A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I send you a book with a horse in it...
Van Alden has baby mama drama, while Margaret has a family dinner
Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes headline espionage drama
Johnny Worricker, the hero of the new "Masterpiece Contemporary" film "Page Eight" (Sunday at 9 on PBS), is in British intelligence, but not in the James Bond sense. He may occasionally don a tuxedo for professional reasons, and he's irresistible to a certain kind of woman (the lonely kind, mostly), but his job is to sit at a desk, study the reports that come across it, and figure out what they mean.
And it's a specific piece of paper that gives "Page Eight" both its title and its central conflict. Johnny has been in the game a long time, as has his boss and best friend Benedict, and while those years add wisdom, they can also create ennui. So it takes Johnny quite a while to notice there's something very wrong on page eight of his latest report, and even longer to realize what that means and what he has to do about it.
Tom has another message for his doctor, and the gubernatorial race turns ugly
Morgan gets cocky, Casey gets a competitor, and Captain Awesome gets a commercial opportunity
Writer would like New Orleans drama to end after four seasons, but the choice is up to HBO
Ever since the "Lost" producers cut a deal with ABC to conclude the series after six seasons, it's become fashionable for people to say Show X or Y would be wise to set an end date, even though most of the TV business works under the assumption that the longer a show lasts, the better it is financially, if not creatively. HBO doesn't operate according to those rules, and even within HBO, David Simon marches to his own drummer, which is why he's begun suggesting that "Treme" should probably end after four seasons - even though at the moment the show is only guaranteed three.
A doomsday cult gives everyone an excuse to re-examine their lives in a romantic and funny episode
Pierce and Jeff battle daddy issues, while Vice Dean Laybourne makes Troy an offer
Anson gives orders and Michael has to follow them in the mid-season premiere
The great Snowtober storm and the loss of power/cable that followed has eaten into a lot of my work time this week. I had planned to write a bit about the return of "Burn Notice" and the first episode with the new status quo of Michael and Fi having to dance to Anson's tune, but that's unfortunately going to happen, other than me saying that the mid-season premiere was a bit on the dour side. I like Jere Burns a lot, but it's tough to have fun when Michael and friends are completely boxed in by a clever bastard who can anticipate their every move before they even think of it. I imagine things will get more fun when Michael figures out a little wiggle room and starts fighting back, though, and I'll check back in towards the end of the season.
What did everybody else think? You happy with where things stand these days?
'Pan Am' also gets an order for additional scripts
ABC has given full-season orders to "Once Upon a Time," "Happy Endings" and "Last Man Standing," and has ordered 5 additional scripts for "Pan Am."
"Once" has been one of the biggest freshman success stories so far this season, with both of its episodes so far performing strongly opposite the NFL and (once) the World Series. "Last Man Standing" has dipped a bit since its premiere but is still doing well for ABC on a night where they haven't had comedy success in a long time, and "Happy Endings" has done decently at retaining the "Modern Family" audience (and hit a series high last week when the World Series was rained out) while drawing increasingly strong reviews and buzz.
"Pan Am" had a strong debut but has tailed off sharply ever since. Despite that, the show recently hired former "Lost" executive producer Steven Maeda to join the writing staff in anticipation of a back-9 pick-up. The script order is the kind of compromise you often see with shows a network likes but is concerned about in terms of creative or ratings. It shows faith in the series, gives them a bit more money, allows the network to see where things are going and buys a little more time to make the call on the back-9.
Not good, not bad, not memorable, but maybe a new success for AMC?
Early in the new Western drama "Hell on Wheels," which debuts Sunday night at 10 on AMC, railroad magnate Thomas "Doc" Durant gives a flowery speech to potential investors about how the construction of a trans-continental railroad would help fulfill America's manifest destiny. He is eloquent, he is insistent, and as played by actor Colm Meaney, could not be more obviously full of it.