The CW Network’s hit teen angst drama Gossip Girl ,which centers on the lives of privileged prep school teens on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is heating up for it’s second season premiere on Monday September 1st at 8PM EST.
While fans of the show are waiting for the premiere, the CW Network is giving them a sneak peek at what’s to come as Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) and Dan Humpries (Penn Badgley) all step into the heat of the season two premiere Summer Kind of Wonderful.
When Monk returns this evening [USA, 9/8C], the emphasis is not on the mystery – which would normally not be worthy of Adrian Monk’s [Tony Shalhoub] attention – rather, the main subject is dealing with the loss of a friend. On the show, Monk’s therapist, Dr. Charles Kroger [Stanley Kamel] has passed away because of a heart attack.
When Monk buys a house to get away from a neighbor child who plays Chopin incessantly, a potential new therapist, Dr. Neven Bell [Hector Elizondo] suggests that it might be because he misses his late friend – who also loved Chopin – a suggestion that has Monk suggesting he needs a different therapist.
While shopping for a shower head – with one hundred holes, no less – a handyman named Jake [Brad Garrett] suggests he could drill a couple extra holes in it for home. In no time, Jake is finding flaws in the house and Monk looks like he’s fallen into a money pit. Then something happens to tie in the “renovations” to the death of the house’s previous owner.
By playing against the model puzzle mystery of the usual Monk episode, Mr. Monk Buys a House proves to be one of the better season premieres for the long-running cult hit. More than usual, the ep deals with that side of Monk’s character we’ve usually only gotten to see in his relationship with Natalie [Traylor Howard] – that part of Monk that is capable of great friendship. Because of the sincerity of the ep – and the final scene, which ties into a dedication to Mr. Kamel – an ep that could have come off as soppy, is, instead, genuinely poignant [something you don’t get everyday in series TV].
Garrett and Elizondo are both very good, but the ep belongs to Tony Shalhoub, who makes the OCD Monk even more vulnerable than we’ve seen him in the past – and that’s a pretty difficult feat! Monk has been up and down in quality over the last few seasons, but as Mr. Monk Buys a House illustrates, when it’s on, it’s still capable of a quiet brilliance.
When the third season premiere of Psych [USA, Fridays, 10/9C] airs this evening, pseudo-psychic Shawn Spencer [James Roday] is going to be thrown for a loop in ways he never anticipated. First, off, his best and partner in the Psych detective agency, Gus [Dule´ Hill] is basically given the choice of staying with the agency and losing his highly remunerative day job, or keeping his day job and quitting Psych. Second, his mother, Madeline [Cybill Shepherd] is in town – and his father [Corbin Bernsen] knew she was coming. To further complicate matters, the CEO [Christopher McDonald] of the company where Gus works has a haunting problem – the kind of case that only Shawn and Gus can handle.
As in Psych’s lead-in, Monk, this evening’s case isn’t the primary focus of the ep – The Ghost in You. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice something unusual in the way that Shawn’s investigative scenes are shot that is integral to the case’s solution. But what really matters in the way that Shawn’s relationship with his father is challenged by the arrival of Madeline – but her impact isn’t just on the Spencer men.
It seems that Madeline is a psychologist who used to work with the police department. She has returned to not only visit Henry and Shawn, but to see if Detective Carlton Lassiter [Tim Omundson] is fit for duty. The sparring between them is quite literally priceless.
While Psych initially seemed like a series based on a gimmick, it has become a dependable source of entertainment because its writers know just when to lay off the shtick and spring a dramatic moment on us. The Ghost in You is no exception. Between trying to figure out how to keep Gus involved in the agency, without getting him fired at this day job – and dealing with the emotional rollercoaster ride that his mother’s surprise [to him] visit produces – as well as the agency’s latest case, we get to see sides of Shawn that we don’t usually see [which ties in, thematically with the Monk premiere that precedes it].
The Ghost in You is a solid ep that allows Roday and Hill to do their Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor of detectives thing to full advantage, while giving the show’s guest and supporting cast an opportunity to add texture and colors to the proceedings. It may because of the unusual shift of focus, but this is one of the best eps of the series, to date.
A&E’s The Cleaner [Tuesdays, 10/9C] minisite describes this new series as being inspired by the true story of a real-life “extreme interventionist,” stars Benjamin Bratt as William “The Cleaner” Banks, who, after hitting rock-bottom from his own addictions after the birth of his daughter, strikes a tentative deal with God. Now along with his unconventional team, he helps people get away from their addictions by any means necessary.
William’s dedication to his task causes problems at home as his children, Ben [Brett Delbuono] and Lula [Liliana Mumy] try to get him to okay their withdrawal from extracurricular activities so they can spend more time with him – and his wife, Melissa [Amy Price-Francis] is growing frustrated with his having less and less time for their family.
On the other hand, William and his team are always ready to help others to get clean. In the pilot’s opening moments, the ep cuts between William coaching his son’s football team and his team members – Akani Cuesta [Grace Park], Arnie Swenton [Esteban Powell] and Mickey Efros [Gil Bellows] – nab a gambling addict whose husband has hired them. Later, a teenaged boy asks their help with his brother – an all-conference guard and solid student who has turned to drugs after watching his father die.
Although I’ve never been particularly impressed with Benjamin Bratt, he turns in a driven performance as William, the recovering addict whose deal with God has resulting in his talking with God like he talks with everyone – though God’s answers aren’t what you’d call vocal. Park’s Akani is smart and sexy, with a weakness for William besides her own addiction. Powell’s Arnie is a bit of a chaos disturber – he needs the job, but isn’t sure why, and he has serious boundary issues.
The pilot is pretty gritty, featuring one death by overdose, one near miss, and some strongly intense scenes among the living and somewhat less wounded. The language is considerably more intense than A&E’s last good original series [Nero Wolfe], but it feels appropriate and adds verisimilitude to the proceedings. The pilot is beautifully shot – some cool split screen work adds unexpected depth, and the more straightforward scenes and action sequences are equally effective.
One of my favorite summer series, The Closer is returning to Television this week, Mondays at 9pm on TNT to be exact. I spoke with Michael Paul Chan who plays Det. Lt. Mike Tao. I joked that he’s the show’s “exposition” guy. Whenever we need background on a suspect, Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) goes to Tao. There was an episode in the 2nd season where they even made a joke about it. Chan has a very impressive career, you may not know his name, but you will probably recognize his face. The phone interview was short and to the point, there was a lot that he couldn’t talk about, but I did get some tidbits.
Power is the theme of this season. It’s about people who have it or want to get it.
We will meet Mrs Tao this season. Michael wouldn’t tell me who plays her. But he did say that we will get to know more of the crew this season.
The relationship between Brenda and her staff are going to get strained again.
The Closer isn’t a serialized show, so there won’t be any overarching stories again this year.
The cast rehearses in the mornings and it takes up to 13 hours to film five minutes.
He does have a lot of input into his character’s basic development. The decision for Tao to be an early backer of Brenda’s was his.
Brenda and Taylor’s battles will heat up again this year.
Brenda and Fritz are still together.
To prepare for his role Michael took weapons training and went to detective school. He said he feels like he has all the tools to be a real detective if he wanted to.
Surfer and build bicycles and motorcycles anything to keep movie
Don’t forget to be sure to catch The Closer, Mondays at 9pm on TNT. It’s a great show. We’ll be doing weekly recaps starting with this week’s season premiere. The show will run new episodes through August.
Even more than its parent series, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis has embraced the fluidity of life. Every season has had some kind of major change. By now, most Atlantis fans know of the change in command that’s coming to the returning series [Fridays, Sci Fi, 10/C], in tomorrow’s season premiere – which kind of spoils the surprise of the ep’s final seconds. Fortunately, with all the various instances of cliffhanging peril to be resolved, there’s plenty of opportunity to be surprised before then.
Search and Rescue finds members of the Atlantis team buried under tons of rubble from Michael’s imploded compound; Teyla [Rachel Luttrell] about ready to give birth on Michael’s [Connor Trinneer] flagship; and the city itself, for a change, is fine…
With all the action and mayhem in Stargate Atlantis’ fifth-season premiere, the scariest image of all might just be midwife Rodney [David Hewlett]. That’s right. Rodney McKay is the only one with Teyla when the baby decides to make its debut. That is more unsettling than earlier scenes with Rodney and Lorne [Kavan Smith] buried under Michael’s compound, or Sheppard [Joe Flanigan] and Ronon [Jason Momoa] about to be pulled from the rubble by members of Michael’s crew – or even a badly injured Sheppard leading the mission to save Teyla when what he really needs is surgery and a transfusion.
To say that Search and Rescue is another entertaining Atlantis episode is to understate the situation. Writer Martin Gero has produced an ep with space battles, hand-to-hand combat, exploding hyperdrives, lots of weapons fire and even a few more moments where Rodney’s spine solidifies briefly. Veteran Atlantis director Andy Mikita keeps things moving at a [mostly] breakneck pace – making certain implausiblities virtually unnoticeable. Combined with sharply observed performances, the result is definitely a lot of fun.
Flashpoint [CBS, Fridays, 10/9C] looks like a lot like an updating of SWAT – for most of the first two acts. The members of Toronto’s Strategic Response Unit [based on the real Emergency Task Force], Team One, are called in to deal with a hostage situation – which is resolved, uncharacteristically, before the end of the second act.
The teaser introduces SRU Team Leader Ed Lane [Hugh Dillon] and sets up the team’s shift preparation and a hostage situation. When the call comes in, assignments are made and the team rolls. Onsite, Jules [Amy Jo Johnson] and Ed take up sniper positions [Ed winds up being lead when her location isn’t as good as his] and Sergeant Gregory Parker [Enrico Colantoni] tries to talk the gunman into putting down his gun.
To this point, Flashpoint is a smoothly executed cop show as it cuts back and forth between the events leading up to the hostage taking and the team’s shift preparations. The difference comes in the second act, when the situation is resolved and we follow Ed through the regulation follow-up investigation. Now we’re into something different – the way the day’s work affects Ed – leading up to the ep’s compelling final scene.
At first Flashpoint seems like just another cop/SWAT series, but then it takes a turn that changes the game for the characters and the audience. As skilfully as the first two-thirds of the episode are produced, the flashpoint pilot doesn’t quite fully engage us until after the resolution of the hostage situation, when Dillon takes Ed through some strange and affecting moments. When Parker tells him that he’ll one day have to do the math on the “I’m fines,” Flashpoint goes from being about cops to being about people – people working a job that has incredible ramifications. From that point on, it’s appointment TV.
Burn Notice’s first season concluded with former spy Michael Weston trapped inside the cargo trailer of an eighteen wheeler. When season two begins tomorrow [Thursday, USA, 10/9C], the little exercise in claustrophobia results in Weston [Jeffrey Donovan] being given an assignment – over the phone – by the mysterious Carla [Tricia Helfer] before the trailer is opened onto a scene of carnage. Spies. Whatcha gonna do?
Breaking and Entering, the second season premiere, deals with stealing information from a civilian military [mercenary] company. If it’s not done by a certain time, it will result in the death of the wife and child of the man who set up the firm’s security. The carnage that greets Michael when he clambers out of the trailer is what remains of the computer expert, Richie’s effort to flee. Plus, there’s always Michael’s manipulative mom [Sharon Gless], fellow ex-spy and buddy, Jack [Bruce Campbell] and ex-girlfriend/former IRA demolitions expert, Fiona [Gabrielle Anwar] to help and/or hinder. Topping that, Carla is one of the people who had Michael burned in the first place!
The follow-up ep, Turn and Burn, finds Michael helping a young woman with a stalker problem – by the number two man of the local drug kingpin! Even worse, he gets manipulated into attending a “counselling session” with his mom. [Oh, the humanity!] And these are just the side gigs! His assignment from Carla is to get a computer key card copied – and that requires a special kind of expert…
Burn Notice was probably the best series of last summer, in terms of pure entertainment value. It certainly filled the requirements of the USA “characters wanted” brand – though Michael is the most normal of the characters [it’s his mom and Jack who are the real characters!]. If anything, it seems that the series has gotten smarter, funnier and maybe even a bit edgier this season.
The first two scripts are killer and the ensemble certainly makes the most of that. Each ep is paced just quickly enough to maintain interest without trying to do too much too quickly [a real potential problem here]. Donovan has really done a nice job of keeping the balance between nice and twisted in Michael’s character. He gives the show its calm center in the eye of the hurricane that is his mom, Jack, and Fiona [though Fiona seems to have calmed down a bit from last season – let’s see how long that lasts]. Tricia Helfer nicely underplays Carla’s menace, thereby seeming even more dangerous, and she definitely adds a bit of spice to Michael’s life – which makes it even harder for Michael to find out who she really is – and who she works for.
If you liked Burn Notice last season, you’re going to love it this year.
Today I participated in a call with Battlestar Galactica’s iconic Six (Tricia Helfer) to talk about her role in the July 10 premiere of USA’s new hit show Burn Notice. Of course Galactica came up as well and we got some great tidbits from her. The transcript from the call will be coming later this week. To wet your appetite. Here are some little tidbits.
Tricia will be in 7 Episodes of Burn Notice playing a mysterious spy. She’ll be in the first two episodes of the season, the season finale and a couple in 2009.
Her character is the public face of the organization that burned Michael.
She really liked the being on the set and said it was a real welcoming environment.
She talks a bit about the difference between Vancouver and Miami, Fl. Said she had to get use to it being sunny in Fla.
She has a list of DVD Sets that she wants to watch since she doesn’t watch much television. She likes quirky shows like Madmen and Weeds. Is currently watching Dexter, 24, and Arrested Development.
When asked if she uses the word Frak in her every day life she no. Primarily because her character on Galactica rarely says it. But Frak has become part of other cast and crew’s vocabulary.
She didn’t have to audition for the Burn Notice part. Matt called her up and said he had a part for her.
She’s shooting a pilot for a new Fox Television show called Inseparable. She’s playing a Psychologist to the lead. It’s about a cop who was shot and paralyzed. He develops a split personality one that’s crippled and the other one who isn’t. She’s not in the Pilot episode that much because they are establishing the main character.
She was great to talk to, wasn’t at all squeamish about talking about BSG and what her post BSG life will be like.
She will be at Comic-Con as part of a Cylon/Human couple. Doesn’t know if the Burn Notice folks will be doing anything.
A week may be a long time in politics, but for the millions of fans of Doctor Who, this coming week is likely to be a very long week in the Who-verse. I’m not going to spoil that "To Be Continued" cliff-hanger (and boy, what a cliff-hanger!) at the end of series 4’s penultimate episode "Stolen Earth"; it’s too brilliant a piece of television to want to give the game away. Just watch it and enjoy the episode when it comes your way and gasp along with the rest of the audience. There is no trailer for next week either, so the producers really are keeping everything tightly under their Welsh hats.
BURBANK — June 25, 2008 – On a new episode of NBC’s returning drama “Chuck” (Mondays, 8-9 p.m. ET), Special Agent Sarah Walker (series star Yvonne Strahovski, “Gone”) gets a bad blast from the past when she comes face to face with her high school nemesis — played by guest star Nicole Richie (“The Simple Life”) — for broadcast this fall.
Richie will guest-star in the episode as the snarky and spiteful girl who tortured Sarah in school — and now Sarah must face her fears when she is forced to attend her 10-year high school reunion for a mission with Chuck (series star Zachary Levi, “Less Than Perfect”) as her date.
“Nicole auditioned for the part and was very funny,” said executive producer Josh Schwartz. “This role is a great opportunity for her to show off her comedic skills and be diabolically evil and kick some butt. It’s going to be really fun.”
Richie recently was featured in cover stories for People magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. Touted as a style icon, her fashion statements are regularly featured online, in print and on entertainment news shows. In addition to “The Simple Life,” on which she co-starred with Paris Hilton, Richie has guest starred on shows such as “8 Simple Rules … for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and “American Dreams.” Richie is also launching a jewelry line, House of Harlow 1960, in the upcoming fall.
“Chuck” is a high-concept action comedy that follows Chuck Bartowski (Levi), a regular twentysomething whose life is thrown into disarray after his friend, a CIA agent, sends him an e-mail which results in the world’s secrets becoming embedded in his mind. Chuck is just an ordinary guy who spends his days solving problems at an electronics store with a band of nerdy cohorts and longing to find a woman who can appreciate him. He never asked to become the government’s most powerful weapon, but suddenly the fate of the country lies in his unlikely hands. Agents Sarah Walker (Strahovski) and John Casey (series star Adam Baldwin, “Serenity”) are assigned to protect him.
From College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, “Chuck” was created by Josh Schwartz & Chris Fedak and is executive produced by Schwartz and McG.