Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 1 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did

2012-13 Week 1 TV Ratings (first four nights of the season, Mon-Thu): 

Households: #1. CBS 7.9/12.5 rating/share (-13% in rating from first four nights week 1 in 2011); #2. ABC 6.7/10.6 (-18%); #3. NBC 4.6/7.3 (+24%); #4. Fox 4.2/6.5 (-29%); #5. The CW 0.4/0.7 (-60%).
Total Viewers: #1. CBS 12.69 million (-14%); #2. ABC 10.25 million (-18%); #3. NBC 7.2 million (+22%); #4. Fox 6.95 million (-30%); #5. The CW 620,000 viewers (-61%).
Adults 18-49: #1. CBS 3.1/8.7 rating/share (-24%); #2. Fox 2.6/7.3 (-32%); #3. ABC 2.6/7.2 (-24%); #4. NBC 2.5/7.1 (+19%); #5. The CW 0.3/0.7 (-57%).

Week 1 (Sept. 23-30) Analysis: Summer's over! We're back with another all-new TV season but we're off to a slow start, minus NBC (thanks to The Voice). And The CW launches its new shows this coming week, so that's why they are down big year-to-year through the first four nights. The 2012-13 season has begun and most of the shows debuted this past week, with still a few shows debuting or having their season premieres in the coming weeks. Through the first four nights, CBS has the lead in all categories but it is very close and they are down big from last season. ABC is in second in HH/viewers and tied with Fox for second in 18-49. NBC is actually in third in HH/viewers, but still fourth in 18-49, but that will change after tonight's NFL game. I expect CBS to take the week in HH/viewers for sure. ABC will likely remain second in HH/viewers, with NBC third and Fox in fourth. Among adults 18-49, we can see some big changes after tonight. Right now only a half a point separates #1 from #4, so if NBC has a big NFL game they could move up to second place or even first place. It will be interesting, especially if ABC's new Sunday line-up does big tonight, too. CBS, ABC and Fox are all down a good amount from last season's premiere week, with only NBC showing gains through the first four nights...because of The Voice (which has helped new drama Revolution).

Monday was the first night of the 2012-13 season and it was NBC on top in 18-49 and ABC in total viewers. Starting with ABC, the two-hour season premiere of Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars won the total viewer race with 14.11 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, down from last fall's premiere by five million and 1.5 18-49 rating points. Competing against The Voice has hurt it. The season premiere of Castle followed with a first place 10.45 million but a second place 2.1 18-49 rating, down 1.1 points in 18-49 from last season's premiere. For NBC, a two-hour The Voice, which is in week 3, did 12.18 million and a night best 4.4 18-49 rating. At 10pm, week two of Revolution did well for NBC with 9.21 million and a 3.4 18-49 rating, down seven tenths from its premiere but still solid. Next up was CBS with its comedies and the season premiere of Hawaii Five-0. How I Met Your Mother started it off with 8.84 million and a 3.6 18-49 rating, down 1.1 points in 18-49 from last year's premiere in the same time period. The series premiere of Partners followed with just 6.56 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating, down a dramatic 2.8 points in 18-49 from last season's How I Met Your Mother in the same time period. Not a good start! Then it was the season premiere of 2 Broke Girls at its new time of 9pm doing 10.14 million and a 3.7 18-49 rating, which of course was no where near the Men premiere from last season but it was down.3.4 18-49 rating points from last season's series premiere at 9:30pm. That was inflated though. Even so, Broke was down from its average from last season. The season premiere of Mike & Molly followed with 9.45 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, down 4 18-49 rating points from last season's 2 Broke Girls premiere in the time period, obviously. Mike & Molly was down 1.8 18-49 rating points from last season's premiere in week 2. The season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 was next doing 8.06 million and a third place 1.8 18-49 rating, off 1.6 18-49 rating points from the season premiere last season. Not good! Fox was next with week two of Bones doing 7.61 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating at 8pm, followed by the second episode of The Mob Doctor doing only 3.85 million and 1.3 18-49 rating, down two tenths in 18-49 from a very weak premiere. It will likely be pulled soon unless it starts going up. The CW was airing its summer programming still. Look for season premieres of 90120 and Gossip Girl starting Oct. 8.

On Tuesday, it was CBS with the victory in both measures. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 20.48 million and a 4.1 18-49 rating, down only two tenths from last year's premiere. Amazing. The season premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles was next and did 16.74 million and 3.4 18-49 rating, also down only two tenths from last year's premiere. And finally CBS premiered new series Vegas and did 14.85 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, but down four tenths from the premiere of Unforgettable last season. An OK start, but it needs to do better, as the series it replaced did better. ABC was next with the a special Dancing with the Stars All-Stars: The Results leading the night off which was from 8-10pm doing 11.79 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, down eight tenths from last fall's premiere, but that was just the 9pm hour. If you compare just the 9pm hour (which was the hour that had the results), it was down four tenths from last year's premiere. We sadly said goodbye to Pamela Anderson. The season premiere of Private Practice followed and did 6.45 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating, which was down three tenths from the season premiere of Body of Proof from last year in the same time period. Could be better though and I think it will be consistent, even going up from time to time. NBC started off solidly with week 3 of The Voice in the 8pm hour doing 11.57 million and a 4.2 18-49 rating, just getting by CBS. New comedy Go On followed with 6.92 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating, but it lost to the competing Fox comedy. And week three of The New Normal did 5.09 million and a 2.0 18-49 rating, which concerning. A new Parenthood at 10pm did 4.89 million and a third place 1.8 18-49 rating. After starting off great at 8pm, NBC went down each half-hour from 9-11pm. Fox started it off with a special New Girl at a special time of 8pm doing 5.35 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, followed by the series premiere of Ben & Kate doing doing only 4.21 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, as the hour was down 1.6 18-49 rating points from last fall's Glee premiere in the time period. At 9pm, we had a second episode of New Girl at its normal time doing 5.18 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, down a big 2 18-49 rating points from last season's premiere. It is still solid, though. The series premiere of The Mindy Project at 9:30pm did 4.67 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating, down seven tenths from Raising Hope's season premiere in the time period last year. Not a good start, if you ask me. The CW aired repeats, look for Hart of Dixie launching this week at 8pm and new series Emily Owens MD starting Oct. 16 at 9pm.

Wednesday it was Fox with the win though ABC was very solid in 18-49. First, CBS started the night off on top with week two of Survivor: Philippines at 10.31 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from week two last fall. Veteran drama Criminal Minds did 11.73 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, down a full 18-49 point from last season's premiere. At 10pm, the season premiere of CSI did a decent 10.76 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, down seven tenths in 18-49 from last year's season premiere. ABC started off with its Comedy Wednesday comedy block with a one-hour premiere of The Middle doing a big 9.16 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating, down just two tenths from last year's one-hour premiere. At 9pm, the season premiere of Modern Family was next and opened huge with 14.44 million and a 5.5 18-49 rating, down six tenths from last year's two-episode premiere. Counting just the first half-hour from last year, it was down less and basically on par. The series premiere of The Neighbors was next at a special time of 9:30pm and did solid with 9.22 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating. It will move to 8:30pm this coming week, so if it does close to those numbers there, ABC will have a nice hit. At 10pm a clip show for Revenge did 5.2 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating. Look for the season premiere tonight at a new night and time! We critics got the first 17 minutes for review and it is amazing, and I can't wait to watch the rest of the episode! Fox aired week three of The X Factor doing 9.63 million and a 3.4 18-49 rating, solid but not near its numbers from last year on this date, with was a 4.4 18-49 rating. NBC opened the night with the time period premiere of Animal Practice, which is awful by the way, dropping to 5.19 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, which is down a full 18-49 rating point from Up All Night on the first week last year. At 8:30pm, the news wasn't good either, with the time period premiere of new comedy Guys with Kids doing only 4.84 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, but it was up three tenths from Free Agents on the same week last year. Who scheduled this hour on NBC? One of these will be gone very soon, I'm guessing. At 9pm, the two-hour season premiere of Law & Order: SVU was tired, doing 7.19 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, down three tenths from last year's one-hour season premiere. The CW had a mix of summer series and a repeat. Look for Supernatural season premiere this Wednesday at 9pm and new series Arrow premiering Oct. 10 at 10pm.

Thursday it was CBS with the win, but ABC and Fox were close. ABC opened the night with the series premiere of Last Resort doing 9.31 million and a 2.2 18-49 rating, up a tenth from Charlie's Angels' premiere last year. This was what I expected in total viewers, but it skewed older than I thought. However, the series has a lot of buzz and could grow in coming weeks, especially if some of the younger viewers saw the pilot online on Yahoo/iTunes/Hulu before the premiere. At 9pm, the  Grey's Anatomy season premiere followed with 11.73 million and a 4.5 A18-49 rating, up three tenths from last season's premiere despite that premiere being two-hours. Nine seasons and still going strong and the top drama in 18-49! The season premiere of Scandal followed with 6.74 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, for its second highest ratings so far. This is a growing series and was very consistent last spring. It could be a solid 10pm option this season. CBS opened with The Big Bang Theory at 15.66 million and a 5.0 A18-49 rating, up one tenth from last season's premiere. #2 comedy in 18-49 and #1 in total viewers. The season premiere of Two and a Half Men on a new night and time followed with 12.54 million and a 3.5 18-49 rating, down 1.6 18-49 rating point from last season's second Big Bang in the time period. Was it a mistake to move this show for an unproven anchor like 2 Broke Girls? Time will tell, but as of now both Monday and Thursday comedies are down. The season premiere of Person of Interest followed with 14.28 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating, down two tenths from last season's series premiere. It did have more total viewers than the premiere last year, so it skewed older.  The series premiere of Elementary followed and did 13.41 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, up three tenths in 18-49 from last year's Mentalist premiere. Good start and did better than Vegas. Fox aired week three of The X Factor and it was nearly identical to the previous night, doing a solid 9.39 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, down a point in 18-49 from the same week last year. A new Glee followed at 9pm and was pretty low with 5.79 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. After that very strong first and early part of the second season, this show has faded. NBC was in the familiar fourth place with the second and finale SNL Election Special doing 4.67 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating only, down two tenths from Community on the same time period in week one last year.  The second week of Up All Night on its new time did only 3.26 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, down an alarming seven tenths from Parks in the same time period in week one last year. At 9pm, the very tired The Office did just 4.13 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, down 1.8 points in 18-49 from last season's premiere. Ouch. At 9:30pm, Parks  Recreation closed the comedy block with 3.27 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, but it was down 1.7 points from Whitney in the same time period last year--ouch, while also being down four tenths from the same night last year when it aired at 8:30. NBC aired the whytheheckisthisstillinprimetime Rock Center with Brian Williams at 10pm closing the night with only 3.13 million and a 0.8 18-49, down a full point from the bust that was Prime Suspect on the same night last year. Can't say anything positive about that. The CW's big gun Vampire Diaries and new series Beauty & the Beast launch on Oct. 11

Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but ABC and CBS were tied for the top spot on Friday, despite ABC airing a repeat at 9pm. ABC won the 8pm hour with week three of Shark Tank, while the series premiere of Made In Jersey bombed for CBS at 9pm. NBC won 9pm with Grimm, while CBS won 10pm with Blue Bloods. Fox had a poor night with the season premiere Fringe down from last year's premiere.
Saturday numbers had ABC win the night with Saturday Night Football, just getting by Fox's game. CBS and NBC encores didn't do much.

Tonight are the season premieres for ABC Sunday (Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and the premiere of 666 Park Avenue). Look for a big night and I think Revenge will be up good amount giving ABC a second place finish for the night. NBC should do well with the NFL as it is the Giants vs. Eagles, which will win them the night and maybe come to winning the week. CBS has the season premiere of Amazing Race following 60 Minutes, and The Good Wife at 9pm leading into The Mentalist on its new night. CBS should be fourth place in 18-49 as they don't have the NFL overrun tonight.  Fox launches its animation block with season premieres from 8-10pm, following NFL action, so they should do well and likely a solid third place.

As for the week (week 1), CBS will win in HH, viewers but 18-49 is anyone's game depending on tonight. Can CBS hang on? Or will NBC make a run thanks to NFL? ABC or Fox will be solid tonight in 18-49, so perhaps NBC won't be able to overtake both for the week. Maybe just one. Look for 666 Park Avenue to do well tonight, it was in my top 5 new series to do well in the ratings (with Go On, Elementary, Nashville and Revolution). As for the coming week (week 2), look for the season premieres of Raising Hope on Fox Tuesday at 8pm and 30 Rock on NBC Thursday at 8, along with a few CW season premieres. Wednesday from 9-11pm ET we have a Presidential Debate that will preempt primetime for two-hours, as the 8pm ET hour will still have new programming...so make a note of that!


Week 1 How the Sitcoms Did

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for summer week 17 -- September 17-23)
  • The Simpsons (Fox) - A repeat at 8pm did 3.35 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating, down four tenths in 18-49 from previous week. Season premiere tonight!
  • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A repeat at 7:30pm posted 2.37 million and a 1.1 18-49 rating, down two tenths in the latter from previous week.
  • Bob's Burgers (Fox) - A repeat at 8:30pm did 3.13 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating, holding to 100% of its lead-in's 18-49 rating. Good.
  • Family Guy (Fox) 2 airings - A repeat at 9pm did 4.03 million and  a 1.9 18-49 rating, which is down a tenth in 18-49 week-to-week. A second repeat followed with a similar 4.2 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating, also down a tenth week-to-week.
  • American Dad! (Fox) - A repeat at 7pm did only 1.35 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating, down five tenths from previous week in 18-49.
Monday Sitcoms
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - The season premiere did 8.84 million and a 3.6 18-49 rating is good, but down over a point in 18-49 from last year's premiere.
  • Partners (CBS) - The series premiere aired at 8:30pm, but did just 6.56 million a 2.4 18-49 rating. Very concerning.
  • 2 Broke Girls (CBS) - 10.14 million and a 3.7 18-49 rating is solid but is it good enough to anchor CBS Monday? It should be a bit higher.
  • Mike & Molly (CBS) - Season premiere delivered 9.45 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating. Solid like usual.
Tuesday Sitcoms
  • Raising Hope (Fox) - preempted, airs this week.
  • Ben & Kate (Fox) - Series premiere did only 4.21 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating. Not good.
  • New Girl (Fox) 2 episodes - The season premiere at 8pm and 5.35 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating. Solid but down from last year. A second episode at its normal time did a similar 5.18 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, just getting by NBC's competing comedy in 18-49.
  • Go On (NBC) - Week three of this comedy on NBC did 6.92 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating, which is solid but it has gone down each week. Will it have a tough time vs. New Girl?
  • The Mindy Project (Fox) - The series premiere was sampled but to me it underperformed with just 4.67 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. Needs to do better.
  • The New Normal (NBC) - Week three of this comedy lost to the competing new Fox comedy, as this show did 5.09 million and only a 2.0 18-49 rating. Will be concerning if it goes under a 2.
Wednesday Sitcoms
  • The Middle (ABC) - The one-hour season premiere from 8-9pm did 9.16 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating, basically on par with last year. Excellent start to the season!
  • Animal Practice (NBC) - After premiering after the Olympic closing ceremony last month, the second episode dropped to 5.19 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating. Terrible.  It's a bad show, too. Too bad cause Joanna Garcia-Swisher deserves better.
  • Guys with Kids (NBC) - Week two of this comedy did terrible with only 4.84 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, also a drop from its preview after AGT on Sept. 12.
  • Modern Family (ABC) - The season premiere did a massive 14.44 million and a gigantic 5.5 18-49 rating. This show continues to be a top draw for sitcoms and scripted series in 18-49. It is liked by critics and the mass audience. A well deserved Emmy win!
  • The Neighbors (ABC) - The series premiere of this sitcom at a special time of 9:30 was sampled to 9.22 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating. If it can take most of that to 8:30pm this week, then ABC has a nice option at 8:30.
  • Suburgatory (ABC) - Season premiere is Oct. 17 at a new time of 9:30!
Thursday Sitcoms
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - The season premiere did 15.66 million and a 5.0 18-49 rating, basically on par with last year's premiere but higher total viewers. Second best for comedy and scripted so far.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - The season premiere on a new night and time underperformed with 12.54 million and a 3.5 18-49 rating.  That's no better than what CBS was doing with series like Rules.
  • 30 Rock (NBC) - The season premiere is this week.
  • Up All Night (NBC) - A new episode did only 3.26 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating. It is going to be 13 and out this season.
  • The Office (NBC) - A new episode of this series did 4.13 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, as no one cares anyone about this show. It has ended at the right time.
  • Parks & Recreation (NBC) - A new episode did 3.27 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, as this series will just never draw in ratings.
Friday Sitcoms
  • None.
Saturday Sitcoms
  • None
Airing tonight (Sunday) are season premieres of Fox's animated comedies from 8-10PM.

Summing it up. Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly, Two and  a Half Men, New Girl, The Middle, Go On, The Neighbors were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as The Mindy Project, Partners) or just plain old terrible (such as Animal Practice, Ben & Kate, Up All Night, Parks & Recreation).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Digital Digest: Completing Lucy on DVD; CSI: Miami - The Tenth and Final Season DVD Review; CSI: NY - The Eighth Season DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! The fall TV season is now in full swing, but we didn't get summer reruns and now we're continuing with even more news and reviews for you, just as we've done all summer. This week, we've got reviews of CSI: Miami - The Tenth and Final Season and CSI: NY - The Eighth Season. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

It looks as if we'll finally see all of Lucille Ball's major television series completed on DVD by the end of this year, as MPI will be releasing Here's Lucy - Season Six on December 18. The four-disc set will come at a $29.98 MSRP, and although we haven't seen a list of special features yet, we have a feeling that it will be as impressive as the previous five releases. In the meantime, don't forget that CBS is wrapping up The Lucy Show on DVD with The Lucy Show - The Official Sixth and Final Season on October 9! So if you are a fan of Lucy, these releases leave only the less-than-memorable Life With Lucy as her only sitcom to NOT be released on on DVD. If we ever hear any news about this, we'll let you know, of course.

A while back, we reported that Happy Endings - The Complete Second Season would be coming to DVD on October 2. Well, that has been pushed back to October 23 (we somehow missed that), but an even bigger story that we missed is that actually, you can get the second season on DVD already! Over a month ago, on August 14, Sony released a special Happy Endings - Seasons 1 and 2 set, which contains both of the first two seasons bundled together in one package! Of course, if you already own the first season, you can wait a few more weeks and pick up just the second season... but if not, you can own the first two together now.

Shout! Factory is pushing another series closer to completion (anybody noticed that completion is becoming a common theme around here lately?), but not all the way, as they release Simon & Simon - Season Seven on DVD on October 16. This release leaves only the final season unreleased on DVD. The set contains 16 episodes from the next-to-last season of the series, and costs $29.99 (like previous seasons, it is a Shout! Select release and can only be purchased online). The information we've seen indicates that this will be a six-disc set, but at only 16 episodes, we're not sure that the disc count is correct. 


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (October 2) is another busy release date for sitcoms and other series. To start, you can begin with the most recent seasons of three sitcoms, including How I Met Your Mother - The Complete Season Seven, New Girl - The Complete First Season, and the MOD release of Rules of Engagement - The Complete Sixth Season. VCI finally brings us (after a long delay from another studio) the Sherwood Schwartz Saturday morning sitcom Big John, Little John - The Complete Series. Finally, Sony also has MOD offerings of Hart to Hart TV movies, with Hart to Hart post-series telefilms, with Hart to Hart - Volume 1 and Hart to Hart - Volume 2.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

CSI: Miami - The Tenth and Final Season

DVD Review: CSI: Miami - The Tenth and Final Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $55.98)
by Todd Fuller

In its tenth and final adrenaline-packed season, Horatio Caine and company continue to face off with the city's most vicious and notorious criminals. Starring Golden Globe winner David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Rex Linn, Jonathan Togo, Eva La Rue and Omar Benson Miller, this team is a force of nature in a city of sand, surf and sin. Whether searching for a family who has vanished without a trace or exposing the ugliness of a children's beauty pageant or hunting down a sinister new serial killer, these agents follow the clues to the told, hard truth of cold-blooded murder.

The 5-disc set contains all 19 thrilling episodes from the tenth and final season (2011-12) of the widely popular crime drama. The attractive packaging has a large photo of David Caruso in his trademark sunglasses. A photo of Rex Linn, Eva La Rue, Adam Rodriguez, Emily Procter, Jonathan Togo and Omar Benson Miller is below him. There is an embossed CSI: Miami logo in the center of the box. Just like the previous season, it comes in a cardboard box that holds a clear plastic (Viva) snapcase. Both the box and case have the same design. There's an orange-tinted photo of David Caruso on the back of the packaging. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features by disc on the inside cover. Some additional individual photos of the cast are at the bottom. Discs 1-4 are held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 5 is held in an embedded holder in the back of the case. The discs have the CSI: Miami logo on them and just a plain silver background. Episode titles and the special features are listed on the discs. A sheet is included in the case that promotes the CSI: Miami Heat Wave Facebook game.

The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. There's a promo for the CSI: Miami Heat Wave Facebook game. The main menu opens with some views of Miami that leads to a montage of video clips from the series. An instrumental cue plays in the background for about a minute before the sequence loops. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up and the Special Features are at the bottom of the screen. Episode titles are in green boxes on the Episode Selection menu. You can play the deleted scenes for select episodes from this menu. A photo of Horatio holding a gun next to Delko is used on the Set Up menu. Options for English 5.1, English Stereo and Español audio. Some options and special features are not rated any may not be subtitled. The Special Features menu has a photo of the stable in the "Last Straw" episode. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes.

Moving on to the video and audio quality, it's excellent as usual. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Surround and Spanish Stereo audio available. CSI: Miami has always had the best look of any of the CSI franchise shows. All of the original music appears to be intact. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order was the same this season. Running times are between 41-43 minutes in length. It has a total running time of approximately 13 hours, 40 minutes. With the show now being canceled, it appears less likely that we'll see any Blu-ray releases any time soon.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:

Disc 1
Episode 1001 "Countermeasures" (43:27)
Episode 1002 "Stiff" (43:49)
Episode 1003 "Blown Away" (43:11)
Episode 1004 "Look Who's Taunting" (43:47)

Disc 2
Episode 1005 "Killer Regrets" (43:22)
Episode 1006 "By the Book" (41:25)
Episode 1007 "Sinner Takes All" (43:40)
Episode 1008 "Dead Ringer" (42:45)

Disc 3
Episode 1009 "A Few Dead Men" (42:55)
Episode 1010 "Long Gone" (41:34)
Episode 1011 "Crowned" (43:51)
Episode 1012 "Friendly Fire" (43:11)

Disc 4
Episode 1013 "Terminal Velocity" (43:49)
Episode 1014 "Last Straw" (43:50)
Episode 1015 "No Good Deed" (43:19)
Episode 1016 "Rest in Pieces" (43:46)

Disc 5
Episode 1017 "At Risk" (43:49)
Episode 1018 "Law & Disorder" (41:32)
Episode 1019 "Habeas Corpse" (43:33)

Over 80 minutes of special features are included in this release. There are four featurettes. Only one of them, Miami Meets Mother Nature, is focused on a specific episode. The other three are about the season in general. Once again, there are only two audio commentaries on this set. Deleted scenes are available for thirteen episodes. That's a record amount for any season. A gag reel is included for the first time on any CSI: Miami release. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Disc 1
Deleted Scenes for "Countermeasures" (2:08) - Walter talks to Calleigh at the lab. Calleigh and Delko talk at the beach.

Deleted Scene for "Stiff" (:28) - Delko and Horatio look in the trash for some evidence.

Deleted Scene for "Blown Away" (:16) - Calleigh and the dog, Cosmo, hop in her car.

Deleted Scenes for "Look Who's Taunting" (1:47) - Ryan and Tom look at a crime victim. Natalia and Frank talk at the lab. Horatio talks to Jennifer and gives her a new cellphone.

Audio Commentary by Jonathan Togo, Writer Krystal Houghton Ziv, Director Marco Black and Director of Photography Ken Glassing on "Look Who's Taunting

Miami Meets Mother Nature (14:58) - Get a behind-the-scenes look at all the exciting action as a twister touches down on a Miami trailer park and find out what it takes to recreate the wrath of Mother Nature for the small screen. The focus of the featurette is the "Blown Away" episode. They talk about the idea for the urban tornando episode. Many visual effects shots were used. Some behind-the-scenes footage of the shooting of the tornado at the trailer set is shown. The aftermath and debris looked very realistic. Interviews include Executive Producer Barry O'Brien, Executive Producer Marc Dube, Supervising Producer Brian Davidson, Producer/Director Don Tardino, Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Konuch, Visual Effects Supervivor of Inhance Digital Edward G. Robinson, Visual Effects Artist Jeffrey Olney, Jonathan Tigo, Omar Miller, Visual Effects Artist Russell Welch, Visual Effects Artist at Inhance Digital John Karner and Production Designer Roland Rosenkranz.

Disc 2
Deleted Scenes for "By the Book" (1:27) - Four scenes involving the guest stars of the episode.

Disc 3
Deleted Scene for "A Few Dead Men" (:27) - Walter talks to Calleigh at the lab.

Deleted Scenes for "Long Gone" (1:16) - Horatio helps one of the tornado victims. Horatio helps reunite a family.

Audio Commentary by Rex Linn, Writer Marc Dube, Director James Wilcox and Writer Barry O'Brien on "Long Gone" - This was the first time that Editor James Wilcox directed an episode.

Disc 4
Deleted Scenes for "Terminal Velocity" (:55) - Ryan, Walter and Calleigh talk at the lab. Ryan and Wolfe prepare to skydive out of the plane.

Deleted Scenes for "Last Straw" (3:19) - Tom and Horatio look at a crime victim. Ryan talks to Samantha. Calleigh and Walter talk to Rachel. Natalia and Delko look at some hair evidence. Horatio talks to Elle and Joanna.

Deleted Scene for "No Good Deed" (:26) - Ryan and Samantha walk and talk at the lab.

Disc 5
Deleted Scenes for "At Risk" (1:27) - Ryan does some tests on a tennis racket at the lab. Ryan talks to Samantha. Ryan, Tom and Samantha talk. Horatio and Frank talk to the tennis coach.

Deleted Scene for "Law & Disorder" (:50) - Natalia, Ryan, Samantha, Horatio and Walter talk at the lab.

Deleted Scene for "Habeas Corpse" (1:29) - Horatio, Ryan and Walter talk. Walter calls for a paramedic for an accident victim.

A Perfect Ten (20:53) - Executive Producers Marc Dube and Barry O'Brien, as well as cast members Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Rex Linn, Jonathan Togo, Eva La Rue and Omar Benson talk bout the show's tenth season and delve into some of the more captivating storylines. Season ten was fresh and action-packed. They tried to focus on making the team a family. Calleigh adopted two children and her relationship with Delko continued. Ryan had a love connection with Samantha Owens. Frank's background is delved into more this season. Eva La Rue talks about her favorite scenes with Ryan. Walter's role was expanded. The Wolfe/Simmons friendship is discussed. They talk about the beauty pageant episode. The serial killer story arc is a focus this season. They talk about the guest stars like Bo Derek, Raquel Welch and Ed Begley, Jr. in season ten. Producer Don Tardino is also briefly interviewed.

A "Tripp" to the Set (17:15) - Spend a day with CSI Miami's Rex Linn as cameras follow him from the moment he arrives on the set to his dish on what really goes on behind-the-scenes. Rex visits the makeup trailer, the catering truck, the two stages, the gun room, various production offices, craft services, the props department, and the writer's office. Rex continues his quest to get his character in a relationship. He's always been a very funny guy. Interviews include Jose Luis Tellez (Catering), Michael Jett (Construction), Bob Good (Prop Master), Tiffany Dupont (Rachel Petrella), Brent Hermann (Special Effects Technician), Dave Cass (First Assistant Director), Brian Davidson (Supervising Producer), Marc Dube (Executive Producer), Tamara Jaron (Co-Producer), Krystal Houghton Ziv (Co-Producer) and Barry O'Brien (Executive Producer).

The Miami Look (11:21) - Meet the art department of CSI: Miami and learn how they create the "Miami look" of the show on soundstages and on location in and around Manhattan Beach, California. They've always done an excellent job making the show look like it was really filmed in Miami. Inteviews include Production Designer Roland Rosenkranz, Adam Rodriguez, Producer Don Tardino, Set Decorator Dan May, Executive Producer Barry O'Brien, Executive Producer Marc Dube, Buyer Ed McCarthy and Leadman Jim Cmuer.

Gag Reel (2:17) - Some dance music is played in the background while the clips roll.

That's a wrap for CSI: Miami. After 10 seasons and 232 episodes, the show has ended. I was pretty shocked when the cancellation news was announced. I knew the CSI franchise shows couldn't last forever, but I always thought CSI: New York would be the first to leave the air. There was really no sense that this was going to be the end of the series. Their season was cut back to 19 episodes this season, down from the usual 22 or more of every other season. Unfortunately, there was no real series finale. After 10 seasons and being such a popular show, they certainly deserved better treatment. CBS should have allowed them to wrap everything up in a big two-hour series finale. If the show had remained on Mondays, I think it would still be airing for a few more seasons. They never received the same ratings on Sundays that they did on Mondays. This was just a never show you could unwind with on a Sunday night.

Overall, this is another nicely produced set. The special features are entertaining and informative as usual. All of the special features appear to have been shot before they received the cancellation news. There's no mention of it being the final season. Not many shows make it to ten seasons these days, so it was a great run for them. The show will continue to live on DVD and in syndication for many years to come. Thanks to the cast and crew for ten wonderful seasons.

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
CSI: Miami CBS.com Official Site
CSI: Miami TV.com Page


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

CSI: NY - The Eighth Season

DVD Review: CSI: NY - The Eighth Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $55.98)
by Todd Fuller

In the eighth season of CSI: NY, the team is rocked by a whirlwind of cases that strike all too close to home. Det. Mac Taylor (Oscar nominated and Emmy winning Gary Sinise) grapples with the memory of a personal tragedy. Det. Jo Danville (two-time Emmy winner Sela Ward) has one more chance to bring down a serial rapist who escaped justice. Recently promoted Sgt. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) finds himself caught in a shooting incident that could end his career. Yet even as the crimes strike with unrelenting intensity, the brilliant work of Det. Lindsay Monroe-Messer (Anna Belknap), Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy), lab tech Adam Ross (A.J. Buckley), Det. Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper), and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), ensures that the evidence will surface... and the guilty will pay.

The 5-disc set contains all 18 action-packed episodes from the eighth (2011-12) season of the gritty crime drama. The attractive packaging has a photo of the stunning Sela Ward and her co-star Gary Sinise. There's an embossed CSI: NY logo in the center of the box. As with the last few seasons, it comes in a clear plastic (Viva) snapcase inside a cardboard box. Both the case and packaging have the same design, which uses the usual black and blue color scheme. There's a montage of nine small episode snapshots on the back of the box and case. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features by disc on the inside cover. A blue-tinted photo of a New York City street is used in the background. Discs 1-4 are held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 5 is an embedded holder in the back of the case. The discs have just a plain silver background with the CSI: NY logo on them. Each disc has the episode titles printed on them.

Moving on to the menus, they are stylish and easy to navigate. There are no previews on this release, so it jumps right to the main menus. The main menu opens up with shot of the New York City skyline that leads to a montage of video clips from the show. A nice piano and jazz instrumental cue plays in the background before the sequence loops after about 65 seconds. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up, and the special features are available at the bottom of the screen. Episode titles are listed vertically in blue box on the Episode Selection menu. Deleted scenes for select episodes can be played from this screen. The Set Up menu has a photo of Sheldon holding a flashlight under a bed or couch. You can choose English 5.1, English Stereo or Español audio. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes. Some special features may not be subtitled. Anna Belknap is featured on the Special Features menu on Disc 5. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes.

As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Surround and Spanish Stereo audio available. CSI: NY has the darkest and grittiest look of the CSI franchise shows. All of the original music appears to be intact. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order were the same this season, except "Kill Screen" was produced before "Flash Pop." Running times are between 40-44 minutes in length. The set has a total running time of approximately 13 hours, 3 minutes. Hopefully we'll see some seasons released on Blu-Ray in the U.S. at some point.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:

Disc 1
Episode 801 "Indelible" (44:11)
Episode 802 "Keep It Real" (44:05)
Episode 803 "Cavallino Rampante" (42:14)
Episode 804 "Officer Involved" (44:25)

Disc 2
Episode 805 "Air Apparent" (42:20)
Episode 806 "Get Me Out of Here" (41:02)
Episode 807 "Crushed" (44:14)
Episode 808 "Crossroads" (43:58)


Disc 3
Episode 809 "Means to an End" (44:13)
Episode 810 "Clean Sweep" (44:32)
Episode 811 "Who's There? (43:07)
Episode 812 "Brooklyn 'Til I Die" (43:14)

Disc 4
Episode 813 "The Ripple Effect" (41:43)
Episode 815 "Flash Pop" (44:27)
Episode 814 "Kill Screen" (43:18)

Disc 5
Episode 816 "Sláinte" (44:10)
Episode 817 "Unwrapped" (40:15)
Episode 818 "Near Death" (44:33)

Over 60 minutes of special are included. Four featurettes are included: three on specific episodes and the final one on the entire season. Deleted scenes are available for three episodes. Once again, a gag reel is included for the season. Unfortunately, there are no audio commentaries included for the second consecutive season.

Disc 1
Deleted Scene for "Officer Down" (:53) - Danny and Lindsay make dinner plans.

Honoring Our Heroes (10:43) - The cast and crew reflects on what went into creating flashbacks of the unthinkable tragedy of 9/11 and what it meant to them to film the episode. The focus of this featurette is the season premiere episode, "Indelible." Jamie Ray Newman played Mac's wife in the flashback scenes of 9/11. They show how the flashback shots were done. What a moving speech by Gary Sinise at the end of the episode. Interviews include Sela Ward, Gary Sinise, Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Supervising Producer John Dove, Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Special Effects Supervisor David Kelsey, Eddie Cahill, Carmine Giovinazzo, Robert Joy, Hill Harper, A.J. Buckley and Anna Belknap.

Disc 2
Deleted Scene for "Air Apparent" (2:16) - Flack talks to the coach about Riley and his brother. Riley and his mother talk to Flack after basketball practice.

A New York Halloween (7:28) - Follow the action and get a 'behind-the-grave' view of all of the ghostly preparations as the cast and crew take on the terrifying task of creating a spook-tacular Halloween episode. The episode was shot on location at the Marble Cemetery and Grant's Tomb in New York. The crypt set is shown. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Eddie Cahill, Carmine Giovinazzo, Hill Harper, Production Designer Vaughan Edwards and Special Effects Supervisor David Kelsey.

Disc 3
Deleted Scenes for "Means to an End" (1:45) - Lindsay talks to Sheldon at the lab. Danny and Jo walk and talk about Amanda Tanner.

Disc 4
Flash to the Past (10:30) - Travel back in time with the cast and crew of CSI: New York as they prepare to film flashback scenes from the 1950s in the episode "Flash Pop." They discuss the idea of the episode. Lee Majors guest stars. Other topics covered include how they did the fake snow, the vintage cars, the morgue set from 1957, the murder weapons and book props, the furnishings of the police department, and the costumes. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Gary Sinise, Anna Belknap, Special Effects Supervisor David Kelsey, Transportation Coordinator Donald Casella, Robert Hartwig, Production Designer Vaughan Edwards, Property Master Leonard Hancock, Set Decorator Cindy Coburn and Costume Designer Elizabeth Palmer.

Disc 5
The Magic 8 (22:44) - Join Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, and the cast and crew as they explore their latest season. This is the most comprehensive featurette in the set. Some of the season highlights are mentioned. Megan Dodds plays Mac's love interest. Jo's character and her storylines are discussed. Danny becomes a Sgt. this season. Sid sells a patent and becomes a rich man. Adam gets to go out of the lab more and his past is revisited. Sheldon and Flack's characters are discussed. The dramatic season finale is talked about. Other interviews include Supervising Producer John Dove, Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, Hill Harper, Carmine Giovinazzo, Anna Belknap, Robert Joy, A.J. Buckley and Eddie Cahill.

Gag Reel (3:36) - Some funky music is played in the background while the clips roll.

The eight seasons have really flown by. The series has never really reached the level of popularity as their predecessors in the CSI franchise, but they keep on ticking. They will quietly reach 200 episodes next spring. I wasn't sure how they would do on Friday nights, but they've found a home there. Only 18 episodes were produced this season. Some of the memorable episodes included "Indelible," "Keep It Real," "Cavallino Rampante," "Officer Involved," "Air Apparent," and "Means to an End."

This is another solid release. It seems like CSI and CSI: Miami always have more special features for some reason. They could definitely benefit by adding audio commentaries and more deleted scenes. The Under the Microscope behind-the-scenes video blogs they had for season eight were definitely missed this season. It appears they still did a few for season eight online, but they weren't included on the DVD for some reason.

(4/5 stars)

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CSI: NY TV.com Page

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Who to Like: Warner Archive Collection (Facebook)
Who They Are: Warner Home Video is, of course, a studio which has existed for a very long time, going all the way back into the VHS days of "be kind, please rewind." But Warner Home Video has always existed to produce mass market releases of their products, and we all know that the market is much larger than what the mass public always wants... so out of this came Warner Archive, which releases DVDs of more obscure (but beloved) titles of your favorite movies and TV series
Why You Should Like Them: Studios out there listen to customers the best that they possibly can, but when they are marketing to the mass public, it is difficult (if not impossible) for them to satisfy everybody. Warner Archive, on the other hand, tries their best to carefully listen to every idea that their consumers--those looking for more obscure products from the Warner library--and is able to track feedback from customers, as well as to respond to specific issues and concerns which consumers have with their releases and pending releases. Additionally, liking their Facebook page allows you to stay on top of upcoming releases (sometimes with clever hints) well before any announcement is made anywhere, and you'll be able to stay updated on special sales that they run, which can save money on their products.
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That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!

Friday, September 28, 2012

TV Land Orders Potential Kirstie Alley Sitcom Script; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 1, 2012)

Kirstie Alley

TV Land has ordered a cast-contingent presentation of the script Giant Baby by Marco Pennette (Ugly Betty, Samantha Who). The comedy will star Kirstie Alley in the lead role of Madison "Maddie" Banks, a Broadway star who finds her life turned upside down when Owen, the son she gave up for adoption 26 years ago, turns up looking to connect after his adopted mother has died. However, Maddie doesn't exactly see nerdy and schlubby Owen fitting in with her luxurious lifestyle. When her attempt to change Owen backfires, Maddie finds that perhaps they both could use a little change in their lives.
The Giant Baby presentation comes in addition to two pilots the network has ordered – Brothers-in-Law, which revolves around the family dynamic between a husband and the eccentric fiancé of his wife's twin sister, and I'm Not Dead Yet, about a man who finds out that he has a rare heart condition that could cause him to die at any moment, causing him to finally start speaking his mind. Both pilots recently wrapped production and are awaiting word if they will be picked up to series. Stay tuned if they do!

Giant Baby is written and executive produced by Marco Pennette and is also executive produced by Kirstie Alley and Jason Weinberg. Larry W. Jones and Keith Cox serve as executive producers for TV Land. We will let you know if TV Land orders a pilot. There is still a VERY long way to go as first it needs to be ordered to pilot and then ordered to series. So stay with us. But for now, Kirstie Alley can currently be seen on Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays starting at 8/7c. She also taped a pilot for ABC last year (The Manzanis) but it didn't go to series.


It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of October 1-5, 2012, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Joanna Garcia-Swisher (Animal Practice/Better with You/Reba) - Joanna visits Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Rasida Jones (Parks and Recreation/The Office) - Rashida stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jami Gertz (The Neighbors/Still Standing/Square Pegs) - Jami is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. She later chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Finally, she joins the Chew Crew on The Chew on ABC at at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Mooe Show) - Betty discusses activism and demonstrates doggy yoga on Marie on the Hallmark Channel at 12pm ET/PT.
  • Michael Urie (Partners) - Michael talks about his new sitcom Partners on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
  • Kat Dennings (The Big Bang Theory) - Catch Kat on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ty Burrell (Modern Family/Back to You/Out of Practice) - Ty stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Mindy appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec is a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Victoria Justice (Victorioua/Zoey 101) - Victoria visits Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny's day begins with an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. She then chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Next, she will be on Joy Behar: Say Anything on Current TV at 6pm. Finally, she visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke drops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/The Nanny) - Tune in to see Fran on Marie on the Hallmark Channel at 12pm ET/PT.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe talks about The New Normal on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Betty is a guest on Hallmark Channel's Home & Family at 10am ET/PT.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Watch Tina on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Christina Applegate (Up All Night/Samantha Who?/Married with Children) - Christina is a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) - Amy visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother/Free Spirit) - Alyson appears on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Terry Crews (Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Queen Latifah, Phylicia and the cast of the upcoming Lifetime movie Steel Magnolias chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Queen Latifah will also be on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. The Steel Magnolias remake premieres on Lifetime on October 7.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Catch Craig on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke continues to make the rounds on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Marisa Janet Winokur (Retired at 35) - Marisa talks cancer survival and Dancing with the Stars on Marie at 12pm ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel.
  • Rain Pryor (Head of the Class/Rude Awakening) - Rain is a guest on Joy Behar: Say Anything on Current TV at 6pm.
  • Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Ed visits NBC's Today between 10-11am.
Friday, October 5, 2012
  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Watch Mindy on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

GMC Moves Family Ties to Late Night; Suzanne Somers Launches Lifetime Series

Family Ties

GMC has announced a schedule change. The changes will begin next week - Monday, October 1, 2012. '80s family sitcom Family Ties starring Michael J. Fox, who just presented Outstanding Comedy at the Emmy's earlier this week, will be moving to late night. The sitcom, which also starred Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter, and Justine Bateman, will now air Mon-Thurs nights at 2:00am & 2:30am, replacing inspirational programming. Family Ties will now follow '80s comedies 227 (11pm-12am & 1-2am) and Amen (12-1am). Replacing Family Ties' current weekdays 10am-12pm block will now be an hour each of Sister, Sister and Moesha. Those two sitcoms will continue to also air in their Saturday blocks (Sister, Sister from 9am-1pm and Moesha from 1pm-7pm). So this means those two sitcoms are now also on the weekday schedule. No other schedule changes are being made besides these (10am-12pm and 2-3am).

In the Emmy-nominated Family Ties, a couple who spend the '60s as liberal political activists face the problems of raising a family with children who have strongly conservative views. Emmy Award-winning Michael J. Fox portrayed the iconic sitcom character Alex P. Keaton. Stay with us for further updates. Sha la la la!


Beloved television icon Suzanne Somers returned to TV yesterday with a brand new morning show that promises to change the face of daytime television. The SUZANNE Show is an uncensored peek into the life of one of Hollywood's most passionate personalities, mixing eye-opening health and wellness revelations with glamour and entertainment. The first show aired yesterday, Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Lifetime Television. Viewers will soon discover that no topic is off limits; from anti-aging secrets and exercise tips to gadgets and green living, Suzanne tackles each segment with the particular passion and honesty that only she can bring. Special guests this season include Larry King, David Foster, Kathy Griffith, and Fran Drescher.

Like a page from one of her bestselling books, The SUZANNE Show is informative and entertaining, affecting positive change and encouraging viewers to be healthy, fulfilled, and happy. It's a refreshing look at healthcare, entertainment, and lifestyle that is sure to have critics wondering if morning TV will ever be the same again. Awaken your senses every Wednesday morning with The SUZANNE Show at 7:00 a.m., and get more information about the show by visiting www.suzanneTV.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ABC Fall Pilot Review: The Neighbors - Premieres September 26; The Beverly Hillbillies 50th Anniversary Marathon on MeTV Network

The Neighbors

The Neighbors - Wednesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 9:30PM ET/PT


Marty Weaver (Lenny Venito) just wants the best for his wife Debbie (Jami Gertz) and their three kids. That's why he's moving them to Hidden Hills, New Jersey, a gated community complete with its own golf course. Marty is certain that their new home will be a dream come true. And then, they meet the neighbors.

The residents of Hidden Hills are a little… different. Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) introduces himself as the "leader" of the community. Then, he presents his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye) and their two sons (yes, they're named after famous athletes -- Dick Butkus and Reggie Jackson).

After Debbie and Marty frantically try to make sense of the weird neighbors -- very European? A cult? Amish athletes? -- they discover that the entire Hidden Hills community is comprised of aliens from the planet Zabvron. Turns out the Zabvronians have been holed up in Hidden Hills for the past 10 years, awaiting instructions from back home. And the Weavers are the first humans who have ever lived amongst them.

At first, the Weavers are ready to cut and run. But the aliens seem harmless enough. And there is a lot of closet space… So, they decide to stay and help their new neighbors adapt to life on this confusing planet we call home.

As the Weavers and the aliens face the struggles of everyday life together, they discover that some things -- the ups and downs of marriage, the desire to be a good parent and raise a happy family -- are universal. Intergalactic, even. And the Weavers realize they’ve found an ally in the family next door... even if they do cry out of their ears.

Cast Details:

Jami Gertz as Debbie Weaver
* Lenny Venito as Marty Weaver
* Simon Templeman as Larry Bird
* Toks Olagundoye as Jackie Joyner-Kersee
* Clara Mamet as Amber Weaver
* Tim Jo as Reggie Jackson
* Ian Patrick as Dick Butkus
* Max Charles as Max Weaver
* Isabella Cramp as Abby Weaver

Jami Gertz (Debbie Weaver) has crafted a distinguished reputation in film, television and theater. In addition to her role in The Neighbors, she will next be seen in Jeff Garlan's feature Dealin' with Idiots. Most recently Gertz appeared on ABC's Emmy Award-winning comedy Modern Family and the hit cable series Entourage, opposite Jeremy Piven. She starred with Piven again in Scott Marshall's Keeping Up With the Steins, as well as Gary Marshall, Darryl Hannah and Doris Roberts.

Gertz was discovered at age 16 in a nationwide talent search for the sitcom Square Pegs, with Sarah Jessica Parker. Since then she has appeared on a number of hit television shows, including Seinfeld, ER and Dream On. For four seasons Gertz starred on the hit comedy Still Standing, opposite Mark Addy. In addition she portrayed title role on ABC's Gilda Radner: It's Always Something, based on Radner's autobiography. In 2002 Gertz received an Emmy nomination for her role on the critically acclaimed television series Ally McBeal, where she guest starred in a four-episode arc. She is also widely recognized for her role as a sex therapist in Twister, opposite Bill Paxton, and for her roles with Dylan McDermott in the romantic comedy Jersey Girl, in Less Than Zero (based on the best selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis), with James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr., and in The Lost Boys, with Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric.

Lenny Venito (Marty Weaver) is a native New Yorker who studied acting at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. His television credits include roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), Unforgettable (CBS), The Sopranos (HBO), Rescue Me (F/X), Flight of the Conchords (HBO), Lights Out (F/X), Bored to Death (HBO), NYC 22 (CBS) and The Knights of Prosperity (ABC). His film credits include War of the Worlds (Paramount), Rounders (Miramax), Gigli (Columbia), Solitary Man (Millenium), The Brave One (Warner Bros), How Do You Know (Sony) and Men in Black III (Sony).

Simon Templeman (Larry Bird) started his career in the theater in England. A long-time member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played many roles, including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. He came to America twice with the company, in All's Well That Ends Well and Nicholas Nickleby, both on Broadway. Other notable theater credits include performing at the National Theatre in David Hare's A Secret Rapture. Templeman's feature film work includes roles in The Russia House and Live Nude Girls. His many television credits include Northern Exposure, Just Shoot Me!, Don King: Only in America, Monk and The Event.

Toks (pronounced "tokes") Olagundoye (Jackie Joyner-Kersee) is a newcomer to the Los Angeles entertainment world, and in her short time here has added several credits to those she had already achieved in film, television and theatre in New York. During the past year Olagundoye has guest-starred on NCIS, Prime Suspect and ABC Family's Switched at Birth. Other film and television appearances include CSI: NY, Law & Order, Ugly Betty, Brown Sugar and The Salon among others.

Only a teenager, Clara Mamet (Amber Weaver) -- the 17-year-old daughter of playwright and director David Mamet -- is a dynamic actress and writer in her own right. Most recently she appeared in and wrote two one-act, two-character plays, Paris and The Solvit Kids, at the Ruskin Group Theater in Santa Monica. In addition to appearing in The Neighbors, Mamet will appear in the upcoming Barry Levinson HBO biopic about Phil Spector which stars Al Pacino.

Tim Jo (Reggie Jackson), a native Texan, made his acting debut in the film Bandslam, followed by guest appearances on the television series Greek and Castle. He was also a series regular on the TBS comedy Glory Daze.

Ian Patrick (Dick Butkus) is a young actor on the rise who will make his television debut as Dick Butkus on ABC'S new fall comedy, The Neighbors. Most recently Ian appeared in the feature film Wanderlust, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. Before working in TV and film, Ian appeared in a number of commercials and did local print work.

In a very short period of time since signing to one of Hollywood's top children agencies, Isabella Cramp (Abby Weaver) has garnered an impressive list of credits that include ABC's Happy Endings, In Plain Sight, Mike and Molly and CSI: Miami, as well as numerous commercials. In addition to appearing in The Neighbors, Isabella will be seen in the upcoming TV movie Piper Rose.

Pilot Episode:

The first two episodes were available for review.

"Pilot" (September 25, 9:30PM) - Marty Weaver just wants the best for his wife, Debbie, and their three kids. That's why he's moving them to Hidden Hills, New Jersey, a gated community complete with its own golf course. Marty is certain that their new home will be a dream come true. And then, they meet the neighbors.... aliens from the planet Zabvron -- and the Weavers are the first humans they've ever met.
Written by Dan Fogelman
Directed by Chris Koch
Guest Stars: Mitch Rouse as the real estate agent, Bruce Green as the angry man, Mary K. Devault as the angry woman and Doug Jones as the alien

"Journey to the Mall" (October 3, 8:30PM) - After convincing the Bird-Kersees to let their kids try "human" school, the Weavers take them on their first excursion outside Hidden Hills - shopping for back-to-school clothes at the mall. They survived the trip to Earth, but will the mall be too much? Meanwhile, Debbie and Jackie have doubts about each other's true intentions.
Written by Dan Fogelman
Directed by Chris Koch
Guest Stars: Doug Jones as Dominique Wilkens, Katherine Tokarz as Mary Lou Retton and Patrick O'Sullivan as Johnny Unitas

Analysis:

The Neighbors is a single-camera comedy from ABC Studios and Kaplan Entertainment. Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled, Crazy, Stupid, Love) created the series. He also serves as an executive producer with Chris Koch (Workaholics, Modern Family). The first two episodes were written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Chris Koch.

In the "Pilot" episode, there's a short CGI sequence of a spacecraft landing over a neighborhood. The year is 2001. A real estate agent meets a group of people who decide to buy all of the townhouses in the gated community of Hidden Hills, New Jersey. Ten years later, their poopah (or poopod) battery is low and needs to be recharged. A couple decides to leave for their home planet. This opens up a unit for humans to move into the neighborhood. The Weavers prepare to move from the New Jersey home. Marty Weaver asks God for normal neighbors, but he soons find out they are just the opposite. When they arrive and open their garage, they are greeted by their new neighbors who bring them pie. The families later eat dinner where the aliens read at the table and receive nourishment with their eyes and minds. Much to their horror, Dick Butkus exposes his real identity to Max and Abby. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is made up of aliens. Larry Bird is later kicked out of the house by his wife. Jackie sends Dick to recharge the poopah. Debbie rushes to try and stop him. The Weavers must decide whether they want to stay or leave the neighborhood.

In the second episode, "Journey to the Mall," everybody takes a trip to mall, as you probably guessed. It opens with a scene of Marty and Debbie walking through the neighborhood and greeting Johnny Unitas and Mary Lou Retton. Debbie awakens from a nightmare of the aliens trying to kidnap their children. Dick Butkus arrives in golf clothes and tells the Weavers that he wants to go to a "human" school. Dominique Wilkins is put in charge of the community when everybody heads to the mall in Marty's van. The rest of the episode has scenes of the families shopping for clothes.

There are no marquee names in the cast, but there are a few familiar faces. Jami Gertz brings a lot of comedy experience from her time on Still Standing and many television guest appearances. I've been a fan of hers since her Square Pegs and The Facts of Life days. Lenny Venito is a character actor who has appeared in a number of television shows and films. He was very good in the short-lived and underrated ABC sitcom The Knights of Prosperity. Gertz and Venito make a believable New Jersey couple with their accents. I'm not very familiar with Simon Templeman. He's known for voice work in animated series and video games. Toks Olagundoye is a relative newcomer to acting. She's a real beauty who could be a model. It's funny how her character says Debbie Wea-ver. Five younger actors play the Weaver and Bird-Kersee children. They do a decent job with their roles. Clara Mamet is probably the most noticeable as the sarcastic and oldest daughter, Amber.

The pilot is watchable and somewhat amusing. There are no real laugh-out-loud moments or really funny lines, however. Creator and writer Dan Fogelman has had some good history with successful movies, so I was expecting funnier material. Most of the humor comes from all of the weird things the aliens do differently than humans. They ride around in golf carts. Instead of dogs, they own alpacas. They don't own cars, so they wash their spacecraft. Other strange things they do include reading at the dinner table, watering the grass with the hose going upward, crying through their ears, and exercising in the streets.

The episodes contained some unfinished effects shots, so I don't know how they ultimately look. Although the aliens are only shown for a few seconds in the first two episodes, I think they look pretty cool and detailed. This seems to a pretty low budget show, so I wasn't expecting many digital shots. Giving the aliens the names of professional athletes was a unique idea. I wonder what Larry Bird thinks about his name being used for somebody who looks more like Kurt Rambis with his thick-rimmed black glasses. Another plus for the show is the use of oldies music. I also enjoyed the space age type music score. It's especially creepy when we first see the aliens after the Weavers open their garage.

I thought the second episode was even weaker than the pilot. It takes more of a serious tone and shows the heart and emotional side of the characters. While the pilot episode had some interesting moments and sight gags, the second was mostly boring. They go to the mall and nothing funny really happens. The younger Weaver children are very annoying with their constant screaming. The Weavers don't appear to be a very happy family after moving. Hopefully the mood is lightened a bit more in future episodes.

Conclusion:

The Neighbors is clearly one of the most unique new shows on the fall schedule. There's really nothing else like it currently on the air. The pilot is generally watchable, but there aren't a lot of laughs in it. I chuckled a few times. Most of the comedy is from all of the crazy things the aliens do differently than humans. Alien shows like Mork and Mindy and 3rd Rock from the Sun have worked in the past because they were very funny and had breakout stars. I don't see any long-term potential for the series. There are some good comedic actors here, but they need funnier material and situations.

Families appear to be the target audience for the show. The show is family-friendly and doesn't have any inappropriate material. I'm not sure how much it will appeal to kids. They may enjoy seeing the aliens and green slime the first few times. The aliens are only shown for a few seconds in the first two episodes, so I don't know if it will be able to hold a younger audience's interest. The sight gags and jokes appear more geared towards adults.

ABC is airing the series premiere after the season premiere of the Emmy Award-winning Modern Family. It should receive some nice sampling tonight before it moves to its regular time slot of 8:30PM next week. ABC's original plan was to air it weekly after Modern Family, but I think they made a wise decision moving it to an earlier slot. The later time slot is for more edgier comedy, and this is a kid-friendly comedy that's a better fit earlier in the night. I just don't see the show being able to generate a big audience against shows like The X Factor and Survivor. The humor of the show is very broad. It really doesn't fit in with the rest of their sophisticated family comedies. I would be surprised if the show makes it to mid-season. If you enjoy silly and quirky alien comedies, then you might want to give it a try for a few episodes.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2.5/5
Funniness: 2.0/5
Overall: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/26/12

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 26 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Neighbors Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    On this date in 1962, The Beverly Hillbillies premiered on CBS. Happy 50th to The Beverly Hillbillies! The Beverly Hillbillies is perhaps the best-known rags-to-riches story in television history. After accidentally striking it rich, the Clampetts move from their backwoods cabin to a Beverly Hills mansion. They dream of a life among swimming pools and movie stars, but their humorous hillbilly lifestyle clashes with the "city folk" of Beverly Hills. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, MeTV Network will have a celebration of 50 years of laughs with our favorite hillbillies, The Beverly Hillbillies, on Sunday, September 30, 2012 from 3:00-7:00pm ET/PT only on MeTV. The network regularly airs the classic sitcom every weekday morning at 6am ET/PT.

    Episodes airing in this stunt from 3-7PM ET/PT on Sunday are: "The Clampetts Strike Oil," "Getting Settled," "Jethro Goes to School," "Elly's First Date," "The Giant Jackrabbit," "The House of Granny," "The Clampetts Get Culture," and "The Mayor of Bug Tussle." Join Mr. Drysdale, The Clampetts and of course Granny for 50 years of funny! Y'all come back now ya hear?

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Fox Fall Pilot Review: Ben and Kate - Premieres September 25; TV Land's Happily Divorced Brings Out the Guest Stars in New Episodes Beginning Nov. 28


    Ben and Kate

    Ben and Kate - Tuesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
    Premieres Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:30PM ET/PT


    What happens when an exuberant dreamer who always says “yes” moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? Ben and Kate, a new single-camera ensemble comedy, follows a pair of odd-couple siblings and their friends as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life.

    Kate Fox (Dakota Johnson) followed the rules all her life…until she got pregnant in college and dropped out just shy of graduation. After the birth of her daughter, Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones), Kate put her 20s on hold. Now working as a bar manager to make ends meet and maximize her time with Maddie, she's uber-prepared for every possible catastrophe – except for the arrival of her older brother, Ben Fox (Nat Faxon).

    Ben likes trouble a lot more than his sister does. His infectious energy makes everyone want to follow him into any number of bad ideas. He'll totally screw up their lives, but somehow, they'll feel good about it. Where Kate is all about planning and preparing, Ben is big on spontaneity and out-of-the-box ideas. But don't let the Velcro wallet fool you – he'll probably be a millionaire someday.

    When Ben comes to crash on Kate's couch for a few days, he finds a sad state of affairs. For the first time in their lives, Kate needs Ben's help, and he's determined to bring some much-needed chaos into her overly stable world. He starts by looking after Maddie so Kate can get back to making mistakes, since the one real "mistake" she’s made turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

    Always there to help with Ben's crazy schemes is his partner-in-crime, Tommy (Echo Kellum), who worships Ben like a hero and nurses a serious crush on Kate. Kate's British best friend, BJ (Lucy Punch), is a cocktail waitress at the bar and an all-around hot mess who would do anything for Kate, even if it's questionable or illegal.

    Cast Details:

    Dakota Johnson as Kate Fox
    * Nat Faxon as Ben Fox
    * Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Maddie Fox
    * Lucy Punch as BJ
    * Echo Kellum as Tommy

    Dakota Johnson (Kate Fox) is quickly making a name for herself as an up-and-coming actress in Hollywood. She was most recently seen in the feature comedies The Five-Year Engagement, opposite Jason Segel and Emily Blunt; 21 Jump Street, opposite Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum; as well as the Academy Award-nominated drama, The Social Network, opposite Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg.

    She will next be seen on the big screen in the comedy Goats, opposite Vera Farmiga, David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled for a 2012 theatrical release. Additionally, she played opposite Paul Dano in For Ellen, which also premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Other credits include Theo, opposite Mira Sorvino; and the comedy Gay Dude, opposite Sarah Hyland and Megan Mullally.

    Nat Faxon (Ben Fox) has appeared in numerous films, including recent releases The Babymakers, opposite Olivia Munn, Aisha Tyler and Paul Schneider; Bad Teacher, with Cameron Diaz, and directed by Jake Kasdan; and Zookeeper, with Kevin James. Additional film credits include Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Orange County, both directed by Jake Kasdan; and Beerfest. In addition to acting, Faxon is an Academy Award-winning writer in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2011 film, The Descendants, which he co-wrote with writing partner Jim Rash and director Alexander Payne.

    He has also made his mark in television with roles on the series Happy Hour and Grosse Pointe. Faxon's other television credits include Up All Night, Are You There, Chelsea?, Happy Endings, Mad Men, Party Down, NCIS and recurring roles on Joey and Reno 911!.

    After appearing in numerous print campaigns and commercials, Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Maddie Fox) had the opportunity to audition for film and television work. She first booked a role in a television pilot and soon got another break when she was cast alongside her sister in the film Footloose.

    When director Cameron Crowe was searching for a young actress to play Matt Damon’s daughter in We Bought a Zoo, Jones’ taped audition was so impressive that it led to a face-to-face meeting. Shortly thereafter, she was cast in the role of Rosie, which earned her outstanding critical reviews. Jones most recently shot the feature film Identity Thief, working opposite her sister, as well as Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.

    Lucy Punch (BJ) most recently was seen in Bad Teacher, alongside Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake; Dinner for Schmucks, with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd; Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, with Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin; and A Little Bit of Heaven, alongside Kate Hudson, Kathy Bates and Gael Garcia Bernal.

    Punch began her feature film career working opposite Geoffrey Rush in 2004's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. This was followed by the family fantasy, Ella Enchanted, with Anne Hathaway. In 2006, Punch was chosen as the British Shooting Star by the Berlin Film Festival for her work in Being Julia, opposite Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons. She has also appeared in St. Trinian's and Edgar Wright's British action comedy Hot Fuzz. Punch worked with Topher Grace and Anna Faris in Take Me Home Tonight and starred in the musical dramedy Untitled, alongside Adam Goldberg and Marley Shelton. In 2007, Punch was featured in the comedy series The Class, alongside Lizzy Caplan, Jason Ritter and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

    Echo Kellum (Tommy) grew up on the Southside of Chicago and began acting as a kid, booking his first regional theater tour at the age of 13. After spending a few years doing theater and commercial work in Chicago, he made the move to Los Angeles where he soon developed a passion for improvisational comedy.

    Kellum began taking improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre, iO West and The Groundlings. He now performs regularly around Los Angeles. He is a member of the iO West headliner sketch team, “Pilot”; the UCB Harold Night show Winslow; and the UCB Maude Night show New Money. Kellum can also be seen on television in various national commercials.

    Pilot Episode:

    "Pilot" (September 25, 8:30PM) - Exuberant dreamer Ben Fox returns to his hometown and reunites with his younger sister Kate, an overly responsible single mom raising her five-year-old daughter, Maddie. But when he arrives, he finds a sad state of affairs. For the first time in their lives, Kate needs Ben's help, and he's determined to bring some much-needed chaos into her stable world. In the series premiere, Kate enlists co-worker BJ to help her prepare for what turns out to be a disastrous first date, while Ben teams up with childhood pal Tommy to stop an ex from getting married.
    Guest Stars: Jon Foster as George, Lauren Anne Miller as Darcy, Olivia Moss as Young Kate, Henry Shotwell as Young Ben, Jayne Taini as Babysitter, Sam Daly as Kate's Boyfriend, Brandon Gibson as Darcy's Groom

    The pilot episode begins with a flashback scene of young Ben and Kate. Kate narrates and gives some of their backstory. Kate says that her brother never grew up, and she grew up too fast. He moved away, but he shows up at unexpected times. She says her brother is an idiot. Kate asks him to leave when she's on a date with George. Maddie and Ben wake up Kate the next morning. Ben talks to Tommy at Buddy's Bar & Grill. BJ greets Ben. BJ and Kate talk about Kate's date. George walks in and high fives Ben. Ben picks up Maddie from school and spies on his ex-girlfriend Darcy (aka Mrs. Ben Fox) from his car in the street.

    Ben and Tommy make plans on crashing the wedding of Darcy, while Kate views them on the internet nanny cam she installed in a cookie jar. Kate helps them practice the wedding crashing. BJ puts some makeup on Maddie. After Kate leaves to go to the bar, Maddie helps Ben pick a tie. BJ shows Kate how to draw attention to her mouth. Ben fires Maddie's babysitter. Kate accidentally butt dials Ben on the phone when she's talking to George. Ben eavesdrops on George's call and has problems pulling out his car. Ben confronts George at the bar with the news he heard on the phone. They make a mad dash to the wedding. Ben tries to express his thoughts to Darcy but freezes. Kate speaks up for him. Ben and Kate talk to each other under a table, just like they did when they were younger in an earlier flashback scene. Maddie and Tommy join them where Ben offers to help Kate with Maddie. The episode wraps with a scene at a pool and at Kate's house.

    Analysis:

    Ben and Kate is a single-camera comedy that is part of the new Fox Tuesday night. It comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Chernin Entertainment, the producers of New Girl. The series is created and written by Dana Fox. Jake Kasdan directed the pilot. The show was originally titled Ned Fox Is My Manny while in development. Ben and Kate may sound a little boring, but I'm glad they made that decision.

    The series has a lot going for it and plenty of potential. Although the cast may not have any household names, they all give very good performances. Dakota Johnson is a relative newcomer to acting, but she shows she can do both comedy and drama well here. Her character is just very likable and charming. She also has a bit of a wild side. Nat Faxon has been in the business for a number of years, but this is first major lead role in a television show. He's a solid comedic actor. His character is very goofy and juvenille, but he's endearing and has a lot of heart. I love his near profane outbursts and other crazy antics. Maggie Elizabeth Jones was a real scene stealer in We Bought a Zoo and will have the same opportunity to that in this series. She's just a natural with great comedic timing and facial expressions. Lucy Punch makes a welcome return to television after having appeared on The Class in 2006-07. She has played some psycho characters in recent films like Dinner for Schmucks and Bad Teacher, but her character is somewhat normal here...although a bit inapprorpiate talking to Kate. She has a pretty convincing American accent, but I'm glad they allowed to use her real English accent in the show. Echo Kellum does a nice job with the role of Tommy. It's funny how Tommy has a crush on Kate. That could get old quickly if it's repeated too often. The character could be expanded a bit.

    It's a well-paced pilot that has nice production values. There were many different scenes and shooting locations, but I don't think they overdid it with a lot of information and backstory. They did a good job making the two major storylines connected and everything cohesive. Some narration is used at the beginning of the episode, but it looks like it won't be a major part of the show. I liked how they had a flashback scene of young Ben and Kate talking under a table and a current scene of them as adults doing the same thing. It was funny how Ben had braces in the flashback scenes, but his teeth are crooked as an adult. It's refreshing to see that the two lead actors don't have perfect teeth. They seem more like everyday people and not just actors. Faxon and Johnson have good chemistry as brother and sister. I was surprised to see that he was around 15 years older than her. I think they are still believable as brother and sister, even though the age gap doesn't look like that many years in the flashback scenes.

    Conclusion:

    Ben and Kate is one of the best sitcom pilots of the season. An excellent pilot doesn't always lead to a successful series, but there's plenty of promise here. It has a talented cast, strong writing and solid directing. There's a nice mix of comedy and drama. The final scenes are especially sweet and heartwarming. All of the characters are very likable. They seem like characters people will root for and care about.

    Although the cast may lack star power, they seem ideal for their roles and work well together. The chemistry is already there in the pilot. Zooey Deschanel was the new girl for Fox last season, but Dakota Johnson could be poised to become one of the breakout television stars of this season. She's only been acting for a couple of years, but she's a fast rising star. Her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and her grandmother is Tippi Hendren. She certainly has good acting genes. The rest of the ensemble cast works well. Nat Faxon has been acting for a while in mostly smaller roles, so it's nice to see him get an opportunity with a major lead role. Lucy Punch's funny BJ character could be increased even more. Ben and/or Kate are in virtually every scene. It's a relatively small main cast. There's room to bring in some recurring characters, such as their parents, other relatives or love interests.

    Tuesdays will be Fox's big night of single-camera comedies. They are expanding to two hours this season. Ben and Kate will debut after the season premiere of the breakout and critical hit New Girl. It will normally air after Raising Hope, which premieres next week. I think it's a good pairing of family comedies. The time slot will be a challenging one, however. The Dancing with the Stars Results, The Voice Results and NCIS present some very fierce competition. If they can survive the first half of the season and gradually build an audience, they should be fine. The competition after New Girl appears less daunting, but they will have to do the best they can in their scheduled time slot for now. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project swap slots eventually. Forget about Prince William and Kate. Watch the refreshingly funny Ben and Kate on Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox.

    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 4.0/5
    Funniness: 3.5/5
    Overall: 4.0/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/25/12

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 25 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Ben and Kate Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    Some of the biggest names in pop culture history are joining fellow TV icon Fran Drescher on new episodes of TV Land's hit sitcom, Happily Divorced. Joan Collins (Dynasty), Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart), singer Cyndi Lauper and Debi Mazar (Entourage) will appear, as will returning guest stars Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), D.W. Moffett (Switched At Birth) and Fran's The Nanny co-star Renée Taylor. Inspired by Fran Drescher's real life, Happily Divorced revolves around LA florist Fran Lovett (Drescher) who finds out after 18 years of marriage that her husband Peter (John Michael Higgins) is gay. Production begins on October 1 and the sitcom returns to TV Land with 12 all-new episodes beginning on Wednesday, November 28 at 10:30pm ET/PT immediately following the fourth season premiere of Hot in Cleveland.

    In the second half of season two, Peter gets a job working as an assistant for Joan Collins (who plays a fictional version of herself). Peter is thrilled to be working for an icon – until he realizes that two demanding women in his life is two too many. Additionally, Robert Wagner appears as Elliot's (Moffett) handsome father, and Marilyn (Taylor), the longtime frenemy of Fran's mother Dori (Rita Moreno), will return – daughter (Cyndi Lauper) in tow. Debi Mazar plays a potential new roommate for one of the Lovetts. In the return episode on Nov. 28, Ralph Macchio will return as Frankie, the New York born-and-bred pizza shop owner who has been romancing Fran. Happily Divorced also stars acclaimed actors Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris) as Fran's best friend Judi, Rita Moreno and Robert Walden as Fran's parents Dori and Glen and Valente Rodriguez (George Lopez) as Cesar, her flower shop employee.


  • New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

    2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
    Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

    10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
    10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
    10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
    10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
    10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
    10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
    10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
    10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
    10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
    10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
    10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
    11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
    11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
    11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
    11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
    11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
    11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
    12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
    12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
    12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
    12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, October 24

    Last Man Standing - "School Merger" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mike and Chuck debate the merits of a local ballot measure merging their upscale neighborhood high school with one in the inner city. For Halloween, Ryan dresses up Boyd as a lump of coal – another reminder to Vanessa how her job as a geologist may be hurting the environment.

    Cristela - "Mr. Felix and Ms. Daniela" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    After Daniela’s friend mistakes Cristela for the nanny, tensions flare between the two sisters and surprisingly it is Felix who brings them back together. Meanwhile, Alberto tries to get closer to Cristela in an unexpected way.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

    Friday, October 24

    • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Watch Jerry on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new autobiography on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Amy Yasbeck (Wings) - Amy talks about the legacy of her late husband, John Ritter, and the foundation created in his honor on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne chats on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
    • Analeigh Tipton (Manattan Love Story) - Analeigh is a guest on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
    • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John talks A Delicate Balance on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny chats about her book (Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been) on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Laurence Fisburne (black-ish) - Laurence appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.