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August 1, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | August 1, 2007 |

Well I’ll always take another excuse to talk about my dearly missed and dearly beloved “Veronica Mars,” and this is a particularly good excuse — as I am generally (with good reason) willing to slam the networks at a moment’s notice, it’s worth recognizing that every once in a blue moon they also manage to get something right. It’s rare, to be sure, but it does happen. And here’s such an instance: Rob Thomas (“Veronica’s” creator) recently said that his original pilot for the show actually had Veronica finding some letters that her pops was hiding from her mom, and that this was going to lead to a very different relationship between dad and V — a lot of cold distrust and the like. The network apparently stepped in and said that it thought Veronica needed one person on the inside; someone she actually had a healthy and trusting relationship with. Thomas was eventually swayed to their line of thinking, and turned Veronica’s relationship with Keith into what we all knew and loved. And I think few fans would argue that Veronica’s relationship with her dad was pretty much the center of the show. So as I say, every once in a while, the networks actually get something right. But then they go and cancel the show, and blow that goodwill right out their arses.

I’m not still bitter or anything.

Speaking of Rob Thomas, you’ll recall that he had already lined up his post-“Veronica” gig, as the showrunner for ABC’s midseason comedy “Miss/Guided.” I was pretty stoked about this, as the show stars one of my comedy crushes, Judy Greer, and we’ve already seen that Thomas can do good things with a female protagonist. I say that I “was pretty stoked” because, only a month-or-so after signing onto the project, Thomas has bailed with the cliched “creative differences” being cited as the reason. Word has it that these creative differences stemmed from the fact that ABC wanted the show to be more of a comedy, and Thomas wasn’t keen on this approach — seems odd to me, since the show already was already considered a comedy. But I guess he wanted to go more in the dramedy route with it, or some such. In any event, the show’s new showrunner will be Mark Hudis, a former writer and exec producer for “That ’70s Show.” Dunno what that means for the show’s direction, but I’m definitely bummed that Thomas is now off the TV landscape for the moment. However, since he’s got a development deal with ABC Studios, I assume we’ll see something from him when the next pilot season hits, which is actually right around the corner (even though this fall season is still over a month away from starting - you gotta love the TV industry!).

Another much-loved showrunner (particularly around these parts), Joss Whedon, has a little bit of interesting news too. Seems that all you “Buffy” fans can saddle up and get your excitement on because Whedon is getting ready to make a 90-minute TV movie with the BBC. That movie will be called “Ripper” and will focus on Anthony Stewart Head’s character Giles in his pre-“Buffy” days. No word on when production will begin, but with Whedon and Head already signed up, I expect it’ll be sooner rather than later. And in related news, y’all remember Whedon’s buddy Nathan Fillion, right? Well he’s confirmed his stint on the upcoming season of “Desperate Houswives,” along with Dana Delany, which leads me to wonder whether the show will be cancelled by November sweeps. Fillion’s track record ain’t so good, know what I’m saying? But maybe that would be for the best, because Fillion seems to be jonesing to team back up with his former “Firefly” boss, that same Joss Whedon guy I was just talking about. Seems Fillion’s written a couple of scenes of a new project that he won’t really discuss yet, and he’s sent the work over to Joss, trying to convince him to write it out into a full-blown project for Fillion to star in. The only hint Fillion would give is that it was a western, but a true-blood cowboys western as opposed to a space western. And while it surely may never see the light of day, since it’s not even a twinkle in the eyes of the development gods, it’s still an enticing notion, right?

In other guest star news, Michael Rapaport has signed on for a recurring role in “My Name is Earl,” where he’ll play an inmate spending some time with Earl in the clink. I’m totally ok with this — while I don’t always love Rapaport, he can be quite good in the right role, and I think the show will exploit his decent comedic chops. Plus, I love the potential for some scenes between him and Giovanni Ribisi (who is, you’ll recall, Earl’s cell-mate, though I’m not sure how much we’ll actually see of him next season). But the bigger casting news, for my tastes, comes with Val Kilmer making a rare appearance on “Numb3rs” next fall. He’ll be playing a mastermind-type bad guy who turns out to be behind some bad shit that went down last season. I love this show, and I love Val, so I’m totally psyched about this. Although there’s no way that he’ll be as good as his guest spot on “Entourage” back in Season One (in the “The Script and the Sherpa” episode). He was unrecognizably brilliant there, and if you haven’t seen the episode, go get the DVD post-haste.

While we’re talking about the upcoming fall season, some shows gave out some very minor but interesting spoilers over the last week (if you want to know absolutely nothing about the upcoming seasons of “Lost,” “Battlestar Galactica” or “24,” get out of this paragraph now). The “Lost” guys have confirmed that Harold Perrineau’s Michael will be returning to the show next year. He’s making his return as a series regular, not just as a guest star for one or two episodes, and although I first thought they were just going to use him in a bunch of flash-forwards, the statement that his return will be “pretty cool” suggests that he may actually be returning to the island. And the show’s producers also confirmed that next season will see a mix of both flashbacks and flash-forwards, “but how forward and with whom - the audience will be pleasantly surprised.” And it turns out that “Battlestar” will also be bringing back a “missing” character, as Lucy Lawless’ D’anna is coming back mid-season for a 2 or 3 episode stint. Ron Moore has referred to her being unboxed, so we can assume this means a legit return of the Number Three model, and not just something with flashbacks. Lastly, there are hints that we could get a similarly unexpected return on “24.” The show’s producers indicated that Tony Almeda isn’t necessarily dead for sure (in fact, they said they originally planned to have him pop up at the end of last season). No word on whether he actually will show up this season, but as he was one of my favorite characters, I wouldn’t object (and since I’ve already thrown all expectation of believability out the door with this show, I don’t even care what ridiculous method they use to explain away his “death”). As for the upcoming season, it’s been confirmed that things will start out in D.C., rather than in Los Angeles, with Jack testifying before a Senate Committee about his shenanigans over those past six days (and CTU will have been disbanded by this point, something which was a long time coming considering how many times security was breached and protocol was ignored).

Ok, I take it all back. I’m utterly excited now for (motherfucking) “Cavemen.” ABC has announced that it won’t just be cavemen! The fifth episode of the series will feature the first female caveman (or “cavewoman,” if you will). And that’s just awesome, since it gives the show so much more depth and possible direction than those pesky 30 second commercials afford, with their cavemen-only mentality. …Of course, this means we’re pretty unlikely to ever actually see a cavewoman on ABC, as there seems no way in hell that (assfisting) “Cavemen” can possibly make it to a fifth airing.

And lastly, a friendly reminder to all my sci-fi geeks out there — ABC premieres the four-part “Masters of Science Fiction” in the fantastic Saturday 10 p.m. time slot, starting this Saturday. It was originally supposed to be a six-parter, but the network inexplicably axed two episodes, so we’ll just be seeing a four week run. But these four episodes certainly have the potential to be decent, as they’re based on stories by Robert Heinlein and Harlan Ellison, among others, and features actors like Judy Davis, Sam Waterston, Terry O’Quinn, Malcom McDowell, Anne Heche, Brian Dennehy and John Hurt. In fact, the only thing I’m particularly unexcited about is that these stories are narrated by … Stephen Hawking. I mean, look — as a former burgeoning-astrophysicist, I respect the hell out of Hawking for several reasons. But does that mean I want or need to hear his robot voice narrating out of my television? No. …It. …Most. …Cer … tain … ly. … … … Does. …Not. [That was my tasteless attempt at a typed-out version of Hawkings’ robot voice. Thank you very much, good night!]

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He believes “assfisting” should be a more commonly used adjective.

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The Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Aug. 1, 2007

Industry | August 1, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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