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[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Show:"Reign" (The CW)
Airs:Thursdays at 9 p.m.
The Pitch:"It's about a teenage Mary Queen of Scots. And she fights crime!" "Sold!" "OK. Now what if she *doesn't* fight crime?" "Does. Not. Compute."
Quick Response: There's just no way to get around it: The CW's "Reign" is weird. It's like one of those raunchy historical epics that Showtime or Starz thrive on. Think "Borgias" or "Tudors." Now remove all of the nudity. And tone the raunchiness down to what you can get away with on The CW (albeit with one scene that's a bit surprising in its kink). And throw in a Baz Luhrmann/"Marie Antoinette" updated soundtrack and semi-modernized sensibility about girl-power. But now remove the aesthetics that a Luhrmann or a Sofia Coppola might bring you and replace it with a much more conservative look, courtesy of "Casper" auteur Brad Silberling. So at that point, it's almost like "Hart of Dixie," if instead of being a doctor leaving NYC for Alabama, Rachel Bilson was a princess leaving a nunnery for France. Only minus the wackiness? But still keeping the swoony love triangle? Look, I'm just trying make this relatable for you so that you can understand why The CW has programmed a hyper-earnest royal teen soap opera set in 1557 after "Vampire Diaries." Yes, I know "TVD" likes to play dress-up and do flashbacks, but come on! Anyway, this whole thing hinges on the casting of Mary Queen of Scots and, in Aussie soap vet Adelaide Kane, at least The CW has a strong leading lady, capable of being feisty when required and looking period-appropriate in corsets and whatnot. I like her a lot. The love triangle is way out-of-synch, because Torrance Coombs' Bash is interesting, while Toby Regbo's Francis is a bland pretty boy. I like all of Mary's giggly, way-anachronistic hand-maidens, who bring a confusingly 2013 touch to the 16th Century French court, especially when they all try on dresses and bat their eyelashes. [All-grown-up Narnia lass Anna Popplewell is probably the standout.] I'm amused by the silliness and audacity of making Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland) a major character, but also making the mystic, who would have been an ancient-for-the-time 50-something, predictably CW-broody. And then you have Anne of Green Gables (Megan Follows) in a key role. So there's that! After the pilot, I don't have a clue what this show is, how it functions for 22 episodes per season or how The CW expects to get people to watch it. If it were awesome, I'd understand what The CW sees in it. But it's not. It's most intriguing for how strangely it fits into its surroundings and the occasional random ways in which it tries to adapt. But other than a strong interest in Kane and vague curiosity about how they intend to play the couple minor mysteries from the pilot, I really don't get "Reign" as a CW show. The CW wanted the fantasy-tinged "The Selection," couldn't get it right on two occasions and so they "Selection"-ized history. Kinda.
Desire To Watch Again: If, say, History were airing "Reign," I might not be inclined to give it more than another episode at the most. Because it's The CW, I have a perverse curiosity that goes beyond the quality of the show.
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show'
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
Last night, a Twitter account called "Phoenix Movie Bears" asked me if I had an opinion about Orson Scott Card and his rabid anti-gay rhetoric. As a group of LBGT movie fans, it is an important question to them, and it looks like they asked the question of a large number of people. Some webmasters wrote back that they will be covering "Ender's Game" because they are interested in it as a movie, and they seemed to accept that without argument. Personally, I have not spent a lot of time on the subject in print because I felt like the most effective way to deal with it was to simply go silent. At this point, publicity is publicity, and "good" or "bad" doesn't really enter into the equation.
But today, Lionsgate sent out an official statement on what is obviously starting to become a problem for them, and it seems like this is as good a moment as any to weigh in. I'm only going to do this once, because I made the decision at the start of the year that I would not be reviewing "Ender's Game" or covering it during production. That hasn't changed. I love the book, and in fact just put it onto my oldest son's Kindle as one of the many science-fiction novels he was given for his birthday. I hope he enjoys it.
When it comes to supporting Card today, though, I'm unable to see my way clear to ignore his nauseating homophobia. And while Lionsgate seems to believe his current attitudes have nothing to do with their film, I'd say that's not true. The book may not reflect his views, but as the author, he's going to benefit from the financial success and high profile of the movie. He is tied to "Ender's Game" on a profound level, and I have a hard time seeing how anyone could claim otherwise.
Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will top the Billboard 200 by a wide margin next week. Released July 4 to Samsung owners, but only to traditional retailer on July 9, Hova’s latest album will move up to 520,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double. And that’s above and beyond the one million copies distributed through Jay-Z’s one-way deal with Samsung.
He’s one of three artists with new albums debuting within the top 10. After a long absence, Ciara returns with “Body Party,” which looks good for No. 2 with up to 60,000 copies. Skylar Grey, best known for co-writing “Love The Way You Lie” for Eminem and Rihanna, will likely bow at No. 9 with “Don’t Look Down.”
This week’s No. 1 title, J Cole’s “Born Sinner,” drops to No. 3, while Kanye West’s “Yeezus” slides to No. 4. Imagine Dragons’ “Night Vision” is at No. 5. Wale’s former No 1, “The Gifted,” is at No. 6.
Florida Georgia Line’s “Here To The Good Times” is No. 7. Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” is No. 8, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” will likely be at No. 10.
A "Sharknado" sequel? Syfy execs have to move past this "whirlwind day" before deciding
"Everyone — my mom, dad, wife, my kids have asked me that question," says Syfy programming boss Thomas Vitale. "Everyone at the office and obviously the producers. The truth is that this has all happened so quickly. It’s been such a whirlwind day. We’ve had a lot of meetings, emails. I'm not being coy, (but) that’s obviously being talked about. There may be some kind of announcement coming forth but there’s nothing going to be announced now just because we haven’t had real discussions with the real people we have to talk to about that."
—Taiwanese animators unveil "Sharknado 2: Sharphoon"
—Syfy: "If we don't have a good title, we're not going to make the movie"
—"Sharknado's" original title: "Dark Skies"
—The genius of "Sharknado": It was "80-odd minutes straight of footballs in the groin"
—"Sharknado" producers' next project: "3-Headed Shark Attack"
—Screenwriter studied real-life weather patterns to write his script
—The "nado" part is what makes "Sharknado" special -- people love saying "nay-do"
—Visual effects supervisor: "They wanted it to be absurd when you watched it"
—L.A. County Fire Dept. says it is prepared for a Sharknado
—Before "Sharknado," Syfy had a slew of terrible shark movies
—How "Sharknado" explains the federal reserve
—"Sharknado" shows how out of touch Washington is
—U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services cracks a "Sharknado" joke
—9 harsh political realities of "Sharknado"
—Tara Reid is up for a sequel
—Ian Ziering: Maybe this is my "John Travolta 'Pulp Fiction' moment"
"Parks and Rec" won't make a big deal out of Chris Pratt's rock-hard abs
Co-creator Mike Schur says he has already written a "little tiny acknowledgement or nod to the fact that he looks very different to the way he normally looks. I don't think beyond a little joke about it that we'll end up doing anything significant. We're not going to suddenly say that Andy became a fitness nut because that doesn't ring true."
Can Oprah rehabilitate Lindsay Lohan's image?
An OWN reality show either will be good or bad for Lindsay's career.
Why "Honey Boo Boo" is superior to "The Newsroom"
Hank Stuever says one show gives you more to think about -- "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." He adds: "The show you're supposed to pay attention to has nothing to tell you, and the show that’s supposed to rot your brain actually turns it on."
Jay Leno to Eliot Spitzer: "How can you be this stupid?"
The disgraced former New York governor explained his decision to run for New York City Comptroller today on "The Tonight Show." Sitting next to him was "SNL's" Eliot Spitzer -- Bill Hader.
USA teams Greg Grunberg & Diane Farr to play mom and dad for comedy pilot
They're starring in "Divide & Conquer."
Jenny McCarthy has begun dating Donnie Wahlberg
They met when he was a guest on "The Jenny McCarthy Show."
Jane Lynch files for divorce
Lynch separated from her wife of nearly three years in February.
"Parenthood" gives Monica Potter a new hairdo
She got a short bob as her character comes back from chemo.
Janice Dickinson hospitalized
A closing garage dark struck the former "Next Top Model" star in the head yesterday in Beverly Hills.
Simon Cowell and his new "X Factor" judges appear to have good chemistry
The chemistry between Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio and Cowell and Lovato was described as "infectious" during this week's L.A. auditions.
Virginia Madsen joins "Witches of East End"
She'll appear in a multi-episode arc of the Lifetime series.
"Suits" hopes to lure younger viewers by hooking up with a hook-up app
The USA show will be promoted on the casual-dating service Tinder.
Mary-Louise Parker signs on for a Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas movie
She'll star in "Christmas in Conway."
How Chuy Bravo became a "Chelsea Lately" sensation
Bravo, who was recently on "Splash," came to L.A. as a teenager.
Alyssa Milano sparks "Charmed" controversy by comparing the set to high school
Holly Marie Combs responded to Milano's "Watch What Happens Live" comments by saying "Charmed" was nothing like high school, while Shannen Doherty chimed in that there was no drama on set.
As he gets Oscar buzz, Michael B. Jordan recalls his "Wire" and "Friday Night Lights" past
With "Fruitvale Station," there's talk of the 25-year-old Jordan getting an Academy Award nomination.
Ex-"Storage Wars" star ordered to pay A&E's legal fees
A judge has ruled that David Hester must pay $122,692 after losing the first round of his rigging lawsuit.
"The Bridge": Finally, a realistic portrayal of autism
With Diane Kruger's character, the FX series "appears to be committed to creating a nuanced protagonist with autism without making it the defining feature of the series, or even the character," says Emily Shire.
The average NYC rent is $3000/month -- which TV characters can afford that?
Could Carrie Bradshaw survive these days in the city?
Katee Sackhoff: A fan once asked me to sign his penis
"It was very weird," the "Longmire" star says of the request.
Food Network hasn't dumped Paula Deen's recipes
About 1400 of Deen's recipes are still on the Food Network website.
"Downton Abbey" hits the beach
Check out the cast at seaside.
See the giant "Doctor Who"-themed corn maze
Complete with a 300-meter-tall Dalek.
Mads Mikkelsen: A "Hannibal" cookbook might be in the works
The Danish actor admits: "Hannibal is a much better cook than I am."
Watch Patton Oswalt's first paid acting gig, at age 19
He got $300 for an educational video about student loans.
LEGOS to hand out "Arrow" action figures at Comic-Con
Hundreds of little Green Arrows will be given away next week.
"Ray Donovan" star Ambyr Childers is pregnant
This will be her 2nd child.
"Scrubs" meets "CHiPs"
Zach Braff and Donald Faison describe their friendship in a picture.
Watch an Olivia Pope makeup tutorial
From a star of "Sh*t White Girls Say."
"Mad Men" costume designer worked more than a year on her new reality show
"I wanted to do a show that combines my passions of film, costume design, and fashion design," Janie Bryant says of "Janie Bryant's Holllywood."
Elisabeth Moss: I'm not a TV snob -- "I totally watch reality TV"
"I love all those 'Housewives' shows," says the "Mad Men" star adding, that she also watches "'Nashville' and I just finished 'Scandal.' So the chances are with any show I've probably seen it."
"The Newsroom" is greatly improved in Season 2
Give Aaron Sorkin another chance, as he's made the show sharper and edgier, says Verne Gay. "What this show needed to do -- and in the first episode, absolutely has done -- is get tougher, leaner and create that sense that the 'newsroom' is a real place, and not a soapbox for McAvoy (as proxy for Sorkin) to occasionally ascend. Sunday's episode is much more about process -- the manifold little things that add up to one very big thing, a nightly TV news broadcast." PLUS: Season 2 has less moralizing, so there's more to like, Season 2 is both really good and really bad just like last year, the new "Newsroom" is a lot more fun to watch, and Olivia Munn is able to overcome the Sorkinese.
This year's annual compromise candidate between Sundance and Cannes's otherwise divergent definitions of a festival film, "Fruitvale Station" is a clean-scrubbed tragedy that aims for a commendable reversal: taking a real-life human subject best known for the way he died, Ryan Coogler's debut feature instead builds its drama around the way he lived.
At least, it purports to do so. In Coogler's angry but unremittingly adoring portrait, how close you feel to Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area proletarian whose life was cut unaccountably short by a brute transit officer on New Year's Day in 2009, may depend on how much truth you see in its tidily condensed life-in-a-day structure. And that, unlike the incontestable video-phone footage of Grant's death that Coogler unspools as early as the prologue, is strictly in the eye of the beholder. It is one thing to present us with an atrocity that we know, and possibly even remember, happened. It is another to make us believe it.
One of Arcade Fire’s twitter followers was definitely in the right place at the right time. Yesterday, one of the co-ed Canadian band’s fans simply tweeted, “@arcadefire you’re my favorite.” And the band responded with way more than a simple “thanks” (though, being Canadian and, therefore, very polite, they did thank him).
The Montreal-based band spilled the release date for its new album as Oct. 29, and included two photos of a sphere and of the band that are almost suitable for framing or could be part of the album artwork. No word on the title yet.
The album will the the group’s first since 2010’s “The Suburbs,” which snagged album of the year at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Arcade Fire had been previewing material over the last year, including a tune called “Crucified Again,” last November. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is producing the new set.
Comedy Central to air Bill Cosby's 1st TV special in 30 years
"Far From Finished," directed by Robert Townsend, will air on Nov. 24.
Play "The Newsroom" Bingo
Here's a fun way to keep up with Aaron Sorkin's Sorkinisms.
"Lost's" Henry Ian Cusick is heading back to Hawaii
He'll play a terrorist on the season premiere of "Hawaii Five-0."
A Bruce Lee TV project is in the works -- based on material written by Lee himself
"Fast & Furious" director Justin Lin is behind the project, a one-hour drama.
Oprah lands Lindsay Lohan for a sit-down interview -- and a reality show
Lindsay's interview will tape and air next month, while her eight-episode "docu-series" will be shown in 2014.
After teasing a snippet of new single, “Take Back The Night,” Justin Timberlake unleashed the full 6-minute song today on YouTube.
The disco tune is the first single from “The 20/20 Experience- 2 of 2,” the sequel to “The 20/20 Experience,” which comes out Sept. 30.
[More after the jump...]
A Twitter sensation, "Sharknado" didn't get big ratings
Preliminary numbers from the biggest cities show that just 1.4 million watched the Syfy event -- a bust by Syfy original standards. Still, Syfy paid very little for the movie, yet reaped tons of free publicity. PLUS: San Jose Sharks not happy with ESPN's "Sharknado" joke.
Hulu sale canceled
Instead of selling the streaming website, the media companies who own Hulu have opted to invest $750 million in Hulu to boost its growth.
Anne Heche joins "The Michael J. Fox Show"
She'll play the news anchor at the TV station where Fox returns to work as a correspondent.
"Big Brother" racism persists despite warnings from other housemates
Last night on the live feed, Aaryn was captured saying in a mock accent, "Whatchu gon do gurrl? Where’s yo class?"
"SVU" promotes Raul Esparza
Assistant DA Rafael Barba will become a regular next season.