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.
  • Casting Roundup: 'That '70s Show' Star Gets New Series, 'Grey's Anatomy' Doc on Hiatus
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 12:53pm EST
    The ending of the '70s was an emotional time for many. Not the real '70s, nobody cared about that, but the decade represented by Fox's That '70s Show. Since the sitcom's finale, we've seen most of its castmembers pop up in the spotlight here and there. Ashton Kutcher has not been hard-pressed for work. Mila Kunis is flourishing. Topher Grace has done reasonably well. Wilmer Valderrama had that show about insulting people. But one castmember we haven't seen much of is Danny Masterson, who played the rebellious, cynical, emotionally distant Steven Hyde. But Masterson is about to be reintroduced to TV audiences in a new comedy series, Men at Work. Created by Breckin Meyer (Road Trip, Rat Race, Franklin & Bash), the series will focus on a nice-guy (Masterson) who suffers a damaging breakup and must rely on his group of friends to reconstruct himself. Men at Work is in development for broadcast on TBS. -Deadline Debi Mazar is probably most recognizable to contemporary audiences for playing Shauna on Entourage and the actress will soon enjoy a guest spot on the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey. Mazar will play a fast-talking political consultant hired by Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) when a story arc takes her character into the race for re-election for city council. Reportedly, Harper Quinn (Mazar) will be brought in after Mel is involved in a publicized, none-too-flattering event. Melissa and Joey's second season will begin its run in 2012 on ABC Family. -TVLine This season of Grey's Anatomy has been missing one key component that has defined the show for so long: one of the Grey parts. Chyler Leigh, who plays Lexie Grey, has been largely absent from the first three episodes of the eighth season. Ordinarily, one would worry that this indicates producers' attempts to phase an actor out of a show. However, Leigh specifically requested the time off so that she could spend time with her husband and three children. She will, however, be back to her regular work schedule soon. The first episode to mark Leigh's full-time return will air Thursday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. -TVLine
  • 'Inception,' 'Star Trek' and 'Fast Five' Return to IMAX Theaters for One Week!
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 10:48am EST
    What are everybody's three favorite things? Aliens. Fast cars. Dream pervasion. What is everybody's fourth favorite thing? IMAX. Favorite number of dollars to pay for an IMAX movie about aliens, fast cars or dream pervasion? Seven. Favorite duration of time for this deal to be available? One week. Favorite week? This one. Favorite complimentary adjective to describe situations of the above caliber? Tubular. Gather your bearings. Star Trek, Fast Five and Inception, three of the biggest movies you or anyone you know has ever even heard of, will return to the big screen (WHERE THEY BELONG), playing at AMC IMAX theaters in all of your favorite cities (including Wauwatosa!) for one week, starting today, September 30 until October 6—and the price of admission is so unbelievably low that you'll begin to think an alien has pervaded your dreams in order to covince you of something so outrageous that it couldn't be true, all in the hopes of somehow stealing your very fast car...but that's not the case! How tubular is that?!? Find out more at AMC's website, or for Star Trek tickets, Fast Five tickets, and Inception tickets. Source: Slashfilm
  • Brave the Storm of a 'Family Guy', 'American Dad' and 'Cleveland Show' Crossover this Sunday
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 10:03am EST
    Considering this year's influx of natural disasters, Fox decided to pull the hurricane-themed Seth MacFarlane tri-crossover of Family Guy and its two subsidiaries, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. But now that the climate is all cleared up, the always tasteful MacFarlane will see his special air this Sunday, Oct. 2. The crossover will occur on each of the three series, starting with The Cleveland Show, continuing on Family Guy and concluding with American Dad, acting as a three-part episode about a hurricane that has taken over the residences of each series and causing some (probably pop-culture-referencing) disasters for the Griffins, Smiths and Browns. The Cleveland Show's installment of the crossover special, "The Hurricane!" will air at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Family Guy's installment, "Seahorse Seashell Party" (a title inspired by this), will air at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. American Dad's installment, simply "Hurricane!" will air at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. Source: AOLTV
  • Tyler Labine and Malin Akerman Will Knock Us Dead in Dark Comedy 'Cottage Country'
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 9:01am EST
    Ah, the perfect proposal gone awry. A staple of comedies, both romantic and wacky. Stiller braved it. Rudd tackled it. Biggs tried it on. It's something movie audiences always have to look forward to, because it's never out of date to be madly in love. But we might see it in a slightly different light this time around. Tyler Labine—who is rising like the Planet of the Apes, over here!—will star opposite Malin Akerman in Cottage Country: a sweet story about a man who wants nothing more than to bestow the perfect marriage proposal unto his one true love. But then, he accidentally kills his brother. Yes. Dark turn. Still funny? We'lre not sure. They're treading a line, here. But potential? Absolutely. Along with the recent casting of Akerman, we know that the wonderful Lucy Punch will also be in the film as Todd's brother's girlfriend. The film was written by Jeremy Boxen and directed by Peter Wellington, and will release sometime in 2012. Source: Indiewire
  • NBC Adds Two Episodes to Season 3 of 'Parenthood'
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 8:18am EST
    The NBC dramedy Parenthood, created by Ron Howard, produced and written by Jason Katims, has gotten some well-earned good news. It's third season was only slated for sixteen episodes—which is pretty low for a network series. NBC decided to add two more episodes onto the season, possibly in light of its climbing ratings. Eighteen episodes is still on the lower side, but it's hardly unheard of. It will give the series a more just opportunity to expand its pretty dense storytelling and character development this season. Parenthood covers the multi-generational Braverman family, a more or less average American family dealing with normal and sincere troubles, albeit not without a fair helping of humor. Part of the series' large ensemble cast are notable talents such as Lauren Graham, Dax Shephard, Peter Krause, Erika Christensen and Craig T. Nelson. Parenthood airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: EW
  • Red Band 'I Melt with You' Poster Inspires Much Curiosity
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 7:17am EST
    The red band trailer for I Melt with You defines the term "excess." In it, four men are seen doing inordinate amounts of drugs, partying without rest, betraying their wives and families, and embracing torrentially reckless behavior. More than this, the trailer itself does one thing to excess: it inspires curiosity. I Melt with You is the story of four middle-aged men whose friendship dates back to college. For one week every year, the men take breaks from their ordinary lives as family men, school teachers, professionals, et al, to spend time together in a beach house and completely abandon every attachment they have. The men are seen snorting huge sums of cocaine and speeding down a highway (an empty highway, but still), partying with much, much younger girls, and more of the like. But this is not a wild, madcap comedy. A dark turn takes the trailer when a collective note comprised by the boys twenty-five years earlier resurfaces, inciting a great deal of anguish in each of them. The trailer does not reveal the contents, or even much of the nature, of the note...but we know it's one of controversy. Some of the men seem interested in preserving the note's intention, while some others feel that whatever they had promised to their future selves no longer applies. It's enough to bring out a tumultuous change in mood for the trailer, and each of the men. The movie looks to really exemplify the pain of these men, whether it comes from a secret from their past, or their attachment to their unhappy lives. I Melt with You stars Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay, and is directed by Mark Pellington. (Arlington Road). Source: Slashfilm
  • Melissa McCarthy Has a Major Freak-Out in a Furniture Store: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 30, 2011 5:47am EST
    Last night, Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to discuss the Emmys pageant bit she did with Amy Poelher, Tina Fey and the other Best Lead Actress in a Comedy nominees. She also recalled the time when she had an eventful conniption in the middle of a discount furniture store (with a very catchy slogan) after she found out she was going to host SNL. Chaz Bono appeared on The Tonight Show to talk about Dancing with the Stars (and his rigorous training for it), and how he deals with all the ignorant remarks about his appearance on the show is "influencing children toward sex-change operations." Also on The Tonight Show, Albert Brooks had a lot to say about how technology is changing society—it's turning people into hypochondriacs, co-dependents, and addicts. He also thankfully shared his theory on what would happen if you gave a shark and iPad. Finally, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about the emotional rollercoaster of taking acid (and wearing dresses) before attending the Oscars as nominees for their South Park movie.
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: Ghost
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 29, 2011 7:20pm EST
    S01E02: There’s a lot of inherent potential in a show like Person of Interest: a high concept series about a renegade FBI agent and a mysterious figure with access to a machine that can predict crimes before they happen, with the healthy dose of a Big Brother is Watching overtone. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the second episode of the series indicates that it might not be taking full advantage of what it has to work with. Perhaps everyone else saw this coming, but I genuinely did not expect for this show to take the form of a high-stakes/high-action detective procedural. The pilot seemed to suggest that Person of Interest would be more of an overarching narrative first and foremost that involved independent cases along the way—perhaps cases that were in some way connected to the theme of the government’s watchful eye, to terrorism, to September 11, to either of the two main characters or their backstories…but I suppose that would conflict with the point, a little. The point that the show is trying to convey is that nobody’s life is “irrelevant.” The machine was built initially to predict and prevent crimes against national security, but was unable to differentiate such crimes from other types of crimes—murders of individual civilians. These crimes (and individuals) were deemed “irrelevant" until Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) grew a conscience—an occurrence that is subtly linked to a major loss he experienced, possibly that of the colleague we meet in a flashback in this episode. Taking this into consideration, it would be ignoring the spirit of the show, the cherishment of every single human life (except for nameless henchmen, of course), to say that they should be focusing on more “relevant” crimes. And though the message is one of value, it would require a little bit more character in order to really hit home properly. Without flavor and personality, this comes across simply as a hyperactive FBI action show that happens to have a couple of mysteries stuck in the background to make sure we don’t miss too many episodes. “She was murdered along with the rest of her family. Two years ago.” - Finch “So we’re looking for a ghost?” - Reese “Ghost” covers a two year-old unsolved murder. Finch’s machine has selected the social security number of a girl named Teresa who was presumed dead when her father (apparently) killed himself, his wife, and her. The body of the girl, who was fifteen at the time, was never found and it was assumed to be taken away by the current (the other two corpses were located in the water). However, Finch has an unwavering faith in his machine, and has Reese (Jim Caviezel) seek out Teresa before something bad happens to her. Reese’s first move is to threaten his “buddy on the force,” Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman)—the corrupt (but not entirely unforgivable) cop that Reese blackmailed in the first episode in order to keep a constant stream of favors heading his way—for the case file on Teresa and her family. We can expect to see Reese taking advantage of poor Fusco once a week for inside information. He’s sort of like a reverse Huggy Bear. With Fusco’s help, Reese manages to track down the hitman who was hired to kill Teresa’s family. The man, in jail for a separate crime, insists that he let Teresa go as he would “never kill a kid.” Gotta love the moral code of murderers. In the meantime, Finch poses as an insurance agent and speaks with Teresa’s aunt (ex-wife of Teresa’s father’s brother, who divorced her a year ago and hasn’t spoken to her since). Reese uncovers a possible contact Teresa might have—an old boyfriend, whom he tracks down (far too conveniently). Through him, he finds her, and after a very Law & Order-style chase scene, followed by a near-murder of Teresa in a Laundromat, Reese manages to get Teresa to speak with him and Finch. As to why people are still trying to murder Teresa…that’s the question. The answer: they found out she was still alive, and they know that she is the rightful heir to some very fortuitous property that her father purchased before he was murdered. In fact, that’s why he was murdered. And murdered him? Directly, some practically faceless business moguls. Indirectly, his own brother. Finch and Reese manage to keep Teresa safe from the persistent goateed man who aims to see her dead, which is enough to restore the poor orphan’s trust in people. And that, more or less, is a theme of this episode: trust. Because while all this is going on, something far more interesting is also taking place. We’re learning a little bit about Mr. Finch. First of all, we get a flashback to a 2002 Mr. Finch, pre-limp. Did I mention he has a limp? Well, to be particularly honest, it didn’t seem all that prevalent in the pilot episode, but he does. And one can assume that around the time his ability to walk properly was destroyed, so was his ability to trust. He’s so strange and secretive that he pretends to be a low-level employee in the company that he owns. No one in his office seems to know who he really is—and he isn’t too keen on Reese finding out what he’s up to. "Don't call me, Mr. Reese. I'll call you." - Finch The end of the episode sees Reese covertly deliver Teresa to Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson), the woman who has been investigating his dirty work and trying to figure out the mystery behind the man since the beginning of the pilot. We like her. So does Reese. We also get a closing scene that sees Finch pack up his desk and leave the office. His secrecy has been compromised—and a bust of him in the building lobby solidifies the fact that he has been considered dead since 2010. The good stuff: We also get a glimpse at what Finch was like before he made it his life’s goal to prevent all these murders. He, under the mindset of the government, was only interested in the “big crimes.” His partner, however, is a more moralistic fellow, who takes issue with the blatant disregard of innocent lives. We do not see anything further in terms of Finch’s evolution in this episode, but that’s the pull. We’re also dying to know what exactly happened to screw Reese up so bad. But are a few quick flashback scenes per episode enough? There is value in the “method to the madness” of the procedural system they’ve got going: people deserve to be considered important. All people. Furthermore, it’s probably the only (or at least easiest) way to fill out hour-long episodes every week. But there should be a lot more of “What’s going on with Reese/Finch/the machine/the government, and how did they get this way?” and a little less “Man, that guy’s good at hand-to-hand combat!” The show has some good stuff going for it, it’s just a little off on its focus.
  • Casting Roundup: Lisa Lampanelli Lands a 'Whitney' Role & the Mandelas Get a Reality Show
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 29, 2011 12:50pm EST
    NBC’s new sitcom Whitney, created by and starring comedian Whitney Cummings, will be welcoming another standup to the cast for an upcoming episode: Lisa Lampanelli, who, like Cummings, has built her comedy career on embodying the antithesis of “traditional femininity,” will play the part of a dog pound manager under whose jurisdiction it falls decide whether or not Whitney and her live-in boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia) can adopt a dog. Lampanelli’s episode is slated to air in late October or early November. Whitney airs at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. -Vulture One of the most interesting developing reality projects surrounds a family who isn't famous in the traditional reality fashion: the Mandelas. The series will star three adult grandchildren of anti-apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela: Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini. The three young women (aged 27, 34 and 32, respectively), will use the program as a plateau for creating identities for themselves independent of their grandfather's legacy, but not at the expense of their family's dignity. Swati tells Deadline, "We're definitely not the African Kardashians." Seeing as Dorothy has a law degree and an MBA, Zaziwe is a mother of two and involved in the Mandela-Dlamini Associates company, which specializes in international business consulting services, and Swati, also a mother, is setting up a foundation concerning housing, education and medicine programs, that really goes without saying. The series is expected to air early in 2012. -Deadline Melinda McGraw enjoyed a formidable stint on Mad Men as Don Draper’s mistress Bobbie Barrett—the ‘60s were big on alliterative naming. The actress will be taking another guest role as a woman with a complicated romantic history with a series’ leading man (maybe that’s just her very specific M.O.). McGraw will be guest starring on NCIS as one of many ex-wives of Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) on a November episode titled “Devil’s Triangle.” McGraw’s character Diane will, incidentally, also be the ex-wife of NCIS recurring character FBI Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano). So…the crime probably isn’t going to be the most complicated thing in this episode. NCIS airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -TVGuide Earlier this month, FX’s Rescue Me was set to rest after seven fruitful seasons, and costar John Scurti is already back onscreen. The series’ lovable Kenny Shea will make a guest appearance on House, playing a clinic patient—presumably with bizarre disease; bizarre enough to attract Dr. House’s (Hugh Laurie) attention, anyway. Scurti’s House episode will air sometime in Nobember. House’s eighth season premieres Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. -TVLine
  • French Actress Bérénice Marlohe to Play the Next Bond Girl?
    By: Michael Arbeiter September 29, 2011 11:19am EST
    There are few compound phrases in Hollywood that are so mystifying, so dangerous, so elite as to invoke a feeling of profound respect for, and fear of, anyone who is lucky to embody them. Few they may be, but one sure-fire example: Bond Girl. Being cast as a Bond Girl is like joining an exclusive club. The roles have, traditionally, been given to actresses of healthy notoriety: Denise Richards, Jane Seymour, Teri Hatcher and Halle Berry. Of course, it is not unprecedented for the roles to go to lesser known actresses. In fact, accepting the role of Bond Girl has proven numerous times to be a valuable stepping stone for young actress' careers. And such might prove the case for the next potential Bond Girl: French actress Bérénice Marlohe is being considered for the lead female role in the upcoming Bond 23. The film will star Daniel Craig in his third stint as the superspy, and will be directed by Sam Mendes, who brought us greats such as American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Jarhead. The cast also includes the powerhouse Javier Bardem, Ralph Feinnes, Naomie Harris and, reportedly, Bond veteran Judi Dench, reprising her role as time-honored role as M. The role for which Marlohe is being considered was previously connected to larger names, such as Olivia Wilde and Frieda Pinto. It is commendable for a franchise like the James Bond series to experiment with lesser known stars—an all-too untapped market when it comes to big name films, but one that is dense with unique perspective and innovation to help keep these franchises fresh. Source: Twitch via Indiewire