Movies & TV / Columns

Two Tivos To Paradise 11.09.12: Family Guy, Boy Meets World, Elementary, Homeland, Louis C.K., and more

November 9, 2012 | Posted by Al Norton

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Hello friends. Hope you made it through election week and another nor’easter unscathed. I was pretty shocked when the rain in Boston turned to snow on Wednesday afternoon, even more so when I went to take the trash out that night and realized I was going to have to get up a bit early the next morning to warm up the cars and clean them off. Winter is here, my friends, so I hope you took full advantage of that extra hour we got last weekend and are fully rested.

To the shock of literally no one, Bruce Springsteen brought it last Friday night on NBC’s Hurricane Sandy fundraise…

The Battlestar Galactica prequel pilot Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome that Syfy passed on finally will see the light of day, first as webisodes on YouTube’s Machinima Prime channel starting today, then as a TV movie on Syfy early next year, and finally via DVD/Blu-ray release after…

Another week, another giveaway; this week we have season 7 of Bones on Blu-ray for you!!! Post “I am a TTTP squint” on our wall and you’ll be entered to win, with standard rules in effect. What are standard rules, you ask? One entry per person, one win every six months, and you must have a US or Canadian mailing address.

PBS is gearing up for January’s season premiere of Downton Abbey by offering up a retrospective special that will air later this month…

Try to tell you know but my news keeps telling you yes.

She Gave Him Her Look, It Would Have Worked On Any Other Man Around
Family Guy celebrates its 200th episode on Sunday night, a major accomplishment for a TV series and one it took perhaps the strangest route in TV history to get to. The animated comedy premiered to an amazing 22 million viewers when Fox gave it the coveted post-Super Bowl slot in 1999, and the show averaged just under 13 million viewers a week during that first season as well as a ton of press; there was a ton of controversy about a cartoon dealing with such adult material. For season two Fox put it on Thursdays at 9pm up against NBC’s megahit Frazier and ratings dropped, causing the network to take the show out of that spot and run it seemingly randomly. They then put the show up against Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, at the time a pop culture phenomenon, and ratings dropped more. Fox announced they had cancelled the show after two seasons but then changed their minds, ordering a 13 episode third season.

For season three Fox put it on Thursdays at 8pm, up against Survivor and Friends, and the show continued to flounder in the ratings, which led to the network cancelling the show again, this time for good. Or not.

Cartoon Network started airing reruns of Family Guy in their Adult Swim block in April of 2003 to astounding success, regularly topping not just cable but broadcast TV in the time slot. At the same time seasons one and two were released on DVD and sold 400,000 in the first month. By the end of 2003 they had sold over 2 million copies, making it the top selling TV DVD of the year and ranking as one of the best selling TV DVD sets of all-time. All of this led Fox to order a 35 episode fourth season of the show, almost two years to the date of cancelling it. 11.85 million watched the season four premiere in the spring of 2005, the most watched episode since midway through season one. While the ratings have dropped somewhat since then, the show is regularly one of the network’s top demo performers and has led to the spinoff The Cleveland Show, another strong performer for Fox.

One of the amazing things about the show is despite its outrageousness and expression of creator Seth MacFarlane’s liberal politics, its fans cross ever demographic you can imagine, including age, gender, political party, and religion. Fans seem to appreciate the show’s take-no-prisoners attitude and the consistency in which it lampoons the stupidity of others, regardless of who they are; in other words, they are the living embodiment of an equal opportunity offender.

The show has also made pop culture references an art form and musical numbers a semi-regular event, with fans enjoying watching and re-watching episodes ad nauseam to catch little things they may have missed the first or second (or third or fourth) time around.

I’d love for Family Guy fans to use the comments section below to list off their favorite moments and episodes in the show’s history.

All My Friends Call Me A Fool, They Say, “Let The Woman Take Care Of You”
Disney is in the early stages of development on Girl Meets World, a sequel to the long running 1990′s ABC comedy Boy Meets World that would focus on the tween-age daughter of Corey and Topanga. The network has reached out to Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel about reprising their roles in this new show.

The pilot script will apparently find Corey as a high school history teacher (yes, he has become Mr. Feeney), with the “girl” of the title being his and Topanga’s thirteen year old Riley. The Matthews also have a son, teenager Elliot.

Anyone who doubts the love folks have for BMW should have checked out the TTTP FB page on Saturday morning when we posted this story as it was lit up with “Likes” and comments. While re-boots rarely work, this is a case where it actually makes a ton of sense, combining subject matter the network specializes in with characters that the audience is already familiar with. For folks (like myself) who watched BMW earlier in life, the chance to watch a sequel to the show with our own kids is something quite cool.

To me this project lives or dies based solely on if Savage and Fishel sign on; without both of them there really is no point, and with both of them it’s likely they could get other members of the original cast back – Ryder Strong, William Daniels – even if just in guest spots. We are HUGE Fishel fans from her work on The Dish and think TV is a better place in general when she is on it on a regular basis.

Come Into These Arms Again And Lay Your Body Down, The Rhythm Of This Beating Heart Is Trembling Like A Drum
The co-writer (John Logan) and director (Sam Mendes) of the new James Bond movie Skyfall are teaming up for a new TV project about vampire hunters. Set in 1800′s London, the story is similar in theme to The League of Extraordinary Gentleman in that it would feature already well known characters like Van Helsing and Dr. Frankenstein teaming up to track down and kill vampires. Logan has been nominated for Oscars for writing/co-writing Gladiator, Hugo, and The Aviator and Mendes won an Oscar for directing American Beauty. This new project is currently being shopped to cable networks like HBO and Showtime.

Anytime the creative forces behind what will be the second biggest movie of the year – the biggest movie of the year not named The Avengers – bring a series to TV it’s a story, more so when those two people have such strong resumes, and then when you factor in that said project not only deals with subject matter that is quite popular these days and involves characters the audience is already familiar with, you’ve got the makings of something potentially quite interesting. Call it Once Upon a Time meets Supernatural if you want but that’s a pitch I am buying. That it is being designed for cable likely means a high budget, a smaller episode count (which can ensure quality, tight storytelling), and quality graphic violence and nudity, and there is nothing about this sentence I am not fully on board with.

You Can Bet That I Stand Ready When The Wolf Growls At The Door, Hey I’m Solid, Hey I’m Steady, Hey I’m True Down To The Core
It’s Veteran’s Day on Monday, and a long holiday weekend means marathon programming options for your viewing pleasure…

Saturday
Rosanne (TVLand), 6am, 20 episodes
The Jamie Foxx Show (BET), 8am, 21 episodes
Awkward (MTV), 3pm, 24 episodes
BBQ Pitmasters (Destination America), 3pm, 15 episodes
L&O: SVU (USA), 4pm, 7 episodes

Sunday
Law and Order (TNT), 5am, 10 episodes
Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet), 9am, 19 episodes
Bridezillas (WE), 10am, 16 episodes
NCIS (USA), 10am, 13 episodes
Auction Kings (Discovery), noon, 8 episodes
Fast Food Mania (Destination America), noon 8 episodes
Duck Dynasty (A&E), 3pm, 8 episodes
The Big Bang Theory (TBS), 6pm, 8 episodes
Storage Wars (A&E), 7pm, 18 episodes

Monday
Teen Mom 2 (MTV), midnight, 21 episodes
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo), 6am, 12 episodes
L&O: CI (USA), 7am, 8 episodes
American Pickers (History), 8am, 12 episodes
Threshold (Chiller), 10am, 8 episodes
Martin (TV One), 11am, 12 episodes
Long Island Medium (TLV), noon, 26 episodes
The Mentalist (TNT), noon, 11 episodes

It’s Time To Play The Music, It’s Time To Light The Lights
The Muppet Show video of the week…

But You Were Up To Your Old Tricks In Chapters Four Five And Six
All you need to know about the Nielsen’s for the past 7 days…

THURSDAY
The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos, the latter representing a season high…Elementary was up 9% in the demos…The CMA Awards finished second on the night in totals and demos but also hit a record low in both measures (record low, get it?!?!)…The Vampire Diaries was up 10% in totals and 15% in demos…The X Factor finished third in totals and demos in both hours it aired…

FRIDAY
Malibu Country opened VERY strong for ABC, giving the network its best 8:30 – 9pm numbers in just under 5 years. The total viewers were 8.9 million and demos were second on the night…Last Man Standing opened much lower than season one’s debut but up double digits in total viewers and demos from the season finale…Shark Tank was up 28% in the demos to a new series high, winning its time slot and the night AGAIN…Blue Bloods was the most watched show of the night with 10.9 million viewers…Undercover Boss was down nearly 40% from its most recent season premiere but up 30% from that season’s finale…

SATURDAY
The Alabama – LSU game on CBS was the most watched college football game of the season…Notre Dame – Pitt’s triple overtime game gave NBC Sports their top college football ratings of the fall…

SUNDAY
Once Upon A Time won the night in non-football demos, the only Sunday night show up from the previous week. The 10.1 million viewers were tops for scripted programming for the night…Revenge won 9pm in the demos…666 Park Avenue was down 12%…The Amazing Race and The Mentalist matched last week while The Good Wife dropped to a new series demo low…Sunday Night Football was the night’s top performer in totals and demos by a wide margin

MONDAY
The Mob Doctor was indeed up a smidge in the demos, although it still finished 3rd in the hour in both totals and demos…The Voice easily won the night in demos while DWTS was the most watched program of the evening…Gossip Girl and Castle both dropped down to tie series demo lows, with the latter still managing to be the most watched show at 10pm…Revolution dominated the 10pm demos…Hawaii 5-0 continues to struggle at 10pm, finishing last in total viewers and just edging Castle out to avoid being last in the demos as well…

TUESDAY
37.1 million people watched election coverage on the broadcast networks – down from 38 million in 2008 – with NBC leading the pack, followed ABC, CBS, and Fox. NBC also won in the demos, with the same order of finish behind it of ABC, CBS, and Fox. CBS was the only network to show demo growth from 2008, with ABC’s 19% being the biggest loss…Fox news hit an all-time high for primetime viewers with just under 12 million, but it was CNN that won the night – and early morning – in totals and demos…

WEDNESDAY
Thanks to a live episode of The Voice as a lead-in, Chicago Fire hit a series high…Arrow was up 30% in the demos to tie a season/series high, which helped lead-out Supernatural jump 25%…Modern Family won the night in total viewers and demos…Other shows enjoying modest increases last night were The Middle, The Neighbors, Suburgatory (+21%, actually), Survivor, and Nashville (which finished third in totals and demos at 10pm)…The Voice won 8pm in totals and demos…CSI won 10pm in total viewers but its demos tied a series low…

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…CBS has given the coveted post-Super Bowl slot to Elementary…BBC will start production next month on a four episode 3rd season of Luther…An announcement from AMC is forthcoming about the un-cancellation of The Killing, with the network partnering up with Netflix for a third season of the mystery/drama. Series leads Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman will return, and one of the main factors in bringing the show back – other than being able to divide the budget in two – was a strong plot pitch from showrunner Veena Sud. The plan seems to be to air the episodes on AMC first, with immediate availability on Netflix…Fox has cut the mid-season replace comedy The Goodwin Games order from 13 to 7 episodes. Usually this is a bad sign about a show’s future but in this case it may have more to do with the network picking up 2 more episodes than usual of New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Raising Hope. The comedy stars Becki Newton, Scott Foley, and TJ Miller as estranged siblings who reunite after the death of their Father to deal with the rather odd stipulations in his will. Chances are Games will air in the Tuesdays at 8:30pm slot once Ben and Kate finishes its 19 episode run…TLC picked up a thirty episode 4th season of Long Island Medium that will premiere in March of 2013…TTTP fave Elizabeth Pena will play Gloria’s (Sofia Vergara) Mom on Modern Family24 alum Annie Wersching is CRAZY busy right now, doing multiple episodes on the new season of Body of Evidence, signing on for a recurring role on season two of Dallas, and now she’ll reunite with her former co-star when she guests on Touch…We told you about Celebrity Splash – ABC’s new reality competition show where celebs are paired with diving coaches to see who can be the best off the board/platform – a few weeks back and now comes word from THR.com that four time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis will be one of the three judges on the show. The show has been huge in the Netherlands, where it started, and versions are in development in England, France, and Australia as well. Hell, the concept is so “hot” that Fox is doing their own version, a two hour Stars in Danger: High Diving special this winter that would most definitely turn into a series with good ratings…ABC is developing a series based on Rick Marin’s Kindle Single memoir, Keep Swinging, about a non-athletically talented Dad who jumps into the world of youth sports to coach his sons. This is the first time one of the Kindle Single pieces has been optioned, and Lew Schneider (Everybody Loves Raymond, Men of a Certain Age) will write the pilot with Marin for Conan O’Brien’s production company…Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, Ugly Betty) will star in the NBC pilot After Hours, about the overnight shift at a hospital…USA announced there will be no second season for Political Animals…Travel Channel’s NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns will premiere on December 4th at 10pm. This new show follows the Browns as they travel to road games, with the six episode season featuring stops in NY, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver, and Pittsburgh. With strong ratings the network is hoping this series become a yearly event, with a new team as the focus each time (a la HBO’s Hard Knocks)… Wayne Brady and Caroline Rhea will each do an episode of ABC Family’s shockingly charming Baby Daddy…Aisha Tyler will guest on Glee as Jake’s Mom …RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad) will turn up on an episode of Vegas…Daniel Buran (True Blood, Dexter) has signed for a recurring role on Nashville…Peter Gallagher (Covert Affairs) will play Ted’s former architecture professor on HIMYM…Michelle Trachtenberg will play the psycho-of-the-week on an upcoming episode of Criminal Minds…A few weeks back we told you that Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) was adapting the popular fantasy/action/romance novel Outlander (and it’s sequels) into a TV series and now Deadline.com tells us the project has landed at Starz…Bones co-creator Hart Hanson tells TVGuide.com that he knows how this season will end and that he knows how the series will end but he’s not sure if this will be the show’s last season, saying, “we have to be ready to end the series but we are very, very confident of having a Season 9. If we don’t get a Season 9, then… we have to combine [the two endings]“…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You’re With That Really Matters
(The Best of What’s Around aka The Best Thing I’ve Watched In The Last 7 Days…)
I was very excited for Louis C.K. to host Saturday Night Live and was not let down by the reality, which included what I think is the best sketch/segment of the season so far…

Lincoln wasn’t the only good segment of the night; C.K. also did a very funny opening monologue…

And the cold open was pretty good, too…

Even the bad sketches, like Zorg, got laughs, even if for the wrong reasons. This will likely go down as one of the stronger episodes of the SNL season and hopefully opened up C.K.’s comedy to a bit more of the mainstream; as much I love Louie, it’s on FX, meaning more people watch Partners or Guys with Kids on a weekly basis.

People Say I’m Crazy Doing What I’m Doing. Well, They Give Me All Kinds Of Warnings To Save Me From Ruin
What’s flashed before my eyes the last seven days…

I think the above qualifies as the best individual performance on The Voice this season…While the whole giant/beanstalk part of the episode was pretty blah, this week’s Once Upon A Time certainly proved that Michael Raymond-James (Terriers, True Blood) should be fully employed at all times. And when I say the giant part was blah I mean the special effects and the wasting of Jorge Garcia on a part that could have been played by anyone; the interaction between Hook and Emma was pretty good…The Walking Dead literally takes my breath away sometimes, high praise for a cynical TV veteran like myself…Really enjoyed the Next Iron Chef season premiere; as I said last week, this is easily one of the strongest collections of culinary talents ever assembled for a TV series…If I made a list of the most pleasant surprises of the 2012-2013 TV season, Charles “Chip” Esten – Deacon on Nashville – would be at the top. While he’s done dramatic work before (including a stint on Big Love), I really only knew him from his hysterical work on Whose Line is it Anyway, both the British and American versions, so I was in no way expecting his wonderfully underplayed, world weary performance. And the dude can sing, too!!!…This week’s Revolution was entertaining enough and we did get some interesting back story but it was another “the team faces insurmountable odds and finds a way to come through, killing a bunch of folks in the process and yet coming through without a scratch.” Yes, Charlie did get a tattoo out of it but not in the fighting part. I will say that Miles saying, “yeah, well, we’re saving this one” gave me mini-chills and further established him as the best anti-hero TV has seen since Sawyer…Maybe if I keep talking about how high quality a comedy series The Middle is, criminally underrated because it’s not hip and it’s entirely devoid of detached irony or any meta moments, then people will finally start giving it the credit it deserves. Patricia Heaton has a pretty impressive track record, two very different starring roles on two of the better family comedies of the last 15 years…The League is off to its best start in series history, spinning familiar situations into wonderfully extreme and absurd dark comedy. The show’s use of Rafi is a master class in how to get the most out of a recurring character without going to the well too often…Every season Flipping Out amazes me with the honesty it gets out of the cast; sure, Jeff Lewis is over the top but that’s no act for the camera and I would say he knows himself as well as anyone in all of reality TV…I love that Homeland finds new ways to surprise me, with moments like the one near the end of last Sunday’s episode that remind you of the stakes of the game these folks are playing. I am not saying the show has the best cast on TV but I am confident there is not a show with one that’s better, that’s for sure…

TV Pick Of The Week
Mankind The Story of All of Us has nothing to do with Mick Foley but instead is a new ten part History docu-series that looks at, well, the history of mankind. Josh Brolin narrates this unique look at where we started, where we’ve been, and where we are.

Don’t miss the premiere of Mankind The Story of All of Us, Tuesday at pm on History.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…

*While I found the new TBS hour long comedy Wedding Band to be harmlessly entertaining, the network can’t have very high hopes for it if they are running it on Saturdays at 10pm (?!?!?!)…

*Chris Hardwick: Madroid, the first stand up special I am aware of him doing, premieres Saturday at 11pm on Comedy Central. If you like geeky pop culture references, this is really must see TV.

*ABC Family is airing the world premiere of the “special edition” of The Notebook on Sunday at 8pm, with 10 minutes of deleted scene. Aside from being perhaps the best romance movie of the last 15 years, it also contains what is likely the last great performance from the legendary James Garner. If you’re a Garner fan, you really have to see this movie.

*Top Gear: Fifty Years of Bond Cars (Monday, 8:30pm, BBC America), is, well exactly what it sounds like.

*I am thrilled that, with the election behind us, we’ve got all new comedies on Tuesday night, including Raising Hope, Ben and Kate, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B-, Go On, and The New Normal!

*The kids at McKinley High put on Grease this week on Glee (Thursday, 9pm). I know this because my twins have been listening to the soundtrack of this episode nonstop for the last 10 days.

*Eddie Murphy: One Night Only (Wednesday, 10pm, Spike) is a tribute special featuring some pretty big stars come to lay verbal bouquets at the comedy superstar’s feet.

*The new Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane premieres Thursday at 9pm on HBO…

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Ben and Kate, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Fairly Legal, Family Guy, Fast Food Mania, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Franchise, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters Academy, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Gossip Girl, Great Food Truck Race, Grey’s Anatomy, Happy Endings, Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, Last Resort, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, Next Iron Chef, The Office, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Project Accessory, Project Runway, PSYCH, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Raising Hope, Real Time With Bill Maher, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Revolution, Royal Pains, Rules Of Engagement, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Texas Multi Mammas, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, Wilfred, Worst Cooks In America,

People Love You When They Know You’re Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.

We’ll be back next week with a look at the last seven days in TV headlines!

Sources for this week’s column include Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Hollywood Reporter (plus the web sites for those publications) as well as Aintit.cool.com, TVline.com & Deadline.com.

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Al Norton

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