Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Nocturnal cuddling leads to tribal tensions
Malcolm and Angie of "Survivor: Philippines"
Pre-credit sequence. Team Russell returns to camp after booting Zany Zane. "I know it might sound trite, but thanks guys," Russell's determined not to fall back into the Tribal Chief thing again. He's going to step back and let somebody else go on the chopping block in they fail. On cue, it's chilly in the Philippines and Angie and Malcolm are cuddling up at night, limbs intertwined. She insists there's nothing going on, but Malcolm is already instructing himself not to get "booty blind." "With Angie, literally it's a booby trap and Malcolm is falling for it," says Roxy, who worries that Angie and Malcolm could be dangerous together. Oh heck no. Don't take my Angie away, Team Russell!
Some day, 'The Voice' and 'X Factor' will move beyond auditions
Sophie Simmons auditions for "The X Factor." Oh and her parents are Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.
"X Factor" time!
Sorry I couldn't do my normal Eastern Time live-blog of the auditions, but I was fasting and atoning for me sins.
But now it's time for an evening of recapping, so let's get back to "X Factor" auditions, which seem to be lasting forever, just like the auditions on "The Voice." Between the two shows, we're up to 12 singing audition episodes and the 2012-2013 season is three nights old.
More after the break...
What kind of boss is Mindy Kaling?
If Zooey Deschanel was FOX's New Girl last year, that mantle has been passed to Mindy Kaling
in 2012, with the network even pairing "The Mindy Project
" with "New Girl" on Tuesday nights.
Just as Deschanel wasn't really an unknown when her series premiered, Kaling already has a legion of fans thanks to her run as part of the ensemble of "The Office" and as a writer and producer for the series (to say nothing of a bestselling book). Still, this is Kaling's first time as boss.
A couple weeks back, I sat down and talked with Kaling and "Mindy Project" co-star Chris Messina
about the new comedy, about what drew him to a regular TV gig and what kind of a boss she strives to be.
Check out the full conversation.
"The Mindy Project" premieres on Tuesday, September 25 at 9:30 on FOX.
Which of her co-stars does Jones find the funniest?
Much of the "Ben and Kate" appeal comes from the very real chemistry between the eponymous siblings played by Nat Faxon
and Dakota Johnson
, who form an unconventional parenting unit for Maddie (Maggie Jones
), her daughter and his niece.
A couple weeks back, I sat down with Faxon (an Oscar winner for the "Descendants" screenplay), Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) and Jones (who stole "We Bought a Zoo" scenes as well) about finding the rapport to portray this quirky family unit and about the real-life inspirations for their characters.
One of the things I've mentioned liking about "Ben and Kate" is Jones isn't just coasting on undeniable pint-sized cuteness. She's pretty funny in her her own right. Case-in-point, dig the improvised mixture of timing and comedy in her answer at the 4:48 point in the interview.
Check out the full interview.
"Ben and Kate" premieres at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night on FOX.
How does it feel one year after the adorkable premiere?
One year ago, "New Girl
" premiered on a wave of promotion and publicity centered around star Zooey Deschanel
and her adorkability.
While "New Girl" didn't cease to be a showcase for the "500 Days of Summer" and "Elf" star as the first season progressed -- she was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her performance -- the ensemble around her strengthened and helped elevate the show.
"I knew last year that I would have to carry a lot of the press and stuff because the guys were more unknown and it's really lovely this year that people know them and they know those characters and they're able to take some of the burden... [she laughs] or the pressure off," Deschanel told me when we sat down a couple weeks back to talk about the new season of "New Girl."
In the second season, Deschanel's Jess undergoes a big change in her professional life, but will that produce big changes in Jess?
And what was it like watching the cast come together last season?
Check out the full interview ahead of Tuesday (September 25) night's season premiere.
[Oh... And this interview was conducted shortly before it was announced that Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis were cast as Jess' parents. You can decide if it looks like Deschanel actually already knew and she was just being coy with me.]
'Friday Night Lights' vet discusses the challenges of looking at pilot scripts
I did not call Zach Gilford
"Matt Saracen" or "QB-1" when we sat down two weeks ago to chat about the actor's new FOX series "Mob Doctor."
I did, however, work "Friday Night Lights" into my very first question with Gilford, who plays Brett Robinson on the Monday drama, which airs its second episode tonight.
In the conversation, Gilford discusses the uncertainty of choosing pilot scripts, his hope that his "Mob Doctor" character won't just be The Nice Guy Boyfriend and whether his own Chicago roots drew him to this project.
I also learned what skills Gilford has acquired from his recent run of TV doctor roles. You may be surprised to discover his not-so-hidden medical talent.
Check out the conversation.
Dan and Alan talk Emmys, 'Vegas,' 'Neighbors,' 'Mindy Project' and 'Ben and Kate'
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
It's time for the first of two installments of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week.
Today, we spend a long time debriefing from Sunday's Emmy Awards telecast, with its mixture of surprising and predictable awards. And then we review the premieres of "Ben and Kate
," "The Mindy Project
," "Vegas" and "Neighbors."
That takes us through Wednesday's new show premieres. We'll pick back up again on Thursday with reviews of a handful more new shows, plus thoughts on new seasons of "Dexter" and Emmy-winning "Homeland."
But here's today's breakdown:
Emmys (00:01:10 - 00:38:20)
"Ben and Kate" (00:38:45 - 00:45:20)
"The Mindy Project" (00:45:30 - 00:52:30)
"Vegas" (00:52:30 - 01:02:00)
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 as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Join HitFix as we chatter through Sunday's Emmys telecast
It's Emmy night, kids!
How pumped are we?
I've already watched two-plus hours of Red Carpet coverage.
And Sepinwall and I have already made our predictions.
But enough prelude... Let's get to the main event, hosted by Mr. Jimothy Kimmel.
Come say "Hi"! I'll try to join the comments at the commercial breaks if anybody is chatting...
Radha Mitchell stands out in a pilot better suited for cable
Radha Mitchell of "Red Widow"
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Show:"Red Widow" (ABC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "It's a semi-cinematic, female-driven thriller that probably belongs on cable in the vein of 'Missing' so when it's cancelled, we can claim it was a miniseries and gun for Emmy nominations in that way." Alternatively: "It's 'Scoundrels' only not funny. Wait. 'Scoundrels' wasn't funny either."
Quick Response: It's strange. I'm interested in "Red Widow," but my problem with it as a series is that the official ABC description of the series *begins* with a key event that happens more than two-thirds of the way into the pilot, an event that won't surprise anybody given the name of the show, but which is still drawn out and drawn out and drawn out so much that by the time the pilot ends, you're not unengaged, but you also don't have a clue what the series is. ABC has a long description of what happens as the show progresses with Radha Mitchell's eventually eponymous Marta -- Woman goes toe-to-toe with the mob after her husband is murdered -- which is probably because they've seen the Dutch series "Penoza" [which has me shaking my fist at the sky and yelling "MENDOZA!!!"], but what's here gives viewers very little to latch onto as an ongoing show. Just as people who watched "Missing" did so because Ashley Judd was a strong and compelling leading lady (and because the European settings were pretty), the key draw to "Red Widow" is going to be Radha Mitchell, who I've always felt was hampered as a movie actress by only getting Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts' leftovers. If you look over her resume, though, Mitchell has often been a solid leading lady and I think a good TV vehicle is a tremendous career improvement for her. [Don't get me started on my ongoing theory that there are only 10 actresses (possibly fewer) whose careers wouldn't be better off if they stopped making awful movies and committed to a good TV show.] Whether "Red Widow" proves to be that vehicle, Mitchell keeps the pilot watchable at all times and she's got some fine character actors working around her, including Lee Tergesen and Rade Serbedzija. Pilot director Mark Pellington lays the atmosphere on thick and "Red Widow" looks fantastic, but what Pellington can't do is obscure the reality that Melissa Rosenberg has written a pilot script that either should be 15 or 20 minutes longer (and therefore probably on cable) or a script that could have been condensed easily into the opening 15 minutes of an alternative network pilot that actually got to the point with more directness. I just don't see how this story, told in this specific and deliberate way, can possibly succeed on ABC, either creatively or on ratings terms. To me, it feels like best case scenario, "Red Widow" fails on ABC, but is released as a very satisfying DVD set. Yay?
Desire To Watch Again: Because the first episode is entirely table-setting, I have a strong desire to see what the second episode of "Red Widow" will be, because presumably that'll be more illustrative of the ongoing series as a whole. Maybe. I'm not sure I endorse this is a method of pilot-making: Delivering a pilot exactly good enough to make viewers skeptically curious, rather than delivering something good enough for unqualified optimism. Really, this is the pilot you send to series after "Missing" is a hit. I mean, she's a butt-kicking woman who still says things like "I will protect my children at any cost." This isn't a pilot you send to series after "Missing" failed. Oh well. I'm sure they know what they're doing at ABC. [Disclaimer: Dan is not sure of any such thing, even if ABC is doing a bunch of encouraging things as well.]
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Cult'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Following'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Family Tools'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Infamous'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's '1600 Penn'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries
Why does this season's first bootee compare himself to DeLorean?
Jeff Probst snuffs Zane's torch on "Survivor: Philippines"
Knight was the first contestant voted out on "Survivor
: Philippines," but the 28-year-old Virginia compares himself to a DeLorean.
"You can make a bunch of cars and nobody'll know who you are, or you can make that one and they'll always remember you," Zane told me on Thursday morning following a "Survivor" elimination that was both swift and memorable.
Zane initially drew attention in the season premiere by making alliances with every member of his Matsing tribe and then by having those alliances outed behind his back. But it wasn't double (or quintuple) dealing that did Zane in.
No. Matsing lost the season-opening Immunity Challenge and Zane, whose physical liabilities were at least partially responsible, immediately announced to his tribe that he was prepared to go. There was sufficient warmth for Zane that members of his tribe soon came to him and practically introduced the idea of voting out returning player Russell. Zane subtly pushed that idea with the added conspiratorial element of the suggestion that Russell might have an Immunity Idol. The plan, which would have been one of the most peculiar strategic reversals of fortune in "Survivor" history, very nearly worked before Matsing decided to give Russell a reprieve at Tribal Council.
Was the move brilliant? Well, no. It didn't work. Was it audacious? Absolutely and it contributed to a mighty entertaining season-opener.
In his exit interview, Zane discusses what went wrong with his strategy, why returning players mess with the pure "Survivor" game and why this is still his season.