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July 5, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | July 5, 2007 |

What the hell is going on with this world of ours? Last week, it was news that NBC is deeply in love with Jimmy Fallon. Now comes word that ABC has pulled a Jesus on Jim Belushi’s show, as “According to Jim” is coming back for a seventh season (seven fucking years it’s been on the air?!?). The network hasn’t given any reason for the sudden decision to order up 18 episodes, but Belushi is quite pleased and says this is going to be the best year yet. Okely dokely Mr. Belushi, whatever you say. Meanwhile, TV Guide’s douchebag egomaniac columnist Michael Ausiello has the best theory as to the show’s sudden resurrection: “Someone high up at the Alphabet net took another look at “Cavemen.” Sounds about right to me. Although for some reason, I’m more comfortable knowing that (motherfucking) “Cavemen” is a show I’ll be avoiding like the plague, versus now knowing that I’ll be once again avoiding Belushi’s show like the plague. I guess I just feel better avoiding new shit, as opposed to avoiding the same old old old shit.

And damn it, the bad new keeps coming. This certainly doesn’t come as any shocking surprise in my heart of hearts, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. In a recent interview, Timothy Olyphant was asked about what was going on with the rumored “Deadwood” flicks (Olyphant, of course, played the well-named Seth Bullock). Olyphant’s response? “I have no idea. There’s been ongoing talk about those things for a long, long time. I, for better or worse, have the perspective of ‘don’t hold your breath.’ My feeling is that the fact that show existed at all for as long as it did was a miracle of sorts. It was an incredible experience, and I’m very, very thankful, and as a fan of the show like everybody else, it would have been nice to see it end in a different way or have more life to it, but as far as I’m concerned, they don’t owe me anything. It was a tremendous experience, I look at it that way. I walk away going, ‘I must be a better actor because of that show.’ Three years on TV is better than seven years on TV, you know?” …Like a dagger in my heart.

Speaking of dead shows, some of you may have been looking for those two burn-off episodes of “Drive” that Fox was supposed to air on the Fourth. Well for some reason, Fox decided to bump them again, deciding that the awful Anger Management would be preferred by viewers not out barbecuing and watching fireworks. So those two episodes will now be airing one week from tonight, on Friday the 13th. For fans of the show, this is probably a much more fitting date for the final episodes to end. Oh, and unless something’s changed that I don’t know about, you shouldn’t expect any type of conclusion at the end of those two episodes. So if you’re gonna’ watch, leave any expectations off your couch and just go in for the sake of enjoying the two hours (and getting your Nathan Fillion on, for those who swoon at such things and want one last taste of good Fillion before he — possibly — signs onto “Desperate Housewives” for next season and catches the Hack Cooties from that show).

Turning from the past to the future, the times of television development, oh they are a-changing. I’ve previously talked about the fact that Mitch Hurwitz’s “The Thick of It” still has some potential legs, even though ABC decided not to give it a series order (nooooo — why would you want Mitch Hurwitz, Oliver Platt and Michael McKean on your network when you can have [motherfucking] “Cavemen” and more Jim Belushi?). Well another pilot ABC opted not to pick up also seems to have some legs. Many were surprised that the network skipped over “Football Wives,” given the success of the BBC original and the fact that it had a big name cast including Lucy Lawless, Ving Rhames, James “I. Don’t. Want. Your. Life.” Van Der Beek and Gabrielle Union. While the network passed for now, the studio (ABC Studios) extended its options for the cast, which means they won’t be pickup up other roles. This certainly suggests that ABC is reconsidering its decision. And just like with “The Thick of It,” word has it that other networks (NBC and FOX) are waiting in the wings for a possible shot at the show if ABC gives it the final kiss-off. I think that both of these — that networks are more willing to reconsider their pilot-season decisions and that other networks are willing to at least look at what’s been passed on by someone else — are good developments. We all know by now that the networks get shit wrong more often than right, so what one network sees as “crap” may be something which another network can reposition as gold.

And speaking of those bad network decisions, I yet again find myself focusing on ABC [No I don’t, since it’s actually CBS that has the show, not ABC.]. …Jesus, I’m thoroughly unimpressed with this bloody network. Anyway, you may recall that in the pilot-season battle of vampires versus zombies, CBS sided with the vampires, picking up the “Moonlight” pilot but leaving “Babylon Fields” unrisen. Well it seems that CBS isn’t actually all that happy with “Moonlight,” the show about a vampire private investigator. Last month the show got a new showrunner (David Greenwalt, who knows a thing about vampires, having co-created “Angel”) and he’s been making changes left and right. Shannon Lucio was dropped as the main love interest, replaced by Sophia Myles. The 60-year-old Rade Serbedzija was replaced by the just-a-touch younger Jason Dohring (“Veronica Mars” alumni alert), and now Shannyn Sossamon has replaced Amber Valletta as the vampire responsible for making Alex O’Loughlin’s main character into a bloodsucker. So O’Loughlin is actually the only major part from the original pilot that hasn’t been recast. But I’m not worried about this show. No sir — massive changes like this, for a show that’s never aired a single episode, usually bode quite well, right?

Speaking of bad decisions, someone over at “Rescue Me” thinks producer Dennis Leary made a terrible one. If you’re not all caught up with the current season, you best jump out of this paragraph right now, for there be spoilers afoot. For those that are caught up, you know that a certain character met his demise last week. Well Jack McGee is rather displeased with his exit from the show, and has not held back in saying so. His issues are two-fold. First, McGee feels that Chief Reilly would not have offed himself, no matter the situation. Personally, it did feel a little like an easy out and not entirely authentic, although it is understandable insofar as Reilly had been forced into a desk job and, thus, the last part of his life that worked was taken away from him. But aside from character motivations, McGee also feels that the decision was more about Leary being a prick who didn’t like McGee and wanted him off of the show. As much as I love Dennis Leary, I don’t have much of a problem believe that he would be a prick. But Leary himself is being fairly mum about the whole subject, simply saying that he doesn’t handle the show’s personnel issues. But Leary’s comrade-in-arms Peter Tolan has spoken up in his defense. You can read the interesting double-interview with McGee and Tolan over at Television without Pity, and it makes for a nice Thursday morning distraction.

And speaking of Thursday distractions, here’s one for all my comic book nerds out there. In light of the recent news about a possible second life for “Veronica Mars” in comic book form, the most recent “Comics Should be Good” column up over at Comic Book Resources takes a look at the issue of comics books spawned from TV shows. I don’t agree with all of his points — for example, while he argues that “Veronica” isn’t visual enough for the medium, I think that the show’s cinematography (as discussed most excellently by our own Dan Carlson) could be translated by the right artist into quite a visually stimulating comic. But regardless, it’s still an interesting read coming at TV from a different angle than most of the stuff that’s out there.

For those of you who missed it, because you don’t have Showtime or whatever, the six-episode first season of “This American Life” is now available on iTunes. This was a surprisingly beautiful show and, if you’re looking for some truly good summer TV, this would be $10.99 (for the full season) well spent.

And finally, you really can’t go wrong with a well-edited tribute to “The Office,” and this one is really a peach:

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He sometimes wishes that he had a more talented brother who had died before his time, so that he could simply ride the coattails of having a famous last name and little actual comedic talent.

According to Pajiba

The Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
July 5, 2007

Industry | July 5, 2007 |

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



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