Collider have posted an extensive look at some of the new and upcoming FOX television shows the network is rolling out for next season. And while the majority are quite laughable and will certainly face the FOX axe, there is one that could at the very least, last a full season.

Starring Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a goofy buddy cop comedy that co-stars serious heavyweight Andre Braugher (who has been freed from the purgatory that was the hideous Last Resort show).  The show is produced by Dan Goor and Michael Shoor (Parks and Recreation) and is a single-camera workplace comedy about what happens when a hotshot detective (Samberg) gets a new Captain (Braugher) with a lot to prove.

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t look that good after all. But have a look through the rest of the stuff FOX is rolling out, it’s pretty bad.

 

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Featured, Television

In Defence of AMC’s The Killing

Disappointment at a television series’ mismanagement is nothing new, this year I’ve invested my time to several that in a palpable existence would have lasted longer than their actual life spans. I was never a fan of any Stargate series until Universe and was bitterly disappointed that for once, a bunch of people jumping through giant stone hoops was both thrilling and engaging- only for it to get axed after it really got going (2 seasons worth). Then there was FOX’s ham fisted treatment of Shawn Ryan’s The Chicago Code (cancelled after 13 episodes), while restrained due to it being on FOX instead of FX, was easily the best procedural police drama on TV this year.

So now we come to AMC’s The Killing, whose season finale (or as we all thought, the series finale) came to its rather unfruitful conclusion this past Sunday. One of its most vocal critics, ESPN/Grantland’s Bill Simmons, has written a lengthy piece about its “hackery”, its broken promises and unserved dinners. He’s not wrong; I too was rather dumbfounded by the way it unraveled. After so much promise and poise through the season, we neared a much-needed resolve to the murder of Rosie Larsen, but all we got was trickery and overplayed season-ending cliff hangers (the creators of Dallas will forever be blamed) that bordered on justifiably throwing your remote through the television.

Bordered on, but not quite. As frustrating as it was, I’m here to defend The Killing and the way it ended, not so much the contents of the ending itself, but that the potential for the show and all the good things AMC did with it, warrants a second chance.

For those uninitiated, The Killing is AMC’s adaptation of the Danish series Forbrydelsen, a crime drama that took an entire season (20 episodes) to solve its one case. Much of the plot is kept the same; a young girl is murdered to the backdrop of a hotly contested Mayoral race as audiences get a harrowing look at the emotional and physical turmoil the events cause to the family of the victim, the suspects, and the law enforcement officers meant to solve the case.

– SPOILERS AHEAD –

Did this guy kill Rosie Larsen? Maybe, maybe not…

It is a slow moving drama, punctuated by shady characters, ambiguous morals, and some heartbreaking pain- like a good BBC slog through the rainy streets and woodlands of Seattle. We are peppered all through the season with suspects- ranging from obvious to more obscure. I had money on candidate Darren Richmond, his sniveling campaign adviser (both of them), the teacher Bennet Ahmed, a potential terrorist that Ahmed was involved with, Belko and even detective (Sarah) Linden’s fiance who spent all his time trying to get her to move down the coast. All were potential killers- at least that’s the way the plot unfolded- often giving you hints that this particular character had an uncovered layer that led you to believe he or she was capable of such a crime.

By the penultimate episode, we are dropped the bombshell that the killer is evidently future Seattle mayor Darren Richmond. And we expected the final episode to see him finally put to rest as this long winding road finally came to a halt. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As Simmons points out in this piece, the series was recently picked up for a second season, and with this in mind, the brain trust at AMC must have decided to hell with the viewers, let’s stretch this thing out beyond what we initially planned for reasons that most definitely have nothing to do with the artistic integrity of the original series. So came the plot twists and new facts conveniently seeing the light of day as time expires derailing the show’s last hour. It’s like if a band were to re-record Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run and leave off “Jungleland”, or if they remade it as a, God forbid, dance/electronic number. They’ve done everything well up to this point, how could they possibly conduct the conclusion with the panache of a DJ horrendously remixing a really great song? Everything had been done the way terrific European television would for the majority of the series, but the show’s American producers decided to end it the way a trust fund kid would torpedo his/her father’s Fortune 500 Company. Sometimes you just have to end your journey the same way you began it. The Killing did not, and they’re getting their just criticism for it.

– END OF SPOILERS –

However, to write off the show and what it did up to the last episode would be unfair (mostly to people like myself who refuse to end it on a note like this) because of all the good they did do. So what’s left? A chance for television redemption. What if AMC took a cue from short run English dramas like Luther and structured the proposed second season as no more than 4-6 episodes? What if they wrap it up and give audiences the ending they hoped for within this short run, a riveting, gritty but concise ending? It’ll prove that AMC still care about the integrity of quality television and aren’t just another television studio playing the ratings game. I think it worked for The Walking Dead, why wouldn’t it work for The Killing Redux? Let’s not drag this case out longer than a few more episodes. Please.

So don’t write off The Killing just yet, and don’t write off AMC. The show is still leaps and bounds better than what any CSI or Criminal Minds can offer. And after watching the first episode of Game Of Thrones, I can stay that at least The Killing is not so uncomfortably ostentatious (medieval breasts are immediately nullified by gratuitous incest). AMC and the show runners made a mistake, but one they can fix if they get what happens next right.

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Television

Dexter renewed for sixth season

It looks like Dexter is sticking around for a little longer. E! is reporting that a sixth season of Dexter is on the cards for next year with the possibility of the seventh to follow. The deal is expected to be confirmed soon but details for now have it as a one-season renewal that comes with the expectation of another. However, the contracts of the primary actors will have to be sorted out before a seventh season can commence.

The current, and fifth, season of Dexter has two episodes remaining; as Dexter Morgan and Lumen Pierce (played by Julia Stiles) continue their hunt for serial rapists/murderers responsible for stuffing more than a dozen girls into barrels after raping and torturing them. Dexter has to contend with the prying of corrupt narcotics cop Stan Liddy (Peter Weller) along with the pressures of being a good father.

After a slugglish start to the season dealing with the fall out from Rita’s death, it was difficult to see how the season would unfold and how the character would ultimately deal with the loss. The first episodes seemed to lag a little (as ratings would indicate) but with the introduction of Julia Stiles (fantastic as Lumen), the story arc seemed to find its legs and the intrigue and intricacies of the show seemed to return in full. The last two episodes have been the highest rated of the season thus far (pulling in roughly 2.11 and 2.54 million viewers respectively) and an indicator the last two of the season will finish strong.

The majority of what has unfolded has been strong; the only serious sticking point has been the unraveling of the Batista/LaGuerta marriage subplot, which seems like an unnecessary distraction. Misleading viewers with the Santa Muerte killings before launching head first into the “barrel girls” was a great slice of television, and the complexities of the characters have benefited significantly.

Where will Dexter and Lumen end the season? Will we get another massive event the way the fourth season ended? Time will tell, but either way, we’re excited at the prospect of more Dexter.

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Television

MTV’s Teen Wolf looks no fun at all

MTV have debuted the trailer for their upcoming revision of the 1985 hit comedy film.

The new series is about a teen (Tyler Posey) in search of an identity in high school. His friend (Dylan O’Brien) convinces him to venture into the woods where is he soon bitten by a werewolf. Things take a teen-romance turn when new girl Allison (Crystal Reed) comes to town. Her father, like herself, appear to be hiding more than what is first revealed.

The network has been quoted as saying the new series takes the same name of the film, Teen Wolf, but is unlike the original, and instead has a more American Werewolf in London atmosphere to it. The new series is an MTV co-production with MGM and its pilot was directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Resident Evil: Extinction) and written by Jeff Davis (creator of Criminal Minds). Executive Producers include Davis, Marty Adelstein (Prison Break) and Michael Thorn of Lost Marbles TV and Ren Echevarria (Medium, Castle). No air date has been released as of yet.

After viewing the trailer (above), we are left with a distinctly uneasy feel. We understand the need to modernize old great ideas, but if you were to take Teen Wolf and make it less an enjoyable comedy and more of a Twilight/Vampire Diaries escapade without the vampires, wouldn’t it make sense to call it something else? And since you are going for an American Werewolf in London feel, how about you call it American Werewolf?

Anyone who remembers the original Teen Wolf will fondly recall the film’s humorous moralism and its well-meaning ideals. The film is an iconic institution of the wonderful madcap innocence of the 1980s, and to call a modernized series that bears little resemblance the same name is a blatant misuse of the title. We are not saying MTV’s series won’t be good, because it very well could be, but why use the name? No one could come up with anything original? And why are these series all so miserable? Don’t kids these days have any fun?

Michael J. Fox should be outraged.

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Television

Conan beats everyone, but how good is his new show?

We are unsure whether Magic Johnson’s The Magic Hour was as eagerly awaited as Conan, but few talk shows have been met with as much anticipation as Conan O’Brien’s return to late night. And unlike the inevitable trainwreck that was Magic Johnson, O’Brien’s Conan was only the best kind of “trainwreck” you’d expect from the immensely popular host.

How popular? About 4.2 million viewers popular. Official numbers for Conan’s debut episode resulted in an audience of more than 4 million, beating out Jay Leno, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart in the head-to-head ratings, with Leno’s Tonight Show coming closest reaching 3.5 million viewers for Monday evening.

The numbers from Monday night:

  • Conan – 4.2 million; 3,285,000 in 18-49 demographic
  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – 3.5 million; 952,000 in 18-49 demographic
  • Late Night with David Letterman – 3.4 million; 1.3 million in 18-49 demographic
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 1.3 million; 690,000 in 18-49 demographic
  • The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert – 1 million; 550,000 in 18-49 demographic

The first show, which featured a rather stunted Seth Rogen, an almost perfect Lea Michele and a rocking duet performance featuring Conan and Jack White, was not without its bumps and bruises. Rogen was unexpectedly subdued and rather bland, and a strange noise during Michele’s segment prompted Conan to say that they in fact share their studios with a hardware store.

But what we can take from Conan’s return is that while the show is essentially not too different to his version of The Tonight Show, it’s the persona of the host that makes the difference. Yes, we got to see the Masturbating Bear, the trademark string dance is back and Andy Richter was as wildly inappropriate at just the right times, but in the end, the debut was entertaining because he looks like he cares. A lot. An aura we just don’t get when we watch his competitors. Jay Leno is not very funny and always looks like he’s just cashing a paycheck, and David Letterman hasn’t cared about television in many years, but Conan seems to really, really enjoy being behind the desk.

He’s a little bearded now and is probably a little weary since the debacle with NBC, but he genuinely looks to be having more fun than anyone else.

It’s hard to say how well the show will rate over the course of several weeks and months, but we’re pretty confident that TBS are ecstatic with the primary results. Not only do they have one of the top rated late night shows on the market, but they genuinely have the funniest and most capable host of any talk show at the moment. Both daring and in tune with his audience.

Tom Hanks was the featured guest of the second night and a short clip of him making a right mess of himself can be seen below. On what other show would Hanks get himself this involved?

http://i.cdn.turner.com/tegwebapps/tbs/tbs-www/cvp/teamcoco_432x243_embed.swf?context=teamcoco_embed_offsite&videoId=233970

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Television, Videos

Watch Conan O’Brien’s ‘Conan: Show Zero’

With the much anticipated return of Conan O’Brien to television less than a week away, the pre-show hype and buzz continues to reach fever pitch. The blimps are done, the exploding cars retired, and now there’s nothing left to do but the show itself … unless you’re Conan. Presenting now, the show before the show, Conan O’ Brien’s ‘Show Zero’.

Call it the test run if you will, or a quick rehearsal for the big dance, but the comedian gives internet viewers a very tongue-in-cheek look at just what his new show, Conan, will be like. Featuring very brief guest appearances from The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons and musical guests Steel Train, ‘Show Zero’ is at the very least, humorous in a way we expect Conan to be.

We cannot remember a time when late night television talk shows were preceded with this much anticipation. Conan starts airing November 8th on TBS and will feature Seth Rogen, Tom Hanks, Jack White and more in its first week.

Australian viewers will take heed, local network GEM have announced that they will be broadcasting Conan starting November 9th at 11.30pm in hopes of catching out anyone who does not have an internet connection and access to television show downloads.

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Television

Caprica officially cancelled

In unfortunate news for Caprica fans, the drama-heavy prequel to the acclaimed Battlestar Galactica series has officially been axed by network SyFy.

Worse still, the final 5 episodes of the season have been pulled from the lineup, and will not air until 2011. The network released the following statement, citing the lackluster ratings as the reason for its cancellation;

We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for Caprica and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series. Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, ‘Caprica’ has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season.”

The series premiered earlier this year to average ratings before taking its summer break after 9 episodes. It returned this past spring to low viewership, only pulling in a 0.4 rating (or roughly 900,000 viewers) before its inevitable demise.

Caprica was set nearly 60 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, in a time before the robotic Cylon race rose to power. The series starred Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Polly Walker and Alessandra Torresani. Ronald D. Moore, David Eick (who will helm the new Blood & Chrome series) and Jane Espenson served as its producers.

As someone who watched both Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, this news comes with great disappointment. While ratings weren’t expected to be great, the series felt like it needed some time to not only find its audience, but for its expansive plot and characters to develop. The new Battlestar canon has always been more morose than your average viewing for entertainment- delving deep into the darkness of characters while surrounding them with intergalactic warfare and hardship. Being set before ‘the war’, Caprica was always going to have a tough time with today’s A.D.D. stricken viewers and its patience with developing the very beginning of the story proved to be its untimely downfall.

With that said, it would have been an interesting connection between the two series, seeing the eventual rise of what would become the Cylon race had potential to be epic storytelling. Its religious overtones and their clash with the hyper development of technology and science through the series was as eerily captivating as it was controversially parallel to topics familiar in today’s society- something creator Ronald Moore has been specifically good at doing. It is unfortunate that this potential has been cut short, but the hope is that the final five episodes will give patient viewers some form of closure.

The question remaining after Caprica, how will Blood & Chrome take this news into its production? Will the team behind it learn from Caprica’s shortcomings to alter the course of their new series?

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