"It was saying goodbye to this show that's really just in my heart."
Tomorrow night's "Party Down" season two finale(*) is a bittersweet moment for Adam Scott. It's the end of a terrific two-year run for him as the dryly hilarious lead on a great comedy, and he was able to segue from it straight into a new job on the equally funny "Parks and Recreation." (He appeared in two episodes at the end of this past season and spent the past few months filming new episodes for the third season to accommodate Amy Poehler's maternity leave. At the moment, though, "Parks and Rec" has no timeslot or premiere date, while NBC focuses on other things.) But going from one great comedy to another meant that he had to leave his beloved "Party Down," which isn't a big deal if Starz chooses not to order a third season - the show's future remains in limbo, which is much of the reason Scott bolted - but would be disappointing if renewal comes, even though Scott negotiated for the right to appear in three episodes of a hypothetical "Party Down" season three.
(*) And I'm aware that the finale has already been made available on the Starz website, On Demand, and even aired at least once on one of Starz's auxiliary channels, but we're not going to discuss the contents of it until tomorrow night at 10:30, okay?
Scott and I talked last week about the new gig, the old one, what it's been like doing second seasons of shows, and a lot more.
A busy show filled with summer shows.
The animated comedy is back from a very long hiatus.
On January 1, 2000, pizza delivery man Philip J. Fry accidentally got frozen in a cryogenics lab and woke up a thousand years later. His fans - who watched his adventures for four seasons on Fox around the turn of the 21st century - have had shorter waits. Fox canceled "Futurama" in 2003, but the series was resurrected five years later as a quartet of straight-to-DVD films, which were in turn re-edited into a 16-episode season that Comedy Central aired in 2008 and 2009. And tomorrow night at 10 on Comedy Central, "Futurama" is back as an honest-to-goodness ongoing series.
As "Family Guy" did when Fox resurrected it three years after canceling that show (Fox canceled a lot of comedies in the early '00s that the network would probably like back now), we open with a few jokes about the long time off and the new regular home on cable. (After a trip through a well-traveled wormhole causes Professor Farnsworth to laugh, he says, "It's sort of a comedy central channel.") There are probably too many of those jokes, especially since the movies (the last of which ended on a cliffhanger that tomorrow's first episode resolves) means it hasn't been that long since Fry (Billy West), Leela (Katey Sagal), Bender (John DiMaggio) and company have been featured in original adventures on television, and on this channel in particular.
In-jokes aside, "Futurama" in 2010 is basically the same show that it was in 2003, for good and for ill.
The ESPN documentary series' best film yet?
A dog poisoning case leads to a meth ring.
Jason Lee disappoints in a bland Elvis-themed cop show.
How did this happen? How did the creative team behind the new cop drama "Memphis Beat" (which premieres tonight at 10 on TNT) take so many elements that seemed promising and unique and turned it into such a blandly familiar series?
Among the things "Memphis Beat" has in its favor, on paper: It stars Jason Lee, one of TV's more unconventional leading men, with or without the "My Name Is Earl" mustache. It takes place in Memphis, which is not only one of America's great musical cities, but an atypical locale for a TV drama, about cops or otherwise. Its pilot was directed by Clark Johnson, who was behind the camera for the debuts of two of the all-time great, distinctive crime dramas in "The Shield" and "The Wire." Its supporting cast features multiple Emmy winner Alfre Woodard. And, oh yeah, Lee plays a cop by day, Elvis impersonator by night.
Even if those ingredients didn't combine for a cop classic ala "The Wire" or "The Shield" - heck, even if "Memphis Beat" wasn't any good at all - they should have at least led to something unusual and memorable in some way. Instead, it's an uninspired, assembly-line police show - one that had me forgetting about its existence even as I was still watching the pilot episode.
The crew runs afoul of Reavers and the Alliance on the same salvage operation.
Checking in on two lousy summer series.
What do these four pictures have in common?
Been a while since I did one of my Guess the Logo games, and even longer since I put any effort into making them even slightly difficult to guess. I'm sure this particular theme will be cracked within 30 seconds of my posting it, but I at least had fun deciding on these four as the representatives of that theme.
As on the old blog, I'm open to any and all suggestions for themed groupings. Shoot an e-mail to email@example.com if you have any ideas in mind. Frankly, one of the reasons they've been so rare on the new blog is that I had started to run out of good ideas on the old one, and was mainly leaning on your suggestions (most of which were used up before the move to HitFix).
On music, anger and Katrina.
What's your follow-up act when your previous series is held up by those who saw it as the greatest drama ever produced for television? Well, if you're "The Wire" co-creator David Simon, it's "Treme," the weekly love letter to New Orleans and its people - specifically to its musicians and those musically-adjacent - in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The passion "Wire" fans had for that show brought expectations to "Treme" that the new series couldn't possibly meet - especially since Simon and co-creator Eric Overmyer were not trying to do "The Wire: New Orleans." The overwhelming focus on character over plot was a jarring shift for many, as was the anger towards the outside world expressed by the characters played by Steve Zahn and John Goodman, whom some viewers assumed were just mouthpieces for the creative team.
I learned quickly to accept "Treme" as its own thing, and while I had some issues with the first season (particularly with the character of Sonny, whom Simon and I talk about in this interview), I loved the warmth of it, and the performances (both acting and music), and the sense of place and community and time it gave me. You can read my review of the finale here, and after the jump is a very long interview with Simon about the first season, and about some of the reactions to it. If you've read a Simon interview before, you won't be surprised to find the man to be his usually blunt (and profane), unapologetic self.
At the very end of the interview, we spent a few minutes looking ahead to some events from New Orleans in the second post-Katrina year that might be incorporated into "Treme" season two; I put a warning before that section so that if you view history as a spoiler, or simply don't want to know anything, you can stop reading.