Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
An away game brings the team closer together in season five's best episode so far
(I originally posted this review back when "Friday Night Lights" was doing its exclusive DirecTV run. The comments from that period have been preserved. For the sake of people who are watching the episodes as they air on NBC, I will ask anyone commenting from this point forward to only discuss plot events up to the episode in question. Do not discuss, or even allude to, anything that has yet to air on NBC. Thank you.)
A review of tonight's "Friday Night Lights" coming up just as soon as I grill meat in my office...
Drama about jazz musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans continues its improbable run
In the first season of "Treme," David Simon only had to wait until the Tuesday after the series' premiere before knowing he and Eric Overmyer would get to produce a second season of the drama about post-Katrina New Orleans.
In the second season, Simon, Overmyer and company had to wait a few extra weeks for the good news, but the result is the same. As first reported by Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, HBO executives called Simon today to tell him they're ordering a third season of "Treme."
Spy dramedy defies the odds again
The rumors are true. "Chuck" will be back for a 13-episode 5th season, according to a reliable source connected to the show.
I don't have any details beyond that right now - like whether NBC is holding out the possibility for a back-nine order at mid-season or if they anticipate these 13 being it for the order - but I wrote at length about the renewal rumors yesterday. Now, I'm just pleased. So celebrate with Chuck and Morgan humming their favorite entrance music, and we can go into Monday's episode knowing it's not the series finale.
UPDATE: Several other reports have said that NBC has made it clear that this will be the final season. The NBC upfront press call is Sunday afternoon, so I'll have a lot more info then.
The show does well for a week promoting from within
A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I really embrace the whole Bond villain aesthetic...
Hugh Grant would have been brilliant, but Kutcher should fit in just fine
A very strange thing happened yesterday: as word began to leak that CBS and Warner Bros. had approached Hugh Grant about replacing Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men," a bunch of my fellow TV critics took to Twitter, e-mail, instant messaging and possibly even some ancient social media device called a telephone to expression some variation on the phrase, "Huh. I might actually have to watch that show now."
You could have counted me among those, as it was both such a surprising choice (who expects to see Hugh Grant on an American sitcom?) and yet a perfect one, since Grant plays cads so well (see "About a Boy") but is only occasionally asked to do so.
Alas, things didn't work out with Grant. Tonight, the news broke that the actual man who would be Sheen is Ashton Kutcher, and this time the reaction from many of my bretheren was more along the lines of "Ugh. Now I never need to watch again."
And on that level, I agree with them. Ashton Kutcher is not going to turn me into a regular "Two and a Half Men" viewer all of a sudden going into the ninth season.
But that's missing the point. Though I'm not particularly excited to see Kutcher gaming attractive but dumb women and laughing wryly at Jon Cryer (or some other minor variation on the Charlie Harper character), I actually think he's a great fit for the show - in at least one way, significantly better than Grant.
A terrific double feature as Leslie fights both Ann and her attraction to Ben
We're getting "Parks and Recreation" double-features for the last two weeks of the season, and I have a combined review of "The Fight" and "Road Trip" coming up just as soon as I have a CGI puppy co-host...
The 'Star Wars' references fly as fast as the paintballs in the season finale
A review of the "Community" season two finale coming up just as soon as I call dibs on the Han Solo role...
A comedy that's grown on your humble critic
You may remember that I wasn't a fan of ABC's "Happy Endings" when it debuted last month, dismissing it as not only the last, but least, of this season's trend of sitcoms about young friends and/or relatives at different relationship stages.
Then a funny thing happened: I kept watching the show, at first just as something to have on in the background while doing other things, but then because I realized I was starting to actually, somehow, enjoy it. I have a few thoughts on why coming up just as soon as I pay you in poems...
Ken Jenkins returns, and Nia Vardalos flirts too much with Andy
A quick review of last night's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I put a question mark at the end of a sentence???
Will the Buy More gang really come back for a fifth season?
The days leading up to the network upfront schedule presentations are the TV reporter equivalent of the baseball trading deadline. Rumors, rumors everywhere, everyone racing to lock down a piece of information before the dozens of people chasing the same story, unsure whether the tidbit they've been given is real, misdirection, or an attempt to negotiate something in public. (Yesterday's stories about CBS wanting Hugh Grant to replace Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men" definitely seemed like negotiating through the press.) When FOX made its decisions Monday night on which pilots to pick up and which to pass on, I saw a few frustrated "Why do we bother?"-style tweets from reporters noting that the buzz only days earlier was completely backwards for several of these shows.
All of which is to say that while I'm excited and borderline-shocked by all the reports from last night that NBC's close to ordering at least 13 more episodes of "Chuck" for a fifth season, I'm believing nothing until I hear it from either an NBC official, Chris Fedak or Josh Schwartz. If Deadline/TVLine, Variety and Entertainment Weekly are all reporting that this is where NBC's leaning, I'm assuming they're right, but stranger things have happened at upfront time.