Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley get a Sunday try-out
Early on in FOX's "Human Target," you're going to feel an itching in your brain, a pulsating urge to question logic or motivation or plausibility. Ignore than urge, fight back that quibbling desire.
It isn't that "Human Target" is a brainless drama. No, it's actually pretty clever in spots. What "Human Target" is, however, is escapist action. For all of the high-tech gadgetry occasionally paraded on the screen, "Human Target" is a throwback to the streamlined TV thrill-rides of the '70s or '80s. The DNA from "Airwolf" or "The A-Team" runs through "Human Target" far more recognizably than the comic book series that gives the show its name.
"The Human Target" isn't quite on-brand for FOX, but the network is launching the show with its one truly compatible program, pairing the premiere with the two-hour premiere of Day Eight of "24."
In their current states, I can say without hesitation that "Human Target" is out-"24"-ing "24."
Review of "Human Target" after the break...
Jack Bauer and company find themselves in New York, but out of ideas
I know I've said this before, but some things can stand repetition: "24" is the amnesiac's favorite television show. We're starting Day Eight on Sunday (Jan. 17) night and the series shows no sign of varying its formula beyond the occasional new location, the occasional new uber-ethnic baddie, the occasional new inept CTU boss and the occasional new POTUS.
The structure remains unchanged. The ethos remains unchanged. Kiefer Sutherland's unflagging commitment to the emotional truth of Jack Bauer remains unchanged. The series has five or six standard twists that get rotated every season, along with five or six standard cliffhangers rotated to end every episode. If you can watch the show and forget that you've ever seen these things before, you can always find enjoyment in a new episode or a new season of "24" and the show's most passionate fans have become experts at that sort of self-imposed forgetfulness.
It helps that "24" spun off a drinking game in its early seasons and that drinking game has seemingly become integrated into the narrative. Drink whenever certain things happen on "24" and then drink some more to forget that everything happening on "24" you've seen before. It's a great formula. Simulated originality through advanced intoxication.
One thing the "24" writers have never failed at before is starting a season off with a bang. If you look at reviews of every new season, you'd think "24" was always coming off of its worst season ever, because critics are always so excited to have it back. And normally you can count on the "24" team to nuke Valencia or kill a President, on Jack Bauer to arrive from China with a bushy beard or to return from the dead with vengeance on his mind. "24" may not know how to finesse the middle of each season and the writers often aren't exactly sure of how to end things, but they always can get the ball rolling.
Alas, this isn't the case with Sunday (Jan. 17) and Monday (Jan. 18) nights' four-hour premiere. Despite transplanting the show to New York City and overhauling the supporting cast, the creative exhaustion on "24" is evident. Sunday's hours aren't so bad (neither are they gripping), but the first hour on Monday is among the show's worst hours and the second Monday episode isn't much better. Even devoted fans may need to do a lot of forgetting (and a lot of drinking?) before Episode Five.
[Full review after the break... Some spoilers, but nothing major...]
Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall talk press tour, Jay Leno, Stephen Hawking and more
This is a bit of an experiment, y'all. Sepinwall -- Also known as Alan Sepinwall of the The Star-Ledger -- and I have been talking about doing a podcast for many a moon now, so we got together on Saturday (Jan. 16) afternoon at the Langham in Pasadena for a few-holds-barred conversation about the Television Critics Association press tour, the NBC Leno-Conan kerfuffle, being big-timed by Stephen Hawking and more.
If this works out, we plan to do this more often, so let us know what you think... This is a total stab in the dark. You don't wanna know how much the technology confused us.
Also, if you can come up with a better podcast title than "Firewall & Iceberg" let us know. We're open to ideas...
'North Shore' and 'Miss Guided' veteran discusses his new CW dramedy
The "North Shore" and "Miss Guided" and "Valentine" star has kept busy with guest starring roles on shows as diverse as "Dollhouse," "Better Off Ted" and "Mad Men" and with "Life Unexpected," he has what is probably his best and most interesting character.
Polaha plays Nate "Baze" Bazile, a young man who peaked in high school and now drinks his life away as the owner of a grungy bar. Stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence, Baze gets a shock to his system when he discovers he has an adolescent daughter of his own, in Brittany Robertson's Lux.
"Life Unexpected" is the sort of show The WB used to do and potentially new territory for The CW. It's smart, funny and unapologetically sentimental.
HitFix snagged a few minutes with Polaha to chat about "Life Unexpected," his own maturing process and even a little bit about "North Shore" and his other short-lived shows.
'Greg the Bunny' co-star goes through rehab in his new MTV comedy
FOX's "Greg the Bunny" was one of the great short-lived comedies of the Aughts and I've taken great pleasure in many of the previous and subsequent iterations of the Fabricated Americans series from Sean S. Baker, Spencer Chinoy and Dan Milano.
So this is one critic looking forward to MTV's summer comedy "Warren the Ape," the first Baker, Chinoy and Milano comedy to focus Warren DeMontague, the substance abusing simian who played Professor Ape on "Sweetknuckle Junction."
In "Warren the Ape," Warren plays himself, a washed up former TV star battling additions and getting therapy from none other than Dr. Drew. It's a little bit like "Intervention," a little bit like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and a lot like "Greg the Bunny."
Warren -- played by the brilliant Milano, if I might shatter the illusion for a second -- appeared at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday (Jan. 15) morning. At the TCA, we don't love being performed to, because we're reporters trying to report. The biggest disaster of that kind in recent memory was last summer with Jeff Dunham got up, insulted us with his dolls for 15 minutes and then was confused when nobody felt like asking him any questions.
The "Warren the Ape" session was a good deal better than the Dunham fiasco, if only because Warren (and ace improviser Milano) are actually funny.
Will Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse spill the beans on the last season of 'Lost'? No.
It's the end of an era. "Lost" is having its final Television Critics Association press tour session.
I still remember how excited and confused we were when the show was first presented to us back in July 2004. I imagine we're every bit as excited and every bit as confused today.
Our panel includes Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and an assortment of series stars, including Emilie de Ravin, Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia.
Since this panel is bound to include some spoilers -- but probably not huge ones, knowing Cuse and Lindelof -- this live-blog will contain spoilers, so skim at your own risk after the break...
Randy and Kara aren't going to be able to carry the show, so the new judge must step up fast
Simon Cowell is leaving 'American Idol' and more
Yesterday, I live-blogged NBC's news-packed TCA executive session. That panel was nothing but Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien questions. It's possible that FOX's executive session is going to be more exciting.
At the very least, we've got a far more diverse slate of possible questions. Is Conan O'Brien coming to FOX? Is Simon Cowell leaving "American Idol" at the end of this season? Why the heck did "Our Little Genius" get pulled? This may, in fact, be the tour's most jam-packed panel.
So follow along (and click through) as FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly and FOX Chairman Peter Rice entertain the press...
Anne Hathaway and Morgan Spurlock lead a night of animated fun on FOX
Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad discuss Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and... other things
I usually don't live-blog Television Critics Association press tour panels except when they're likely to be spectacularly newsworthy, spectacularly funny, spectacularly stupid or spectacularly awkward.
No fair guessing which of those four I'm expecting from Sunday (Jan. 10) morning's NBC Executive Session featuring Jeff Gaspin (Chairman NBC Universal Television Entertainment) and Angela Bromstad (President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios).
I do, however, expect Jay Leno to be mentioned once or twice. Follow along! [And click through...]