Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Johnny Depp to Step into the Shadows

by Mary Parker for TVStoreOnline.com

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have had a long, fruitful relationship. The latest cinematic venture of this duo is the now-shooting Dark Shadows, based off the popular 1960’s supernatural soap opera. Warner Bros. recently released a full plot synopsis to commemorate the beginning of filming:
Johnny Depp during the Paris premiere of Publi...Image via Wikipedia

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Brouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth’s ne’er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger’s precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David’s new nanny, Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote).

It seems that the film will focus primarily on the character of Barnabas, which may upset fans of the original soap who want to see the drama and a love triangle subplot that dominated the series. This isn’t surprising, though, because, well – it’s Johnny Depp, the man audiences are paying to see.

Depp and Burton have talked about making this movie for years, and for fans of the partnership, news that cameras are rolling is good. But fans will still be holding their breath to see if, in this world of Twilight, vampires that don’t sparkle will find as big an audience as those that do.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Peril Of Comic Book Movies

The comic book movie trend is far from over. Comic fans have felt the highest highs, and the lowest lows when their favorite books hit the screen. While comic book movies have been around for some time, it is only in the last decade or so that they have grown immensely in mainstream acceptance. Movies like Batman, The X-men and Spider-man have brought comic book
The Amazing Spider-Man (comic book)Image via Wikipedia
culture into mainstream notoriety.

When the comic book movie trend first began, fans were eager to see their favorite comic books brought to the big screen. However, several disappointing films quickly gave the fans a bitter taste in their mouth. It’s hard to predict what will make or break a comic book movie. One very common complaint is that the movies stray too far from the stories presented in the comic books.

Comic book movies have the options of pulling from existing story material or creating something new with the existing characters. When the movie pulls from an existing storyline, die hard fans are very quick to point out when changes are made to the plot. This dissatisfaction has done little to change the fate of comic book movies though. Considering that millions of movie goers have not read the books and are not aware of existing plots, the movie is completely new and original to them.

Another option for comic book movies is the reboot. A filmmaker can restart a particular comic book hero’s story any way they like. And since it is a new beginning to the tale, none of the existing plots apply. While it may seem much more extreme than simply changing part of the plot, rebooting a franchise in general seems to be more accepted than changing a story. Perhaps this is because reboots happen in the comic world from time to time as well.

The reboot allows movie makers to take an existing hero and place them in more modern situations. One very successful example of this was the Iron Man movie adaptation. Iron Man’s origin story remains almost exactly the same as the comic origin with the exception that instead of taking place in Vietnam, the movie origin takes place in Afghanistan. The core origin story is the same, but it is made more relatable and modern by updating it slightly.

At first, comic book movies depended upon their base of loyal fans to spread excitement. However, once they achieved mainstream success many fans felt as though they were ignored. Hollywood rushed to crank out as many comic book movies as possible as quickly as possible and the quality suffered. Fans complained on comic book forums across the globe but the poor adaptations kept coming.

Comic book fans feel betrayed by the industry they helped make. Now that comic book movies have gained mainstream acceptance, filmmakers don’t have to worry if they upset a few comic book nerds. The peril of comic book movies is that they have sold their soul to be one of the cool kids.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Killing – Not Your Standard Crime Drama

AMC has added another show to its already unique repertoire of programming, including Breaking Bad and Mad Men (on hiatus until 2012). Widely known as taking a page out of Twin Peaks, sans the quirks and cherry pie, The Killing centers around the murder of Rosie Larson, a 17 year old girl who we are introduced to in the pilot’s opening sequence being chased through the woods at night. With its eerie score and dreary Seattle backdrop, the show chronicles the discovery, aftermath and investigation into what happened to the girl, with the promos asking, “Who Killed Rosie Larson?”

There are more than a few elements which sets this show apart from other prime time crime dramas. First, the investigation is not neatly wrapped up in within the hour nor are we bombarded with fancy stylized forensic recreations and gruesome fatal wounds (a la the CSI franchise). The gritty, somber backdrop (does it really rain THAT much in Seattle?) provides an almost muted environment where the focus becomes the raw emotions felt by the family and the ripple effect the crime has on everyone involved – from the investigators to the suspects (and their families) to politics. This episodical drama is not something that can be casually tuned into – there is a commitment level needed that is not like your standard Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI, etc..

The structure also doesn’t adopt the typical investigator-centric approach that most other procedural shows do, like Law & Order. While we aren’t deeply introduced to Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), the lead investigator or sketchy sidekick Stephen (Joel Kinnaman), there are enough hints of dysfunctional behavior and history that keep the audience guessing and wanting to know more. When will Sarah move to California to her awaiting fiancĂ©? Who does Stephen keep giving money to? As an audience, we get a purview into how the repercussions of Rosie’s murder are felt throughout the fabric of the entire town. From the implosion felt within her family dynamic – the polarization of Mitch and Stan Larson’s relationship (Rosie’s parents), the demons of Stan’s past brewing back up to the surface and the remaining siblings who are left to fend for themselves. The political arena also plays a pivotal role in exploring how the murder of a young girl (in a Chappaquiddick-like set up) plays out during a mayoral election , using crime as a campaign strategy which is further used when a suspect is tied to programs promoted by candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell).

The show provides an impression that every reference, every prop, every character has some role. Mitch’s sister, the odd, wealthy entrepreneur, Stan’s coworker… You get the impression that they all have secrets. They all play a role. And we want to know what that role is.

And while the show job the script does at giving each stakeholder a voice, the midseason is hitting a bit of a slump. The nuances that hooked me in the beginning are becoming convenient and plotlines are (seemingly) getting quite predictive and reminiscent of something you’d find in a Lifetime movie. Despite this, I’m still hanging on as a dedicated viewer and hoping that it’s all part of the strategy and that we are blown away by the culmination of this case in Dexter-like fashion. With 4 episodes left, there are a lot of questions still to be answered, lots of references to become clear. And I can’t wait.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Only Way to Enjoy 'Friday Night Lights' is to Own it on DVD

By HAWKE FRACASSA for TVStoreOnline.com

The plug has been pulled on the great "Friday Night Lights" TV drama that portrays in documentary style the travails of two fictional Texas high schools, their football teams and dreams, their players and their parents.
Tim RigginsImage via Wikipedia

NBC, in making one of the dumbest decisions ever made in the history of man, has fumbled the ball by kicking "Friday Night Lights" to the curb. The show's shelf life could have gone on for years with fresh faces.

"Friday Night Lights," which survived for a half-decade on merit despite a lousy time slot, a writers strike and a whimsical network that didn't know what to do with it, is not alone in being thrown away. Thirty other programs that air in prime time on American television also have been killed. But ... um ... all of those shows, except for the critically acclaimed "Brothers & Sisters" and "Detroit 1-8-7" on ABC, and "Outsourced" of NBC, deserved to be shown the door.

"Friday Night Lights" still has legs. What started out as a book in 1990 and a 2004 Universal Pictures movie about the rabid love for football in the rural Texas town of Odessa turned into a compelling TV series in fictional "Dillon," Texas, that has won respect and applause from critics, intense loyalty from fans and apathy from the ostriches at NBC who have undervalued how good of a franchise "Friday Night Lights" could have been to the network had it been promoted and showcased properly instead of being used as an afterthought filler on a bad schedule.

The show aired exclusively for its first two seasons on NBC, and for its next three seasons toiled in the obscurity of DirecTV's 101 Network (no wonder NBC says nobody watched) before being rebroadcast on NBC when the network felt the whim. There have been 76 episodes, all of them great.

"Friday Night Lights" was filmed entirely in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas. It has a cult-like following because of its commitment to authenticity. True fans can't wait to watch to see what the cast is going to do next. The problem isn't finding people to watch "Friday Night Lights." The problem has been finding when the show is actually on. Reruns have been on Bravo and ABC Family, but has anyone actually seen them?

People value the show when they are privileged enough to find it on because the actors are relatable and the storylines, believable, without being maudlin or overdramatic. It's always a full hour of quality entertainment.

There is angst of black players mixing with white players, boy vs. girl troubles and parents and principals wheedling information out of their kids. There is conflict on and off the field, inside and outside of the classroom and the home, episodes that build and question loyalty and the impact of what happens when loyalty is betrayed.

Much is made during "Friday Night Lights" of a popular but outspoken head coach being put in his place. Then, when he is displaced in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? situation, the coach responds by going crosstown from the mighty Panthers to the rag-tag Lions, an under-funded start-up team from the poor side of town with no following and no boosters.

"Friday Night Lights" from go has been about more than high school football in "Dillon." It is about interaction of everyday people and families exploring the human condition, from unexpected pregnancy and what to do about it, to competitive spirit, petty politics and how scary it is to be on the short end of the stick in life.

There are ethnical dilemmas, like whether to rob and steal to pay for a mother's psychiatric care, and whether to accept a brother's request to make boatloads of cash by fencing stolen car parts and disposing of them, because economic times are tough. Sometimes the decisions are right, sometimes they're wrong. "Friday Night Lights" is poignant in its telling of real-world truths. It allows us to revel in the joys of triumph and forces us to experience the foibles and flaws of people who are easy to like and hard to be mad at. Besides that, the show has been an engaging primer on how to be a good parent, bad parent, good son, good daughter.

The actors have always been amazing. They aren't the reason for the demise of "Friday Night Lights," whose fifth-season finale aired in February on DirecTV. The last few episodes started being replayed on NBC in April. Kyle Chandler, the "Early Edition" star who plays fiery Coach Eric Taylor on "Lights," is forging ahead as a movie star. Former Abercrombie & Fitch model Taylor Kitsch performs his role of drunken hunk Tim Riggins with acumen. Tim Riggins, who goes by "Tim Riggins" to everyone instead of "Tim" or "Riggins," is a charismatic football star who usually uses a wrong moral compass, but is likable anyway. Life after football is one punch to the face after the other.

My favorite character is Julie Taylor, the coach's sweet little daughter, played by Aimee Teegarden of "Scream 4" and other film credits. She is cute as a button and just plain nice as the star quarterback's girlfriend. Her passion in the role is infectious. The point is that "Friday Night Lights" is cast well and makes viewers care about the people and the hurdles they face. Every episode is incredibly interesting.

Sadly, the only way we as fans are going to be able to watch "Friday Night Lights" whenever we want, with any consistency, is to get each season for our own personal DVD collections from places like TVStoreOnline.com. If you love the show, that's the road to take if you want to experience and enjoy it when it's convenient for you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Sperminator

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged details of an embarrassing past screw…up. I know what you’re thinking, it has nothing to do with the movie Junior. Actually, it very much does. This time in a bizarre twist it’s not big Arnold who’s bearing the child, it’s apparently a former member of his household staff. In other words, a maid. The former governor admitted that he impregnated someone from his household staff over a decade ago. So somewhere there’s a really strong kid who is likely good at cleaning the house. Either Arnold started to feel somModified version of Image:Arnold Schwarznegger...Image via Wikipediae guilt and was able to spew such a story to his wife Maria Shriver because his term as governor is up and he won’t have to worry about a scandal along with a failing economy…or he wanted to challenge his kid to a weight lifting competition.

We now know why his wife Maria Shriver decided to separate with Arnold, and probably move towards terminating her marriage with the terminator. It’s a wonder that a secret like this can last for this long. Arnold obviously kept it a secret throughout his tumultuous reign as governor of California, and for good reason I suppose. However, I don’t think it makes a difference now. Maybe he expected Shriver to suddenly be fine with the admittance since he was now out of the office, or since it had been so long. Either way, I’m sure it became one of those lies that just goes on so long that it finally eats away at your soul. Although the timing of admission I’m sure had little to do with a change in the level of guilt over the years, and more to do with his recent departure from politics. He waited a few months, I guess so it didn’t look so obvious that he waited until the governorship was over, but it’s still quite obvious.

Arnold did apologize to everyone, including fans, friends, and family. I guess we can chalk this up with all the others. Although maybe not as surprising as Tiger Woods’ admissions over the last couple years, but still it comes equally as disappointing. Many of us only care to know of Arnold as The Terminator, and have refused to believe that he was politician, because it took away from the great and powerful characters he once played. However, now it’s been solidified – he truly is a politician first, and an action hero second. He may always now be known as… The Sperminator.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Reboot to the Modern Stone Age Family? Seth MacFarlane to Revamp The Flinstones

In what will surely trigger a slew of “Yabba Dabba Do’s and Don’ts debates (and cringing puns – apologies for that), Seth MacFarlane has been given the green light to revamp The Flinstones, Fox TV has announced. The classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon, one of the earliest forerunners of the fat-guy, skinny wife theme, centered on a husky, arrogant Fred Flinstone, his more attractive, red-headed slender wife, Wilma and the comedic adventures shared with neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble. Originally airing from 1960-1966, the series also sparked severFilm poster for The Flintstones in Viva Rock VegasImage via Wikipediaal spinoffs, animated specials, toys, games and a plethora of other merchandise opportunities.

"The very first cartoon character I drew at age 2 was Fred Flintstone," MacFarlane said in a statement. "So it's appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise.”
MacFarlane is no stranger to animated comedies. The Flinstones is his 4th project on Fox, with Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show already under his belt. Family Guy itself has already paid homage to Stone Age duo Fred and Barney in various episode clips, with an “I got an Erocktion!” sexual innuendo and a World’s Wildest Police Videos quip among the pile of them. And while it’s been said that the refashioned Flinstones will stay true to some elements of the original, there will of course be some creative license applied.

The Flinstones’ haven’t been immune to reinterpretation. John Goodman & Rosie O’Donnell starred in the 1994 remake and the live-action prequel, 'The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas’ (with 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski), made its underwhelming mark in 2000.

The verdict is still out on how far MacFarlane’s comedic approach to offend, and offend often, will go in the iconic town of Bedrock. While we sit back and eat up the scenes brimming with raunchiness and laden with pop-culture references, both old and new, in MacFarlane’s current animated repertoire, it’s to be seen how forgiving we’ll be when it’s applied to a full-length program based on an old classic.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clark Kent Ends A Ten Year Long Journey On Smallville

May 13 of the year 2011 will be remembered as the day that Smallville ended. The series, which has spent a decade on air, has come down to two final hours, and those final hours will take Clark Kent, the boy from Smallville and the son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, to Superman. For the last ten years, fans have tuned in to watch Clark grow up. The story of Superman has been told many times over the years, and it will be told again on the big screen with a new man taking on the character, but fans are already missing this creation. Clark Kent (Smallville)Image via Wikipedia

Smallville began ten years ago on The WB, and it was one of the series that was picked up to continue when The WB disappeared and CW took its place. A change to Friday nights a couple of years ago worried fans, but the series remained strong, and the cast and crew fought to keep it on the air. The star of the series, Tom Welling, took a more active role in the behind the scenes of the series, and he has directed several episodes in recent years. He grew up as a person and an artist over the time he spent in the shoes of Clark Kent.

Smallville tried to do something different when it came to Superman and his story. It tried to tell the story of the boy that becomes the hero. Before the tights, before the cape, before he even met Lois Lane. The series had its issues over the years, but it grew up over the time it spent on air. Smallville had plenty of growing pains, and now it is complete. Clark Kent is ready to take his final steps to destiny.

The series wanted to finish out on its own terms, and many cast favorites have returned in these final episodes, and even more will return in the finale. The most anticipated return is of Lex Luthor. Michael Rosenbaum took his sweet time to return to Smallville, but he finally decided to do so earlier this year. Now Clark and Lex will face off one final time. The series had its moments over the years, and now fans will be faced with what to do now that the series is complete. Tom Welling will also be faced the question of 'what's next?' for him. He is connected to Clark Kent now, and that is not always a good thing.

Smallville had a good run, and now it is time to say good-bye to Superman. That is until Henry Cavill brings him back to the big screen. Superman will never die. He'll be reborn again and again for new generations to enjoy. For now, it is the end of one journey and the wait for the next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'The Office' Continues to Search for a New Boss

By HAWKE FRACASSA for TVStoreOnline.com
The melodrama continues unabated on "The Office" heading into the season's final episode, with Michael Scott's short-lived successors all stumbling badly as replacement bosses. Will Ferrell at Walk Hard premiereImage via Wikipedia

Deangelo (Will Ferrell) Vickers was in and out as regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Sabre's branch in Scranton, Pa., in the blink of an eye. He was as good-ole-boys old school as they come. And as an actor, Ferrell had pedigree but was a bad fit for this cast. His humor was just too lowbrow for a show this traditionally funny.

Jim Halpert was next up, lasting a whole one-minute phone call in which he feigned to be flattered, then declined the job because he felt the office was running best without a boss. How naive. It wasn't his call to make. That poor decision made his life miserable.

Dwight K. Schrute came next, and he was in power for three months as acting manager before his Machiavellian self-destruction choked the life out of his opportunity. Dwight made his obedient but plotting minions jump through hoops and was so desperate to keep the job that he was blackmailed into kneading Kevin's fat bare back to keep him from finking on him for accidentally firing a gun at work.

Now Creed has moved into the big chair, by virtue of being with the company the longest. It made me laugh to see him promoted, for a few reasons. Creed is resourceful but phony. Very Eddie Haskell, meaning he is good at being two-faced. Creed lacks scruples. He collects money from co-workers for a worthy cause, then keeps it and throws away the card. When he screws up, instead of owning the mistake he finds a scapegoat and gets away with it. When it looked like the company was weeding out older employees, Creed dyed his hair jet black to portray himself as a cool twentysomething.

Creed also has no boundaries. When children come to the office, he shows them his "four toes." He consistently objectifies women. And Creed admits to the camera that he will do "anything to survive" at work, "just like I did when I was a homeless person."

Creed is supposed to be just an interim appointment as a search committee of Gabe, Jim and Toby sort through boss candidates who will include spastic Jim Carrey and the ever-droll James Spader --- two of the few actors who could actually come in and pull this off. Celebrity Web sites speculate that Ricky Gervais, boss of the far-less-funny Brit version of "The Office," also is a candidate to be boss in Scranton, but that sad ship ought to sail.

Darryl could step up, especially since the company is investing in him by paying for college since his promotion from the warehouse. He has the stuff, but does he have the seasoning?

The most compelling choice from where I sit would be to bring back Charles, who took over day-to-day operations of "The Office" when Michael left in a huff to start the Michael Scott Paper Co.

If you recall, when sales plummeted under Charles due to Michael's aggressive price points, Michael was brought back in triumph, clapping and screaming, to replace Charles, along with Ryan and Pam.

Storylines with Charles learning how to be a better boss now that he has been deposed and brought back would make for some interesting episodes. It also would be interesting to promote Darryl to assistant manager so he can have a capable African-American role model to learn from in Charles. This would give Darryl time to develop as a manager under Charles' tutelage.

It was smart to write Will Ferrell out of the show. Deangelo, had he lasted longer than a few episodes, would have been like the replacement Darrin on "Bewitched": Unaccepted.

I don't see Andy, Oscar, Stanley, Ryan or Kevin becoming the boss.

Andy is too unsure of himself. Oscar is smart but lacks cunning and thinks it's more important to have a job than a career. He won't say risky things to corporate. Stanley just wants to do his crossword puzzle, not take on the headaches that the challenges of leadership bring.

Ryan had his shot when he worked for corporate and messed up. He's only got a job at all because Michael made them take him back.

Kevin doesn't stand up for himself enough. How can he expect to be taken seriously?

What the producers have overlooked, at least so far, is what "The Office" would look like with a woman in charge.

Kelly Kapoor is a solid candidate. She is already in the company's management program and has the enthusiasm and acumen to be successful. She has shown eagerness to grow and has the best attitude of anybody on the staff. Her only liability is her devotion to Ryan, who has her wrapped around his little finger.

Does Pam have the stuff to make things happen? Kinda. She is a person who is intelligent and grounded. But her inability to sell and her marriage to Jim make her a liability because fairness issues are often brought into play because of that and she handles the challenges poorly. Pam might walk over hot coals to help the company and can be as glib as Jim, but her lack of confidence makes her a bad candidate to manage at this time.

Meredith, the female version of Creed, would be hilarious but at the same time, a joke as the boss, based on her track record. She gave discounts to a client she was having sex with, came to work not wearing panties on a casual Friday and got her hair caught on fire while dancing drunk at a company function. Other than those indiscretions, she's fantastic.

A darkhorse candidate to be the boss is Phyllis, a gossipy conservative newlywed (married to the obnoxious Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration) with a biting and sometimes vicious personality.

Don't let Phyllis' soft, grandmotherly demeanor lull you. She is so eager to make a client happy she will redo her hairstyle before she goes to a meeting. She can be snarky and rude to co-workers who cross her. Her willingness to say what needs to be said, regardless of the consequences, gives Phyllis potential to be a boss.

Angela would be successful as a boss because she is deceptive and manipulative. She likes men to fight to be with her. She is a calculating, no-nonsense bean counter for the branch and makes the trains run on time. Her only Achilles heel is Dwight, who can manipulate her. Storylines that could develop if she became the new boss could center around Dwight trying to get her to do his bidding.

If I were emperor of "The Office," I would write the script to make Erin Hannon the boss. She is the bubbly receptionist. I just love her!!! Doesn't everybody? She's sweet, she's nice, she's fun. What's not to like?

People will go through a wall for a good person like Erin. Right? The biggest surprise to me is that the actress, Ellie Kemper, is 31. She looks 22 and has a friendly face with a smile planted on it that is a mile wide. As a result, people want to do things for her.

That said, It's time to promote from within. If Erin doesn't get the job, corporate will be making a big mistake.

Unless ... they want to bring back Steve Carell as Michael Scott.

We miss him already.

Doesn't everybody?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sheen Axed from Two And A Half Men … Kutcher to Replace Him

We’ve all heard about the news with regards to Mr. Charlie Sheen; his debacle with the producers of “Two And A Half Men,” and his crazy off screen antics that have him soaking up the limelight of America’s interest as he touts his two “goddesses” around and flaunts them for every paparazzo known to man. Then there’s his former show, the big time CBS and Warner Bros. Television primetime blockbuster smash hit, Two And A Half Men.
Moore and Kutcher in September 2008Image via Wikipedia

It’s no news to anyone that Sheen was the mainstay and staple behind the show’s comedic prowess. His smooth delivery, his sleek ambience and his onscreen bravado has defined the ethos of this show. However, as we all know far too well, it’s his off screen behavior that has seen him canned from a show that he was reportedly earning more than seven figures per episode to act on (which is somehow every reminiscent of another popular come and gone sitcom, “Friends” – where the actors made seven figures per episode – or even “Seinfeld”). (Relive Seinfeld with our awesome Seinfeld Festivus T-shirt or reignite your love of Friends with our Friends Central Perk Indigo Blue Adult T-Shirt.)

Now, the news is working its way along the major networks, and they are all reporting that CBS has finally made two very important decisions. The first, which many fans of the show were eager to hear, was that they are planning on keeping the show around for another season. The second, which was an equally as anticipated decision, was that the producers had finally found a replacement for Sheen, and one that hopefully would save them from embarrassment when composing himself offstage.

The new main star of the show is: Ashton Kutcher.

Best known for his role on “That 70’s Show,” Kutcher has won a large fan base over the years due to his comedic onscreen endeavors, and notably, his marriage to A-lister Demi Moore. But Kutcher also brings his own fanfare to the show, which may answer the question on whether the show will tank or not without Sheen around anymore.

For instance, Kutcher’s Twitter account has nearly 7 million followers, and his Facebook (9 million friends) both share similar numbers, which tells us that millions of prospective viewers will be encouraged to at least see if Kutcher is a good fit for the show.

Some experts in the industry happen to think Kutcher is the right man for the job, too.

TV Guide’s LA Bureau Chief, Michael Schneider told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column that, “Ashton was a wise casting choice, they managed to keep a still-successful and major money-making show alive by casting a well-known talent who knows his way around a sitcom stage.”

Sheen, however, tends to differ with a more bitter and somber opinion of his replacement on his throne as King of Comedy on Primetime. “Enjoy planet Chuck, Ashton,” Sheen told TMZ.com, talking about his nemesis and the creator of the show, Chuck Lorre. “There is no air, laughter, loyalty, or love there,” he said.

Kutcher has some words of his own to say to fans: “I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people,” he said in a statement to the press.

Question of the day: Do you think that Two And A Half Men will make it with Kutcher? Or more importantly: Do you think that the show will bomb without Sheen?

Let us know on our Facebook Page by leaving a comment.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

House Comes Home Again

The hit series starring Hugh Laurie as Dr. House will be returning for an eighth season. This comes on the heels of rumors circulating suggesting some financial unrest between Universal Media Studios and the Fox network concerning license fees. The fight is basically about who will pay what percentage for the financing for the eighth season of House. Kevin Reilly of Fox commented on the level of quality television drama the creators of house dished out over the past seven seasons. He said, “I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year.” your body is a templeImage by Nancee_art via Flickr

Fox was looking to trim down the license fee by about 20 percent, and Universal Media Studios was trying to force some more seasons out of the deal, but Fox stayed firm with one more season. So obviously the speculation is that this may be the eighth and final season of House. There’s always a chance House could be picked up again for more seasons, but given the nature of the negotiations it sounds unlikely.

House is not as popular as it used to be, but it still stands as one of Fox’s most popular scripted programs. House has also done very well internationally. Some estimates say the show has grossed over $1 billion over the course of seven years on the air.

For a medical drama, House brings great humor with predictable formulas, but surprising methods. It’s one of those shows that you can both be a casual viewer and catch an episode without being lost and enjoy the plot within the episode, and you can enjoy being hooked to it with several ongoing storylines every season.

With new dramas popping up seemingly every day on every station, including multiple medical dramas, it’s a wonder that anything in this market can do well enough to stay afloat for eight seasons. It’s a testament to the creativity and the energy of the writers and crew, along with very solid performances by the actors, and a perfectly tuned character performed by Hugh Laurie. It will be interesting to see what Hugh Laurie does after House is over. He was fairly established as a world-class actor before House came on the air seven seasons ago, so we’ll have to wait and see what entertaining character he portrays next – if any. Congrats to House for going another season, and hopefully it will be a good one.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scott Baio (Possibly) Back In Charge on Nick at Nite

Looks like Scott Baio’s television career may be looping back into the world scripted sitcoms. The former star of Happy Days and Charles in Charge is in talks to develop a new show on Nick at Nite entitled, Daddy’s Home.
Nick at Nite logo used from September 1, 2007 ...Image via Wikipedia

According to Deadline, Daddy’s Home revolves around a former television star who returns to domesticated life, raising his three kids so that his wife can get back into the fame game in a soap opera. While Baio’s character had experience in playing the quintessential TV Dad, the show is expected to show us how well, or most likely how little, he fares away from the cameras and rehearsals and confronted with real life fatherhood. Cue the mishaps and hilarity.

Returning to scripted comedy seems an appropriate move for Baio, who had much success in the early years of his career, first as Chachi and then as Charles. The star had fallen under the radar for some time until his plunge back into television with his VHI reality series Scott Baio is 45 … and Single (and follow-up of Scott Baio is 46 … and Pregnant). While the shows answered our “Whatever happened to...” musings, it didn’t exactly put him back on the map. Going back to his roots may afford him the opportunity to make the comeback that other former stars, like Neil Patrick Harris, or more likely, ‘Joey’ Lawrence have been afforded. And while we all muster a chuckle at the mention of the former “Whoa” slinging teen heartthrob, Lawrence has steadily made a name for himself within multiple family oriented sitcoms over the years and an impressive run on Dancing with the Stars.
Nick at Nite is a befitting arena for his comeback. The network seems to be taking the similar approach of creating prime time original programming as TV Land, who has garnered success with Hot in Cleveland starring “It Golden Girl” Betty White and more recently, Happily Divorced, resurging the career of former Nanny, Fran Drescher, after a failed attempt at a talk show.

The show is still in the writing stages and the pilot has not yet been approved. But I’m curious to see where this latest venture will land Scott Baio. Or at the very least, crossing my fingers that the show delivers on appearances by former costars Nicole Eggert, Willy Aames or Anson “Potsie” Williams. And the kid who played Adam Powell - whatever happened to him?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fast Five Races To The Top And Keeps Going

In its first weekend of release, Fast Five managed to break box office records and become the first big blockbuster hit for 2011. The film is the fifth film in a franchise that has had its low moments and its high moments. Most fans of the series have completely forgotten about the second and third film, but the films where Vin Diesel dominated the screen with his presence have been the hits for the series. With over 86 million at the box office in earnings, itVin Diesel at the Fast & Furious premiere at L...Image via Wikipedia is safe to say that these films bring in the movie goers.

These movies aren't made to win Oscars. They are simple and basic films that have high action, great looking people, and simple story lines. These films are classic escape movies. They aren't meant to change your life. These films are just meant to let you get out of the house and relax for a little while, and that is what people do. They don't really have to think much when they go to see a movie from this franchise at the theater.

Before Fast Five was even released, the movie studio behind it was already planning the next film in the franchise. Yes, Fast and the Furious will continue, but the type of films from the franchise will change slightly. Fast cars will still play a part, but the plan is to turn the franchise into a serious of heist films similar to Fast Five. The team will take down the big score while on the run from FBI time after time. Sounds like a premise that can work if the team is never caught.

It isn't surprising that the franchise already has a sixth film in the works. The fact it was announced before the release of Fast Five is not all that surprising. The film even teases the plot for the next film in a bonus scene fans can see at the very end of the film following the credits. With a plot in place, all the film needs is a script and to go into production. Spoiler warning. Stop reading now.

The bonus scene contains Michelle Rodriguez. Her character died in the fourth installment, but it appears she might make a return in Fast Six. Unless the bonus scene has nothing to do with the next film that is! One can never tell what a movie studio might do. Fast and the Furious has never been billed as life changing cinema. It is action and beauty. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you want to escape for a couple of hours, these films are just the ticket. If the franchise keeps breaking records like it did with this release, expect to see more films made.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Creators of South Park Find Success on Broadway

The Nominations are in, and the battle for the most prestigious award for Broadway musicals begins. A young up and comer with an obvious religious theme has audiences running to the box office. It’s a musical, it’s a comedy, it’s about Mormons, it’s from the creators of South Park, and it’s nominated for 14 Tony awards. Wait, what?
Cover of

“The Book of Mormon” is one of the craziest things to hit Broadway since Liza Minnelli. Taking no prisoners, and showing no mercy, the creators of the hugely popular cartoon South Park have taken their talents to the big stage and shown that their wit and crazy does not rely on crude drawings and cursing kids to be popular. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have created a ridiculous show with poignant topics and raunchy dialogue, and theater goers are finding it too awesome to miss. Cartman is the main character in South Park voiced by Trey Parker. Up for Best Musical, two chances for Best Actor in a Musical, and a slew of other prestigious Tony nominations, “The Book of Mormon” is turning the theater world upside down.

The creators had some help from the recently super successful producer Scott Rudin, who recently produced the award gulping "Social Network". Rudin’s interest in the project only proves that the brilliance of Matt Stone and Trey Parker is recognizable by people other than comedy gurus and college students. Along with the scribe Robert Lopez, the creators have been filling the house since the show opened at the Eugene O’Neil Theater on March 24th. The 14 nominations came up short by a small hair below some of the most highly acclaimed shows of all time, including the 2001 “The Producers” with 15 nominations and 2009’s “Billy Elliot”.

As a testament to the lasting power of poignant humor with a dash of controversy, and the ever popular buddy comedy format, “The Book of Mormon” is just an extension of some of the themes used on Comedy Central’s South Park, which is already one of the most successful and long lasting shows of all time. Parker and Stone will hopefully take this as a sign to continue pursuing new avenues to showcase their brilliance. Maybe we’ll get another “Team America”? It should be interesting to follow the evolution of these minds after their Broadway success.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Star Wars Day - A making like no other

On Wednesday May 4, Star Wars fans all around the world celebrated Stars Wars Day. A day that recognizes one of the greatest stories ever told and one of the most memorable cinematic events created to this day.
Darth Vader as depicted in The Empire Strikes ...Image via Wikipedia

Thousands wrote quotes on Twitter or created interesting hashtags to celebrate the day and all over the Internet Star Wars enthusiast were exclaiming, “May the fourth be with you” (the play on words that is the foundation for the day itself).

This year, Star Wars fans had something extra to celebrate with the news of the complete saga being released on Blu-ray Disc this fall. Star Wars: The Complete Saga, a nine-disc collection which contains all six movies as well three discs full of special features and previously unreleased content.

Discs seven and eight, Star Wars Archives: I-III and Star Wars Archives: IV-VI includes interviews with cast and crew, concept art, deleted and alternate scenes, and more. The ninth disc, The Star Wars Documentaries includes new documentaries; Star Warriors, a short tribute to the 501st Legion, A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later, a featurette with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams and their look back at the making of The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Spoofs, a collection of spoof clips from other popular television shows. The disc also includes previous released documentaries such as The Making of Star Wars, Anatomy of a Dewback and others.

The Star Wars website gave in-depth about each of the disc. The site could also be unlocked to reveal images from the upcoming releases once the site was shared via Facebook or Twitter.

The disc set will be released internationally on September 12 and on September 16 in North America from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MTV to Return “120 Minutes” to the Airwaves

Just when we all but gave up on MTV for actual music television, the network recently announced that "120 Minutes" was making its way back on the airwaves. The show — which originally ran from 1986 to 2001, and then again from 2001 to 2003 — is coming back to MTV2 as a new monthly version, which is credited with airing bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead before they were cemented as major rock bands. Matt Pinfield, who's all but become synonymous with “120 Minutes” despite his further career moves, will also be rejoinMTV, launched on August 1, 1981, playing music...Image via Wikipediaing the show set to begin later this year. A web-based version “120 Seconds” has already begun airing on the networks indie music site MTV Hive.

The show's return is a curious one. Prior to the inception of the Internet, and therefore mp3s , ITunes, YouTube, etc, our introductions to indie bands heavily relied on television and alternative radio stations. “120 Minutes" really became the 'it' program to be showcased on for new up-and-coming garage and college rock bands who signature status when they made the cut on the same program airing Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video world premiere. Angst-ridden lovers of alternative rock tuned in to watch what latest band we may hear on all things “My So-Called Life” or the latest “Empire Records / “Singles” –esque movie. We’ve come a long way since then. Artists release new singles and videos through every social media outlet available and within seconds, tons of people have seen it, heard it and commented on it. Pinfield tells MTV News, “Even with all the destinations that people have and all the ways they can be entertained, educated and find information, I think it always gets back to the fact that they still want a trustworthy place to go.”

Whether “120 Minutes’” return will position itself to be that gateway is yet to be seen. But here’s hoping better success with this re-launch. It would be a refreshing change of pace in the midst of their program schedule heavily inundated with reality shows like “Jersey Shore,” ”Teen Mom” and “The Real World.”

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