Last year Syfy turned the famous whale room at New York's American Museum of Natural History purple to unveil its annual slate to the assembled press and advertisers corps. The network's 2013 upfront took place in the considerably less grand surroundings of Chelsea Piers' Silver Screen Studios, where they used to shoot Law & Order for the gazillion years that show was on the air. The downgrade in venue was somewhat ill-timed since the network's 2013-2014 line-up looks to be significantly stronger than its predecessor, which offered two scripted shows (including a series called Rewind that seems to have been scrapped entirely) and a bunch of dubious-sounding reality series, many of which never even aired (so long Awesome Foundation -- we're kinda glad we never got the chance to know you). Unlike the 2012 edition, 2013's slate feels potentially big enough to fill the Natural History Museum's cavernous whale room, whereas last year the surroundings just barely distracted from the thinness of the content.
We could sit and recite all of the clever dialogue of "Quick Hardening Caulk", but it would probably just be a copy of the script... and besides, the fans on Tumblr have probably gif'd the entire episode by now. Instead, we'll just break down the highlights:
So, that was obviously great. All of my fears from "Emergency Response" started to melt away when Ron punched Councilman Jamm in the face, and completely disappeared (and turned to tears) when they had a quick pow-wow outside of the Parks Department room. As a person currently planning her wedding and doing some damage control after some malware issues possibly related to hacking, "Leslie and Ben" and "Correspondents' Lunch" came at a very good time for me, to say the least -- especially when it comes to forgetting your troubles, suspending disbelief and sinking into great TV comedy.
Only Quentin Tarantino would be bold (or crazy) enough to make a movie about America's 19th-century slave trade in the style of a blood-soaked spaghetti Western rather than a sober, Lincoln-style prestige picture. But the gambit works -- Django Unchained is a wild, woolly ride, sending its titular slave-turned-bounty hunter (played by Jamie Foxx) on a mission to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) and taking on the entire institution of slavery in the process. Tarantino and his A-list cast appeared in New York recently and spoke to the press about the origins of the project, what it was like to shoot the movie on an actual plantation and why Django Unchained is ultimately a superhero movie.
A superstar in the world of crime fiction, the new action film Jack Reacher introduces moviegoers to the titular soldier-turned-nomadic-investigator, who stars in a best-selling series of crime novels by British author Lee Child. Written and directed by The Usual Suspects scribe Christopher McQuarrie, Reacher stars Tom Cruise as Child's creation and dispatches him to Pittsburgh, where he helps an in-over-her-head lawyer (Rosamund Pike) attempt to save a man from Death Row -- a case that pits him against morally ambiguous cops (David Oyelowo) and shadowy villains (Werner Herzog). In addition to trying on the outfit of an anti-hero, Jack Reacher also affords Cruise the chance to show off his behind-the-wheel skills, as he did all his own driving for the big car chase that comes midway through the movie. McQuarrie touched on that scene -- as well as the hotly contested decision to cast Cruise as Reacher -- during a recent press visit to New York, where he was accompanied by Child, Pike and Oyelowo.
NBC is cashing in on the post-Olympics "Go America" sentiment with this new pro-military show. And while initially we were suspect about how watchable this show would be, given that NBC's last new reality show was Love in the Wild, we were pleasantly surprised at how this had glimmers of Top Shot with some "celebrities" in the mix.
Welcome to fairy tale mystery theater.
As much as I enjoyed crotchety Walt, if his passing meant that last night's "The Last Walt" could exist, then it was his time to go. I've been hot and cold about this season of Modern Family, but this episode will stand out as a highlight for me thanks to every storyline involved. I know some people complain about simultaneously cramming every member of the ensemble into each episode while keeping them isolated, but I've grown to accept this as a fact of life and move on. The only thing I have trouble grasping is the realization that Luke (and the actor who plays him, Nolan Gould) is growing up before our eyes, and that teenage boys can quickly stop being cute very, very quickly. He's 13 now, both in real life and on the series, and it is freaking me out.
With only two episodes left in a highly entertaining season of Justified, I promise to stop talking about Breaking Bad. After reading your comments last week and feeling disappointed when the meth Quarles jacked wasn't blue, I realized that I have an issue about obsessing over that show. This is especially problematic when there's already a truly fantastic series right in front of me, which became increasingly clear in "Measures."
When we were first introduced to Quarles, did you ever imagine that an episode would end with him stripping down completely naked and then entering a bathroom where there's a young man tied up? Honestly, my answer is somewhere in the ballpark of: "Meh, makes sense."
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