Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
'Scott Pilgrim' star masters a flamethrower in a prequel to the John Carpenter favorite
A lot has changed since 1981, but on movie screens, at least one thing remains the same: If you absolutely, positively have to kill a body-inhabiting, shape-shifting Thing from space, use a flamethrower. Accept no substitutes.
That was the case in John Carpenter's 1982 feature "The Thing" and fans will be relieved to know that it's also apparently the case in Matthijis Van Heijningen's prequel/prelude, which hits theaters on April 29, 2011.
Given the amount of flamethrower action in Carpenter's genre classic, I don't think I'm spoiling anything when I say that it's early June on the Toronto set of "The Thing" and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is doing her part to make a flamethrower into next summer's hottest -- lame pun intended -- accessory.
"I still have yet to burn an actual person," Winstead laughs. "But we are doing that. The stunt people have this fire retardant gel and so they're not even covered. It's their own skin and but they got this gel on and you're burning them. So I'm a little bit nervous about that, but kind of excited!"
[More from Mary Elizabeth Winstead's conversation with reporters on the set of "The Thing" after the break...]
Tim Roth drama returns to FOX on Monday night after 'House'
"Lie to Me" returns to FOX to start its third season on Monday (Oct. 4) night at 9 p.m.
It's an earlier premiere than planned for the Tim Roth-driven procedural and it puts the show on a different night than FOX originally announced in May, but the hasty cancelation of "Lone Star" also wasn't part of that schedule.
FOX turns to "Lie to Me," knowing that the series is no stranger to succeeding in circumstances other shows might find challenging, whether that includes three showrunners in three seasons or a lengthy midseason hiatus last season leading into a surprisingly strong summer run.
HitFix caught up with Brendan Hines
and Hayley McFarland
to talk about what's in store for "Lie to Me" this season, how the new showrunner will impact things and how Roth sets the tone on set.
Check it out...
'Bones' co-star has great expectations for the upcoming season
As fans already know, the "Bones" premiere saw Conlin's Angela Montenegro reveal that she's expecting a baby, news that either will or won't change things dramatically for the free-spirited character.
HitFix caught up with Conlin before last week's premiere (also check out my interview with Tamara Taylor and TJ Thyne
) to discuss her reactions to the end of last season and the beginning of another year of "Bones."
Check it out...
Skeet Ulrich, Terrence Howard, Alfred Molina and palm trees star in Dick Wolf's latest
There's a very simple review to be written for "Law & Order: Los Angeles."
It goes something along the lines of: "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is exactly what you'd expect it to be. If that prospect is disturbing or discordant for you, you probably don't want to watch. If, however, you figure, "Well what harm could it do the 'Law & Order' franchise to be transplanted to the Left Coast?" you'll probably find something solid, reassuring and unremarkable about the show NBC is insisting on dubbing "LOLA," even at the expense of my spending two consecutive months with The Kinks stuck in my head.
So is that enough for you? "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is "Law & Order" only it's in Los Angeles.
On one hand, that means that the look and feel and flavor of the show is completely different. Forget the rotating casts of "Law & Order." The show's stars were producer Dick Wolf and the New York City. One remains, one is gone. So "Law & Order" could be the "Joey" of the "Law & Order" franchise -- New Yorker we used to like departs the Big Apple for Los Angeles and suddenly becomes a good deal less charming.
On the other hand, if Dick Wolf and New York City were two of the stars of "Law & Order" (and its respective spinoffs), the familiar structure -- detectives & lawyers, ripped-from-the-headlines plots and that beloved chung-chung transitional sound effect -- would be the third star. In that case, it's just like continuing with a hit show after one star leaves, rather than after a mass cast exodus. And plenty of shows have lost a couple stars here or there and found ways to hold onto quality and viewers.
It's all just a matter of perspective.
In this case, keep in mind that the perspective is coming courtesy of a writer who respected the "Law & Order" franchise greatly, but rarely felt the need to watch episodes, much less two episodes in a single morning, as I did with "Law & Order: Los Angeles" yesterday.
More thoughts after the break...
Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz topline this light-hearted superhero series
I used to play superhero games in the backyard with capes and sticks. Those games used to be modeled after the idea that having superpowers would, in fact, be super. I've watched and read enough superhero yarns over the years to know how wrong I used to be.
As you may have heard, with great power comes great responsibility, but calling them "super-responsibilies" isn't as heroic. I can just imagine running round outside with my ill-fitting mask yelling, "Look at me! I can fly! It's such a DRAG!"
In movies, on TV and in many comic books, superpowers are just something else to eat into your leisure time and mess up your relationships to friends and loved ones. Power don't mean freedom. They mean secrets and inconvenience and, much like having a job or a marriage or children, they mean responsibility. With superpowers, it's all about the up-keep.
Buy why shouldn't superpowers occasionally make life better? And not just in a "Here I Come to Save The Day!" way? People with superpowers are always so invested in improving life on a macro level that they rarely do anything other than make things worse on a micro level.
Maybe that's why I like ABC's new family dramedy "No Ordinary Family."
Full review after the break...
FOX comedy stars talk babies, Cloris Leachman and more
You know "Raising Hope
" star Martha Plimpton
from films like "The Goonies," "Mosquito Coast" and "Running on Empty," recent TV work like her turns on "The Good Wife" and "How To Make It In America" or, if you happen to be New York based, from a string of Tony nominated work in plays and musicals.
Chances are that you know Plimpton's "Raising Hope" co-star Lucas Neff
from... FOX's "Raising Hope."
But varying levels of experience are part of the charm of "Raising Hope," which features a cast ranging from Oscar winner Cloris Leachman to a handful of babies.
And so far the returns have been pretty good for "Raising Hope," which focuses on a blue collar family attempting to raise a baby none of them are prepared for, as the comedy premiered last week to nearly 7.5 million viewers and a solid 3.1 rating among adults 18-49.
Before checking out Tuesday's (Sept. 28) second episode, check out what Plimpton and Neff told me about their show, the babies and the eccentric Leachman.
Dan and Alan talk 'No Ordinary Family,' 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' and 'Mad Men'
Happy Monday, Boys and Girls.
Initially, this didn't seem like it was going to be a long podcast this week, but then suddenly it was nearly the one-hour point. I'm not sure how that happened.
In this week's lone podcast installment, Sepinwall and I reviewed the series premieres of ABC's "No Ordinary Family" and NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles," while also talking about the Season 2 premieres of CBS' "The Good Wife" and FOX's "Human Target." Why didn't we talk at all about anything on The CW just for the sake of equity? No good reason.
And, of course, we also talked "Mad Men."
Here's the breakdown:
"No Ordinary Family" -- 01:20 - 10:25
"Law & Order: Los Angeles" -- 10:26 - 21:00
"The Good Wife" -- 21:00 - 25:50
"Human Target" -- 25:55 - 33:50
"Mad Men" -- 34:15 - 56:20
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store
, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed
And here's the podcast...
What guest stars and fun can viewers expect from Springfield?
We'll pause for a second and let that sink in.
That's more than 460 episodes.
We'll pause to let that sink in as well.
hasn't been with the show for the entire time. He left for a couple years to co-create other shows including "The Critic" and "Teen Angel." But he was on the show's original writing staff and is now in the midst of his second tour of duty as showrunner.
There aren't many people who know "The Simpsons" better.
HitFix (or, rather, "I") caught up with Al Jean to talk about what's on tap for the "Simpsons" season to come.
Check it out...
Michael C. Hall is back and Dexter's more conflicted than ever
One of my favorite TV mindgames is the one where a showrunner backs his program into a seemingly untenable corner in a season finale and then either opts not to return or gets replaced, leaving somebody completely different to have to figure out an escape strategy.
It happens with some frequency, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Think of the mess that Aaron Sorkin left for John Wells on "The West Wing" after the fourth season finale, with the kidnapping of the first daughter and the subsequent Constitutional power crisis.
Think of the mess that Amy Sherman-Palladino left for her unintended successor in submarining the core romantic relationship at the end of the sixth season of "Gilmore Girls."
Clyde Phillips (and departing executive producer Melissa Rosenberg) left a similar mess for "Dexter" writing staff at the end of Season Four.
But "Dexter" has never been steered by one single voice in the way that Solkin or Sherman-Palladino steered their shows and even with Phillips no longer manning the writers' room permanently, there's still a significant amount of staff continuity.
It's no wonder, then, that after seeing three Season Five episodes of "Dexter," I can assure you that new showrunner Chip Johannessen and his team have stared down that last cliffhanger and faced it in oft-interesting ways. While not without significant flaws, "Dexter" appears to have set itself up for another intriguing season.
[More after the break... I'll be keeping spoilers to a minimum, but obviously don't click through if you want to remain completely fresh. And obviously the review will discuss the events of last season's finale.]
Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and LeBron James are coming this season
"The Cleveland Show
" returns for its second season on Sunday (Sept. 26), but the animated comedy's long-term future is already secure.
Not only has the series already received a back-nine order for this season, but "The Cleveland Show" has been picked up for a full third season.
I caught up with series co-creator, executive producer and lead vocal actor Mike Henry
last week to discuss the process of escaping the "Family Guy" shadow, writing hip-hop for Kayne West and some of the big-name guest stars coming up this season.
It's kinda a serious chat with a funny guy, but don't worry... There are a few voices thrown in just for kicks.