Bruce Greenwood, Eloise Mumford, Joe Anderson
A mere two nights after The Walking Dead finale shattered cable ratings records, and more than a few nerves, with its zombie shooting gallery at Hershel's now-abandoned farm, two more dynamic series signed off for the season Tuesday night — hopefully not for good (though one seems a likely goner) — giving us some fun and tense times. Sometimes both at once.
Sifting through the proverbial critic's notebook, a quick look back at some of the week's more memorable TV happenings:
Let's start with the death we didn't see coming: By which I mean HBO putting down Luck. With only two episodes to go in its underwhelming (though beautifully acted and shot) first season, the show was abruptly canceled two episodes into production on a Season 2 that probably shouldn't have been green-lighted in the first place. The reason wasn't ratings, which were dismal, but the third accidental death of a horse on the set (two died during Season 1). Which is...
The latest dazzling nature epic from the good folks at Discovery will chill you in all the right ways. The team of producers from Discovery and the BBC Natural History Unit, responsible for the sumptuous breakout hits Planet Earth and Life, are now introducing armchair travelers to Frozen Planet (Sunday, 8/7c), an endlessly fascinating seven-part foray into the most remote and unforgiving regions of the Arctic and Antarctic.
Danny Pudi and Donald Glover
Apparently, no one ever told Community to beware the ides of March. (Et tu, Dean Pelton?) The mind reels at how the obsessive Abed (Danny Pudi) would react to March 15 being the date designated by NBC for the return of the never-say-die sitcom — and winner of TV Guide Magazine's 2011 Fan Favorite cover — from a most unwelcome three-month hiatus.
Once again kicking off NBC's stubbornly low-rated comedy lineup (8/7c), this endearingly zany cult comedy wastes no time ...
Mary McCormack, Frederick Weller
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Question: Just wondering about Terra Nova and the rumors that they'll be shopping it around to another network. It took them pretty much forever to get the first season prepared, I'm assuming because of the special effects. If they wind up on another network, that probably means a smaller budget, faster production, fewer dinosaurs, more focus on the people, character-driven stories, etc. Right? Sounds entertaining to me. (I do confess, though Terra Nova struck me as a bit of a mess in some ways, I was looking forward to seeing how the story played out.)
Some thoughts on the highs and lows and assorted other TV news that caught my eye this week:
DEAD MAN WALKING: So there I was watching AMC's The Walking Dead last Sunday — the first piece of TV I hungrily consumed after a week of mostly TV-free vacation (except for the Oscars, which I should have passed on) — and as self-righteous Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) yammers on about everyone's humanity being at stake if they execute their prisoner (Randall the Outsider), I start rolling my eyes and going, "Oh, die already, you blowhard."
"It wasn't a campaign. It was a bad reality show," concludes political operative Steve Schmidt (a forceful Woody Harrelson) toward the end of HBO's controversy-stirring Game Change (Saturday, 9/8c), a searing, sizzlingly well acted docudrama about the decision "to create a dynamic moment" in the 2008 presidential run of John McCain (a salty but sanguine Ed Harris) by selecting "a game-changing pick" in fellow maverick Sarah Palin, "the best actress in American politics."
When a new show comes along that blows you away with its risk-taking originality, like NBC's haunting Awake (see my review of the pilot episode here), it's almost inevitable that one of the first ...