<p>&nbsp;Alex O'Loughlin of 'Three Rivers'</p>

 Alex O'Loughlin of 'Three Rivers'

Credit: CBS

Press Tour: CBS highlights -- 'Three Rivers,' Sheldon's sexuality and more

CBS TCA panels also include NBC slamming and news on the fate of 'Numb3rs'
Press Tour: CBS highlights -- 'Three Rivers,' Sheldon's sexuality and more
 
One of these days, CBS is going to cease to be TV's most watched network. One of these press tours, it will be CBS that's battling disaster, scandal, embarrassment and upheaval. When that day comes, CBS can look forward to its Television Critics press tour panels being the ones reporters eagerly awaits. Until then, CBS continues to mostly cruise along and reporters mostly prefer to sharpen their claws for NBC or occasionally FOX.
 
This January's press tour had its first full day on Saturday (Jan. 9) with CBS leading things off by celebrating another strong fall, segueing into a panel for "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory," TV's two most popular comedies. Even if "Undercover Boss" and "Miami Trauma" stirred either minor ethical questions or polite disinterest, there was little anger or buzz. Probably' that's exactly the way CBS wants it.
 
So what were the highlights of CBS' morning? After the break!
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<p>&nbsp;Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'</p>

 Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'

Credit: HBO

TV Review: HBO's 'Big Love' - Season Four premiere

The first episode is chaotic, but by Week Two Bill and his wives have a new purpose
Friday (Jan. 8) marked the first day of the January Television Critics Association press tour, which will be dominating this blog's coverage through Jan. 18. I'll then have one day to do laundry before heading off to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, which will dominate this blog's coverage for the following week. That's a lot of domination of coverage and it means that sometimes things that I'd like to write standard long reviews for may need to get slightly reduced treatment.
 
Take, for example, this Sunday's pretty terrific assortment of original programming. "Chuck" is returning and I definitely want to say a few words reminding viewers to check out what may be TV's most entertaining hour, but we've got my two-part interview with series co-creator Josh Schwartz (Read Part I and Part II) and the show will also be a new addition to our Monkeys as Critics recap blog. I also want to get in some notice for the landmark 450th episode of "The Simpsons" and the Morgan Spurlock documentary airing alongside it, as both are fun.
 
Then there's "Big Love," which returns to HBO on Sunday looking to continue its steady season-to-season improvement with the premiere of its fourth set of episodes. Since I know the show has dedicated fans, it's another new addition to the Monkeys as Critics recap blog.
 
[A short-ish review of the start of the "Big Love" season after the break, with some spoilers, albeit not any of the big ones...]
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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'</p>

 Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

HitFix Interview: Josh Schwartz discusses 'Chuck' Season Three - Part II

What does the future hold for Chuck and Sarah? What's coming up for Captain Awesome?
In the first part of this interview, "Chuck" co-creator Josh Schwartz discussed the factors that lead to the NBC action-comedy's renewal last spring and what changes fans can expect from the newly kung-fu-savvy Chuck Bartowski.
 
We pick up Part II talking about The Ring, Captain Awesome, what the future holds for Sarah and Chuck and what the third season of "Chuck" will be building to by Episode 19.
 
[Click through...]
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<p>&nbsp;Dominic Monaghan of 'FlashForward'</p>

 Dominic Monaghan of 'FlashForward'

Credit: ABC

Press Tour: 'American Idol' may misalign April 29 for 'FlashForward'

David Goyer promises the return of the kangaroo and the identity of Suspect Zero
"American Idol" has run more than a few tiny shows out of business and caused more than a few bigger shows to go scurrying out of its path, but the show has never caused the calendar to misalign. That may, however, be what's about to occur with ABC's "FlashForward."
 
ABC announced on Friday (Jan. 8) that the mysterious time-shifting drama will now return to the schedule on Thursday, March 18. That's two weeks later than originally planned, with ABC moving to shelter "FlashForward" from a pair of Thursday airings of "American Idol."
 
[More on the second half of the "FlashForward" season after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'</p>

 Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

HitFix Interview: Josh Schwartz discusses 'Chuck' Season Three - Part I

Twitter, Intersect 2.0 and the power of Subway come up in the first part of this interview
"Chuck" returns to NBC on Sunday (Jan. 10) night at 9 p.m. after cheating death last spring in a manner that bordered on miraculous.
 
Never before had the power of $5 footlongs, Twitter and the blogosphere been so successfully combined to create that most ephemeral of pop culture qualities, "buzz." 
 
NBC responded to that buzz and to the small-but-dedicated "Chuck" fanbase by giving the spy action-comedy a 13-episode third season and then extended that order to 19 episodes in the winter. Not only will fans get to find out what happened to Chuck (Zachary Levi) after uploading a brand new Intersect into his brain, but they'll get nearly a full season of capers with Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Casey (Adam Baldwin), plus nearly a full season of Buy More hijinks.
 
In a sign of solidarity with the networking site that helped save the show, Josh Schwartz, who created "Chuck" with Chris Fedak, even joined Twitter this week, posting nostalgic pictures songs and stirring up excitement about the "Chuck" premiere.
 
HitFix caught up with @JoshSchwartz76 to talk about tweeting, but also to chat about the saving of "Chuck" and the exciting season to come. It was a long interview and splitting it into two parts just seemed logical.
 
The first part is almost entirely spoiler-free, recalling last spring and the current state of the show, plus discussing what Intersect 2.0 will mean for Chuck Bartowski. In the second part, posting tomorrow, there's a little bit more talk about how this season will progress, with very minor spoilers.
 
[Click through...]
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<p>&nbsp;This is not a conveyor belt of love. It is a conveyor belt of donuts.</p>

 This is not a conveyor belt of love. It is a conveyor belt of donuts.

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'Conveyor Belt of Love'

ABC's special almost made the women of 'The Bachelor' look classy and thoughtful
It's hard to find good things to say about "Conveyor Belt of Love," but you have to give it credit for something: It mostly occupied the 58 minutes of ABC primetime following the premiere of "The Bachelor" on Monday (Jan. 4) night.
 
That, of course, raises a key question: Do we feel more annoyed at NBC for attempting to kill primetime with five nightly installments of "The Jay Leno Show" or with ABC for besmirching even a single hour of primetime with the one-off "Conveyor Belt of Love"?
 
Because as unfunny as Jay Leno is and as uninspired is his alleged attempts at entertainment tend to be, he's never ended an episode with a 23-year-old mental patient (unconfirmed) ramming her tongue down the throat of a possibly-gay tanning parlor owner (partially confirmed, partially implied), while their pocket-sized dogs frolic at their feet, concluding with the immortal line, "I'm definitely going to go out with Johnny again, because he's super-hot with all his clothes on."
 
I'd go out on a limb and suggest that zero love matches were made on Monday's "Conveyor of Love." Since that also equals the total number of successful unions from "The Bachelor," it might actually make a fitting pairing, if ratings happen to be good enough. Then again, picking up "Conveyor Belt of Love" and teaming it with "The Bachelor" would be tantamount to admitting that "The Bachelor" is a sham, since I watched the last 10 minutes of the "legitimate" show before the "gag" show and the women were identical.
 
[More on "Conveyor Belt of Love" after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;'Make It or Break It'</p>

 'Make It or Break It'

Credit: ABC Family

Tune-In Reminder: ABC Family's 'Make It or Break It' returns

Are flipping, cat-fighting and moralizing gymnasts more of a summer thing?
[ABC Family's "Make It or Break It" is not one of TV's Best of the Aughts, nor is it likely to be one of TV's Best of the Whatever-Decade-We-Just-Started. But something had to be my first regular, old-fashioned blog post of the New Year. Prancing, cat-fighting teens in leotards seemed like as good a bet as any...]
 
It shouldn't be surprising, but there's certain programming that I would watch in the summer that I wouldn't necessarily watch in the fall, winter or spring. Summer programming probably has a specific temperament, a certainly looseness and giddiness. There are obviously exceptions. AMC has done well with late-summer starts to "Mad Men," a show which has fall or winter seriousness. Burn-offs placed "Kings" in the heart of the summer, where it made for substantive viewing, but nobody watched. 
 
That doesn't mean that summer shows can't play outside of the summer. HBO has now come to think of "True Blood" as a summer show, when it would obviously draw just as many fangbangers regardless of the season. "Burn Notice" is, to my mind, the quintessential summer show, but USA likes splitting its seasons into summer and winter components, not distinguishing between the two. But if you take a show I love in the summer, take not-so-hypothetically FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance," and plunk it in the fall, sometimes my enjoyment isn't the same or else there's just no chance that show is going to retain its hold on coveted DVR position.
 
I worry, but only slightly, that a similar effect is about to take hold of two ABC Family shows I began watching this summer as amiable time-passers. I think I'll still be able to make time to catch up with "10 Things I Hate About You" when it returns this spring, since the frequently clever comedy is a painless 22 minutes, well-suited to quick Huluing and whatnot. The gymnastics drama "Make It or Break It," though, may prove to be the sort of show that proves arduous to keep up with outside of the wasteland of July of August.
 
"Make It or Break It" returns to ABC Family on Monday, Jan. 4 and since I never reviewed the show when it launched, I've got a few thoughts after the break...
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<p>&nbsp;'The Wire'</p>

 'The Wire'

Credit: HBO

TV's Best of the Decade: No. 1 - 'The Wire'

David Simon takes the top spot with his drama about drugs, police, politics, unions and life in Baltimore
I've always believed in the conventional wisdom of this gig, the one that says that as much as you'd prefer to always watch good TV, you'd also prefer to always review bad TV. It's more fun and it's just easier.
 
This 31-day project working my way through TV's Best of the Decade has been a challenge because it's been a month-long journey of well-deserved hyperbole, of trying to find new and increasing florid ways of expressing "greatness," "awesomeness" and "hilarity." And that was all writing about 30 shows that, from the beginning, were always runners-up. 
 
So now what? 
 
How do I find sufficient hyperbole to properly pay tribute to HBO's "The Wire"?
 
In the words of Omar Little, "Come at the king, you best not miss."
 
And make no doubt, "The Wire" is the king.
 
More, probably a lot more, on TV's Best Show of the Decade, "The Wire," after the break...
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<p>'Pan's Labyrinth'</p>

'Pan's Labyrinth'

Credit: New Line

The Fien Print's Top 31 Movies of the Decade: The Top 10

The decade's biggest hit, a Pixar favorite, a Best Picture Oscar winner and the No. 1 choice
It took only two days for an anonymous commenter to swear at me and declare that I should be fired for my Top 31 movie listings. So much for a lark. Then again, assuming the anonymous commenter isn't somebody above me on the HitFix masthead, I'm not worried. Like I've said before, the 31 Best TV Shows of the Decade list is the one I'm worried about. This one was just a list I tossed together as a hoot. I'm pretty sure they aren't the BEST of the decade.
 
The anonymous reader's primary complaint was about the presence of "Ocean's Eleven" (no apologies) and the paucity of non-English films (only one, he/she said, when I clearly had 2 in my Top 21 and one more to come). I don't disagree with the second complaint at all. This wasn't a list where I put effort into weighing for diversity, but I should have. Personally, I'm disgusted at myself for not including a singe Pedro Almodovar movie and repulsed by myself for not including "The Lives of Others" or "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" or the slightly overrated "City of God" and, if artier Top 10 lists are to be trusted, I should also be self-castigating for not including anything by Wong Kar Wai.
 
But if I'm firing myself, I'm really firing myself for not including enough documentaries. The full list has three foreign films, one per grouping. That's some quality tokenism. But only two documentaries? How is that representative for what has, in many ways, been The Decade of the Documentary. Doing it again, I'd find room for "Grizzly Man," "Capturing the Friedmans" and "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" (a Michel Gondry film I actually prefer to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") at the very least.
 
This is my Top 10, though. I'm sure it's representative of *some* aspect of cinema in the Aughts. Or else it may just be representative of my going completely and totally list-crazy.
 
[Click through...]
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<p>&nbsp;Tom Cruise of 'Collateral'</p>

 Tom Cruise of 'Collateral'

The Fien Print's Top 31 Movies of the Decade: No. 20 - No. 11

Hobbits, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman and a double-dose of Clive Owen
Looking over this list of The Fien Print's Top Movies of the Decade, I'm already liking it less today than when I started yesterday. I've pushed some things up, pushing some things down and I'm wishing I could start over. Lousy list fatigue.
 
Anyway, glance over No. 31-21 if you haven't yet. That post also includes my explanation for just how definitive this list is NOT. It is, as I said yesterday, a lark. And even if I don't necessarily buy the order anymore, I still love these movies...
 
[Click through...]
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