I offered my review of FOX's "Breaking In" this morning. Now it's your turn. Was there enough here with Bret Harrison, Christian Slater, Odette Annable and company to make this show regular viewing for you? Or did you, like me, find a distinct lack of laughter for a 30-minute network comedy pilot?
What did everybody think of the new FOX sitcom?
Several Bravermans try new approaches to old problems
Lots of good ideas, but the execution's still lacking
By all rights, I should really enjoy FOX's new comedy "Breaking In," which debuts tonight at 9:30 after "American Idol."
The series, about a company that specializes in trying to rob its own clients to identify security flaws, stars Bret Harrison, whom I liked a lot playing a similar role on the CW's "Reaper" and a previous FOX workplace comedy, "The Loop." It has Christian Slater, as Harrison's manipulative boss, having embraced the Jack Nicholson mannerisms that have typified his most entertaining performances. There are tons of nerd and pop culture references, from Slater's character having Captain Kirk's chair from "Star Trek" in his office to one of Harrison's new colleagues showing up to work dressed as Han Solo.
In other words, "Breaking In" feels like a show that should be perfectly suited to my tastes, except for one problem:
It's not funny.
Lights and Death Row square off in an unplanned but satisfying ending
Why couldn't the boxing drama find an audience?
Though tonight's "Lights Out" episode wound up working quite well as a series finale for the low-rated series (you can read my review here), executive producer Warren Leight certainly didn't plan it that way. The entire season was written and produced before a single episode aired, so Leight and company had no way of knowing that it would be the only season they got to do.
Shortly after FX announced the cancellation, I e-mailed Leight a few questions about the series, including his theories on why it didn't work out, some insight into a few unanswered questions like what Barry Word and Hal Brennan were up to, what stories he might have told in the second season, and more. After the jump, his answers...
A more familiar format brings less familiar chefs
The latest edition of "Top Chef" ended last Wednesday, and this Wednesday at 11, Bravo offers up the third round of "Top Chef Masters," which should be followed by another season of "Top Chef Just Desserts," which will then be followed by yet another "Top Chef" Coke Classic, and on and on, as part of Bravo's plan to eventually program some version of the cooking competition franchise not only year-round, but possibly every minute of every day. (Get ready for "Top Chef Salad Shooters," coming your way in 2014!)
And with this new iteration of "Top Chef Masters," the gap in style between original and spin-off has shrunk to the point where "Masters" may as well just be another regular season of the show.
Final season available 10 days before it debuts on NBC
Just a reminder that the second leg of the "Friday Night Lights" season 5 release schedule takes place today, when the entire final season is released on DVD, several months after the season premiered on DirecTV but 10 days before any of the episodes air on NBC. (And several months before the finale airs on NBC, obviously.)
Not long after this weird/backwards release schedule was announced, I decided the best way to deal with it would be to wait for the NBC airings to bump up the publish date of each of my reviews. But if you intend to start marathoning season 5 starting today - and I would not blame you, since after a sluggish start it's another fantastic seasons for one of my all-time favorites - you'll just have to go back and look at the section of the site that has all my "FNL" reviews. (Right now, that link takes you to the page with the most recent reviews; the season 5 stuff starts on the second page with "Expectations." Once I start changing the publish date to coincide with the NBC airings, things may seem out of order for a while, so just look for the right episode title.)
Also, let me make this the first - and hopefully only required - request about the comments. Because there was a desire to do only one version of each review - allowing the latecomers to see how the DirecTV (and in this case DVD) folk reacted to each episode as they saw it, I'm going to ask everyone to step very lightly about spoilers. Some of you will have seen all the episodes before you begin (or resume) commenting, while others will be watching them one week at a time on NBC. So please limit your comments only to events up to the episode you're currently discussing. Do not reveal or even hint at any plot details from episodes that have yet to air on NBC. We want to let everyone who is watching on their own weird schedule thanks to the NBC/DirecTV/DVD split to be as surprised by things as we were. Thanks.
The alters cause problems for Tara at school, and Kate finds a way out
As I said last week, because I've seen the entire third season of "United States of Tara," I don't know how much I'll be writing every week, but I'll try to at least have a few thoughts on each episode to at least provide a jumping-off point for discussion. A quick review of episode two coming up just as soon as we share sweatpants...
Winning the Best in Show poll was nice, but renewal still shaky
"Chuck" star Zachary Levi has always had a deep and abiding love for the show's fans. During the Subway campaign to save the show at the end of season 2, Levi led a group of several hundred fans to a local Subway. When Fienberg and I somehow failed to get a single audience question in at the last San Diego Comic-Con "Chuck" panel, the only person more upset than the two of us was Levi, because he loves hearing from the fans and interacting with them.
So a few hours after it was announced that "Chuck" had won Hulu's Best in Show fan tournament, I got on the phone with Levi to get his reaction to the news, and also to gauge his feelings about where the show stands in terms of renewal. (A few months ago, when the show was consistently averaging a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 year-old demographic, I thought it was a lock to come back. These days, it's averaging about a 1.7, putting the show once again on the bubble.) During a break from filming this season's 23rd episode, Levi had mixed emotions about the result, given the show's familiar precarious position, and we talked about where things stand, what he's enjoyed about doing this latest season, and what his Comic-Con plans are, whether or not renewal comes.
A good weekend for original cable dramas
TV ratings are usually Fienberg's domain, but given the large number of prominent cable shows that debuted over the weekend - almost all of them to ratings that had to make their respective channels happy - I'm going to do a quick write-up on the premiere numbers for "Camelot," "The Killing," "The Borgias" and "The Kennedys."