Articles on this Page
- 05/14/14--07:17: _Larry King gets a c...
- 05/14/14--09:25: _Here's why George R...
- 05/14/14--10:41: _'The Fault in Our S...
- 05/14/14--11:55: _'Breaking Bad' and ...
- 05/14/14--13:40: _Rihanna has some ha...
- 05/14/14--15:30: _Producers of James ...
- 05/15/14--03:30: _With the cancellati...
- 05/15/14--07:00: _The 4 biggest trend...
- 05/15/14--09:17: _Is Joel McHale head...
- 05/15/14--09:25: _Jimmy Fallon turned...
- 05/15/14--11:09: _Snoop Dogg's talk s...
- 05/15/14--12:02: _Disney's new 'Cinde...
- 05/15/14--13:15: _ABC's 'Galavant' is...
- 05/15/14--14:47: _Get a sneak peek at...
- 05/15/14--15:13: _Steve Buscemi's new...
- 05/16/14--05:00: _The rent is too dam...
- 05/16/14--05:48: _'Harry Potter' star...
- 05/16/14--05:58: _Watch Jimmy Fallon ...
- 05/16/14--07:30: _How 'Frasier' becam...
- 05/16/14--07:45: _Stevie Nicks's new ...
- 05/14/14--07:17: Larry King gets a crash course in Tinder thanks to Andy Cohen
- 05/14/14--09:25: Here's why George R.R. Martin refuses to write on a modern computer
- 05/14/14--10:41: 'The Fault in Our Stars' is now the most-liked trailer on YouTube
- 05/14/14--11:55: 'Breaking Bad' and YouTube stars align in 'Who's Driving Doug'
- 05/15/14--03:30: With the cancellation of 'Community,' is NBC turning into CBS?
- 05/15/14--07:00: The 4 biggest trends from the new batch of network TV series
- 05/15/14--09:17: Is Joel McHale headed for late-night?
- 05/15/14--09:25: Jimmy Fallon turned Lance Bass into an actual singing bass
- 05/15/14--11:09: Snoop Dogg's talk show is exactly what you'd expect
- 05/15/14--12:02: Disney's new 'Cinderella' is apparently just a giant shoe
- 05/15/14--13:15: ABC's 'Galavant' is a medieval geek smorgasbord
- 05/15/14--14:47: Get a sneak peek at 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay'
- 05/15/14--15:13: Steve Buscemi's new webseries sets a high bar for itself
- 05/16/14--05:00: The rent is too damn high in Morning Glory's new video
- 05/16/14--05:48: 'Harry Potter' stars reunite to film new footage for theme park ride
- 05/16/14--05:58: Watch Jimmy Fallon convince Jennifer Lawrence he's a sociopath
- 05/16/14--07:30: How 'Frasier' became the most nostalgia-proof TV show of the ’90s
- 05/16/14--07:45: Stevie Nicks's new album was inspired by Stevie Nicks YouTube videos
The majority of Tinder connections don't make it past chatting, let alone a first date. But for the few that do, the time will come when you'll want introduce your beloved swipe right to your parents and grandparents. You could go with a convenient lie about making eyes across a crowded bar, or you could go with the much more circuitous truth.
Unfortunately, there isn't an explainer class on Tinder offered at the Apple Genius for confused grandparents, but there is Larry King. America's loveable curmudgeon sat down with Bravo's Andy Cohen so he could understand the dating app. Thanks to the twosome's chat, you'll be better prepared to field those naive questions from grandparents who are still trying to master emojis. Some examples to anticipate:
- "You mean it's only for gays?"
- "The interactions begin with the high fives?"
-"What does nope mean?"
-"What if you get interested?"
- "Is it all based on looks? And nothing about personality?"
King's such an adept learner that in mere minutes he's playing the perfect digital wingman to Cohen's matches. He's so confident in his skills that he even predicts a Tinder wedding which he'll officiate.
H/T & Screenshot via: Ora.tv
The fantasy author took a break from writing to stop by Conan, and while he didn’t have anything in particular to promote, he ended up talking about his show and the secret weapon in his writing process. Not only does he have a second computer for writing his novels, he doesn’t even use a program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
He uses a system much older than that, and not just so that the computer can’t get a virus.
And don’t even get him started on spell-check.
“Oh, I hate spell-check,” he added. “Especially when you have ‘The Realm of Orbitor.’”
Even the most casual Game of Thrones fan knows that GRRM’s many names, realms, and languages are a spell-checker’s nightmare. Google Docs is excellent at offering the correct spelling of anything from Daenerys Targaryen to Cersei Lannister, but Microsoft Word isn’t quite as connected with the world of Westeros.
If the software got its hands on GRRM’s text, there’d be red squiggly lines everywhere. But what would the text end up looking like? Here's just a small taste of what Microsoft suggests for a correctly spelled ASOIAF.
Aside from not being able to take the Margarines seriously, even with the dragons, it offers a slightly more accurate description to characters. And Valar Morghulis? It’d be more like “valor moghuls.”
Photo via Team Coco/YouTube
And according to its fans on YouTube, it's already the most popular of them all.
The upcoming film adaptation of Vlogbrother and YA star John Green's acclaimed bestseller The Fault In Our Stars has been burning up the Internet. Its trailers and teasers have spawned instant Tumblr memes and racked up huge hit counts.
With over 273,000 likes and 18 million views, TubeFilter notes the YouTube trailer, which premiered in January, has one like for every 63 views. That's well over the previous record set by the trailer for One Direction: This Is Us.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has been promoting Amsterdam, a city that features prominently in the novel, teasing fans with images of the movie's two stars, Shailene Woodley and Theo James, on the town.
Despite modern YA being considered a "golden age" for the genre, the recent glut of films targeted at Young Adult readers in the post-Twilight, post-Harry Potter era has made some industry watchers skeptical that the trend will remain profitable for Hollywood. But while last year's Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and The Mortal Instruments were all flops, The Hunger Games continued to soar at the box office, and the dystopian Divergent (which also stars Woodley and, weirdly, James as her brother) had a successful performance and has been extended to four more films. Meanwhile, the upcoming Maze Runner, another dystopic hit, has a box office draw that should bring all the Teen Wolf fans to the yard: heartthrob Dylan O'Brien.
But of them all, Green's novel has gotten boosts from two unexpected places: the YouTube community, where his fandom of Nerdfighters guarantees the success of his and brother Hank Green's many, many projects; and among the literary establishment, where Green is often hailed, albeit erroneously, as the crown jewel of realistic Young Adult fiction.
While not everyone loves TFIOS, it's hard to deny that it's one of the most notable bestsellers in recent memory. Between its popularity with its core audience of teens and its ability to extend its reach into adult reading and Internet communities, TFIOS could be one of the few must-see movies of the year. That's not something you normally hear about a YA property—but then again, between hits like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and TFIOS, we might be on the path to acknowledging what we should have known long ago:
YA fans have great taste.
Screengrab via YouTube
Just two months after he stepped down from his popular webseries =3, the YouTube star landed his first major role in a live-action film alongside Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte and Bates Motel’s Paloma Kwiatkowski.
Johnson, Mitte, and Kwiatkowski are set to star in Who’s Driving Doug, an indie movie about a reclusive, wheelchair-bound man who takes a roadtrip with his new driver.
“We are so excited to have cast these passionate performers to bring this honest and gritty story to life,” the film’s producers said in a statement.
The film’s screenwriter, Michael Carnick, uses a wheelchair due to a rare disorder and has written about disability awareness before. Not much else is known about the film.
The move falls in line with Johnson’s plans that he discussed to more than 10 million subscribers in his final episode of =3. In it, he spoke about venturing into other mediums. He already runs a podcast and dabbled in other webseries and had a small role in Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie.
Rihanna’s fashion sense is often lampooned for how over-the-top she can get, but that’s de rigueur when lace bodysuits and green lipstick are involved. As someone who’s frequently cited by E!’s Fashion Police, you think she would be at least sympathetic to junior fashionistas who look to her for inspiration.
Sixteen-year-old student Alexis Carter was delighted to discover that her prom would be Hollywood-themed. The look Carter choose? A jumpsuit with flowing sleeves, a plunging neckline, and padded shoulders, worn by Rihanna in the Alexandre Vauthier Spring 2010 Couture Collection. With the help of a family friend, the Baltimore teen rocked a replica on her prom night, recieving plaudits from fellow classmates.
The following day, pictures of Carter in her bold look began spreading on social media, accompanied by the hashtag #prombat. She was Photoshopped skydiving and on a piece of paper held by the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama. It was inevitable that Rihanna herself would spot it.
She gets it pic.twitter.com/DCqsvPXAjk— Rihanna (@rihanna) May 9, 2014
Alexis spoke to FoxBaltimore about the singer's tweets:
"I was very offended," Alexis said of Rihanna's tweets. "Why throw shade on it when you had on the exact same thing. The poses was different but the outfit wasn't."
Just another adventure in the vast playland that is Rihanna’s social media ego. This one doesn’t come with an Instagram warning or deleted account, but it certainly does come with the loss of a loyal fan.
We knew it was coming, but we didn’t realise it would be so soon. The Edward Snowden story is going to receive its very own Hollywood adaptation.
Variety reported on Wednesday that the film rights to Glenn Greenwald’s bookNo Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State have been sold to Sony, to be produced by none other than the producers of the James Bond franchise.
The book follows Greenwald’s reporting on the NSA leaks, and includes several scenes that could easily make for interesting movie material, including the clandestine first meeting between Greenwald and Snowden. It only came out on Tuesday so obviously there are no details yet on what kind of movie No Place To Hide might inspire, but the involvement of the James Bond producers hints at a rather Hollywoodized interpretation.
At any rate, here’s hoping that any potential Snowden movie will turn out better than Wikileaks movie The Fifth Estate, which received negative reviews before sinking without trace. Plus, considering the number of real-life spies they could include in a movie about wiretapping and an NSA whistleblower fleeing to Russia, Greenwald’s book might actually make for a decent espionage thriller.
Screencap via JamesBondSuits
BY CHRIS OSTERNDORF
Things are changing over at NBC. With Community’s cancellation and the announcement that the next season of Parks and Recreation will be its last, the comedy brand that the network stumbled into a decade ago is on its way out.
The age of the low-rated, critically acclaimed NBC comedy began in 2005 with The Office.The British remake was followed by 30 Rock, then Community and Parks and Recreation. Since then, these shows have come to define an era of accidental creativity. Frequently moved around and rarely all on at the same time of the year, these four comedies, which usually aired as part of the formerly legendary NBC Thursday night lineup, became a new kind of "Must-See TV" for an Internet-driven audience looking for smarter, more original sitcoms.
NBC rarely knew what to do with these shows—or with the rest of their network for that matter. With the glory days of the ’80s and ’90s behind them, they quickly slipped into last place and their incompetence in trying to come back became notorious. Just recently, it was revealed that they had a chance to move forward with the massive AMC hit,The Walking Dead, but passed on it because they thought they thought the show would be better without zombies.
But through all of NBC’s development woes, a few fiercely loyal fans always stuck around to come back to their favorite Thursday-night comedies. They may not have been massive in number, but their devotion was strong. A few years ago, when NBC placed the much-maligned Whitneyamong this highbrow roster, Entertainment Weekly’s Mark Harris posited that while Whitney was bad, it received uncharacteristically harsh treatment in light of the other shows it was forced to stand next to.
NBC's Thursday lineup—is Cultville, a journey through a land of smart-asses and misfits in which Whitney could not be less at home. It feels like a CBS (Coarse, Brassy, Sitcommy) show that landed on the wrong network on the wrong night, and that's why it incited such indignation.
The typical NBC Thursday night comedy doesn't have a laugh track. In its place, shows like Community and The Office have ironic commentary. They're not about family or friends; they're about people you find yourself semi-contentedly stuck with—in a dead-end college, an Indiana municipal building, a paper-sales branch office. They are sharp, often very funny, sometimes sad and a little bitter.
Three years later, NBC’s unintentional comedy brand is all but gone. How did this happen? The main reason NBC may be less content to give niche series more breathing room is that they’re no longer in last place. When you’re at the bottom, the stakes for what makes a show worthwhile aren’t as high.
But as the Hollywood Reporterpointed out last year, NBC is no longer in last place, thanks to hits like The Voice and The Blacklist. With ABC (who appear to be taking the opposite of the breathing room approach, as evidenced by the way they gutted most of their comedy lineup this past week) now at the bottom, NBC is clearly doing everything they can to make sure they stay on the rise.
So what does “doing everything they can” mean? For NBC, it appears it means becoming CBS.
While usually thought of as the "old people network," CBS has stayed on top through more traditional, if less buzzed-about programming. As the other major networks have changed formats, experimented with tone, and generally done their best to look like the more cable, CBS has kept the number-one spot by basically staying the same.
At the Onion A.V. Club, Todd VanDerWerff, described NBC’s transformation into a mini-CBS thusly:
As always with NBC in the last 10 years, the kneejerk assumption with a new fall schedule is to jeer and laugh about how many dumb moves the network is making. (Something we did just last year.) But there are no good ways to say this other than this: This is a pretty solid, consistent schedule, and it will likely help NBC increase its level of competitiveness with CBS, particularly if the latter network continues to see its viewership advantage erode. NBC has more or less done this by becoming CBS, with a little bit of mid-00s Fox (thanks to the reliance on a singing competition) mixed in. Yeah, there are problem spots here, but they’re mostly stuck in places where NBC knows they’ll be problem spots, or they’re being used as sacrificial lambs to the great god football. The bumbling NBC that propped up critically acclaimed, low-rated comedies because it didn’t have a lot else is more or less gone. It’s been replaced by a hyper-competent CBS clone.
Above all else, it’s worth noting that even the “successful” NBC comedies of the last decade haven’t been that successful. Community has been historic in the past for surviving despite dismal ratings. But 30 Rock didn’t do much better, it just had the added advantage of being an Emmy-awards darling. The Office got a fair amount of trophies over time, too, even winning the Outstanding Comedy Emmy in 2006 (Steve Carell won a Golden Globe for his work on the show the same year), although it never cleaned up the way 30 Rock did.
However, the idea that The Office was ever a ratings juggernaut isn’t entirely accurate either. Even in its highest-rated years, it never cracked the top 10. And despite making it to syndication and generating revenue through merchandise, the show hasn’t ever had the profitability of something like The Big Bang Theory.
And in TV, profitability is still everything (and this is especially true for network television). Whether you choose to believe that the medium is in the midst of a new “golden age” or not, even the best shows are a product of major corporations, who would rather put out 10 terrible series that made money than one great one which didn’t.
One of the most brutal characterizations of this system in recent years came from Community creator himself, Dan Harmon. In a Grantland piece highlighting his Harmontown podcast, the supposed TV “genius” is quoted as saying:
When 30 Rock lands on the cover of Rolling Stone, when any television show is lionized for being 'smart,' someone’s laughing all the way to the bank—some company, it used to be General Electric, but now it’s Comcast. That there’s a difference between any of this shit is the greatest joke that television ever told. I mean, as the creator of Community, I’m telling you: It’s all garbage. And the idea that my garbage, y’know, needed a better time slot or deserved an Emmy or didn’t deserve an Emmy, the idea that it was better or worse than 30 Rock or Arrested Development or Freaks and Geeks and all that shit—you only have to take a couple steps back before you realize that you’re looking at a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup. It’s just a big blob of fucking garbage.
"Garbage" might sound a bit harsh, but the truth is that television remains designed to sell products with as little interference as possible from whatever goes in between the ads. If it is all just one big garbage dump, you can bet that the select few who faithfully followed the aforementioned comedies over the last decade will prefer their old garbage to NBC’s new.
Chris Osterndorf is a graduate of DePaul University's Digital Cinema program. He is a contributor at HeaveMedia.com, where he regularly writes about TV and pop culture.
Every spring, the broadcast networks, ahead of their “upfront” presentations to advertisers, order a raft of new series, cancel a slew of others, and give a handful of current shows the green light to return for another season. This year, the networks picked up more than 40 new series for next season. And of those shows, four major trends stand out:
Shows Starring Women and/or Minorities
Let’s start with some overall good news: Every network picked up at least one show that features a female or non-white lead. NBC’s new shows in particular skew female—all of their shows premiering this fall have a woman in their lead role. And while there isn’t any diversity to the women casted (all white, all stars of previous shows), there is at least some diversity to their roles: Katherine Heigl is the president’s top CIA analyst in State of Affairs, Kate Walsh is a bawdy criminal court judge in Bad Judge, Debra Messing plays a homicide detective in Mysteries of Laura, Krysten Ritter is an aerospace engineer in Mission Control, and Ellie Kemper plays an escapee from a doomsday cult (Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).
Even better, some of those shows, like Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder and Lee Daniels’ Empire, were also created by women and/or minorities. That includes semi-autobiographical comedy Cristela, created by Mexican-American Cristela Alonzo, whom Deadline reports tested “through the roof,” surpassing Tim Allen, Robin Williams, and Zooey Deschanel.
And Fresh Off the Boat, adapted from Eddie Huang’s novel of the same name and helmed by Nahnatchka Kahn (Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23), is a rarity in its own right with an all-Asian cast. Some network prognosticators point to the success of Scandal for the rise in female- and minority-led programs this pilot season. It’s cynical, but likely. Which isn't to say Scandal is bad (it’s crazy-good), but networks shouldn’t need a reason to have more diversity in their lineups.
'Event' Series/Shows With Limited Runs/Miniseries
Traditionally, when networks pick up new shows every spring, they order 13 episodes that will air that fall or the following spring. Depending on how that first passel of episodes performs (in the ratings, in relation to how other new shows are performing), the network will decide to order additional episodes (usually to total around 22-24 episodes) to finish out the season, commonly referred to as the “back nine.” This season more than ever, the networks (especially Fox) are playing around with short-run (13 episodes or fewer) “event” series that air straight through without repeats, similar to how cable shows air.
There are creative benefits to a show having fewer episodes: the storytelling is often tighter, and in the case of series like The Following and CBS’ upcoming Extant, the shorter runs offer less of a time commitment for actors wary signing on to a project with a long network TV production cycle (e.g., Kevin Bacon and Halle Barry).
Other notable examples include Fox’s remake of British murder mystery Broadchurch, called Gracepoint, and ABC’s slotting of Agent Carter between batches of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. NBC also has a couple of miniseries on tap: Aquarius, where David Duchovny plays a detective tracking Charles Manson, and Wizard of Oz riff Emerald City. And jumping on the popularization of anthology series, where characters and stories are rebooted in subsequent seasons, à la True Detective and American Horror Story, ABC’s Secrets and Lies (with Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis) plans to stick to a format featuring a new murder each season, granted that it does well enough.
There are a few reasons the networks are warming to shorter runs. Yes, Nielsen numbers continue to tumble, and cable series are closing in on (or in the case of The Walking Dead, completely trouncing) important network ratings metrics. Ostensibly, it's easier for a show to maintain decent ratings across 13 episodes back-to-back than it is through 22 episodes spread across nearly nine months, as they have mostly have been for decades (though for a good while, that worked).
And yes, to a point, the successes of streaming networks like Netflix (and somewhat nascently, Amazon) are reinforcing the creative and financial potential for shows as smaller, punchier packages (see last summer's Under the Dome). "Binge watching," as unfortunate a phrase as that is, is now definitively a part of the larger television business conversation, though its overall importance shouldn't be overstated—the old model still makes plenty of money.
But really, as Matt Zoller Seitz astutely points out in New York Magazine's TV issue, the shape and size of what "television" is (an increasingly fluid concept) is changing. Right now, shorter series are trendy. They're the shows that get written about. Networks want to be a part of that.
Shows About Terrorism/International Crime
CBS, given its older-skewing demographic (and their incumbent steady viewership), has always been procedural-heavy, but they’re bulking up even more this season, adding four additional crime dramas (Scorpion, an NCIS spinoff set in New Orleans, Stalker, and Madam Secretary) to their schedule. Interestingly, a number of crime dramas added by ABC and NBC this season have a domestic and international terrorism angle to them. But don’t thank (or blame) the success of Homeland for this—those honors go to NBC’s James Spader-led The Blacklist, the biggest hit of last season. The Peacock is seemingly going on all-in on the terrorism drama front: The network picked up three (Allegiance, State of Affairs, Odyssey).
Shows Based on Comic Books
It’s not just for the movies anymore! Gotham, the Batman prequel series (excuse me, origin story) about Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) was an early and obvious frontrunner at Fox. Now every network, save for CBS, has some kind of comic book-based series in its lineup. It's almost a no-brainer for networks to license comic properties: They have a built-in audience and have already made billions as summer movie blockbusters.
Almost, because TV isn't proving as surefire a place for a hit: ABC had big plans and high hopes for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which debuted strong, but wavered quickly. (The show still does fine for ABC, just not at all as well as everyone thought it was going to.) The question going into this season for Gotham and NBC’s Constantine (and tangentially the CW’s two comic book shows, though that network doesn’t really run in the same race as the Big Four) is whether we’ve (finally) reached the saturation point for “dark, edgy” male-centric comic adaptations.
The networks have made their choices. Now it's up to the viewers to determine what flies and what fails.
Could we finally have a new host for The Late Late Show?
If you take it from Norm Macdonald, who has been crusading for Craig Ferguson’s job ever since the late-night talk show host announced that he would be leaving his show at the end of 2014, Joel McHale will take the reins come next year.
Rumors have been flying as to who should replace Ferguson ever since he made the announcement last month. Neil Patrick Harris already turned down the gig, citing that he would get bored with the talk show format, but now Joel McHale is reportedly now the frontrunner for the gig.
He recently had dinner with CBS Corp chief Les Moonves and Julie Chen after successfully hosting the White House correspondents’ dinner, which could mean absolutely nothing—or everything. It’s certainly enough for people to start speculating.
McHale, for his part, isn’t confirming or denying anything, but he is having a little fun with people waiting for a huge announcement of some sort.
Massive announcement coming in 5, 4, 3,— Joel McHale (@joelmchale) May 14, 2014
So until it's officially announced, there’s still hope for that sixth season, guys.
It was the role Lance Bass was destined to play.
Jimmy Fallon opened up his Suggestion Box to the audience, and for some reason, someone wanted to see the Big Mouth Billy Bass, a.k.a. the singing fish mounted on the wall, come back.
Fallon followed through and wheeled a former ’N Sync member onto the stage.
Lance is a Bass who sings, so naturally, instead of bringing out the fish, they just used him instead. It’s nostalgic and silly, yet it totally works.
If these suckers come back in the next few years, Bass has got to voice them.
Photo via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
Snoop Dogg is taking interviewing to a new high.
The Artist Formerly Known as Lion has abandoned rap for a traditional question-and-answer interview program on his self-created "Double G News Network" YouTube channel. Before you ask what kind of credibility he has, keep in mind that talk shows have been awarded to everyone from Chevy Chase to Jay Leno.
And, true to Snoop form, he conducts the interviews while smoking a joint.
Often, he will pass the joint to his interviewees, as seen during his interview with the Korean bobsledding team.
Guests of his have ranged from musician Pharrell to even Larry King—who "breaks ground" as the first Jewish rap star.
Naturally, Snoop is no stranger to marijuana-fueled interview segments. He is a god among redditors, providing incoherent answers to pretty much everything during his IAMA sessions and helping to moderate the all-stoner subreddit r/trees.
Screengrab via westfesttv/YouTube
Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent hasn’t even come out yet, and Disney is already teasing next year's live-action Cinderella movie.
The film stars Lily James as Cinderella, Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother, and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones’ Robb Stark) as the prince. The director is Kenneth Branagh, who knows all about court intrigue from his career as a Shakespearean actor, and all about sparkly princes from directing the first Thor movie.
This trailer doesn’t tell us much, but the plot summary on its YouTube page suggest that this is going to be a relatively traditional adaptation, unlike Maleficent’s twisted, gothic glamour. Cinderella won’t be released until next March, but early test footage indicates that if you like Disney’s animated princess movies, then you’ll love the live-action version as well. Lots of glitter, basically.
Until then, can we talk about how uncomfortable this glass slipper looks? Not only are we dealing with the obvious problem of walking on a completely inflexible shoe, but the angle of the heel makes it look like you’d have to lean forward the entire time you were wearing them.
Photo via stitchkingdom/Tumblr
If history has taught us anything about the Middle Ages, it's that the countless wars, the draconian class and gender divides, and the frequent bloodshed all lend themselves fabulously to a spot of singing and dancing. Monty Python, Mel Brooks, and Horrible Histories have all made it very clear that Medieval Land Fun-Time World is here to stay.
So we really shouldn't be too surprised that the recently fantasy-smitten ABC is debuting a new series, Galavant, that doesn't parade so much as gallop pell-mell through a throne room packed with medieval tropes: dancing knights, men in tights, and fair maidens.
Galavant is not even trying to pretend like it's not stealing its premise from The Princess Bride. For one thing, it starts with a genderbent Inigo Montoya showing up to goad a master swordsman into rescuing his one true love, who was kidnapped out of his arms in order to wed an evil king. At least it has the grace to cop to the theft in a line from one of its many Alan Menken-composed songs: "it's lots of plot, we know." Remove the comma, and you've got that right.
But that's OK because no one is here for plot anyway: we're here for the blatant over-the-top antics of Timothy Ombudsman, fresh off his long run as Psych's Lassiter, and Karen David, whose role isn't exactly clear but who's fabulous anyway as she snarks about with Galavant, the new guy who looks like Fassbender: sanitized poolboy edition.
Ombudsman is clearly enjoying his new turn as the Prince Richard, who doesn't actually have six fingers on his right hand but makes up for it with a dose of cheerful evil administered via singing and dancing. We did mention the singing, right?
Galavant hails from the creator of the Crazy Stupid Love, another cliche-bender that proved ridiculously charming in spite of itself, though that was mostly because of the magic of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Whether Galavant can charm us routinely on the small screen is another question. But for now, we're there with cap and bells on.
Screengrab via ABCNetwork/YouTube
Fans are finally getting a first look at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
Lionsgate launched a special website dedicated to the new material, which includes a script excerpt, an interview with producer Nina Jacobson and director Francis Lawrence, and a look at the first poster, which falls in line with previous films and focuses on Katniss Everdeen’s Mockingjay pin.
But fans are sure to be excited about the first official photos from the film, which give a small glimpse into old characters and new as well as the sets, which includes District 13.
We’re also given a glimpse at President Alma Coin, a new character in Mockingjay that Katniss will encounter in District 13 played by Julianne Moore.
Gone is her trademark red mane and in place is the gray hair described in the books. Peter Craig, one of the screenwriters for Mockingjay Part 1, described Moore’s performance as being “filled with such intelligence and warmth.”
“Coin’s singular vision to unite all of the districts in a massive rebellion is no small undertaking, especially when most of the districts still have no idea that District 13 still exists,” Lawrence said. “Her relationship with Katniss is very complicated as well, because Katniss is wary of everyone at this point.”
Lawrence also noted that there won’t be a CGI version of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died before filming his scenes for the film. Instead, existing footage will be spliced in.
Moore, a longtime fan of The Hunger Games books, helped shape the character of Coin, who is largely seen from Katniss’s eyes in the books. Lionsgate also released an interview with Moore.
Noticeably missing from the website was a trailer (although there is a flash poster similar to previous ones released). There’s no word as to when one will be released.
Photos via TheHungerGamesExclusive.com
In the opening moments of his new AOL Originals webseries, Park Bench, Steve Buscemi pitches the reason for its very existence to us. You see, as an actor, one must “create your own work [and] make your own opportunities.” It is an interesting conceit, seeing as he surely no longer has to hustle in reality; Buscemi has rarely been out of work in the past 20 years, and it’s no doubt on the back of Boardwalk Empire’s success that he gets the chance to make this series.
It’s this meta-examination of talk shows and TV in general that gives the program its early impetus. It’s funny to see Buscemi brainstorming with his dad, just as it’s great to see him riffing with Chris Rock on potential guests (“Michelle Obama, always great … Janeane Garofalo, great guest”). His show, he says, will be less a talk show and more a “talking show.” But when Buscemi starts pointing out the major problem with modern talk shows, specifically that the guests are only ever there to sell something, you start to worry that he’s creating a point of differentiation that he’ll never be able to maintain.
You are right to worry. Soon he is talking to Rock about the (by his track record, no doubt terrible) movie he is directing. In the second episode, he brings Rosie Perez out from wherever she’s been hiding since White Men Can’t Jump to talk about her recently published memoirs (“I didn’t want to write it, but everyone pressured me”), and in a later episode, Roseanne Cash, who’s touring her latest album, turns up for a very long segment which you’ll very likely skip. Indeed, Buscemi himself, for all the stories that he must have working with the Coen Brothers or even on Con Air, can only seem to spout references to Boardwalk Empire and repeatedly remind us that the last season is coming up.
This may all just be a big joke on the viewer, Buscemi “trying” to be different but incompetently falling into the same old traps as everybody else. It’s one of the overriding jokes of the series that he can’t get hold of decent guests, despite the fact that his brother, also making his own show, has no such trouble. But it seems unlikely that you’d make some of the scenes you see in Park Bench so banal by choice. This is still meant to be entertainment, after all.
It’s a missed opportunity. The moments when the show actually adheres to its original vision, to be a “talking show,” it shines. In those moments when naturally funny people, like Rock and Billy Connolly, are given room by Buscemi, the results are, well, naturally funny, and Park Bench soars above its predictable format.
Screengrab via Park Bench/AOL
Remember Jimmy McMillan? You know, the “Rent Is Too Damn High” guy? Well, we may not hear as much about him these days but that doesn’t mean the rent isn’t still too damn high. It is. So high in fact that New York punks Morning Glory are forced to use a cardboard box as a practice space.
Check out the band’s video for “Punx Not Dead, I Am” below, featuring out a cameo by McMillan himself, who apparently wasn’t even supposed to be in the video originally according to Morning Glory frontman Ezra Kire:
“In a complete twist of chance, I ran into Jimmy McMillan on the street and he decided he wanted to be in on it too. I thought he'd just come out for an hour, do a quick cameo, and leave. Instead, he stuck around the entire day flashing everyone the devil horns. Since we weren't really supposed to be shooting this vid at all, we did the whole thing in under 12 hours.”
Very shocking that Jimmy had 12 hours free in his very busy schedule to devote to this. But when you run into someone with the celebrity starpower of Jimmy McMillan, obviously you put him in your video. The song is from the band’s album War Psalms which came out earlier this year from Fat Wreck. They’ve got a few dates coming up in the UK and Canada, including a stop at Pouzza Fest. Check them out and maybe buy some merch because seriously, the rent is too damn high.
Read the full story on Noisey.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are bringing the band back together to film a scene in their roles from the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, the only way to watch that scene will be to go to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The new Harry Potter footage will be used in a ride taking place in Wizarding London’s Gringotts bank. Set during the scene when Harry, Ron and Hermione break into the bank in disguise, visitors will get to experience the bank heist from the perspective of everyday wizarding customers who get caught in the crossfire.
The three actors will film different versions of their scenes from other angles, and the ride will also include appearances from Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort. Visitors will enter through a replica of the Gringotts lobby, complete with goblin bankers, and eventually wind up encountering the 60-foot dragon we see in the movie. Universal Studios has released a trailer for the ride, and it honestly looks awesome.
This is the ideal Harry Potter scene for a theme park ride, because the Gringotts vault trains are basically just a magical rollercoaster. Combine this with the idea that fans will be experiencing a real Harry Potter scene from the inside, and Universal Studios are definitely on to a winner.
Screencap via wingardiumleviosa99/Tumblr
Jennifer Lawrence can act her way out of a box, but she might not be as good at lying out of one.
While promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past, she and Jimmy Fallon engaged in a game of “Box of Lies.” It essentially requires your best poker face as you try to throw the other person off of whether you’re telling the truth or lying about what’s in the box.
They try to stump each other about action figures and Rubik’s cubes in Jell-O, but the real competition is which one can psych the other out more. It’s by far the more entertaining game.
Somebody give these two a variety spin-off.
Photo via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
BY CHRIS OSTERNDORF
The Internet loves nostalgia. As time marches forward, pop culture staples of yesterday often achieve a kind of mythical status online. Anniversaries, fandom, and general appreciation are all magnified from behind our computer screens. That’s why it’s surprising when the nostalgia train leaves a once-beloved relic behind.
This week, Daniel D’Addario at Salon penned an article titled "The tenth anniversary of "Frasier" proves the limits of Internet nostalgia." In it, D’Addario seeks to understand why the Internet missed this pop culture milestone, when the 10th anniversaries of TV shows like Friends and movies like Mean Girls have been all over the Web recently.
D’Addario posits that Frasier wasn’t unique enough to stick in most people’s minds, writing, “'Frasier' never had the oddity of a 'Friends' or a 'Seinfeld,' where characters could be entertaining with their spiky, unique chemistry. The ways the characters interact — father-son, brothers, boss-employee—are well-done, but familiar to the point that one doesn’t need to be nostalgic for them.”
D’Addario is correct in suggesting that Frasier is pretty far off from the likes of Friends and Seinfeld. Sure, occasionally you’ll see someone throw it a little love, but the Internet hasn’t gushed over it the way it has withFriends. This is because Friends’ DNA continues to be identifiable to many of the younger denizens of the Internet. It’s a show about hip, young, white people living in a big city, and as D’Addario points out, it, “held an obvious appeal to young kids watching TV, the same young kids who, ten years later, are exactly the right age to be junior entertainment writers for websites or junior employees at desk jobs surfing the web all day.”
And Friends’ legacy is still seen all over TV today. It can be felt in everything from How I Met Your Mother to New Girl (although New Girl has actually included several non-white members in its ensemble.)
Seinfeld, on the other hand, manages to continue being relatable to multiple generations in that it’s “a show about nothing.” The observational minutia of the Seinfeld universe still rings true for anyone who can find humor in the monotony of daily routines and interactions. There are a few minor plot points that might not work today because of advances in technology, but the ideas still ring true. That’s why the show updated so well in the version we saw on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
But the other thing that set Frasier apart from its NBC counterparts was that it was never cool. It probably got a huge ratings boost simply by being a part of "Must See TV," but it was known for being an awards darling as much as than anything else.
If you look at Frasier next to something like Will & Grace, they both seem old: the laugh track, the pratfalls, the over-the-top sitcom premises. But Will & Grace, like Seinfeld and Friends, was also somewhat ahead of its time, which is why today, those shows are more likely to appeal to younger viewers, the millennials who might have grown up with those shows on in the background and drive Internet nostalgia. Frasier always felt old. Even when it was on, it was stuffy, affected, and out of touch.
Of course, that was the point. That was what made it funny.
What D’Addario doesn’t get right in his analysis of Frasier is that compared to the more traditional sitcoms on TV today, Frasier is extremely unique. Yes, it feels old-fashioned, but its best episodes stand out for being boldly pretentious and unapologetically highbrow. In one of the Internet’s only other big reflections on the show’s 10-year anniversary, Jillian Maples of Flavorwire wrote:
The entire premise of the show was surprisingly off for network TV: two ballet-attending, Italian loafer-wearing, espresso-sipping psychiatrist brothers, the Cranes, get into trouble in and out of their own bubble of elitism from time to time. And they’re straight! When Frasier premiered on NBC in 1993 as a Cheers spin-off, the term “metrosexual” was still a year away from being coined, and it would be nearly a decade until its use would become ubiquitous among suburbanites. With Frasier, the mainstream was OK with Puccini references and caviar puns that went over their heads at time because the farce was funny enough. In this sense, I’ve always thought of Frasier as the Steely Dan of network sitcoms.
The closest thing to Frasier on TV today is probablyModern Family (co-created by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan, both of whom formerly worked on Frasier), simply because both shows focus on how we do or don’t relate to the people we’re related to. However, besides being far apart in a stylistic sense, while the characters inside the mini-mansions of Modern Family are all clearly upper class, the show is designed to depict universal truths about all families, even the richest and most “modern” ones.
Frasier, too, depicted many universal truths about families, but it never strove to find common ground between its characters and its audience. Frasier and Niles Crane were always odd ducks, and their wealth usually made them seem snooty, rather than cute.
The other show on TV right now which one could also compare to Frasier is The Big Bang Theory. Both shows straddle the line between workplace and domestic comedy, both shows are about uber-intelligent individuals struggling to relate to the world around them, and both shows employ the traditional multi-camera sitcom format.
The difference is that The Big Bang Theory uses ideas about intellectualism to capitalize on the rise of “nerd” culture in the zeitgeist. It takes every possible stereotype of nerdiness and creates a giant buffet for the viewer; on one side, a few comic-book references you might get, on the other, some jokes about protons you probably won’t.
Frasier, on the other hand, consistently made efforts to distance itself from the easily recognizable. By crafting narratives around opera and fine wine, it relied on stereotypes the average American continues to associate with only the most stuck-up individuals. Moreover, while The Big Bang Theory works for multiple reasons, it also functions as another story about young urbanites trying to find love, making it a distant relation in the Friends family.
The Internet’s obsession with nostalgia primarily stems from the past’s influence on the present. It’s not surprising that something like Mean Girlsfeels as current as ever 10 years after its release—because the movie’s ideas and sense of humor still resonate in mainstream culture today. For a show that ran 11 seasons, Frasier never had any interest in being part of the mainstream. It created a brand of comedy that was built on exclusivity and stodginess, and in doing so, it became one of the most distinctive shows of its era.
But even in that era, it didn’t really fit in. Which is why today, Frasier stands out in its ability to be nostalgia-proof. Just like when it was first on the air, there are no other shows like it. Occasionally, you’ll catch a whiff of its influence in network TV. But there are only the faintest traces of it left behind. That’s why we don’t celebrate "Frasier Crane Day" every year, while Oct. 3, on the other hand, has become widely recognized as Mean Girls Day.
Chris Osterndorf is a graduate of DePaul University's Digital Cinema program. He is a contributor at HeaveMedia.com, where he regularly writes about TV and pop culture.
While some musicians might cringe at the thought of scrolling through their bootlegged or "lost" songs on YouTube, Stevie Nicks turned this contemporary process into a positive. In fact, she turned it into an entire album.
The Fleetwood Mac singer used YouTube to source material for her upcoming album, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault. And not just for a few songs—the whole album comprises re-recordings of obscure or bootlegged tracks.
The album’s title track has been circulating on YouTube for a few years and was originally recorded during the sessions for her 1981 solo album, Bella Donna. She recently re-recorded it, along with the album's other songs, in Nashville. She told the Associated Press, "We went onto YouTube and we found all the songs that, somehow, were taken from my house or picked up or loaned out or whatever," and added that some of the tracks dated back to 1969.
The Stevie Nicks YouTube vortex does hold some dark magic, so it’s not surprising that even Stevie Nicks was drawn into her own Stevie Nicks rabbit hole. If you really want to lose some time, watch this 1979 clip of Nicks and Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie attempting to wish Warner Bros. Records a happy birthday.
No word yet if the new album will feature any of her Game of Thronespoetry.