Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Pedicabs and trains cause more trouble than challenges
Gary and Will of "The Amazing Race"
I want to get into this week's recap, but first I have a proposal for the producers of "The Amazing Race
": From here on out, whether in this season or in any subsequent season, any contestant who yells at a service employee in a Third World country and tells them either that they just lost them the Race or that they just lost them a million dollars, should be automatically eliminated on the spot.
If you are yelling at a pedicab driver in Indonesia, where the median income is $3800 a year, and verbally abusing him for costing you a million dollars, you're pretty much a horrible person and you pretty much represent the worst America has to offer in the global community.
This rule needn't only apply in Third World countries. Anywhere you yell at a service employee for costing you a million dollars, unless you're in a cab driven by Donald Trump or you were denied a plane ticket by Mark Cuban, it's best to save your whining for somebody else.
Who's with me on this one?
And now, on to the recap, after the break...
New co-star chats about secrecy and swordwork
Danai Gurira of "The Walking Dead"
To "Walking Dead" fans versed solely in the hit AMC drama, she's merely the katana-wielding stranger introduced saving Laurie Holden's Andrea in the second season finale.
To fans of the comic series, though, she's Michonne
, one of the franchise's most beloved characters.
Played by Danai Gurira
, Michonne will be a key part of the third "Walking Dead" season, which premieres on Sunday (October 14) night. But don't worry. This interview spoils very little about Michonne. Instead, Gurira and I discussed her extensive physical training for the role, as well as the challenges of coming to regular television after cutting her teeth in theater and independent films like "The Visitor."
We also talked about our shared background in Grinnell, Iowa where both of our fathers were on the faculty at the same time more than 30 years ago. I left that part out of the transcript. Apologies. There's still plenty here.
Scribes talk Michone, The Governor, The Prison, Annoying Carl and more
The second season of AMC's "The Walking Dead
" began with the high drama of missing children and a zombie herd descending on a gridlocked highway graveyard. The season ended with two regular characters dead, dissension in the human ranks, waves of zombies pouring down and a tantalizing glimpse of an institutional facility.
The introduction of The Prison, coupled with a katana-weilding first appearance by Danai Gurira's Michonne and the announced casting of David Morrissey as The Governor has sufficiently whet appetites for Season 3, especially among fans of Robert Kirkman
's "Walking Dead" comic book.
Last week, I went to a pre-season "Walking Dead" junket in Beverly Hills attended by basically every cast member, major and minor. Trying to keep the interview tally under control, I targeted new faces Morrissey and Gurira, as well as four of the show's producers.
Up first, is my 20-plus minute chat with Kirkman and showrunner Glen Mazzara
. Keeping spoilers to a minimum, we discussed the tone and structure of Season 3, while the producers also addresses some fan criticisms from the second season, including what some felt was a slow middle and the trouble-prone adventures of Young Carl.
This interview covers a lot of ground, so let's just jump into it. Like I said, spoilers are minimal, but probably not entirely absent. You've been warned...
Disheartened after his second time, Russell explains the compulsion to return
Russell Swan of "Survivor: Philippines"
I got on the phone with "Survivor
: Philippines" bootee Russell
Swan expecting to talking about all of the usual exit interview things.
While I knew the frustration that he'd obviously felt having his torch snuffed in Wednesday's episode, I still figured I'd talk with Russell about the mistake of taking a leadership role after vowing he wouldn't, about the decisions to vote out Zane and Angie and Roxy and whether any move could have reversed his tribe's ill fortune and about the last day at camp being lied to be both Denise and Malcolm.
As you can tell from Russell's first response to my first question, that wasn't the kind of interview he was really prepared to do, so we went off in a very different direction.
I've done a lot of these interviews, but this one is, to me, one of the best insights into the mind of a "Survivor" player, particularly the mind of a repeat "Survivor" player. The last answer, especially in light of Russell's post-"Survivor" condition, is definitely the most enlightening.
Check out the full interview...
Justin Bieber and Will.i.Am join L.A. Reid and Britney Spears
L.A. Reid, Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun of "The X Factor"
On Wednesday, "X Factor" fans got to watch the Young Adults perform for Demi Lovato and the Groups perform for Simon Cowell.
Now, it's time for Britney Spears mentoring the Teens and the awkward spectacle of L.A. Reid grumbling that he was forced to mentor the Geriatric contestants and punishing them by making them learn from Justin Bieber.
Click through for the pre-debate fun...
A pretty beast, a silly cop and some bad writing lead to disaster
Jay Ryan of "Beauty and the Beast"
Credit: The CW
There's an easy punchline that a hundred [or more] lazy screenwriters have probably used in movies or TV
A character happens upon somebody who was previously assumed to be deceased. The character nods and quips, "You look pretty good for a dead guy."
It's a universally applicable joke, because... not to put too fine a point on it... dead guys generally look pretty horrible. They're all rotted and stuff. So it doesn't matter who you are or how you look, if you're about to breath and receive nourishment, chances are solid that you also look pretty good for a dead guy.
The cliche pops up in the pilot for The CW
's new adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast
," one of many cliches in a script that seems to be cobbled together from nothing but dribs and drabs of earlier shows. In its "Beauty and the Beast" context, however, the line is elevated (denigrated?) from sloppy mimicry into a flawless illustration of the pilot's insurmountable core flaw.
Would a different tribe finally get to sit down with Jeff at Tribal Council?
Denise and Malcolm of "Survivor: Philippines"
The steadily dwindling Team Russell returns to camp, Angie-free. Why bother? It's cold. It's raining. And there's no Angie to cuddle with for warmth. Malcolm certainly looks miserable. His eyes are dull and sunken. He misses Angie, even if he won't say it. They have no fire. They have no Angie. And nobody's saying a word. This is "Survivor
" being arty, isn't it? We're gonna play out the opening sequence without dialogue? That'd be fun. Bah. Finally, they break the silence. Malcolm wants to know what else the fates can pile on. "Everyone's scared and everyone's a little bit nervous, but one win is all it's gonna take to turn the mood around," Malcolm says. "With three, there's always one that's out," Denise says. But Malcolm is sure they can launch the greatest comeback. "Line it up. Let's go. And we'll let the chips fall where they may," Malcolm announces.
The judges pick the Top 24, choose sides and begin mentoring
This apparently happens on Wednesday's "X Factor"
Wednesday's (October 10) episode of "The X Factor" is a bit of a hodge-podge, as your local cable listings probably correctly note that it's half-Boot Camp and half-Judges' Homes.
I believe this means we're going to spend an hour cutting the field to 24 and then we're gonna hang out with L.A. Reid and Justin Bieber.
Click through and let's get this live-blog started!
'Wanted' writers explain why this isn't a fire-of-the-week drama
The aesthetically challenged cast of "Chicago Fire"
NBC's "Chicago Fire
" is being promoted as the new drama from Dick Wolf, but the firefighter saga doesn't necessarily feel like what some viewers might expect from the "Law & Order" guru.
While there have certainly been exceptions, Wolf's more successful shows have pioneered a procedural structure in which strong actors have played frequently interchangeable characters, about whom audiences have learned very little.
"Chicago Fire," at least in its early going, is more about the men and women of Firehouse 51 than their professional emergencies. The concentration is on the ensemble -- featuring Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, Lauren German, Monica Raymund, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg and more -- rather than weekly infernos.
Much of that is certainly attributable to the approach taken by "Chicago Fire" creators Derek Haas
and Michael Brandt
, making their first foray onto the small screen in the midst of a feature career that includes the exceptional remake of "3:10 to Yuma" as well as the blockbuster adaptation of "Wanted."
I had a long chat with Haas and Brandt and, to be frank, I got a little myopic regarding the show's narrative approach and focused on that to the exception of a slew of other questions. So this interview goes into great depth on character-driven storytelling versus procedural storytelling, but maybe not as much depth on the rest of the series, which premieres on Wednesday night on NBC.
We also covered reshoots to the pilot, inevitable "Rescue Me" comparisons and... more about serialized, character-driven storytelling.
Check it out...
What went wrong with the Indonesian cab?
Amy and Daniel of "The Amazing Race"
Teams have made it all the way to the end of "The Amazing Race
" only to have their million dollar prize yanked from their hands by less-than-intrepid cab drivers, so maybe we shouldn't feel too sorry for Amy Purdy
and Daniel Gale.
After all, Amy & Daniel's "Amazing Race" run lasted all of two episodes.
In the season premiere, the competitive snowboarder (and double amputee) and her boyfriend (the executive director of an adaptive action sports organization) had the a big advantage heading to the Pit Stop, but opted to help a rival team find a clue, only to have that team catch and pass them in the home stretch.
That act of altruism -- possibly misplaced in a race -- failed to yield any Race Karma, when Sunday's episode say Amy & Daniel take a disastrously ill-directed cab ride in Indonesia. As their driver repeatedly failed to find the location of the Detour, Amy & Daniel fell all the way from second to 10th and they were eliminated from the Race.
Yes, they lasted only two episodes, but it was hard not to feel sympathy for a pair that seemed strong, inspirational and generally good-natured.
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, Amy & Daniel discuss their doomed cab ride, including their attempts to correct their course. They also talk about the thought process behind assisting Abbie & Ryan in the opening Leg.
Click through for the full interview...