A quick review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as I'm sailing away on a tugboat...
The CW just had the biggest panel of this press tour, with 13 actors from "Arrow" and "The Flash" — Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, Katie Cassidy, John Barrowman, Colton Haynes, David Ramsey, Tom Cavanagh, Brandon Routh, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Robbie Amell, Victor Garber and Matt Nable(*) — plus producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim. Panels that size — particularly involving two different shows, even if they're linked like these two — are usually unwieldy and leave lots of people sitting silently on stage, but this superheroes and villains panel was lively, had a lot of interplay between the two casts, and almost everyone had at least one good line or moment. (The only exceptions: Colton Haynes and Matt Nable from "Arrow," neither of whom got asked anything.)
Rob Thomas is a writer, so he's obviously concerned with story and character and other matters creative. But he's also a veteran writer/producer — and, as creator of "Veronica Mars," a man who had to do a lot of selling over the last couple of years — so he also is well aware of when art has to bend for commerce.
So when Thomas — who, with fellow "Veronica Mars" vet Diane Ruggiero-Wright, has adapted the Vertigo comic "iZombie" for the CW — was asked why Rose McIver's character, Liv, doesn't bother with spray tanning, hair dye, or other attempts to disguise her condition as an intelligent zombie, he was very blunt.
First, the joke. In the middle of today at press tour, Adult Swim paneled "The Jack and Triumph Show," an upcoming multi-cam sitcom starring Jack McBrayer and the show's creator Robert Smigel in his guise as Triumph the Insult Dog. Smigel began the panel hiding behind a chair and letting Triumph roast the room, which included this bit:
This winter press tour is going to feature goodbye sessions for several beloved, long-running series, and few shows have been as loved by the TCA as "Mad Men," which is bringing creator Matt Weiner and stars Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery to the stage to reminisce about their time together. (Earlier today, AMC announced that the final season will resume on April 5.) Though AMC has done a few "Mad Men"-related events since the series premiere, this will be the first formal TCA panel since then, and it should be an interesting time, especially with this mix of strong talent and personality.
This morning's "Better Call Saul" panel isn't the first time Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have come to press tour to discuss the "Breaking Bad" prequel, but their panel back at summer tour was incredibly light on details and didn't feature any actors. So this session — featuring Gilligan, Gould, "Breaking Bad" alums Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, plus fellow "Saul" castmembers Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando — should be much livelier, and not just because critics have now seen the first two "Saul" episodes(*).
Welcome to 2015, and time for another installment of Ask Alan, where I take your questions about TV, past, present and future and try not to ramble too much in my answers.
A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I have the route to the hospital MapQuested...
The revolution in TV drama that HBO kicked off with "Oz" and "The Sopranos" involved cable television filling a void that the movie studios had created by focusing mainly on big-budget franchise movies and low-budget awards bait. If you wanted to make a middle-class drama for adults, you now had to go to HBO (David Chase had once dreamed of making "The Sopranos" as a two-hour feature), or FX, AMC, Showtime, etc.