Had ABC's new comedy pilot The Neighbors been really interesting, sweet, funny or even cute, I'd start comparing it to, say, 3rd Rock from the Sun, ALF, Aliens in the Family (other people watched that show, right?) or any of the many other network sitcoms about extraterrestrial beings hanging around Earth, but instead... it was mostly just kind of boring.
In news I never thought I'd hear but am irrationally excited about, Red Hot Chili Pepper's lead singer Anthony Kiedis is developing a series with HBO. It will be about his rock and roll childhood and misspent youth. Casting's going to be a bitch, but I bet it will be awesome. I have read a lot about Keidis (during my own mildly misspent youth), and based on my knowledge, it is likely to be a wild ride. Too bad that the title Californication is already being used.
No, HBO hasn't joined the ranks of USA and SciFi in broadcasting the weekly exploits of World Wrestling Entertainment superstars -- the wrestling they're gonna be showing is of the decidedly old-school variety. Their newest drama series, Everybody Hurts, will focus on a family that runs a professional wrestling organization in New York City in the 1970s, back when wrestling was a regional sport, and Andy Kaufman had to go to Memphis to fight Jerry Lawler. Think Hogan Knows Best meets Six Feet Under. It'll be written by The Riches scribe Aaron Blitzstein, who watched regional shows as a child in Baltimore and New York and later did marketing for World Championship Wrestling. (Hopefully, it will be better-written than most WCW storylines. Also, we hope it uses the REM song of the same name as its opening theme.)
Good news, fans of sexy vampire TV shows: True Blood got picked up for a second season after airing just two episodes. (Ep. 2 got a nice bump... likely because they didn't air it during a holiday weekend!) Either HBO's real desperate, or it knows that its got a slow-building culty hit on its hands. I'm hoping for the later, but I'm kind of a realist these days, so it is probably the former. Having read a bunch of the Sookie Stackhouse books (or the Southern Vampire novels as they are oft referred to) there's a lot of potential. Given that the first two episodes are mostly in keeping with the first novel (with a few additional and amalgam characters), but only tackle a few chapters, I presume that the first season will finish out the tale the unfurls in book one.
Those HBO people are a bunch of nerds! Apparently John Adams was just the tip of the historical non-fiction iceberg for the cabler, because David Simon and Tom Fontana, creators of The Wire and Oz, respectively, are teaming up to bring us the story of the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth following the assassination he carried out against that one guy to the small screen. The miniseries will be based on James L. Swanson's book, Manhunt, with Simon and Fontana serving as scriptwriters and executive producers, which -- and don't take this the wrong way, people who made John Adams -- is likely going to make John Adams look like a Wipeout marathon by comparison with that duo behind it. The project is still coming together and no launch date has been announced yet, but you know how HBO is. They don't keep things like that a secret. On a related note, I'd just like to put it out there that if Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller were to maybe make a miniseries about Squeaky Fromme, musical or otherwise, that I would really appreciate it. (And don't act like that wouldn't be hot!)
If you're a fan of non-superhero comic books and you're not particularly squeamish, you've probably read and enjoyed writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon's tour de force series, Preacher. Their tale of small-town preacher Jesse Custer, the love of his life Tulip and his vampire best friend Cassidy was less about Custer's super-ability to make anyone do what he says (the byproduct of being possessed by an angel/demon half-breed) and even less about his mission to track down an on-the-run God. It was more about the lengths two friends and two lovers will go to in order to protect each other... as well as about trying to come up with the nastiest visuals comicdom had ever seen, from the man who had sex with meat to the boy who had "a face like an arse." Sounds like it would have made a great HBO series, right? Apparently, wrong.
Most television hospitals look and feel like the Hollywood sound stages they're filmed on rather than the real deal. Their staffs are compiled of nothing but attractive, well-rested, made-up doctors and nurses and the most tragic patients get melodramatic musical accompaniment. Getting On is not one of those shows. It is a bleak, clinical take on the staff and patients of a cold, clinical place: the geriatric extended care wing of a hospital.
It's probably for the best that Breaking Bad ended before the mockumentary comedy Ja'mie: Private School Girl debuted in America, because I'm not sure television audiences could handle the likes of Walter White and Ja'mie King in their lives at the same time. It would have been one too many sociopathic forces of evil to handle. Then again, compared to the unfathomably terrible Ja'mie King, Walter White almost seems to have some redemptive qualities.
Since the original British run of The Office propelled them out of obscurity and into the comedy big leagues, Stephen Merchant has largely existed in the shadow of his friend and creative partner, Ricky Gervais -- the gawky Samwise to his jerky Frodo. Initially, his sidekick status was something as a hindrance as much of the attention and acclaim that greeted The Office and later Extras was directed at his co-writer. But in the long run, being in the background has probably paid off for as Gervais has steadily gone from being the life of the party to the guy nobody wants in the room (courtesy of those initially funny, then disastrous Golden Globes gigs), Merchant's career prospects and public persona have remained largely unchanged. He's still the gangly guy who practices the same brand of awkward humor as his buddy, but seems far less mean about it.
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