Pre-credit sequence. J'Tia is gone. "It's a complete roller-coaster ride," reflects Spencer, who is very grateful that Tasha and Kass chose him. "I just knew if we kept her, we would be back there in three days and regretting it," Kass reflects on her decision, which she describes as a "last minute" switch. "How my team has played this game is ridiculous. We're not the Brain Tribe, we're the Crap-for-Brains Tribe," Kass notes, dubbing the tribe, "Just a rolling log-jam mess with a couple nerds on top." Spencer jokes that the only thing standing between them and the Final 3 is "two entire tribes." The next morning... Tree-Mail! There's a hint that Reward and food are coming and they're hungry. The Brains think this is the start of their comeback. Or at least that's sure what they hope. Everybody arrives at the beach ready for a challenge and... "Alright everybody, drop your buffs," Probst says without hesitation. "Brains, Brawn and Beauty is no more," he adds. Time for some Harrison Bergeron-style weights, brain-shocking and paper bag masks!
Welcome to another somewhat strange, very open-ended "American Idol" theme night.
Last week, we discovered that "Bennie and the Jets" was a Song From the Movies because it was heard in "27 Dresses."
Thursday night's theme? Top 10 Songs. Past? Present? Future? Any chart?
Let's find out!
Stop me if you've heard this one before: In elementary school at some point, we had to do extended book reports. I chose "Lord of the Flies," as you do. Well, part of the assignment was to select a character you liked at the beginning of the book and do a chapter-by-chapter diary from that character's point of view.
I sympathized and empathized with Piggy, so he was an easy choice for my diary-writing. For a couple chapters, I wrote lengthy entries about the challenges of being a pudgy, bespectacled outsider in a group of increasingly feral kids, discovering how quickly the trappings of civilization fall away. Then, of course, very bad things happen to Piggy and his beloved conch.
Briefly, I was crushed. Subsequently, I realized that my assignment had just gotten vastly easier. For the last chunk of the diary, I wrote nothing other than the chapter and "Still dead."
There are a variety of reasons why Piggy's death in "Lord of the Flies" is so shocking and powerful. You don't necessarily need to love the character. Frankly, he's a bit of a pill. Other characters want to be noble or savage. Piggy wants to be civilized and domesticated in exactly the way a grown-up would want them to be, not in any organic way. His death doesn't have subtle meaning. It has whack-you-over-the-head-with-a-mallet portentous meaning, but it still hits home. It hurts because you don't want the character to die, but you also don't want the idea that the character represents to die. And it kicks you in the groin because "Lord of the Flies" was written back in the days before "Hunger Games" and whatnot, back when the idea of killing off juvenile characters in fiction was something that writers didn't do haphazardly. Writers had to earn those deaths and they didn't make the assumption that they were being badass just because they offed somebody too young to buy scratchers at the 7-11.
The flipside of that coin might be The CW's new drama "The 100," which premieres on Wednesday (March 19) night in the protected 9 p.m. confines after "Arrow."
We've made a lot of jokes over the years about The CW's assembly line of hot young stars, with the punchlines peaking this fall when the network actually dipped back into the Amell gene pool to pair Robbie Amell's "Tomorrow People" with Stephen's "Arrow." We always suspected that CW stars were a renewable and somewhat interchangeable resource, often harvested and refined from Australia. But with "The 100," the formula has expanded to accentuate the disposable nature of these chiseled, all vaguely familiar thespians.
The CW once talked about doing a "Battle Royale" series, but the network seemed to realize that in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Aurora world, some tip-going was required. "The 100" isn't that "Battle Royale" remake, but it is a futuristic drama that revels in killing off young characters, sometimes with intended gravity, but usually with a cavalier shrug of disinterest. There's so much happening and so many characters moving around in "The 100" that it's impossible to care about anybody getting killed off, so you're just supposed to feel like the show is exhibiting braveness on principle.
Here's the weird and confusing and disappointing thing about "The 100": If I had reviewed it off of the first two episodes, I'd have been veering in the direction of a D/F-grade review and you'd have gotten to see Angry Dan. If I'd have reviewed it off of the first four episodes, I probably wouldn't have moved above a D+/C-. I've seen six episodes and my grade has inched up even more. I thought those first two episodes were awful -- Badly written characters being acted poorly and put through uninteresting pacts. I thought the next two episodes were bad -- Still badly written, poorly acted characters, but at least they were doing some unpredictably things.
The last two episodes I watched? I'm not going to say they're good. They're not. But there's a narrative that's finally taking shape and a few -- not close to all -- of the actors are settling in to their roles, correcting performances that were misdirected in the pilot. I'm still struggling to find a single character whose fate I'm even vaguely invested in, but my outright antipathy towards some of the characters had begun to fade.
In the end, that makes for a conflicted review on "The 100." I really can't recommend the show at all. But if you're intrigued by the premise and kernels of the pilot interest you, I can assert that "The 100" gets better. That's tepid encouragement in general, but it's more enthusiastic if you watch the pilot and you actually like it.
Honestly, that could probably be my review, but more detailed and show-specific thoughts are after the break.
"Soap" star Billy Crystal is returning to series television with "The Comedians," which has been ordered to series by FX.
The half-hour project stars Crystal as a superstar veteran comic who is paired with an edgier up-and-coming comic (Josh Gad), leading to "an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at a late night sketch comedy show where egos and generations collide."
ABC has set its Spring 2014 finale dates, which include the anticipated early exit for the truncated season of "Scandal," plus a two-hour finale for "Once Upon a Time."
Working nonstop since the end of "Nikita" last fall, Maggie Q is now eying her next regular TV role.
After spending four-ish seasons on The CW and WBTV's espionage thriller, Maggie Q will stay in the corporate family, landing a lead in CBS and WBTV's Untitled Kevin Williamson Project.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, March 18, 2014.
NBC's "The Voice" was up slightly to help lead the network to victory in the key demographic, while "NCIS" led CBS' procedurals to their normal primetime sweep overall.
With "The Voice" up slightly, NBC's "About a Boy" and "Growing Up Fisher" both rose a hair and have settled in very quickly with numbers that probably please the network.
Over on FOX, "Glee" got a small bump for its ballyhooed 100th episode, but for some reason FOX decided to follow that episode with a "New Girl" repeat, though "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" was in line with last week's performance -- down in the demo, up in viewers -- even without a lead-in.
Despite the promise of "Avengers" sequel news, ABC's "Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe" special did only lackluster numbers, but "The Goldbergs" and "Trophy Wife" were both up.
On to the numbers...
Final ratings for Monday, March 17, 2014.
"Dancing with the Stars" returned to its smallest spring premiere ratings ever, good enough to help ABC win Monday night among total viewers but finishing a distant second to "The Voice"-powered NBC.
For the night, NBC averaged a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.69 million viewers overall. ABC was second (2.3, 13.65 million), followed by CBS (1.8, 6.72 million), FOX (1.4, 4.79 million) and the CW (0.4, 1.08 million).
8 p.m. -- "The Voice" easily won the hour for NBC, 13.52 million viewers over the two hours. "Dancing" (2.6, 15.44 million) drew a bigger audience from 8 to 10, but continued to show its old age in its demographic ratings, and from 8-8:30 finished third behind CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" (2.9, 7.78 million, followed by a 2.2 demo rating and 7.21 million viewers for "2 Broke Girls"). FOX's "Bones" (1.4, 5.63 million) was fourth, followed by the CW's "Star-Crossed" (0.3, 1 million).
9 p.m. -- "The Voice" was first for the hour, and "Dancing" second, followed by CBS' "Mike & Molly"/"Mom" combo (1.8, 7.38 million), FOX's "The Following" (1.4, 3.95 million) and the CW's "The Tomorrow People" (0.4, 1.17 million).
10 p.m. -- After a week off for the premiere of "Believe," "The Blacklist" returned to win the hour for NBC (2.7, 10.97 million), followed by ABC's "Castle" (1.8, 9.99 million) and CBS' "Intelligence" (1.1, 5.3 million).
Fast National ratings for Sunday, March 16, 2014.
"Resurrection" dipped from its big series premiere a week ago, but was still strong enough that, coupled with "Once Upon a Time," it carried ABC to a Sunday night win among young adults (CBS won in total viewers), and badly thumped NBC's "Believe" in its timeslot premiere. The struggles of "Believe" in turn made the premiere of "Crisis" seem slightly more promising, while FOX's "Cosmos" largely held steady in week 2.
For the night, ABC averaged a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.65 million viewers overall. FOX was next in the demo (1.7, 3.94 million), followed by CBS (1.5, 9.11 million) and NBC (1.5, 5.91 million).
7 p.m. -- "60 Minutes" won the hour for CBS, with a 1.7 demo rating and 11.11 million viewers overall. ABC was second with "America's Funniest Home Videos" (1.4, 6.18 million), followed by a "The Voice" clip show on NBC (1.2, 4.45 million) and the "Bob's Burgers"/"American Dad" combo on FOX (1.2, 2.62 million).
8 p.m. -- "Once Upon a Time" won the hour for ABC (2.3, 7.47 million), followed by "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" on FOX (2.1, 4.3 million), "The Amazing Race" on CBS (1.8, 8.3 million) and more "The Voice" on NBC (1.7, 6.18 million).
9 p.m. -- After debuting with a 3.8 demo rating last week, "Resurrection" dipped more than 20 percent in week 2 to a 3.0 rating, with 10.8 million viewers. That's still a number ABC will be more than happy with, especially compared to the competition in the hour. "Cosmos" (1.9, 4.91 million) had a smaller drop, down only 10 percent in the demo, and was good for second place. "Believe" (1.4, 6.51 million) lost nearly half its ratings from its Monday night debut after "The Voice." "The Good Wife" finished fourth for the hour in the demo (1.3, 8.38 million).
10 p.m. -- "Revenge" won the hour for ABC (1.7, 6.17 million). The premiere of "Crisis" (1.6, 6.51 million) built on the demo performance from "Believe," and also beat CBS' "The Mentalist" (1.3, 8.86 million).
It’s not that I thought that Yael Stone actually talked like Lorna Morella on “Orange Is The New Black.” Nobody does. It was still disarming and amusing to chat with Stone on the PaleyFest red carpet and to be reminded that she’s actually Australian.
In our brief conversation, we discussed that distinctive voice, as well as Stone’s realization that “Orange Is The New Black” had become a sensation. I also asked if Morello’s much-discussed fiancé Christopher would make an appearance this season, not that I expected any sort of answer.
Check out the full interview above
And you can also read my 11 Things We Learned From the 'Orange Is The New Black' PaleyFest Panel post, plus watch my interview with Danielle “Taystee” Brooks.
And remember: “Orange Is The New Black” returns to Netflix on June 6.