Well my family just got a party game to play over the Christmas holidays: Name all the celebrities, authors, world leaders (yes, an ex-president), Hollywood actors, media pundits and bold-faced names who joined Stepen Colbert in a touching singalong of We'll Meet Again for his series finale Thursday night. Check out the video here and add names of the faces you recognize in the comments section. (bonus points for titles, like the US Ambassador to the UN)
And Colbert continues to astound me with how smart and full of layers his show is. It's been the gold standard of satire and if you don't believe me note that the lovely parting ditty from World War II that was sung to soldiers heading off was also the closing song of the ultimate satire, 1964's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. We'll Meet Again closes out the final scenes while showing a montage of atomic explosions.Full Story
Exciting streaming news, everyone! Hulu and FX have bestowed upon us Hulu subscribers a most joyous gift for the holiday season: The streaming site has just announced a multi-year deal for FX Networks' original series, meaning they'll exclusively be streaming shows like Tyrant, The Strain, Married and You’re The Worst, plus upcoming shows like Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Taboo, and Fox's buzzed-about May show Wayward Pines.
Hulu says the first seasons of FX and FXX shows including Tyrant, The Strain, Married and You’re the Worst will be available before their second seasons premiere. (We strongly urge you to check out You're the Worst. It's, well, the best.) Plus, prior seasons of FX's Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louie and Archer will all be available too.
But the upcoming shows Hulu's getting in this deal might even be more exciting. Future series that will be available for streaming include Jay Baruchel's Man Seeking Woman (premieres Jan. 14 on FXX); The Comedians, which stars Billy Crystal and Josh Gad (premieres spring 2015); Denis Leary's Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll; and Ridley Scott's period drama Taboo, starring Tom Hardy. …Full Story
The Golden Globes nominations were announced today, and Tampa Bay Times TV fanatics Michelle Stark and Brittany Volk have some thoughts on the pleasant surprises (hey look, it's Transparent!) and some of the less good ones (no Mad Men?). (Times movie critic Steve Persall has thoughts on this year's movie nominations here.)
Michelle: First of all, Brittany, we must pay our respects: ALL HAIL THE GOOD WIFE! Let's take a minute to grasp just how rare it is for a network drama in its SIXTH SEASON, and one on CBS no less, not exactly the home for creative and boundary-pushing programming, to continue to hold court with the big cable dogs in the Best TV Drama category. Yes, The Good Wife was again the lone network show nominated in the category and, boy, does it deserve it. (RIP WILL.)
While we're talking drama, I'm happy to see Viola Davis up for Best Actress for her role in ABC's How To Get Away With Murder, because she delivered the best nine words on TV this season. If she doesn't get the Globe, the winner better watch her back. Full Story
Letterman sets goodbye dateFull Story
As you prepare to spend the next week weeping over the departures of Stephen Colbert (Dec. 18) and Craig Ferguson (Dec. 19), don’t forget about the big one looming on the horizon. That would be David Letterman, who will hand his Late Show over to Colbert sometime in 2015. On Wednesday, CBS announced Letterman’s final show will air May 20. No word yet on a final guest, but maybe we can hold out hope it’ll be Jay Leno. Leno, after all, will be Ferguson’s final guest next week. Maybe the icy tundra between the two hosts is thawing.
Gooding is O.J. in FX series
Today in news from the ’90s: Cuba Gooding Jr. is O.J. Simpson. The Jerry Maguire Oscar winner will play the accused murderer in FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, the network has announced. Produced by Ryan Murphy, American Crime Story is meant to be sort of a true-crime version of American Horror Story, but let’s be honest, nothing that has ever happened on American Horror Story has ever been crazier than everything that went down in the O.J. Simpson trial. AHS veteran Sarah Paulson will play prosecutor Marcia Clark, which should be a big role, as E! News reports this initial series will focus on the lawyers’ perspective of the trial. The series could premiere as early as January 2016. No other cast members have been announced, but you just know Kato Kaelin is on his phone right now, screaming at his agent, “Come on, man, it’s the part I was born to play!”
Dunst, Plemons move to 'Fargo’
Now that we’ve all moved on from dream-casting the new season of True Detective, we can start dream-casting the new season of Fargo. And we have two names to jump start your dreaming: Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons. Dunst will star as Peggy Blomquist, a bored beautician in 1979 in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Plemons will play her husband, Ed. The story will revolve around a younger Lou Solverson, played by Keith Carradine in the first season, though that role has yet to be cast. Dunst has done a bit of TV over the years, but Plemons may be the real draw here, considering he’s starred in every one of your favorite TV shows and miniseries over the past few years — Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, HBO’s Olive Kitteridge. Fargo is just another day’s work.
The Voice goes from five singers to three, Rudolph celebrates its 50th anniversary and Disney pays tribute to all of its Broadway shows. Click here for this week's list of top TV.Full Story
The cast of 'New Girl.'
If you can’t be honest with your sitcom pals, who can you be honest with?
New Girl, you did not have a good third season. When you debuted on TV’s struggling sitcom scene in 2011, you quickly became one of my favorites, a witty, joke-laden show with strong characters and even stronger actors playing them. Season 2 was your best, culminating in that thrilling kiss between leads Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel).
But Season 3 fell, and fell fast. Nick and Jess’ romance turned toxic, the addition of Damon Wayans Jr. crowded an already gelled cast, and before long, there were entire episodes devoted to Nick losing Winston’s cat and Evil Schmidt (Max Greenfield).
But then, on a Tuesday night in mid-September, something happened. Season 4 premiere “The Last Wedding” was everything a terrific New Girl episode should be: It brought all the main cast members together for a big event (a wedding), it gave Schmidt a ridiculous yet passionate viewpoint (single people must mingle!), and it used a guest star to great effect (Jessica Biel). …Full Story
On Thursday night, NBC staged its second annual live musical, a heavily (heavily) promoted three-hour production of Peter Pan. It was colorful. It was elaborate. It was also extremely boring. And, judging by the ratings, viewers agreed: Peter Pan Live! averaged 9.2 million viewers, less than half the viewers of last year's Sound of Music Live!. (It also dropped more than a third of its viewers in its final hour.)
Now, let’s get one thing straight. If anyone should love a large-scale live musical production, it’s me. I grew up going to the theater, loving musicals, participating in them in high school. Heck, I was even in an elementary school production of Peter Pan (in the very important role of Random Pirate No. 43). So I wanted to be swept away by the glitz and glamour of a live stage production. …Full Story
If nothing else, all of the big names we're about to drop make this new TV show HBO just ordered worth paying attention to: Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) are making an "Untitled Rock and Roll Series" for the channel.
It gets better. The as-yet-untitled hour-long drama has a strong cast, starting with Boardwalk Empire alum (and Emmy winner!) Bobby Cannavale, the increasingly interesting Olivia Wilde and Ray Romano, who's currently over on NBC's Parenthood doing the best acting work of his career. He's our TV MVP right now. Winter (who created Boardwalk and wrote for Sopranos) will be the showrunner and writer, while Scorsese will be an executive producer (and direct the pilot), along with Mick freaking Jagger.
According to HBO's press release, this is what the show will be about: "Set in 1970s New York, the series will explore the drug and sex fueled music business aspunk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of a record executive (Cannavale) trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound." We're in. Though with all the talent involved, that description could have said just about anything.Full Story
It's December, which means it's time for an avalanche of Christmas programming. There are plenty of classic Christmas shows, movies and specials airing on network and cable TV this month, but for those (like me) who don’t have cable, instantly streaming holiday fare on Netflix will have to do. Even if you do have the ability to watch Elf on ABC Family 17 times in the next 30 days, this list may come in handy. We’ve put together 10 classic Christmas episodes of shows both older (Cheers) and newer (New Girl).
“Christmas Party,” season 2, episode 10
The Office excels at holiday episodes, with season 2’s "Halloween" (Dwight dresses up as a Sith lord from Star Wars and no one gets it) and Season 3’s "A Benihana Christmas" (directed by Harold Ramis!) in the running for the show’s best. But this Season 2 gem is top-notch. There’s a ridiculous Michael Scott scheme (a cruel game of Yankee Swap), serious Jim-Pam flirtation (he gifts her a teapot with adorable memories inside) and something for the whole office to do (that boozy Christmas party).
Saved by the Bell
“Home for Christmas,” season 5, episode 11 and 12 …
Okay, now I really feel bad for all those Singing Beth jokes. On Sunday's midseason finale of The Walking Dead's fifth campaign, the show's resident blond songbird -- Daryl's sorta crush, Maggie's sweet sister -- tried to save her new pal Noah by scissor-stabbing Officer Dawn Lerner, the intensely coiffed ruler of Grady Memorial, the creepy hospital sex prison.
But alas, Dawn shot Beth (goodbye Emily Kinney) in the head, which quickly led to an unhinged Daryl shooting Dawn in the head, which eventually led to Maggie crumbling to the ground and basically all of us SOBBING at a show about zombies. Don't lie, dude: You totally cried when Daryl carried his lady love's lifeless body out into the sunlight. Not even a teasing sneak peek of fan fave Morgan and his Goo Goo Cluster (delicious, btw) could make you feel better. …Full Story
Grab a mug of hot cocoa, wrap a scarf around your neck, and make sure to crank the air down real low in your house because it’s probably not actually cold enough outside to do any of that: Christmas TV has officially arrived! Real talk: Some of this has been going on since Halloween. (Giving you serious side eye, Hallmark Channel.) But the glut of holiday programming kicks off in the next few days, with the start of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, network specials like the Rockefeller Center tree lighting and Peanuts Christmas classic, and this year’s crown jewel, the Grumpy Cat Christmas movie. Here are the highlights (date and times subject to change): …Full Story
Courtesy of Paul Wilson
Actor Patrick, left, and John Wilson on the set of Big Stone Gap.
DVR alert! Fox's WTVT-Ch. 13 promises a "big show" at 6 p.m. with some surprises, Good Day Tampa Bay morning anchor Russell Rhodes tweeted to send off longtime news man John Wilson, who is retiring after 33 years as Tampa Bay's best known news anchor.
But first, read this touching story by our colleague Jay Cridlin who followed along in Virginia when the Wilson family played parts big and small in the indie film Big Stone Gap starring his movie star son, Patrick, and Cridlin finds the one thing that can make this seasoned anchor cry.
Hankies may be needed tonight as Wilson hands over the desk to his son Mark Wilson, the Emmy Award-winning reporter who will take over his dad's slot. *sniff* I think there's some dust in my eyes or something, excuse me.Full Story
What better day is there to curl up on the couch and watch TV than Thanksgiving? You’re stuffed, you’re sleepy from all that tryptophan, you’re trying to avoid annoying family members — whatever the reason, you need some solid viewing options. The Peanuts’ Thanksgiving classic gets a head start Wednesday, but most of these (including some off-the-wall marathons) will be perfect for relaxing in that post-feast malaise. …Full Story
This week's list of top TV is all about the holidays, with Thanksgiving shows leading the way, and Christmas sneaking in toward the end. Plus, the top 10 perform on The Voice, Dancing with the Stars wraps up its current season (go Alfonso!) and there's a frightening show airing called When Turkeys Attack.
Click here for the full list. Full Story
There are two kinds of human evil in The Walking Dead's zombie apocalypse. We're well-acquainted with the obvious breed: the one-eyed Governor, the dreamboat cannibal - both bigger monsters than the corpses limping through the streets. But this season, we've had a brush with a different brand of bad guy: the powerful coward. There's Officer Dawn Lerner, clinging so desperately to her dystopia that she enables lollipop assaults and much, much worse because "the wards keep my officers happy." And there's Father Gabriel, who chose to lock himself in his church with a lifetime supply of Beanee-Weenee while allowing droves of his help-seeking parishioners to become a zombie buffet. Everyone has a weakness. It’s how you deal with that weakness – yours and others' – that makes all the difference. …Full Story