It's the most wonderful time of the year — well, it's wonderful for us, but not so much for everyone who works on a struggling show and the networks who have to decide what to do with them. We already told you that Emily Owens, MD and The Mob Doctor got the ax today, but they weren't the only ones who learned their fate this Wednesday. Find out who is returning, who is saying goodbye, and a snippet of casting scoop below!
Friday Night Funny: ABC has picked up full seasons of Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, but they won't be your usual 22-episode stints. Because the comedies premiered so late in the 2012-2013 season, the network only needs five more episodes of each instead of the traditional back nine. (Networks usually order 13 episodes to start, then expand from there.) Congrats to stars Tim Allen and Reba McEntire! [Deadline]
FX Announces Premiere Dates: Fear not, TV fans: Raylan Givens and his hat will be back on your screens soon enough. Justified will return to FX for Season 4 on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at 10 p.m., in case you want to make a note to set your DVR. Meanwhile, the network's comedies will return Thursday, Jan. 17, with Season 2 of Anger Management debuting at 9 and 9:30 p.m., Archer Season 4 following at 10 p.m., new series Legit at 10:30 p.m., and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell at 11 p.m.
The Inbetweeners Gets the Ax: MTV has decided not to produce a second season of The Inbetweeners — a remake of the British comedy series of the same name, that follows four awkward teenage boys trying to make it through high school in one piece. "While we won’t be moving forward with another season of The Inbetweeners, we enjoyed working with the show’s creators and such a talented, funny cast," an MTV rep said in a statement. [EW]
From One Tree Hill to Southland: Lucas Scott is moving on, y'all. Former One Tree Hill star Chad Michael Murray is finally leaving the angsty teen drama of his past behind and opting for a more age-appropriate role on TNT’s Southland. Murray will join the drama series' fifth season as Dave Mendoza, a likable police officer who is also considered to be a bit of a loose cannon. The former Tree Hill Raven will be sharing many scenes opposite The O.C.’s Ben McKenizie (a.k.a. Officer Sherman), turning the gritty cop drama into a veritable '00s-era teen idol reunion. [TVLine]
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[PHOTO CREDIT: ABC]
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As a wife and mother Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) has a seemingly idyllic life until a sudden accident rips her family away from her. That sets in motion a kind of healing reunion a year later. Her feisty friend Juno (Natalie Mendoza) and Beth (Alex Reid) convince Sarah to join a few other friends on a caving expedition--including Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) a butch caver who impulsively does whatever she wants and Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) an overly-cautious climber who needs to map out everything they do. Thing is this thrill-seeking challenge turns out to much more than they expected especially when they are trapped and suddenly notice white shadows squirming around them. Not good. The mostly unknown actresses in this scare fest are all decent in their Descent--and although grappling with one-dimensional characters the women still manage to convey the suffocating feeling of being confined in small spaces. In the dark dripping wet environ they deliver realistic reactions to the horror unfolding around them which is about as chilling as anyone can imagine. MacDonald as the long-suffering widow is a particular treat as she changes from a pitiful whiner to a kick-ass survivor who exacts revenge in different ways. Originally released in England British director Neil Marshall has handed us an appropriately creepy film which taps into primal fears--dark claustrophobic spaces things that go bump in the night--situations we usually see men deal with. So it's quite refreshing to watch women handle it especially in the way Marshall unravels the female camaraderie as expertly as the climbers tie their ropes. The Descent displays squirm-inducing violence that's not at all white-washed just because there are ladies involved. It's gory and brutal. The scariest moments are often obscured by the dark and in some scenes the film resorts to a Blair Witch Project point of view by watching the action through a camcorder. Although this Americanized version has a different ending from the British version (apparently one not so morbid) it's still far better than last year's abysmal The Cave. The Descent will definitely get your heart rate up!
There ain't much of one. In a nutshell a group of spun-out druggies living in the drab sun-baked land of the mini mall known as North Los Angeles Valley are focused on one thing and one thing only--getting and using drugs--and we get to tag along with them for three wasted sleepless days. There's Ross (Jason Schwartzman) a college dropout pining over a girl who dumped him and the only one of the gang you think might have some redeeming quality--until he handcuffs his stripper girlfriend spread-eagled to the bed naked duct-tapes her eyes and mouth and leaves her with a thrash metal CD--skipping--on the player for three days. (All that ruckus of course raises the suspicions of a butch biker broad--Deborah Harry in a cameo--who runs a phone sex line out of her apartment next door.) In exchange for dope Ross runs errands for a big badass Jesse James type known as the Cook (Mickey Rourke) 'cause he brews the crystal in a squalid motel room he shares with sweet misguided stripper Nikki (Brittany Murphy). The Cook provides drugs to dealer Spider Mike (John Leguizamo) a seriously paranoid hopped-up speed freak and his mossy-teethed tweaker girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari) who use and sell the Cook's drugs to hangers-on like the absurdly pimply faced Frisbee (Patrick Fugit) in between sex sessions and flip-outs involving guns spray paint and socks.
Every last person in this ensemble seems to relish getting down and dirty--and by dirty we mean fetid. Murphy and Rourke are particular standouts: with big kohl-smudged eyes and wide friendly smile she's sweetly innocent bobbling aournd in her f***-me Daisy Dukes and high-heeled boots; he's terrifying and larger than life in torn jeans tucked into white shitkickers a ponytail and a Stetson but he actually pulls the heartstrings when he muses about watching puppies be put to death as a boy and defends two chola mini-mart clerks from an abusive gangster. Watching Schwartzman's Ross whom you expect to like as the film's hero perform what amounts to torture on his girlfriend so casually and with such good intentions is more shocking than any of the film's drug scenes or seedy imagery and Ross becomes all the more menacing in his regular-Joe ways. Props to Suvari for letting the world watch her strain so vigorously on the can and to Leguizamo for giving his all in his few scenes whether threatening his pseudo-friends with a gun shooting up crank or jacking off. Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette give lively performances as a sort of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-meets-COPS pair of vice guys hot on Spider's trail; look out also for former Judas Priest singer Rob Halford porn star Ron Jeremy and Eric Roberts.
With its over-the-top caricatures hyper-frenetic camerawork and creatively near pornographic animation segments this movie looks an awful lot like a music video and with good reason: Director Jonas Akerlund is best known for his controversial Prodigy "Smack My Bitch Up" video and Madonna's "Music." He is unafraid to put this sordid bunch right up in your face flinging the greasy underbelly of the So Cal meth scene sunny side up and zooming in with the cameras up close and personal to a point that's almost unbearably uncomfortable. Akerlund's techniques are sometimes overdone like the bone-crunching sounds and wildly rolling eyeballs that herald each and every high and sometimes screamingly funny like Ross's daydream of a Patton-like Cook pontificating about the female vagina in front of an American flag. A well-done score by former Smashing Pumpkins' singer Billy Corgan moves the film fluidly from calm states of relative normalcy to paranoid herky-jerky scenes of jabbering addicts flying right off the mental deep end. These people are shallow vile and irredeemable and Akerlund's brilliance lies in making you feel for them in spite of themselves.