Dan and Alan break down the first batch of fall schedules
It's Upfront Week here at the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, which means the first of what should be two installments. In this one, we discuss NBC, FOX and ABC, then get into the "Community" and "How I Met Your Mother" finales before breaking down the latest "Mad Men." Speaking of which, here is the promised photo of a young Cloris Leachman that we discussed during the "Mad Men" segment:
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Agent Coulson puts together a team that's 'not exactly a team'
ABC just finished its upfront presentation, and it saved the best — or, at least, the show everyone around here cares about the most by far — for last, concluding the show by bringing Joss Whedon on stage with Clark Gregg and the rest of the cast of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Joss described the show as about "what it's like to be an ordinary person in an increasingly extraordinary and unreal world," and warned his actors that they were about to be the subjects of "some really inappropriate fanfic," then introduced the 3-minute trailer for the series.
Again, these are trailers and not actual pilots, and it's easier to make a quippy action show look good than to, say, try to make a riveting pilot for "Tremé." But as my first even slightly extended look at what Whedon (and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen) intend to do with the Marvel universe on the small screen, it's an excellent start. Enjoy:
Will the fanboys come in big numbers for Agent Coulson? And why is the 'Once Upon a Time' spin-off airing on Thursdays?
Every year at upfront time, ABC seems to be in the same situation, doing the same things. They're a network with a number of genuine hits ("Modern Family," "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal"), and yet that struggles in the overall ratings (this season, they'll again finish fourth among adults 18-49). And each year they respond with a ton of high-concept new series — next season will feature a dozen new sitcoms and dramas, including "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and the "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" spin-off — that will be placed into problematic timeslots and/or left to fend for themselves.
A reaction to comments from the 'HIMYM' creators about the structure of the final season
I already reviewed the "How I Met Your Mother" season finale last night, but I have some morning-after thoughts — including words from Carter Bays — on what the episode means for the show's final season, coming up just as soon as we watch a movie that doesn't start with a desk lamp jumping on top of a capital I...
Ted, Lily and Marshall make travel plans for after Robin and Barney's wedding, and a new player enters the scene
Does FOX have enough inventory to fill all the gaps on the annual schedule? And will 'Bones' really air on Fridays?
Of the cliches that get spouted every year by network presidents during Upfront Week, one of the most popular is the idea of doing year-round programming with few repeats. Usually, the reality falls well short of that, with the usual confusing pre-emptions and dead spots. With the usual skepticism in mind — we're talking about a network that practically every year (including this one) claims that "Bones" will move to Fridays, and then never actually puts it there — FOX's Kevin Reilly sounded more convincing than most when he made that promise.
History repeats itself as old colleagues and new ones learn to work together
What did everybody think of Christopher Guest's new HBO series?
I've already published my review of HBO's "Family Tree," as well as an interview with co-creator Christopher Guest. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the latest bit of improvisational silliness from Guest and company? Did the usual formula work with a saner leading man? Is it harder to buy Michael McKean as an Englishman if his co-stars are actually from the UK? How did you feel about Bea and Monkey? Would you buy a climate-controlled shoe tree? And will you watch again?
Like a Guest movie, "Family Tree" is a bit of a slow build in both story (Tom has just barely started exploring the family tree) and comedy (both Monkey and Tom's friend Pete get up to bigger hijinx in weeks to come). I don't know that I'll have time to write about it every week, but I'll try to check in from time to time, especially once we get past Memorial Day weekend (which the show won't be on for) and there are fewer original series to keep track of.
Daenerys has demands, Tyrion and Sansa adjust to their new situation and Jaime takes a selfless leap
After some brief success last fall, the Peacock once again needs a major overhaul
For a few months last fall, it looked like NBC had finally pulled itself out of the gutter and built a foundation for ongoing success. The Peacock was even the number one network going into 2013, had a genuine freshman hit in "Revolution" and several other promising rookies in "Go On" and "The New Normal," both of which were said to symbolize NBC's move away from the niche appeal of "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" and towards something broader and more sustainable.
Then, as usual, NBC went back to being NBC. The three shows that had been primarily responsible for that fall success — "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and "Revolution" — went away, and all the ratings success went with them. Without "The Voice" as a lead-in, "Go On" and "The New Normal" cratered, and eventually weren't renewed, while "Parks and Rec" and "Community" are the network's only returning comedies. Every new premiere was a disaster. The return of NBC president Bob Greenblatt's pride and joy, "Smash," was a catastrophe that was eventually banished to Saturdays before cancellation. Even when "The Voice" came back strong in the spring, "Revolution" returned to fading numbers suggesting that, like "Smash" and "Go On," it might be barely viable without Adam Levine and friends as a lead-in.