ABC Television Network
The future of Trophy Wife is unclear, but we can safely predict that its hilarious bombshell star Malin Akerman is going to be around for a long time. The Swedish/Canadian actress took on the infamous Reddit "Ask Me Anything" challenge on March 4 to answer fan queries about her current and former costars (a veritable who's who of contemporary comedy), her first reaction to her sitcom's title, and steering clear of boring "girlfriend" roles. Check out our favorite parts below and see the entire session here.
On the first thing she'd do if she were Matthew McConaughey for a day:"Take my shirt off!"
On what exactly Ben Stiller smells like:"A mix of Pine Cones and new car smell…that's if he hasn't had any Mexican food."
On working with the husband to her Trophy Wife, Bradley Whitford:"I'm officially Bradley's biggest fan after working with him. He is the biggest ham! So friggin funny. The best part is that when he is interviewed, so many people mistakenly call him Bradley Cooper and he never corrects them…he just rolls with it."
On the wackiest moment in her trip to White Castle with Harold and Kumar:"I had to lick Freakshow's (Chris Meloni) boils on our first day of shooting. Good way to ease into a role."
On holding out for the funny parts:"Not that I was offered this role, but had the chance to read The Hangover and decided to pass on the opportunity to go in for an audition. I preferred the male roles in the movie…something like Bridesmaids would have been awesome."
On her show's deceptively vapid title:"When I first saw the title of the show I said, 'Hell no! I do not want to play a vapid Trophy Wife,' but after reading the script, I realized that it was a tongue in cheek title and I absolutely loved it. From then on it was all about finding the right cast…and I feel like we hit a home run with our hilarious actors!"
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American Gods is a beloved book, both by long-time fantasy fans and readers new to the genre. But can it successfully make the jump to television? Deadline reports that Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel — once in development at HBO — is now being shepherded to the screen by FremantleMedia with the writer executive producing. The award-winning book tells the story of recently released ex-con Shadow and how a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday pulls him into the hidden-in-plain-sight world of gods and mythical creatures living on Earth. It's an epic, but unlike the source material for, say, Game of Thrones, American Gods is not a series. If it's successful, a television series will have to reach beyond the canon as written. Still, the book itself has plenty of juicy parts for an incredibly diverse cast. From Mr. Nancy (a trickster in the vein of African spider god Ansansi) to the Zorya Sisters (three goddesses adapted from Slavic folklore), American Gods is packed with roles to attract some serious talent. And we hope there's an equally serious wardrobe budget to deck these earthly gods out.
On his personal website, Gaiman confirmed that while HBO had the option on the book, it went through three different pilot scripts. That's not exactly an item for the "Pro" column. Gaiman can write cinematically, and properties like Coraline and Stardust have been adapted brilliantly. Gods, however, is an elegant mess, packed with subplots and set pieces that often aren't directly connected to the main action. This could be tricky. In the same blog, the writer claims that the process with Fremantle has been "smoother," though, "as to where you will be able to see it, who is going to be in it, who will be writing or show-running, none of these things have yet been settled."
With what little information we have to go on, do you think that American Gods can work on screen? Vote in our poll!
MGM via Everett Collection
If the Sochi games haven't been dramatic enough for you, there's plenty of Winter Olympics action to be relived in these two icy classics. While baseball and football get more than their fair share of cinematic glory, hockey and figure skating are underrepresented on the big screen. Maybe studios are wary of sending their actors out on the slippery stuff? But even though the films devoted to these sports are few, at least they are great. Every few years, the world's attention turns to wintry sports and their stars. And rewatches of Miracle and The Cutting Edge are a clear necessity. But which is the ultimate on-ice Olympic movie?
The Cutting EdgeLet's start with the 1992 skating flick. It's got a forever quotable screenplay by Tony Gilroy, who would go on to write Michael Clayton and the Bourne series. (Admit it, you still say "toe pick" in a sing-song voice when you see a pair of skates.) Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney have solid chemistry as a prickly figure skater and the former hockey player who becomes her unlikely partner. It's a rom-com with a shelf life, because it's about two people who have other motivations besides falling in love. It happens, of course, but not before they master "The Pamchenko."
MiracleThe 2004 hockey film, on the other hand, pulls its triumphant story directly from Olympic history. This is the cinematic retelling of the 1980 Team USA, the "Miracle on Ice." Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks, who coached this team to a gold medal over the seemingly unbeatable Russians. The Cutting Edge is also a classic underdog story, but without the benefit of a clearly defined rival. And in 1980, you couldn't do much better than "the Russians" as far as a rival was concerned. Where The Cutting Edge portrays athletic competition with a wink and a smile, Miracle does it with an "I'm not crying, man. You're crying."
Which movie will reign supreme? Only your votes will tell.
Fox Broadcasting Co.
Ted Mosby might have some competition. Any How I Met Your Mother fan who wasn't in love with "The Mother" already surely was by the time she finished her ukelele rendition of "La Vie en Rose" in the show's 200th episode. Cristin Milioti wasn't cast in this pivotal role just because she's cute as a button and has impeccable comic timing. We're glad to see the show is also capitalizing on her serious musical chops. There's plenty more where that sweet solo (and the English muffin song) came from. We've mined YouTube for five more must-hear Milioti performances.
1. "Call Your Girlfriend"
Milioti starts slow and then lets loose on this full-band cover of Robyn's catchiest single.
2. "On Raglan Road"
Before being cast on the sitcom, Milioti was best known for originating the role of "Girl" in the Broadway musical Once. Here she covers an Irish folk song that the show's band plays during the nightly pre-show onstage jam session.
If you've ever tried singing this at karaoke, you know the Justin Timberlake song's range-y vocals aren't easy to tackle. Cristin destroys it without breaking a sweat.
Yes. In 2003, Milioti really did rock a Pat Benatar classic during a legit "Battle of the Bands" in shiny rock and roll leggings and a bleached blond wig. We've got proof.
5. "Cosmic Love"
Soft and romantic is fine for a Piaf cover, but Florence and the Machine demand some vocal power. Milioti's got that in spades. We're pretty sure the ceiling catches fire around 3:13.
ABC Television Network
We're still mourning the premature cancelation of Happy Endings, the rightful heir to the ensemble comedy throne. But the end — or at least the easement — of our pain could be on the horizon with development of NBC sitcom Marry Me.
Happy showrunner David Caspe is also behind this single-camera series about a newly engaged couple who realizes they're in over their heads. That's cheering already. Things started looking even better when we learned that Casey Wilson would be playing the female lead, because the perpetually hopeful Penny Hartz might be the Happy Endings character we long for the most. (And since she and Caspe are actually engaged, they can bring the autobiographical funny to their fictionalized wedding planning.) And with the news that the always reliable Ken Marino of The State and Burning Love fame will be playing opposite her, we've got ourselves what amounts to a sure thing.
Our only instructions to this solid team are these: 1) That they engage all of their Happy Endings and Burning Love co-stars to drop by for the occasional guest spot; and 2) That Marino and Wilson, who both have plenty of writing credits to their name, get to pen some episodes.
Are you sold on Marry Me yet? Take the poll and let us know!
NBC Universal Media
NBC has pulled the plug on the struggling comedy Sean Saves the World. An experiment in that broad-appeal type of show the network is so desperate for, Sean took a talented cast and buried them in mediocre material. Now that the series is kaput, we have a wish list of where we'd like to see its ensemble go next.
Sean Hayes: Daytime Talk Show
His long-time Will & Grace costar Megan Mullally tried her hand at the chat show game a few years back. The program was not a rousing success, as most of her audience were struggling to accept the sound of her real voice and the absence of Karen Walker's antics with her beloved Jacky. Might we suggest that Mullally and Hayes give the people what they want and team up for a show? Mullally's husband Nick Offerman must make constant appearances.
Linda Lavin: Back to Broadway
Lavin's involvement in this series was the hardest bit of casting to accept. Theatrical legend that she is, Linda's no stranger to TV — she was Alice, after all — but we want to see her back on the boards. It's a sad fact that television has few decent parts for a woman of a certain age. And so, though we'll never forget her as Seth Cohen's Nana, Lavin will find her best opportunities elsewhere.
Megan Hilty: Ditto
With a voice like butter and a body like a brick house, Hilty also needs to get those pipes back to New York and into a musical ASAP. Smash may have been a wash, but we'd pay good money to see her play Marilyn in a real production of Bombshell.
Echo Kellum: Go Indie
All Kellum has to do is call up his Ben and Kate costar Nat Faxon and get on the Oscar-winning screenwriter's next project. Why languish in pilot season hell when he can be in the next The Descendants?
Look who's outshining her famous sons every week on A&E.
Viewers tuned into Wahlburgers because of the famous names behind the show's titular Boston burger joint. But we're staying because of the Wahlberg family's fierce and loving matriach Alma. Donnie and Mark may be key investors. Her chef son Paul may run the kitchen. But it's Alma who rules the roost. They adore her. We adore her.
Alma's no Real Housewife. She raised nine kids on welfare in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. And we can see how she managed it. She's got a habit of imposing her will on her boys, even if they resist. She hires Paul an assistant and gets her started without his permission. She knows she's always right, he just has to come around to it. She puts Donnie's new girlfriend Jenny McCarthy to work in the kitchen as soon as she walks into her house. And Alma's sons are forever arguing with each other over who is mom's real favorite.
With her raspy voice and thick Boston accent, Alma's constantly letting her will be known. It's no secret that the boys were wild in their youth, and they make frequent mention on the show of her regular trips to collect them from hospital or, on occasion, jail. But now they're older, wiser, and totally devoted to the woman who stuck by them. And, despite their fame and forture, she's still keeping them in line.
A&E has already ordered 18 more episodes of Wahlburgers. Have you been watching and loving Alma as much as we do?
NBC Universal Media
Hannibal is rare in its complexity. A character-driven, visually compelling horror story, all 13 episodes of the show's pilot season are frighteningly beautiful mini-movies. And all are streaming on Amazon.
Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham return to our TVs for Season 2 on Feb. 28. Whether you're new to the show and need a quick primer or you're a hard-and-fast Fannibal looking to whet your appetite for the next batch of episodes, we recommend these five season one gems.
Episode 1, "Apéritif"
In the pilot episode, we're introduced to professor and FBI profiler Will Graham, his boss, Special Agent Jack Crawford, and creepy yet dapper psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (rhymes with "cannibal"), among others. We also see Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen develop the dangerous doctor/patient chemistry that the show requires. Hannibel feels a legitimate kinship with Will, one that sets much chaos into motion.
Episode 3, "Potage"
Abigail Hobbs is a crucial character in this first season, and "Potage" sees her strike a deal with the devil. She and Hannibal hold each other's secrets hostage, while Will feels a desperate need to protect her.
Episode 10, "Buffet Froid"
If the first 13 episodes are the story of Will Graham's unraveling, then this one is a clear watershed moment. Will has lost hours in delusions, and when it causes him to contaminate a crime scene, he goes in for an MRI. Lecter manages to hide the disturbing results from him. And in one of the most distressing moments of the series, Will's drawing of a clock face spectacularly fails a test Lecter gives him to test his grip on reality.
Episode 11, "Rôti"
Eddie Izzard returns as Abel Gideon, the Chesapeake Ripper copycat. "Rôti" is a double (maybe triple?) game of cat-and-mouse as Gideon tries to smoke out the real Ripper while being perpetually outfoxed by Hannibal Lecter and his patsy, Will. The episode also includes an image of the insides of a certain smarmy doctor that you won't be able to get out of your mind anytime soon.
Episode 13, "Savoureux"
It's all been leading up to this. The Season 1 finale finds the Hobbs case, Will's mental deterioration, and Hannibal's tight control of all the puppet strings coming together in a conclusion that spells serious bad news for Mr. Graham. Is it Feb. 28 yet?
Truly Indie via Everett Collection
Commissioner Gordon may stand in the tall, winged shadow of the Batman most of the time, but the character takes the lead in the upcoming prequel series Gotham. In that meaty role, Fox has cast Ben McKenzie, known to those of us who were teenagers in the mid-'00s as Ryan Atwood of The O.C. and to the small but discerning audience of Southland as Officer Ben Sherman. Now, he'll be taking on the mantle of a much beloved character with a considerable fandom history. Here's why we think he's up the task.
1. He can play a cop.
McKenzie busted perps and dealt with some serious partner issues for five seasons of Southland. We've seen him in uniform and we buy it.
2. He has a history with the franchise.
In voicework, anyway. McKenzie played Bruce Wayne himself in the animated film Batman: Year One. That story also features a young Jim Gordon, who nobly refuses to participate in the massive corruption of the Gotham police force.
3. He looks good with a mustache.
Clean up the haircut, brush out the 'stache, and we've got ourselves a pretty convincing precursor to Gary Oldman's Gordon. Even if the series features a clean shaven Jim, we're just content to know he can rock the facial hair if needed.
4. He's famous, but he's not too famous.
McKenzie has a decent body of work under his belt, including a breakout role as Amy Adams' sadsack husband Johnny in the indie dramedy Junebug. He became a heartthrob on The O.C., but his character was complex enough — quietly intelligent, acerbic, unsatisfied — to head off typecasting. He doesn't bring the baggage of a career-defining role with him to Gotham.
5. He's good at punching people.
Should Jim Gordon ever be called upon to bust some heads, Ben's got it handled.
NBC Universal Media
It took some time for Parenthood's audience to warm to phographer Hank Rizzoli. He's gruff, grumpy, and the wrench that was thrown between Sarah and her dreamy jailbait schoolteacher, Mark Cyr. But Hank stuck out the awkwardness to become one of the richest recurring characters on the show. This season has been a rocky one in terms of doling out enough quality material for the entire Parenthood ensemble to chew on, but Hank's story in particular has taken a captivating turn. Ray Romano is unlikely casting for this role, without question. And he's giving a beautiful performance.
Romano's no stranger to award shows. It's easy to forget as Everybody Loves Raymond syndicated episodes fade into background noise that the series was recognized year after year. But we couldn't have guessed from his nine-year stint as a sarcastic sportwriter — with little depth of character — that Romano could have us reaching for the tissues week after week. Hank's friendship with Adam and Kristina's son Max has been one of the bright spots of the series. They're both no-nonsense with a work ethic that would make most people beg for mercy. And maybe their similarities don't end there. Now that Hank is learning more about Max's Asperger's diagnosis and comparing it to his own personality traits, we've got several exemplary scenes for Romano's Emmy reel.
In the clip below, Hank goes to Sarah to tell her about his revelation. He can barely look her in the eye, mirroring Max's usual disassociative postures. He's a little scared, but also strangely relieved. He can hardly get the words out quickly enough: this might be why his marriage failed and why he can't connect with his daughter. And he notices that Sarah's dressed for a date, and all over again, he's crushed. These are the things that he can't have. Maybe ever. There's so much to play in just a few minutes, and Ray Romano — former stand-up and recovering star of a family-friendly sitcom — absolutely nails all of it.