ALERT! FOX Renews American Dad For Seventh Season!!!

Via Press Release From FOX:

GOOD MORNING, U.S.A.! IT’S GONNA BE A WONDERFUL DAY!

“American Dad” RENEWED FOR SEVENTH TERM

Emmy-nominated Animation Domination staple American Dad has been renewed for a seventh season, bringing the series through the 2012-2013 season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“This is fantastic news,” said Roger the Alien. “But you do realize I’m not real, right?”

American Dad follows the lives of ultra-conservative, staunch GOP supporter and CIA agent STAN SMITH (Seth MacFarlane) and his eccentric family that includes FRANCINE (Wendy Schaal), his ditzy-but-lovable wife; HAYLEY (Rachael MacFarlane), his 18-year-old left-wing hippie daughter; STEVE (Scott Grimes), his geeky, 14-year-old son; ROGER (Seth MacFarlane), the selfish and sarcastic cross-dressing space alien; and KLAUS (Dee Bradley Baker), an attention-starved goldfish. The fan-favorite series airs Sundays (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Expect lots of hijinks from the Smiths this spring! Roger attempts to make Steve a “cool kid” by letting him drive other kids around in a tractor, but the plan quickly backfires. Meanwhile, Francine gets a job at Stan’s office, but she cramps his style; and Roger starts dressing like a teenage girl and quickly seduces Steve’s best friend, SNOT (guest voice Curtis Armstrong). Upcoming guest voices for this season include Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds and Grammy Award winner Cee-Lo Green.

American Dad is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman serve as co-creators and executive producers, while Kenny Schwartz, Rick Wiener and Nahnatchka Khan serve as executive producers. Become a fan of American Dad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americandad and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americandadfox.

We are officially not hating FOX today (ONE day, FOX… you get ONE DAY!) but we would like to point out that after we saw the pilot of Bob’s Burgers we knew that the renewal of American Dad was inevitable and noted it in our review.  So tell your friends about how brilliant our insight is (again) and that they have to read this blog.  That being said, with this announcement today, we find it highly unlikely that Bob’s Burgers will be renewed and we are thankful for that as it’s just awful.

There is a discrepancy here, though, that we would like to point out:  American Dad is currently in its sixth season (2010 – 2011).  The press release indicates that the American Dad renewal will bring the series through the 2012 – 2013 season.  The numbers don’t work on that (it should be 2011 – 2012)  unless FOX intends to split up season seven over the course of 2 years (there are reports that the order was for 22 episodes) premiering each half in January 2012 and January 2013.  We don’t find this scenario likely but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either.

Consider this:  FOX has ordered pilots for at least two new animated shows for 2011 – 2012 and they are continuing to look for more because they want to expand their “Animation Domination” schedule, according to our sources.  There is no change in time-slot according to the press release which means that American Dad will still be airing at 7:30 p.m.   The problem is that FOX stops airing programming at 10:00 p.m. so they are limited on time slots to keep plugging cartoons into.  The only solution would be half-season programming, i.e., air “Cartoon-X” in the Fall of 2011 and American Dad for 11 episodes in Spring 2012, rinse and repeat for the following season.  Although we find this scenario unlikely, it is possible and we don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing.

The more likely of the scenarios, however, is that they either just made a mistake and meant 2011 – 2012 or they actually renewed it for two seasons.  As much as we’d like the latter, we’re leaning towards the former for obvious reasons.

Of course, we’ll keep you updated as we find out more.

NEWSFLASH: CBS Picks up J.J. Abrams/Jonathan Nolan Pilot, Person of Interest

J.J. Abrams (left), Jonathan Nolan (right)

In news that should make every genre fan happy for a variety of reasons, CBS has greenlit the pilot for the J.J. Abrams/Jonathan Nolan project, Person of Interest.

From Deadline.com:

“The project, from Warner Bros. TV and Abrams’ Bad Robot, is a crime drama centered on a CIA agent, presumed dead, who is recruited by a reclusive billionaire to wage war against violent criminals in New York City.”

The interesting thing about this is that the first time we looked at this piece the other day, in the description it featured the phrase,

“An ex-CIA hitman and a scientist team up to prevent crimes before they happen.”

You’ll notice that in the comments section of the Deadline piece that the above description is even referred to by one of the various whiny posters on that site.  We don’t know why this was scrubbed from the original piece but we were able to find the same description posted at Entertainment Weekly and it is described as “official” although no sources were indicated to verify that it is indeed official, but it is coming from EW so there’s no reason to assume that it’s not legitimate.

That being said, though,  since it isn’t sourced at this point and Deadline did scrub their original piece (and ALL Abrams’ projects are notoriously secretive), officially we can’t say whether it’s more like Human Target or more like the Stephen Spielberg Sci-Fi flick Minority Report or a hybrid of both, perhaps.

So what is so great about this project, anyway?  Well, of course, it’s a J.J. Abrams project and he’s just about the hottest property in Hollywood right despite the recent failure of NBC’s Undercovers (which, unlike audiences, we actually liked) so that’s the biggest selling point but maybe as cool is that this story is the brainchild of Jonathan Nolan.

Jonathan (whose nickname is “Jonah”)  is of course the younger brother of esteemed director and writer Christopher Nolan who is of course famous for the most recent Batman film franchise, Memento, The Prestige and 2010’s blockbuster hit (and Academy Award nominee for Best Picture) Inception.  What folks may not know (we certainly didn’t) is that Jonathan Nolan actually co-wrote The Dark Knight and The Prestige with his brother as well as Memento and he actually wrote Memento Mori, the original short story which the film is based on.  Oh, yeah… he also wrote the screenplay for the highly anticipated third installment of the Batman films, The Dark Knight Rises and he co-wrote 2009’s Terminator: Salvation.  You can check out his whole bio here.

CBS: "Don't worry, genre fans. We're not FOX."

Needless to say, Jonathan Nolan is an experienced and talented genre writer and we are looking forward to what he can bring to television with J.J. Abrams and though normally we would worry about a show like this because it usually winds up getting pitched to FOX and we all know what happens with brilliant genre and scripted drama that FOX gets their hands on, even with J.J. Abrams’ name attached to it.  This is not the case with CBS who tends to have a pretty good eye (no pun intended, but we’re going with it) for this type of scripted genre programming and give shows like this some time to build an audience.

Michael Emerson

Oh, and one more thing:  Guess who’s already been cast for the pilot?  None other than Lost alum Michael Emerson.  According to Reuters, Emerson who’s best known for his Emmy award-winning role as Ben Linus on Lost, will play the billionaire benefactor who will aid our player-to-be-named-later in fighting crime.

We don’t really know any more details right now about Person of Interest and probably won’t for some time (again, that’s to be expected with Abrams) but we are hopeful for an air date of Fall 2011 for the pilot but realistically it’s probably going to air mid-season 2011 – 2012.  The ‘Tastic, of course will keep you updated.

TV-SCOOP! Kiefer Sutherland, John Hurt To Star In 10-Part Webisode Series, The Confession

Actually, this news has been around for about a month but we’ve been kind of busy and it completely slipped under our radar until we saw a segment about it on Extra or the Insider or Entertainment Tonight or whatever crappy tabloid entertainment show that happened to be running in the background last night when we were eating our 39-cent Del Taco plain tacos.

So, apparently, 24 star, Kiefer Sutherland is starring on a Hulu exclusive, 10-part webisode series about a hitman who has a theological discussion with a priest (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee, John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die. We gotta say, this looks wicked cool.

From the recent piece on EW Online,

“In all fairness, it looks fantastic,” Sutherland said of the web series, which he is exec producing with [Digital Broadcasting Group‘s CEO Chris] Young, Joseph Gomes and Maura Mandt. ”We shot it in the fifth-largest snow storm. It was pretty amazing.”

To us, as fantastic as it looks, what’s even more important is the standard that it has the potential to set.  The discussion over bringing serious television and film content to the Internet exclusively for release has been around for a few years now but never quite with this degree of seriousness in cast and production values.  Also, putting it on Hulu and not on a network site says a lot about how these new innovators want to use new-media outlets for traditional entertainment.   This really is groundbreaking stuff, here.

Chris Young said this in a recent press-release:

“The Confession sets a precedent for what is possible in original webisodic content. Never before has something of this magnitude and motion picture quality come to the third screen. I’m thrilled to be working with such A-list talent and top-tier sponsors to finally capture and crystallize the seismic shift in how content of this caliber is released, distributed and enjoyed by an audience that will rival that of a hit television series.” 

He’s got it, alright.  This may change television forever.

No word on an exact date, but when we find out, we’ll let you know.

The Chicago Code (FOX – Monday, 9:00 p.m)

THE CHICAGO CODE, the compelling new police drama from critically acclaimed creator Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”), follows the Windy City’s most powerful and respected cops as they navigate the city’s underbelly to fight crime and expose corruption within Chicago’s notorious political machine.

Set and shot on location in Chicago, THE CHICAGO CODE is a fast-paced series centered on JAREK WYSOCKI (Jason Clarke), a local legend and a larger-than-life veteran of the Chicago Police Department who wields considerable power thanks to his relationship with TERESA COLVIN (Jennifer Beals), his ex-partner and the city’s first female superintendent, now in charge of a 10,000-member police force. While Teresa diplomatically governs amidst the complicated landscape of Chicago politics, Jarek works the streets on a crusade to clean up corruption and crime and avenge his brother’s murder. Along the way, they will stop at nothing to bring down their powerful adversaries, including ALDERMAN RONIN GIBBONS (Delroy Lindo), a building-magnate-turned-politician who has ruled his ward with a velvet glove for over two decades.

Joining Jarek on the street is CALEB EVERS (Matt Lauria), an eager young detective trying desperately to prove himself. Also in Jarek’s charge is his niece, VONDA WYSOCKI (Devin Kelley), a rookie beat cop whose father – Jarek’s brother – was killed in the line of duty when she was young. Jarek keeps close tabs on her and is less than thrilled with the risk-taking ways of her cocky hotshot partner, ISAAC JOINER (Todd Williams). Also in the mix is low-life LIAM HENNESSEY (Billy Lush), an Irish thug who blends in with the gritty world of local crime. – FOX

8 out of 10

So here we are asking ourselves again, why, oh why, do the best scripted dramas always wind up on FOX?  They are only going to canceled when FOX inevitably pisses their pants after a couple of episodes.  The Chicago Code is eerily similar to Lone Star in that it’s a serialized, well-written, well-casted and well-acted dramatic series… that probably won’t last a single season because FOX has no patience for shows like this.  For the sake of this review, though, let’s pretend that FOX won’t cancel it before the end of the first season.

The Chicago Code is everything it claims to be and perhaps a bit more.  Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) is brilliantly cast as the down-to-earth, old-school detective who is used to thinking unconventionally and using unorthodox methods in order to effectively do his job.  Beals, is his former partner and newly appointed Police Superintendant who has recruited him to help her to clean up the corruption in Chicago.  If you think you’ve seen this before, you have.  This is almost the exact same scenario as in Brian De Palma’s 1987 classic The Untouchables when Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) recruits Jim Malone (Sean Connery) to help him take down the corrupt politicians, corrupt police department and Al Capone.

Watch this scene to understand The Chicago Code:

… and THAT’S The Chicago Code.  There is no sugar-coating it.  This is a modern-day telling of a classic story of crime and corruption and Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) is not even being subtle with his homage to The Untouchables.  Good for him because he’s a brilliant writer and he’s smart enough to know that if you are going to use someone else’s source material for inspiration, use only the good stuff.  What made HBO’s Deadwood so good was the fact that it was Shakespeare set in the Old West.  It’s no different with any good drama and The Chicago Code excels in exploiting its predecessor.

Ryan’s no slouch, either, when it comes to stories about corruption having been the creator of F/X’s hit The Shield which lasted for six seasons which revolved around a group of corrupt detectives in the L.A.P.D.  And like The Shield, The Chicago Code does something that we absolutely love and we praised it before in our review of A & E’s The Glades; it uses the city itself as not just a backdrop, but as a living, breathing character.  One gets the feeling that they know Chicago as well as the residents do by watching The Chicago Code and that is a key factor that makes the show compelling and worth investing in for audiences.  It’s also beautifully shot and is a visual pleasure to enjoy in high-definition. Unfortunately, though, as previously noted, we don’t think the show has much of a chance at survival.

To be fair to FOX, and as much as we rip on them, there is a big problem with The Chicago Code that has nothing to do with bad management at FOX: it’s a serial.  Serialized television has no place in major network schedules any more.  It just doesn’t play with this generation of viewers who are inundated with 300 plus channels of cable television, the Internet, and reality television.  This generation of television viewers expects everything to be immediate with their entertainment and they simply have no patience for a story that doesn’t effectively conclude itself at the end of the hour.  This isn’t a criticism, this is just a fact and if you’re wondering when the end of serialized drama on network television officially occurred, it was May 24, 2010, which is the day of the series finale of 24 and the day after the series finale of Lost.  It’s getting more and more difficult to put any effort in writing reviews for serialized drama on network television because we are kind of at the “what’s the point?” stage as we expect every serialized drama on network television to be canceled no later than the end of its first season.

Now, that being said, we believe that FOX has made the same mistake with this show that they did with Lone Star and that is airing it on FOX instead of F/X.  F/X has been consistently able to support to serialized dramas and The Chicago Code would be a perfect fit there.

Of course, we certainly hope that we are dead-wrong about the lifespan of The Chicago Code on FOX but the numbers were only OK for the premiere (2.4 rating for 18-49) and the tendency for serialized shows is to lose audience after the premiere, not pick them up.  So we’ll keep our fingers crossed but we aren’t very optimistic about any long-term success for this show.

Watch full episodes of The Chicago Code, here.

Retro Review: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller

Nine gripping stories based on famous myths and legends (and starring Brenda Blethyn, Sean Bean, Miranda Richardson, Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Gambon, Jane Horrocks and Derek Jacobi) are presented here. John Hurt stars as the Storyteller, who, with help from his cynical dog, narrates these beautifully constructed fables that will entrance your entire family. Special effects come courtesy of the Jim Henson Creature Shop. – Netflix

Matt

9 out of 10

I was only 9 years old when this came out, and my family never had cable, so I missed this HBO series created by the genius Jim Henson, whose characters range from Sesame Street’s Big Bird to the iconic Kermit the Frog.

Henson could also take on some very ambitious projects, like the film “Labyrinth.” This show has loads of great production value with great talent, like the academy award nominated actor John Hurt, who plays the narrating storyteller. The puppetry is amazing, as are the sets, design, directing and even costumes.

But what truly sets this Emmy Award-winning series apart is the phenomenal stories that were chosen for this nine-part season. These are dark fairy tales, as they were meant to be. There is no Disney shine put on these stories. They are mean, gloomy and visceral at times. However, they are also smart, funny, and extremely engaging. Most of the stories chosen to be recreated in the series are obscure to Westerners. I only knew one of the stories.

This series is available for instant streaming on Netflix, and I highly recommend checking it out. Not friendly for very young viewers. I’d say 10 and up should be fine.

Enjoy this sample from Jim Henson’s The Storyteller:

Being Human (SyFy – Monday, 9:00 p.m.)

Being Human is a re-imagining of the acclaimed BBC original series that follows three 20-something roommates: A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf who are struggling to keep their dark secrets from the world, while also helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives.

The series will star Sam Witwer (Smallville, Battlestar Galactica), Meaghan Rath (The Assistants), Sam Huntington (Cavemen, Superman Returns) and Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Supernatural). – Syfy

8 out of 10

After being thoroughly disappointed in season three of True Blood and having no interest in the teen-soap silliness of The Vampire Diaries, we approached Being Human skeptically to say the least.  A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf live in an apartment together… yes, we know.  It sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke or a sit-com on FOX, but believe it or not, after watching the first three episodes, we’re happy to say that it doesn’t suck… at all.  Well, Aidan (Sam Witwer) the vampire sucks… but he’s working on that.

Since we mentioned our disappointment in True Blood, we’d like to take a moment to discuss why we’re so disappointed in that series and why Being Human is a breath of fresh air for the genre.  As we see it, True Blood, like many-a-series on HBO, now tends to focus on excess for the sake of excess because… well, it’s premium cable and they can damned well do what they want short of porn and snuff films.  Unfortunately, excessive sex, violence and profanity is replacing quality narratives and strong character development.  Subtlety and nuance are virtually non-exist on True Blood, now, and what was once a compelling storyline has devolved into the arena of pure melodrama that it is completely unbelievable and inaccessible.

Matt Volke of The Movie Bros. was at Casa De ‘Tastic in May and just happened to stroll into the room for one five-minute segment of True Blood and he couldn’t stop laughing at the absolute absurdity of the show.  Our immediate reaction was to make excuses for it and say words to the effect of, “Yes… that was ridiculous but it’s normally not like this.”  The sad fact is that absurdity is now the norm on True Blood. For the record, this is not the first time this has happened to a show on HBO.  The Sopranos, Rome and even Alan Ball’s other HBO hit, Six Feet Under, are all prime examples of once-great shows that ended up choosing shock-value in place of good story telling and style over substance.

This is why we like Being Human so much.  Being Human does not have the crutch of excess to use in place of strong character development and compelling story lines.  In other words, because it’s on basic cable, it can’t cheat.  Now, don’t get us wrong, Being Human is quite dark at times and it does have its share of violence but the “horror” violence for the most part is simply alluded to and implied (the first bite of a vampire on a female victim, the aftermath of a werewolf attack on a deer, a flashback of the aftermath of an entire wedding reception being slaughtered by vampires, etc.) whereas on a show like True Blood, the same type of scenes of violence would be graphic and gory, leaving nothing to the imagination and a complete sense of detachment.

Despite its darkness, Being Human excels in levity with its three main characters who all interact with each other quite well and they all bring their own unique sense of humor associated with their own supernatural affliction but at the end of the day, they are all very relatable and – here’s that word, again – accessible to audiences.   We truly love the storyline so far and Mark Pellegrino (Lost) is brilliantly cast as the shades-of-gray villainous vampire, Bishop, in this outstanding addition to SyFy’s lineup.

As a final word of warning, we would highly recommend that you ignore any critique of this show that compares it to its BBC predecessor.  We’ve never seen the BBC version, which we are sure is great, but we believe it’s irresponsible to judge a series based upon another series and not on its own merits despite the fact that they are based on the same material.

Watch full episodes of Being Human, here.

Perfect Couples (NBC – Thursday, 8:30 p.m.)

“Perfect Couples” is a romantic comedy that follows three flawed pairs trying to get it right.

Dave (Kyle Bornheimer, “Worst Week”) and Julia (Christine Woods, “Flash Forward”) are the “everyday couple,” messed up in all the “normal” ways. Dave struggles to keep both his wife and his needy best friend, Vance (David Walton, NBC’s “100 Questions”) happy. Vance and the volatile Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) are the high-passion, high-drama couple who bring out the best and worst in each other.

The third duo features Rex (Hayes MacArthur, “She’s Out of My League”) and Leigh (Olivia Munn, “Attack of the Show,” “The Daily Show”). Rex is a reformed party guy who has channeled his jock energy into a competitive drive to be the ideal mate. Leigh, a self-anointed relationship guru, has formed the perfect union with Rex, and now considers it her duty to mold the other couples in their image. – NBC

3 out of 10

You will NOT see Olivia Munn looking like this on Perfect Couples.

We freely admit it: the only reason that we even bothered to watch Perfect Couples is because it stars former G4 Attack of the Show hottie, Olivia Munn.  It was partly curiosity to see if she could actually act (she was always very funny on AOTS) and partly because of the very likely chance that she might wind up in her bra and panties or at least a bikini at any moment which is generally the fall-back position for network television nowadays when it comes to generic scripted television.

Needless to say, we were disappointed on both counts.  Munn kept her clothes on throughout the entire pilot and to make matters worse her acting appears to leave a lot to be desired.  Now, we are being generous with that assessment by using the term “appears” because, she may not be a bad actress at all, it may just be an issue of incredibly bad writing because everyone’s performances were terrible.  Munn’s problem is that she has no real résumé to refer to outside of AOTS and the majority of her dopey lines were simply repeating the lines of her character’s husband.

Aside from what we will refer to from this point forward as the “Munn Disappointment,” there’s really nothing good about this show.  As noted, the writing is horrible.  The jokes don’t work, the timing isn’t there and it is completely predictable.  The characters are horrible cartoon versions of real human beings and completely unbelievable.  The show literally feels like aliens have come to Earth and this is what they think American couples are like based on something they read in a magazine or saw in a really awful romantic comedy that most likely starred Matthew McConaughey.  It tries to be clever and relatable and fails miserably.

Perfect Couples: Written by aliens? Perhaps.

You may have noticed the over-abundance of Olivia Munn pics in this piece in various states of undress.  Unlike the producers, we decided that we needed to do something to make Perfect Couples interesting and actually utilize its only asset.  This show is pretty bad all the way around.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any short trailers for this so if you watch the video you’ll be forced to endure 4 minutes and 31 seconds of propaganda by the cast about how great this show is.  Don’t believe them… especially when Christine Woods tells you that you know couples like this.  You don’t.  You’ve never seen any couples like this ever because they don’t exist.

Watch full episodes of Perfect Couples, here… if you must.