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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Television

ABC’s ‘Better With You’ and ‘No Ordinary Family’ get full season run

ABC has given full season runs for two new shows on their current primetime schedule. Throwback comedy Better With You and new superhero dramedy No Ordinary Family have both been picked up for the remainder of the season.

Variety reports that both freshmen series are rating around the 2.2/5 mark (roughly 7.3 million viewers), justifying the continuation of its first season. It’ll be interesting to see how well they fare for the remainder of the year.

Better With You
The lead-in to the acclaimed Modern Family appears to hold its own amongst the brethren of new comedy. While Shit My Dad Says stinks, Better With You (laugh track and all), boasts the kind of heart and likability that made Friends so endearing for more than 10 years. It’s not on the same tier as current comedy heavyweights Modern Family, Community and the fresh Raising Hope, but it’s outdated format is made watchable by a great cast (most notablyJoanna Garcia and Jake Lacy as the young couple and great old timers Kurt Fuller and Debra Jo Rupp) and unpretentious, straight forward humor. It airs Wednesdays, 8.30pm Eastern /7.30pm Central on ABC.

No Ordinary Family
The unexpected superhero format got sour after Heroes, but No Ordinary Family is bringing a certain lighthearted appeal back to the genre. While Heroes spent all its time trying to be better than all the other shows, No Ordinary Family is content at being good. And while not great, good is certainly achieved. It’s a little strange to see Michael Chiklis portray a goofy, weaker character after all those years as hardnosed Vic Mackey, but a warm Rita… er.. Darla … er… Julie Benz is comforting casting. Stephen Collins as an evil villain is a little weird after all those years on 7th Heaven. Not that we watched. No Ordinary Family broadcasts Tuesdays at 8pm/7C.

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Television

New Battlestar Galactica prequel gets greenlit

The SyFy Network have officially greenlit a second prequel to the recent Battlestar Galactica series.

The new prequel will launch as a television movie titled Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, detailing the first ten years of the Cylon War. The 2-hour telemovie will feature a young William Adama, some 40 years before he helms the Battlestar Galactica in the recently reimagined series.

SyFy has confirmed that while original writer and producer Ronald D. Moore will not be part of the new prequel, David Eick (producer from the the recent series), will be part of the production. He had this to say about the planned direction of the Blood & Chrome;

While maintaining the themes of politics, social propaganda, and the timeless question: what does it mean to be human? – Blood & Chrome will also return us to the authentic, relentless depiction of combat and the agony and ecstasy of human-Cylon war, which was the hallmark of Battlestar Galactica’s early seasons.”

The direction of the series will offset the often moody, noirish tone of Caprica, a series that while crafted in the same dark mold as Battlestar Galactica, has so far, been bereft of the high-flying, battle cruiser explosions of the previous. Mark Stern, the channel’s head of programming had this to say about the new series;

The Galactica universe as re-imagined by Ron Moore and David Eick is rich with possibilities and backstory. We jumped at the chance to revisit the William Adama character and explore this exciting chapter in the BSG narrative which falls between the events of the original series and the prequel, Caprica.”

No expected air date has been released just yet.

Sign us up for more Battlestar, however the exclusion of Ronald Moore from the production team has us a little weary and skeptical of the show. Moore’s uncanny ability to create what would appear to be 5 seasons worth of plot, character, and story in advance is still one of the most compelling reasons to watch Battlestar Galactica.

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Television

Jon Stewart tells Larry King CNN is “terrible”

Jon Stewart’s response to Larry King’s rather innocuous question of why Stewart “picks on CNN so much” was as simple as it was profound;

You’re terrible

Thus concluding CNN’s plodding grasp of its gargantuan potential in today’s world, limping behind rival networks as it tries to position itself in ratings battles instead of being a global difference maker. Stewart’s stand in saying that CNN is less of a voice than it is merely a microphone is really at the heart of the issue;

I think CNN has a — an opportunity to be a real arbiter. But being a real arbiter means taking a stand, not just having people on — you’re on the left, you’re on the right. That’s like having people on in the cola wars. You’re from Pepsi; you’re from Coke. What do you think? I think we taste great. I think we taste great. That’s all the time we have.”

He goes on to say that while he does not agree with the politics or the irresponsibility of FOX News, they are at the very least “brilliantly authoritative” and that they “know what they’re doing” and that the bottom line for CNN is that they are simply, “squandered opportunity.”

Through the early days of CNN, global audiences were captivated by its 24-hour news service- the only one in the world at the time. It’s reach and broadcast were held in high regard and for consumers like myself who spent a great deal of time in Southeast Asia, CNN was the world brought to you. However, with the rise of highly editorialized and opinionated media, CNN failed to see the draw and allure of of such methodology, giving rise to FOX News and its slanted posturing.

Is plain old news just too boring in this day and age? Do audiences prefer highly editorialized communication with its requisite bells and whistles? Perhaps audiences in this modern age like to hear viewpoints that are both strong and opinionated but at the same time, clearly voiced in an ideologue.

It is a shame because Stewart is right about CNN’s potential, but I believe a lot of international viewers maintain that it is still the “classier” of the news broadcasters out there. I don’t think international audiences are too concerned with the kind of squabbling American politics that draws ratings and attention, but CNN could certainly do plenty to flex their muscle within the United States.

I do not always agree with the opinions of FOX News and at times, CNN’s more amicable nature makes for more comforting television but it is the strong views of the  Sean Hannitys, Bill O’Reillys and Jon Stewarts of the world that make their voices memorable.

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This article sources material from Talking Points MemoThe Atlantic Wire and video originally by ScarceClips.

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Television

‘The Event’ and ‘Chuck’ get full season pick-ups

It appears that when our television honcho Dave said The Event was “good enough for now”, he was echoing the sentiments of the suits at NBC. The network has now picked up a full season order of the fledgling series, even though there has been a steady drop in the weekly ratings (the pilot opened to 11+ million viewers while the most recent only pulled in 6.5 million).

The NBC order means the extra-terrestrial series will run for a full 22-episode season. We stopped watching after the second because the plot unraveled into a giant mess quicker than an M. Night Shyamalan film. We probably should have stopped after the end of the first episode but alas.

NBC’s Chuck also received a full season pick-up with its season increased from the original 13-episodes ordered to a full 22. The current fourth season of Chuck features special guest Linda Hamilton as Charles Bartowski’s long-gone spy mom. 9 more episodes of Chuck means 9 more episodes of Yvonne Strahovski so we’re A-OK with that. We unfortunately saw her in the Australian-made romantic comedy I Love You Too which was mind-numbingly awful. We recommend American audiences to stay far, far away from this movie.

The Event airs Mondays on NBC at 9pm/8c in the United States and on Mondays at 8.30pm on Channel 7 in Australia. Chuck airs Mondays at 8pm/7c in the United States.

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Television, Videos

Conan O’Brien’s explosive new self-promotion

It looks like the money NBC gave him is being put to good use. To promote his upcoming TBS talk show, Conan O’Brien has already hired a blimp, now he’s going all out to with an explosive new promo video that sees him careen off a cliff in a car and exploding in a ball of fire. The new video was directed by veteran Super Bowl ad director Bryan Buckley.

O’Brien last appeared on television as short-lived host of the Tonight Show after a successful tenure as host of Late Night. After a mere 6 months, Conan was controversially let out of his contract and replaced by former host Jay Leno.

Conan will premiere on TBS November 8th at 11pm.

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Featured, Highlights, Television

Nikita: The New Femme Fatale

The original La Femme Nikita TV series developed such a rabid cult following that when it was initially cancelled, the furor and uproar it caused led to a shortened fifth season renewal. The fifth season was, of course, terrible and quietly I’m sure, people would have been happier if they left it at four. It is however, this passionate fanbase that still drives the lore of the series today. Fuelled in part by the show’s characters and the many twists they took throughout its run. Created by 24’sJoel Surnow, it’s easy to see in retrospect that it was the template to many of 24’s story arcs. Much of the cinematography, editing and action sequences perfected by the latter can be seen in their infancy through La Femme Nikita. It was a daring show driven by Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis’ chemistry and mystery, characters whose complex layers and allegiances tested viewers expectations. It looks and feels dated today, thanks in part to the quick-cut editing that has become the norm for action-based series, but it was on the forefront of a landscape that would later be dominated by the 24s and Alias’ of contemporary television.

Nikita, The CW’s latest series reboot is a surprise in itself as it traverses the busy spy-charged schedule of prime time. Taking elements from both the original French film of the same name, the American remake and the Canadian series, Nikita is the dark-toned, sexualized modernization of an already modern concept. The introduction we get to the series is a smart combination of the both the film and the original series, convoluting the premise enough to leave viewers with a sense of intrigue as the pilot wraps. There is familiarity; a teenage girl is arrested and jailed by police only to have her death faked by a rogue government organization (Division) that recruits them as assassins. Alex (played by Lyndsy Fonseca) is initially recruited as the series opens, and we expect her to play out the part, but we soon discover that she is holding more cards than the viewers are led to believe. It is a unique twist that sets this update apart- all the more so as we are soon graced by the presence of the new NikitaMaggie Q. Unlike previous adaptations, Nikita is on the outside of Division, an ex-agent returning to the fold driven to destroy the organization from within. It is a smarter premise, and gives Q her opportunity to display all her spectacular femininity and serious face-kicking vengeance with style.

For any red-blooded male, there is no additional enticement required other than Maggie Q herself (superlatives have been exhausted trying to properly exemplify her magnetism). However, it isn’t just an explosion of sexuality that drives this show. She shows vulnerability, humor, and a brokenness that cannot always be hidden beneath her poised rage and determination. She is as ruthless as she is beautiful and never has a Nikita been this captivating (no disrespect to Peta Wilson of course). We see through the first few episodes that there is a compassionate side to her, and while it is in retrospect a result of what has happened to her through a troubled childhood and time as a Division agent, her nurturing of Alex demonstrates humanity within her character.

The series is still in its infancy but a weakness of the early episodes is rather unfortunately the character of Michael. Played by Dupuis in the original, there was a sense of mystery about him. Rarely spoken and oft brooding, his actions louder than words were the trademark of his character’s distinct appeal. Shane West tackles the role and while he is sound in the acting department, he lacks the enigmatic qualities seen in Dupuis. It is however, still too early to tell how this character develops, but while he isn’t as interesting as the original Michael, there is a great deal more realism to his persona (one that unfolds as the pilot ends). Television veterans Melinda Clarke (The OC, CSI) and Xander Berkeley (24) round out Division’s pointy end and both do their villainous jobs with admiration. Both exhibit a kind of “more than they’re letting on” aura that will surely come to light as the series progresses.

Nikita is cinematically slick; an artful precision to its settings adapts the sometimes-unbelievable premise to a more believable reality. In a world of filled with spies, detectives, rogue agents and one-line crime scene investigators, there is certainly room for an entire division of secret agents that even the CIA can’t control. The new series is produced by Craig Silverstein, Danny Cannon and McG, the latter whom can surely be attributed for the glossier action sequences and bigger budget feel. It’s removed from the original in many respects and could do what Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse couldn’t; thrust a strong but fragile, complicated female lead character into territory usually reserved for the Jack Bauer’s of the small screen.

Until the season unfolds and we understand the depths in which both Nikita and Alex function at, intrigue, intelligent writing and good character chemistry (and Maggie Q) do more than its share to propel this series to the “ones to watch” list. Good enough that even fans of the original may like it.

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Nikita airs 9pm Thursday nights on The CW.

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