Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION PREVIEW: The Closer, Michael Paul Chan Gives Us the 911

The Closer - Season 3 - Gina Ravera, Raymond Cruz, Robert Gossett, Michael Paul Chan, Corey Reynolds - Andrew Eccles/TNT

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.

TELEVISION: Stargate Atlantis: Fifth Season Premiere Surprises!

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…

Rescuing Teyla

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.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Flashpoint: A Cop Show With a Real Difference!

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.

The SRU

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.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION REVIEW: Burn Notice Still Cooks!

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!

Burn Notice - 2nd Season Cast

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.

Final Grade: A

BURN NOTICE – Tricia Helfer Interview Highlights

tricia

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.
  • She hasn’t been following the looming strike.

 

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By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 7.2.2008

The Tellybox: Doctor Who – "Stolen Earth": Companions and Continuity

                  Doctor and Companions

 

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.

Continue reading The Tellybox: Doctor Who – "Stolen Earth": Companions and Continuity

TELEVISION NEWS: Nichole Richie Goes ‘Snarky’ On Chuck

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.

BURN NOTICE INTERVIEW: Jeffrey Donovan, the man who doesn’t Sweat, sits down with Michelle!

burnnotice

So here’s the thing, a few weeks ago USA Network contacted me out of the blue and said hey, would you like to come down to Miami for a little Junket for Burn Notice. I was like hells yeah – even though I had no idea what Burn Notice was. But I’m always up for a free trip. Then after a few round of emails, I asked are they paying for it. Nope, had to pay for it out of my own pocket. But I was still going to go. After boning up a bit on the show (as much as I could – considering all the power outages in the last two weeks), I got even more excited. The show is just a really cool, fun riff on the “spy” genre. We had such a good time during the day and I got so much material that we’re launching a Burn Notice page later this week. And it’s been ages since there was a show set in Miami (that I watched.) So during the press day, we interviewed 10 different people and it was in the air. Jeffrey’s presence was felt throughout the day, he is the star of the show and everything is on his shoulders. The cast and crew spoke glowingly of him and when you meet him in person you can understand why. He’s drool worthy, funny, charming, and amazingly down to earth. Oh yeah, he even has a great dog.

Jeffrey Donovan: Alright, all of you should not be drinking any soda. No soda. No soda.

Panel: [laughs] Uh oh!

JD: How’s it going? Have you had a good day today, so far? You got to interview everybody exciting so far…

Panel: We’ve been waiting for you!

JD: It’s all downhill from me. All downhill.

Panel: Sharon Gless talked you up a lot.

JD: Oh, my mama. My mama. [laughter] Isn’t she amazing?

Panel: She said nothing but lovely things about you.

JD: She’s been like a mother to me down here. She is so great. Her and her husband, Barney – you know famous producer – they’re just so great. I wish they were my parents.

Panel: She seemed like she’s pretty much adopted you.

JD: Yeah, she has, she has. I’m filing papers next week.

Panel: Everyone said you don’t sweat, what’s the secret to that?

JD: [laughs] Who’s everyone?

Continue reading BURN NOTICE INTERVIEW: Jeffrey Donovan, the man who doesn’t Sweat, sits down with Michelle!

TELEVISION REVIEW: Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, wows Michelle!

starzinside

Starz Inside has quickly become one of my favorite series of television documentaries. If you are a fan of Pop Culture, this series is made for you. In the last few months they took us inside Pixar Animation, gave us an in-depth look at the creators of Animation, showed us men behind some of our favorite Video Games, and this week, on June 10, we Starz Inside shows us genius’ behind our favorite comic books.  This is the summer of the Superhero film so naturally this amazingly detailed documentary starts off in the obvious place – showing us how the film industry has embraced Comic-Books. We see some footage of the upcoming the upcoming Hellboy II film.  The documentary focuses primarily on the history of comic book films. Starting with the aforementioned Hellboy II then delves into the history of some of the pulp films from the 40s with some vintage clips.  The do a really nice segment on the Superman and Batman films 

It’s amazing seeing this little segment because it shows just how cyclical this business called show is.  And the more things change, the more they stay the same. The doc touches a bit on how Capital Hill investigated comics during the 50s. Apparently there was a sexual relationship between Batman and Robin. This witch hunt led to the creation of the Comic-book code, but it ended up scaring Hollywood. I want to watch Fritz the Cat! Wow, talk about racy. Did you know Stallone and Eastwood were both up for Superman?  What makes the Starz Inside Series so strong is that they always attack a topic that most stodgy documentaries would avoid.  They do it and handle their topics with love and care.  The reverence the producers have for this material really comes through, without being pretentious or stodgy. It manages to strike just the right tone.  The pacing and amount of material covered is just right. Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound premieres June 10, at 10pm.

Final Grade A

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 6.07.08

BURN NOTICE: Things I learned at the Burn Notice Junket Pt. 1

burn_notice

Considering it was a one day junket with a nice dinner, I learned a lot during my weekend visit to the Miami Set of USA Network’s hit new show – Burn Notice. This trip came out of my own pocket so don’t worry about me being bought off. Although I am for sale and still dreaming of my first paid studio trip. First and foremost interviewing 10 people in one day could have been a chore, but we made an agreement amongst ourselves that each one of us editors (A shout out goes to IGN, Ramblings of a TV Whore, The TV Addict, TV Squad, and Fan Bolt) would do one transcript each. So for a change, it won’t take a month for you all to get full QAs from everyone. Another thing is, we got so much information and we’re going to have so many photos, that I think we’ll be launching a brand new special section devoted to Burn Notice. It’s a great show that deserves some love. In the meantime here’s part one of things that I learned attending the Burn Notice Junket.

Sharon Gless Still got "It."

  • Sharon Gless is a television legend and she doesn’t even know it. When I asked her "What’s it like to be a legend?" She blushed and doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer.
  • She adores her co-star Jeffrey Donovan. When she talks about him, you can almost tell she would like to adopt him.
  • The rumors that she and Tyne Daly don’t get along are false. Talks about Tyne with great reverence and love. They are actually flying to London together next week to do a talk show.
  • There have been talks of a brand new Cagney and Lacey movie with them being somehow involved. Apparently there’s been a revival in it’s popularity overseas.
  • She let slip a plot point about this season’s Burn Notice – Apparently Madeline and Michael are going to do some family counseling.

Continue reading BURN NOTICE: Things I learned at the Burn Notice Junket Pt. 1

EM EXCLUSIVE: V The Second Generation finally reviewed by Michelle!

V_Second_Generation_Rev-400x600

When people ask me what my top 10 favorite films of all time are, I generally ignore the question because it only gives people a chance to try and come across as pretentious. Oh, they’ll say the usual, “The Godfather,” “Citizen Cane,” “Psycho,” “Gone With the Wind,” etc. Personally, I despise “Citizen Cane,” and think “The Godfather” is good, but overrated, “Wind” bores me to tears. My top 10 always changes but my favorite film has never changed – my answer has always been “V – The Original Mini-series.” Writer/Director Kenneth Johnson crafted a masterpiece with this movie. If it aired today, it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact on me as it did when I was a kid. I’m more jaded and the Internet would have ruined all of the surprises the movie had.

Continue reading EM EXCLUSIVE: V The Second Generation finally reviewed by Michelle!