2005, TV Show


Friday Night Lights on Emmy Short List?

Friday Night Lights by Paul Drinkwater/NBC Photo

Well, this is good news to come home to. (Thanks, by the way, to all the well-wishers who e-mailed gracious greetings during my time off. Can't recommend Paris highly enough, even during an unseasonably chilly rainy spell.)If the reporting on site is accurate, the top-10 drama finalists at this intermediate stage of the Emmy nominations includes eternal NBC underdog Friday Night Lights—which could use some good news, seeing as how NBC yanked its summer repeats for now. (Tell me you didn't see that coming.) While we find ourselves fretting over whether NBC's new post-Kevin Reilly management will stand by this show next season, we can at least take comfort that the industry hasn't entirely forgotten this show. Now that it's made the first cut (adopting a football term) into the popular top-10, we can only hope the judges screening the drama candidates will respond to this show's rallying cry: "Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose."If you missed the news report, her... read more

Short Cuts: Showtime Peddles Pot, Rome and More

Showtime premieres In Pot We Trust, a documentary exploring the controversy surrounding medical marijuana, on July 9 at 4:20 8:30 pm/ET.... Rome: The Complete Second Season hits DVD on Aug. 14.... USA Today has inked a deal to collaborate with ABC News on the 2008 election coverage. According to a colorful pie chart, USA Today and ABC each will contribute 48 percent of the content, while four percent of us prefer lemonade over ice tea. read more

Grading the Finales

So are we supposed to think Bob Dylan is the final Cylon? Wouldn’t surprise me a bit after Sunday’s mind-blowing season finale of Battlestar Galactica. I watched a rough cut of this episode several weeks ago, in order to be able to include it in a mid-season roundup, but it feels like a year has passed, I’ve been so anxious for it to get out there so more dedicated and obssessed fans than I could ever claim to be can start weighing in. I rarely have the luxury to watch anything twice, but I decided to watch Sunday’s episode in more or less real time, so I could savor it again in a more polished version and see if it would have the same impact the second time around.Did it ever. As they say, holy frak, right?Battlestar earns an A-plus with its jam-packed finale, the last we’ll get of the show until the next calendar year. (That’s the bad news. The good: There will be at least 22 more hours of Battlestar to kick around come 2008.) Not only was Baltar’... read more

Now that Rome is winding up ...

Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson, Rome

Question: Now that Rome is winding up its run on HBO, can we give some love to the show? I thought this second season was really great. What a tremendous job by all the cast (James Purefoy as Mark Antony, Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus, Ray Stevenson as Titus Pullo, Polly Walker as Atia). I really enjoyed the intrigues of young Octavian and how everyone underappreciated his ruthlessness. They brought to life a vision of the early Romans that I found original and repelling in its viciousness and hedonism. I wish they had a longer run, but at least they are ending on a high note. Answer: I really enjoyed this Sunday's finale, which, as usual, plays fast and loose with history but delivers some rousing, raunchy entertainment and a fitting wrap to the story we all care about: what happens with Vorenus and Pullo. I was actually reminded of Lonesome Dove as this final chapter played out, and that's high praise. Overall, I think the show veered a little too heavily into Dynasty camp for its ... read more

Since HBO's Rome will be ...

Question: Since HBO's Rome will be ending this Sunday, how about you give some Grade A prattle before the show never generates any more scoop ever again?

Answer: Let's just say the story doesn't follow the historical record exactly — particularly where Caesarion's fate is concerned. Producers also took some creative license (in a geographical sense) with Antony's and Cleopatra's twin suicides. And there's a double double-cross that I don't think anyone will see coming.

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Critic's Notebook

Topic One: Dancing with the Stars. One long grin, that show is. I’d forgotten what a fun lark it can be, after the last few months of watching American Idol take itself way too seriously. Nothing’s really at stake on the Dancing show, except minor issues like dignity and rescuing B-list reputations from the celebrity coal bin. Early front-runners: Joey Fatone (especially if he keeps shedding the pounds as he dances) and Apolo Anton Ohno, the closest thing the show has to a hottie. (Possible miscalculation of keeping up his skating schedule when he should be perfecting his dance moves. He wasn’t nearly as electrifying as he needs to be.) And because a female is overdue a win on this show, let’s not count out Laila Ali, an interesting mix of athleticism, aggression and (when it matters) unexpected grace and charm.Charm really is the selling point of this ABC phenom. Even a klutz like Billy Ray Cyrus probably earned a few pity points for being a good sport. And I... read more

Am I the only one noticing ...

Question: Am I the only one noticing that the HBO show Rome is doing sort of a Forrest Gump thing with the Titus Pullo character? Let's see, he's stumbled on the Roman treasury in one episode, saved Octavian's life, personally caused the Pompey-Caesar conflict, trained Octavian in battle (and slipped information that would lead to Caesar's demise), fathered Cleopatra's child, and more recently killed Cicero. After a while, it's really getting silly how linked this one guy is in history. Is the BBC taking more of a comical approach to this?
Answer: Apparently so. Honestly, the best way to approach Rome (while it lasts) is as a guilty pleasure, not as an I, Claudius-style masterpiece ... read more

I absolutely love the HBO ...

Question: I absolutely love the HBO series Rome. I anxiously awaited its second season premiere and was rewarded with another masterful installment. I know HBO has decided that this will be the show's final season, but how did they come to such a decision? What is too expensive, the talent? The CGI? The remote locations? Surely they have made an initial investment in sets and clothing that might offset some other expenses? Is there any chance Rome will see a third season? Thank you for any light you can shed on this for me! Answer: I don't know enough about the expenses of producing Rome to be an authority, and HBO doesn't tend to comment on such matters, but I think it's fair to say that filming an episodic period epic on location, using primarily British actors on Roman sets, is enough to break even HBO's bank. It's an international coproduction, involving the BBC and Italy's RAI. But still, I think the bigger issue here is that if Rome had become HBO's "next big thing," which it ... read more

24, Kiefer Sutherland - Matt Roush reviews season 6 of 24

Want to know how to snap a physically and mentally exhausted hero back to life? Try whispering this in Jack Bauer's ear: "You will die for nothing." By now, any evil terrorist should know better than to taunt 24's mythic warrior (Emmy champ Kiefer Sutherland) this way. When it happens, near the end of the first hour of 24's darkest and most unsettling season yet (premiering Jan. 14 and 15 at 8 pm/ET on Fox), Jack awakens with a bloody vengeance. But this isn't the same old Jack. This Jack is damaged goods, reeling from nearly two years of torture in a Chinese prison where he uttered nary a word. Now, when he speaks, he says things like, "I don't know how to do this anymore." Say it ain't so. Making matters worse — something 24 does fiendishly well — the U.S. has suffered in Jack's absence, victimiz read more

Ah, Walnuts! Sopranos Delayed Again

Don't fret, James Gandolfini's knees are fine. (This time.) Evoking that Saturday Night Live bit where Sopranos cast members couldn't recall where they left off/who hated who, HBO now is promoting an April 2007 return for the crime drama — a month later than last expected. Per the New York Daily News, HBO will ramp up to the final season by encoring the last round, starting Jan. 15 — a day after new seasons of Rome and Extras debut. read more

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Premiered: August 28, 2005, on HBO
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (49 ratings)
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Premise: The Roman Empire's rise gets a royal treatment in this sprawling drama, which begins in 52 B.C., when Julius Caesar finally conquers Gaul, after years of war. Back in Rome, however, the Senate seeks to undermine Caesar's power, setting the stage for inevitable civil war. The HBO-BBC co-production took more than a year to make on acres of sets at Italy's legendary Cinecitta studios.



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