In an upcoming episode of "The Leftovers," a book publisher considers a manuscript one of the HBO drama's main characters has written about the violent, unsettling events viewers saw last season.
"There's some heartbreaking stuff in here," the publisher acknowledges, but he feels the writing is too dry, even as it recounts stories of death, loss, heartache, and all the complications of living in a world where, a few years earlier, two percent of the world's population vanished into thin air under circumstances that have baffled modern science and organized religion.
"If you want them to connect with it," he tells his prospective author, "you have to tell them how it felt."
Before she signed onto Showtime's "The Affair," Maura Tierney had done practically everything it's possible for an actor to do in television. Her first regular series role (on "The Van Dyke Show") was opposite no less than Dick Van Dyke; her second ("704 Hauser") was working for Norman Lear, on the same set where "All in the Family" took place. She's been the leading woman on a classic (if underappreciated in its time) sitcom in "NewsRadio," helped carry an enormous hit drama ("ER") as it transitioned away from its original cast, been the lead on a legal procedural ("The Whole Truth"), and was one of the original stars of "Parenthood" before a bout with breast cancer forced her to drop out of the role of Sarah Braverman.
A review of tonight's "Agents of SHIELD" premiere coming up just as soon as I have a shotgun/axe combination of some sort...
As I alluded to in the introduction to my interview with Fred Savage, there have been enough behind-the-scenes shifts on "The Grinder" that I want to wait a while to see what the show becomes before writing a full review of it. That said, I always enjoy watching Rob Lowe goof on his own image, and was happy to see Savage back on camera, and I laughed a good amount at the courtroom denouement (albeit primarily at what guest star Kumail Nanjiani was doing in reaction to what Lowe was doing).
For now, it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Did you find Lowe and/or Savage funny? Do you think the idea of a TV lawyer trying to practice law for real is enough to carry a series? Did you prefer the family comedy elements or the mockery of the show-within-the-show (featuring guest star Odette Annable)? And will you watch again?
Have at it.
I didn't write a review of FOX's "Grandfathered," but Fienberg and I discussed it on last week's podcast. Likable show, not super-funny in the pilot, but taking advantage of the charms of John Stamos, Josh Peck, and Paget Brewster. By the low standards of this fall's new network comedies, that's a winner.
Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Did you find yourself liking Stamos playing instant dad and granddad? Did you prefer the action at the restaurant or with Peck, Brewster, and Christina Milian? And will you watch again?
Have at it.
Last night, FOX tried to use the unveiling of a two-part trailer for "The X-Files" miniseries as a come-on to get viewers to watch episodes of "Gotham" and "Minority Report." Now, though, the two-minute version of it is online, featuring not only Mulder and Scully, but other old friends like Skinner and Cancer Man (or, at least, his voice and cigarette), as well as new figures like Joel McHale's talk show host Tad O'Malley, who sends Mulder on the path of his latest conspiracy.
Damon Lindelof wears his heart on his sleeve, which at once makes him an ideal person to run a show like "Lost" or "The Leftovers," and the absolute last person you would want to wish that burden on. He holds nothing back, whether in his writing or in his discussion of his writing, and he takes every criticism of his work very deeply. (He quit Twitter two years ago because it wasn't healthy for him anymore to wake up every day to people cursing at him and demanding six years of their lives back.)
I will say this for "Code Black": it knows its TV hospital drama cliches, and when to deploy them.
"The Grinder" debuts tomorrow night at 8:30 on FOX as the most promising new network sitcom this fall. Some of that's just by default — as I've said, this is a poor freshman class — but some of it's the fun of watching Rob Lowe (playing a former TV legal drama star who returns home to Idaho to help out the family law practice) at his most cheerfully self-parodying, and much of it is the pleasure of having Fred Savage back in front of the camera in his first regular series role since the short-lived "Crumbs" back in 2006.