Inside TV and Pop Culture with Liane Bonin Starr
Rescue is within reach for the mansion, but not all is well
It has taken more than two seasons for "Downton Abbey" to do this to me. Yes, we've had break-ups and weddings and betrayals and deaths (yes, deaths) before now. We've had fights and veiled insults a-plenty. But I can honestly say this was the first episode of the show to truly punch me in the gut. If you let it, this one could break your heart.
And yes, stop reading right now if you haven't watched the episode. This is one you need to watch, I think.
Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Seyfried and Taylor swift walked the red carpet
Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lopez and Katharine McPhee walked the red carpet at the 2013 Golden Globes. But how did their fashions fare? Don't forget to rank!
Credit: AP Photo
This year's Golden Globes had a lot of, well, beige. Despite promises of wild color and interesting silhouettes, not too many risks were taken. But that doesn't mean some celebrities didn't push the envelope -- and some pushed hard. Perhaps too hard (Jennifer Lopez, we're looking at you). Here's a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.
It's, like, the '80s all over again with this "Sex and the City" 'origin story'
Credit: The CW
It's hard to believe Carrie Bradshaw, the main character of "Sex and the City" ("SATC"), was ever a teenager, but that's the concept behind both Candace Bushnell's YA books and the TV series "The Carrie Diaries" (premieres Mon. Jan. 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET). The stars and producers behind the show said at press tour that the series will feature big hair, neon clothing, a dirty Manhattan and, perhaps, some ideas about why Carrie grew up to pick Big over sweeter, kinder Aiden on "SATC."
Neil Portnow won't rule out a return to NYC
Though it's been a year since Whitney Houston died just hours before the Grammy Awards, the topic is still at the top of mind for many people. At press tour Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich said that all questions about how the death impacted the show will (probably) be answered in a one-hour documentary scheduled the night before the Grammy Awards (which will air on CBS Sun. Feb. 10). "It gives people a look at something you very rarely get to see," he said. "We tell the Whitney story... all of the footage came in after the fact. We didn't plan to do this. We put together a little reel about this... and [President, CBS Entertainment] Nina Tassler said, this would be a great show."
The final four head to Paris and the House of Valentino
"Project Runway All Stars"
Okay, guys, I'm bringing this to you a little late as I'm in the thick of TCA press tour madness, so hopefully this all makes sense. I'm a little worried Josh's dress might have been a hallucination of mine, but I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm really that sleep-deprived.
The designers, who all address Carolyn with that singsongy voice usually reserved for mean schoolteachers, get some good news from the stick figure -- they're going to Paris! And they're getting a tour of the House of Valentino! And they're learning about couture for a couture challenge! And they get to buy fabric and Janssens & Janssens! And you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car!
The second season will 'mix real people and celebrities'
Last year one of the most unexpected TV talk shows on the circuit was "Kathy," and it speaks to Kathy Griffin's engaging presence that the unusual formula worked. Instead of featuring the usual spate of celebrities plugging their latest projects, Griffin instead found real people (and her own celebrity friends like Anderson Cooper and Lance Bass) to sit on the couch to discuss what she found most interesting in the news (or in the reality TV programming) of the day, sometimes finishing the show with a group of sexy firefighters, strippers or cops.
This year the show, which returns for its second season Jan. 10 at 10:00 p.m., will have some big changes -- more celebrities and a live format, which will be an interesting challenge for the potty-mouthed performer. I spoke to Griffin one-on-one at press tour about the changes, why she's "hungry and bitter," and what she's watching when she's not watching "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."
It's time for restaurant wars!
So, Dallas John is gone and that leaves the title of resident jerk to Stefan. I actually like Stefan in all his sexist crankiness (I ate at Stefan's at L.A. Farm and have to say the food was wonderful, so I'm biased). Of course, Stefan misses Dallas John. He was his morning friend! I like the idea that Stefan has friends assigned to certain times of day. Perhaps that's as long as he can stand someone.
Wolfgang Puck joins Padma for the Quickfire Challenge. The chefs will be working with one of the most refreshing ingredients in the world -- ginger! I thought this might be a product crossover and Padma was going to say, "Diet Coke!" but not this week. Oh, wait, this is the Canada Dry Quickfire Challenge -- I was JOKING about the Diet Coke, people! Egads!
Could things actually be looking up for some of Briarcliff's victims?
Preparing to watch "American Horror Story," I braced myself for another round of bleak, bad news. I mean, the middle name of this show is horror, for crying out loud. There's no room for happy endings, or upbeat twists, or feel good resolutions in this cruel genre. Okay, in most horror movies someone survives after running for his or her life and cleverly outsmarting the bad guy and possibly choking said bad guy to death with chicken wire or inch-thick rope, but he or she is usually horribly scarred and needs a great deal of therapy and looks like he or she is going to cry as the credits roll. So, not exactly the stuff of Hallmark movies.
'The Office' mastermind says he chose Muppets over the Golden Globes this year
Credit: AP Photo
"The Office" mastermind Ricky Gervais came to press tour to talk to journalists about "Derek," his new "bittersweet comedy drama" for NetFlix. The show is a mockumentary following the misfit Derek as he works at an underfunded senior living facility. Fans of the more acid "The Office" and "Extras" may be taken aback by the poignancy of the new show, a shift the star noted. "There's some more dramatic moments than 'The Office' or 'Extras,' maybe, and probably more, it's sweeter… [it] still has the existentialism of 'The Office,' but here it's not about being 30 [years old], it's about being 80 and 90, and the residents are 80 and 90 and are in homes themselves, so it has that reality. It's very funny, it is a sitcom, and a lot of it is plotted and character-led, but it's set in an old people's home, so they die sometimes."
A sitcom panel gets Nat Faxon and others a chance to riff
FOX pulled together some of their sitcom line-up's top talent --- Ike Barinholtz, Mindy Kaling, Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel, Nat Faxon, Echo Kellum, Lucas Neff and Shannon Woodward -- to talk about their shows ("The Mindy Project," "New Girl," "Ben and Kate," "Raising Hope") with a possibly punchy group of journalists at press tour. The results, while not sitcom-worthy, were often amusing and, less frequently, informative.
Things started off slowly. When questions were slow to start, Deschanel ("New Girl") started pointing to people in the audience. "Am I supposed to call on people?" she asked.