Well after a week in the hospital, multiple bouts of computer problems, and the design and implementation of a computer-generated Christmas card I finally have a few free minutes to do and entertainment blog. My new computer is sitting in a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis scheduled for delivery tomorrow so this will be the last installment on my trusty old desktop. Some of the so-called “spoilers” may have already occurred because this is so late but perhaps you are far behind on your TV and movie watching as I am in the spoilers will still be spoilers. To get you caught up quickly be sure to check out the first three links in my list below. They are a calendar of Fall finales and January premieres, a series renewal scorecard for prime time TV, and a series renewal scorecard for cable shows. You might want to bookmark those renewal cards because they keep getting updated as new announcements are made.
The first thing I have to share with you is my unending love for the NBC singing competition show “The Sing-Off”. In the competition between 10 a cappella singing groups. There is absolutely no musical accompaniment whatsoever. So the groups not only have two sing their songs, they are 100% responsible for their own arguments and they simulate not only beatbox drums but a variety of other instruments. The judges on the show are probably the most competent and entertaining judges in all reality competition. They are the medicine that cures all of the ills of shows like The Voice, X Factor, and American Idol. My beef with The Voice judges/coaches is that they were very very rarely say anything negative or critical about any of the acts. On X Factor the judges do more squabbling with one another and bad mouthing their mentoring choices than they do giving honest feedback about the acts. And in both X Factor and Dancing with the Stars if the judge does dare make any nonpositive comment, the audience boos so loud you can even hear them. Even constructive criticism is met with ridiculous levels of disdain from the studio audience. On The Sing-Off the judges are real judges they are not mentors assigned to particular groups. And they do give really honest and constructive criticism to the groups about how they can make the next performances better. The studio audience is small but is probably nothing but friends and family of the contestants themselves. The producers have apparently instructed the studio audience to let the judges do the judging because it is very rare that the audience goes off on a judge for giving constructive notes. When asked really does give an outstanding performance, it makes the praise of the judges much more credible because you know that they are not afraid to critique the acts.
The judges themselves however are still every bit as entertaining as any other judges in reality competition TV. Ben Folds is probably the most lovable nerd on television short of Big Bang Theory. He’s probably the most musically intellectual judge on television but still very funny. Sean Stockman has plenty of a cappella credits to his name as one of the original members of Boys 2 Men. And pop/country Jewel rounds out the judging trio replacing Sarah Baralles who judged in previous seasons. This season the show is being shown multiple episodes per week over a two-week period. You’ve already missed the first couple of episodes which should be available on demand. The next new episode is Monday night on NBC. I highly highly recommend this show. If you’re not a fan of a cappella music it can turn you into one very easily.
The other big news story that deserves comment is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who which was celebrated couple of weeks ago with a special episode featuring at least three different actors (spoilers I will tell you how many it really was) portraying the iconic trying traveler The Doctor. It was an action filled and touching dramatic episode sprinkled with great humor and plenty of inside jokes to please Whovians (Dr. Who fans). The episode was also shown in 3-D which was used to great effect in many places. It was the highest rated show ever to air on BBC America. After the Saturday premiere, the 3-D version was shown in theaters across the US and earned $4.2 million from a single showing even though presumably 99% of the attendees had already seen the episode on TV. It was the number two box office film of the day behind Hunger Games 2 .A slew of Doctor Who related specials were also shown on BBC and BBC America. There was also a two-hour dramatic movie about the people who created the TV series back in 1963. It was mostly about actor William Hartnell who was the first actor to portray the doctor. It was very entertaining, very touching and well done. Overall it was a great tribute to a great TV series. Matt Smith who is the 12th (or is it 13th) person to play the Doctor is leaving the show after this year’s Christmas special to be replaced by Peter Cappelli.
As I’m composing this email/blog I just received a news alert that iconic British actor Peter O’Toole has passed away at age 81. He had eight Oscar nominations for such iconic films as Lawrence of Arabia 1963, Beckett 1965, The Lion in Winter, 1969. He also received an honorary Oscar in 2003. Among my favorites of his films however are some of the lesser-known ones such as Venus 2006 and My Favorite Year 1983 both of which earned him an Oscar nominations. However I think my all-time favorite was Creator in 1985 in which he played Dr. Harry Wolper, an aging professor/doctor who is trying to create human life in a test tube in a sad yet touching attempt to clone his dead wife. Is a very funny yet at times melancholy performance that I have watched many times and could watch over and over again. Memorable performances by Vincent Spano and Mariel Hemingway as well. If you’re in a mood to remember the old boy and watch a Peter O’Toole movie, check this one out.
You’ve probably also covered that action star Paul Walker of the Fast and Furious franchise died in a car accident at age 40. He was not at the wheel.
Fans of Psych… Don’t forget the special two-hour musical episode tonight on USA Network.
Now on with the usual program… In the links below read
A must-see calendar of December finales, January premiere’s etc. don’t miss it exhalation point
Interview with Kurt Sutter, Maggie Siff and Katie Sagal about season finale of Sons of Anarchy
Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated November 26 (geez I am behind!)
A look at The Mentalist now that the Red John story has wrapped
Interview with producers of The Good Wife after their 100th episode
Interview with Stephen Moyer about what happens to Bill in the final season of True Blood
Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated December 3
Interview with Jimmy Smits about the second the last episode of Sons of Anarchy for this season
Interview with Jeff Perry (Cyrus from Scandal) about plot twists involving his character
Writers Guild nominations for TV
Spoilers from Matt’s Inside Line dated December 5
TVLine mixtape. Music from your favorite TV shows week of December 7
Screen Actors Guild nominations for TV only
Details about the upcoming Netflix only season 4 of The Killing
Interview with producer Robert Kirkman about the midseason finale of The Walking Dead
Not in the links below but also of interest
Fox animated series The Family Guy: big surprise by killing off the dog Brian Griffin. Rumors are he may get a surprise resurrection as a Christmas miracle
Forward today show and ABC news host Katie Couric is moving to Yahoo news. She will continue to host her syndicated talkshow Katie.
Andrew J West is joining the cast of The Walking Dead in the second half of the season in a character named Garth who does not appear in the original comics
Martin Sheen will start in The Whale for BBC/Animal Planet. A two-hour film based on the true story of whaling ship The Essex which was said to be the inspiration for Moby Dick
Amy Brenneman will guest star in CW networks Reign as princes Mary’s mother
CW network as renewed Reign, The Originals and The Tomorrow People all new series this year. I tried Reign and although I like these royal period pieces, this one didn’t work for me. Skipped The Originals. Tomorrow People is watchable if you are diehard sci-fi fan like me.
Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC talkshow has been canceled after just four episodes. He recently shouted anti-gay epithets at a paparazzi.
John Corbett will return to guest star on Parenthood as Drew and Amber’s dad
BBC America has renewed its new fantasy series Atlantis for a second season
Alex Kingston a.k.a. Doctor Who’s wife Dr. River Song is returning to CW’s Arrow as Dinah Lance
The Blacklist has been renewed for season 2
James Brolin will return to guest star Castle as Rick’s father
Season 2 of the Netflix series House of Cards will premiere February 14
SyFy Channel has ordered a series titled Dominion based on the 2010 supernatural film Legion
ABC is cutting season 3 of Scandal from 22 episodes to 18 episodes because Kerry Washington is pregnant and they are not writing the pregnancy into the storyline.
AMC has announced Low Winter Sun was too low rated to be renewed.
Fox has cut episodes of its new sitcom Dads from 22 episodes down to 19
Showtime has announced that season 7 will be the final four Californication which will return in April
This week’s “sure sign of the pending apocalypse award” goes to The Sportsman Channel for creating a new reality series for Sarah Palin
Megan Mullally will guest star on Sean Saves the World
Showtime series Episodes have been renewed for season 4
Favorite bad guy Robert Knepper a.k.a. Prison Break’s “T-bag” will join the cast of Arrow as Tockman a.k.a. “Clock King”. He will also star in the final two installments of Hunger Games as Antonius. He is currently appearing in Mob City on TNT.
Matthew Perry will reboot The Odd Couple for CBS.
Hawaii 50 has promoted Chi McBride plays Capt. Lou Grover to series regular
Christopher Gorham a.k.a. Augie on Covert Affairs will guest star very briefly on Once upon a Time
MBC is considering a werewolf series from the producers of its current Dracula series. Can Frankenstein be far behind?
ABC has acquired the rights to show Peanuts specials through the year 2020
HBO will tape performances of Billy Crystal’s one-man show “700 Sundays” for future airing
Sky Dance productions will reboot the Terminator series with a trilogy of movies beginning in 2015 and a possible TV show
The Amazing Spiderman 2 will get an IMAX 3-D release this spring
Showtime will air the Rolling Stones documentary Return to Hyde Park on December 20
Tom Cruise is developing another Jack Reacher film based on the novel “Never Go Back”
Star Wars VII, the first at the helm of producer JJ Abrams will premiere Christmas 2015. I’m disappointed they are breaking with the tradition of a month of May release