Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
What did everybody think of Christopher Guest's new HBO series?
Chris O'Dowd ponders his "Family Tree."
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
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in "Game of Thrones."
A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I'm impressed by a windmill...
After some brief success last fall, the Peacock once again needs a major overhaul
Sean Hayes in NBC's new sitcom "Sean Saves the World."
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.
Neil Gaiman returns to script a Cybermen adventure
Matt Smith as the Doctor in "Doctor Who."
A quick review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as we spend the night at Natty Longshoe's Comical Castle...
Does an ongoing series need a more normal hero? How do newcomers take to Guest's improvisational approach?
Chris O'Dowd and Christopher Guest on the set of HBO's "Family Tree."
Credit: Family Tree
Christopher Guest's new HBO comedy series "Family Tree" starts off from an autobiographical place. Like the show's hero, Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd), Guest once inherited a trunk of family mementos and became obsessed with tracing his own ancestry. Now Guest and co-creator (and Guest repertory player) Jim Piddock have turned that into an ongoing series (it debuts Sunday night at 10:30) that's a mix of Guest's usual absurdity and some more serious, even sweet talk of the meaning of family.
I reviewed the series earlier in the week, and I spoke with Guest about having a sane leading man, the key to telling stories about ridiculous people without being mean, ventriloquism, and more.
Musical drama was a pet project of NBC's president, but never connected with audiences
NBC has canceled "Smash," starring Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee
We can now qualify "unqualified success": NBC has canceled "Smash."
Long the pet project of NBC president Bob Greenblatt, who brought it with him when he arrived from Showtime, "Smash" was instead a very expensive disappointment in its first season and an embarrassing failure in its second. Its modest season 1 ratings were entirely a creation of airing after "The Voice," and left to its own devices in season 2, it tanked so quickly that NBC shuffled "Smash" off to Saturdays to die quietly. Because it was beloved by Greenblatt — who called the show "an unqualified success" after season 1 (after creator Theresa Rebeck and a number of actors were replaced) — there was always a slim chance it might return, but NBC announced tonight that the series won't continue next season.
Amidst all of today's cancellation news (including the death of "Happy Endings," which happened while I was putting my kids to sleep), I wanted to write this one up mainly because I'm curious to hear from people who have stuck with the show through the rest of season 2. I stopped four or five episodes in, once it became clear the new creative team had no idea how irritating Jimmy was, and that most of the other problems hadn't been fixed. For those who've stuck with it, how has it been? I have a very vague sense of what's been happening with "Bombshell" and "Hit List," but has any of it been good?
Held until midseason and expected to die, the college comedy was instead one of NBC's less horrible options
Would you accept five seasons and a movie? NBC has renewed "Community" for another season, against all odds.
Cop drama found a second life — and greater artistry — after NBC dropped it
Michael Cudlitz as Officer John Cooper on "Southland," which TNT just canceled.
"Southland" has gone end of watch, as TNT has, unsurprisingly, opted not to renew the often brilliant cop drama.
Spy drama's seventh and final season debuts in June
USA says the next season of "Burn Notice" will be the last one.
USA has announced that the upcoming seventh season of "Burn Notice" will be the show's last.
Jeff prepares to graduate, and visitors from the Darkest Timeline try to stop him
Joel McHale and Alison Brie in the "Community" season finale.
A review of tonight's "Community" season finale coming up just as soon as I give you proof of inseam...