Video - Three Minutes at '30 Rock'

Hi. I’m Tracy Jordan, and I’m bringing The Black back to NBC. And I’m proud as a peacock! Right, my baloney? (Episode 2.) Update: View the first four minutes of the pilot at Yahoo. Plus, the next 1:30 via YouTube., premiering Wed, Oct 11th.

Posted by Ted Zee on September 30th 2006 | 0 Comments

Casual Links For Weekenders

Week in Review: Sacha Cohen promotes movie, important people have taken offense. The locomotion of action/reaction will plug on until the barnburning November release. One year from now, Borat will be spotted at a costume party near you, where slurred words will quote him like so many Austin Powers utterances - Yeah Baby.

Opening this weekend (trailers) - controversial creepfest Jesus Camp (limited), Billy Bob Thornton accompanied by an unnamed actor in School For Scoundrels, and Forest Whittaker in Last King of Scotland (limited).

Kung Fu Hustle, American Psycho, and Memento mentioned in A.V. Club’s Midnight Movie List.

who dat ninja tracey morgan 30 rock30 Rock buzz - Tracy Morgan (as T. Jordan) in faux-film one-sheets for Who Dat Ninga (sic) and Black Cop, White Cop (via EW).

Studio 60 - Where’s the comedy? I’ll cop a guilty plea for perpetuating the hype (maybe YouTube makes everything look better, like leaked pilots) and I’m ready to eat my words, because NBC’s pride and joy is losing steam at this early juncture - it’s (not) funny because it’s true. With a different creator working behind the scenes, the bar wouldn’t have been set as high, but the show needs more than a few touches to prove that Sorkin’s not at a loss for post-West Wing relevance. Drop Stephen Webber as the flaccid network chairman, along with Sarah Paulson - and if you’re going to go on and on about how hilarious this “Crazy Christians” skit is for two episodes, have the balls to show it, in lieu of sadly anticlimactic opening musical numbers.

Saturday Night Live premieres this weekend. Dane Cook, The Killers, an all out Boregasm - predicts Goldenfiddle. True.

Pregnant - Lauren Ambrose, six months in, while most of her other Six Feet Under castmates are back out there, trying to put food on the table. Not like I need an excuse, or would allow anyone to forget about Michael C. Hall in Dexter, premiering Sunday on Showtime.

HBO announces the future adaptation of UK production Suburban Shootout (trailer). Snap analysis - Desperate Housewives in a gun-toting Battle Royale.

If David Spade (signed to new sitcom gig) falls in the forest, and nobody’s watching, would he make a sound?

Posted by Ted Zee on September 29th 2006 | 0 Comments

Trailer: 'I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay'

South Korean director Chan-Wook Park, having concluded his “vengeance trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) has his mind on the cuckoo’s nest in the upcoming I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay. Expect a surprisingly romantic feel to the film, for a director best known for his ultra-violent tendencies (both compared to, and admired by Tarantino). However, Park’s unmistakably cockeyed approach still shines through in spades - An asylum resident that believes that she’s a combat cyborg, crosses paths with another that reckons he can just reach out and steal the souls of those around him.

Trailer - w/o subtitles, because comprehension is overrated. Downloadable versions available at kfc cinema.  Via Twitch

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 28th 2006 | 0 Comments

What You Won't See in 'The Departed'

Wanting to add a wild “sexual component” to Mafia boss Frank Costello in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Departed, Jack Nicholson suggested an off-the-cuff idea to the director that was shot, but ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. As he earlier told Rolling Stone, “Look, I just thought of what would be an interesting scene for my character - him having wild sex. And in this scene with two girls, one of the girls is wearing a strap-on. This was my idea and it was improvisational, and Marty went for it.” (via All Headline News)

Once the film premiered in New York on Tuesday however, the sex-aid was nowhere to be found in the aforementioned scene - amongst the hookers, the Joker, and the cocaine. However, Jack’s new toy did sneak into another moment in the film, where the playful Nicholson flashes co-star Matt Damon’s character in an adult theater. Via Defamer.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 28th 2006 | 0 Comments

Bowie, Gervais, 'Extras' Season Two

Across the pond, there are brand new episodes of Ricky Gervais in Extras to enjoy, while all we get are the scraps. Here’s Ricky as up and comer Andy Millman, relegated to scene stealing during the occasional extra gig in season one - but look at him now, with his sitcom project picked up by the BBC, he’s able to hobnob with the likes of David Bowie, providing impromptu piano-magical inspiration.

The air date for season two in the states (HBO) is TBA, but here’s four additional clips to tide you over: Andy’s sitcom When The Whistle Blows, taped before a studio audience | Tightening up a sullen scene | Enlisting best friend forever, Maggie, for a pick-up line assist. | With Harry Potter.

via tvsquad

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 27th 2006 | 0 Comments

Fey and Poehler Hit Big Screen in 'Baby Mama'

tina fey baby mamaTag team, back again - it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, not even a year removed from pairing up on SNL’s Weekend Update, now destined to rejoin forces in another Lorne Michaels produced joint, this time in theaters - the comedy Baby Mama finds the two as career woman and hired surrogate. Who plays who? Ask your mother. Work on the film begins next summer. In the meantime, you’ll find Fey soon enough over at 30 Rock and Poehler squarely back in her Update chair on Saturday nights.

Source: Variety

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 27th 2006 | 0 Comments

'Nip/Tuck' creator's next: Transsexual Drama

Ryan Murphy, writer/creator of FX series Nip/Tuck, has a five-year plan for a new drama lined up for the network, entitled 4 oz.. The series is about a “gender -conflicted” sportswriter who makes the decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery - the five season arc follows the protagonist through progressive steps towards the big switch. From Variety:

“The first season deals with the revelation of his secret,” Murphy said. “In the second season, he begins dressing like a woman. The third covers the surgery, and his inherent doubts about going through with it, and by the fourth season, he’s living as a woman and attempting to find love.”

Murphy said “4 oz.” refers to the average weight of a penis, remarkably light given the amount of havoc it creates for men.

Helping to steer the genre/gender bender from behind the scenes is Brad Pitt, who has a keen interest in Murphy’s next three projects - Pitt has executive producer credits attached to 4 oz., Murphy’s feature film debut Running with Scissors, as well as follow up Dirty Tricks.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 27th 2006 | 2 Comments

'Everybody Hates Chris' Online

On air Oct 1st, but free and online today, the season two premiere of Chris Rock produced, written, and narrated Everybody Hates Chris. Based on his childhood days in Brooklyn - you can only view it using Internet Explorer, and you must endure guest star Whoopi Goldberg. That’s how they get you. Available here.

Posted by Ted Zee on September 26th 2006 | 0 Comments

Review Roundup: 'The Science of Sleep'

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In limited release this weekend - Director Michel Gondry, post- Block Party, sans like-minded screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, but back to the subconscious in this fantastical, magical mystery tour of the mind - The Science of Sleep (Trailer). Dreamer slash visionary of the highest order, Stephane (Gael García Bernal) finds that waking and working hours pale in comparion to his cerebral, nocturnal happenings - and then arrives next-door neighbor Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsborg). Awkward, romantic call and response follows, along with melding of the real/surreal. Elaborate set design, whimsical cardboard constructions, stop-motion techniques, Bernal, Gainsbourg - much eye candy to be had, for sure. But what substance lies below the music video veener? Early word out on the wire:

“Plays out like an indie version of Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, albeit with none of the star power, a quarter of the budget, half the angst, and twice the charm.” - The Onion’s A.V. Club.

“It’s rare for young actors to exude as much charisma and charm as Gainsbourg and García Bernal; they flicker like tiny, pulsating stars in a glaring galaxy of manufactured celebrity.” - L.A. Times

“A breathtakingly imaginative film, positively littered with arresting visuals that could only have come from Gondry’s mind…Those who come to this expecting a romantic comedy will be confused and likely angry…Those who get it, though, are likely to get it hard and so while unlikely to further the cult of Gondry, The Science of Sleep should further cement his status among already existing acolytes.” - via Twitch.

“So profoundly idiosyncratic, and so confident in its oddity, that any attempt to describe it is bound to be misleading…you leave this buoyant, impish movie feeling a little blue: sorry that it had to end and also wishing, perhaps, that it amounted to more. - The New York Times.

More of the generally positive, yet “left wanting” reviews, via Metacritic.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 22nd 2006 | 4 Comments

'Dexter' Pilot Online

The hour-long pilot for Michael C. Hall’s Dexter has been released online by Showtime. Here’s your opportunity to examine the exploits of the charming asexual - the single, sleuthful, wise-cracking blood-splatter analyst by day - Dexter, whose Miami nights promise more blood than his paying job. Moral ambiguity abound, darker than Six Feet. I just had the opportunity to give it a spin, and it does not disappoint. Still number one on my fall TV list, now with good reason.

Available for free, at Showtime’s page. Password is “sneakpeek”. Via Whedonesque.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 21st 2006 | 4 Comments

SNL Firings, Finally

After promising that the cast of Saturday Night Live would face cuts back in July, Lorne Michaels finally let Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell, and Finesse Mitchell go, according to Variety. Sanz and Parnell’s names were cast about in the rumor mill since Michaels mentioned that, due to budgetary concerns, the cast would eventually need further cuts, beyond Tina Fey and Rachel Datch’s departure for 30 Rock. Keenan Thompson was also named in earlier speculation, but he’s still in the SNL fold for now. By the way, Sanz claims on his myspace blog that it was his decision to leave the show. Way to leave your people swaying in the wind for two months, NBC. Via TV Tattle and TV Squad.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 20th 2006 | 0 Comments

Chan Marshall Mulls Acting Gigs

cat power chan marshallWednesday’s New York Times features an article about Atlanta singer songwriter Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, and her past struggles with substance abuse. The bi-product of which - her notorious stage presence, or lack thereof. Mumbling, bumbling - start song, pause, abort song, start another - all part of the Cat Power mystique. Two weeks prior to the January release of “The Greatest”, her most fully realized album to date, she had a full-blown breakdown, and was entered into Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami for psychiatric treatment. A week later she was released, and on her way towards recovery. So now, with her once cancelled tour back on, performances now markedly improved, and another album (entitled “Sun”) in the pipeline, she’s making some noise again - even providing inspiration on the set of Wong Kar-Wai’s (In the Mood For Love, 2046) film: My Blueberry Nights. From the latter part of this NYT piece:

Like Will Oldham, another indie-folk rocker who is currently starring in the film “Old Joy,” Ms. Marshall is considering a foray into acting. She said that the cult director Wong Kar-wai invited her to play Jude Law’s ex-lover in the movie he is now shooting. Mr. Wong, she said, told her he was in the habit of playing “The Greatest” for his actors before each scene.

Ms. Marshall spoke of auditioning to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live” next summer. Then again, maybe her future involves domesticity. She said she was ready for a relationship and wanted to have children.

OK. Let’s not get carried away with the speculation at this juncture, as Chan has been known to toss out some verbal oddities, and more than likely, was pulling the interviewer’s chain about SNL. And unfortunately, the piece doesn’t mention whether Chan actually accepted the role in Blueberry Nights. Probably just wishful thinking, but the mere thought of a Cat Power and Wong Kar-Wai collaboration? Who put their chocolate in my peanut butter?

Video: New York Times with Chan Marshall | Cat Power on Letterman

Related: Wong Kar-Wai Owns Memphis (My Blueberry Nights)

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 19th 2006 | 4 Comments

HBO's 'Lucky Louie" Cancelled

Farewell Louie. Some of us laughed at your workin’ man comedic stylings - bare ass flashes, mixed with sailor talk. Some didn’t. But it was the indifferent ones that led to your untimely demise.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 18th 2006 | 13 Comments

10 Fall TV Picks

Just to get an idea of what I’ll be covering on the television end in the next few months – with the fall television season about to pop, starting with Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip (NBC) tonight, then a lengthy list of other premieres this week, the following are my most anticipated kickoffs, both new and returning. Network and premiere dates listed:

10. Saturday Night Live: NBC (Sat, 9/30) Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch are off to 30 Rock, and Lorne Michaels promised that a few firings are in store before the premiere. A few names have been bandied about as on the chopping block (Horatio Sanz, Finesse Mitchell, Chris Parnell, and Kenan Thompson) though no official word has come down as of yet. What is known is that Seth Meyers will replace Fey as the new head writer, one-joke skits will be milked for all their worth, and the show will be on Saturday nights. Update: Sanz, Parnell, and Mitchell officially gone.

9. The Nine: ABC (Wed, 10/4) Serialized dramas are all the rage this year, requiring fans to invest time following long, sweeping story lines. In a year that critics are noting as especially strong for new and engaging series, the networks can only hope that there’s enough people with too much time on their hands. Fans of Lost may want to make room for this new series – in the murky aftermath of a bank robbery, clues are dropped about nine hostages and their roles as unwilling participants. Who are the nine? What happened in there?

8. Ugly Betty: ABC (Thurs, 9/28) Already adapted across the globe in locales such as India, Germany, and Mexico, Columbian soap opera Yo Soy Betty La Fea finally makes it stateside in hour-long comedy format. America Ferrara as nerdy, plain-jane Betty, falling ass-backwards into an assistant gig for a New York fashion magazine mogul. With the mixed blessing of leading into Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays, yet up against both My Name is Earl and The Office, early critical buzz has Betty pegged as one to watch. Ok. I’ll give it a test drive via the TiVo.

7. The Lost Room (miniseries): (Sci Fi Channel – December) TV work for Six Feet Under alumni is not in short supply. We’ll have Rachel Griffiths in ABC’s Sons and Daughters, Jeremy Sisto in NBC’s Kidnapped, James Cromwell in 24, and Michael C. Hall in….(keep reading). Peter Krause (aka Nate Fisher) will make a brief return to the small screen in miniseries The Lost Room. Also featuring Kevin Pollack and Julianna Margulies, Krause stars as a detective caught up in the mystery of a motel room full of seemingly ordinary objects that hold varied and unknown powers. In possession of the key to the room, and his daughter (Ellie Fanning, sister of Dakota) having vanished within, he finds himself running from both the police and criminal minded groups, while desperately seeking his lost child.

6. The Office: NBC (Thurs, 9/21) Back from the best, and most anticipated cliffhanger moment of last year’s TV season, the pacing of Jim and Pam’s evolving relationship in season 3 will be critical – to take things too far with the pairing would dissipate much of the lingering tension that makes The Office so endearing. Speculation is high, as the season premiere should take place in real time, meaning summer is over, and Pam and oafish Roy may already have tied the knot. Need a fix in the meantime? Visit OfficeTally.com, the ultimate destination for all manners of news, tidbits and spoilers.

5. 30 Rock: NBC (Wed, 10/11) If you leave SNL for a show based on SNL, where do you go from there? Tina Fey may ask herself the same question if her ship-jumping creation doesn’t pan out. Featuring Alec Baldwin, (coincidentally one of the most featured guest hosts in SNL history), as well as Tracy Morgan, whose tip of the hat to a Martin Lawrence highway freak out is well alone worth a peek on a Wednesday night.

4. Top Chef: Bravo (Wed,10/18) With a direct bloodline to Project Runway, those devoted to Bravo’s hit Wednesday night offering should welcome the wannabe culinary stars and their own brand of bitchy, opportunistic fun. Premiering immediately after the conclusion of Runway’s finale, if last season’s Top Chef was any indication, you’ll be able to transfer all your venom and snark towards the next Santino or Wendy Pepper bearing knives and frying pans.

3. The Wire: HBO (Sun, 9/10) If you missed the season four premiere of what many critics are calling the best thing on television, don’t fret. Check it out on HBO’s On Demand (in fact, they’re premiering new episodes there before the actual air dates), or if you’re new to the series, do yourself a favor and give this show a proper evaluation by renting season one. With a little patience, and the attention necessary to fully appreciate the hard look at Baltimore’s corners and corridors, seen through the eyes of all races and classes, you likely to find The Wire’s slow boil of urban drama well worth the investment.

2. Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip: NBC (Mon, 9/18) Many have posed the question, “Can two shows, using Saturday Night Live as a jumping off reference, co-exist on the same network?” Despite past indiscretions in his personal and professional history, creator/writer Sorkin is known as a purveyor of top-quality dramas, and NBC will be sure to allow him a longer leash than 30 Rock. Featuring West Wing-er Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, and a host of additional well known prime-time commodities, the pilot episode sparkles with classic Sorkinisms, save for a lack of fast chattering walk and talk sequences. Best case scenario – both Sorkin and Fey stick to their strengths and deliver the goods, viewers tune in, and everybody wins. Missed the pilot episode for Studio 60? Watch it on online for free.

1. Dexter: Showtime: (Sun, 10/1) Despite limited success in producing quality original series, Showtime offers up number one on my watchlist. Back from Six Feet Under, to a more sordid occupation, Michael C. Hall stars as a forensic scientist working the Miami beat. (3 preview videos.) Based on novelist Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter, faced with grim murder scenes, and backpedding from childhood trauma, Dexter acts as judge and jury, tracking down killers and handing out his own grizzly justice. Think American Psycho – Miami. While in production, Showtime made a few tweaks to the show to turn up the dark comedy aspects, and tone down the straight slasher flick content. Plus, it’s not all late-night knife wielding for Dex, what with his girlfriend to keep happy, and sister within the police force to advise, he has to keep up appearances with the normal folk to dissuade suspicious notions. I’d imagine the premise alone is enough to turn off the squeamish, but if Six Feet was able to find the magic balance of humor, death, and drama, what’s to stop the former Emmy nominated Michael C. Hall and Dexter?

A few more I’ll be keeping an eye out for – Kidnapped (NBC 9/20), My Name is Earl (NBC 9/21), Everybody Hates Chris (CW 10/1), Weeds (Showtime – in progress) Six Feet Under reruns (Bravo 10/2). Plus, both Mr. T and Ice-T have lessons to dole out to the viewing public in I Pity the Fool (TV Land 10/11) and Ice-T’s Rap School (VH-1 10/17).

More fall TV: Networks tripping over themselves to get premieres online, serialized dramas rule fall lineups, and the definitive references: TV Tattle and The Futon Critic.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 18th 2006 | 4 Comments

Clips from Christopher Guest's 'For Your Consideration'

In a departure from his trademark mockumentary format, Christopher Guest takes aim at the Hollywood System in For Your Consideration, opening in limited release on November 17th, wide on November 22nd. With the usual troupe in tow, along with additions such as Ricky Gervais, playing a studio head, Consideration tracks the cast and crew in mid-production of an art house project, as they fall prey to rumors and internet rumblings that the film may be in line for Oscar nods.

Two more clips of Christopher Guest’s special flavors of comedy: Dry and Extra Dry. Plus, production stills from the film, courtesy of ComingSoon.net.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 16th 2006 | 1 Comment

Influx of Videos For Showtime's 'Dexter'

All has been quiet on the Showtime front for Dexter, the Michael C. Hall vehicle premiering on Oct 1st. You would think that the return of a former Six Feet Under-taker starring in their own series would generate a little buzz, right? If not by watching Weeds on Monday nights to catch a teaser ad here and there, you might not know him by name, or the twist to the story, clarified in video three…Oh. Here he is.

It’s Dexter. He’s a forensic scientist, analyzing grizzly murder scenes.
There’s that Dexter again. Hey Guy, aren’t you off the clock?
Yeah, the thing is Dexter, not a peep from Miami’s serial killers lately. Any clues on your end?
Even The L Word girls love Dexter. Because the guy is going to be huge.

Related: Dexter preview.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 15th 2006 | 1 Comment

HBO's 'The Wire' Locked In For 5th Season

Deadwood faithful were hung out to dry in favor of David Milch’s new pet project, and the future of Curb Your Enthusiasm was in question up until a few weeks ago, but there is a future, and end, in sight for HBO’s The Wire.

Creators David Simon and Ed Burns have long claimed that they’ve always had a five-season plan in mind for the show, and just a day after the premiere of season four, Variety reports that The Wire will get it’s proper sendoff - no offseason of hastily written emails or faxes from regular viewers required. Season five will address the mass media, and presumably, continue to highlight the rest of Baltimore’s finest - detectives, dealers, fiends, and elected officials.

Related: Season four preview

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 13th 2006 | 14 Comments

Weeds Recaps: Done

Dear Lacy Laplante Loyalists,
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Ted Zee on September 11th 2006 | 0 Comments

Bravo's Fall TV "DeathWatch"

abc's ugly bettyBravo TV’s offshoot website - Brilliant But Cancelled, is hosting a “Fall 06′ Deathwatch”, allowing visitors to place their bets on which series premiering this fall will be cancelled first. As of late Monday (9/11), Fox sitcom Happy Hour was in the hot seat, at 3 to 1 odds of cancellation. At number two (4 to 1 odds) is ABC’s Men in Trees, starring Anne Heche - at first glance looking like Sex in the City (featuring a former writer of said series) had a fling with Northern Exposure.

Unexpectedly, another ABC comedy - Ugly Betty (pictured), is in third place for most likely to get the early kiss-off. Hot off last week’s national TV critics survey that listed Betty in second as Best Overall New Program (behind Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), it appears as if it’s getting off on the wrong foot with viewers, despite encouraging reviews. Featuring America Ferrera as the awkward prodigy who lands a job with a high fallutin’ fashion magazine, most troubling is it’s time slot - the 60 minute program will be competing directly against NBC’s My Name is Earl, and The Office.

You may vote for whom the bell may toll, once a week at brilliantbutcancelled.com, through September and October. Correct guesses enter you in a drawing for HDTV’s and J-pods.

Related: TV Critics Pick Most Promising Fall Debuts

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 11th 2006 | 2 Comments

Studio 60 Pilot Available Free at AOL

After weeks of playing hide and seek on YouTube, in unsanctioned versions, the pilot episode of Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is now available, for free - right here, courtesy of AOL.com. The proper NBC premiere is on Monday, September 18th.

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Posted by Ted Zee on September 11th 2006 | 5 Comments

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