Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Who knew long division would be so important?
Bopper and Mark of "The Amazing Race"
I can't say if I would have felt this disconnected from the episode if I'd watched it on my normal schedule, but this is going to be a short recap [After-the-fact note: It was not a short recap], since I spent the last 20 minutes of the show thinking something that regular readers know I almost never think during "The Amazing Race"...
Gee. I kinda hope this is a Non-Elimination Leg.
I had the thought even before a team I like started to struggle, but I swear on a small stack of Bibles that I'd have stuck by the thought even if Phil Keoghan had been on the verge of eliminating one of the teams I hate.
That was just a bad hour of TV
to send any team home on. This would have been the rare NEL that wouldn't have gotten any complains from me.
Instead, naturally, this was not a Non-Elimination Leg and a team I like (kinda) went home.
Add in the Oscars, which largely went to movies I didn't really love and this was a lackluster evening of non-stop TV viewing.
Click through for as much recapping as I can stand...
From Billy Crystal to an endless string of 'Artist' wins, join the conversation...
Credit: Joel Ryan/AP
I've spent the last two-plus hours live-tweeting all of the red carpet Oscars fun, but now it's time to get "serious" and by "serious" I mean "bring page views to HitFix." Thus, welcome to my Oscars live-blog. Join the conversation. I'll try to chat along in the comments during commercial breaks!
Before we get started, you wanna know what I'm rooting for tonight? ANYTHING surprising. So if Spencer, Plummer, Davis, Dujardin, Hazanavicious and "The Artist," "The Artist," "The Artist" and "The Artist," it's gonna be a grumpy evening. I don't need for all of the favorites to lose. Heck, some of them are the deserving winners. But gimme a Gary Oldman win or something... Just to keep things interesting. Is that too much to ask?
Let's find out, after the break...
What went wrong and how did they miss Phil at the Pit Stop?
Misa & Maiya at the "Amazing Race" Pit Stop
Tanaka finished the season's opening "Amazing Race" challenge, a balloon search in a Santa Barbara vineyard, in last. That wasn't why they were eliminated.
They also finished the season's first Roadblock, a combination of skydiving and map-based navigation, in last. That wasn't why they were eliminated.
Instead, Misa & Maiya sped through an empanada-making challenge in Argentina and seemed to be on the verge of surviving an astounding number of opening leg missteps to remain in the Race ahead of Joey "Fitness" & Danny.
But after recovering their bags from a nearby cab and heading in the direction of the Pit Stop, the San Diego-based sisters were unable to spot host Phil Keoghan waiting for them patiently at the mat. As Phil stood and watched in sad confusion, Misa & Maiya ran off in a different direction and, finding nothing there, eventually returned, by which time it was too late.
A couple days after their elimination episode aired, I caught up with car buyer Misa and professional golfer Maiya for the season's first "Amazing Race" exit interview.
Click through for the full transcript...
If 'Downton' is no longer a miniseries, how will its hopes be impacted?
Maggie Smith does not need to worry
In a move that's almost shocking in its logic and truthfulness, PBS' "Downton Abbey
" will reportedly depart the miniseries category for this fall's Emmys and move into the far more appropriate and competitive drama field.
The news first broke on GoldDerby.com
, which got this somewhat confusing quote from TV Academy awards chief John Leverence.
"After starting out as a miniseries, 'Downton Abbey' caught fire and so now it moves over to drama series category as it plans for future TV seasons," Leverence tells Gold Derby. "It follows the trajectory of previous shows like 'The Starter Wife' that started out as a miniseries and then became a regular series."
Leverence's quote makes the confusing assertion that it was success that made "Downton Abbey" into a worthy entrant for the series field, rather than "Downton Abbey" simply being a TV series that was miscategorized last year and then moved into the correct category this year.
It would be too much, presumably, for Leverence to say, "Yeah, British TV shows confuse us." After all, does the shift of "Downton Abbey" to the correct category mean that the TV Academy will also stop calling "Luther" a miniseries? And will this enforce a ripple effect that will cause the Golden Globes and the various guilds to also stop calling "Downton Abbey" (and "Luther" and "The Hour") a movie/miniseries or will it exist only in isolation?
The big question, and the reason I'm writing this as blog post rather than as a news story, is what impact moving "Downton Abbey" into the drama field will have on various category races that are already the most heated on Emmy night.
[More after the break...]
The latest 'Survivor' castoff explains, again, why the Women blew it
Nina of "Survivor: One World"
Because Kourtney Moon's elimination in Week 1 was an injury-based decision, on Wednesday (Feb. 22) night, the women of "Survivor
: One World" were required to vote somebody out for the first time.
The dysfunctional women of Salani, seemingly incapable of winning any kind of challenge, faced a choice: Either vote out giggling, farting, sheltered Kat, who almost single-handedly cost them the episode's Immunity Challenge, or Nina, 51-year-old former police officer whose exact skills within the game had yet to be tested.
In the end, it apparently wasn't a hard decision. Kat had been part of a majority alliance of younger women established on the hike to camp, while Nina was on the outside trying to desperately to get anybody to listen to her plea that the tribe would be weaker with Kat remaining. Alliance trumped logic and Nina was sent packing.
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Nina Acosta
talks more about Kat's liabilities, explains why Men vs. Women was her biggest nightmare and breaks down why only luck will prevent her former tribe from getting routed.
Click through for the full interview...
The final 10 singers in the Top 24 are revealed
Your "American Idol" judges pass... judgement
On Wednesday night, "American Idol" revealed the first 14 members of this season's Top 24.
It took two hours.
On Thursday (Feb. 23), "American Idol" will knock out the remaining 10 singers in the Top 24 in what is sure to be a relatively brisk hour.
Then, next week, "Idol" will finally begin the business of seeing if America cares enough to vote for a winner this season.
Click through to learn the identities of No.15-24...
Seven-time Oscars writer explains the advantages of comfort food
Oscars host Billy Crystal
The Return of Billy Crystal
is one of the biggest stories of Sunday (Feb. 26) night's Academy Awards
telecast, but behind the familiar face is a familiar returning voice.
Longtime stand-up favorite and "Seinfeld" and "Larry Sanders" veteran Carol Leifer
, fresh off a WGA award as part of the "Modern Family" staff, is writing for the Oscars
for the seventh time, her third time writing for and with Crystal as host.
Just days away from the Oscars, I chatted with Leifer about why viewers will treat Crystal like comfort food after last year's less-than-warmly-received telecast, whether the writers are concerned about the perception "The Artist" has the night's big awards in the bag and how she wants people to discuss the show on Monday morning.
Click through for the full interview...
The Women tire of Colton and have new problems of their own
Kat of "Survivor: One World"
Pre-credit sequence. The Women return to camp after skating through Tribal Council without voting anybody off. Mike greets them by making it clear that he kept their fire going in their absence. Kat isn't impressed by his generosity, plus she's also terrified by bugs. Before bed, Christina takes Alicia aside and tries to set things right. To the camera, Alicia claims that Tribal Council went exactly the way she planned. After Christina vents and Alicia ignores, they shake hands. They hug. You'd think Alicia wants Christina out next, but you'd be kinda wrong. "Nina looks like a bag of rocks and I don't even know what that analogy means," Alicia teases. Interesting. And confusing.
The contestants perform one last time and the judges deliberate
FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's "Idol," so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.
Is everybody ready for tonight's 12-hour "American Idol"?
Oh, I kid. It's only six hours.
I kid again!
Wednesday's (Feb. 22) "American Idol" is only TWO hours.
See? It doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it?
On to the recap, after the break...
Alicia Silverstone, ensemble building and other ABC comedy issues
Viewers still have eight more episodes of "Suburgatory
" to look forward to this season, but the ABC comedy actually wrapped production on its first season early last week.
Series creator Emily Kapnek
and her creative team still have many weeks of post-production ahead of them, but it seemed like a good time to discuss the evolution of what has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2011-2012 season.
"Suburgatory" started as the story of George (Jeremy Sisto) and Tessa (Jane Levy), a father and daughter who flee New York City for what was initially a very, very, very heightened version of the suburbs.
Months later, "Suburgatory" continues to be anchored by Sisto and particularly Levy, but the supporting cast of Chatswin scene stealers has become one of the deepest on TV, drawing terrific performances from co-stars and recurring players like Cheryl Hines, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell, Carly Chaikin, Alan Tudyk, Allie Grant, Maestro Harrell, Rex Lee and Parker Young. Stick around later this season and Alicia Silverstone will reunite with "Clueless" chum Sisto.
In our conversation, Kapnek discusses the challenges of making time for the full ensemble, keeping George and Tessa believable, figuring out the right number of "Clueless" in-jokes for Silverstone, why we may not see many more flashbacks and why characters keep dancing by themselves.
Click through for the full interview. And no... Not a word about the "Suburgatory" alt-narrative...