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March 12, 2008 | Comments ()


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This Will Be the Longest Two Hours of Your Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Mar. 12, 2008

Trade News | March 12, 2008 | Comments ()


Fox is desperate for something to give it some fall ratings. It’s got “American Idol” to roll it right through the winter and spring, but since the network has a knack for developing shitty new shows, its fall ratings often leave a bit to be desired. But they’ve finally figured out how to get at least one night of solid fall ratings, by whetting the appetites of “24” fans with a 2-hour prequel. The network says this will be a bridge to the upcoming Season Seven, set two years after the last season. For those of us who thought the show absolutely tanked between Seasons Five and Six, this little flick might serve as a good test to see whether we’re getting back on track or carrying on with the suckitude. I suspect we’ll see an improvement from the awful last season, but expectations should still remain low until we’re given cause to raise them.

CBS, meanwhile, has finally decided to air one of the shows it touted at last season’s upfronts, “Swingtown.” Originally set to be a mid-season replacement, the show about a neighborhood of swingers in 1976 has been unspoken of until now. But CBS has finally given it a premiere date of May 29 at 10 p.m. and claims it will get a 13 episode run (we’ll see how the ratings are before I believe that). It stars Jack Davenport, who can be great, but it also stars Grant Show who … uhm … was on “Melrose Place.” Dunno if it’ll be any good, and getting punted to the summer isn’t the strongest sign of support, but I’m intrigued by the idea and look forward to checking it out, personally.

And I’m certainly more intrigued about “Swingtown” than either of the new pilots CBS has greenlit. “Tower” is a drama about Chicago investigative reporters who try to solve the stories they’re reporting, while “Harper’s Island” is a serial horror story about some friends who travel to an island for a wedding. …This is why we were so desperate for the writer’s strike to end?

NBC apparently still thinks it can get away just fine without the writers, as it’s maybe bringing over yet another British reality show. This one, “Who Do You Think You Are,” involves celebrities with “compelling backgrounds” that research their genealogy to learn about what lurid things are in their family trees. The British version apparently turned up stories of bigamy, attempted murder and war heroism, among other things. I say that NBC is only “maybe” bringing it over because its series order is contingent on them finding celebs willing to participate, which we all know will be no problem at all, since reality TV’s version of “celebrity” covers a fucking broad swath. All those looking forward to watching “American Idol” reject Danny Noriega trace his family tree, raise your hand!

OK, sometimes you just need to rip the band-off quick-like. …Britney Spears is going to guest star on “How I Met Your Mother” and Paris Hilton is going to be on “My Name is Earl.”

My TV just curled up in the corner and started puking on itself.

But maybe this will bring her some salvation. So a few weeks back, I told you that NBC was shopping “Friday Night Lights” around, looking for a partner to share in the cost and keep the show alive. While official word hasn’t dropped yet, the rumors are flying that NBC has found such a partner in the form of DirecTV. Word has it that they’ve made a deal where DirecTV will get certain “exclusive content,” which has folks speculating that DirecTV will get first runs on a satellite-only channel, with reruns later airing on NBC in what they are rumored to be referring to as “exhibition windows.” Assuming this is true, I have to tip my hat to NBC for actually fighting for the show enough to find a financial deal to keep it around. That being said, I’m of two minds here. On the one hand, more “Friday Night Lights” is good. No bones about it. But as one who lacks the requisite DirecTV line of sight, this definitely makes me a touch bitter — it’s not bad enough that I’m screwed out of watching most NFL games thanks to the league’s exclusive deal with the dish, now I’m gonna get screwed out of first-run “FNL?” Mother. Fuck.

A friendly reminder that Wednesday night at 10 p.m. is now officially the best hour of television all week. With “The Wire” done, the best show on television is now MTV’s “Gauntlet III.” Seriously, I’m so not even kidding about how amazing this season has been. And tonight at 10, we also get season premieres of “Top Chef” on Bravo and “South Park” on Comedy Central (followed by “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil,” for which I am cautiously optimistic). Fantastic hour right there, I’m telling you.

Speaking of “The Wire,” if you have not seen the now-complete run of “The Wire,” skip on ahead to the next paragraph…. For those who saw Sunday’s finale, if you’re like me, you want to read more about it all. So here’s Salon’s roundtable on the finale, and here’s a good and lengthy wrap-up from Alan Sepinwall. You can also read two very long interviews with creator David Simon, one with Salon’s Heather Havrilesky and the other, again, with Alan Sepinwall, and David Simon’s own thank you letter to the viewers. Now, as for that last episode — is it just me, or did that feel like a (surprisingly) relatively happy ending? Sure, Dukie’s outcome (which has been inevitable as this season progressed) is depressing as fuck, and most of the big-power folks didn’t get their comeupance, but progressed and got more power. But on the flip, McNaulty, Daniels, Lester, Carver, etc. all came out pretty clean too. And Bubbles Reginald got to eat upstairs with his people. Really tidy wrap-up and, all things considered, pretty damn satisfying. I’ve watched it twice now, and of the many great scenes, the Irish faux-wake for McNaulty was the one that really hit me the most for some reason, and brought everything together, with all the cops singing. Almost got a bit misty there. Anyway, on the whole, I don’t think this final season lives up to the perfection of Season Four, but it was still an excellent conclusion to the best show on TV. I can’t wait for a few years from now when I sit down and watch the whole series, start to finish, in an extended uber-marathon.

Now, from misty-eyed to nipple-hardened, check out another most excellent illustration, destined to find its place on a Pajiba T-shirt soon. This one is from Rebeccah/Replica, and it makes me want to do the “Thriller” dance:

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Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He’s still not quite adjusted to this whole “spring forward” business.




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