Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Transformers Star Says He’s Done with the Franchise

Shia LaBeouf speaks about working with the mil...Image via WikipediaAfter coming off of relatively strong reviews for the most recent installment in Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, Shia LaBeouf indicated that he’s not up for another sequel. LeBeouf commented to MTV News saying, “I just don’t think right now there’s anywhere to take Sam”. Sam Witwicky of course is the main character that happens upon a special car that he later discovers is a transformer, and develops an intimate relationship with the “Auto-bot” in the first movie. His statement suggests an artistic reason for not continuing the story of Sam Witwicky because he’s hit a character arc plateau. LeBeouf grew up while working with Michael Bay, and has continued to support the explosive-happy director despite some of the negative reviews that have plagued his career.
With that being said, Michael Bay is notoriously opinionated and controlling on set, and Mr. LeBeouf is growing up into a very strong-willed actor who is very serious, and almost Tom Cruise-like with his intensity about his craft. In a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, LeBeouf was cordially coerced into admitting having differences with Michael Bay on set. After Letterman’s consistent pushing, you could tell LeBeouf had gone through a number of skirmishes with Bay. LeBeouf certainly doesn’t want to say he’ll never work with Michael Bay again just in case Bay gets the job to do the next Indiana Jones remake, or perhaps a Wall Street sequel with alien robots attacking the New York stock exchange, but it’s my opinion that LeBeouf may want to take a healthy and extended break from Bay’s directorial style.

Shia LeBeouf’s next move is most likely going to be…well whatever he pleases I would guess. For the second year in a row, Forbes Magazine said that LeBeouf earned the most “bang for the buck” that any other star in Hollywood. For my money, I would bet on studios considering that achievement the greatest thing an actor could ever do, and if I was one of the many “people” in his corner, that would be the first thing and possibly the only thing I would say in a meeting to try and sell my client for a role in the next blockbuster. However, just because he earns large sums of money for his work and just because studios are scoring big off of his work, doesn’t mean he’s inherently a bad actor who sells out. I think he is actually very talented, and will be at least in the run for an Oscar at some point in his career, albeit most likely not for a role in a Michael Bay film.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“Toy Story” as an Allegory for Fatherlessness and the Importance of Family

Quick, how many times do we see Andy’s father in the three “Toy Story” movies?

The correct answer, of course, is zero times. There is no father, or father figure, present in “Toy Story.” The only parental figure in the movie is Andy’s mother, and even she doeCover of Cover via Amazonsn’t play much of a role in any of the movies until “Toy Story 3.”

So where is Andy’s father during the course of the trilogy? Well, the simple answer is we just don’t know. We don’t know if he died, if he and the mother divorced, or if they were even married in the first place.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a lie. We DO know that Lee Unkrich, who edited the first “Toy Story,” co-directed “Toy Story 2” and solo directed “Toy Story 3,” has said multiple times that it was never intended for Andy’s father to be included in the movie. In an interview with Mary Pols for MSN Movies, Unkrich said, “The decision was made really early on in 'Toy Story' to have Andy's dad not be around. We've never addressed it directly, nor have we given any explanation for where he is or why he's absent.”

Even though Unkrich and the other directors never intended for there to be any mystery behind Andy’s father’s absence, many viewers have surmised that Woody has acted as a surrogate throughout the trilogy.

It makes sense when you think about it. In all three movies, Woody is constantly the voice of reason, telling the other toys they have to be there for Andy. Woody is the one who refuses to go to Sunnyside Day Care in “Toy Story 3” (even though the other toys say that he was always Andy’s favorite and he would be going to college.)

Besides the fact that Woody acts as a surrogate father to Andy, we also see the importance of family throughout the three films, especially in the third. Without spoiling one of the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming scenes in the final (or not?) film for those who haven’t seen it, we see the toys share a touching moment that really solidifies the fact that they are a family, despite their initial differences and disagreements.

Although there isn’t much emphasis on Andy’s actual family, i.e. his mother and sister, we do see the role of family dynamics in the toys’ interactions with each other. And while Andy’s father is a non-entity in the trilogy, the third film drives the point home that Woody has been Andy’s primary father figure for the last 17 years.

Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of Andy’s biological father in “Toy Story 4”?

Monday, June 27, 2011

True Blood Season 4 is here!

True Blood has finally returned for its fourth season and I’ve personally been biting my nails waiting, so I’m ecstatic to be able to say that this episode was everything I wanted from the new season plus a little more. In fact, as soon as the episode finished, I watched it again.
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is the main ch...Image via Wikipedia
True Blood picks up right where it left off at the end of season 3 – for Sookie, at least – transporting our part-fairy protagonist into a literal glowing fairyland. There she sees her grandfather as well as Barry the bellboy, a fellow part-fairy telepath. However she soon realizes that things aren’t what they seem to be. The fairyland is just an illusion while the beautiful fairies are revealed to be hideous goblin-like creatures dead set on claiming all the human-fairy hybrids as their own.

This is easily the most fantastical True Blood has ever gotten, but it works. And it will continue to work as long as they don’t overdo it. After all, most people got into the show for the vampires, not the fairies.

Sookie manages to escape back to “the normal world,” but she discovers that she has been missing for nearly thirteen months despite the fact that she’d only been in the fairyland for about ten minutes.

So where did we find the rest of the characters after Sookie’s time jump?Everyone (except perhaps Andy Bellefleur) is happy to see Sookie again, especially her brother Jason who has seemed to mature a bit over the year, which is a relief since he’s finally become a sheriff’s deputy. Unfortunately for Sookie, he sold her house after believing her to be dead. The house had been purchased by an unknown buyer who later turns out to be the Scandinavian vampire Eric Northman.

Sookie and Bill have a moment to talk, a conversation many fans were probably waiting for after Bill’s devastating, curveball betrayal right at the end of season 3. Their conversation is handled delicately, and despite what happened between them, it’s clear that they still have some love for one another. The love triangle with them and Eric will probably continue well into season 4.

Jessica and Hoyt have settled into a domestic routine. And although they may be two of my beloved characters, they’re a little boring now compared to everything going on around them.

Tara, who has been travelling from place to place after leaving Bon Temps, has become a cage fighter in New Orleans. She also has a girlfriend, but it’s unclear if she has forever forsaken heterosexuality or not. Either way, it’s nice to see her happy for once after being traumatized and victimized for three seasons.

Sam Merlotte claims to attend an anger management class, which turns out to be a small group of other shape shifters with whom he has bonded (AKA: chatted, gotten drunk, and run around in animal forms).

Jesus and Lafayette are still going strong. However, Jesus continues to push a wary Lafayette to access his magical potential and takes him to a coven meeting led by Marnie, a timid palm reader who reveals a darker side of herself during a session in which the coven members (with the help of Lafayette) briefly manage to bring her dead familiar, a parrot named Minerva, back to life for less than a minute. Marnie is played by Fiona Shaw, an Irish actress mostly known for her role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies. And now she’s ironically gone completely witch.

Things have changed and opened up just enough in the True Blood universe to let us know that we’re in for an intense and bloody fourth season that was worth the wait. The only thing that seems out of place is that our werewolf friends are nowhere to be seen. Not yet, anyway.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vote for Pedro – Show your Dynamite Love!

Who’s the next president of the United States going to be? Well diversity taught us a big time lesson during the last election, and now we are here to tell you that it can indeed show us who we are casting our name for in the Write-in ballot for the 2012 presidential elections: PEDRO. The first Hispanic president of the United States of America!

That’s right – we are bringing back one of the most classic of all low budget PG13 rated comedies to ever grace the silver screen: Napoleon Dynamite. But it’s up to YOU to help us get Pedro elected into office! That’s why there’s never been a better time to get reconnFilm poster for Napoleon Dynamite - Copyright ...Image via Wikipediaected with this cult classic than there is now!

Pedro NEEDS your support and you can help him get more votes by sporting a classy Vote for Pedro T-Shirt today! Imagine if there were vending machines at all workplaces, freedom and equality in ALL lunchrooms and extended work breaks – or recesses – for all AMERICANS.

Boy is Pedro sounding like the ideal president – shorn skull, fake wig, mustache and all!

While we are busy reliving the adventure that made us laugh-out-loud (lol) more times than we care to admit – let’s take a stroll down Napoleon Dynamite memory lane for a tad bit.

Top Ten Most Memorable Moments in Napoleon Dynamite
1. When Uncle Rico tosses a raw steak at Napoleon, smacking him in the face with a resounding THWACK!
2. Uncle Rico’s many hilarious antics with filming himself throwing the football and his unrelenting homage to his wife-beater van.
3. Napoleon: “I used a flipping 12 gauge – GEEZ!”
5. The infamous final dance routine by Mr. Dynamite.
6. The hidden Kip “I love technology” wedding song after the final credits.
7. Napoleon: “You know, like nunchaku skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills."
8. Grandma: “Knock it off, Napoleon! Just make yourself a dang quesa-dilluh!”
9. Napoleon: “That’s like a dollar an hour!”

And the number ONE most memorable moment goes to KIP: “Your Mom Goes to College!”

Check out the Video of this HILARIOUS moment!

And now – drum roll please – here is your only reason why you ever need to Vote for Pedro for president, in the future commander in chief’s own words: “Vote for me … and all of your wildest dreams will come true!”

Show your support for Pedro with our awesome Reasons to Vote for Pedro T-Shirts!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ramona Flowers and Her Representation of the Three Golden Goddesses from “The Legend of Zelda.”

By Tayla Holman for

In the movie version of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” the main female character, Ramona Flowers, changes her hair color from pink, to blue, to green. Fans of “the Legend of Zelda” will recognize these three colors as representing the Three Golden Goddesses: Din, Nayru, and Farore. List of Scott Pilgrim soundtracksImage via Wikipedia

But Ramona’s representation goes beyond her different hair colors. She embodies each goddess’s trait equally, and could even be considered a triple goddess in the Scott Pilgrim mythos. Another interpretation is that Ramona represents wisdom, Scott represents courage, and Gideon represents power, making them each a piece of the triforce. But for argument’s sake, let’s say Ramona is all three.

She represents Din, the goddess of power, in her fighting. When she fights Roxy, she maintains the upper hand until Roxy declares that Scott has to fight his own battles. She may not be power hungry like Gideon (or Ganondorf), but the girl is definitely powerful. Just look at what she does to Scott. You could also say that Gideon’s mind-control chip on the back of her neck is representative of desiring power.

She represents Nayru, the goddess of wisdom, in that she is Scott’s voice of reason, and provides him with knowledge for defeating her evil exes. She provides him with the list of exes and then tells him how to defeat Roxy.

Finally, Ramona represents Farore, goddess of courage, in her finally deciding to stop running away and to take a chance on Scott once he defeats Gideon. It does take a lot of courage to decide to trust someone after one of your exes put a mind-control chip on you and created a league with six of your other exes to bring you back to him. Just saying.

There you have it, Ramona’s representation of the Three Golden Goddesses from “The Legend of Zelda.”

Man Men and True Blood Futures Look Promising

Recently, some key players for both Mad Men and True Blood, both highly rated and critically acclaimed shows, have been in talks for extending the future of each show. AMC and Lionsgate TV, after a long delay in negotiations between creator/executive producer Mathew Weiner for a two year contract, secured their star Jon Hamm for another three years as Don Draper on Mad Men. Mathew Weiner is a brilliant writer and producer, but everyone who watches Mad Men knows that the show would be nowhere without the talents of Jon Hamm. So nActor Jon Hamm on the red carpet at the 2010 V...Image via Wikipediaow we know that even if Mathew Weiner leaves, we still have the possibility of seeing Mad Men on for another season. Since the negotiations for Mathew Weiner pushed back the start time for Season 5, we won’t be seeing new episodes of the stylish show until March, 2012. Another bonus for Mad Men fans is that Mathew Weiner has an option in his contract for a seventh season, which many believe will now be a guarantee now that Hamm signed his new three year contract. So not only do we have a good chance of seeing Mad Men on for three more seasons, but we can expect it to be at its top potential all three seasons.

As for True Blood, the show’s creator and show runner Alan Ball is in talks for coming back for a fifth season. There was some speculation on whether True Blood had the legs to make it past the upcoming fourth season. Some believe the downfall of the vampire fad might cause a significant ratings drop, but Alan Ball believes that many people are hesitant about guaranteeing the show for a longer run for a much simpler reason. Ball said, “I think if we did 13 seasons we’d have to address why vampires are aging. Maybe there would be a bad batch of True Blood.” Justifications or not, True Blood will most likely be returning for at least a fifth season. Ball also noted that with a supernatural storyline, you can go places that other shows can’t.Tru Blood drinksImage via Wikipedia This to me sounded like a positive statement in regards to being able to continue the shows run from the story’s perspective.

All together these shows came up at about the same time, and really set an example for how new shows can be different, highly rated, and critically acclaimed all at the same time. For awhile there it seemed like this was an impossible feat for highly original dramas. It’s nice to see their success, and it will be nice to continue to witness their success.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Comparing Seinfeld and the Beatles

A good friend of mine, who is a very creative and artistic fellow, and also a huge “Seinfeld fan, once told me that the series was to TV what the Beatles were to music. This is quite true. The Beatles took the existing format of rock & roll and basically reinvented it, giving the music a freshness that it had not had since its beginnings and has not had since. Seinfeld did the same thing for television, taking the concept of “a show about nothing” to a point where its half-hour segments were better than all the other shows that were actually about something, both before and since. Also, as the Beatles did not invent rock & roll, Seinfeld did not originate the idea of a show about nothing. It had been done before by George Burns and Gracie Allen, back inThe comedy show Seinfeld becomes popular.Image via Wikipedia the 1950's. Seinfeld, however, put this concept on “steroids,” with episodes like “The Soup Nazi,” which turned simple visits to a takeout soup kitchen into a hilarious idea, just by having the owner be a soup-making genius with a set of rules that needed to be followed to the absolute letter or else it was “No soup for you!”

This Beatles/Seinfeld analogy continues when you consider the fact that the greatness of the musical group was also a result of the personalities of the “Fab Four.” Paul was the good-looking one who had a super voice and played one heck of a mean bass. John was outspoken and outrageous one, and also a fine song writer. George was young and cute and a good “ rockabilly” guitarist. The young Ringo was like a cute and lovable puppy dog who also always managed to play a great beat to the group’s innovative songs. Our “small screen” lineup of four is equally great in a television casting and directing kind of a way, although the distinction of who is playing who varies according to the moment. Jerry spends some of his time as our TV “Paul,” the handsome bachelor who goes out with a lot of great-looking women, but our Jerome can turn on a dime to become a TV” John,” the sarcastic quipster. Elaine is usually our George, turning in consistently humorous performances, but sometimes breaks into a John type of character when she is sufficiently angered or outraged. George is our unscrupulous but somehow lovable television “Ringo,” who also give us segments of John-like insanity and times of George-like consistency. Kramer is most always like John, with his wild perspectives, wacky facial expressions and great body humor, but does the occasional Paul when he sometimes comes up with a really pretty date, and when you put them all together, they spell S-E-I-N-F-E-L-D, the show about nothing that is really something!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saved by the Bell: Where Are They Now?

Do the names Kelly Kapowski, Zach Morris, or A.C. Slater ring a bell? Hint: no, they did not just friend you on Facebook or connect to you on Linkedin.

A true Saved by the Bell fan would recognize these names and smile; everyone identified with or wanted to be like at least one of those characters from Bayside. From Zach’s brick-sized cell phone to Slater’s acid-washed harem pants, a lot has changed since the show ended in 1993.

In today’s world, tracking down a friend from 20 years ago is as simple as clicking a button. Technology allows us to keep in touch with old classmates, family and coworkers.Saved by the BellImage via Wikipedia What about old friends to whom we were never actually introduced? Here, a quick look at what the cast of Saved by the Bell has been up to over the past few years and what their profiles might say, if we could see them.

Marc-Paul Gosselaar, otherwise known as Zach Morris, shot to fame during his Saved by the Bell years and has since appeared on shows such as Jimmy Fallon Weeds, and The Talk. After having two children together, his marriage to Lisa Ann Russell ended in 2010.

Tiffany Thiessen, best known for her role as Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell, went on to play a leading role in the hit TV series 90210. Currently, Thiessen plays the role of Elizabeth Burke on White Collar. In 2005 she tied the knot to actor Brady Smith, and in June of 2010 she gave birth to her first child, a girl named Harper Renn Smith.

Perhaps the most active in Hollywood, Mario Lopez got his start playing A.C. Slater on SBTB. Since the show ended, he has been involved with many television projects, including Dancing with the Stars, Extra, and America’s Best Dance Crew. Since 2008 he has been dating girlfriend Courtney Laine Mazza, and together they star in a reality show centered around their baby daughter Gia.

And last but not least, everyone’s favorite / most hated Dustin Diamond, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers for the entire duration of the show including the College Years, later wrote a book about his experiences behind-the-scenes. He has appeared on The Weakest Link, Celebrity Boxing 2, and Celebrity Fit Club for which he endured a ton of controversy for reported tension with other cast mates.

If that doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, there’s a world of information out there…happy Googling.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Attack of the Killer Rabbits - Oh My!

Who can forget the most notorious and dry-witted English comedy of all time, featuring the mastermind parody wits of some of the most recognizable faces in comedy – brought to you by guys like John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin – the one, and the only: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Cover of Cover via Amazon
Perhaps one of the more notable and memorable movies that was created by this comedic troupe that has 100s of hours of skits that have been broadcast in Europe, yet still somehow were never able to break the mold and outdo this movie.

Set in medieval times, during the reign of the legendary king, Arthur – who nobody really knows if he existed or not – Holy Grail takes you on an imaginary roller coaster, where men bang coconuts together and pretend to ride on horses as the scenes interweave between the old days and present day England, where a documentary is being filmed about the Knights of the Round Table.

Ironic? Absolutely! Hilarious? Most definitely! Silly, stupid, slapstick, yet original humor that is ubiquitous throughout the flick, a movie that offers up on a golden platter some of the most memorable and laugh-out-loud lines, and one that makes a complete mockery of the British, monarchy, serfdom, nobles, and the legendary tale of King Arthur.

Chances are good that if you ever meet any other fellow neophytes of this movie, one can share some classic lines. Even though this movie was released more than 30 years ago (1975), more than three decades later the lines are still just as fresh, witty and pretty damn funny, too!

To better take you on a trip down memory lane, one of the most iconic dialogues in the movie comprises of King Arthur approaching a castle with his entourage, trying to bid the master of the castle into an audience to convince him to join with him on his quest for the Holy Grail.

This scene goes a little something like this ….

1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Who goes there?
King Arthur: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Pull the other one!
King Arthur: I am, and this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join me in my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master.
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.
King Arthur: So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercia, through...
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Where'd you get the coconuts?
King Arthur: We found them.
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Found them? In Mercia? The coconut's tropical!
King Arthur: What do you mean?
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Well, this is a temperate zone
King Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
King Arthur: Not at all. They could be carried.
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?
King Arthur: It could grip it by the husk!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: It's not a question of where he grips it! It's a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.
King Arthur: Well, it doesn't matter. Will you go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here?
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?
King Arthur: Please!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Am I right?
Share this quote

Kind of makes you want to pop the movie back into the VCR and hit the play button, and grab a pillow and some Kleenexes—because you KNOW you will laugh so hard that you will be crying.

While you’re enjoying reliving this British comedy, why not show the world how awesome you are by sporting one of the most hilarious Monty Python T-Shirts?

The original “Killer Rabbit” Monty Python T-shirts let the whole world know that you will not “Risk Another Frontal Assault” because that “Rabbit’s DYNAMITE!”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feed Your Netflix Queue: Going the Distance Is Worth a Shot

So it's a lazy Sunday and you're scanning your DVD shelf for the perfect R-rated comedy. While it's tempting to watch Knocked Up for the seven hundredth time, you ponder putting in Role Models, and promptly put it down thinking, it's now less of a film and more of a soundtrack after being embedded in your subconscious. Scanning Netflix suggestions is always tempting but occasionally, even their hypothetical queue seems tired and you wonder how “Pollyanna” snuck in there. Has your queue been jacked by a Haley Mills-loving friend again? You have to stop giving out your password or perhaps making it your first name. This is just how I found “Drew Barrymore at the premiere for He's Just N...Image via WikipediaGoing the Distance” at my local Blockbuster on sale in a bundle. This comedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, was predictably adorable but surprisingly funny, sweet and well written. In this far raunchier than advertised RomCom, two lovers are displaced when one of them moves across the country to San Francisco and the other stays behind in New York. Just as the heady title would suggest, they have to make the long distance relationship work despite professional pressures, sexual temptation and being too neurotic to have phone sex.

While this film fell well within the realm of the typical Barrymore RomCom genre, its crudity, realism and R-rating made it well worth the ride. Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day were perfectly cast as Garret's (Long's) posse, interjecting some much needed male gross out comedy and trash talk that is now regarded as an Apatow-ian art form. The movie definitely maintains the loveable emotion of an 80s classic mixed in a cocktail with those forgettable 90s movies that have become classics to the mid to late twenty-something sect. So if you're looking for a movie to suit a lazy Sunday hangover or the perfect male-driven chick flick to watch with a date, Going the Distance is a great option and unexpected crowd pleaser. Take control again - go ahead and feed your queue!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Budget Cuts Threatening Top-Rated Shows

by Mary Parker for

Last year was a big year for TV. Two of the reasons for this were The Walking Dead on AMC and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. AMC’s smash zombie program topped out at six million viewers, while HBO’s epic about prohibition-era mobsters scored audiences of over ten million. Both series were renewed by their respective networks, and fans have been waiting for newsPhoto of a young Steve Buscemi (American actor...Image via Wikipedia about their favorite shows. What they’ve been told, however, is not good.

It seems that both HBO and AMC are pushing budget cuts on the creative teams behind their high-rated shows.

During The Hollywood Reporter's annual Emmy roundtable, Walking Dead director Frank Darabont indicated that the adaptation of Robert Kirkman's zombie epic may be facing hard times thanks to the network's attempts to slash the budget. He said, “Creatively I have no complaints thus far, [b]ut I believe if they do move ahead with [the budget] they’re talking about, it will affect the show creatively ... in a negative way. Which just strikes me as odd. If you have an asset, why would you punish it?”

The Walking Dead is no stranger to pre-season dangers, as it lost almost its entire writing staff before the series even premiered.

As for Boardwalk Empire, which stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, Terrence Winter noted: “I think in the idea of trying to contain the budget and contain the scope of the show, you have those suggestions, ‘can't we do many more interiors?’ Looking at some of the proposed cuts – the wish list for the budget, I had to remind people the show is called 'Boardwalk Empire' and we can’t afford a boardwalk or an empire for that price.” But Winter seemed not to be as hurt by the proposed cuts as Dabaront. “It's a blessing to work there,” said Winter. “I've been [at HBO] since 1999 and they've been tremendously creatively supportive.”

No news about the upcoming season of Boardwalk Empire has been released, but a first look at the second season of The Walking Dead made its round s around the internet last week, and all seems well – or, at least, well-decayed – on set.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Laurence Fishburne will be Leaving CSI

After a couple years on the long-running procedural drama on CBS, Laurence Fishburne will be stepping away and choosing not to renew his contract on the show CSI. Two and a half years ago he took over on CSI for William Peterson, who had been with the show from the start. After Peterson left in December 2008, the Emmy award winning actor Laurence Fishburne took over. Unfortunately, ratings since that moment have been in a steady decline. Whether or not they are due to declining interest in the show in general, or if interest waned because of the exit of WilliaCSI: Crime Scene InvestigationImage via Wikipediam Peterson, it’s clear changes are being made by CBS to try to keep the once dominating drama on the air.

In addition to Fishburne leaving the show, CSI will be moving from its usual Thursday night at 9 PM time slot to 10 PM on Wednesday nights. J.J. Abrams’s Person of Interest will replace CSI in the Thursday slot. The Thursday primetime slot has always been heavily contested by an array of solid comedies for multiple decades on NBC, and now an influx of popular reality shows on ABC as well. Also, with money becoming an issue more so than ever with every Television network, and Fishburne’s contract being one of the heftiest on TV, there’s another reason for a change.

This is most likely a sign of the future demise of this once-popular series. The crime drama world has become severely watered down, which takes no TV expert to realize, and despite being sort of a pioneer for a certain style of crime drama, it’s most likely on the way out. The new spinoffs have become hipper and more energetic, and people are flocking to what’s new, even if it’s just a new location. The original always has to come to an end, and it’s not because people stopped liking the subject matter, it’s usually because a better copycat came along. In the case of CSI, with multiple changes of lead actors, and a switch in the time slot, it’s the perfect storm for a soon to come farewell season. Of course this is not a guarantee, and CBS may pull off a powerful casting move to bring the show back in the game, but without that happening I don’t see a way for the show to last much more than one or two seasons after this move.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hell Breaks Loose in Season 6 of Dexter

by Mary Parker for

According to the teaser Showtime recently released for the sixth season of its hit show Dexter, “nothing can prepare [us] for what comes next,” and that this season, “hell breaks loose.” The show, about a Miami PD bloodstain pattern analyst who moonlights as a serial killer, hDexter MorganImage via Wikipediaas gained an audience of over 5 million since it first debuted in 2006. So what can viewers expect from season 6?

According to Showtime’s president David Nevins, “Dexter this season will be in some ways a return to the Dexter that you’ve seen in the early seasons.” He revealed, “There will be a microscope on the Deb/Dexter relationship this season. Over time you’re going to see that relationship evolve and change, no questions about it.” However, the upcoming season will be like last year’s in one way: Dexter won’t be facing one nemesis, like the Ice Truck Killer or Trinity Killer. “It is not one big bad,” he confirmed. “There’s one interesting story that will move through the season, and it will be cast very interestingly, but it’s not exactly that one person.”

The scrutiny over Dexter’s relationship with his sister, Deb, should be interesting because Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall, and Deb, played by Jennifer Carpenter, recently separated after two years of marriage.

What else is new is season 6? The gap between seasons. According to reports, season 6 will take place about 3 years after the finale of season 5, which ended at Dexter’s son, Harrison’s, first birthday party. Season 6 will see him starting preschool.

There may also be a new love interest for the widower. The series is on the lookout for a gorgeous twenty-something Latina who will play a character named Jamie. Jamie is a student of Cuban decent who relocates to Miami to attend grad school. Her over-the-top, positive energy is just what Dexter needs. There will also be a healthy dose of male energy coming to the precinct in the form of “Chicago Mike,” a black homicide detective who is described as tough and stylish. He's not thrilled about having left Chicago for Miami, where his wife has found employment. And the lab will be welcoming a new thirtys-omething intern named Louis Greene, who buddies up to fan favorite Masuka (C.S. Lee). A genius on the computer, he doesn't have a problem showing off his intellect.

Also joining the cast is Colin Hanks of Orange County and King Kong fame, who will appear in all twelve episodes, portraying Travis, a highly intelligent young expert on ancient artifacts who gets linked to a series of grisly murders in Miami.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Star Wars the TV Show

Opening logo to the Star Wars filmsImage via WikipediaThe famed director known for creating the epic world of Star Wars and everything that followed, including the passionate (crazy) fans, has now admitted to having 50 hours worth of film shot for a new TV show based on the famous movie series. Originally George Lucas said the project was on hold, but there was no question that people wanted it to happen. According to Lucas, the show would take place chronologically within the current movie series between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. So what’s the hold up?

Apparently technology hasn’t advanced far enough for George Lucas’s liking. The man that seemed to be able to see deep into the future may have hit a threshold. Really what the technological problem entails has more to do with money than how to make light sabers look real. When Lucas spoke to the television network G4, he said the project was on hold because they were waiting for a new technology to become available to make it economically feasible to shoot the TV shows the way he wants to do it. As he went on, he made it clear that money was in fact the issue. He said that television has to be produced at a tenth of the cost of a movie, and the ability to really make the show without losing credibility and while staying true to the style of the highly scrutinized movie series does not exist yet at the proper cost. Without going into much detail, he said the development of the technology has been a difficult process. In related news, the cartoon made called The Clone Wars is going to be aired on cartoon network for its fourth season this fall.

What I found interesting about this story was the fact that the man has already managed to shoot 50 hours of footage for the show. I wonder how he managed to convince all the other people involved that this was a worthwhile venture without any guarantee of moving forward. I suppose the pull of George Lucas is something comparable to the gravity of a death star, but I still wonder where the original funding came from for the first 50 hours if it’s apparently not possible to shoot at cost until new technology exists. Very strange, but at least it seems hopeful that we will someday see this curious TV show version on the air.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye to TV Theme Songs

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, theme songs were as much a part of our television landscape as the characters in the shows themselves. For most people in the Gen X & Y generations, the mere mention of The Brady Bunch immediately triggers memories of the theme song, “Here’s the story of a lovely lady…”
Piano sheet music Theme from Let It Be, A song...Image via Wikipedia

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season oneImage via WikipediaThe same probably applies to Growing Pains with “Show me that smile again…” and Diff’rent Strokes, “Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum…” (co-sung by Mr. Alan “Jason Seaver” Thicke himself). I bet I can name a few others – Cheers, Facts of Life, Saved by the Bell, Golden Girls, Full House – and you are immediately transported back to when those shows served as a fundamental backdrop of the times. While Mrs. Garrett, Blair, Tootie, Joe, Natalie, The Seavers and The Drummonds are all iconic characters on their own, the lyrics to these theme songs have become so embedded in our brains that catching a few bars of any of them induces waves of nostalgia.

Looking at the television lineups from the last ten years though, the art of the television sitcom theme song has certainly changed. Sure, some shows have easily recognizable 15-30 second instrumental samples like The Office, Modern Family, 30 Rock or How I Met Your Mother. But full-scale lyrical introductions are few, far and in between. Of course, there are some exceptions, particularly on the CBS lineup with Two and a Half Men’s “Men, Men, Men” repetition and The Big Bang Theory’s Barenaked Ladies intro. But overall, television themes been reduced to simply one cord (Lost) or familiar chart toppers (The Who tracks are used for every CSI franchise), a few bars of music that don’t seem to have the timeless portability factor. Montages that give a visual overview of the show, its setting and characters with a catchy tune are rarely found. The Cosby Show didn’t have actual words in their theme song but coupling the orchestration with the choreography of the entire cast was such a production, that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can’t hum the theme song or recall waiting to see what the next season’s production would bring.

There are a few reasons that jump to mind for why theme songs are becoming a thing of the past. Shorter intros provide more available time for advertiser dollars. The immediacy of information these days and need for instant gratification makes audiences less likely to sit through the opening – we want the program to start and we want it now. DVR capabilities empower audiences to forward through any unwanted time so perhaps the effort required to create an intro doesn’t seem worth it. I wonder what it will mean for the next 10 years - whether current television theme songs will evoke certain times in our lives or fond memories of our youth. Chances are slim that music used as a vehicle for rolling credits will have the same power.