Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
Jules wants to be surprising, Ellie is afraid of her son, and Travis makes a move
Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in a scene from the "Cougar Town" season premiere.
"Cougar Town" is back for its third season. I offered a reminder yesterday that the show has nothing to do with its stupid title any more, and I have a review of the season premiere coming up just as soon as I throw my Too Creepy flag...
The show revisits a familiar story that not everyone may be happy about
Becki Newton and Neil Patrick Harris on "How I Met Your Mother."
A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I drop some sweet wordplay about logarithms...
On fan screenings, working in a vacuum and memories of 'Freaks and Geeks'
"Cougar Town" co-star Busy Philipps.
finally returns to ABC tonight at 8:30. As I wrote about yesterday
, the show has come a long way from its early days when its horrible title could be taken fairly literally. It's now a goofy, sweet, quirky, fun and at times incredibly romantic comedy about friends and family.
Tonight's premiere leans heavy on both the goof and the romance, which is either brilliant or horrible timing given that it's Valentine's Day. In terms of timing, though, the larger problem may be that the show has been off the air for almost nine months, which means all but the most passionate fans — or people who didn't delete their DVR season pass(*) — may have forgotten it existed by now.
(*) As mentioned in last week's story, those season passes are the reason the show won't abandon the terrible title, because an old show with a new title would be treated as a new show by DVRs, and it wouldn't record for anyone who didn't know to update things.
ABC left the Courteney Cox comedy off its fall schedule, then bumped it from a planned mid-season debut a couple of months ago, which is tough sledding for a show that will be airing for the first time without the security of "Modern Family" as its lead-in. To keep the fans engaged during the long time off — and to keep the actors and writers from feeling too disconnected from their audience — the show's creators Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel mounted a multi-level guerrilla marketing campaign, that included cameos by most of the cast in the background of other shows and a series of screenings of season 3 episodes in cities around the country. (I talked with both Lawrence
about the campaign at press tour.)
One of those screenings was in Chicago, where co-star Busy Philipps
and writer Melody Derloshon represented the series. Last month, before ABC announced the show's premiere date, I spoke with Philipps about the screening, making these episodes in a vacuum, and the show's optimistic approach to her dim-witted character, Laurie.
Karen and Ivy go down to the wire for the lead role, while Julia writes a letter
Debra Messing and Christian Borle in "Smash."
A review of tonight's "Smash" coming up just as soon as I get you to understand p orbitals...
Dan and Alan also discuss Netflix's 'Lilyhammer' and the improbable NBA story of Jeremy Lin
It's later in the day (or night) than usual, but we got in a Firewall & Iceberg Podcast just under the Monday wire. Dan and I talk a bit about the experience of watching last night's Grammys, review the return of "Cougar Town," the HBO debut of Gervais and Merchant's "Life's Too Short" and Netflix's original wiseguy-in-Norway series "Lilyhammer." We also answer some of your mail, which gives us a chance to check in on some freshman series we haven't discussed in a while, and also for me to gush over Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. (Apologies in advance for that segment.)
The Grammys (00:00:45 - 00:15:35)
"Cougar Town" (00:15:40 - 00:29:50)
"Life's Too Short" (00:29:50 - 38:45)
"Lilyhammer" (00:38:55 - 00:51:10)
Listener Mail - "Person of Interest" (00:52:00 - 00:59:05)
Listener Mail - New shows we're sticking with (00:59:05 - 01:07:25)
Listener Mail - LINSANITY (01:08:15 - 01:20:45)
Some examples of how the ABC comedy transcended its horrible name
Courteney Cox and friends on "Cougar Town."
"Cougar Town" season 3 makes a very belated debut tomorrow night at 8:30 on ABC, and the guerrilla marketing campaign being waged by creators Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel and their stars seems two-pronged in its goals: 1)To remind existing "Cougar Town" fans that the show still exists and will be back on Valentine's Day, and 2)To convince people who either gave up on the show after a handful of episodes, or who simply refused to watch a show called "Cougar Town," that it has nothing to do with its horrible, horrible title anymore. (Biegel explained to me last month why they unfortunately can't change it.)
I've written a lot over the last couple of years about the ways the show transformed itself from the story of Courteney Cox's Jules living up to the cougar archetype into the story of Jules becoming the unofficial leader of a collection of oddball friends and relatives who live on her cul-de-sac. As I wrote last week, it's an incredibly goofy, incredibly charming comedy about friends and family, about red wine and running gags and boredom, and while it's certainly not for everyone, it's for far more people than anyone might suspect from thinking it's about Courteney Cox having sex with younger guys.
But no matter how many words I write, a picture will be worth 1,000 of 'em, and a bunch of embedded videos will be worth even more. So I've gathered together a collection of scenes that I feel capture the show that "Cougar Town" became over time, and that should be a good barometer of whether you want to watch the season premiere tomorrow. Lawrence's sense of humor is idiosyncratic, not universal. But if you find yourself laughing at one or more of these clips, chances are you'll want to spend more time with the Cul-de-Sac Crew this season. (And, yes, the gang's nickname is also terrible, but more intentionally so.)
Frank's mother pays a visit, and Fiona tries to double date with Steve
William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum on "Shameless."
I'm not reviewing "Shameless" every week, but tonight's episode was particularly strong, and I have some thoughts on it coming up just as soon as I'm married, but only legally...
Several stories go in circles this week
Kevin Dunn as Marcus on "Luck."
A review of tonight's "Luck" coming up just as soon as I answer a question with a question...
The zombie drama returns with a strong beginning and ending and another flat middle
Director's career comes full circle with new AMC reality show about his comic shop
Kevin Smith (center) and the cast of AMC's "Comic Book Men," including good friend Walter Flanagan (right), who manages Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash.
owes his career to comic books. When he needed the money to finance his low-budget debut film "Clerks," he sold his entire comic book collection to the owner of his favorite local shop, Comicology. And when Comicology's owner decided to get out of the business a few years later, he offered to sell the store to the now rich and successful Smith, who bought it, renamed it Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, and put the management in the hands of his good friend Walter Flanagan. In its current location on Broad Street in Red Bank, it's become a tourist attraction and as much of a memorabilia museum from Smith's movies as it is a place to buy the latest issue of "Superman."
Now Flanagan, and the Stash, are the subject of a reality TV show, "Comic Book Men,"
debuting on AMC tonight at 10, and showing how Flanagan and friends Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic
and Ming Chen deal with the customers and the business.
I spoke to lifelong comic book fan — and, on occasion, comic book author — Smith about his own history with comic shops, how and why he came to own this one, his expectations for the show and why Walt didn't want to be Snooki.