Barbara Walters Special
7 pm/ET ABC
Red carpet? Barbara Walters don't need no stinkin' red carpet to snag A-listers for her Oscar preshow. Tonight's lineup includes two of the most talked-about nominees: first-timers Anne Hathaway and Mickey Rourke. Guest Hugh Jackman wasn't nominated, but he is tonight's Oscar host. Besides, he won an Emmy in 2005 — for hosting the Tonys. (Jackman also won a Tony in 2004.) Then there are the Jonas Brothers. They may not have any ties to the Oscars, but does that really matter?
Read on for previews of 81st Academy Awards, Flight of the Conchords, Eastbound & Down and United States of Tara.
Flight of the Conchords
Flight of the Conchords (aka your favorite Kiwis Bret and Jemaine) may not be back on HBO until Jan. 18, but Funnyordie.com is streaming the Season 2 premiere episode online. So what is "New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" up to this season? First up, they're working on a jingle for Femident, an organic toothpaste for women. Plus: Mel's back!
Watch the full episode after the jump.
William Petersen (CSI), Terry O'Quinn (Lost) and Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Starting with this week's column, Matt Webb Mitovich and Mickey O'Connor welcome fellow senior editor Tim Molloy to the Mega mix. Every Wednesday, our troika of scoop-hunters will answer your questions! (To that end, send all queries to email@example.com.)
I will be sad when William Petersen leaves CSI, because I don't think he will be able to be replaced. I will watch the first week he is gone, but I don't think I will watch it after that. — Fox
MATT: Normally I turn a blind eye to Mega Buzz questions not phrased as such, but this topic begs addressing. Having sneak-peeked this Thursday's (super-creepy!) episode, in which Gil first shares his decision to leave CSI, I concur that yes, it is going to be very hard to say goodbye come Jan. 15. But I must put this out there: Give change a chance. After getting a feel for Laurence Fishburne's criminology prof, I'm curious ...
Flight of the Conchords by Nicole Rivelli/HBO
Flight of the Conchords' next season take-off may be its last.According to The New Zealand Herald, famous sons Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie shared with British magazine Q that they were seriously mulling ending the series after the second season due to the creative struggles they've encountered in making it."The second series seems to me like it would be a good end to the show," McKenzie said. "I feel like another 10 [episodes]... that will be enough."The duo, which used already written tunes in the show's first season, is still in the process of writing the new music narratives, which they've found "difficult.""We've got a lot of half-songs," Clement said. "We've got an album's worth of beginnings of songs." Season 2 of the HBO cult hit was scheduled for a 2008 bow, but has since been postponed until next year. The comedy is up for four Emmys this month, including two in the Original Music and Lyrics category. Joyce Eng
Question: I have a quick question for you regarding the 10 series finalists for this year's Emmys. It seems to me that HBO always manages to get acknowledged (even when I feel they shouldn't). The fact that Flight Of the Conchords made it over the other comedies you mentioned seems strange. I know this show has its fans (many of my friends love it, and personally I love the musical interludes but not the show), but it's a very quirky show, one that seems like it would be ignored if on a major network. Meanwhile, none of the CBS comedies you mentioned got a nod. Plus Desperate Housewives had a creatively revitalized season and gets ignored, but Entourage — for its weakest season — is a finalist. I also agree with you that those other CBS comedies (How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Big Bang Theory) are superior to Two and a Half Men. Anyway, it just seems like years after it was earned, HBO always gets by on their cachet from 10 years ago.
Answer: I agree that
Lee Pace and Anna Friel in Pushing Daisies by Scott Garfield/ABC
At least now we know which shows don't have the proverbial snowball's chance in Hollywood of getting best-series nomination. Underdogs like Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad and The Shield (to name the top drama snubs from my own cheat sheet) and How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Big Bang Theory (three superior CBS comedies passed over for Two and a Half Men, again) as well as Desperate Housewives (whose creative comeback failed to sway the Emmy nominators) and the beyond-edgy Californication.All were shut out when the TV Academy released its list of top-10 contenders for best drama and comedy series, which now submit themselves for inspection this weekend by a blue-ribbon panel whose rankings will help narrow the cut to roughly five in each category. The lists are heavy on hip cable fare: four in comedy, and fully half of the 10 drama contenders. Critics' darlings that have survived so far include Friday Night Lights, The Wire, Dexter, Mad Men, Damage...
Entourage by Claudette Barius/HBO
Fans of HBO's usual slate of summer staples will have to wait until the fall for new episodes. As a result of the writers' strike, the fifth season of Entourage, along with original episodes of Big Love, Flight of the Conchords, and its new vampire series, True Blood, will not premiere until the fall.HBO will fill the summer slots with movies and plans to move up the premiere of Generation Kill, a limited series based on the Iraq War. J.R. Whalen
Entourage by Le Goff/HBO
Sunday night's Entourage season-ender delivered 2.2 million total viewers, matching the HBO series' Season 4 premiere numbers. Still, it was off from the 3.4 mil who tuned in for the Season 3 finale. But our little Johnny fell in love, so it's all good. Leading out of Entourage, Flight of the Conchords wrapped its freshman run with an audience of 950,000, down a quarter-mil from its June 17 debut. The CMT original film Dale drew 3.1 million viewers on Tuesday, making it the most-watched telecast in the cabler's history.
Question: It seems, more and more, that cable television has taken the cynical route. Shows like Damages and Rescue Me offer a very harsh view of the world. Even comedies like Californication serve up bad behavior as a form of entertainment. I don't doubt that, at least with Damages and Rescue Me (I haven't had the opportunity to watch Californication), the writing is top-notch and the acting impeccable. But at what point did television (cable in particular) become bad-as-we-want-to-be? Do you think that cable has now created a landscape where show producers push the envelope just because they can? The offerings may be fun to watch, if you like that sort of thing, but I can only imagine the dreck that will come out in the future, with loads of illicit sex, swearing and sliminess, and viewers may end up desensitized to it. Clearly, I prefer shows in which I wouldn't mind hanging out with the main character (and my parents taught me that swearing too much just meant you had a poor ...
Bill Paxton and Jeanne Tripplehorn in Big Love by Lacey Terrell/HBO
Sundays are seldom as busy during the regular TV season as was the case this weekend, with season and series finales all over cable. So much for summer being the sleepy season. If you'd been watching any of these shows this summer, you wouldn't have wanted to miss the payoffs.Big Love: So much drama and trauma on HBO's increasingly addictive domestic melodrama about a family man and the three wives who alternately adore and tolerate his whims, schemes and transgressions. One reason I love the show is that it has lines of dialogue you could never hear anywhere else. Heres Nicky: Our husbands dating life is none of our business. Bill to Barb: There are two other people in this marriage. Bill to Margene: You are not having the neighbors baby! Barb to Bill: I dont want a fourth [wife]. Margene: Boss lady outed us to the neighbors!So twisted, and yet presented in such a way that it almost seems normal. Th...