultimately has higher aspirations than what the pilot sets out? Shrug.
Desire To Watch Again: "Intelligence" comes across as a less-interesting version of "Person of Interest," which even in its dreadful pilot seemed to have bigger things on its mind. I stuck around with "Person of Interest" and there were five or six episodes last season in which I felt that patience was rewarded. I'll at least give "Intelligence" one or two more episodes. Honestly, I think I liked the pilot more before watching it a second time at Comic-Con. Lots of pilots -- including "S.H.I.E.L.D." -- really aren't designed for rewatching, they're clunky engines meant to blast you into regular viewing. This wasn't much of a blast.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

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<p>Jason Bateman in &quot;Bad Words.&quot;</p>

Jason Bateman in "Bad Words."

Review: 'Bad Words' is a dirty, hilarious smash for Jason Bateman

Spelling Bee farce proves Bateman is a director to watch for

TORONTO - In hindsight, no one should be surprised that Jason Bateman turned out to be a very smart and talented movie director. The Hollywood veteran has had a lifelong lesson in what works and what doesn't whether it was on the set of TV's "Silver Spoons" when he was a teenager, amongst the creative ensemble of "Arrested Development" or any number of hit comedies he's starred in over the past five years such as "Identity Thief" or "Horrible Bosses." And did we mention he's been directing TV sitcoms since he was 20? With "Bad Words," which premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival Friday night, Bateman will make many wonder if some of his recent flicks might have actually been even better if he'd been behind the camera instead of just in front of it.

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<p>Ariana Grande</p>

Ariana Grande

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Ariana Grande set to top next week's Billboard 200 if she holds off Tamar Braxton

Where do Nine Inch Nails come in?

There will be a bunch of new faces on the Billboard 200 next week as up to five acts debut in the Top 10.

Pop singer Ariana Grande’s “Yours Truly” is in the lead for the top spot going into the weekend, but only by a slim margin over Tamar Braxton’s “Love and War.”

Hits Daily Double projects that “Truly” will sell up to 115,000 for No. 1, while “Love” will post numbers around 110,000, for No. 2, but it’s still too close to call.

Debuting at No. 3 will be Nine Inch Nail’s “Hesitation Marks” with sales of up to 95,000.

The other bows in the Top 10 are likely to be John Legend’s “Love In The Future” at No. 6 (55,000-60,000) and Jaheim’s “Appreciation Day” at No. 7 (45,000-50,000).

Filling in the rest of the top 10 will be Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” at No. 4 (70,000-75,000), Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at No. 5 (65,000-70,000), this week’s No. 1 title, Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail To The King” at No. 8 (40,000-45,000), Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” at No. 9 (35,000-40,000) and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at No. 10 (35,000-40,000).

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"Michael J. Fox" gets parents: Candice Bergen and Charles Grodin


"Michael J. Fox" gets parents: Candice Bergen and Charles Grodin
They've been tapped for a potentially recurring role on the NBC sitcom.

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<p>Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal find different paths through the darkness in the harrowing new film 'Prisoners'</p>

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal find different paths through the darkness in the harrowing new film 'Prisoners'

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal both dig deep for the brutal, haunting 'Prisoners'

The French-Canadian director of 'Incendies' makes a strong US debut

TORONTO - I think it's safe to say that "Prisoners" is the best police procedural since "Se7en," and it works as a grim, ugly companion piece to that film in the way it is meticulously plotted without ever truly telegraphing its intentions. The difference is that "Prisoners" also focuses on the way grief drives us mad in the long haul, and just how fragile parents are when it comes to the notion of anything happening to their children.

I've certainly seen a number of films that cover similar thematic ground to "Prisoners," but Aaron Guzikowski's script takes its time, laying out its various tricks and traps very carefully, so that when it decides to hurt you emotionally, it does so with maximum efficiency. The film begins with a Thanksgiving celebration shared by two families. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Grace (Maria Bello) take their kids down the street to share the day with Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) and his wife Nancy (Viola Davis). Ralph (Dylan Minnette) and Eliza (Zoe Borde) are the teenagers in the families, and they also both have little girls, Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons).

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<p>Jesse Eisenberg in &quot;Night Moves.&quot;</p>

Jesse Eisenberg in "Night Moves."

Credit: Maybach Film Productions

Venice awards preview: What will win, and what should

Miyazaki or Tsai? Dench or Johansson? What to expect from tomorrow's prizes

VENICE - We're almost at the finish line. 11 days have passed, 20 Competition films have been screened, and tomorrow evening we'll find out what this year's eclectic jury, led by Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, believes is the best of them. And if it's harder than usual to call this year -- and it's usually pretty damn hard -- that's because the only point of consensus among those remaining on the Lido is that this year's Competition slate hasn't been one of the festival's finest.

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<p>David O'Hara and Idris Elba in &quot;Luther.&quot;</p>

David O'Hara and Idris Elba in "Luther."

Credit: BBC

Talkback: 'Luther' season 3

What did everybody think of the Idris Elba cop drama's third season?

I reviewed season 3 of "Luther" earlier in the week, and promised I'd put up a second post to allow for full discussion once the entire season had aired in America. Well, it's all done, so let the spoilers fly, ladies and gentlemen. How'd you feel about the portrayal of either of our two killers? Given the limited use of Ruth Wilson, did you feel this was the right limited use of her? Did you feel any sympathy for the internal affairs investigators, or were they clearly strawmen for Luther to knock down? Did you agree with me that the vigilante story was a missed opportunity to actually discuss Luther's ethics? Did you invest at all in the romance with Sienna Guillory's Mary, or did that just feel like an acknowledgment that Idris Elba's a sex symbol and should be used as such? And how did you feel about what happened to Justin?

Have at it. What did everybody else think?

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<p>Rhona Mitra in &quot;Strike Back.&quot;</p>

Rhona Mitra in "Strike Back."

Credit: Cinemax

Review: A memorable 'Strike Back' hurts both the heroes and villains

The mission proves costly for both sides

Earlier in the week, Cinemax announced that they'd finally be airing the original British-only season of "Strike Back" under the title "Strike Back: Origins." Tonight's episode of the Winchester/Stapleton version of the show, meanwhile, was notable for a few reasons, and I have some quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I call you Braveheart...

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'The X Factor' will finally shift its focus from the judges to the singers


"The X Factor" will finally shift its focus from the judges to the singers
As Simon Cowell says, "The whole purpose of making the show is to find a star."


Screech booted out of "Celebrity Big Brother"
Watch Dustin Diamond's best bits from the house.


Gregg German joins Alicia Silverstone on Lifetime's "HR"

The "Ally McBeal" alum will play her boss.


Thorough research is key to making "Breaking Bad" so riveting
The AMC series has at its disposal an "army of consultants" -- experts in chemistry, the DEA, hazardous waste disposal and cancer. PLUS: Writers considered burning down the house, what if Walt Jr. had an Instagram account?, 21-year-old RJ Mitte was 14 when he began filming, what Betsy Brandt stole from the set, and cast members talk about their most challenging scenes.


"Scandal" costume designer: We're influencing fashion designers

Olivia Pope's gloves have become all the rage.


"SNL's" Da Bears make a comeback for an Aaron Rodgers commercial
Check out Robert Smigel and George Wendt's ad for State Farm.


Paul Scheer explains the "genius" of Arsenio Hall
"I feel like he's the closest we have to a Johnny Carson," says "The League" star.


"Suits": An appreciation
The USA legal drama has, says Maureen Ryan, what's often missing from TV dramas these days: "characters who, generally speaking, enjoy their lives and derive pleasure from their accomplishments."


"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will try to pull off the "hardest trick in television"
Can it combine Marvel's male audience with ABC's female-centric viewership?


Women on Lifetime: Why do they have the same kinds of careers?
Here are eight cliche careers, from nannies with ulterior motives to dirty teachers.


What if "It's Always Sunny" had a "Cheers"-style opening?
Check out the opening credits done in the style of the classic NBC sitcom.


Enough with TV's Canadian-shot "ambiguous cities"!
Shows like "Orphan Black" refuse to offer a clue of what country they are set in.


How will "Grey's Anatomy" survive Sandra Oh's exit?

After all, Cristina Yang has been the backbone for the series.


"Boardwalk Empire" returns as good as ever but still indulgent
As Hank Stuever notes, "We have to take the good things about 'Boardwalk Empire' (the acting, the authenticity in its exquisite details and most of the writing) along with the bad (the repetitiveness, the plodding)." PLUS: "Boardwalk" is "Wire"-like in being a novel for TV, Season 4 is bloodier than ever, meet the new cast members, and how an Englishman transforms into Al Capone.


NFL teams reimagined as a "Game of Thrones" houses
Check out siglis for all 32 teams.


Dr. Seuss meets "The Walking Dead"
Presenting "The Seussing Dead." PLUS: Watch the latest "Walking Dead" teaser.


PBS' "Last Tango in Halifax" tells of a late-life romance
The British drama, debuting Sunday, was so acclaimed it won the best drama award at the British version of the Emmys.

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Cynthia Nixon joins 'Hannibal'


Cynthia Nixon joins "Hannibal"
The "Sex and the City" alum will recur next season as an FBI internal affairs investigator.


CW is the latest network interested in a "Wizard of Oz"-inspired drama
"Heroes" creator Tim Kring is in talks for the revisionist "Dorothy Must Die." CBS and NBC are also developing "Oz"-related projects.


High school teacher suspended for appearing in racy Jay Leno sketch
Steve Endemano was sitting in "The Tonight Show" audience when he agreed to appear semi-naked in "sizzle reel" video.


Comedy Central's "Community" promo makes fun of the show's lack of promotion
"Holy crap, we're being advertised!"


CBS celebrates teachers with "Teach"
Tonight's two-hour special takes a look at four exceptional public-school teachers.

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"Secret Sex Lives: Swingers"

 "Secret Sex Lives: Swingers"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Watch: 'Secret Sex Lives: Swingers' goes to an Atlanta swingers' party

Partners get swapped in this all-new four-part series

If you've found yourself wondering if you know any swingers, Discovery Fit & Health is here to tell you that you probably do -- at least if you live in Atlanta. In the new four-part series "Secret Sex Lives: Swingers" (premieres Sat. Sept. 7 at 10:00 p.m.), the show follows five nice Southern couples with jobs and friends and homes that do not appear to be mangy strip clubs who just happen to enjoy screwing around with other people.

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Listen: Coldplay's 'Atlas' from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment

Listen: Coldplay's 'Atlas' from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Classic Coldplay meets Katniss Everdeen

Atlas,”  Coldplay’s new song for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” finally surfaced today after a two-week delay. 

While instantly recognizably Coldplay, with Chris Martin’s  delicate piano playing at the forefront, it’s also much less bombastic than some typical Coldplay fare. Instead, it’s quietly dramatic, as Martin vows “I’ll carry your world” with a growing intensity. There’s something lovely and haunting about it, though it doesn’t immediately grab hold like “Safe & Sound” from Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars from the first “Hunger Games” installment did.

Coldplay  wrote the track, the band’s first new song in nearly two years, specifically for the movie. Coldplay recorded the song, produced by the band, Daniel Green and Rik Sampson, in its London studio, Beehive between April and July.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens Nov. 22 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson.
 

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