The Big Four announced a flurry of pilot orders on Wednesday, offering a possible glimpse at the fall 2006 season. ABC gave the nod to Six Degrees, a drama about the intertwined lives of a group of strangers (sound familiar?), to be executive-produced by (here's a clue) Lost cocreator J.J. Abrams. CBS ordered Jericho, which chronicles the chaos that occurs in a small town isolated from the rest of the world by a nuclear disaster, and Orpheus, about a young man whose girlfriend is immersed in a cult. NBC gave the green light to Crossing Jordan creator Tim Kring's Heroes, in which seemingly everyday people realize they have superpowers, and Seeing Red, about a cop who gets help from dead crime victims. Fox's Faceless, meanwhile, finds a federal prosecutor going undercover as a criminal to bring down an underworld organization. My TiVo is already giddy.
Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Match Point
Jonathan Rhys Meyers had no idea what he was getting into — literally — when Woody Allen cast him in the romantic thriller Match Point, now in select theaters. "I had never read the script when Woody offered the role to me," the actor tells TVGuide.com. "And I just accepted. For any young actor to be in a Woody Allen film, you're just going to do it regardless of what it is."
Once Rhys Meyers did peruse the script, he was hit with another surprise. "I was like, 'If I get four or five good scenes, I'll be gold.' And then it dawned on me how much work I had to do in this!"
And how. Match Point features Rhys Meyers as Chris, a former tennis champ who latches on to new Brit bud Tom (Matthew Goode
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Shortly before Thanksgiving, ABC executives called Alias creator J.J. Abrams in China — where he was directing Mission: Impossible 3 — to
Question: In light of the recent news of Alias' impending cancellation, I was wondering how you feel the show will be written about in future television-history books. For me, Alias was love at first sight and I have been a loyal follower since the days of double agency and SD-6. While the show has had a glitch creatively in recent years (and I think you would agree), it is still safe to say that Alias is one of my all-time great TV love affairs, if for nothing else than the first two seasons alone. I will be a devoted viewer until the very end.
Answer: I'm with it from start to finish as well, out of loyalty if nothing else, but here's an idea: Let's start referring to Alias' departure as a "retirement," not a "cancellation," OK? Five years is more than most cult shows get, especially on a major network. The fact that the producers are getting the opportunity to plot out an actual series finale is something to celebrate, not mourn. But to address the larger issue: When we look back on
Question: What's all this I'm hearing about a possible Alias spin-off?
Answer: It's much ado about nothing, Luis. While it's true that executive producer Jeff Pinkner has discussed with J.J. Abrams the possibility of a Sark/Peyton/Sloane-centered offshoot — "It's the triumvirate of evil," he told TV Guide magazine — the odds of Alias living on in another form are practically nil. Trust me.
Question: After most networks have released their mid-season plans, it seems plenty of new offerings will be coming on the air. Which ones would you say are worth viewers' time? I remember hearing good things about Love Monkey and The Book of Daniel, but haven't heard much buzz about The Jenna Elfman Show. Is Emily's Reasons Why Not as cutesy as Related? Is In Justice simply another procedural? Are comedies Crumbs, The Loop and Four Kings as shrill as the likes of Joey? Also, whatever happened to shows scheduled for mid-season that had already generated buzz back in May (J.J. Abrams' What About Brian and ABC's Sons and Daughters)? Can a network completely abandon a show it's made a commitment to? Although that's probably a silly question after seeing how horribly networks are capable of treating their shows, I hope you can answer it for me.
Answer: I don't want to get ahead of myself in issuing opinions on the mid-season crop this far in advance, especially since I saw some of these
Question: I just heard that a new episode of Grey's Anatomy will be screened after the Super Bowl next year on ABC. You know, I've always wondered why the networks choose to place one of their most established hits in this coveted time slot, since it almost always only gives the show a minor bump that doesn't really sustain itself long enough to affect the season average by much. I don't think Alias, The Simpsons and Survivor: All-Stars (past occupants of this slot) really saw such exposure translate into higher ratings. Plus the fact that Grey's Anatomy is really an established hit, given how it managed to grow its numbers from its Desperate Housewives rerun lead-in this week. Earlier this season the series premiere of Criminal Minds successfully launched behind CSI, and look how it's doing now (admirably, against Lost). Since most established shows already have their own followings, why not save the post-Super Bowl slot to launch one of ABC's mid-season shows instead? I'm especially ...
Question: After seeing J.J. Abrams's answer to the question about his lack of involvement in Alias (and Lost) last week, I can't help but wonder if he totally let the cat out of the bag that this is the last season for Alias. He said "series finale" not "season finale." Should we read into that?
Answer: Probably not. He was merely answering my question, which was predicated on the possibility that this might be Alias' final season. But let's face it, the writing is pretty much on the wall.
Question: You said that there are no plans for J.J. Abrams to write or direct any Losts this season, but what about Alias? Please tell me he will write and direct the season/series finale?
Answer: Good question. Let's ask him. "Given the [M:I 3] schedule, my day-to-day involvement in Alias and Lost this season has been minimal," he told me via e-mail. "While I would truly love nothing more than to film the series finale, I think I'll be in the depths of M:I 3 postproduction, and therefore unavailable — which would be depressing." Indeed it would be.
Question: Everwood spoilers, please!
Answer: I hear that Nina — in an effort to mend Andy and Jake's fractured friendship — will suggest they go see a shrink together. I hope they take her advice because that would be just plain hysterical. Also, Simon Rex is going to guest star in the Nov. 17 episode as a friend of Jake's. Apparently, the pair go on a bike trip that takes a near fatal turn. Oh, and don't look for Madison to resurface anytime soon. Sarah Lancaster has replaced Polly Shannon as the female lead in What About Brian?, J.J. Abrams' mid-season drama on ABC.