NBC recently announced its lineup of shows for the 2012-2013 season, and now ABC is unveiling its nine new shows getting the green light. The shows, which are set to air on the Walt Disney Company's network, include everything from a comedy starring Reba McEntire to a drama series from The Shield's Shawn Ryan. Here is a rundown of what you can expect.
Malibu Country Starring Reba McEntire
Sounding very similar to her 2001 CW series, Reba, Malibu Country stars Reba McEntire who is left to raise her kids after her husband turns out to be cheating on her. In the ABC comedy, she leaves behind her hometown of Nashville and takes her kids and her mom, played by Lily Tomlin, to California where she will attempt to resurrect her signing career. McEntire is executive producer of the series which also features Sara Rue, Julietta Angelo, Justin Prentice, Jai Rodriguez, and Owen Teague.
Last Resort Starring Andre Braugher
From The Shield's Shawn Ryan comes a nuclear drama series about a U.S. submarine crew who are on the run after refusing orders to launch their missiles. The team takes refuge on an island where they try to declare themselves as a nuclear nation. Felicity's Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser, Daisy Betts, and Daniel Lissing also star.
How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life Starring Sarah Chalke
In a show that should have been called TMI, Sarah Chalke plays the lead in the comedy about a recently divorced single mom who moves back home to live with her mother and father — two people who don't know the definition of the word boundaries. The series is based on the life of creator Claudia Lonow (of Accidentally on Purpose) and features Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett as Polly's parents.
Nashville Starring Connie Britton
Not to be confused with Malibu Country, this hour-long series centers on Connie Britton, who plays a Nashville music star whose career is on the decline, and Heroes' Hayden Panettiere as an up-and-coming singer. The two battle it out on and off the stage in a series of schemes and backstabbing so cruel it would make Taylor Swift cry. Eric Close, Powers Boothe, Jonathan Jackson, Robert Wisdom, Sam Palladio, Charles Esten, and Clare Bowen also star.
Family Tools Starring Kyle Bornheimer
In Family Tools (previously Comeback Jack, Red Van Man, White Van Man) Kyle Bornheimer plays Jack Shea, the unluckiest guy you'll ever meet. After a string of failed careers — he left the Army after accidentally shooting someone, and left the Police Academy after accidentally shooting himself — Shea heads home to take over the family handyman business after his dad is diagnosed with a heart condition and forced to hang up his tool belt. Offering advice from a safe distance is his Aunt Terry (played by Leah Remini). The ensemble comedy is from Bobby Bowman (Raising Hope, My Name Is Earl, Year Dear, Family Guy) and Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds).
Zero Hour Starring Anthony Edwards
ER's Anthony Edwards returns to the small screen to star as Hank Foley in this thrilling series. He plays a man who spent 20 years solving conspiracies as the editor of Modern Skeptic magazine, only to find himself in the middle of one of the most intriguing conspiracies in human history. His wife — who gets the drama started when she is kidnapped from her antique clock shop — is played by The Real World's Jacinda Barrett.
666 Park Ave.
Based on the book by Gabriella Pierce, this sci-fi drama takes place in an apartment building most New Yorkers would die for. Though careful what you wish for. This Upper East Side building features a string of real-life characters, played by Dave Annable, Rachael Taylor, Lost's Terry O'Quinn, and Vanessa Williams — as well as a cast of supernatural forces, which endanger the lives of everyone in the building. This sure-to-scare series is from Alloy Entertainment (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl).
In a new twist on The Sopranos, Red Widow (previously Penoza) features an ordinary California housewife (played by Radha Mitchell) who enters the family business of organized crime after her husband is brutally assassinated. No longer able to deny what her family does for a living, she delves head-first into the risky business in order to protect her family. The hour-long thriller is penned by Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of the Twilight franchise.
Everyone's neighbors are a little weird, but the residents of this gated New Jersey community are out of this world. Literally. When the Weavers (played by Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito) move their three kids to an exclusive part of town, they quickly realize that their fellow residents are actually aliens. This new comedy costars Isabella Cramp, Clara Mamet, and Max Charles.
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In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
A representative for Mischa Barton has hit out at money-hungry publications printing unflattering photos of the actress--insisting the images were manipulated in an attempt to sell more magazine copies.
Images of 22-year-old Barton, many of which showed her topless and with cellulite on her thighs, were splashed in various magazines and newspapers and online last week.
And although Barton has insisted she's happy with her body, her spokesperson Lisa Perkins is adamant that someone tampered with the photos to suit their own financial gain.
Perkins tells the New York Daily News, "Those photos are doctored. I'm not saying she's perfect--nobody is. But they've given a 22-year-old woman the legs and bottom of an 80-year-old.
"Look at the shots that were taken shortly before on a beach in Los Angeles. Did she develop all that cellulite in a couple of weeks? There's a lot you can do with Photoshopping."
Perkins also calls photographer Jamie Fawcett--who shot the images of the actress on vacation with her mother on Hamilton Island, off Australia's East Coast--a "parasite" out to make Barton look bad because "she called him out for taking the topless shots."
She adds, "It is a shame that publications tend to highlight an issue that isn't fair to a young girl. However, sometimes these are the things that sell pictures."
But the British Daily Mail newspaper, which also published the photos, stands by their authenticity, placing blame on Barton's bad habits: "The nasty habit (smoking) is one of the reasons (for) premature emergence of her cellulite."
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A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.