Well, the Oscars aired last night and the consensus seems to be the same as previous years. The awards show was boring, the hosts seemed either bored or too perky at times and the winners were, if nothing else, predictable. What was your take on the annual fete?
In the meantime, here are the news items for today:
The new ABC drama No Ordinary Family has had its episode order trimmed down to 20 episodes, meaning the season finale will air on April 5 at 8 PM (instead of in May). A new episode will air tomorrow night followed by two weeks of repeats with the finale 3 episodes to air starting on March 22. (The Futon Critic)
Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God) will have a guest-starring role in the ABC Family Channel drama called Switched at Birth that is set to air in this summer. The show will tell the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. Matlin will portray Melody, the mother one of the girls in the show. (Seat42F)
Actress Liz Vassey (CSI) will guest star in a spring episode of Castle, as a real estate broker who gets caught in the middle of New York’s pizza wars. (Michael Auseillo at TV Line)
Actor Russell Hornsby (Lincoln Heights) and actress Bitsie Tulloch (Quarterlife) have joined the NBC drama pilot called Grimm, which is being described as a fantastical cop drama in which characters from Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist. The main story revolves around Nick (David Giuntoli); a cop who starts to see some humans for what they actually are — animals/beasts — and realizes it’s his destiny to protect society from them. Hornsby and Tulloch will play Bruce’s partner in crime and love interest, respectively. (Michael Ausiello at TV Line)
Actor David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) will have a co-starring role in the NBC drama pilot Playboy, which is, of course, set at the Playboy Club in Chicago circa 1963. He will play the club’s general manager, a young Albert Brooks-esque bottom-line kind of guy. The cast also includes Amber Heard (Zombieland), Naturi Naughton (Fame) and Laura Benanti (Eli Stone) as Playboy bunnies. (Nellie Andreeva at TV Line)
Actor Tony Goldwyn has landed a role in the ABC drama pilot now called Damage Control (formerly known as In Crisis) about Olivia Price (Kerry Washington) who is a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff. He will play Fitzgerald Grant an old friend of Price’s who is now the President of the United. (The Futon Critic)
Actress Frances O’Connor (Cashmere Mafia) will star in the ABC drama pilot called Hallelujah, which is about a tiny town in Tennessee that finds itself being torn apart by the forces of good and evil. She will play Ruth Turner, whose family welcomes Jared O’Neal (Jesse L. Martin), a mysterious stranger who arrives to restore faith to the town’s residents, into their home. (The Futon Critic)
Don Johnson (Miami Vice) will play the title role in the NBC drama pilot called A Mann’s World that is about a straight Beverly Hills hairdresser in his 50s who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. The pilot also stars Taylor Kinney. (The Futon Critic)
Actress Frances Fisher (Eureka) has a role in the ABC drama pilot called Partners, which is about half-sisters – Mattie (Scottie Thompson) and Jess (Annie Wersching) – who work together as police detectives. She will play their incarcerated mother, Colleen Scott, who confessed to killing Mattie’s abusive father 20 years ago. Kenneth Mitchell, Larry Gilliard Jr. and Michael Beach also star in the project. (The Futon Critic)
Actor Raza Jaffrey (MI-5) has been added to the cast of the NBC drama pilot Smash, which is about a show-within-a-show following a group of people who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe-themed Broadway musical. He will play Dev the live-in boyfriend of the musical’s star, Karen (Katharine McPhee), who works in the mayor’s office. Debra Messing, Jack Davenport and Megan Hilty are among the other cast members. (The Futon Critic)
Actor Danny Pino (Cold Case) is the first actor cast in the NBC pilot S.I.L.A, described as a complex drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. (Deadline)
Congrats to the winners of the Independent Spirit Awards, including Black Swan, Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech (among others) that were presented over the weekend. And, of course, congrats to all the Oscar winners from last night, including Christian, Bale, Inception, Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and Melissa Leo (among others). Also, here is an “inappropriate” kudos to the ‘winners” of the Razzie Awards, including Jessica Alba, Jackson Rathbone and The Last Airbender (among others). (E! Entertainment and TV Guide)
Director Gary Winick – the man behind Letters to Juliet, Bride Wars, Tadpole, 13 Going on 30, Pieces of April, Charlotte’s Web (among others) – passed away at the age of 49. (Variety)
ME: Rest in Peace, Mr. Winick. Condolences are extended to his family, friends and fans.
MOMENT OF SILENCE, PLEASE….
BOX OFFICES NEWS
Actress Kate Mara and actor Treat Williams will star in the independent crime thriller film called Blackbird that is to star Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde as a pair of sibling fugitives who cross paths with a young convict boxer (Charlie Hunnam). Williams and Mara will play a father-daughter duo whose storyline intertwines with the main plot. Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek also star as the boxer’s parents. (Variety and Dark Horizons)
It’s official! Actor James Franco will play the lead in the film Oz, The Great and Powerful, which is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, telling the story of the origins of the Wizard and Oz’s infamous witches like Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Evanorah, the soon-to-be squashed Wicked Witch of the East. (Deadline and Dark Horizons)
Here are the top 10 box office movies for this past weekend according to Exhibitor Relations and updated tallies from Variety:
1. Hall Pass, $13.5 million
2. Gnomeo & Juliet, $13.4 million
3. Unknown, $12.4 million
4. Just Go With It, $11.1 million
5. I Am Number Four, $11 million
6. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, $9.2 million
7. The King’s Speech, $7.6 million
8. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, $7.55 million
9. Drive Angry, $5.1 million
10. The Roommate, $2 million
Actor Jimmi Simpson (Psych and the upcoming Breakout Kings) has joined the cast of the box office movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, playing Lincoln’s right-hand man. (Dark Horizons)
Q&A SECTION (with Matt Roush at TV Guide)
Question: Is it likely Castle would ever do an episode inside the Nikki Heat universe? Say Castle is working on some aspect of a book and Beckett drops by to flip the roles so to speak. She pokes and prods to see how Castle creates his world, his story. And boom, the episode is set in the world of Nikki Heat. You would get to see all the characters of the show be portrayed differently: a more sultry Beckett, less goofy Castle. I know in TV everything is possible, up to a point at least, but is this something the producers have ever hinted at doing? — Trenton
Matt Roush: Sounds like a great idea, the kind of Moonlighting-style fantasy stunt that would suit this show very nicely. (Also sounds like something that’s the stuff of fan fiction, but I’m not opening that door.) I haven’t heard that the show is planning something like this; the closest they’ve come so far is bringing in Laura Prepon as the actress playing Nikki Heat in a movie adaptation of the books. Bones dipped from this fantasy role-playing well a while back, which may keep Castle from doing it anytime soon so it doesn’t look like they’re copying. But I always like it when Beckett’s persona gets confused with Castle’s Nikki creation, so why not?
Question: TV Guide Magazine’s recent article about Castle posed a great question: Why aren’t more people watching the show? I just can’t understand why it’s not a huge hit. Castle has all the standards of the day for a hit: very attractive people solving crimes. It is currently the show I look forward to watching most. The writing and acting are excellent and it is just so much fun. I love that it is character rather than case-driven and doesn’t take itself too seriously, unlike other procedurals. Rick Castle is easily one of my favorite TV characters. The recent episode dealing with the murder of Beckett’s mom highlights everything that is great about the show. So why does Castle seem like a largely ignored show? — Amy
Matt Roush: Maybe our current cover story can help turn that perception around. The fact is, as enjoyable as Castle is, it’s one of many shows in an oversaturated genre that is dominated mostly by CBS blockbusters. Castle does just fine for ABC, and tends to flourish even more when Dancing With the Stars is in season, and if there are big storylines and stunts coming, I’m sure we’ll give them proper coverage. But with episodic procedurals, it can be very easy to take them for granted week in and week out. Doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy them.
Question: For the most part, I’m really enjoying Hawaii Five-0, even though the writing seems uneven at times, but then so it is with most procedurals. I have to ask, though: Is it just me or is Scott Caan being given the meatiest material to work with? In nearly back-to-back episodes, his character had a “personal crisis” to deal with, which basically separated him from the regular procedural element of the script, thereby giving Scott a chance to develop his character and shine a bit. I don’t see that happening with any other role, even the McGarrett character. Is this all happening because the network gave orders to give Scott more material so they could ride his Golden Globe nomination, or do you think the writers just haven’t figured out how to write properly for the other three leads? And while we’re talking about undeveloped characters, how awful is it that the wonderful Daniel Dae Kim is basically relegated to saying “copy that” every episode and fiddling with tech stuff? What a waste of talent! When does Chin get his turn to shine, or Kono? I know that the producers have promised more McGarrett-centric episodes, but does that mean more scenes of Steve jumping through windows or showing off his SEAL skills, or does it mean that Alex O’Loughlin actually gets some good material too? My one and only hope as far as the McGarrett character is concerned is that his uber-annoying, whiny sister stay on the mainland and away from Hawaii permanently. I know that’s a long shot, but we can hope. — Rachel
Matt Roush: Seems to me that Scott Caan’s “Danno” character broke out long before the Golden Globes nod, and I don’t imagine that has much to do with the show’s creative direction, or lack thereof. Is it really such a surprise that the comic fish-out-of-water sidekick to the brooding all-business/all-action leading man pops out from an ensemble like this? Points well taken that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have been woefully underused, and their characters seriously underdeveloped. But in the big picture of a franchise like this, it’s still early days.
Question: Last week, Glee hit a new low. To say it’s been uneven since the original 13 episodes is an understatement, but as bad as some episodes have been, I was unprepared for just how awful “Blame It on the Alcohol” turned out. Glee’s decline reminds me of Heroes. In both cases, the first seasons were extremely entertaining, even taking into account both shows had obvious problem areas. In the second seasons, the problem areas overtook and defined the shows with only occasional flickers of what was so entertaining just one year earlier. I can tell you why Glee is bad from a viewer’s perspective, using this episode as an example: bad song choices (all of a sudden, the previous week’s Justin Bieber songs seem fantastic!), confusing mixed messages, inconsistent and unlikable characterizations, and hideous 1970s bridesmaid dresses worn by an underage hostess. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the drift.
My question to you is this: Why is Glee so bad now from an insider’s perspective? I don’t understand the decision-making process that could lead to such a steep dip in quality so quickly. Does the show’s popularity go to the creators’ heads? Are they surrounded by “yes” men and lose the ability to collaborate? Or are these just shows with a limited shelf life and any continuation is bound to stink. One last observation. At least the viewing public had the good sense to stop watching Heroes after it got bad. With Glee pulling bigger numbers now than last year, viewers are rewarding the poor creative decisions, so I see little hope of it getting better. I suppose an obvious explanation is that (as the popularity of “reality” shows proves) what entertains me is very different than that of the general public. — Lou
Matt Roush: I think many people still like the idea of Glee and are glad there’s a place on TV for such an original series, even when the weekly experience can be so maddening. They like the music more or less — although I agree with you that, besides the Rachel-Blaine duet, there was nothing from last week’s episode I was tempted to download — and fans seem to be able to tolerate the chaotic excesses and ridiculous inconsistencies for the moments of magic that still occur now and again. It’s a mess, but for me it’s still a fascinating mess. (Even in the best episodes, there’s usually something that irks me, and even in the most irksome episodes, I can usually find a moment or two of bliss.) But you’re wondering how something can go so obviously off the rails, and I fall back on the argument that it’s hard to imagine many shows that would be more difficult to produce than this weekly musical. Ryan Murphy for better or worse is an auteur pursuing his own peculiar vision, and there is a sense that Glee is operating in its own pop-culture bubble and will be given a long leash (possibly to hang itself?) as long as its popularity sustains.
Question: We know that The Cape is done, and that V, The Event and No Ordinary Family are on life support. What are the chances of a season-ending wrap-up on the programs? I really hate when they leave things up in the air. — Dennis
Matt Roush: In most of these cases, the best we can probably hope for is that the writers will wrap up some part of the story or arc so the fans can be satisfied with at least that much resolution. Given the precarious state of each of these series, it would be foolish for the producers to think that ending everything with a huge cliffhanger would somehow force the networks to bring them back for another season. That tends to result only in mass viewer frustration. At the same time, I doubt many shows in their first season would produce an actual “series” finale type of episode. The best approach would be to bring some part of the big-picture story to an end, while leaving the basic premise open-ended in case the miracle of renewal occurs. The times we’ve actually seen this happen, though, are far and few between.
That’s it. Enjoy!