Katie Couric Will Return: Beware, all ye catfishers: Katie Couric's talk show, the aptly named Katie, has been renewed for a second season. The news isn't too surprising, given that Couric's chat-fest has ranked as the top freshman syndicated talk show in Households, total viewers and women 25-54 every week since its premiere. Try to get confused about that, Manti! [Deadline]
50 Shades of... 50?: If all goes according to Fox's plans, you may be seeing (and hearing) an animated series based on the wackadoodle childhood of rapper 50 Cent. The network is in negotiations for an animated comedy from the rapper-actor (born Curtis Jackson), which will be loosely based on Jackson’s childhood. It's expected to receive a pilot order, and will follow a "mischievous but well-meaning boy" who "often tangles with his eccentric family and neighborhood" — AKA, 50 Cent is playing Dennis the Menace. [Deadline]
Doctor Who To Go Back in Time: Well, he does that a lot. But BBC America will officially be chronicling the genesis of the beloved series for Cymru Wales’ 50th anniversary Doctor Who TV movie, An Adventure In Space And Time. David Bradley will play the first-ever Doctor, William Hartnell, Brian Cox will be BBC drama head Sydney Newman, who created the show, Jessica Raine will play producer Verity Lambert, and Sacha Dhawan is Waris Hussein, director of the first ever episode. TV movies are cool. [Deadline]
Once Upon a Time-r Back From the Dead: In flashbacks probably, but we'll take it! Season 1's dearly departed Sheriff Graham/the Huntsman (Jamie Dornan) will return to the show this year, after an early and much bemoaned demise. He's dead as a doornail, but was apparently spotted wearing his Storybrooke clothes... WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! [TVLine]
Keep on Krolling: Comedy Central has just renewed Kroll Show for a second season of 10 episodes. The sketch comedy from creator Nick Kroll premiered just two weeks ago to 1.2 million viewers, which was enough for Comedy Central to grant the renewal. [THR]
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Disney-ABC]
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.