This week's column is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Ida Blankenship, Don Draper's hilariously cantankerous executive secretary on Mad Men who died at her desk, "like she lived, surrounded by the people she answers phones for," according to Roger Sterling's snarky instant eulogy. Her former swain/boss Bert Cooper saw a bigger, more admiring picture: "She was born in 1898 in a barn, she died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut." Also, according to Roger's apparently unpublishable memoirs, a one-time "queen of perversions." Randee Heller's spot-on performance of this old-school gatekeeper, a relic of a time before feminism was on anyone's radar...
CSI: NY had a unique set of challenges heading into its seventh season. The show was moving to Friday nights, where the writers would have to figure out how to resolve last season's "shot in the dark" cliff-hanger involving serial killer Shane Casey (guest star Edward Furlong) and married CSIs Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) Messer.
Fall TV: Get the scoop on all your favorite returning shows
Then series star Melina Kanakaredes, who played Detective Stella Bonasera since the show premiered, quit just weeks before production began. "We had written six scripts over the break," executive producer Pam Veasey tells TVGuide.com. "We developed stories that were ready to prep for shooting, and all of them involved Stella. Then, the fallout happened."
Veasey says after three days of intense phone calls, she found the cloud's silver lining: Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sela Ward signed on to replace Kanakaredes on the show...
The Amazing Race
After seven straight wins at the Primetime Emmy Awards for reality-competition series, The Amazing Race was dethroned this year by Top Chef — a loss that Phil Keoghan sees as a positive. "Change is just a really good thing," the Amazing Race host tells TVGuide.com. "And it only makes us want to continue to make a good show, which I think we've done this year." The globe-trotting series' 17th installment kicks off Sunday with a new and heavily-hyped game-changer called the Express Pass. See what Keoghan has to say about the new element, what teams you should watch out for, and if Padma Lakshmi really hit him on the Emmys red carpet.
Tom Selleck, Michael C. Hall
To many, and for good reason, Friday is seen as a TV graveyard, a burying ground for shows with low expectations. But the networks aren't giving up on the night just yet. CBS, with its more traditional and very loyal (and yes, more mature) audience, can still do some business with its scripted series. And it can still remember what happened when a little sleeper called CSI broke out on Fridays, soon to change the face of the network....
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse DVD art
Apocalypse is coming. On Tuesday. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the latest DVD movie in Warner Home Video's series of adaptations of classic DC Comics stories, comes out Sept. 28 (in single disc DVD, two-disc special edition Blu-Ray, digital download and on demand). Based on a 2004 story written by former Heroes writer Jeph Loeb, Apocalypse features the arrival of Superman's lost cousin Kara from Krypton. Summer Glau plays the future Supergirl, while Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly reprise the roles they have perfected in multiple animated incarnations of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, respectively. Susan Eisenberg also returns to the DC animated universe as Wonder Woman, a part she played on the late, great Justice League series. Andre Braugher plays the evil despot Darkseid and Ed Asner his lieutenant, Granny Goodness. (Added bonus in the special edition set: a Green Arrow short with Neal McDonagh in the title role.) Check out an exclusive clip after the jump.