Sunday, August 27, 2017

2017-2018 Network Prospects: Why Not?

Where have I been? Well, around the time of the last post, I excitedly became pregnant. Later that month I signed a large contract for my other occupation that kept me very busy, from that point until about five months after the babies were born. Then, we moved across the country, and I have been filling my days with everything that goes along with navigating a new area (while learning to parent twin toddlers).

I'm not entirely sure what my blogging plans are at this point (I'm not sure if I have any press contacts left out there), but I've been looking forward to the new television season for several months now, and want an outlet to talk about the prospects. I didn't really ease up on my viewing, and have largely stayed up-to-date with all of the series I followed before (both broadcast network and cable). I actually even began a post last year, planning to discuss those pilots, but I never got around to finishing/publishing it.

Anyway, let's dive in. Expect my thoughts to be scatterbrained, as I'm rather out of practice at this point, and am more in the mindset of having fun than editing.

First, here are the pilots that interest me on each of the big five networks:
ABC: The Good Doctor, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Ten Days in the Valley, The Crossing, Deception.
CBS: 9JKL, Young Sheldon, Wisdom of the Crowd, By the Book, Me, Myself, and I.
The CW: Dynasty.
FOX: The Gifted, Ghosted, The Resident, LA to Vegas.
NBC: The Brave, Good Girls, Rise, A.P. Bio, and the return of Will & Grace (not really a pilot, per se).

That's 5 each on ABC, CBS, and NBC, with 4 on FOX and 1 on The CW. Technically, that makes perfect sense, when you look at the total airtime of each of those networks. It's actually not as simple as that, as the networks didn't all offer the same number of pilots, but moving on...

Looking at the programming schedule, those shows (save the ones that will begin in 2018) air as follows:
Sunday: 3
Monday: 5
Tuesday: 1
Wednesday: 2
Thursday: 1

I historically have huge conflicts with Monday shows, but generally don't have a lot on Sundays, so that's rather interesting. However, let's look at it in the scope of the returning network shows I'm tuning in to watch:
ABC: Fresh off the Boat, American Housewife, The Middle, Speechless, The Goldbergs, Black-ish.
CBS: Man with a Plan, Trial & Error, How to Get Away with Murder, Code Black, Scorpion, The Big Bang Theory.
The CW: Jane the Virgin.
FOX: Bob's Burgers.
NBC: Timeless, This is Us, Superstore.

Low on FOX, very heavy on CBS and ABC (I've been particularly drawn to ABC's programming as long as I can remember), average for NBC and The CW.

Add in the fall returns by day:
Sunday: 1
Monday: 1
Tuesday: 4
Wednesday: 3
Thursday: 3
Friday: 1

This is where I really start to get fired up and want to talk about the season! If we didn't have the technology to record multiple shows at once or to access them outside of the original broadcast, I'd be doomed. Not looking specifically at the different timeslots within primetime, I could be in some trouble. Four on Sunday night is weird (while four on Thursday night is expected), and six on each of Monday and Tuesday is insane! Five more on Wednesday means I would constantly be struggling to keep up at the water cooler by Thursday morning, but at least a measly one on Friday night would make it easier to plan movie nights to go see the latest soon-to-be-blockbuster. However, we're fortunate enough that we can watch three "hours" of television in just about two, thanks to the magic of fast-forwarding. And, in my own case, I don't see movies on their opening nights anymore; the amount of coordination that takes doubles when factoring in childcare!

If you're a longtime reader (not sure if any of those are left, honestly), you know that I always try out a large number of new shows in the fall, so a dozen does not scare me, but an additional 13 returning series really start to twist my mind a bit. 25 series to watch at least 2-3 episodes of (not factoring in which are sixty minutes rather than thirty!) makes for a bit of a daunting October (the fact that it's taking forever for shows to start is an entirely separate issue...). And that doesn't factor in which shows my husband will choose to watch with me (of the returning fall series, he's only a fan of Scorpion, Superstore, How to Get Away with Murder, Man with a Plan, and Bob's Burgers), and which he'll need time to view on his own (he really only picks three or four pilots each year, but they're generally different from my own choices).

Fortunately, my boys are phenomenal sleepers, so between their almost-three-hour nap and the eleven hours they sleep at night, I think I can fit it all in. I guess only time will tell.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Comic-Con 2015: Childhood's End

It's Saturday already! It's hard to believe how fast this Con is going by! I also thought about the math while in line earlier today, and I've spent three weeks of my life at San Diego Comics Conventions over the past five years! Anyway, fun facts aside, let's get into the first panel of the day: Childhood's End.

SyFy's miniseries, which will be broadcast across three nights for a total of six hours in December, is based on a 1953 novel by Arthur C. Clarke (yep, the 2001: A Space Odyssey guy!). The premise is that an alien invasion of Earth went from peaceful and prosperous for all to suspicion to concern, and you can imagine where it might be going from there. I mean, once kids begin to develop telekinetic powers, all bets are off. The novel is written in third-person with no protagonist, and is divided into three parts, which is a challenge to fully illustrate in a short screen time, which is why a feature film is not ideal.

On the panel we had cast members Julian McMahon, Daisy Betts, and Yael Stone, plus director Nick Hurran and screenwriter Matthew Graham. The highly anticipated Mike Vogel, who was at SDCC on Thursday for CBS's Under the Dome, was mysteriously absent, as was Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister of Game of Thrones).

Shot in Australia earlier this year, the miniseries is remarkably difficult to discuss on the panel, other than saying "it's loyal to the book," as there are major spoilers possible. Fans seemed pleased with what they heard, however, so be sure to look forward to this holiday time treat! And, looking ahead, be excited about the 2016 series The Magicians - SyFy ended this panel with a trailer of that, and it was pretty neat!
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Comic-Con 2015: Farewell, Falling Skies!

At my first Comic-Con back in 2011, Falling Skies was a new show, and they wanted fans badly... they gave out zippered hoodies for attending the panel, which was in 6BCF back in those days. Now, with the show on its way out, there isn't much left with which to tease an audience, but the panel wormed its way into Ballroom 20 just the same! Unfortunately, listening to the dull roar of applause compared to years past, the timing of the panel (it had always been in the afternoon previously) meant that many people in the room were actually there for something later in the day.

Present on the panel moderated by Darren Franich were Moon Bloodgood, Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Doug Jones, Connor Jessup, Colin Cunningham, and Sarah Carter. Five winters in Vancouver are behind them now, and Jones will no longer have to endure four hours of makeup just to say a few lines. 
The panel description boasted of discussions of favorite moments, the most gruesome deaths, and the most memorable alien battles, and we definitely got some of that. Jessup shared that his character wasn't even in the original pilot, so he thought that he wouldn't last long. The most disturbing scene for Roy will pop up in episode five, where there's blood and cold humanity at its worst. Roy's most memorable moment is shooting the pilot, as the set was about a quarter-mile of running around, and there was a big explosion that almost went awry due to a domino-like fall. Amusingly, Wyle also talks about that scene being his least-favorite, as the footage was lost and they had to do the entire thing again the following night, despite the fact that Wyle was already sore from the first round of antics.

The folks asking questions seemed a bit planted, as both Wyle's son and Bloodgood's best friend's niece made it to the microphone. The best question asked, however, was what everyone's first impression was of the person to their right. We got some fun stories, and learned that Wyle and Bloodgood met in a Santa Monica coffeeshop, Bloodgood and Roy met on a plane to Vancouver to shoot the pilot, and Cunningham met Jessup as they were reading for fun (Cunningham flipping through MAD Magazine and Jessup studying Tolstoy).

One thing that Falling Skies has not done great in the past is exclusive looks ahead, as they often only show you a clip of something that will air a couple of days later, and that's what Comic-Con attendees got yet again. Also, no swag this year... it's not like promotion matters at this point, but still, it's a bit of a bummer not to leave with a parting gift of sorts!

Watch Falling Skies wrap up Sunday nights on TNT at 10pm (ET/PT).
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Comic-Con 2015: Inside the Big Bang Theory Writers' Room

Friday morning at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 began back in our old friend, Ballroom 20. The popularity of The Big Bang Theory's panel has waned in recent years, likely due to the fact that they stopped parading out the cast. However, leaving the actors in Los Angeles is the best thing to happen to this panel, as the actors are not a good match for this crowd... it was a hot mess when geeks asked them questions about the show!

The writers, on the other hand, fare better with this group, and they brought 13 folks to sit on the panel, alongside Kunal Nayyar as the guest moderator. Dr. David Saltzberg (science consultant), Jeremy Howe, Steve Molaro, Steve Holland, Maria Ferrari, Jim Reynolds, Tara Hernandez, Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady (engineer), Eric Kaplan, Dave Goetsch, Anthony Del Broccolo, Saladin Patterson (engineer).

Perhaps the most remarkable comment throughout the entire hour was about how every Tuesday night feels like Christmas, as that's when they get the next week's script (Nayyar). The whole thing wasn't that saccharin, however, as they opened with talking about how the time travel conversation began, complete with a discussion on the verb tense jokes, which Kaplan really handled. 

The back story on some of the other recent storylines include Chuck Lorre getting a drone for Christmas and not being able to get it to work (the instructions really did say to turn it on and off at least ten times), and reading TBBT fanfic online. Speaking of which, Mayim Bialik was brought out to join the panel and read some Raj-Amy fan fiction (Koothrappamy), which included such phrases as "I'm going to introduce you to Fifty Shades of Brown" and "semantic is the wrong word, you sexy beast from the third world." 

Another hot topic was working with guest stars like Billy Bob Thorton, Nathan Fillion, Stephen Hawking (Saltzberg was nervous when Hawking was going to get to read some lines about the Cooper-Hofstadter paper he designed), and Kevin Smith (Bialik freaked out and tweeted when Smith brought Jason Mewes to the set, resulting in being reprimanded by Warner Bros. for spoilers).

Other questions from the audience led to such fun facts as learning that the most difficult thing to write are the big moments (like Sheldon telling Amy that he loves her), and that the ending of the Skywalker Ranch episode had to be rewritten, as the original had Sheldon stealing a lightsaber, but Lorre didn't think the character would have committed a felony. Bialik also spoke a bit about how she and Jim prepare for scenes - they talk a lot about their characters' relationship so that they're in the mindset to have the conversations that they have.

The Big Bang Theory
returns to CBS for a ninth season this fall - look for it on Monday nights at 8pm (ET/PT) beginning September 21st, before moving to Thursdays on November 5th. Make sure to tune into that first episode, as viewers will learn the background to when Sheldon bought the ring and when he was planning to give it to Amy. If you're not caught up on the series, the eighth season will be available on DVD/Blu-ray on September 15th.
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Comic-Con 2015: CBS's Zoo

With a title like Zoo, I was expecting an animal to make an appearance, but I guess that stems from the excitement of TCA panels. 

"The wild shall inherit the Earth" sounds a bit biblical, but Zoo is an event series, so I guess anything goes. I'm unfamiliar with James Patterson's body of work, but apparently the book is a #1 bestseller about animals waging war with humans. To bring the series to life, there are real animals (like lions and tigers), and it is hinted that, eventually, they will begin working together to achieve more domination over the human race.

Joining the panel we had James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder, Jeff Pinkner, and Josh Appelbaum.

It was a little extra exciting in that audience members who asked questions got asked a question in return, then got a zoo t-shirt! The best question (by far) was directed toward the actors: which animal would you want to kill your character? Connolly said a dolphin, Arnezeder said a skunk, Wolk said whale, and Burke said he doesn't know, but would want to be reincarnated as a dolphin (while insinuating it would be the one killing Connolly).

When asked why make this show now, Pinkner responded that animals are scary and real. A great point, in the age of zombies and vampires!

Watch Zoo at 9pm Tuesdays on CBS! 
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