Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
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.
Brent Musberger and Fred Savage play themselves, while Max and Dave shoot a commercial
Ordinarily, this is when I'd be doing a morning round-up of recent programming, but the freak October snowstorm has had a kind of cascade effect, and the only Wednesday night show I've been able to see so far is "Happy Endings." I'll try to check back in "Suburgatory," et al next week, but in the meantime, a quick "Happy Endings" review coming up just as soon as I barter for my outfit using only illegal Mexican candy...
Tate gets a backstory, and the Harmon marriage reaches a turning point
Okay, we've come to the fifth episode of "American Horror Story," and the first one written by producer Tim Minear. Minear is good with story logic and character continuity, and I had hoped his script might provide a temporary counter-balance to how erratic Murphy and Falchuk tend to be in those areas. But "Halloween, Part 2" was largely of a piece with the four episodes that preceded it, with the Tate backstory seeming slightly more human than what was happening around it.
This is clearly not a show I'm going to enjoy, so I'm done. That said, a lot of you are either enjoying it, or at least enjoying discussing the ways in which the show frustrates you, so the plan for now is to keep doing weekly talkback posts each week, possibly with some suggested questions from Fienberg (who will continue to watch). We'll see how that works.
What did everybody else think?
Everyone's right and everyone's wrong in a solid episode
A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I Google whether you can eat lobster...
Various characters make foolish decisions based on love for others
My review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as it's a little late for Legos...
Zooey Deschanel and friends return from a baseball hiatus with a shaky episode
A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I do close-up magic...
Talking Jersey suburbs, high school wrestling and a great cast with the actor turned indie filmmaker
As I've frequently mentioned, because of my job and because I have young kids, I don't go to the movies very much anymore. But one of the directors whose films I've learned to make an effort to get out of the house to see is Tom McCarthy, the man responsible for "The Station Agent," "The Visitor" and, most recently, "Win Win."
Katie Holmes underwhelms in the title role, but the subplots make up for her
A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm as serious as a poutine shortage...