<p>Olivia Colman of &quot;Broadchurch&quot;</p>

Olivia Colman of "Broadchurch"

Credit: BBC America

Interview: Olivia Colman and Jodie Whittaker talk 'Broadchurch'

BBC America drama finishes its first season on Wednesday
"Broadchurch" ends its eight-episode run on Wednesday (September 25) on BBC America. 
 
For American viewers patient enough to avoid just rushing to BitTorrent sites after getting hooked on this British murder mystery, answers are finally coming.
 
Yes, answers are coming in the death of Danny Latimer, but what are the chances that those answers will bring satisfaction to Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Oliva Colman) or closure to grieving mother Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker)? Well, that's what "Broadchurch" is really about.
 
Back in July at the Television Critics Association press tour, I sat down for 10 minutes with Colman ("Tyrannosaur") and Whittaker ("Venus") to talk about their twisty, emotional murder mystery, which was a sensation in the UK. The conversation took place before the premiere, but I didn't transcribe the interview in time and once I transcribed it, I realized it would be just as effective before the finale, since it really spoils nothing. 
 
So warm up for Wednesday's finale with my chat with Colman and Whittaker, after the break...
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 202

Dan and Alan talk 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' 'Dexter' finale, 'Breaking Bad' and more

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls.
 
We went podcast-less yesterday due to Alan's ongoing hospital adventures -- He's improving! -- and also because of communication SNAFUs caused by Gmail problems. Sorry!
 
But we've got you covered today, with a fairly long podcast that includes brief chatter about Sunday's Emmys, reviews of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.IE.L.D.," "Trophy Wife," "The Goldbergs," "Lucky 7" and "Back in the Game," plus discussion of Sunday's weak "Dexter" finale and strong "Breaking Bad" penultimate episode.
 
Maybe we'll have one more podcast later this week. We'd like to have one more podcast this week. However: Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht.
 
Here's today's breakdown:
Emmys (00:01:10 - 00:13:45)
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.IE.L.D." (00:14:00 - 00:23:50)
"The Goldbergs" (00:23:55 - 00:28:45)
"Trophy Wife" (00:28:50 - 00:35:30)
"Lucky 7" (00:35:35 - 0043:25)
"Back in the Game" (00:43:30 - 00:48:50)
"Dexter" finale (00:49:15 - 01:04:30)
"Breaking Bad" (01:04:30 - 01:27:30) 

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.

 

 

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DVD Exclusive: How the 'Hannibal' team approached Hannibal Lecter post-Anthony Hopkins

DVD Exclusive: How the 'Hannibal' team approached Hannibal Lecter post-Anthony Hopkins

Mads Mikkelsen and series creator Bryan Fuller discuss making Lecter their own
When NBC ordered a drama series based on the events leading up to Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon," the big question from many fans was how Bryan Fuller and company would put their imprint on the iconic character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
 
After watching a full season of "Hannibal," those questions were gone. It's not that Mads Mikkelsen made anybody forget Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning performance, but the "Casino Royale" veteran's take on the creepy cannibal was nuanced, reptilian and terrifying in its own way.
 
"Hannibal" arrives on DVD on Tuesday, September 24 and HitFix has an exclusive clip of a bonus feature in which Mikkelsen and series creator Bryan Fuller discuss making Lecter their own.
 
Thanks to strong reviews and its unique international financing deal, rather than its precariously low ratings, "Hannibal" was renewed for a second season and will be back on NBC at a yet-to-be-determined time.
 
Check out the exclusive clip above.
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<p>James Spader of &quot;The Blacklist&quot;</p>

James Spader of "The Blacklist"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Big 'Voice,' 'Blacklist' premieres lead NBC Monday while 'Sleepy Hollow' holds well

CBS' 'Mom' and 'Hostages' have weak Premiere Night launches
Fast National ratings for Monday, September 23, 2013.
 
Welcome to the 2013-2014 TV season!
 
There was plenty to report on the Nielsen-approved opening night of the new season.
 
On the positive side, "The Voice" returned above last fall's Monday premiere, building with each half-hour, beating "Dancing with the Stars" overall and prompting a strong premiere for "Blacklist," even if "Blacklist" came in below last September's "Revolution" premiere.
 
Speaking of positives, FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" held up very well in its second airing, especially among young viewers, even against far tougher competition.
 
Also positive, CBS got good numbers for the hour-long premiere of the final season of "How I Met Your Mother," which was a competitive second to "The Voice" among young viewers and equalled last fall's premiere.
 
That's where the good news stops for CBS, though, as "Mom" had a soft launch after "2 Broke Girls," which was down nearly a quarter from last year's premiere. "Mom," in turn, led into a very underwhelming premiere for the new drama "Hostages," which started weak and limped to a third place finish for the hour, certainly below CBS' hopes for the heavily promoted limited series, which may find itself even more limited if it doesn't perk up.
 
On to the numbers…
 
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<p>Ming-Na Wen of &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Ming-Na Wen of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Interview: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' star Ming-Na Wen talks stunts, The Whedonverse and punctuation

How much does the 'E.R.' veteran know about Agent Melinda May?
The core premise of ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is that although you know the big names in the Marvel superhero universe -- the Iron Mans, the Thors, the Hulks, the Captain Americas -- there's a vast infrastructure  of highly specialized agents protecting the globe, straddling the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
 
Fans of the recent hit Marvel films will certainly know Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson and they'll recognize at least one "Avengers" figure in the pilot (it's not being kept a secret anymore, but I'm not going out of my way to spoil anything here). 
 
Within the world of S.H.I.E.L.D., though, Ming-Na Wen's Agent Melinda May is a legend, though we don't immediately know why in the pilot, which premieres on Tuesday (September 24) night. We know she has a notorious past and that she now appears to be working a desk job within Coulson's team. It emerges very quickly, though, that when the situation requires, she still has "it," even if we're only starting to learn what "it" is or why she put "it" on the shelf.
 
A veteran of "Stargate: Universe," "E.R." and "The Single Guy," Ming-Na Wen is also one of the better known stars in a "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." cast dominated by relative unknows.
 
Last week, I got on the phone with Ming-Na to discuss crafting a character whose backstory is full of unknowns, her early experiences with being a part of the Whedonverse and whether or not she includes the periods in her show's title when communicating with friends.
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
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<p>&quot;Mad Men&quot; star and Emmy nominee Christina Hendricks</p>

"Mad Men" star and Emmy nominee Christina Hendricks

Credit: AP

Primetime Emmy Awards 2013 Live-Blog

From Neil Patrick Harris to all of the winners, we've got you covered

Happy Emmy Night, Everybody!

Are we all excited for the accelerated 55 minute show that will be over in time so that everybody can watch the penultimate episode of "Breaking Bad"? 

Crud.

Anyway, this'll be where I am for the next three hours. Follow along! Comment below! And check out my Full 2013 Emmy Predictions with Sepinwall so that you can make fun of how ineffectively psychic I am!

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<p>The CW's &quot;The 100&quot;</p>

The CW's "The 100"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The 100'

In The CW's idealistic future, everybody over 35 is in orbit somewhere

[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:"The 100" (The CW)
Airs:Midseason
The Pitch: "Imagine a world populated only by sexy young people, where the old people -- anybody over 35, really -- is off in isolation somewhere where they're entirely irrelevant." "Ummm... We're The CW. That's *all* of our shows." "Oh. Well. Um. In this one, the old folks are off in space somewhere." "It's like a metaphor! For all our other shows! Sold!"
Quick Response: As unlikely as it is that my "Pitch" was what actually sold "The 100" to The CW, this midseason drama is close to being parody, without being funny. If "Star-Crossed" is like somebody studied The CW's dramatic formula and delivered a pilot that checked every single familiar box in the most familiar way possible, "The 100" is like somebody was looking at that CW formula and started to get cocky and was like, "What if I take that formula and graft it onto a really silly YA-friendly high concept that nobody will ever think to question because the actors are all so darned cute?" Because dystopic futures with heavy-handed thematics are popular with the kids, "The 100" starts with an absurd premise -- 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse, humanity is floating in space stations and they decide to send 100 juvenile delinquents down to Earth to see if it's safe to repopulate. Of course, in this society, literally any minor crime can make you a juvenile delinquent, so it's much more "Lord of the Sexy Flies" than "The Dirty Eight-Dozen." For 44 minutes, Jason Rothenberg's pilot script is basically nothing but expositional dialogue, as everybody explains future tech and the global situation, rather than illustrating it, and all of the characters are introduced by having other people describe them -- "You're the guy who..." "You're that girl who..." "Isn't your father..." "That's just like somebody who..." -- rather than doing things that might teach you about the characters organically. Of course, Rothenberg would be right to point out that in a pilot that could plausibly have 100 main teenage characters, it's hard to introduce the whole world fluidly. Maybe that's why the Dirty Dozen was only 12, perhaps? It's not like there weren't 100 military prisoners who might have made that Anti-Nazi mission a bit easier. But in a movie, even learning 12 characters is hard. Seven? Now that would be magnificent! But 100? That's cuckoo bananas. And while several of the "100" stars are the latest models off of the CW assembly line -- Marie Avgeropoulos, for example, survived "Cult" -- most of them are unfamiliar (and some are really, really bad at the acting thing, even if they excel at the "good-looking" thing. So it's pretty people crash-landing on Earth and blathering, while it becomes increasingly obvious that there are weird things happening in the land we used to call home. It's "Carrie Diaries" meets "Chernoybl Diaries" in the future! Meanwhile, all of the recognizable actors -- Paige Turco, Isaiah Washington, Kelly Hu, Desmond from "Lost" -- are out in space being SO DAMN OLD and arguing about future-civics or something. The old people are in one clunky, exposition-heavy show. The young people are in a completely different clunky, exposition-heavy show. The old person show is boring. The young person show is annoying. The old person show reminds you of why there are so few old people in "Hunger Games"/"Divergent"/"Delirium." At least at the end of the young person show, there's a cliffhanger that may be silly enough to get a few people (sad people, like me) back.
Desire To Watch Again: I'm of two minds here: Ideally, a pilot with this much exposition really should have set its world up well enough that once we get to the second episode, things should fly. However, very little of the exposition in the pilot makes much sense, so I fear there's more explaining still to come. Plus, of the 100 juvenile delinquents, we've barely met any of them, so they could be awkwardly introducing us to new characters for years to come. I won't be staying with the show for that long, but it's pretty much inevitable that I'll watch a few more episodes.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Resurrection' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Surviving Jack' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Believe' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Us & Them' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Star-Crossed'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

 

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<p>ABC's &quot;Resurrection&quot;</p>

ABC's "Resurrection"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Resurrection'

Midseason drama has one interesting question, but needs more

[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:"Resurrection" (ABC)
Airs:Sundays at 10 p.m. starting in March
The Pitch: "If zombies are big on AMC, maybe people returning from the dead will be big on ABC, too." "But are they zombies?" "Well, not exactly." "So what are they?" "Can't tell you!" "Sold."
Quick Response: I may be irrationally gun-shy, but I'm distrustful of entirely serialized dramas that are set up as being ultimately only about the answering of a single question. That rule doesn't necessarily apply to investigation-type dramas, because wanting to know who killed Rosie Larsen, or that sorta thing, will definitely keep me going for at least 12 or 13 episodes. But in the case of ABC's "Resurrection," I came away from the pilot with the key question that everybody will have: Why are residents of Arcadia, Missouri coming back to life many years after their deaths? [Or at all, I guess. Once you're coming back from the dead, I don't suppose it necessarily matters how long it takes. Still pretty strange.] So yes, I kinda want to know the answer. But there's really nothing else that was put forward in 44 minutes that I need to know anything more about. I don't care about any of the characters or the circumstances behind any of their deaths. So given that there's a book by Jason Mott out there, is there a point in watching 13 hours of a TV show? Well, the book doesn't star Omar Epps and I like Omar Epps, playing an immigration official, even if I'm confused by his absence of facial hair and even more confused by his character's jurisdiction in all of this. The book doesn't have Kurtwood Smith, getting a rare opportunity to play a character who is entirely sincere, without any sarcasm or venom or plausible menace (I could be wrong about the last two). The book doesn't have Devin Kelley, who I liked in "Chicago Code." It is, in fact, a pretty sturdy cast here. And pilot director Charles McDougall knows how to lay on some atmospherics and there are couple rather gorgeous visuals, mostly in the early-going. McDougall also lays on the spiritual schlock and even though I knew it was coming -- this show went through several titles, but "Resurrection" is the one that's least subtle, religion-wise -- the arrival of a friendly priest character who starts giving lectures on belief left me cringing. With this and NBC's midseason drama "Believe" and FOX's departed "Touch," TV has been pushing the "Messianic Kid & Stoic Guardian" buddy drama pretty hard, but it's at least semi-ironic how these shows all want to be about faith, but universally have almost no faith in the audience's ability to put anything together without spoon-feeding.
Desire To Watch Again: I'll definitely give "Resurrection" one more episode to see if an ancillary mystery arises that will keep me engaged long enough to get the answer to the big question. "Resurrection" is a bit sleepy in its pacing, but it seems to be bursting with vim and vigor compared to "Betrayal," the drama that'll be occupying its time slot all fall. I have "Betrayal" pegged for a swift collapse, so I wonder how quickly ABC could push up the premiere, or if I'd rather just read the book in a couple days and save my Sunday TV viewing for other things. [Or maybe I'll just watch the French drama "Les Revenants," which airs on Sundance this fall and may or may not be REALLY similar.]

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Surviving Jack' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Believe' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Us & Them' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Star-Crossed'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

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<p>FOX's &quot;Surviving Jack&quot;</p>

FOX's "Surviving Jack"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Surviving Jack'

Chris Meloni shines in this coming-of-age comedy

[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:"Surviving Jack" (FOX)
Airs:Midseason
The Pitch: "'The Wonder Years'... '90s Edition" or else "Feces My Dad Says: Origins"
Quick Response: Of the three "Wonder Years"-style comedies premiering this season, "Surviving Jack" was easily my favorite pilot, topping ABC's shout-y "The Goldbergs" and NBC's odd (and being altered) "Growing Up Fisher." There are several reasons for that. The first and most important is that Chris Meloni is just terrific. Meloni perfectly nails the mixture of prickly outrageousness and well-intentioned -- but still awkward -- love that William Shatner blundered in Justin Halpern's "Feces My Dad Says," which now feels like the batch of test cookies that were burnt and properly discarded in preparation for this. The "SVU" veteran is truly funny, but also recognizably human in a way that grounds the entire show. I also have to admit that "Surviving Jack" is much more my jam, historically speaking, than "The Goldbergs" was. The early-90s world of hypercolor t-shirts, scrambled porn and burgeoning adolescence struck a chord with me, but for the most part the pilot was much less "Let's make a campy, dated reference just for the sake of snarky dramatic irony" than "The Goldbergs" was. Yes, "Surviving Jack" is yet another comedy pilot that didn't make me laugh, but I smiled a lot in general recognition. Much will depend on relatively unknown leading man Connor Buckley, who has appealingly sarcastic timing in certain scenes, but reads too flat and bland in others. Buckley doesn't have to be Fred Savage for "Surviving Jack" to work, but he has to imprint a bit more strongly in later episodes, or else this will just become "The Chris Meloni Show," which wouldn't be bad, but it probably isn't what this wants to be. Another alternative, should Buckley fizzle, would be for "Surviving Jack" to push Claudia Lee into the forefront. Fans of "Hart of Dixie" and "Kick-Ass 2" (a weird Venn Diagram that I'm not even a part of, since I thought "Kick-Ass 2" was pretty dismal) know that Lee has impressive comic timing as well as singing and dancing skills that might as well be utilized. Also capable of picking up the slack is Rachael Harris, who wasn't in the original pilot and has never, despite many sitcom attempts, been given a part that properly utilized her gifts. As was the case with "The Goldbergs," "Surviving Jack" lacks the weight that flashing back to the late-60s brought to "The Wonder Years," but it has potential when it comes to the humor and the heart.
Desire To Watch Again: FOX has several not-hilarious-but-likable comedies that could either evolve into funny shows as they develop their individual voices, could remain laughless-but-charming or could become unpleasant as FOX's comedy development team pushes them to be more overt. But as with "Enlisted" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," I look forward to watching a couple more "Surviving Jack" episodes.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Believe' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Us & Them' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Star-Crossed'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 


 

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<p>&quot;About a Boy&quot;</p>

"About a Boy"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy'

David Walton is either perfectly cast or totally miscast

[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:"About a Boy" (NBC)
Airs:Midseason TBD
The Pitch: "It's like 'About a Boy,' only warmer and fuzzier."
Quick Response: On one hand, Jason Katims' adaptation of Chris and Paul Weitz's adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel works very well. It successfully brings nearly a full movie or book's worth of story into 22 minutes and, thanks to both Katims and director Jon Favreau, there are a couple laughs and three or four totally effective warm fuzzies. Nobody does warm-fuzzies like Jason Katims. David Walton brings ample charm to the lead role and, after having been rascally and winning in a slew of failed NBC comedies, perhaps this'll be the one that brings him a certain level of stardom. Minnie Driver is a neurotic, sometimes hilarious mess and once you accept that you're not going to instantly embrace her -- You aren't supposed to, just as you weren't immediately supposed to love Toni Collette's character in the movie -- I think she's very, very good. Even though we're mostly in the early antagonistic stage of things, I think there's fine chemistry between Walton and Driver. And although Benjamin Stockham is more of a sitcom kid than I'd like -- I prefer Nicholas Hoult's understated eyebrow-driven work in the movie to Stockham's expressive mugging any day -- he's funny enough and I think the sitcomization of the semi-eponymous "boy" sets up the the "... on the other hand," which you knew was coming. On the other hand, Katims and Favreau have pretty solidly missed the point of Hornsby's book and the movie. Or changed the point. I think Walton's well-cast for what Katims and Favreau want to do, but I think he's probably miscast for the source material. At 34, Walton is still young enough that the character's boyish behavior is almost entirely unconditionally winning. Yes, he's childlike, but he's not so old that it's a problem and just because he's got friends who have more mature lives and just because he's got a different lifestyle from the Driver character, that doesn't mean he's doing anything wrong. Hugh Grant was 42 in the movie and part of why his performance there is SO great is because he's also charming, but you see the cracks in his charm, you see the desperation and sadness that maybe the character *doesn't* initially feel, but maybe he *should* feel. There's a lesson that the character *has* to learn in the book and the movie, whereas with this casting and this tone, you figure that David Walton's character has a few good years before he can legitimately be judged. If you age down that main character, you drain the title of its double meaning and you take away what's at the core of Hornby's book. Maybe. Of course, there's room for wiggling. Grant was a little older than Hornby's Will, if memory serves, and that added age brought the melancholy of the book to the surface for the movie. If Walton is younger, what aspect will that bring to the surface of the TV show? And will whatever aspect that is justify the change? We'll see. As it stands here, the main dynamic is less like "About a Boy" and more like "Bent," only with a kid. A few people loved "Bent." I liked "Bent" a lot. If attaching a brand name to a remake of "Bent" gets "Bent" back, some people will be perfectly happy (and some people will feel mighty bait-and-switched).
Desire To Watch Again: Ample. My reservations about the pilot stemmed largely from familiarity with two versions of the source material that this doesn't adhere to in terms tone/theme. Probably I need to get over that. At a certain point "About a Boy" will become its own thing. Katims worked on "Friday Night Lights," which wasn't the book or the movie, but was awesome as its own thing. He has worked on "Parenthood," which isn't the Ron Howard movie and has been, in my opinion, much better as its own thing. I like Walton and Driver. A lot. Once I see what "its own thing" is, I can easily imagine enjoying "About a Boy" as its own thing. But it's not Nick Hornby's "About a Boy." So get ready for that.

 

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Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
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Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
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All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

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