NBC may be down four shows (I mean, they weren't very good ones, so no major love lost there) but they're gaining even more. After yesterday's annoucement that new series from the likes of J.J. Abrams and the small screen adaptation of About a Boy would be heading to the peacock network, there's been the annoucement that they have ordered even more shows for the 2013-2014 lineup. Check it out:
-Blair Underwood, whose TV credits include L.A. Law, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Sex and the City, will join the NBC family as his star vehicle, the reboot of the 1960s series Ironside, has been picked up. The drama stars Underwood as a police detective who is bound to a wheelchair after a shooting, but continues to work.
-Bill Lawrence, who brought the likes of Scrubs and Cougar Town to ABC, will now bring his new comedy Undateable to NBC. The show has a familiar, if not usually successful sitcom M.O.: a group of twentysomething friends trying to navigate their love lives.
- Loved Chicago Fire? You're in luck, because NBC has ordered a series spin-off called Chicago PD.
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It seems like only yesterday's yesterday that we were delving into the finer points of Happy Endings' midseason premiere. Now that the ABC sitcom is airing twice a week, Sundays and Tuesdays, life seems a bit brighter, somewhat less like a metallic claw piercing its industrial-sized fire-nails into your soul at a glacial but all-the-more-torturous pace. Things are good now. Year of Penny.
Happy Endings' first episode of the week, "Fowl Play/Date," allowed us to examine the adroitness with which David Caspe's small screen wonder transforms sitcom staples into fresh magic. But this time around, we're presented with a question. The latest "Ordinary Extraordinary Love" breaks off into three independent stories, each contending for funniest element of the ep. We see Alex and Penny embark upon a quest to monopolize upon their contact with a pop celebrity; we see Jane drag Max along on a voyage of self-discovery; we see Brad and Dave set forth to prove themselves true "men." And with each one a comedic triumph, we're forced to ask: which is Happy Endings' greatest comic duo?
Alex and Penny
Their Story: Penny identifies Alex's clothing store's latest customer as pop music idol Winnie McCray (Laura Catalina Ortiz, who oddly enough has already guest starred on Happy Endings in the Season 2 episode "Baby Steps"), and immediately organizes a plan to take fiscal advantage of the situation. Deeming herself a PR genius (apparently, Penny works in PR, as she mentions numerous times throughout the episode), Penny machinates a plan to get the hordes of Chicago-based paparazzi to snag a picture of Winnie draped in Alex's dress... only to inadvertently destroy Winnie's relationship with her average joe boyfriend, who is fed up with the star treatment that follows the duo everywhere. Feeling guilty (and slightly threatened by a violent, enraged Winnie), Penny and Alex apologize to the wronged starlet and arrange a private date for her and her beau at the only venue in town where no paparazzo would dare venture: Dave's steak truck.
Why They Work: In the Penny and Alex formula, there is an infinite one-upsmanship in flightiness. On the one hand, there is the intelligent but desperate and emotionally ravaged Penny; beside her, the two-steps-behind, irreparably confident Alex. What the team-up results in is always an escalation of any ordinary situation into something ill-conceived, self-serving, and doomed to fail.
Jane and Max
Their Story: Jane decides to help Max, forlorn over his inability to meet a nice guy, in a romantic pursuit. With the help of recurring majesty Derrick (who could easily be an obnoxiously offensive facet of the show but is instead an affable and charming component to Happy Endings), Jane sets out to help perpetual outlier Max discover what "category" of the homosexual subculture best suits him. In a legitimately sad (yet funny, of course) montage, Max determines himself unfit for any self-defined collection, growing more and more uncomfortable with his very human sorrow of not fitting in. In the end, though, Max learns that his uniqueness is what strengthens him as a person of merit and character (thanks largely to an unusually earnest Derrick), and develops his own community... which, in turn, lands him to meet another misguided outlier. Hooray for the optimistic red velvet walruses!
Why They Work: Max and Jane are a classic formula: perfect foils to each other, Jane is an upbeat, driven A-type with her life so together it hurts. Max is a ganglion of self-destructive behaviors living in emotional (and literal) squalor. When the pair teams up, they often collide with such chaos that it transforms into unexpected treasure. Ah, the rules of sitcommery.
Brad and Dave
Their Story: Brad, feeling unmanly due to his wife's usurping of his breadwinner role in the relationship, sets out to prove himself a traditional "man" by doing handiwork around the apartment. Dave, having nothing else to do, joins him. Eventually, the two turn on one another, letting their own insecurities inspire inane competitions to determine who is, indeed, the "manlier man."
Why They Work: Brad and Dave are not as frequent a duo as Alex/Penny or Jane/Max, largely because their personalities don't allow them work off one another with the same explosive comedy. But flamboyant Brad and trying-too-hard Dave can deliver the goods, as seen here.
Who's your vote for best duo of the week?
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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If yesterday's post picking the Best Trailers of Trailers of 2012 felt — appropriately enough — like a big ol' tease, don't worry, we've got all the full-length trailers from 2012 that made getting to the movies early worth your while.
Some of this year's most compelling trailers tantalized us with sweeping scores and songs (has the Les Misérables show stopper "I Dreamed a Dream" ever sounded so good?), memorable one-liners (or, in the case of The Master, ones that don't even appear in the actual movie), and things that make us go "Hmmm" in the best way possible.
A great trailer can, and should, play like a mini-movie and sometimes can be infinitely more entertaining in two minutes than an entire feature and the previews in 2012 were no exception. We laughed, we cried, we still can't figure out what Bane was saying in The Dark Knight Rises trailer.
Sit back, relax, grab some popcorn before the line gets too long, and relive the best trailers of 2012:
The Dark Knight Rises: "The Star-Spangled Banner" has never sounded so haunting as it did for the crowd-silencing trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. The entire two-plus minute trailer is heart-pounding anticipation, from Anne Hathaway's chilling warning that "a storm is coming" to that jaw-dropping football stadium sequence. This one had us chanting along from the moment we saw it.
Les Misérables: Okay, Hathaway, you win. You totally killed it in trailers this year. First you got our hearts racing in TDKR trailer and then you gave us goosebumps in the sweeping Les Misérables trailer. Broadway fanboys and girls lost it the minute they heard the actress' take on the iconic number "I Dreamed A Dream". Sorry Susan Boyle, this one takes the cake. (Well, the bread.)
Cloud Atlas: Oddly enough, the most musically satisfying trailer of 2012 wasn't Les Misérables, but the five-plus minute opus for Cloud Atlas. Using electro-rock band M83 to set the epic tone, the eye-popping preview for Tom Tykwer's and the Wachowski's ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell's beloved bestseller, it felt more like a thrilling, bizarro music video (especially when Tom Hanks looks like this) than a trailer, but it worked. Even after nearly six minutes we wanted more.
Life of Pi: Much like Cloud Atlas, fans of Yann Martel's majestic Life of Pi wondered how on Earth this could possibly work as a movie. As soon as they witnessed the awe-inspiring trailer (seriously, when was the last time a preview made you say "wow" out loud as much as this one?) it was apparent the material had gotten into the right hands: Ang Lee's.
Magic Mike: Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike may have been an unconventional drama about chasing the American dream (in a G-string) but the Brits had it right when they made a redband trailer for the male stripper drama. Sure, the U.S. trailer had that catchy Rihanna tune, Matthew McConaughey's swagger, and a glimpse of Channing Tatum's sweet dance moves, but there was one key ingredient missing: butts! Butts everywhere.
The Master: Perhaps the best example of a trailer that was better than the movie in 2012 (no matter what your feelings of The Master wound up being). When we first saw it we had a ton of questions. What the hell is this all about? Why is Joaquin Phoenix so upset with Philip Seymour Hoffman? Wait, is this the movie about Scientology? Okay, the preview and the movie never really answer any of those questions, but we're still talking about it, aren't we?
Beasts of the Southern Wild: In a million years, when kids go to school, they're gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy (played by the unbelievable, talented well beyond her years newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis) who narrated the beautiful, soaring trailer for indie masterpiece.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: There were plenty of movies that effectively used indie rock songs in their trailers (Celeste and Jesse Forever with Porcelain Raft's "Drifting In And Out" and Silver Linings Playbook's well-timed use of The Lumineers' "Ho Hey") but when Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" starts up in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we wanted to roll down the windows and scream along on the way to the theater. Nothing below average about this trailer or this movie.
The Impossible: The impossible is making it through the heart-stopping, lump-in-your-throat trailer for the movie about the inspiring true life story of a family who, against all odds, survived the devastating 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. If they gave Oscars based on trailers alone, stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts would already have them. Knowing what the film is about should make you cry in and of itself, but once Damien Rice's cover of U2's "One" begins, it's all over.
The Great Gatsby: Perhaps the most divisive trailer of 2012, Baz Luhrmann's flashy (3D?!) imagining of the literary classic thrilled some with its stylized vision of F. Scott Fitzgerald's world, and angered others who consider it sacred text. (What in the world is a Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration doing in the 1920s?) Still, looks pretty great to us. Just too bad we'll have to wait until May 2013 to put on our beautiful shirts and see what else is in store.
[Photo credit: Warner Bros.]
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