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:
Remakes, Paris Hilton, acts of desperation -- today is the deep dark sludge of TV news.
Looks like the two and a half men are moving on down to Thursdays.
Not all gun-toters are Palin fans, apparently.
Aww... bye, My Boys. I promise someday you'll be glad you lost all one thousand of your jobs because of TBS's bungling.
You know how it seemed for many years there like Smallville would outlive us all? Well, it won't.
"Can you spot the cop? They're betting their lives you can't." That's the tagline for this new series from TNT, about undercover police officers who go way undercover, even if it means going too deep. Speaking of too deep, this show is, for me. I like my cop shows with a little bit of humor, and no feeling of drowning, thank you very much. And apparently going undercover is like drowning, because all of the people on the team are miserable.
It's pretty easy to compare the new TNT show Rizzoli & Isles to Cagney & Lacey -- after all, both are about a pair of female law-enforcement officers who are friends outside of work. But this pair aren't both tough street detectives -- okay, one is, but the other is a cultured medical examiner, which makes it more like Bones than anything, with Angie Harmon in the David Boreanaz role, and Sasha Alexander in the Emily Deschanel one. Only Alexander's Isles is more boring and normal than Deschanel's awkward Bones, and Harmon's Rizzoli might actually be more macho than Boreanaz's Seeley Booth. Too bad it's not a romance.
Has there ever been such an A-list cast assembled for a single TV show? Well, maybe A-list isn't the right word, but Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher are all pretty much TV royalty, and now the three of them are all co-starring in a single series. I wouldn't call myself a fan of any of them, per se, but they're certainly all talented, and I'm sure they all have their staunch supporters. So it's good to see that their show isn't a total train wreck, but is actually funny and sad and dark. Not, like, Californication dark, but dark nonetheless.
If you're like me, you've been marking the days 'til Amy Sedaris's return to the small screen. Sure, she's kept busy since the heyday of Strangers With Candy (a silver-screen adaptation of the show, a dramatic turn in the mawkishly indie flick Snow Angels, a wonderfully goofy role in the Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie The Gym Teacher and a hosting gig on PBS's multi-part comedy documentary Make 'Em Laugh), but on Monday, February 16, at 9 PM we'll get a little something more when she shows up on TNT's The Closer for the first of two episodes playing Brenda's soon-to-be-sister-in-law. We've seen clips of Sedaris playing Claire, a typically off-kilter vegan psychic (or as she prefers to call it, "intuitionist") and it's pretty sweet. She answered my (and a few other journos') prying questions from her apartment in New York, where her pet rabbit was sacked out on her bed. It was sort of a tight-lipped interview since the jerks at TNT only allowed for one question apiece with no follow-ups, but I managed to get her to open up about where Jerri Blank's been hiding all these years, among other things.