Lana Parrilla, Jennifer Morrison
Once is not enough. Sometimes a second look, or a second episode, is necessary to convince a skeptic that a show is worth taking a risk on. So it is with ABC's dazzling but dauntingly precious Once Upon a Time (Sunday, 8/7c), which back when I was considering it for Fall Preview left me wondering: "Is this ambitiously whimsical fantasia the next Pushing Daisies cult fave or the next Eastwick insta-flop? (Either way, it will likely be an uphill climb to happily ever after.) It would be easier to love if it weren't so convoluted and campy."
But then ABC made another episode (the third, airing Nov. 6) available for review, and I started to find myself enchanted and beguiled, ready to curl up with more chapters of this fractured fairy tale. First, though, you have to digest the premise, and the overstuffed and often overripe pilot is a lot to swallow. We begin in a lavishly rendered fairy-tale land ...
In Homeland, terrorist plots aren't dismantled in 24 hours and the hero doesn't save the day by slaughtering suspects. Ten years after the horror of 9/11, good and evil are sometimes far from black-and-white.
"This is not 24, which had a muscular response to what happened on 9/11," says British actor Damian Lewis, who plays Sgt. Nicholas Brody, the Marine who's become a hero after eight years of imprisonment by Al Qaeda, on the set near Charlotte. "It was a show for its time. Now we live in a world where people are divided about the best way to wage war on terror."
What a difference seven days makes. Many primetime shows are seeing their ratings skyrocket when a week's worth of DVR usage is included — and network execs are scrambling to figure out how to adjust to a time-shifting world.
Now that DVR penetration has reached around 42% of viewers, it's having a real impact on viewership — and making the initial next-day ratings that everyone reports (which includes live viewing, plus only that night's DVR usage) increasingly irrelevant.
For example, when season four of FX's Sons of Anarchy debuted September 6, it attracted 4.9 million viewers, a good number, but not a network record. By the time seven days of DVR usage was counted, that number had climbed ...
CBS' Person of Interest (9/8c) is one of the fall's few new dramas of interest, and it appears to be a keeper. Though not without some formula aspects — this is CBS, after all, so things tend to get wrapped up pretty neatly by the hour's end — the intriguing Interest sends its damaged heroes on their high-tech vigilante missions under a tantalizing cloak of paranoid secrecy. Each week, there's also the promise of heightened and stylized mayhem at the hands of the coolly lethal Reese (Jim Caviezel), who's so unflappably taciturn in his explosive takedowns of rooms full of bad guys he can make Jack Bauer look like a blabbermouth wimp.
Reese's partner in crime-stopping, Michael Emerson as the mousy ...
Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett
No doubt about it, Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler is one of the funniest peeps on the planet. So who inspired her? As part of our ongoing series of interviews called "Icons & Innovators," we gave the former Saturday Night Live sensation a chance to chat with the comedy star she admires most: the legendary Carol Burnett. The winner of six Emmys — three of them for her beloved 1967-78 laughfest The Carol Burnett Show — Burnett came close to working with Poehler when they both did voice work in the hit animated film Horton Hears a Who! But these two comedy greats have never performed face-to-face. What's Hollywood waiting for?
"Summer in Chicago takes things in a positive direction for the Gallaghers," Shameless star Emmy Rossum (Fiona) says. She becomes a waitress, her sister starts a daycare center in their house, and one brother is "running a marijuana business out of an ice-cream truck."
Play ball! Or, seeing that TV hardly rolls over for the World Series any more, should we be saying, "Play hardball?" The showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers begins tonight (Fox, 7:30/et) from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. No matter how many innings the games go, it probably won't seem as long as some of these recent two-hour episodes of The X Factor.
That takes care of sports enthusiasts, but there's plenty else going on. Some highlights:
Derek Hough, Ricki Lake
Carson Kressley is gone, leaving Ricki Lake one step closer to the Mirror Ball trophy. You'd think the woman would be fearless. You'd be wrong. Lake, 43, who had a highly successful syndicated talk show for 11 years — and did a documentary about giving birth at home to one of her two children — couldn't even enjoy making it through to next week's show on Dancing With the Stars, Broadway Week, because the next dance, the Quick Step, terrifies her.
Jon Tenney and Kyra Sedgwick
Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Tenney enjoyed a drink after wrapping The Closer's 100th episode (airing December 5 on TNT), which executive producer James Duff calls "a light Christmas gift" to fans. "We murder Santa Claus. We felt the world could use a little laugh at...
Having finally solved their comedy crisis, the networks may be about to face a drama drought. Network executives are cheering the launch of several promising new fall sitcoms, such as Fox's New Girl, CBS' 2 Broke Girls and ABC's Last Man Standing. "The story of the fall season is comedy," says Jerry Bruckheimer TV president Jonathan Littman. "Comedy is back, no question about it."