Last night, NBC brought down the curtain on The Office in rather a lovely fashion, with a series finale that was warm, nostalgic, and plenty funny. Bringing a long-running sitcom to a close is a tricky bit of business (how ya doin’, Roseanne), but The Office joins a handful of shows that have done it very, very well. Here are some other examples. … Read More
For the past 12 weeks, in this space, Flavorwire has recapped the abbreviated, delayed, and frequently problematic fourth season of NBC’s Community. As you certainly all know by now, the third year of the often brilliant series concluded with the abrupt sacking of creator/showrunner Dan Harmon, whose distinctive, idiosyncratic sensibility gave the show much of its voice, and whose comic genius was reportedly matched only by his inability to suffer suits gladly. The transition to new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio was certain to be bumpy, and it was. But now that Community‘s senior year has come to a close, it’s worth asking: should the show carry on, or is it time to send the Greendale crew (and the gifted actors who play them) out into the Real World? … Read More
Yesterday’s news that the powers that be at Breaking Bad are contemplating a spin-off series centered on Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk’s sleazy lawyer, was a bit of a head-scratcher. Sure, we love Saul as much as anybody, but he’s not just a supporting character (and thus, via precedent, possible spin-off fodder) — he’s also the “comic relief” on a decidedly serious program, meaning that Better Call Saul (or whatever it might be called) would presumably have a tone, style, and length altogether removed from its predecessor. It’d be a peculiar transition, is the point — but it certainly wouldn’t be the strangest spin-off we’ve seen. Examples after the jump. … Read More
So if you’re celebrating your birthday today, you share it with Charlaine Harris, she who gave the world the insanely successful Sookie Stackhouse novels and thus, indirectly, also the joys of True Blood. As you’ve probably noted if you read Flavorwire at all regularly, we’re borderline obsessed with True Blood, and its success got us thinking of the slew of TV shows based on books that have emerged in the last few years — and, in particular, those that have defied the old adage that the book is always better. We’ve collected a bunch of shows that we reckon have transcended their literary origins — can you think of any other shows that are better than the books they’re based on? (And before you go all crazy in the comments, a disclaimer: we said “better.” We’re not necessarily claiming the books in question are bad — although some most definitely are — just that the TV series they spawned was/is better. OK? Carry on.) … Read More
The recent news that Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall will be adapted into a television show doesn’t surprise us too much. We can only add it to the growing list of book-to-small-screen adaptations that we are anxiously awaiting, joining the planned HBO series based on A Visit From the Goon Squad, and the one on Eugenides’s Middlesex, which HBO seems to have optioned and then forgotten about. However, there are no promises that any book to TV adaptation, even those with great books as starting points, will be any good, and there are hundreds of shows created in this way that aren’t — but in our minds, that just makes the great ones even greater. To get ourselves pumped for the adaptation of Wolf Hall, we’ve collected a list of the ten all-time best (according to us, that is) TV shows adapted from books. Click through to see our picks, and be sure to let us know your own favorites in the comments! … Read More
Last night House returned in its eighth season on Fox to less than stellar ratings. We don’t know about you, but we’re not surprised. What more can possibly happen on this show? The last season ended with a crash, literally, when Gregory House drove his car into long-time crush Cuddy’s house, and this season begins with his release from a short stint in jail. He’s already done the rehab thing. He’s already done the almost dying thing. So what now? Perhaps a DNR would have been in order at the conclusion of Season 6. But we know how House, and even more so, producers, feel about letting go. Below the jump, we’ve rounded up a few other series that should’ve walked away a few seasons before they did — and some that still haven’t. Add to our list in the comments! … Read More
Now that Labor Day has come and gone, it seems like the months for playing games are over — it’s time to hunker down and get serious as the weather gets colder. Not so! Even as the real life days get shorter and we’re forced inside, we can still live vicariously through our favorite fictional characters, whose games are never threatened by weather or sleepiness. There are about a million fictional games, documented in all mediums and genres, and though some of them have blossomed into a certain kind of reality — as you probably know, Muggle Quidditch is now a thing, as is the 3d chess from Star Trek — most remain just out of our reach. But we have hope! Click through to see our list of games and sports from literature, film, TV and comics that we’d like to play in real life, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite fictional pastimes in the comments. … Read More
Having come to the end of an era last week, with the slow crumbling of the TV theme song in the 2000s, we felt the obligation to end this mini-series with a bang by going back to what was surely the golden age of the form — before the ‘90s, before the ‘80s, all the way back to the 1970s. Back then they knew how to make a theme song, for goodness’ sake — those songs told stories, set a mood, and were often downright funky (and the best ones did all three).
Again, our criteria for the list is not necessarily the best show or even the best song, but the ones that stick in your head, every word and/or instrumental break at the ready for mass sing-alongs and quiet moments alone. (We’ve all been there.) For the first time, we expanded the list to twelve entries—and even doing that, we had to make painful judgment calls and leave off such classics as Diff’rent Strokes, One Day at a Time, The White Shadow, S.W.A.T., The Electric Company, Happy Days, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Three’s Company, The Love Boat, Fat Albert, Starsky and Hutch, and The Six Million Dollar Man. Check out what made the cut after the jump: … Read More
There’s a first-season episode of The West Wing called “Take Out the Trash Day,” which explains a notion somewhat common in the news biz: information that is either non-essential or potentially sensitive tends to be all that comes out on Friday, because, as Josh Lyman puts it, “no one reads the paper on Saturday.” As a result, media types tend to check out early on Friday nights, so it’s probably safe to assume that BlackBerries and iPhones all over New York and DC started blowing up just before 9pm last Friday, when MSNBC host Keith Olbermann unexpectedly announced that the current episode of his news and opinion program Countdown was its last.
Television departures tend to be lengthy, protracted affairs, announced months in advance so as to take advantage of the considerable hype and fanfare (and, thus, big ratings) of an extended farewell. Oprah Winfrey’s exit from her eponymous talk show made news nearly a year in advance; Larry King announced his retirement from CNN more than six months before he signed off. Jay Leno tops them all, though; he announced his departure from The Tonight Show a full five years before his 2009 exit. (How’d that go, by the way?) To commemorate Olbermann’s sudden resignation, we’ve rounded up the fascinating stories behind five more of TV’s most unexpected exits. … Read More