Author

Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • Fox Announces 2011-'12 Midseason Schedule
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    Fox has announced its 2011-'12 Midseason schedule. Some of the new series to come include J.J. Abrams' mysterious thriller Alcatraz, the supernatural Kiefer Southerland-starrer Touch, procedural crime drama The Finder and the animated series adaptation of Napoleon Dynamite.  Returning series include Glee, New Girl, Breaking In and Fringe, and reality series including American Idol and Kitchen Nightmares. The Fox series I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which premiered last night, will last through Dec. 21 before a winter hiatus, and is expected to return sometime in the spring. WEDNESDAY, JAN. 4 Mobbed - 9 p.m. ET/PT FRIDAY, JAN. 6 Fox Sports Special: 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (Live) - 8 p.m. ET/PT SATURDAY, JAN. 7 Cops - 8 p.m. ET/PT Cops - 8 p.m. ET/PT SUNDAY, JUN. 8 The Simpsons - 8 p.m. ET/PT The Cleveland Show - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Family Guy - 9 p.m. ET/PT American Dad - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11 Mobbed - 9 p.m. ET/PT THURSDAY, JAN. 12 The Finder (SERIES PREMIERE) - 9 p.m. ET/PT FRIDAYS, BEGINNING JAN. 13 Kitchen Nightmares - 8 p.m. ET/PT Fringe - 9 p.m. ET/PT SUNDAY, JAN. 15 The Simpsons - 8 p.m. ET/PT Napoleon Dynamite (SERIES PREMIERE) - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Family Guy - 9 p.m. ET/PT Napoleon Dynamite (Special time) - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT TUESDAYS, JAN. 17 Glee - 8 p.m. ET/PT New Girl - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Raising Hope - 9 p.m. ET/PT WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18 American Idol (SEASON PREMIERE, PART 1) - 8 p.m. ET/PT THURSDAYS, BEGINNING JAN. 19 American Idol (SEASON PREMIERE, PART 2) - 8 p.m. ET/PT The Finder - 9 p.m. ET/PT SUNDAY, JAN. 22 Fox Sports Special: NFC Championship Game (Live) - 6 p.m. ET/PT Americal Idol (Special Broadcast) - Approx. 10 p.m. ET/PT MONDAYS, BEGINNING JAN. 23 House (Time Period Premiere) - 8 p.m. ET/PT Alcatraz (Time Period Premiere) - 9 p.m. ET/PT WEDNESDAY, JAN. 25 American Idol - 8 p.m. ET/PT Touch (Special Preview) - 9 p.m. ET/PT SUNDAYS, BEGINNING JAN. 29 The Cleveland Show - 7:30 p.m. ET/PT The Simpsons - 8 p.m. ET/PT Napoleon Dynamite - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Family Guy - 9 p.m. ET/PT American Dad - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1 American Idol - 8 p.m. ET/PT Mobbed - 9 p.m. ET/PT SATURDAY, FEB. 11 America's Most Wanted: Special Edition - 8 p.m. ET/PT WEDNESDAYS, BEGINNING FEB. 15 American Idol (Two-hour Episodes) - 8 p.m. ET/PT TUESDAYS, BEGINNING MAR. 6 Breaking In (SEASON PREMIERE) - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT New Girl - 9 p.m. ET/PT Raising Hope - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT SUNDAYS, BEGINNING MAR. 11 The Cleveland Show - 7:30 p.m. ET/PT The Simpsons - 8 p.m. ET/PT Bob's Burgers (SEASON PREMIERE) - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Family Guy - 9 p.m. ET/PT American Dad - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT MONDAY, MAR. 12 Alcatraz (Two-hour Episode) - 8 p.m. ET/PT MONDAYS, BEGINNING MAR. 19 House - 8 p.m. ET/PT Alcatraz - 9 p.m. ET/PT
  • Twisted New 'The Cabin in the Woods' Poster is a Real Puzzler
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    Every facet of The Cabin in the Woods is something to celebrate. First and foremost, the story is about a group of people stranded in a dangerous and mysterious location. Now, who would know a little something about this subject matter? How about one of the writers/executive producers on a little show called LOST? Drew Goddard fits this criteria, and he's directing, and has co-written the script along with The Avengers helmer Joss Whedon. We know, it's exciting. Embrace that excitement! Life is about happiness. Unfortunately, the titular cabin in the even titular-er woods will bring no ample supply of happiness to its inhabitants. What exactly will happen there is a mystery (kind of the point). But we know it will be treacherous. The Cabin in the Woods takes a good, hard look at the horror genre, and then fries it up, stuffing it into itself like a cinematic turducken. And get a good look at the poster! If that doesn't make you say, "...Huh..." then very little will! Embrace your curiosity, too. The world is also about curiosity. The Cabin in the Woods looks like a frenetic good time, with a lot to say about horror, movies, and the values of ecological real estate. The Cabin in the Woods reaches theaters April 13 (Friday the thirteenth, people!), 2012. Source: First Showing
  • New 'Dallas' Trailer Fueled by Oil, Greed and Old Rivalries
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    TNT has released a trailer for its new series, Dallas, a sequel of sorts to the classic drama that ran from 1978 to 1991. The upcoming show follows the original's antiheroes, brothers J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), and their respective sons John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe). As money and oil continues to drive the already heavily fissured family apart, the primary focus will be on the younger Ewings, who are destined to tread the line of brotherly love and vicious, greed-induced enmity as their fathers did before them. The trailer below offers snippets from the new series, as well as some words on reviving the spirit of the Ewing family from a few of the stars. Dallas also introduces new characters like Elena Ramos, played by Jordana Brewster (of the Fast and the Furious series), Rebecca Sutter(Julie Gonzalo), and Bobby's new wife Ann Ewing (Brenda Strong). Other returning Dallas vets include Linda Gray and Steve Kanaly. Dallas will premiere in the summer of 2012.
  • UPDATE: Tom Cruise Agrees to Star in 'We Mortals Are'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    UPDATE: The film is actually titled We Mortals Are, and is based on a Japanese sci-fi novel titled All You Need is Kill. EARLIER: Remember Groundhog Day? The fun, upbeat Bill Murray comedy about a narcissistic man who learns the meanings of life, friendship and love after he is forced to relive the same day over and over and over again for about an hour and forty minutes of screen time? That movie was good. But you know what I always thought it needed? More alien murder. All You Need is Kill, a film that has been bobbing around the realm of oblivion for quite some time now, takes Groundhog Day's trademark "one day ad infinitum" shtick, and places it upon the battlefields of an interplanetary war. The movie has had a good deal of trouble accelerating its development, but good news: Tom Cruise has decided to accept the role of the main character, the man who gets repeatedly killed/revived amid a treacherous alien blitzkrieg. Nothing has been put into writing yet—Cruise has merely voiced his intention to take the role. The studio is already restructuring the main character for Cruise; initially, the hero was envisioned as a younger man. But it seems as though nobody is too broken up about changing things around, including director Doug Liman, who has been speaking with Cruise about the role for some time now. So, it looks like things are right on track for All You Need is Kill. Development should be speeding along smoothly now. Unless, of course, we all wake up tomorrow, hear this same news, and realize that it's December 1st again... Source: Variety
  • 'Glee' Reaches for Gloria Estefan as Santana's Mom
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    This is the season of Santana. Over the course of the past few episodes, Glee has really upped the ante in exploring the more human side of the often vicious Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera). Last season, we got a glimpse into what allegedly makes the cheerleader so mean: the pain surrounding her inability to accept her own homosexuality. Now (spoilers), Santana's secret is no longer safeguarded, and just about everyone in her life has been especially supportive, including her parents. We haven't met Mr. or Mrs. Lopez just yet, but Glee has approached a formidable music artist to take on the role of the snarky cheerleader's mother: Gloria Estefan. The audience took Santana on her word that both of her parents were cool with her coming out as a lesbian—it was a scene that none of us actually saw. Plausibly, the positive reaction from her mom and dad was offered to make the final blow of Santana's grandmother's outstandingly negative reaction even more powerful. But if Estefan accepts the role, we're likely to see just how, in truth, the family as a whole is dealing with the whole situation. Reportedly, Fox wishes to have Estefan sing some of her own songs in the episode, which would air sometime January. Perhaps a duet with her daughter is called for—maybe a ballad to drill some sense into Santana's intolerant grandma. Glee airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Source: EW
  • Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender Explore Alien World in New 'Promethus' Pics
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    In 1979, we (and I use that word loosely, as I was not particularly "alive" yet) experienced a science fiction majesty in the form of Ridley Scott's genre-topper, Alien. Seven years later, James Cameron put his spin on Scott's mythology with the not-too-shabby Aliens. After that, we saw a few halfhearted attempts at a revival of the themes and characters created by the first film's screenwriter Dan O'Bannon. We waded through Alien3, Alien: Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator and Alien vs. Predator - Requiem, seeking the charm that made the first Alien such a definitive classic. Prometheus might very well be our savior. Scott himself is helming this new film that embraces the world created back in Alien. The project began, theoretically, as a prequel to Scott's '79 masterpiece, but has evolved into an entity all its own. Still, a revisiting to the universe Scott and O'Bannon delivered with such mystery and grandeur way back when will be more than enough of a thrill for many of us. Below, we have some exciting new images from the film, followed by one of Scott himself directing star Noomi Rapace on set. In the images directly from the film, we see stars Charlize Theron and Idris Elba having some trouble aboard ship, and Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall-Greene and Rapace exploring the depths of what seems like a ravaged alien temple.  Prometheus reaches theaters June 8, 2012. Source: Filmstage
  • Jim Parsons Can Finally Talk About His Top Secret 'Muppets' Role: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 01, 2011
    Last night, The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and was relieved that he can finally talk about his special cameo in The Muppets, which producers told him was top secret. Parsons talks about how playing Walter's alter-ego was "the role of a lifetime," and why he still hasn't seen the movie. Claire Danes, star of Showtime's new series Homeland, visited Conan last night to talk about the early days of her career, and how she started as every young, aspiring New York actor does: playing a deranged teenager on Law & Order. Back on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Taylor Kitsch showed up to talk about his upcoming Mars-based movie John Carter, and to recall a particularly memorable, banana-inspired hockey fight from his Canadian youth. Finally, The Daily Show welcomed Bono to speak about getting his back fixed by a German mad scientist, and his philanthropic efforts in the fight against AIDS. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook
  • Casting Roundup: 'Live! with Kelly' Nabs a Jo Bro, 'True Blood' Casts Stabler?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 30, 2011
    The newly Regisless Live! with Kelly is racking up guest hosts like nobody's business. Mid-December will welcome a foursome of male guest hosts to join Kelly Ripa on the stage. Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel will head off the pack, resuming his position as Live! guest host (he has done so several times over the past few years) on Dec. 12. The following day, Dec. 13, viewers will welcome Kevin Jonas, who is likely to bring in a much younger demographic than the show is used to. After Jonas, Live! will welcome star of film and stage Taye Diggs, who will appear on Dec. 14. And finishing off the pack with a two-day stint on Dec. 15 and 16 will be singer Michael Buble. It's a diverse group, but one (at least from Jonas on) that will likely be gracing daytime television with a bit of musical charm. -THR The two rules of television: you can never have enough guest stars, and you can never have enough vampires. True Blood is killing two birds with one stone by roping in a man who broke all our hearts recently by dropping out of Law & Order: SVU: Christopher Meloni. The HBO series is pursuing Meloni as a mighty member of the vampire species for its fifth season. It's not exactly the New York City detective we miss so much, but we'd be glad to have him back on the air. -TVLine Speaking of vampires, a Vampire Diaries star is heading over to Supernatural. Sara Canning, who plays Jenna Sommers on the CW series, will be stopping by another CW series, Supernatural, to provide a not-quite-romantic interest for Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). Canning's character, a carefree girl named Lydia, will make her debut on a January episode, after the winter hiatus. Supernatural's seventh season airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. -TVLine Finally, Spike TV's 2011 Video Game Awards are nearing, and the network has just chosen a host for the event: Zachary Levi, known best as the star of NBC's Chuck. The incurably likeable Levi will lead a show that includes appearances by The Black Keys. The Video Game Awards will air live on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, on Spike TV, MTV2, and via Spike.com -Spike Publicity
  • 'Shame' and Hollywood's Problem with On-Screen Addiction
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 30, 2011
    Addiction. HILARIOUS, right? Not the case. Addictions, as you may have heard, are torturous, debilitating, tragic illnesses that can wreak havoc on the lives they affect (keep reading, it gets less horrible). Though, somehow, film and television have taken to depicting the various types of addictions in farcical, belittling, often humorous ways. Think of how many movies you’ve seen that play drug abuse for laughs. How about the cartoonish portrayal of compulsive gambling in every other TV series since The Flintstones? And lest we forget the one addiction that probably gets the least credit as a legitimately painful disease: sex addiction. Sex addiction is the subject matter tackled, with a great appreciation for all turmoils attached, in the upcoming film, Shame. In some sense Shame is a pioneer in this realm. Sex addiction is rarely ostensibly touched upon in film and TV. Sure, you’ve got your standard stock characters whose identities are consumed predominantly by sex—your Sam Malones, your Vince Masukas, your Barney Stintsons, your Glenn Quagmires—but seldom is the notion of this type of behavior being representative of an agonizing addiction actually braved. And such is the case for all addictions. Drug abuse, gambling problems, alcoholism, nicotine reliance…they’re all made out to be funny, and rarely invocative of any real pain or consequence. But here’s the problem: that’s not the case. And to propagate the idea that these addictions are laughable, casual character quirks is to do a disservice to the dignity of those enduring them in real life, and to trivialize their quests to overcome them. Take a movie like Blades of Glory. Now, I know that many will roll their eyes at my hypersensitivity, proclaiming that Blades of Glory isn’t really meant to be taken with a large degree of sincerity or authenticity. But just roll with me, here. In one scene of the 2007 comedy film, Will Ferrell’s character attends a support group for people dealing with sex addiction—the whole bit, as one would expect with any issue tackled in this sort of movie, is played entirely for laughs. The opening psalm is riddled with comical imagery about what sexual compulsions will drive you to do, and the meeting concludes with all of the addicts pairing off and fleeing to privacy for what is illustrated to be an enjoyable bout of passion. But the reality of it is, this is not at all a depiction of sex addiction—it’s something else entirely. Yet, many films continue to portray the disease with a brighter spin, removing the whole “disease” factor entirely. And then there’s Shame: the powerful, dynamic drama that invites an authentic exploration of a man suffering—really suffering—from an addiction to sex. Director Steve McQueen teams with acting supercomputer Michael Fassbender to deliver the story, and it’s a story more than worth our time and contemplation.The genuine pains of sex addiction may have been skirted so long in the media due to the scarcity of public education about the issue. However, even regarding addictions about which we as a society in general are far more knowledgeable, there remains a dichotomy between the heavy, accurate and sympathetic portrayals and the destructive, farcical and insincere ones. The broad spectrum of drug abuse has its share of films on both sides of the spectrum. Further, films that attempt to authentically tackle the tragedy of drug addiction are ones with which we’re all likely quite familiar: Requiem for a Dream is the leader of this category. Darren Aronofsky (who, indicated both by this film and his recent anti-meth PSAs, is clearly a passionate crusader against drug abuse) paints a picture we’ve all tried to shake off—one of desperation, degradation, and absolute rock-bottom misery, resultant of the abuse of and addiction to heroin and pills. Some others to do the struggle justice include Trainspotting, Christiane F., and a pair of cowboys films (one Midnight, one Drugstore). But of course, there are a slew of films that either glamorize, villainize or humorize one-dimensionally drug addicts and their plights with this illness. In the 2002 comedy Orange County, Jack Black’s character—the funniest character in the movie—abuses a wide variety of substances (a good deal of his humor derives from this). Taking this a step further is a film actually applauded formidably for its glorification of drug use: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It may be based on true events, but Fear and Loathing takes a very celebratory point of view on drug and alcohol abuse in a story about two men—neither of whom can go a scene without smoking, snorting, huffing, drinking or in some other way infusing their body with a toxic substance—on a hedonistic trip through the Nevada deserts to the Las Vegas strip. Yes, it’s twisted. Sure, there are some dark turns. But all in all, you don’t exactly leave this movie with an aversion to the idea of drug use. Gambling addiction is a theme with a greater track record of presence in television than in movies. A multitude of sitcom characters have struggled with temporary, cartoonish, usually none-too-serious examples of gambling addictions: Kramer on Seinfeld, Dorothy on The Golden Girls, Marge on The Simpsons…and of course, there’s this. One show that actually did make a more earnest attempt at the illustration of the legitimate struggle attached to compulsive gambling was Taxi, which informed audiences of Judd Hirsch’s character’s history with the problem shortly before launching him back into his old habits. As with the nature of the series, the mood of the story was twofold: there was, indeed, a fair share of humor involved, but a thick presence of gravity and pain as well. And, of course, there’s alcoholism. I’d go out on a limb to say that the abuse of alcohol—both sincere and farcical depictions—trumps that of narcotics, gambling or sex in terms of its prevalence in film and television. Alcoholics range from being tortured, poetic souls to bumbling, word-slurring comic reliefs. We’ve seen them both riddled with agony over the call of the drink, and eagerly in pursuit of the next madcap, liquor-infused night on the town. When it comes to a reverence for struggles with alcohol addiction, Leaving Las Vegas (it's apparently an addictive city) is adorned as among the most true-to-life and captive of the experience—although it’s not without its Hollywood angles. Still, the Nicolas Cage-starrer is leagues beyond the genus of films that point at laugh at the town-drunk stumbling merrily from one bar to the next. Now, don’t take this vantage point as a complete vilification of these movies. I love Fear and Loathing. I think Jack Black is comedic dynamite. I’ve watched more Seinfeld and Simpsons than any human being healthily should. There are countless films and programs in the same company that I find perfectly entertaining, and, perhaps in other respects, perfectly valuable pieces of the medium. But the issue is as such: for every one of these depictions of an addiction, we need a film like Requiem, like Leaving Las Vegas, like Shame. Comedy can absolutely prove useful as a vehicle for dealing with and overcoming the pains and sorrows of any tragedy or illness, addiction not excluded. However, before this method can be upheld, we must have a firm understanding of the sincerity and gravity of the situations at hand. Movies like Shame are invaluable, in that they are both educational and evocative. We might come away from nine out of ten feature films laughing about the zaniness of addicted individuals—but when one makes an effort to throw us into the harrowing, tumultuous experience that real-life addicts have to deal with every day, it can make a world of difference.
  • Christian Bale Out of 'Noah', Michael Fassbender Might Take the Lead
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 30, 2011
    I love it when disappointing news is followed immediately by sensational news. I was one of many who was totally behind the choice of Christian Bale to play the titular Biblical hero in Darren Aronofsky's developing film Noah. First of all, anytime the man sports a beard, techtonic plates shift. Secondly, I was super pumped to see him use his gravely Batman voice to try and soothe frantic animal passengers during a seafaring apocalypse. So yes, it's a bit saddening to hear that Bale has passed on the role. But there's someone else in consideration for the Noah lead now. Someone who melds whimsy with gravity, charm with bile, relatability with superhumanity: Michael Fassbender. Dare I say, perhaps the greatest Noah that anyone could ever imagine? Let's not get ahead of ourselves (we did that with Bale, and look where it got us). Fassbender has not officially been offered the role. He has, however, made mention of the fact that he and director Aronofsky (whose Black Swan is still having aftershocks on my psyche) have discussed the possibility of him taking on Noah. And that's good enough in which to at least invest some optimism. And with this as a potential, Fassbender proves once again that he is unstoppable. This year alone, he has thrived in the worlds of Marvel Comics (X-Men: First Class), literary adaptations (Jane Eyre), human psychology and historical biopics (A Dangerous Method is a twofer), and promises nothing short of glory in Shame, the upcoming exploration of the turmoils of sex addiction. It's hard to say why Bale would pass on this doubtlessly sensational project. But our ruminating days are over. We've moved on. Sure, we grieved the loss of Bale for about a paragraph, but we're on the Fassbender train now. Or should I say...the Fassbender ark? No. I probably shouldn't.  Source: Variety