With Survivor and The Amazing Race taking the summer off, a trio of cable shows are out to fill the endurance challenge-based reality series void. TNT offers up the one-two punch of the Dwayne Johnson-fronted The Hero and 72 Hours (which air back-to-back on Thursdays at 8 PM and 9 PM respectively), while the obscure Reelz network counters with Race to the Scene (Thursdays at 9 PM). Which of these shows walks away as the sole survivor? We pit them head-to-head in five key areas:
It's a nice day for a red wedding and other highlights from "The Rains of Castamere," the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones' third season.
Only a few days after its positive reception at the Cannes Film Festival, Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's final narrative feature before his long-promised retirement debuts in its native country not in theaters, but on HBO. Considering the star power in front of (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon) and behind (Soderbergh, screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and producer Jerry Weintraub) the camera, this may be the most high-profile movie ever to go the straight-to-cable route and it's worth noting that Candelabra wasn't intended to be produced as a telefilm. Soderbergh hoped to find a theatrical backer and distributor, but only HBO was willing to pony up the dough. That's a shame and also rather surprising since the film -- a biopic/relationship drama depicting the six-year romance between vintage entertainer and closeted gay man, Liberace (Douglas) and his latest boytoy Scott Thorson (Damon) -- turns out to be an entirely commercial-minded biopic that could very easily have played in multiplexes or at least a major art house chain. On the plus side, I suppose, premiering on HBO means that Douglas will finally be able to put an Emmy on his trophy shelf alongside his two Oscars.
I have watched every season of Survivor, a lot of Bad Girls Club and even Are You Hot?, but I'm pretty sure I've never watched a more mean-spirited show than the new Fox reality series Does Someone Have to Go?.
NBC's new sitcom Save Me is better than it has any right to be. The leads -- Anne Heche, Michael Landes and Alexandra Breckenridge -- have no chemistry and can barely act their way through the pilot. The premise -- which has Heche as Beth Harper, a woman who starts receiving messages from God after nearly choking to death on a sandwich -- is at best pretty stupid. The first half of "The Book of Beth" was just terrible. However, by the end of the episode, I actually had the desire to watch more... an entire 12 episodes more, maybe. (Note: At the time of writing, I'd only watched the first of this week's two-episode premiere.)
Even if I hated the rest of Season 4 (mostly just seven eighths of it, really), "Goodnight Gracie" was one of the best episodes of Modern Family ever. The plotlines were fun and unpredictable, the ensemble was well-used and the conceit was incredibly sweet. Were there hints of the same problems this show always has, with lazy stereotypes and unadventurous jokes? Sure, but the acting was pretty stellar, and at the end of the day, the episode was fun -- so much so that I already look forward to watching it again. Truthfully, I watched this without realizing it was the finale, and while it could have closed out Season 4 with more material, I'm fine with accepting "Goodnight Gracie" for what it was. Let's take a look at the best lines of the night:
In case you were wondering why Ben Affleck was randomly tapped to host the season finale of Saturday Night Live despite the post-Oscar glow of his Argo victory having long since worn off, the almost immediate disappearance of his Terrence Malick adventure To the Wonder from theaters and the absence of any new projects in his career pipeline, the answer lies in the fact that this episode marked the departure of Bill Hader and his popular Stefon alter ego from Studio 8H. (Also Fred Armisen, but c'mon... he shoulda left three seasons ago.)
You're cordially invited to the the worst wedding (and wedding night) ever. Also, our highlights reel of Game of Thrones's eight episode, "Second Sons."
Turner has a winning formula: Use a lot of ampersands, play a ton of sports and, when in doubt, take creative teams, actors, plots and sometimes entire series (new episode or syndicated -- either will do!) from other networks and air that. It may feel cheap, but based on the number of completely original new shows that bombed from the 2012 development slate, it's not the worst idea in the world... that would be cancelling Southland. Anyway, my personal bitterness aside, some of the new series really do look great. Below are the ones the upfront audience actually got to see, in order of best to worst:
The nice thing about Kristen Wiig's return to Saturday Night Live this weekend? Because they brought back all her most obnoxious characters -- Gilly, the Target Lady and Denise among them -- we were able to fast-forward through majority of the show, turning a 90-minute sit into a quick, painless three minutes. (Closer to ten minutes with the not-bad monologue).
MOST RECENT POSTS