You didn't have to be this guy to figure out that FOX would renew Bones.
FOX Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television have come to terms on a new license fee agreement and the hit series Bones has been renewed for a seventh season. We predicted this would happen as merely a defensive move if nothing else because if the uncertain fate of House. Universal Media Studios and FOX did not reach an agreement despite a deadline of April 15th and two extensions beyond that deadline.
To make matters more precarious for FOX and the future of House on the network, NBCUniversal head, Steve Burke, has announced that parent company Comcast will be investing an additional $200 million into the struggling NBC. This, of course, just reaffirms our suspicions that it is quite possible that UMS may just opt instead to sell the hit medical show to NBC. The issue at play here is money. UMS wants the same they had with FOX in season five and have FOX share in the cast salaries. FOX’s position is that though the show is still strong it’s not as strong as it was in season five when the initial deal was made. So considering that the deadlines have passed and UMS wants more money than FOX is willing to give, who better to turn to than fellow NBCUniversal subsidiary, NBC who will apparently be rolling in cash. Steve
NBCUniversal Head, Steve Burke
Burke had this to say about the cash infusion at NBC:
The real key to turning around NBC is not necessarily increased investment. The real key is making better shows.
So apparently Mr. Burke certainly gets it and that’s good sign for NBC’s future. Even though he is stating the obvious, it simply amazes us how his predecessors couldn’t grasp that very simple concept. So now it’s our turn to ask the obvious: what better way is there to make better shows than by purchasing already established hits in their prime? We can’t think of many. As we’ve noted, the addition of House to the Peacock network would be a game changer for them or at the very least a life-preserver.
Via Press Release:
FOX UNCOVERS ANOTHER SEASON OF “Bones”
Fan-Favorite Series Renewed for Seventh Season
All-New Episode Airs Thursday, May 5, on FOX
FOX has renewed the hit series Bones for a seventh season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“Bones is creatively fresh, it’s a rock-solid player every time it airs and this season it has helped us win on Thursday nights for the first time in our history,” said Reilly. “Hart Hanson and the fantastic cast and crew, as well as the millions of loyal Bones fans, make this show really special, and I’m excited to have it on our air for another stellar season.”
In the all-new “The Signs in the Silence” episode, airing Thursday, May 5 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), a 15-year-old Jane Doe, who is hearing impaired and unable to communicate, is found on the streets covered in blood and wielding a knife, leading the team to believe she is responsible for a recent murder. Meanwhile, Angela keeps Hodgins in the dark regarding the details of her pregnancy.
Bones is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who can read clues left behind in victims’ Bones and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.
Bones is from Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson, Stephen Nathan, Ian Toynton and Barry Josephson are executive producers. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bones and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bonesonfox (@bonesonfox).
FALLING SKIES opens in the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force.
At the center of the series is Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), a Boston history professor whose family has been torn apart. His wife was killed in the initial attack, and one of his three sons has been captured. Determined to get his son back and to ensure the safety of his other two sons, Tom must put his extensive knowledge of military history to the test as one of the leaders of the resistance movement known as the 2nd Mass, because of their location in Boston, Mass. They are constantly trying to gain intelligence about the aliens in order to one day outsmart and overtake them and hopefully rebuild their lives.
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) co-stars as Anne Glass, a pediatrician who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic upheaval in their lives. Will Patton (Armageddon, TNT’s Into the West) plays a fierce leader of the resistance, Weaver. The series also stars Drew Roy (Secretariat) as Hal, Tom’s oldest son and a growing fighter in the resistance movement; Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom’s youngest son; Connor Jessup (The Saddle Club) as Ben, Tom’s son who was captured by aliens; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps Anne in the group’s makeshift medical clinic. Colin Cunningham (Living in Your Car) is John Pope, the leader of an outlaw motorcycle gang and Sarah Carter (Shark) is Margaret, a wary survivor of Pope’s gang.
FALLING SKIES focuses on the resilience of the survivors and their determination to maintain their humanity when all else has been destroyed. It is a tale of endurance, commitment and courage in which everyday people are called upon to become heroes. They may be outmatched, outnumbered and outgunned, but nothing can beat the human spirit. Most of all, the series is about the ties that bind people together in the most difficult of circumstances.
The aliens in the series are mighty, mysterious and merciless. They are highly intelligent and use military-like tactics, which makes them an overwhelming force against the 2nd Mass. There are two types of aliens that the human survivors have named Skitters and Mechs. Combining live action and special visual effects, the Skitters have spider-like bodies and incredible strength and agility. The deadly, robotic Mechs stand upright and can shoot bullets from their arms. The aliens control captured children, like Tom’s son Ben, through bio-mechanical harnesses but have yet to reveal their ultimate plan for them.
FALLING SKIES is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, along with DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, Graham Yost (Justified, The Pacific) and screenwriter Robert Rodat. Rodat, who earned an Oscar® nomination for his screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg. Mark Verheiden (Heroes, Battlestar Galactica) and Greg Beeman (Heroes, Smallville) are co-executive producers. The pilot was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Out of Time). – TNT
Longer First Look Extended Trailer:
So, here’s the question of the month: How the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks did we miss this. Seriously, we’re genetically predisposed to have the first scoop on all new SciFi programming out there. This is just embarrassing. We only heard about Falling Skies yesterday when we saw the trailer on TNT and thought it was for a summer blockbuster that we didn’t know about.
That being said, this looks exceptionally well-done for basic cable with Dreamworks producing it and Steven Spielberg heavily involved with creating the aliens. Dare we say, it looks even better than Terra Novaand we think it has a better chance of staying on the air for a second season then TN as well because basically they’ve done everything right, so far, as far as production of Sci-Fi television is concerned.
Yes... yes they do.
It’s on Basic Cable and NOT on a Major Network. Better yet, it’s on TNT which overall in 2010 was the #4 cable Network on television and #2 for original non-niche scripted programming (for clarification, Disney and ESPN, #2 and #3, respectively, are niche networks) behind only USA. The expectation for high audience numbers is dramatically lower on basic cable than it is on major network which is a luxury that TN doesn’t have on FOX and to make matters worse for TN, over the past decade, Sci-Fi is DEAD on Network television for this generation of audiences and has been an abysmal failure every time it’s been attempted and this dovetails into the next advantage for renewal FS has…
$$$$ Because FS is on basic cable, the production costs will be dramatically lower than any show on a major network and considering that TN is the most expensive show in the history of television, we can only imagine that the production costs of FS is infinitesimal in comparison to TN. Again, this goes back to the ratings expectations that TNT will have for FS as opposed to what FOX will have for TN. One of the biggest factors a show has to overcome is production costs. When 24 was canceled last year, even though the ratings were continuing to drop they weren’t particularly awful. The problem was (besides the fact that the producers admitted that the well had run dry) that the show was just so damned expensive to produce that they couldn’t justify renewing it. A show has to get high enough ratings in order to justify high ad rates in order to justify high production costs. It’s that simple. Considering what we said about the recent history of Sci-Fi on network, the advantage again goes to FS.
The real reason why so many Sci-Fi shows are produced in Canada
“O, Canada, Our Home and Native Land!” As soon as we saw the trailers for FS, the first thing we thought was, “Oh, this has to be being produced in Canada,” and as we confirmed with iMDB, it sure as heck is (Hamilton, Ontario to be precise). It’s well-known that the key to keeping production costs down dramatically with Sci-Fi television is to film in Canada. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this list of Sci-Fi shows filmed in Canada over the last two decades. Where is TN being produced? In ridiculously cost-prohibitive Australia which is just adding to the enormous price-tag of that show. Advantage, FS.
Shorter Schedule Beyond the obvious fact that producing more than twice as many episodes per season (22 for TN as opposed to 10 for FS) will cost twice as much for FOX, there’s also a much bigger issue and that is that a 22 episode season, by its nature, will air over the course of an entire television season, in this case (allegedly) 2011 – 2012. This means long hiatuses and reruns for the show which has proven time and time again to be catastrophic for Sci-Fi and genre which is exactly why they eventually stopped doing it with 24, Lost, and Alias to name a few, instead, choosing to air their entire seasons as mid-season replacements without anything more than the random one week break between new episodes. Today’s audiences have ZERO patience for serials to begin with, nevertheless Sci-Fi serials, and they will not tolerate shows that leave them hanging for six weeks to several months at a time. FS will air new episodes continuously for ten weeks and it’s airing in the middle of summer with no competition from the major networks which is a strategy that continues to be proven successful for basic cable networks.
Finally, 22 episodes of Sci-Fi is just too much for major network television (and no, even though The CW is a major network, they don’t count for the purpose of this discussion for obvious reasons.). Today’s major network audiences just will not hang in there for 22 episodes of Sci-Fi any more. Now, we love Fringe and we’re certainly thrilled it got picked up for a fourth season but that is an anomaly and the audience numbers haven’t been particularly great for it which is why it got moved from the middle of the week to Friday to begin with. The standard 10 – 13 episode seasons for original programming on basic cable works just fine for Sci-Fi. Advantage, FS.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
So why are we so excited about FS? Well, first, the trailers look fantastic and yes, we know it’s not a particularly original concept stealing aspects from The Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, V, The Road, Independence Day and War of the Worlds, to name a few (not to mention that the whole “stealing children and technologically altering them” concept is eerily similar to the Borg in Star Trek) but heck, we like that kind of Sci-Fi because it invariably promises us great action and character development. We also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Noah Wyle looks like he was separated at birth from Terminator: Salvation star and leader of the resistance Christian Bale (John Connor).
Along with the great action, though, is that shows like this invariably raise thought-provoking philosophical questions about humanity, often without the audience realizing it until after it’s happened. This is one of the marks of great Sci-Fi storytelling which this particular brand of Sci-Fi excels at and we really expect nothing less considering the heavy hitters that are on board for this and their experience and success they bring to this in the writing and production department (see the last paragraph of the show description at the top).
Also, just to preempt the inevitable cries of “it’s not an original concept” from the peanut gallery (that have already begun), we’ve got news for you: there are no original concepts in Sci-Fi anymore. Every concept you can think of has been thought up by someone else in this genre and been done already. It’s the execution of concept that counts and that’s what will be the deciding factor in FS‘s success or failure.
Check out the official Falling Skies webpage, here.
There have been three major announcements from F/X over the last few weeks regarding programming for the 2011 -2012 season.
First, in a move that delights us to no end, one of the best shows on television, Justified, has been renewed for a third season.
Via The Longest Press Release We’ve Ever Seen to Announce the Renewal of a Show:
FX’S CRITICALLY ACLLAIMED HIT DRAMA JUSTIFIED GETS PICK UP
Network Orders 13 Episodes for Third Season from
FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Six All New Episodes Remain in Season One, Wednesdays at 10 PM ET/PT
With Season 1 Finale Airing June 8
Season Two (First-Run) Averaging 3.9 Million Total Viewers and 2.0 Million Adults 18-49
Marking Gains of +16% in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 vs. Season One Average
With Multi-Run Weekly Average of 7.2 Million Total Viewers and 3.7 Million Adults 18-49
LOS ANGELES, March 29, 2011 – The FX drama series Justified is enjoying one of the most critically acclaimed seasons of any show on television this year and today the network has ordered another season of the hit series, picking up a 13-episode third season, announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks. Six all new episodes remain in season two, airing Wednesdays at 10 PM ET/PT, with the second season finale airing May 4.
“Justified was a critically acclaimed hit series in its first season, but the show has far surpassed our expectations this season,” said Landgraf. “Creatively, the show is on a roll. The performances of Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Margo Martindale and the entire cast are extraordinary. Graham Yost and his team of writers are delivering some of the richest stories anywhere on TV and are doing a brilliant job of being true to Elmore Leonard’s original character, Raylan Givens. We couldn’t be more proud of the work everyone has done.”
Developed for television by Graham Yost and starring Timothy Olyphant, Justified (TV-MA) is based on the popular Elmore Leonard character “Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens” from his short story Fire in the Hole and some of his other novels.
Yost said, “I always say that the best review we’ve ever received on Justified is the fact that Elmore Leonard gets a kick out of the show. I must add to that. Now tied for the best feedback we’ve ever received is the news that a network as cool and original and supportive as FX is bringing us back for another year.”
“The show’s appeal speaks volumes to Graham’s fresh approach to storytelling,” said Jamie Erlicht, president of programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.
“The stellar performances by Timothy, Walton and the entire cast are Emmy caliber and we couldn’t be prouder of this series” added Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.
SOURCE: The Nielsen Company, NHI (Live+7)
Through seven weeks, first-run episodes of Justified are averaging 3.9 million viewers (+15% vs. season 1) and 2.0 million Adults 18-49 (+18% vs. season 1). The weekly multi-run average viewership for the season 2 is 7.2 million total viewers and 3.7 million Adults 18-49, respective gains of +6% in Total Viewers and +6% in Adults 18-49.
The series co-stars Walton Goggins guest stars as “Boyd Crowder,” Nick Searcy as Givens longtime friend and boss “Chief Deputy Art Mullen,” Jacob Pitts as “Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson,” Erica Tazel as “Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks,” Joelle Carter as “Ava Crowder,” and Natalie Zea as Raylan’s ex-wife “Winona Hawkins.” This season Margo Martindale joined the cast in a supporting role as “Mags Bennett,” matriarch of a rural Kentucky crime family and nemesis of Raylan Givens.
Yost wrote the pilot and serves as Executive Producer/Writer on the series. Leonard is an Executive Producer on the series along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Dinner, and Olyphant is Producer. Justified is produced by FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 99 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning original series, an established film library of acquired box-office hit movies, and an impressive lineup of acquired hit series.
Later that same day, F/X announced that they would also be renewing the animated comedy series, Archer, for a third season as well, with new episodes airing in September. We didn’t watch Archer when it first aired but since it’s been on Netflix Streaming, we’ve been getting into it and it’s absolutely hilarious.
Matthew Perry stars as Ben Donovan, the general manager of the Sunshine Center, who every night navigates a never-ending series of bizarre requests, curious mishaps and employee screw ups to put on a show for 18,000 screaming people.
Working alongside him is his boss and arena owner Crystal, attractive, powerful and highly erratic; Alice, the cute, tomboyish marketing director and Ben’s friend with benefits; Alonzo, a former basketball player, handsome and unbelievably happy; Ben’s assistant, Heather, pretty, sweet, but terrifying because she once lit a boyfriend on fire; and Crystal’s son, Roman, sweet-faced, clueless and Ben’s newest employee.
“Mr. Sunshine” stars Matthew Perry (“Friends”) as Ben, Allison Janney (“The West Wing”) as Crystal, Andrea Anders as Alice, James Lesure as Alonzo and Nate Torrence as Roman. – ABC
2 out of 10
They say that familiarity breeds contempt and that particular axiom has special meaning for this “comedy” offering from ABC. You see, everything is familiar about this show and for that we have contempt for it. The story is familiar as it’s obviously just a cheap rip-off of NBC’s 30 Rock, the characters are familiar as they are obviously just cheap rip-offs of the characters on NBC’s 30 Rock, the stale jokes are familiar as they are obviously just cheap rip-offs of the jokes on 30 Rock, and the style of the show is familiar as it is – you guessed it – obviously just a cheap rip-off of 30 Rock.
Mr. Sunshine is unoriginal tripe. As noted, the jokes aren’t original, they aren’t funny and there are really no likable characters. The attempts at slapstick fail completely and the only message we can really ascertain at the end of each episode is “don’t tune in again next week unless you want to more crap.” We would also really like to know whose brilliant idea was it to make a sports arena as a backdrop for a show. Have the writers been reduced to Mad Libs or are they just pulling slips of paper out of a hat for story ideas, now? Also, actors delivering their dialogue like a machine gun doesn’t make it any funnier.
There’s one more thing that’s familiar about this show that needs to be addressed: Matthew Perry. No offense to the guy, but we’re sick of him. He does nothing for anything he is in. He’s not horrible, he’s just vanilla… milquetoast… bland. Like every other cast member on that horrible piece-of-crap show, Friends (we don’t care if you watched it… you know it sucks) they gave him a shot to do films in the 1990’s and 2000’s and like every other cast member with maybe the exception of Jennifer Aniston (we qualify Aniston with a “maybe” because although she’s had some successful films and her name is a draw because we guess she was hot at one point and married to Brad Pitt, other than Office Space, her films are crap) he has a history of box office failures and television failures. The only films that were even worth watching that this guy has been in were The Whole Nine Yards and Fools Rush In and the only reason why those two films were worth investing in was because one starred Bruce Willis and the other one starred Selma Hayek. We’re sorry, but Perry simply does not bring much more to the table in 2011 than he has for the last 15 years. If you don’t believe us, simply look at his résumé and tell us that we’re wrong.
We’re also finding the similarities to this show and 30 Rock a little creepy. Has anyone else caught the fact that in 2006, NBC debuted two shows about what goes on backstage at a sketch comedy show, one of a highly acclaimed sit com in the form of 30 Rock and the other a highly acclaimed drama called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and that only 30 Rock was kept and that 30 Rock is now in its fifth season? Has anyone else caught the fact that Matthew Perry was a regular cast member on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and has hardly worked since?
Here’s our theory:
Perry is trying to make up for the success that he didn’t have on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip by duplicating almost everything in 30 Rock, the show that, let’s face it, won the battle at NBC amongst the shows about sketch comedy shows. Now, why do we suggest that this is creepy or even happening? Well, normally we don’t wait around for end credits when watching anything on VOD but we did for this because we wanted to see who the production company was. To our surprise it was none other than Perry’s own production company, Anhedonia Productions. You see, Perry co-wrote the pilot and is responsible for this mess coming to ABC and we feel it is his attempt to get back to the status that he once had in the 1990’s on television.
What makes it especially creepy is the name of the production company: “Anhedonia.” Ahedonia is a psychiatric condition defined as an inability to experience pleasurable emotions from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, social interaction or sexual activities (i.e., joy). It is a symptom associated with schizophrenia and drug addiction, in particular with amphetamines which Perry is well-known to have had addiction problems with. The name of the production company, Perry’s history and the show’s tagline (as seen in the poster above) “Oh, Joy.” is not very encouraging to us. Maybe we’re looking into this too much and this is only a strange bunch of coincidences but we’d be remiss if we didn’t do the analysis.
So, is the ironically named Mr. Sunshine really an attempt at sit com gold or is it just a desperate expression of melancholy from Perry. We don’t know but we do know that it’s pretty awful and it has no business being the lead-out for Modern Family.
GOOD MORNING, U.S.A.! IT’S GONNA BE A WONDERFUL DAY!
“American Dad” RENEWED FOR SEVENTH TERM
Emmy-nominated Animation Domination staple American Dad has been renewed for a seventh season, bringing the series through the 2012-2013 season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“This is fantastic news,” said Roger the Alien. “But you do realize I’m not real, right?”
American Dad follows the lives of ultra-conservative, staunch GOP supporter and CIA agent STAN SMITH (Seth MacFarlane) and his eccentric family that includes FRANCINE (Wendy Schaal), his ditzy-but-lovable wife; HAYLEY (Rachael MacFarlane), his 18-year-old left-wing hippie daughter; STEVE (Scott Grimes), his geeky, 14-year-old son; ROGER (Seth MacFarlane), the selfish and sarcastic cross-dressing space alien; and KLAUS (Dee Bradley Baker), an attention-starved goldfish. The fan-favorite series airs Sundays (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Expect lots of hijinks from the Smiths this spring! Roger attempts to make Steve a “cool kid” by letting him drive other kids around in a tractor, but the plan quickly backfires. Meanwhile, Francine gets a job at Stan’s office, but she cramps his style; and Roger starts dressing like a teenage girl and quickly seduces Steve’s best friend, SNOT (guest voice Curtis Armstrong). Upcoming guest voices for this season include Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds and Grammy Award winner Cee-Lo Green.
American Dad is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman serve as co-creators and executive producers, while Kenny Schwartz, Rick Wiener and Nahnatchka Khan serve as executive producers. Become a fan of American Dad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americandad and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americandadfox.
We are officially not hating FOX today (ONE day, FOX… you get ONE DAY!) but we would like to point out that after we saw the pilot of Bob’s Burgers we knew that the renewal of American Dad was inevitable and noted it in our review. So tell your friends about how brilliant our insight is (again) and that they have to read this blog. That being said, with this announcement today, we find it highly unlikely that Bob’s Burgers will be renewed and we are thankful for that as it’s just awful.
There is a discrepancy here, though, that we would like to point out: American Dad is currently in its sixth season (2010 – 2011). The press release indicates that the American Dad renewal will bring the series through the 2012 – 2013 season. The numbers don’t work on that (it should be 2011 – 2012) unless FOX intends to split up season seven over the course of 2 years (there are reports that the order was for 22 episodes) premiering each half in January 2012 and January 2013. We don’t find this scenario likely but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either.
Consider this: FOX has ordered pilots for at least two new animated shows for 2011 – 2012 and they are continuing to look for more because they want to expand their “Animation Domination” schedule, according to our sources. There is no change in time-slot according to the press release which means that American Dad will still be airing at 7:30 p.m. The problem is that FOX stops airing programming at 10:00 p.m. so they are limited on time slots to keep plugging cartoons into. The only solution would be half-season programming, i.e., air “Cartoon-X” in the Fall of 2011 and American Dad for 11 episodes in Spring 2012, rinse and repeat for the following season. Although we find this scenario unlikely, it is possible and we don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing.
The more likely of the scenarios, however, is that they either just made a mistake and meant 2011 – 2012 or they actually renewed it for two seasons. As much as we’d like the latter, we’re leaning towards the former for obvious reasons.
Of course, we’ll keep you updated as we find out more.
Lights Out, from Executive Producer/Showrunner Warren Leight (In Treatment), stars Holt McCallany (CSI: Miami) as an aging former heavyweight boxing champion who struggles to find his identity and support his wife and three daughters after retiring from the ring. Financial problems leave him at a perilous crossroads – battling the urge to return to boxing or reluctantly accepting a job as a brutal and intimidating debt collector. Catherine McCormack (Braveheart) co-stars as “Theresa Leary,” Lights’ wife who is finishing her medical residency; Pablo Schreiber (Law & Order) as “Johnny Leary,” Lights’ brother and business manager whom Lights put through college; and Stacy Keach (Fat City) as “Pops,” Lights’ father and former trainer who runs the boxing gym owned by Lights. Clark Johnson (The Shield, The Wire) and Norberto Barba (In Treatment, CSI: NY) directed the pilot episode. Series Creator Justin Zackham (The Bucket List), Phillip Noyce (Salt) and Ross Fineman are also Executive Producers. Lights Out is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions. – F/X
10 out of 10
All we can say is that we’re a little punchy after watching that pilot and the second episode of Lights Out. F/X, who we consider the HBO of basic cable, has done it again. Lights Out, without a doubt, is the best new show this spring on television (so far), be it network or cable.
There are so many things good with this show that it’s kind of hard to pin down exactly why we like it in 500 words or less. First, let us warn you that this isn’t the television version of The Fighter or Rocky Balboa and in fact, the boxing aspect of Lights Out, although certainly the foundation of the show, seems more incidental than anything else. Patrick “Lights” Leary could have been a famous baseball player, singer, movie star… whatever… and it wouldn’t really matter as this is a character driven story about the rise and fall of a public hero who’s only goal, now is to take care of his family.
Leary is a very likable and relatable character and reminds us of exactly how we would react if we were the father of three (God, help us) daughters. He would do absolutely anything he could to protect his family which in the pilot includes getting into a street-fight with a loud-mouth former football player behind a bar for cash and acting as an “collection agent” for the local Irish mob boss, Brennan, to deal with a “client” that owes Brennan $500,000. These two situations have very big twists in them and serve as exposition for the man that Leary is and the an he has to be.
Since we’re on the subject of HBO, Lights Out seems like it really would be more appropriate on that network as it feels more in the vein of The Sopranos or The Wire, but then again, this is the network that brought us the raw, hard-hitting epics The Shield and Damages so F/X has proven that it knows how to handle good drama.
If only Lone Star would have found a home on F/X instead of FOX but, we digress.
Lights out is a TKO and we highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of good serialized drama and complex characters, you will love this show.
Fringe Returns on Friday January 21, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. on FOX
We did a piece back in December regarding the Fringe move to Friday nights in which – and we see no reason to sugar-coat this – we spent the majority of the piece, bashing (albeit justifiably) FOX for its treatment of scripted programming in general, its propensity to panic and banish a show to Friday nights for the purpose of letting it die and to, by virtue of their irresponsible programming decisions, cause the premature cancellation of quality programming.
We also explained that while were inclined to accept the fact that Fringe would be moving to Friday nights and this most likely signaled the end to the series (FOX or any other network can do whatever they want), what we could not tolerate was the self-righteous spin coming from FOX (specifically in the promo trailer below) which attacked other blogs and commentators far more reputable than The ‘Tastic who are well aware as we are of FOX’s history regarding scripted programming and in particular, genre programming, who dared to suggest the same thing that we did.
What particularly bothered us was not the issue of FOX calling out highly reputable sources such as Collider, Ain’t It Cool News, and IGN… that’s fine. When a media outlet is wrong or publishes commentary that is scurrilous with nothing to back it up, it’s completely justified. The issue we had was that of FOX trying to pretend that they have no history of doing exactly what these outlets suggested and mocking them for the suggestion and leaving the false impression on the fans that they should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because they of course are going to fully support Fringe on Friday night… just like they do all of their scripted programming they put there!
We took A LOT of heat for that piece by FOX gushers suggesting everything from we didn’t know what we were talking about, to we’re just making things up and our favorite, at least FOX gives Sci Fi and genre a chance as none of the other networks do (which is absolute nonsense).
So, as the weeks have progressed, there has been more and more propaganda spewed by FOX and by their willing accomplices in the media about how much support they are giving to Fringe. Outlets such as the folks at TV Line seem all to happy to not only believe FOX, but to promote their spin as if it should be believed, in particular Matt Webb Mitovich and Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello. From Mitovich’s January 11th piece:
Fringe‘s move to Fridays, which takes hold on January 21, is looking more and more like a really terrific thing.
Not only has Fox been promoting the heck out of the time-slot change, but Fringe‘s new “under the radar” home apparently has opened the door for even freakier storytelling.
Noting that Fox “has always been pretty cool” about letting Fringe push the envelope, series creator J.J. Abrams tells TVLine that said envelope’s seams have achieved outrageous new levels of elasticity.
In a major blow to the argument that Fox is banishing Fringe to Fridays to die, a new piece of evidence has emerged that strongly suggests the network very much wants the show to succeed in its new, challenging time slot: A fancy outdoor advertising campaign touting the show’s new Friday perch!
The fancy investment of $5,000.00 on a billboard which obviously means that FOX is fully supporting Fringe.
Well, we guess that completely shoots holes in our perspective and that of the rest of the other skeptics, right? Well, not really.
You see, in an interview with Collider’s Christina Radish on January 12th, J.J. Abrams himself had a bit of different take on the Friday move for Fringe than the FOX talking heads and the propaganda pushers at TV Line.
J.J. Abrams... He'll be drinking more.
Radish: How do you feel about the move to Friday nights for Fringe?
ABRAMS: Oh, I’m horrified beyond belief, but as a fan of the genre and the show, I’m hoping that fans will tune in. I certainly can promise that it will be worth their while. The episodes that are coming up are spectacular. I guess you can just be hopeful and say that, if the work is good enough, it will find the audience. I think they’re doing better work now, even in the second half of Season 3, than they’ve ever done on the series. I’m just crossing my fingers that fans of the show, show up.
Radish: Do you see any upside to the change in nights?
ABRAMS: Just in that I’ll start drinking more. No, I don’t see an upside because the audience on Friday nights is harder to find. But, that’s not to say that they aren’t there and that we might not be able to make it there. Certainly, I would be lying to you if I said I’m thrilled about the move. But, what I am thrilled about is that the network has been incredibly supportive and, despite its move to Friday, they’ve been nothing but encouraging of the show. It’s still on the air in its third season, and it’s not easy to do that. It’s not easy to get to Season 3 of anything. They’ve allowed the show to become truly great, I think. The question is, will audiences find a great show on Friday nights? I pray that they do.
Well, surprise, surprise! J.J. Abrams has the exact same opinion of the move to Friday for Fringe that we do. The only difference is that he’s more polite when discussing the show’s relationship with FOX than we are, because after all, they’re still paying the bills. Like J.J., we are also horrified and we see no upside to this move but we do sincerely pray that it does find success… but we doubt that it will. The reality of it is, as Abrams knows, that if FOX truly had faith in Fringe and wanted to support it, they never would have moved it to Friday night to begin with.