WGA strike update – affected shows

The writers’ strike is beginning to affect the current shows. There are the basics – November is normally a sweeps month, so most of the shows have many episodes in the bank, already written and completed. Because December and January are typically slow – holidays and reruns – a few networks complete at least half of the season before the end of November. In other words, these shows can have enough new episodes to last into February. Many new shows still don’t have a full-season order, therefore, no new shows scripted or produces, and they are going to run out of new shows pretty soon. Here’s the tally so far, across the networks. We fully support the writers, but take a look at this list and beware – your faves are going into reruns pretty quickly. You may not notice it over the holiday season, but come January – you might as well start going to sports arenas and opera houses.
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Big Shots (ABC, Thursdays)

Oh, what hopes have been dashed by this flimsy ‘Desperate Housewives’ rip-off. Oh, how I’ve waited to see Christopher Titus back on television. You remember him, from the short-lived (ok, 3 seasons is not that short) sitcom Titus – about a hilariously dysfunctional family. You probably remember all the male leads from all kinds of recent shows – Joshua Malina from West Wing and Sports Night; Michael Vartan from Alias and of course, the ever-getting-younger-looking heart-throb Dylan McDermott from The Practice. This was a dream male cast, perfectly suited to play powerful CEOs with familiar, identifiable personal issues. Why, oh why did ABC decide to go cartoony on such a solid premise?
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Chuck (NBC, Mondays)

Now that the show has premiered, and the insane media spin is slowly fading out, let’s talk about it. Frankly. It’s bad enough this show reminds me of just how wonderful Alias was, and how quickly it was sabotaged by its own creators and network (thanks, ABC and JJ Abrams), Chuck also shows how easily a show can be appealing to wider audience, and still remain smart and engaging. I spotted these things, did you? Here’s hoping the show can find its tracks fast, because all the elements are there, just mix them in proper order, and you’ll have a runaway hit.
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On the Lot (FOX)

Anyone caught this show yet? This is a reality show – and I know how rarely these are mentioned on the site. Still, looks like it could be worth our time. Plus, FOX is being very smart about it – they are launching it in summer – best time to get people hooked on weaker material. Yes, I strongly believe that reality television is substandard, cheap entertainment. But … it is entertainment. Here’s the premise.
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100 top TV catchphrases

Yes, the end of the year must be here – all kinds of lists are popping up. Here’s one list we just had to share with you. The TV Land cable network has compiled a list of the 100 greatest catchphrases in TV, from the serious — Walter Cronkite’s nightly sign-off “And that’s the way it is” — to the silly: “We are two wild and crazy guys!” The network will air a countdown special, “The 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catch Phrases,” over five days, starting December 11. You should tune in – and memorize all these gems. Meanwhile, here’s an alphabetical listing.
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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC)

“We’ll be the very model of the modern network TV show”. Repeat this quickly 3 times, and you’ll get the idea. A show with musical numbers is always worth watching. Studio 60 is a new brainchild of Aaron Sorkin – of course being shown on NBC network. It’s a delicious, well-written, and amazingly cast dramedy. It’s about show-business (takes place in a fictional NBS broadcast network, surrounding an SNL-like late-night show). It’s one of the best shows on television this season, and this is also the reason why Studio 60 is going to be canceled.
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Clerks 2 (2006)

Did you know, the working title of the movie was “The Passion of the Clerks”? I think, in light of Mel Gibson’s recent attack on the Jews of the world, it might have been a good ideas to stay away from that title. It was funny, but it would have given the film a different, unnecessary tone. Clerks 2 is Kevin Smith grown up. Perhaps not quite mature, but definitely showing (and acknowledging) signs of evolution. Both as a person on screen, and as a filmmaker. That’s all I should say in the review. If you like juvenile humour that’s improving, and aging like good wine, then you’ll love the film. If you come to the theater, expecting existential meditation like Dogma, or hi-jinks like Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back – you will be disappointed. I liked it, but then again, I also liked Jersey Girl – and we all remember how quickly that disappeared from theaters.
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TIFF 2006 – First few days

Wow, what a lineup this year. We thought Toronto Film Fest was outstanding in 2005 (Everything’s Illuminated, Mrs. Henderson Presents, A History of Violence, and dozens of other films), but so far this year we haven’t seen (or heard of) anything bad. Every screening we go to, every review we hear is just great. Stay tuned for in-depth reviews coming to the site, meanwhile a little tease. Babel is a multilingual drama, a tearjerker in today’s ever-shrinking world; Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fairytale, told in a background of 1944 fascist Spain, a fascinating parable of today’s evils…
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Fall TV (06-07) premiere dates

Wow, look at the list of all the shows this season. You’d think there would be a few less, since WB and UPN have merged, and FOX with NBC has seen a lot of cancellations last year. Nope, they’re all back – your favourites, as well as newbies, waiting for your approval. A few notes: FOX is leading the pack, starting the season early, once again. I guess the other networks still think that FOX doesn’t count, too bad for them. CBS and NBC are stubborn in their late premieres – watch for their new shows in the end of September. ABC – with Lost, Gray’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives – have nothing to worry about. A network only needs a handful of standout shows. Let’s see who will be the first to get canceled. Any early bets?
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