REVIEW: ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ (Seasons 1 – 5) (FX – Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.)

Sons posterSons of Anarchy is an adrenalized drama with darkly comedic undertones that explores a notorious outlaw motorcycle club’s (MC) desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, California remains exactly that, Charming. The MC must confront threats from drug dealers, corporate developers, and overzealous law officers. Behind the MC’s familial lifestyle and legally thriving automotive shop is a ruthless and illegally thriving arms business. The seduction of money, power, and blood. – FX

Score:     92 out of 100

Shawn: The problem with the way we normally do reviews is that we usually only go based on the first episode or first few episodes and make a decision based off of those early impressions.  This is the standard for the industry and usually it’s pretty spot-on but when it comes to epic, arcing drama, a lot of the subtleties of the big picture and overall story can be lost and under-appreciated when the episodes originally aired.  This is the case for Sons of Anarchy, FX’s drama revolving around the motorcycle club of the same name.  If I had watched the series from the beginning, I probably would have only given the first handful of episodes between a 65 – 70 and even if I had only seen the first season in its entirety before reviewing it, It would have gotten no higher than a 75 if I was being generous and only for the sake of the obvious potential the series had.

Over the course of the last two weeks, I have had the pleasure of watching the the first five seasons of SoA and it has dawned on me that the entire purpose of season one was purely for the sake of  character development and premise establishment for the seasons yet to come.  If you’re expecting a phenomenal storyline in season one, you’ll likely be disappointed, however, you’ll appreciate what creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter (The Shield) was thinking with season one about midway through season four.  Now that’s not to say that season one is bad as far as drama is concerned, but it was obviously just a prologue.

To say that approach during a freshman season was risky is an understatement but then again, if the characters are strong enough, they can carry average to slightly better-than-average plotlines, at least for a time.  It’s quite obvious to anyone who has ever appreciated Shakespeare that Sutter is very fond of Shakespearean archetypes. I picked up on it immediately which therefore immediately led me to the obvious Hamlet allusions.  Knowing that there’s a whole lot of Hamlet going on, I figured out by the second episode of the series what was only revealed to Jax (Charlie Hunnam) during the season four finale by his mother (Katy Sagal).  Now, I’m not suggesting that SoA is obvious by any stretch of the imagination, but if you appreciate classic drama, you’ll appreciate the clever use of these types of nods.

venusShakespeare himself also believed that in order to not have your audience have a heart attack from all the stress you’re throwing at them, every now and then you had to give them a break from the melodrama and thus, he made use of comic relief quite regularly.  SoA excels at comic relief right out of the gate so brilliantly that it puts most sitcoms to shame and yes, a lot of it is quite dark and you hate yourself for laughing so hard but you simply can’t help it. If you like the comic relief from Breaking Bad you’ll enjoy it even more with SoA because it’s one of the few areas that a drama on television actually one-ups the best series on television and part of the reason to that success is that it’s not just a matter of a sidebar joke, it’s a matter of integrating the scenes into the main plots and in the process humanizing the characters even more and causing you to be that much more attached to them…. which you really shouldn’t be.  As enjoyable as six seasons of The Sopranos were, the fact is that the protagonists were never particularly likable.  Relatable to an extent, sure, but not likable.  The Sopranos failed in doing what SoA has found great success in doing: creating strong anti-heroes.   The funniest scene by far of the entire series to date, happened during season five when Walton Goggins (The ShieldJustified) made a cameo appearance as Venus Van Dam, a transgender prostitute, in order to help the club blackmail a member of the city council.  I’m not saying any more than that but the picture to the right speaks volumes, I think and ironically, as an audience, you are rooting for the club’s blackmail and corruption to succeed.

Bringing us full circle to what I said about the first season, the character development on SoA is what really sets it apart from other series.  Even the recurring characters are so beautifully fleshed out and evolve so well that you forget that many of them have only been on a dozen episodes.  A perfect example of this is the character of Otto Delaney (Kurt Sutter, himself) who goes from being a club member due for parole within a few months to a vicious psychopath who winds up on death row, having been manipulated by both by federal law enforcement and his loyalty to his club which ultimately costs him everything. Otto transforms completely from being just a guy biding his time in prison to being a complete monster (both physically and personality-wise) being responsible for the two most horrific scenes in the entire series in the fifth season.  It’s refreshing to see a series be able to transform a relatively minor character into such a pivotal tragic hero.

Anyone will tell you that aside from the riveting story arcs, what really sets the show apart is the incredibly strong performances by all members of the main cast with special recognition needing to go to Katy Sagal (Gemma Teller), Ron Perlman (Clay Morrow), Hunnam, Maggie Siff (Tara Knowles) with an honorable mention needing to go Kim Coates (Alex ‘Tig’ Trager).  Although there’s no question the rest of the cast does a superb job bringing SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original, the original charter) and the fictional town of Charming, California to life, those five actors really chew the scenery with Emmy-worthy performances (not that the Emmy’s have anything to do with actual talent, but for the purposes of the discussion, we’ll pretend that they do).  While Katy Sagal’s performance is often critically praised, I have actually enjoyed Maggie Siff’s subtle transformation and portrayal of of Tara’s inner conflict the even more.

As far as compelling drama is concerned, as I noted, season one is kind of a preamble for what’s to come but season two is absolutely brilliant, culminating with a shocker of a finale cliffhanger that no one will see coming.  Although I disagree with most critics about the  lack of quality of season three, which actually had several episodes filmed in Northern Ireland, I do agree that it was hampered by the fact that the entire saga of the season revolved around the events from the cliffhanger from season two.  Season four, was pretty brilliant all the way around with the notable exception of the big twist that develops in the season finale.  It was cheap and contrived and made it seem like the writers didn’t know where to go to get the SAMCRO crew out of the mess that they were in.  Season five marks the apex of excellence for the series, thus far, that culminated with a phenomenal finale with twists and turns that would put 24 to shame.

Although, Kurt Sutter is committed to two more seasons of SoA, making it clear that the story will be wrapped up by the end of season seven, the season five finale was so well-done that it could have easily have been a series finale.  SoA has proven over the course of five seasons to be one of the best dramas on television and we highly recommend that you watch the first four seasons on Netflix and then beg borrow and steal to get your hands on season five… or just wait for it to come out on Netflix this summer.

 

OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: AMC Announces Resurrection Of ‘The Killing’ For Third Season

the killing banner

Yes, yes… we know we posted the news about the writers and production staff returning to work a few weeks ago but we didn’t have any official notice from AMC until today.  A couple of things to note, though: first, contrary to the reports from multiple sources, it doesn’t appear as if Netflix has anything to do with The Killing’s resurrection at all.  Then again, there may be a content deal that was worked out that made this possible that we aren’t privy to.  Second, in perhaps the only instance of a press release placating to butt-hurt viewers with an attention-span of a Labrador retriever, notice how the press release makes a point to mention right in the first paragraph that the third season will feature a new case that will be resolved by the end of the season… to which all we can say is:

ha-ha-nelson

Via Press Release:

AMC and FOX Television Studios Partner on “THE KILLING” Season Three

 

amc logoNew York, NY – January 15, 2013 – AMC and Fox Television Studios (FTVS) announced today a new deal which will return “The Killing” to AMC for a third season. As part of the deal, Veena Sud returns as executive producer, writer and showrunner along with actors Mireille Enos (Sarah Linden) and Joel Kinnaman (Stephen Holder). Season three will focus on a new case, which will be resolved over the course of 12 episodes. Production on season three begins February 25th in Vancouver.

“’The Killing’ from day one has been a truly original take on the crime drama. Veena Sud and the rest of the talented creative team are hard at work shaping the lives of Linden and Holder, portrayed by the terrific Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “We’re so pleased to welcome back ‘The Killing’ for another season.”

Fox TV Studios President, David Madden, said, “We have always believed in ‘The Killing’ and remain extremely proud of it, which is why we all worked so hard to find a scenario that could give it new life.”

“I couldn’t be happier to know that I will be returning to work with AMC, FTVS and Mireille and Joel on what is and has always been a passion project for me. To the fans that have supported the series, thank you for doing so. My team and I will work hard to deliver the best story that we can for season three,” said Veena Sud.

A year after closing the Rosie Larsen case, Sarah Linden is no longer a detective. But when her ex-partner Stephen Holder’s search for a runaway girl leads him to discover a gruesome string of murders that connects to a previous murder investigation by Linden, she is drawn back into the life she thought she’d left behind.

“The Killing” is produced by Fox Television Studios and executive produced by Mikkel Bondesen for Bondesen Productions. Kristen Campo serves as co-executive producer.

The series premiered on AMC Sunday, April 3, 2011, with season two premiering Sunday, April 1, 2012. The Killing averaged 1.9 million viewers over the 2 seasons.

AMC’s Joel Stillerman, executive vice president of original programming, production and digital content, Susie Fitzgerald, senior vice president of scripted development and current programming and Jason Fisher, senior vice president of production oversee production of the series for the network.

For more information, visit AMC’s press website, http://press.amctv.com.

* * *

About AMC
AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories. AMC’s original stories include “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” “The Killing” and “Hell on Wheels.” AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with its slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters HereSM

About FTVS
Fox Television Studios produces scripted and unscripted programming for US broadcast and cable networks, and international broadcasters. The studio produces the hit series Burn Noticeand White Collar, as well as the upcoming series Graceland, for USA; The Glades for A&E; the new series The Americans for FX; The Killing for AMC, and the upcoming Maron for IFC.

# # #

SyFy: Premiere Date Confirmed For ‘Defiance’

Via Press Release:

NBC Universal Logos

“DEFIANCE” TO PREMIERE MONDAY, APRIL 15 @ 9 PM ON SYFY

Revolutionary Transmedia Event Marks First-Ever Convergence of Television and Online Gaming

NEW YORK – January 7, 2012 – Syfy’s highly-anticipated Defiance will have its series premiere Monday, April 15 @ 9pm with a two-hour episode (culminating in a total of 12 episodes/13 hours). Defiance, an unprecedented approach to storytelling, will unite scripted television and online gaming for the very first time. Both the series and The Game feature an interconnected world and storylines that will launch in early April with the release of The Game and continue seamlessly with the series premiere on the 15th.

Defiance stars Grant Bowler (Nolan), Julie Benz (Amanda Rosewater), Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa), Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jaime Murray (Stahma Tarr), Graham Greene (Rafe McCawley) and Mia Kirshner (Kenya).

About Defiance

Set in the near future, Defiance introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races. In this somewhat unknown and unpredictable landscape, the richly diverse, newly-formed civilization of humans and aliens must learn to co-exist peacefully. Each week, viewers will follow an immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance, which sits atop the ruins of St. Louis, MO, while in The Game, players will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of The Game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.

The series, produced by Universal Cable Productions, is executive produced by Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives, Caprica; Hellcats) & Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica). Kevin Murphy serves as showrunner. Scott Stewart (Legion, Priest) directed the pilot; Michael Nankin will serve as supervising producer/director on the series. The Game was named “Best MMORPG” from GameSpy at the recent E3 conference in June 2012 (among other accolades).

About Syfy

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

About Universal Cable Productions

Universal Cable Productions creates innovative and critically acclaimed original scripted and digital content across multiple media platforms and outlets for domestic and international distribution. UCP produces “Covert Affairs,” “Fairly Legal,” “Psych,” “Royal Pains” and “Suits” for USA; “Alphas,” “Defiance” and “Warehouse 13” for Syfy. Universal Cable Productions is a division of NBCUniversal.

About Trion Worlds

Trion Worlds is the leading publisher and developer of premium games for the connected era. Powered by a breakthrough development and publishing platform, Trion is revolutionizing the way games are developed, played and sold. Trion’s world-class team delivers high-quality, dynamic and massively social games operated as live services across the biggest game genres and devices; including the critically acclaimed blockbuster, Rift(TM) and the highly-anticipated End of Nations(TM) and Defiance(TM). Trion is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., with offices in San Diego, Calif., Austin, Texas, and at Trion Worlds Europe in London, UK.

SyFy: ‘Alphas’ Canceled After Two Seasons

alphas

SyFy has reported via a statement to THR that their original series, Alphas, which focused on a team of individuals with super powers, will not be getting a third season.  As much as we love Alphas it’s really not much of a surprise considering that the network has 13 scripted shows currently in development. Unfortunately  they have to make room on the schedule somewhere and the lowest rated and most expensive (relative to the ratings, i.e., least profitable) scripted show is the one that has to go.  Ironically, this wouldn’t have been an issue two or three years ago when SyFy had nothing on the horizon.  That being said, though, the drop in viewership was dramatic with a season one premiere of 2.5 million to a season two finale of 1 million.

Via a Statement to THR:

“We’ve been proud to present this entertaining, high-quality series for two seasons and to work with an incredible ensemble of talented actors, producers and creatives as well as our partners at BermanBraun Television. We’d like to thank the show’s dedicated regular viewers for their tremendous support.”

FOX: Saturday’s Late Night ‘Animation Domination High-Def’ To Premiere In July

FOX’s answer to Adult Swim? Yep… and they are intentionally going with that name so they can use the acronym “ADHD.”  Stay classy, FOX.  Now, we’re not suggesting that this doesn’t look like fun but… c’mon, now.  ADHD… really?

Via Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013

“ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF,”

FOX’S NEW ALTERNATIVE ANIMATED PROGRAMMING BLOCK,

TO PREMIERE SATURDAY, JULY 27

 

New Series Include AXE COP and HIGH SCHOOL USA!

 

Vincent Kartheiser, Mandy Moore, Ken Marino, Peter Serafinowicz, Megan Mullally,

Patton Oswalt and Britta Phillips Among Featured Voice Talent

ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF, FOX’s new alternative animated programming block, will premiere on air Saturday, July 27 (11:00 PM-12:30 AM ET/PT) on FOX. As part of the network’s overall Animation Domination High-Def initiative, the late-night block will serve as the on-air component of FOX’s digital, multi-platform animation network.

In its debut season, ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF will feature a number of new quarter-hour animated series, including AXE COP, based on the hit graphic novel; HIGH SCHOOL USA!, created by Dino Stamatopoulos (“Community”); and the UNTITLED LUCAS BROTHERS PROJECT, from identical twin comedians Kenny and Keith Lucas (aka The Lucas Brothers). The network initially has ordered six quarter hours each of AXE COP, HIGH SCHOOL USA! and the UNTITLED LUCAS BROTHERS PROJECT. Additional scheduling and programming information to be announced.

Series descriptions are as follows: 

AXE COP

From the unfettered imagination of a five-year-old boy comes AXE COP, an action-comedy about the most badass superhero who ever existed! Operating on only two minutes of sleep a night and fueled by a diet consisting solely of birthday cake, AXE COP and his loyal partner, FLUTE COP, unleash their unique brand of vigilante justice on bad guys everywhere – including stopping Hitler from creating an army of evil zombie robots and helping BAT WARTHOG MAN find the villain who stole all his best friends! AXE COP is the unique comic phenomenon created and written by Malachai Nicolle (age five) and his brother, Ethan Nicolle (age 30). What started as a small passion project between two brothers quickly evolved into an online sensation and was later published as a graphic novel by Dark Horse Books. AXE COP was developed for television by Nick Weidenfeld and Judah Miller (AMERICAN DAD). Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser (“Drawn Together”) serve as executive producers/showrunners. The series ensemble cast includes Megan Mullally (“Children’s Hospital,” “Will & Grace”), Patton Oswalt (“Young Adult,” “Ratatouille”), Ken Marino (“Children’s Hospital,” “Party Down”), Peter Serafinowicz (“Shaun of the Dead”) and weekly guest stars such as Giancarlo Esposito (“Revolution”); rapper Tyler, The Creator; Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”); Rob Huebel (“Despicable Me”); and Dan Harmon (“Community”). 

HIGH SCHOOL USA!

Join the super-positive, millennial students of HIGH SCHOOL USA!, as they confront all the unique challenges of growing up in a modern world. Led by the painfully naïve and always upbeat MARSH MERRIWETHER, there is nothing these kids can’t put a positive spin on, from cyber-bullying to Adderall-addiction to embarrassing sexting incidents. HIGH SCHOOL USA! is created and written by Dino Stamatopoulos (“Community,” “Mr. Show,” “TV Funhouse” and “Moral Orel”), and features an all-star cast including Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”) and Mandy Moore (“Tangled”). 

UNTITLED LUCAS BROTHERS PROJECT

The stand-up comedy of New York-based identical twins Kenny and Keith Lucas (The Lucas Brothers) gets animated. After their uncle dies and leaves them his old van, the twins start a moving company called Va¢ation Boy$. Their customers are often apprehensive to hire such a scrawny duo, but the brothers like to remind them that that’s why God made two of them. A day that begins simply by moving a bed down the street may lead to the threat of city-wide catastrophe, resolved only with the help of a once-famous ’90s wrestler. No matter what happens around them, KENNY and KEITH always remain totally, bizarrely unfazed.

Raised in North Carolina, the Lucas brothers perform comedy all over the country and were selected as members of the New Faces of Comedy at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Building on its more than 20 years of animation domination, Fox Broadcasting Company created the Animation Domination High-Def unit to oversee the development and production of alternative animated series, shorts and user-adapted material for its brand-new late-prime animated programming block and new digital multi-platform network. The digital channel will extend across platforms such as Web, mobile apps, game consoles and Video on Demand. It will feature 50 original short-form pieces per year, online windows of FOX animated shows, and user-adapted content. It will create a unique opportunity for fans and up-and-coming talent to engage with professional FOX-curated content, which the network could possibly platform into full-fledged series. FOX will also use its expertise and cross-promotional power to nurture these new assets through this pipeline.

Led by former Adult Swim executive Nick Weidenfeld, the unit develops and produces original animated shorts and series, building a clear bridge for talent to develop and grow ideas in the digital arena and organically move them into the mainstream. The network has also tapped producer Hend Baghdady (“Community,” “The Andy Milonakis Show,” “Crank Yankers”) as the executive in charge of production for the new division.  Under their leadership, the unit will develop and produce an ambitious slate of original animated shorts and series to run both on-air and online.  

-FOX-

RESURRECTION: ‘One Life To Live’ And ‘All My Children’ Returning Soon… ONLINE!

one life

All hail the power of digital media distribution!  Not for nothing, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention because production company Prospect Park picked up the licensing for both One Life to Live and All My Children back in July of 2011, right before they were to end their run on ABC.  I’m going to post the ABC Press Release from July 7, 2011 first and then the latest one from Prospect Park after because the initial one has more details on exactly how this is going to play out.  Even though I don’t care one way or another about daytime dramas, there are two reasons that this story appeals to me: first because of the nostalgia (AMC was Mom’s favorite show) and second, because of the fact that yet two more shows are finding life in the digital realm, basically telling the old, dinosaur model of commercial television revenue generation what to go do with itself.  Kudos to Prospect Park, and congratulations to the legions of OLTL and AMC fans! You got your shows back!

Via Press Release:

Thursday, July 07, 2011

ABC Television Network

PRESS RELEASE – PRESS RELEASE – ENTERTAINMENT –

ABC Licenses All My Children and One Life to Live to Prospect Park

ABC LICENSES ITS ICONIC SOAPS “ALL MY CHILDREN” AND “ONE LIFE TO LIVE

TO PROSPECT PARK

EXCLUSIVE MULTI-YEAR, MULTI-PLATFORM DEAL ALLOW THE SOAPS’ STORIES TO CONTINUE BEYOND THEIR FINAL AIRDATES ON ABC

Abc-logo2BURBANK, CA – July 7, 2011 – ABC has licensed its iconic soaps, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to Prospect Park, it was announced today by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group & Janice Marinelli, President, Disney/ABC Domestic Television and Rich Frank & Jeff Kwatinetz of Prospect Park. The exclusive multi-year, multi-platform deal enables the soaps’ stories to continue beyond their finale dates on ABC. ABC will broadcast its final episode of “All My Children” on Friday, September 23rd and will air the final episode of “One Life to Live” in January, 2012.

The licensing agreement, brokered by Disney/ABC Domestic Television Group, enables Prospect Park to continue production of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” beyond their life on ABC. Prospect Park will produce and deliver the two long-running programs to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, the programs will continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length. Additional details of the new productions and tune-in will be forthcoming from Prospect Park.

“We are privileged to continue the legacy of two of the greatest programs to air on daytime television, and are committed to delivering the storylines, characters and quality that audiences have come to love for over 40 years. ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are television icons, and we are looking forward to providing anytime, anywhere viewing to their loyal community of millions,” said Frank and Kwatinetz. “Technology changes the way the public can and will view television shows. Now that there are so many devices available in addition to television sets, viewers are taking advantage of watching shows wherever they are and on any number of devices. The driving force in making the switch and attracting new audiences is to have outstanding programs that people want to watch. We believe that by continuing to produce the shows in their current hour format and with the same quality, viewers will follow the show to our new, online network.”

“‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are iconic pieces of television history that captivated millions of fans since their beginning over 40 years ago,” said Frons. “Each of the shows have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history and informed our consciousness in their own way. We are so glad Prospect Park has assumed the mantel for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.”

Marinelli continued, “From the time the shift in the daytime strategy was announced, our hope was to find a new home for these treasured shows. We are thrilled to license them to Prospect Park so the stories of life in Pine Valley and Llanview can continue to be told for the passionate and loyal fans that enjoy watching each day.”

“I’m just so happy that ABC found a home where the legacies of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ can continue. I’m excited for their future with Prospect Park,” added Agnes Nixon, creator of both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” “It takes a lot of living to make a soap opera a serial, and the wonderful teams on both shows have done just that. Together, we are a big family that keeps going, and I’m looking forward to working alongside these wonderful people as we ensure that the shows will continue with all the love and excitement we’ve always had. I also am so happy for our loyal fans, whom we love so much, and who have been so supportive over the last 40 plus years.”

Prospect Park is a media and production company founded in 2009 by entertainment industry veterans Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank. Along with successful film and music divisions, the company’s television group has numerous shows in development and breakout network hits airing, including “Royal Pains” and “Wilfred.”

In April, ABC announced that it was expanding the focus of its daytime lineup to include more programming that is informative and authentic and centers on transformation, food and lifestyle. “The Chew,” an innovative and groundbreaking daily talk show that celebrates and explores life through food, will premiere on September 26th. “The Revolution,” a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations, will replace “One Life to Live” in January 2012.

“All My Children” has revolved around the lives of the residents of fictional Pine Valley, a town which closely resembles the Philadelphia Main Line. “All My Children” took home the 1998 Emmy-award for Outstanding Drama Series, the third time the show received this top honor, having also garnered the award in 1994 and 1992. “All My Children” has received more than 30 Emmy Awards and consistently distinguishes itself in the field of daytime drama. The show has historically been committed to and is often the first to tackle social issues, focusing on such topics as AIDS, abortion, cochlear implants, teenage alcoholism, racial bias, acquaintance rape, spousal abuse, homosexuality, Reyes syndrome, Vietnam MIAs, drug abuse, the risks of motherhood over 40, safe sex, pet therapy and organ donations, among others. The show made television history airing daytime television’s first same-sex kiss between two lesbian characters as well as daytime television’s first same sex wedding between two women. The show was the first to chronicle the coming out story of a transgender woman and to cast a real life Iraq war vet whose story reflected his real life experiences and injuries incurred in combat.

“All My Children” premiered on the ABC Television Network on January 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; seven years later it expanded to an hour. Julie Hanan Carruthers is executive producer.

Also created by Agnes Nixon, the Emmy Award-Winning “One Live to Live” is set in the fictional town of Llanview, which is modeled on a Philadelphia suburb. “One Life to Live” debuted on The ABC Television Network July 15, 1968 as a half hour show. Ten years later, it grew to a full hour in 1978.

“One Life to Live” has been lauded for its groundbreaking exploration of social issues, diverse canvas, award-winning performances and innovative storylines. Along with the history-making week of live shows in May 2002, “One Life to Live” is responsible for many “firsts” in Daytime television, including stories of interracial romance, illiteracy, medical misdiagnosis, racial prejudice, gang violence and teen pregnancy. The show received mass critical acclaim for its 1992 homophobia storyline, which captured national headlines when it introduced the character of a gay teen (played by then unknown Ryan Phillippe) and culminated with the emotional display of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. “One Life to Live” was honored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) with the Outstanding Daytime Drama Award in 1993, and again in 2005 and 2010.

In 2002, the show won its first-ever Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and was nominated again in 2007 and 2008. Created by Agnes Nixon, “One Life to Live” debuted on July 15, 1968 and marked its 10,000th episode on August 17, 2007. Frank Valentini executive-produces.

Ken Ziffren of Ziffren Brittenham advised Prospect Park on the deal and the company is represented by Skip Paul at Centerview Partners LLC.

Via Press Release:

prospect parkJanuary 7, 2013 – We are pleased to confirm that Prospect Park is reviving the beloved soap operas, All My Children and One Life To Live as the anchor programs on The Online Network (TOLN). Today we are also pleased to confirm that Prospect Park has: 1) signed guild agreements with both SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America); 2) entered into a consulting agreement with Agnes Nixon the creator of All My Children and One Life To Live guaranteeing her active involvement; 3) hired Foz McDermott (coordinating producer Heroes) as TOLN’s head of production, Jennifer Pepperman (Director, One Life To Live) as Executive Producer on One Life to Live, and Ginger Smith (Producer, All My Children) as Executive Producer on All My Children; and 4) arranged the necessary financing to begin production in February on both All My Children and One Life To Live.

We thank the loyal audience and new generation of fans of both shows who have demonstrated that passion and exciting story lines are not just reserved for traditional television. Their enduring support encouraged us to move forward each and every day. We look forward to sharing more details including our launch air date and additional specifics in the coming weeks.

FOX: ‘Bones’ Renewed For Ninth Season

bones1

Via Press Release:

HOT FROM FOX…

 

FOX DIGS UP NEW SEASON OF “BONES” 

Veteran Procedural Renewed for Ninth Season on FOX

FOX has renewed the hit series BONES for its upcoming ninth season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“After more than 150 episodes, BONES continues to be one of television’s most dynamic and consistent dramas,” said Reilly. “We at FOX, along with millions of zealous fans, look forward to seeing where the incredible creative team takes the series next season.”

BONES returns with all-new episodes, beginning with a special two-hour Winter Premiere Monday, Jan. 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. In the episode, “The Diamond in the Rough/The Archeologist in the Cocoon,” the Jeffersonian team investigates the death of a professional ballroom dancer who was murdered three days before her audition on a popular dancing competition show. In order to solve the case, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) go undercover as dance competitors to see if they can find potential suspects. Then, the team investigates the murder of a well-known archeologist with a questionable reputation, who came upon a career-defining discovery right before his death.

BONES is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.

BONES is from Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson, Stephen Nathan, Ian Toynton, Barry Josephson and Jonathan Collier are executive producers.

“Like” BONES on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bones. Follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BonesonFox and join the conversation at #bones.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For photos and more information on BONES please visithttp://www.foxflash.com/div.php/main/page?aID=1z2z2z43.]

-FOX-

USA: ‘Necessary Roughness’ Renewed For Third Season

tv-necessary-roughness

Via Press Release:

USA NETWORK SIGNALS FULL SLATE PICKUP OF SUMMER ORIGINAL SERIES WITH “Necessary Roughness” SEASON THREE ORDER

Golden Globe(R) Nominated Original Drama Starring Callie Thorne To Film 10 Episodes in 2013

 

NEW YORK, NY – January 7, 2013 – USA Network ordered a third season of its Golden Globe(R) nominated original drama series Necessary Roughness. The 10-episode pickup completes the renewal of the network’s full summer slate of original drama series, joining previous new season orders for SUITS, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar and Covert Affairs. The announcement is from USA Network Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.

Necessary Roughness, paired with Royal Pains, averaged 5.3M viewers as the Wednesday night block this summer. The season two premiere of Necessary Roughness nabbed 4.6 million total viewers.

“NECESSARY ROUGHNESS is an important page in our network playbook,” said Wachtel and McCumber. “With a standout team of actors and writers playing at the top of their game, the upcoming seasons promise to deliver high-impact and creative storytelling.”

NECESSARY ROUGHNESS features Golden Globe(R) nominee Callie Thorne as she reprises her acclaimed role as Dr. Dani Santino, a Long Island psychotherapist and single mother who’s plucked out of relative obscurity to become the sports-psychologist for the New York Hawks. Season two returns on January 23, 2013 at 10/9c with five powerful episodes leading to a dramatic finale. After running the risk of losing her entire practice, Dani attempts to pick up the pieces of her complicated life. Meanwhile, Hawks star player and ultimate bad boy TK (Mehcad Brooks) struggles with his sobriety but will stop at nothing to maintain his number-one position as wide receiver. And with the franchise’s ownership in the balance, the team is challenged when a secret threatens to bring down the Hawks’ entire season.

Season two of the series stars Callie Thorne, Marc Blucas, Scott Cohen, Hannah Marks, Patrick Johnson and Mehcad Brooks. Upcoming guest appearances include sports franchise owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, Will Chase (“Smash”), Peter MacNichol (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Robbie Jones (“Hellcats”), Jeff Nordling (“Body Of Proof”) and Neil Hopkins (“Lost”.)

NECESSARY ROUGHNESS is created and executive produced by Liz Kruger & Craig Shapiro (“Miami Medical,” “The Challenge”). Jeffrey Lieber (“Lost,” “Miami Medical”) and Kevin Dowling (“Sons of Tucson”) also serve as executive producers. Inspired by a true story, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS is a Sony Pictures Television and Universal Cable Productions co-production.

Sony Pictures Television (http://www.sonypicturestelevision.com), a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, around the world and for a multitude of platforms. In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) boasts a current program slate that includes top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT has 18 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies in 15 countries outside the U.S. and also maintains offices in 32 countries. SPT’s worldwide television networks portfolio includes 124 channel feeds available in 159 countries, reaching more than 800 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns production company Embassy Row and is a part owner of cable channel Game Show Network (GSN), 3D channel 3net, premier horror/thriller website and VOD service FEARnet and national U.S media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premier national advertising sales companies and handles the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in U.S. digital businesses including FEARnet, DrOz.com and PlayStation.

The #1 network in all of basic cable for six consecutive years and an unprecedented seven straight summers, USA Network is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes. USA is a leader in scripted programming with a powerful stable of originals, spectacular live television and is home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, a broad portfolio of acquired series and entertainment events. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.

Warner Signs Exclusive Deal With Netflix. Eight Series Coming Soon, More On The Horizon

RevolutionOften we get asked what the difference between Netflix and Amazon Prime’s Instant Video is and that difference was exemplified today as it has been announced that Warner Bros. has signed an exclusive deal to bring eight series to Netflix’s popular streaming service. The series include RevolutionFringeLongmireChuckThe West Wing, Political Animals666 Park Avenue and The Following, which premieres later this month on FOX.  Warner Bros. also indicated that the door was open to bring more series to the service and that they would still  retain all traditional syndication rights as well as the rights to sell more recently aired individual episodes for viewers to catch up on (scroll down for full press release).

fringeWhy is this such a big deal and why does it give Netflix the advantage over other streaming services?  First, because of the exclusive nature of the contract.  Generally speaking, streaming content such as series and films has been provided on a non-exclusive basis for these services.  Amazon Prime’s Instant Video, though not horrible, has never had the amount of content available that Netflix has had, but the door was open for them to be able to negotiate for the same content because of the non-exclusive nature that these content deals have traditionally been known for.  All bets are off with this deal.  These are eight series that Amazon will not have the opportunity to offer on its service (for free, anyway… we would imagine that Amazon will still be able to sell these videos as a third-party) and it looks like they won’t be the last.  Hypothetically, this deal could expand to Warner’s entire catalog (save two series, which we’ll get to) which would be devastating for the Amazon service as far as remaining competitive is concerned.  Making matters worse, Warner Bros. is just the first to go exclusive with Netflix on such a large scale.

Bluray-vs-hddvdThink this sounds familiar?  Well you’re right, it does.  This whole situation is eerily reminiscent of the final nail in the coffin of the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray format war that coincidentally happened five years ago (almost to the day) on January 8, 2008 when Warner surprisingly announced during CES that they were abandoning all support for the HD DVD format and going exclusively with Blu-ray (they had supported both formats prior tot he announcement).  Once Warner made the announcement, the remaining supporters of the format immediately followed suit and the format was officially dead.  Warner has a history of hedging their bets while at the same time being the standard bearer for how the industry will move forward… which is exactly what they’ve done here, as well.

falling-skies posterFor those of you who weren’t paying attention (why should you… you have us, no?), Warner signed another exclusive deal last month WITH Amazon… but for only two shows, The Closer and Falling Skies with no mention of future content being on the service with the same exclusivity.  So, why would Warner do this just three weeks before signing this major exclusive deal with Netflix?  Again, they are hedging their bets, just like they did with HD DVD and Blu-ray and what likely happened is that the Amazon deal made Netflix stand up and take notice and get serious about dealing with Warner, which is precisely what Warner wanted.

amazoninstantFrom Warner’s perspective, they can’t lose.  Amazon paid them a decent chunk of change for an exclusive deal for two series (which will no doubt translate to sales of current episodes with Amazon’s streamlined ability to purchase current episodes of their instant video television offerings) and now that they got Netflix’s attention, they got the big deal that they really wanted.

Now, this Netflix exclusive deal is risky and it’s something that other studios have been hesitant to do but now that Warner has done it, it opens the  floodgates for other studios to do the same which would be absolutely disastrous for the Amazon service.  Again, considering the format wars from five years ago, does this sound familiar?  If the other studios follow suit, it would seem highly unlikely that Amazon Prime’s Instant Video service would be able to continue to survive which would make Netflix the only viable game in town.  Just think of Amazon Prime’s Instant Video as the HD DVD of 2013 and if the Amazon service were to collapse, Warner could just port that exclusive content deal for The Closer and Falling Skies over to Netflix.

We’ve noted in the past how we think that this new era of revenue generation for content is a positive for the television industry and the consumer for for multiple reasons, especially with subscription video on demand services (SVOD) and other digital formats.  The studios and networks are apparently finally starting to figure this out.

From the Netflix press release:

“This unprecedented agreement brings to Netflix members earlier and more exclusively than ever before complete previous seasons of some of the most prominent and successful shows on network and cable television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.  “Through deals like this, Netflix is making the production economics right for the continued creation of the kind of compelling serialized dramas and thrillers that our members love.”

“SVOD has become an important window for our serialized dramas, allowing viewers a chance to discover a series that before might have been intimidating to tune into mid-run,” said Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We continue to adapt our business models to include SVOD when it makes sense for the long-term value of each show and are thrilled to have Netflix as one of our distribution partners.”

arrested developmentThis is precisely why we support content deals on SVOD service providers.  It gives consumers the opportunity to catch up on shows they may have not seen before that they wanted to but didn’t want to buy whole seasons of (or rent them a disc at a time) and it benefits the studios and networks by creating new viewers of shows that are currently in production. Since it’s basically free money, it allows the studios more freedom to produce more and better shows that may not have had a chance under the old network commercial advertising-exclusive model and by the same token it can make a series viable that might otherwise have been canceled. It can also be responsible for bringing fan-favorite series back from the dead (see: Arrested Development and The Killing).

The issue that gives us pause, however, is with the exclusive nature of these deals.  Just using common sense, it should be assumed that an exclusive content deal is going to cost a provider considerably more than a non-exclusive deal.  If those increased costs for content don’t translate to increased subscriptions, the consumer will be left holding the bag with higher subscription rates.  Taking this a step further, if as suggested, the floodgates were to open and the other studios are lining up to sign exclusive content agreements with Netflix, that would serve to cripple Amazon and any other provider of SVOD services, again making Netflix the only game in town and that’s NOT good for the consumer.

the-cable-guy-Monopolies in any industry are not a positive thing but they would be particularly bad in this case.  You know how pissed off you are about your cable bill every month? Well, just imagine how obnoxious that bill would be if the cable providers had exclusive content deals with the studios and the networks and there was no competition from DirecTV or Dish Network (and no, you f*ckers at Dish… the fact that we’re mentioning you is not an invitation to SPAM this blog like you like to do).  That’s what would happen if Netflix was the only SVOD provider.  Netflix would be free to jack up their rates as high as they wanted, unhindered by the restraints of a competitive marketplace.

So, what seems like a relatively innocuous news story regarding Netflix content could have huge ramifications for the television industry and for the SVOD industry.  The question that’s up in the air is how will these events unfold and what will it mean to consumers, ultimately?

Via Press Release:

Netflix and Warner Bros. Television Group Sign a 2012-13 Network Slate Deal for Hit Serialized Dramas From Warner Bros. Television

Netflix Will be the Exclusive Online Home of Complete Prior Seasons of Shows from 2012-13 Season Including Revolution (NBC), The Following (Fox), Longmire (A&E), Political Animals (USA) and 666 Park Avenue (ABC)

Agreement Also Includes Hit Serialized Dramas “Chuck,” “Fringe” and “The West Wing”

Jan 7, 2013

NETFLIX, INC. LOGOBURBANK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Warner Bros. Television Group today announced a licensing agreement allowing U.S. Netflix members to enjoy complete previous seasons of addictive serialized dramas produced by Warner Bros. for top broadcast and cable networks.

Among the shows coming to Netflix next year will be “Revolution,” a drama for NBC from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions set in a post-apocalyptic America which ranks as the #1 new series of the 2012–13 television season; “Political Animals,” the USA Network miniseries with Sigourney Weaver in a Golden Globe– and Screen Actors Guild Award–nominated role as a former First Lady serving as Secretary of State; “Longmire,” A&E’s top-rated Western mystery series based on the novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson; and “666 Park Avenue,” the ABC supernatural thriller starring Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams.

Also coming to Netflix will be the highly anticipated drama “The Following,” starring Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer played by James Purefoy and which premieres January 21 on FOX, as well as hit serialized Warner Bros. Television series “Chuck,” “Fringe” and “The West Wing.”

“This unprecedented agreement brings to Netflix members earlier and more exclusively than ever before complete previous seasons of some of the most prominent and successful shows on network and cable television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.  “Through deals like this, Netflix is making the production economics right for the continued creation of the kind of compelling serialized dramas and thrillers that our members love.”

“SVOD has become an important window for our serialized dramas, allowing viewers a chance to discover a series that before might have been intimidating to tune into mid-run,” said Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We continue to adapt our business models to include SVOD when it makes sense for the long-term value of each show and are thrilled to have Netflix as one of our distribution partners.”

The agreement covers a current slate of eight Warner Bros. shows as well as potential future shows. Under the agreement, the shows can also be made available via traditional syndication windows, electronic sell-through services and on a catch-up basis for recently aired episodes.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 30 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is pioneering Internet television at www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.

About Warner Bros. Television Group

The Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) oversees and grows the entire portfolio of Warner Bros.’ television businesses, including worldwide production, traditional and digital distribution, and broadcasting. WBTVG is rapidly developing new business models for the evolving television landscape, including subscription-video-on-demand, broadband, wireless and home video exploitation of its vast library. WBTVG is the industry’s top supplier of series, supplying an industry-leading 25 series (including one co-production) to the five broadcast networks for the 2012–13 season, with 23 from Warner Bros. Television, two from Warner Horizon Television and at least two series on each of the five broadcast networks. This marks the 21st time in the last 26 years that WBTVG has been the number one supplier of series to broadcasters, and the Studio is the only supplier to have at least one show on each of the five broadcast networks as well as a new series on each of the networks. The Group is also producing nearly a dozen scripted series for cable and pay television networks and nine alternative series for broadcast and cable, while Telepictures Productions is producing seven first-run strips and Warner Bros. Animation has eight animated series. All in all, the Group delivers nearly 60 series to the marketplace.

SOURCE Netflix Inc.

GEEK ALERT! Straight Outta Vic’s Movie Den, New Hi-Res Pics From ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ & J.J. Abrams Grants Dying Trek Fan A Final Wish

EDITOR’S NOTE: Live, from New York… IT’S VIC’S MOVIE DEN!

ShawnShawn: Most of our readers know that Vic De Leon is a regular contributor to The ‘Tastic but what most people don’t know is that he occasionally scoops even me… as he has done with these pics below. As blasphemous and shameful as it is for me to admit, I got scooped on Trek. So, yes, below is a straight-up jack of my colleague’s piece.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to make a mention of a very touching story in regards to Star Trek: Into Darkness that has been making its rounds over the past couple of days. About six weeks ago, devoted Star Trek fan, Daniel Craft was diagnosed with terminal cancer and found out that he had only weeks to live.  Wanting to make his last days as happy and comfortable as possible, his friend Doug posted a plea from his wife, Paige, on Reddit 11 days ago to just make it possible for Daniel see the first ten minutes of the film that was shown at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey because, for some reason, the theater they went to didn’t show it.

Well, the impassioned plea went viral and made its way to J.J. Abrams and he and Damon Lindelhof got in touch with them and had a producer personally hand-deliver them a DVD of a rough cut of the feature film that premieres in May.  After, resting for a day to have the strength to watch the film, Paige made popcorn and she and Daniel watched the film and had a blast.  After the film was over, Daniel went to bed and didn’t get up again.  Friday morning, Paige took Daniel to the hospital for hospice care and with his wife and his brother at his side, he passed away at 10:15 p.m.  You can read more about this wonderful story and the amazing, albeit, sadly short life of Daniel Craft in this piece from THR.

We at The ‘Tastic want to commend Mr. Abrams, Mr. Lindelhof and all of those involved who made this act of kindness and generosity possible.  Now, without further adieu…

NERD ALERT!

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Here are some new Hi Res Pics from the upcoming Paramount / J.J. Abrams motion picture – Star Trek – Into Darkness the direct sequel to the 2009 reboot also directed by Abrams.

In the following epic pictures we see more of Spock, Uhura, Scotty and Kirk along with a cool shot of Bruce Greenwood (Captain Chrsitopher Pike) and Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk) engaged in conversation. But the bad ass of the lot is hands down Benedict Cumberbatch as “John Harrison” He just looks totally hardcore.

The film will be released may 17th, 2013. Enjoy!

“After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.”

Click on the pics in the Gallery below for full size. Thanks for stopping in!

– Vic