Doug Jones and Noah Wyle
TNT has unveiled premiere dates for its summer shows, including returning drama Falling Skies and new series The Last Ship and Legends.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul
As if we needed more evidence that there's never a slow time of year for significant TV (except maybe Christmas week), here's a mid-August weekend with so many premieres you might think fall had come early — although the new fall season would be lucky to boast shows remotely this interesting.
The greatest buzz, of course, surrounds the beginning of the end of AMC's darkly entertaining masterpiece Breaking Bad (Sunday, 9/8c), which resumes its climactic trajectory with the first of eight final episodes — and if Sunday's blistering hour is any indication of what's to come over the next two months, we're in for quite the wrenching ride. A ride that's teased by an opening flash-forward which suggests catastrophic consequences for the domestic life of Walter White (Bryan Cranston, astonishing as ever in his swings from mensch to menacing) — whose criminal alter ego is now in danger of being exposed by his brother-in-law/DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris, a world removed from the melodramatics of his new gig Under the Dome).
TNT has picked up Michael Bay's drama The Last Ship to series, the network announced Tuesday.
Following, some thoughts on another very busy weekend of summer TV. (At this point, I'm almost looking forward to the fall season starting, so I can catch my breath.)
CHI-TOWN CHICANERY: Corruption, mendacity, a thick smog of cynicism. Ain't we got fun? And so the audaciously downbeat political drama Boss returns to Starz (Friday, 9/8c), anchored and dominated yet again by Kelsey Grammer's tremendous performance as Chicago mayor (aka "boss" man) Tom Kane. A self-righteous bastard and unrepentant bully, this Machiavellian manipulator is notorious for "sacrificing that which is most precious for his political survival" (including sending his own daughter to prison and having his once-trusted turncoat adviser killed). Juggling more baggage than O'Hare during a blizzard, Kane is also beset by demons, manifesting as visions and hallucinations and ghosts, all symptoms of a debilitating brain disease — or maybe it's just good old guilt.
The Strike Back team had just arrived in Mozambique to kick off shooting this season when they ran into a major problem: As the country faced an uprising by thousands of freedom fighters clutching real RPGs and AK-47s, the government wasn't so sure what to make of the show's crew.
Strike Back's New Agent
Rhona Mitra is ready for action! The Boston Legal alum has joined forces with Cinemax's counterterrorism drama Strike Back for its second season, debuting in August. "This show is all the things that excite me," says the actress. "I find it...
The Gates may seem a bit familiar — vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my! — but the producers of the new ABC series (premiering Sunday, June 20 at 10/9c) want viewers to know that it's not just another True Blood.
Check out photos from The Gates
The series, which grew out of a movie pitch about a community built on the gates of...
Virgina Madsen (Scoundrels) and Rhona Mitra (The Gates)
It's no longer news that summer is among TV's busiest seasons — but this year, cable is getting more competition than usual with scripted fare from the networks. The difference being that cable channels (USA, FX, TNT, Syfy, ABC Family and the pay giants, to name a few) tend to put their best foot forward with critically championed signature shows. The networks? Not so much.
Still, ABC is going unusually gung-ho, launching three new dramas of varying quality and distinction within a single week. Its Sunday combo of the whimsical Scoundrels and the sinister The Gates at least aims for something a bit different, while Thursday's Rookie Blue misfires with a tired arsenal of generic cop-show clichés.
Rookie doesn't try hard enough to stand out, while the Sunday shows may be guilty of trying a bit too hard...
Alec Baldwin by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com
Alec Baldwin will represent a child (Elle Fanning) who sues her parents for breeding her to save her cancer-stricken sis (Dakota F.) in My Sister's Keeper, an adaptation of the Jodi Picoult novel.... Also per Variety, Tom Cruise's Valkyrie has had its release pushed back from July 4 to Oct. 3, 2008.... Notes from the Underbelly's Rachael Harris is Robert Downey Jr's coworker in the musical/drama The Soloist.... Also per the Reporter, Rhona Mitra is the wife of Mad man Jon Hamm's police chief in the indie thriller The Boy in the Box.... Jason Ritter, Jesse L. Martin and Tracie Thoms will star in the romantic drama Peter and Vandy.... Mischa Barton is a psychologically unbalanced ex-girlfriend in Homecoming, to be directed by Morgan Freeman, says Page Six.
John Travolta will claim the Robert Shaw role and lead The Taking of Pelham One Two Three in the Tony Scott-directed remake of the 1974 film. As previously reported, Denzel Washington is making like Matthau.... Also per Variety, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy and Rhona Mitra are onboard for Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans, a prequel tracing the origin of the feud between the Death Dealers and their onetime slaves.