Jordin Althaus/FOX Broadcasting Co.
Despite a small but passionate fanbase and critical support across the board, the Fox comedy Enlisted lost its Friday 9 PM time slot to Gordon Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares. And it doesn't figure at all into the network's summer schedule. There are four episodes left in the original order of 13, but when and if they'll see the light of day remains a mystery.
Despite the fact that Fox surely knew it was taking a risk on a heartfelt sitcom set at an Army base with no big names attached, Chairman Kevin Reilly pledged his support for the show. So then why in the name of the Rear D platoon would the network choose to air its episodes out of the intended order? We're stumped.
Another new Fox comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine came onto the scene with the caché of an SNL veteran lead, an Emmy-winning straight man, and the creative brains behind Parks and Recreation. Still, the series' character development and the escalating chemistry of the ensemble kept viewers engaged. Brooklyn Nine-Nine got a comfortable early renewal and a couple of Golden Globes for its troubles. Now, if the episodes had been shuffled as Enlisted's have been, would fans be as invested in the Jake/Amy relationship? What about Captain Holt's growing respect for his squad?
The Enlisted swaps confused viewers. In one episode, Derrick is dating dive bartender and single mom Erin. In the next, they don't speak. On social media, part of the show's potential audience knew of the shake-up and were vocal about waiting to be able to watch the series as the producers intended, harming the show's chances at getting a decent live tune-in crowd. (Also an issue? The way Nielsen inaccurately measures viewing in "group quarters" like, say, an army barracks.) We have to assume that Fox guessed that certain later episodes would capture viewers' attention better than the ones immediately following the pilot. But when a creative team is working to build a world and characters that an audience can connect with and follow, pulling a move like this is nothing but frustrating.
Casting is a complicated business. You have to choose an actor with enough charisma and good looks to have audiences fall in love with them. You need someone with strong comedic or dramatic acting skills to deliver week after week. Then you have to factor in a person’s ability to handle the pressure, business, and the whole host of behind-the-scenes magic that goes into making television. But what if there is something else? Some shows can be utterly amazing and yet die a horrible death. Is it possible that some actors are just cursed?
Lowell is charming and has the perfect blend of approachability and sex appeal. Plus, he’s got dreamy blue eyes. And yet, he has starred in multiple failed shows. He started his television career on Life As We Know It. He played an awkward boyfriend to Kelly Osbourne’s buxom, outspoken high school girl. He was added as a series regular to Veronica Mars which was soon cancelled. Also, sad to say, Private Practice seemed to find its stride after they killed off his sensitive, junkie-loving midwife character, Dell. His upcoming series Enlisted looks like it may be quickly dispatched. If it was just a military ensemble comedy it could take off like the sleeper hit Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But the show looks like it has a bizarre Three Stooges sibling angle combined with its military premise. It brings flashbacks to the ill-conceived Goodwin Games.
Perry starred in Aaron Sorkin's follow up to The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Despite his success with Friends, Perry has had more than his share of failed series under his belt. Before starring on the popular '90s sitcom, he starred in multiple failed vehicles including Sydney with Valerie Bertenelli, Second Chance, and Home Free. He recently starred on the failed series Mr. Sunshine that was cancelled so fast it might be confused for the follow up, Go On. Unfortunately, Go On was actually a halfway decent series with a uniquely emotion-driven premise. Hopefully he can find a series that will exorcise Chandler Bing from his repertoire.
Gorham is talented, funny, charming, and has a set of abs like nobody’s business. He has starred on multiple amazing series with cult-followings that ended prematurely. He starred in Ryan Murphy’s first series, the high school comedy Popular. He played a time-traveling astronaut in the series Odyssey 5 and an enhanced man, Jake 2.0. He was in the suspense series Harper’s Island and the medical drama Medical Investigation. He was also one of the best guest stars on the prematurely canceled Ugly Betty. He even tried his hand at sitcoms in the hilarious sitcom Out Of Practice with Ty Burrell. He may have broken his losing streak with the Piper Perabo spy series, Alias Covert Affairs. He plays blind tech expert Auggie Anderson and the series has lasted four seasons.
Harrison is a gifted comedian and the right blend of awkward geek and dreamboat. However, he hasn’t been able to get a show to last. He starred in two seasons of the very funny series The Loop about a twenty-something in the work force. In Reaper, he played a burnout whose parents sold his soul to the devil. He joined the cast of the remake of V and the show was swiftly canceled. Breaking In was a pretty intriguing sitcom starring Christian Slater about a team of security experts comprised of gifted thieves, but it too didn't last.
The film and television nominations for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have been released, recognizing achievements in both individual performances and the strengths of ensemble casts. This year's film award nominations are listed below, and many of us will be quite pleased with the tributes paid to 2011's greats, such as The Descendants, Bridsmaids, and Moneyball, which each garnered multiple nominations. Some others to make the list include The Help, The Artist, J. Edgar, My Week with Marilyn and Albert Nobbs.
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Jan. 29, 2012 on TNT and TBS.
Click here to read the list of this year's television nominees.
18th ANNUAL SAG AWARDS NOMINATIONS: THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir - A Better Life
George Clooney - The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis - The Help
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Armie Hammer - J. Edgar
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Artist - Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller
Bridesmaids - Rose Byrne, Jill Clayburgh, Ellie Kemper, Matt Lucas, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig
The Descendants - Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Shailene Woodley
The Help - Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel
Midnight in Paris - Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Owen Wilson
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Top Story: Schwarzenegger Must Repay Campaign Loans
Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster ruled Monday that by borrowing more than $4.5 million to finance his run for governor in last October's recall election, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had broken a state law restricting candidates from accepting personal loans of more than $100,000 for their campaigns and would therefore have to repay the money. According to Reuters, an upbeat Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he would pay $4.5 million on top of the $5 million he already spent to be elected. "The $4.5 million we got loaned from the bank, I always intended to pay that back myself, so it was a great decision," Schwarzenegger said. "We never wanted to raise the money to pay it back. I myself pay for that." When campaigning last fall, the Republican governor rallied against special-interest donations and attacked his opponents, including his Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, for taking donations from unions and Indian tribes with casino interests. At the time, Schwarzenegger argued he would not have to depend on outside money to finance his campaign because he was independently wealthy.
Halle Berry OK After Set Accident
Halle Berry, who broke her arm last year while shooting Gothika in Montreal and injured her eye on the set of the James Bond actioner Die Another Day, was injured once again on the set, this time while working shooting a scene for her the comic book adventure pic Catwoman. Production spokesman Joe Everett told The Associated Press Tuesday that Berry was taken to a hospital after colliding with a piece of set equipment while filming a running scene, but is now back at work. "She had to maneuver past a piece of equipment, a set piece and she didn't quite run past it, but she's just fine," he said. "She was taken to hospital Saturday night, treated and released and was at work again Monday morning."
Faith Evans and Husband Arrested
R&B singer Faith Evans and her husband, record executive Todd Russaw, were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana and booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, the AP reports, but a spokeswoman at the Hapeville Police Department would give no details Wednesday morning. The 30-year-old singer received a Grammy nod for her duet "Can't Believe" with Carl Thomas from her 2001 album, Faithfully and has worked with Whitney Houston and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who signed Evans to his Bad Boy label and produced her first album. Evans was previously married to Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., who was killed in a drive-by shooting in March 1997.
Swept Away Lawsuit Surges Forward
A lawsuit in which self-described singer, songwriter, director and actor Vincent D'Onofrio (not the actor of the same name from NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent) accuses Madonna and her husband, director Guy Ritchie, of stealing the idea for 2002's Swept Away remake will go to court May 4, the AP reports. D'Onofrio sued Madonna, Ritchie and Sony Pictures in Superior Court in October 2002, claiming he pitched the idea for a remake of the 1975 Italian comedy to Madonna in April 1997 and had several meetings with her and Ritchie--who then cut him out of the credits and compensation. Attorneys for the couple have said D'Onofrio has no proof of a contract with Madonna or Sony. D'Onofrio is seeking$10 million in damages.
Kelly Osbourne Gets ABC Pilot
Kelly Osbourne is going from reality TV to scripted fare with ABC's drama pilot Doing It. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series, based on British author Melvin Burgess' controversial young-adult novel of the same name, centers on the sexual antics of three 16-year-old Seattle boys: Dino (Sean Farris), Jonathan (Chris Lowell) and Ben (Jon Foster). Osbourne will play Jonathan's love interest. Osbourne and her father, Ozzy, recently topped the U.K. singles chart with a cover of Changes, a single Ozzy originally recorded with Black Sabbath. The third season of the MTV reality series The Osbournes premiered Tuesday night.
Mandy Moore Nixes Reality Show
While some in Hollywood embrace the concept of having their private lives broadcast on TV, others refuse to warm up to the idea, including singer/actress Mandy Moore. "I love watching reality shows, but I would never want to be in or on a reality show," Moore told AP Radio. Moore, who is dating tennis star Andy Roddick, says her life just isn't exciting enough for people to tune in. She also added that a behind-the-scenes show about Roddick would also never happen. "It was supposed to be like a documentary or something at first, and then someone kind of took that and ran with it and it kind of snowballed out of context," Moore said, adding that if someone close to her were in such a show, she wouldn't stick around long enough to be in it.
Nick Lachey Joins ABC
MTV's other reality series, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, seems to have also launched the careers of pop stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey into network territory. Lachey, formerly of boy band 98 Degrees, has sealed a six-figure deal with ABC, following in the footsteps of Simpson, who is already developing a sitcom with the network. Under the deal, Lachey will be placed in one of ABC's sitcom pilots as well as in a music or variety special, Variety reports. Network insiders said it's possible ABC may even pair the Simpson and Lachey projects back-to-back, perhaps as part of the "TGIF" franchise. ABC recently announced plans for the newlyweds to host a modern-day Sonny and Cher-style variety show sometime this spring.