All Sorts Of Pre-Premiere True Blood Stuff… Gamera Reports! (SPOILERS!)

The ‘Tastic’s official True Blood correspondent and featured mythical creature set to be featured in True Blood‘s fifth season, Gamera, has a whole bunch of pre-premiere information about the upcoming fourth season.

First, Gamera reports via THR that HBO will have the second epsiode of the season available immediately following the premiere on Sunday Night via the HBO Go App  for iPad and iPhone and via HBO go on your PC.  The downside to this is that the HBO Go App doesn’t support Vidoe-Out so if you have an iPad or iPhone you’re stuck watching it on your particular device or on your PC.  Keeo in mind that in order to watch full episodes through HBO Go, you must be a current subscriber of HBO and you must be registered with your cable provider’s website and be the primary account holder.  We found this last detail out the hard way. Go to HBOGo.com to register.

Next, Scott Foley (Grey’s Anatomy, The Unit) has been cast in a major role for the fourth season finale.  No word on what the role is (obviously, not this soon) but if HBO picks up TB for a fifth season (starring Gamera) as it is expected to, Foley’s role will be recurring.

Taking this a step further, we’ve also learned that Alan Ball is currently in negotiations for the aforementioned season five (starring Gamera), which Ball suggests may be the last for him, however he envisions the show proceeding without him for several seasons.

Approved by Gamera!

“Right now I’m in the middle of negotiating for a fifth season,” Ball told The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday’s Season 4 premiere in Hollywood. “I don’t know if I have any left in me after that. We’ll see…”

“Ball first hinted at the series continuing on without him earlier this month in an interview with Rolling Stone in which he said, “I don’t believe True Blood is 100 percent dependent on my participation. It has a strong following and a really strong cast, and there could be a future where I step back and the show would continue.”

Also appearing for two episodes this season is Catherine Helmond, our beloved Mona from the 80’s sitcom, Who’s The Boss.  Helmond will play BonTemps Sheriff Andy Bellefleur’s grandmother.

************SPOILER ALERT*******************

THR has come out with a great list of 14 things you should know about season four. There’s a lot to it and it’s very spoiler-heavy so we’re not going to post it here, but check it out directly from the source right here.

Finally, HBO just can’t seem to keep things to themselves either, apparently, having released episode descriptions for the first five episodes of the season.  Though definitely spoiler-ish, they’re pretty generic so this time we will post them here.

Via Press release:

TRUE BLOOD

JULY EPISODES

Episode #37 “She’s Not There,” Sunday, June 26

Sookie (Anna Paquin) journeys away from Bon Temps; Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) try to win back the human public; Jason (Ryan Kwanten) learns that no good deed goes unpunished; Tara (Rutina Wesley) finds refuge in close quarters; Sam (Sam Trammell) bonds with his own; Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) debate the dinner menu; Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) urges Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) to join a coven; and Terry (Todd Lowe) tries to alleviate Arlene’s (Carrie Preston) fears about the baby.

Written by Alexander Woo; directed by Michael Lehmann.

Episode #38:  “You Smell Like Dinner”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JULY 3 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates:  July 3 (11:30 p.m.), 5 (11:30 p.m.), 6 (10:00 p.m.), 9 (12:15 a.m.) and 14 (9:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  July 4 (9:00 p.m.), 7 (10:00 p.m.), 8 (12:30 a.m.) and 10 (2:00 p.m.)

Sookie (Anna Paquin) adjusts to Bon Temps’ new realities; Bill (Stephen Moyer) reveals pieces of his past; Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) crashes a witches’ meeting; Jason (Ryan Kwanten) gets his wounds licked; Andy (Chris Bauer) struggles with his addiction; Sam (Sam Trammell) learns of Luna’s (Janina Gavankar) special talents; Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) satisfies her blood cravings; and Arlene (Carrie Preston) witnesses strange behavior from her family.

Written by Brian Buckner; directed by Scott Winant.

Episode #39:  “If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’?”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JULY 10 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  July 10 (11:05 p.m.), 12 (11:00 p.m.), 13 (10:30 p.m.), 14 (10:00 p.m.) and 16 (10:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  July 11 (9:00 p.m.), 15 (10:00 p.m.) and 17 (4:00 p.m.)

Sookie makes a deal with Eric, and reconnects with Alcide (Joe Manganiello); Bill punishes an errant vampire and counsels a guilt-ridden Jessica; Jason is cast as a reluctant savior; Tommy (Marshall Allman) eyes a scam and alienates Sam; Marnie (Fiona Shaw) flexes her newfound powers; Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) delivers an ultimatum to Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), Tara (Rutina Wesley) and Jesus (Kevin Alejandro); Eric spoils Sookie’s faerie reunion.

Written by Alan Ball; directed by David Petrarca.

Episode #40:  “I’m Alive and on Fire”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JULY 17 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  July 17 (11:05 p.m.), 19 (11:00 p.m.), 20 (10:00 p.m.) and 23 (11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT), and Aug. 3 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  July 18 (9:00 p.m.), 21 (10:00 p.m.), 22 (11:00 p.m.), and 24 (4:00 p.m.)

Alcide helps Sookie hunt for Eric; Marnie searches for guidance to break a spell; Bill discovers a common bond with the Bellefleurs; Jason begs for liberation from Hotshot; Sam penetrates Luna’s inner circle; Arlene sees the writing on the wall; Tommy returns to his roots.

Written by Nancy Oliver; directed by Michael Lehmann.

Episode #41:  “I Hate You, I Love You”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JULY 24 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

HBO playdates:  July 24 (11:05 p.m.), 26 (11:35 p.m.), 27 (10:00 p.m.) and 30 (10:15 p.m.), and Aug. 3 (9:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  July 25 (9:00 p.m.), 28 (10:00 p.m.), 29 (11:00 p.m.) and 31 (4:00 p.m.)

Sookie nurtures Eric; Bill gets involved personally in the necromancy crisis; Pam takes the veil; Sam becomes Tommy’s accomplice; Arlene and Terry look to religion to solve their problem; Jesus and Lafayette head to Mexico to harness a shaman’s power; Jason convalesces.

Written by Mark Hudis; directed by Daniel Minahan.

Episode #42:  “I Wish I Was the Moon”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JULY 31 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  July 31 (11:00 p.m.) and Aug. 2 (11:30 p.m.), 3 (10:00 p.m.) and 6 (12:15 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  Aug. 1 (9:00 p.m.), 4 (10:00 p.m.), 5 (12:05 a.m.) and 7 (6:00 p.m.)

Sookie searches for Jason under a full moon; Marnie connects with spirits of the past; Arlene and Terry cope with a suspicious inferno; Debbie (Brit Morgan) urges Alcide to join a new werewolf community; Tommy trades places with Sam; Lafayette feels the spirit in Mexico; Eric surrenders to his King’s will.

Written by Raelle Tucker; directed by Jeremy Podeswa.

AMC: Well, Mad Men Isn’t Going Anywhere (John Hamm Signs Three Year Deal)

For those of you that were worried that you might be losing your beloved AMC hit, Mad Men, fear not because it’s sticking around for quite some time.  THR has reported that John Hamm, who plays Don Draper on the series, has signed a deal for three years with Lionsgate TV, assuring that Matthew Weiner’s third-year option will be picked up and and the show will complete its run after seven seasons.  For the fans that are unaware, it was Weiner’s protracted contract negotiations that delayed production of season five, pushing it back to March 2012, a year and a half after the end of season four.  We’re actually thrilled about the delay because we have never seen one episode of this show and we’ve been kicking ourselves over it.  Now we can catch up.  Mad Men is the only cable series to ever win the Emmy for best Best Dramatic Series.

F/X: Jason Patric & Lucy Punch Cast As Leads In SciFi Series Pilot, Powers Based On Graphic Novel

Well, it appears that one of our favorite cable networks is deciding to get into the genre game as well.  Deadline is reporting that Jason Patric (The Losers, Sleepers) and Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher, Hot Fuzz) have been cast as the leads for the pilot of Powers, a series based on a graphic novel of the same name.  Now, EW did report that the pilot was picked up in February (yep… we dropped the ball on this one, too). but this is the first casting announcement.  Filming is slated for mid-summer so expect the pilot to air probably by mid-season 2012 or perhaps later in the Spring.

From Deadline:

Based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, the project, written by Charles H. Eglee and to be directed by Michael Dinner, is a police procedural set in a world where superpowers are relatively common. It centers on two detectives, Christian Walker (Patric) and Deena Pilgrim (Lucy Punch), in a Homicide department that deals with cases involving “powers” (people with superpowers). Eglee, Dinner, David Engel and Bendis are executive producing for Sony Pictures TV and FX Prods. Filming is slated for mid-summer in Chicago.

Well, hot-dog, this sounds cool and is it just us, or is this type of programming becoming more prevalent lately on TV?  Could it be that genre is making a comeback? Hmmmm… we smell the need for an investigative analysis in the near future.

CBS: Done and Done… Thomas Gibson Signs Deal To Return To Criminal Minds For Seventh Season

On June 8th we reported that Thomas Gibson had still not signed on to reprise his long-running role as Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, which had the potential to hold up production of the seventh season due to air in the Fall.  As we suspected, Deadline is reporting that Gibson has signed a new deal and will of course, be returning in September.

HBO: True Blood Seasons 1 – 3… In Under Five Minutes (VIDEO)

Approved by Gamera!

For this generation of television audiences with short attention spans, HBO has made catching up on True Blood ahead of the season four premiere this Sunday, June 26th easy by releasing the cool little video below that provides a synopsis of the important stuff that’s been going on over the last three seasons.  This has been approved by our, True Blood corespondent, Gamera who as we noted, will be featured prominently in season five.

The CW Announces Fall 2011 Schedule Premiere Dates

The CW became the first of the Big 5 Networks to announce their Fall 2011 premiere schedule yesterday.  The schedule is so incredibly awful that we don’t really care about this at all but on the bright side, at least we get to get it out of the way early.  If you wondering why it’s so awful, please refer to this and, of course, the rest of their absolute dog-crap programming as indicated below.  There are two good shows on their entire schedule and one potentially good show.  Your job: guess which ones we think they are, and please note, if Gossip Girl even entered your mind, you’ve already failed… and apparently so have we.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13

8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Ringer (NEW SHOW!)

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14

8:00-9:00 PM H8R (NEW SHOW!)

9:00-10:00 PM America’s Next Top Model (Season Premiere)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

8:00-9:00 PM The Vampire Dairies (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM The Secret Circle (NEW SHOW!)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

8:00-9:00 PM Nikita (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural (Season Premiere)

MONDAY, SEPT. 26

8:00-9:00 PM Gossip Girl (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Hart of Dixie (NEW SHOW!)

You Can All Relax: MTV Cancels Controversial Skins (Our Take)

In news that comes as no surprise to anyone, MTV has canceled the controversial drama, Skins and it will not be returning for a second-season. The American adaptation of the popular British show of the same title came under fire from parents’ groups for its graphic depictions of no-consequence teen drug and alcohol use and promiscuity. The watchdog group the Parents Television Council, was the most vocal in its campaign against the show, proclaiming it as possibly, “…the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen,” and urged the FBI to begin an investigation of MTV and the show’s producers for possible child pornography because of the depictions in the show by the actors in the cast, many of whom were under 18.

Now, as loathed as we are to agree with the PTC and other such similar groups as we believe that it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent to monitor and control their children’s viewing habits and no one else’s, they were right on this one.  Now, we don’t necessarily agree with the contention that the show was engaged in the production of child pornography, but we do agree that it is by far the most vulgar and inappropriate show ever aired on basic cable.

We certainly aren’t in favor of censorship, however, there are certain standards that the networks agree to abide by even if they aren’t explicitly required by the FCC and those standards are pretty universal and are different for the over-the-air major networks, basic cable networks and premium cable networks.  MTV violated those standards by airing this show that should have never been on basic cable because of the content.  The fact is that, although the networks are under no obligation to be the guardians of our children, we’ve come to expect them for the most part to at least not go out of their way to make it difficult for us and we’ve known what to expect from them based on the venue.

Normally, we wouldn’t even assign any responsibility to a network over objectionable content, because as we noted, parents need to monitor their kids but there are two mitigating factors at play here: one, the noted violation of the “unwritten rule” and two, MTV and the cast actually defended Skins as “…a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” and that parents who have a problem with the content have “serious trust issues,” so, MTV has taken a position that they know what’s best for your children better than you do and therefore needed to be called out for it. Their argument fails miserably for a few reasons. First, not all kids are engaging in this kind of behavior to begin with and certainly not to the extent as depicted in such an exaggerated sense on this show.  We were all young once and God knows that we engaged in our share of self-destructive behavior, however, one of the bigger problems that this show has is that these kids face ZERO consequences for any of this behavior and there’s nothing real about that.  Furthermore, whether or not this behavior by teens is a reality or not is irrelevant.  It’s the duty of every parent to do what they can to keep their children from making bad choices and engaging in self-destructive behavior and it’s offensive and absurd that MTV’s position is that parents just need to accept that this behavior is happening whether they like it or not.  We’re not suggesting that MTV or any network needs to take a parenting role with our children, just don’t go out of your way to undermine us and make our jobs more difficult.  Also, any parent who trusts their teen is a f*cking moron.

As repulsive as the content was, we would have had no problem with it having been aired on a premium cable network such as Showtime or HBO.  It did not belong on a basic cable network and although the show was rated TV-MA DLS it was far worse than your standard TV-MA DLS fare and oddly, the show seemed to be specifically targeting minors and promoting the behavior depicted on the show.  If you don’t believe us, check out the Skins webpage and in particular click on the map in the upper right-hand corner labeled “Where It All Went Down” where teens are encouraged to:

Leave your mark on where it all happened! Browse and share the places where memories were made – and the scattered pieces of nights you can’t really remember. Post the truth about the biggest parties, heartbreak, friends, sex, and every kind of trouble.

…And they didn’t expect parents’ groups to be up in arms over a show that promotes this behavior? Where it gets tricky for us is that it appears that MTV was primarily intentionally trying to push these behaviors as a primary goal of the show because if the primary goal of the airing the show was to make money, they wouldn’t be marketing it towards children.  As we’ve noted several times before, advertisers are interested in one thing and one thing only:  the 18 – 49 demographic.  They don’t pay for advertising minutes based on youth viewership (unless we’re talking Nickelodeon or another children’s network).  So, the only conclusion that can be logically arrived at was that, at the time, MTV placed more of a value promoting this agenda than they did in having the show be successful and profitable. That’s not just bizarre… that’s just plain creepy.

Despite the noted content issues we had with it, its undoing was the fact that it really wasn’t a very good show.  We watched it, found the characters and situations to be completely unrealistic and overall the show had nothing but a negative, pessimistic view of life in general.  The characters were completely unlikable and unrelatable and left the viewer with no reason to want to return the next week.

The ratings, although sharply declining over the course of the first season weren’t that awful by MTV’s standards for the timeslot, and any other show probably could have survived for a second season but the PTC raised so much of a stink contacting advertisers that within two weeks of the premiere lost six major advertisers including Taco Bell, GM, Wrigley, Subway, H & R Block and Schick.  With the word out on the street that advertisers were running away from the very controversial content on this show, there was ZERO chance for a second season.

We say, “good riddance” and maybe MTV will think twice next time about putting such an inappropriate show on their network and marketing it toward kids. If you never watched the show, here’s a small sample of what you missed, and this is just the trailer so it’s tame compared to what was actually on the show.

TV SCOOP! Robin Wright-Penn, Kevin Spacey To Star In Netflix Series (That’s Right… NETFLIX Series)… House Of Cards

THR is reporting that Robin Wright is in early negotiations to play opposite Kevin Spacey on Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards.  House of Cards is a an hour-long political thriller based on the novel and British mini-series from 1990 of the same time.

To us, as great as the concept and the cast sounds, more importantly is the fact that Netlfix is taking the networks head-on and further redefining contemporary television by continuing the trend that we predicted was occurring with the Kiefer Sutherland Hulu-exclusive web series, The Confession.

If you question how big this is or if it will be successful or if this trend of alternative source television is just a fad, keep in mind that Netflix with their 20 million-plus subscribers outbid both AMC and HBO for this series.  That along with the two main leads tells us, as usual, that Netflix is at the forefront of trends and is sitting the standard for home entertainment for the future.

A note to the Networks: Netflix has effectively destroyed Blockbuster and forced every other video rental company out of business (with the exclusion of Red Box).  They’re gunning for you next and don’t think that they can’t win.

The Office: Showrunner Paul Lieberststein Signs Three-Year Deal with Universal Media Studios

Deadline is reporting that The Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein has signed a three-year deal with Universal Media Studios.  This is good news because although we still haven’t found a new branch manager of Dunder Mifflin, we should expect at least three more years of the series.  It also means that we’ll have three more seasons of our favorite Human Resources manager, Toby Flenderson, who if you didn’t already know is played by Lieberstein.  This is the first contract like this for Lieberstein and will have him developing new shows near the end of it.

NBC: …And Even More Scripted Drama Changes: Brittany Snow and Aml Ameen Leaving Harry’s Law

…And now for news about a show that sucks and we hate:

In what is not a surprise, THR has confirmed that Brittany Snow and Aml Ameen (two of the four main cast members) have left the David E. Kelley extension of Boston Legal, Harry’s Law, under what is described as “amicable” circumstances.

…producers looked at the stories and roles and decided they weren’t going to be expanded and instead opted to give the duo the opportunity to pursue other projects.

Yeah… mmm… OK…

What this means in Hollywood-speak is that in typical David E. Kelley fashion, the stale writing that existed on the show to begin with has gotten even worse, the well has run completely dry and they can’t develop their bland, cookie-cutter, clichéd characters beyond one season nor can they write them into storylines.  We understand how developing characters and writing good stories can be difficult when every show you create is used for nothing more than a soapbox for a political agenda.

For the record, look at Kelley’s previous shows. They have a history of doing this.  Do you know why? Because like Jerry Bruckheimer, he’s just not that good or creative of a producer and he generally has lazy and uninspired writers.  As noted, we hate this show anyway and we were shocked that it was renewed.  The funny part is that it appears that the only reason that it was renewed was in deference to Kelley over not picking up Wonder Woman.  In other words, they threw Kelley a bone.

A note to NBC and the other networks:  STOP throwing Kelley a bone.  He’s overrated and audiences have grown tired of him (and Bruckheimer is nipping right at his heels in that department as well).  Time to open the door for new blood and ditch these dinosaurs.