The Writers Guild of America announced its list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time” Sunday, culled from online voting by members of the writers’ union from both coasts. The list pretty much included the shows you’d expect (the top ten, in descending order: The Sopranos, Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mad Men, Cheers, The Wire, The West Wing) — with a few notable exceptions. Yes, even in a list of 101 comedies, dramas, variety shows, and (weirdly) mini-series, they’re bound to make a few mistakes. … Read More
1. In case you missed it, Animal Collective went on Conan last night to promote their new album Centipede Hz, playing “Today’s Supernatural” behind set pieces that looked like weird glowing teeth. Watch a clip of the performance
If you shut off Girls this past Sunday with a sigh of relief, you’re not alone. Between May and June we’ve all endured an emotionally exhausting line-up of season finales (not to mention penultimate and triumvirate finales), and frankly this week was a nice, quiet reprieve. Sort of. Knowing what’s ahead, it’s been impossible to get too comfortable. New seasons of Breaking Bad and Louie are slowly approaching, we can’t not watch Weeds‘ last season, there’s catching up to do on Bunheads, and of course this Sunday, Sorkin is back. So, in an exercise to get the juices flowing, we’ve decided to round up the writers we believe to be most responsible for putting us in this stressful state of TV addiction, starting with the king of TV confabulation himself. … Read More
That’s right, fans: your favorite highbrow showrunner has launched a blog called The Audacity of Despair. David Simon revolutionized TV with The Wire, so we can only imagine that his blogosphere debut means it’s time for the rest of us to up our game. Although he’s professed that nothing he writes on his… Read More
1. Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus, the lead guitarist for the heavy metal band GWAR, was found dead on their tour bus yesterday following a concert in Minneapolis. The cause of death is currently unknown, and according to a statement from GWAR, “at this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear… Read More
The body of 45-year-old actor Michael Showers — who had a recurring role as Capt. John Guidry of the New Orleans Police Department on Treme — has been discovered by a steamboat captain in the Mississippi River near the French Quarter. Local authorities estimate that he had been there for at least two days. … Read More
Last night’s episode of HBO’s Treme was difficult to watch. For a show that is often criticized for moving too slowly (this, despite the jarring suicide of a main character towards the end of its first season), it packed quite a bit of action — of the heartbreaking, tearjerking variety. Today, Salon’s Matt Zoller Seitz is denouncing the episode’s most shocking story line as a “cheap, ugly showstopper.” As someone who found the same harrowing twist to be as effective as it was devastating, I respectfully disagree.
Warning: If you don’t want Sunday’s most recent Treme episode spoiled for you, stop reading now. … Read More
Treme, the quietly brilliant HBO musical drama that examines New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, debuts this week on DVD and Blu-ray, and if you haven’t seen it, you should rent or buy it post haste. (If there is one takeaway from this post, that’s it.) The series was co-created by David Simon, the journalist-turned-TV genius behind the show that launched a thousand blog posts, the late, great The Wire. And in addition to the many things that are somewhat miraculous about Treme, there is this: It is a rare case of a follow-up television show that measures up to its iconic predecessor.
TV is a tricky business, and more often than not, the creator or primary creative force behind a big hit will go into their next series, guns a-blazing, only to find that television audiences are more fickle than they thought. Steven Bochco followed Hill Street Blues with Bay City Blues; Garry Marshall and Thomas L. Miller followed The Odd Couple with Me and the Chimp; West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin’s next show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, was a costly one-season flop for NBC; M*A*S*H show runners Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart’s Karen folded after five months; Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Gilmore Girls follow-up The Return of Jezebel James lasted a mere three episodes; and Mitchell Hurwitz’s Running Wilde reunited him with Arrested Development stars Will Arnett and David Cross but ran only spottily on Fox last fall before disappearing altogether. However, there are occasions when a TV series manages to equal (or even surpass) the critical and popular success of its predecessor. Join us after the jump for a look at ten television shows where lightning struck twice. … Read More