TV news and opinion from across the web,
curated by Norman Weiss.

  • Posted Saturday 12/15/18 at 12:22AM EST
    • Outlander is the only TV show in which a man and a woman truly listen to each other
      Source: The Washington Post

      The Starz series offers a great and rare lesson in how to listen and communicate with each other, says Hank Stuever. "What more could we need from a TV series in 2018 than to see two adults persist against all odds by listening to one another?" says Stuever. He adds: "Outlander’s” best moments are found in those smaller, more insular moments in which Jamie and Claire see the world through one another’s perspectives. TV is full of couples who misconstrue, raise volumes, ignore key issues, assign blame, gossip to outside confidants about spousal shortcomings, disappoint in the bedroom and storm out of the house a lot. The technical term for that is conflict and most writers of relationship stories would be lost without it. Which is why, the more you watch Outlander, the more you see just how intentionally it veers from prestige TV’s frustrating parade of toxic, temperamental couplings — everything from You’re the Worst to The Affair to Camping. Jamie and Claire deal with all sorts of external melodramatic dangers, but together they might as well be gorgeous unicorns. They don’t bicker. They don’t interrupt one another. He doesn’t ramble on about battlefield heroics; she doesn’t start in with monologues about electricity and indoor plumbing. Their presence within a shared present asks the viewer: When was the last time anyone really heard what you were saying?"

      # TOPICS: Outlander, Starz

    • Report: Les Moonves personally oversaw CBS' $9.5 million settlement with Eliza Dushku -- payout was "sneaked" into Bull's production budget
      Source: Deadline

      Deadline reports the former CBS boss "was deeply and directly involved in the $9.5 million payout that CBS forked over to Eliza Dushku in January after the actor accused Bull lead, Michael Weatherly, of sexual harassment on the first season of the CBS drama...Additionally, the confidential payment was sneaked into Bull’s production budget in an effort apparently motivated to avoid the sum popping up on the company’s books, sources say."

      # TOPICS: Eliza Dushku, CBS, Bull, Les Moonves, Michael Weatherly, Sexual Misconduct

    • Disney Channel fires actor who played Andi Mack's grandpa after his arrest for allegedly trying to have sex with a 13-year-old
      Source: The Hollywood Reporter

      Stoney Westmoreland, who plays Ham Mack on the Disney Channel tween series, was taken into custody in Utah on Friday for allegedly enticing a minor on the Internet that he believed to be 13. His alleged crimes are considered felonies. Westmoreland is also known for his recurring role as a Secret Service agent on Scandal. "Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series Andi Mack, was arrested in Salt Lake City today," Disney Channel said in a statement. "Given the nature of the charges and our responsibility for the welfare of employed minors, we have released him from his recurring role and he will not be returning to work on the series which wraps production on its third season next week." 

      # TOPICS: Andi Mack, Disney Channel, Stoney Westmoreland, Crime

    • Work on next year's Christmas programming has already begun: "It’s Santa’s Workshop here all year long"
      Source: Indiewire

      The current season of The Great Christmas Light Fight, which began filming in October, is the last to begin filming the same year that it airs. Production on next year's season of the ABC reality show has already begun. Hallmark Channel, which churned out 38 Christmas movies this year between it and sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, is also already at work on next year's batch of Christmas movies. “Early to mid-2017 we were starting to sift through all of the scripts that come in, of which we receive hundreds, and select those that we want to develop further,” says Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Hallmark Channel owner Crown Media. “We start to produce them in late 2017, 2018 and continue to make them all year long. You can imagine when you make 38 Christmas movies, we say it’s Santa’s Workshop here all year long. We began development and are also in beginning stages of production on our 2019 slate.”

      # TOPICS: Holiday Programming, ABC, Hallmark Channel, The Great Christmas Light Fight, Christmas

    • Why Succession was the most realistic show of 2018
      Source: VICE

      "No piece of pop culture can fully sum up a historical moment, but HBO’s epic family drama Succession does a very solid job of diagnosing 2018 as a year of unfettered privilege and corruption built on a rickety foundation of mediocrity, bolstered by inherited power and influence," says Frederick Blichert. "And it does so without dumbing anything down, or worse glorifying the excesses of the super-rich by offering 'anti-heroes' for us to root for."

      # TOPICS: Succession, HBO

    • SNL hasn't recovered from losing The Lonely Island: Recent music video parodies are unfunny bad songs
      Source: UPROXX

      "The influence of the Lonely Island on SNL remains indelible" since the departure of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, says Steven Hyden. "The show is still doing pre-taped rap and pop parodies that aim to go viral well past Saturday night, in a manner that is similar to the style pioneered by the Lonely Island. The difference is that the execution now is much more obvious and far less clever or canny. If the Lonely Island is the Nirvana or Pearl Jam of contemporary SNL musical comedy, what the show is doing now can be likened to Creed or Nickelback." Hyden adds: "Instead of goofing on a particular artist or genre, numbers like the #metoo-themed 'Permission,' the mental health-oriented Migos nod 'Friendos,' or the Robert Mueller-oriented spin on Mariah Carey’s 'All I Want For Christmas' are polemics inextricably tied to this exact moment in time. They feel less like fully realized comedy sketches than dashed-off tweets. Oh, and they are also pretty bad just as songs. In terms of catchiness and quotability, 'RBG Rap' makes Adam Sandler sound like Paul McCartney."

      # TOPICS: Saturday Night Live, NBC, The Lonely Island

    • Ellen Cleghorne recalls her 1990s experience as a black woman on SNL
      Source: Slate

      Cleghorne, who was in the cast of Saturday Night Live from 1991 through 1995, was technically the third black woman to be credited on the show, after Yvonne Hudson and Danitra Vance. But as Slate explains, Cleghorne was "the first woman of color to appear on Saturday Night Live as a full-fledged cast member for longer than a single season." That makes her the "dean of a very specific SNL class," says Slate.  “I still feel my blackness is objectified,” says Cleghorne, “as opposed to individualized, in the way white people are. There’s 10 white boys on that show. Each one of them are individuals, they bring something special … there’s always tokenism. It’s very dangerous.”

      # TOPICS: Saturday Night Live, NBC, Ellen Cleghorne, African Americans and TV

    • An Emmy for Megan's Megan Amram isn't happy with an Emmy rule change apparently made in response to her nominations
      Source: Twitter

      The Television Academy announced it has adopted a “new vetting procedure to identify Emmy-competitive entries in the Short Form categories on nomination-round ballots. Panelists, randomly selected from a member pool, will evaluate these entries.” Amram, who earned two nominations for her Emmy-seeking web series, tweeted: "Do not let this headline get buried in the current news cycle: the Emmy Academy just CHANGED THE RULES that they now have to VET POTENTIAL NOMINEES IN THE SHORT-FORM CATEGORIES."

      # TOPICS: An Emmy for Megan, Megan Amram, Emmys, Television Academy

    • Seth Meyers writes a plea to "Save Detroiters"
      Source: Vulture

      The Late Night host, writing for Vulture, calls the canceled Comedy Central series -- co-created and co-starring his former SNL colleague Tim Robinson -- "the most brilliantly stupid show on TV." Meyers writes: "There are so many wonderful comedies on television today. Shows that present new and interesting perspectives and make you think about the world in ways you never have before. Detroiters was not one of those shows. Detroiters was an old-school cackler. The only thing it ever made me think was, 'I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard at a television show.'"

      # TOPICS: Detroiters, Comedy Central, Seth Meyers, Tim Robinson

    • How TV's blockbuster special effects have evolved to become "movie good"
      Source: Vulture

      "Today, every effects-driven series expects its monsters and spaceships and dragons to look like ones you’d see on the big screen," says Calum Marsh. "...Ask any producer, supervisor, or artist in the VFX industry about the difference between effects for movies and effects for TV and you will hear the same thing: These days, there is no difference. Most major effects houses work on both Hollywood blockbusters and high-profile television shows at the same time; the same people who bring to life, say, the luminescent lasso in Wonder Woman are the ones who cook up the robotic bulls in Westworld."

      # TOPICS: Peak TV, Westworld, Visual Effects

    • Fans of the original Battlestar Galactica thought rebooting the show was a bad idea 15 years ago
      Source: Indiewire

      The original fans didn't seem impressed before the miniseries that kicked off the rebooted Battlestar aired on Dec. 8 and 9, 2003. "In 2003, the San Diego Comic-Con was a much less intense event than it is today, but networks and studios still saw the value of promoting new TV shows to fans," recalls Liz Shannon Miller. "So, a few months before the premiere of the miniseries that re-launched Battlestar Galactica, creator Ronald D. Moore and cast members Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, and Katee Sackhoff, sat on a raised platform in one of the venue’s smaller conference rooms. They screened the trailer. And then they ate a lot of crap. Although the original Battlestar Galactica premiered in 1978 for just one season, the audience was rooted in debating the old version, and why the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was then known) wanted to reboot the show...Two years later, Battlestar returned to San Diego Comic-Con — but this time, they were in the massive Ballroom 20 before a packed crowd in love with its dark and political sci-fi storytelling. They were converts to Moore’s vision..." ALSO: Tricia Helfer discusses her 15th-anniversary Battlestar podcast.

      # TOPICS: Battlestar Galactica (2004), Syfy, Ronald D. Moore, Retro TV

    • Peter Jackson's remake of The Dam Busters could become a Band of Brothers-like TV series
      Source: The Independent

      The Lord of the Rings director has spent more than a decade developing a remake of the 1955 British epic World War II film about the 1943 British Dambusters Raid against the Nazis. Jackson's plan was to produce the film, while his Lord of the Rings collaborator Christian Rivers directs. But, says Rivers, “I’m still trying to convince Pete that we need to make The Dam Busters as a 10-part TV show. I think he wants to do that, but we’ll see.” Rivers adds: “There’s so much depth in the characters, each one could have their own story. And 10 episodes, people accept that format much more now thanks to somewhere like HBO, which did Band of Brothers and The Pacific.”

      # TOPICS: Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Christian Rivers, Peter Jackson

    • Carl Reiner on CBS' colorized episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show: "It really lends itself to color"
      Source: Entertainment Weekly

      The 96-year-old creator of the classic 1960s sitcom is enjoying CBS' tradition of colorizing a couple episodes during the holidays. "They’re wonderful," he tells EW. "It’s nice to see Mary Tyler Moore’s flashing black eyes and her hair. And Dick Van Dyke is the most talented human being ever. As a matter of fact, Steve Martin once said that in all of show business, nobody is more talented than Dick Van Dyke, and I agree with that."

      # TOPICS: The Dick Van Dyke Show, CBS, Carl Reiner, Retro TV

    • Celebrities pick their favorite TV shows of 2018
      Source: Variety

      James Van Der Beek loved Atlanta and Ultimate Beastmaster, while Kathy Griffin's favorite show of 2018 was 90 Day Fiancé.

      # TOPICS: Peak TV, 90 Day Fiancé, Atlanta, Ultimate Beastmaster, James Van Der Beek, Kathy Griffin

    • Warner Bros. Studio Tour adds lunch at Lorelai Gilmore's house to its holiday schedule
      Source: Us Weekly

      The Gilmore Girls-themed lunch will be available through Jan. 6.

      # TOPICS: Gilmore Girls, Marketing, Retro TV

    • Netflix's The Final Table is "a pretentious display of global overconsumption"
      Source: Decider

      "The televised cooking competition has reached its decadent, over-budgeted endgame" with the reality competition The Final Table, says Neal Pollack. "The show," he says, "is filled with self-regard to the point of absurdity. Master chefs from around the world emerge from a tunnel to a display of light and noise that would embarrass Vince McMahon. A studio audience five times the size of The Price Is Right‘s applauds and whoops while overlooking a cavernous arena of gas stoves and a pantry filled with enough luxury goods to feed Los Angeles’ homeless population for a month. Because the ingredients are of such high quality and the cheftestants so talented, much of the food that gets prepared looks amazing. It’s like watching a junket, playing out in real time, that makes you simultaneously want to travel the world eating everything but also burrow in a hole and starve out your days for supporting such a spectacle."

      # TOPICS: The Final Table, Netflix, Reality TV

    • NBC's Timeless teases its two-hour series finale
      Source: YouTube

      The "Time Team's Final Mission" airs on Thursday, Dec. 20.

      # TOPICS: Timeless, NBC, Trailers & Teasers

    • Dancing with the Stars champ Bobby Bones: "I’m never dancing again. I have retired from dancing"
      Source: People

      "The dancing thing was crazy because I went into it not knowing how hard it actually was," he tells People. "Being around the pros and actually seeing them do their thing, they’re professional athletes.”

      # TOPICS: Dancing with the Stars, ABC, Bobby Bones, Reality TV

    • Netflix's Springsteen on Broadway meets the challenge of translating Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show to TV
      Source: The A.V. Club

      "How does one bring cameras into such a space and not feel like they’re imposing?" says David Anthony. "The hushed, churchlike reverence inside Walter Kerr (Theatre) is what made the show a destination event for fans from across the globe, and while having it easily accessible on Netflix is much more convenient, is it possible to translate the performance’s true power? Perhaps more importantly, is it in service of what Springsteen has spent the bulk of this decade trying to express?" He adds: "The camera work in this early going is a bit manic, cutting between shots in a way that feels more like a comedy special than a modern take on VH1 Storytellers. But slowly, the pace settles, allowing for Springsteen to lock eyes with the camera and talk directly to the people on the other side. The joy of Springsteen On Broadway, both live and taped, is that it feels like a long, unbroken take."

      # TOPICS: Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix, Bruce Springsteen

    • American Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken prove to be perfect complements in their Christmas stage show
      Source: The New York Times

      The Season 2 Idol champ and runner-up's two-hour stage show, titled Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, showcases their personalities and singing abilities. "Mr. Aiken has an impish mien and, we’ll later discover in an audience-participation segment, a quick wit," says Elisabeth Vincentelli. "Mr. Studdard is laid back to the point of impassivity, and his no-presence presence makes his singing all the more stunning: He has the precision and warmth of a top-shelf R&B crooner while looking as if his mind was elsewhere entirely. On Donny Hathaway’s 'This Christmas,' Mr. Studdard surfs over the notes like a sleigh effortlessly gliding over fresh snow. He is that good" ALSO: Aiken and Studdard have "fixed" "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for their stage show.

      # TOPICS: American Idol, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Christmas

    • Netflix's The Innocent Man is a missed opportunity to tell a more comprehensive story
      Source: The Atlantic

      The six-part true-crime docuseries based on the John Grisham's nonfiction book about two wrongful conviction murders in small-town Ada, Oklahoma has all the usual true-crime docuseries tropes, yet there's something missing. "The Innocent Man lays out neat timelines, stacks of evidence, an admirable number of in-person interviews, and a compelling argument that police and prosecutors in Ada unlawfully collaborated in getting four men convicted of murder," says Sophie Gilbert. "What it doesn’t explain is why the show’s events came to pass. The superlative true-crime series of the past few years don’t just re-litigate old cases and (very occasionally) produce definitive answers; they investigate the cultural and societal factors at play. Both Ezra Edelman’s Oscar-winning O.J.: Made in America and Ryan Murphy’s The People v. O. J. Simpson used the same obsessively covered crime to reveal sharp insights about race, celebrity, and tabloid culture. Netflix’s own The Keepers framed itself around a murder, but ended up telling a more thoughtful and valuable story about trauma, recovery, and fighting for justice. Throughout all six episodes of The Innocent Man, elements studded into the story beg to be examined more closely. Not the nitty-gritty facts of the two crimes, which are exhaustively unpacked, but the circumstances that contributed to them."

      ALSO:

      # TOPICS: The Innocent Man, Netflix, John Grisham, Documentaries

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