Category Archives: NBC

AU News: Misfits S2, Friday Night Lights S1, Miranda Coming to ABC2

A day after the Green Guide sung the praises of the “multichannels”, the ABC2 have made a slew of announcements letting people know why these channels have enjoyed a surge in popularity.

Over the next few months, people will be able to see some acclaimed dramas and comedies on ABC2. Some of them have aired before on different networks, but some are airing right from the beginning, allowing people to discover some real gems.

On Friday July 18 at 8:00pm, the second series of BBC comedy Miranda will premiere. Though it has received a somewhat mixed response, it is worth a look. The second series consists of six episodes.

From Friday July 29 at 8:30pm you will be able to catch Friday Night Lights right from the beginning. It has previously aired on Channel Ten in very late timeslots, so it is good to see it get a primetime run. It has recently wrapped up in the US after five seasons, with its fifth season airing on NBC.

Also on from Friday July 29 but at 9:30pm, the acclaimed British series Misfits will air from Season 2, forming a nice double-act.

And these are, of course, in addition to the great titles currently airing on ABC2 including Arrested Development and The Tudors.


News: James Spader closing in on The Office boss job

The long and arduous process of deciding who should replace Steve Carell in the hit NBC comedy The Office, and it’s firming as James Spader, who appeared as Robert California in the season finale.

However, it seems that he won’t be in the chair for long, as it is believed that he will talk his way to the top and become CEO of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre. This means the actor himself will likely not become a permanent addition to the cast.

So, what to make of this?

Well, many people will at first be disappointed that Catherine Tate will not become the new boss. Unknown to most US viewers, she is a proven comedic performer who became popular in both the UK and Australia for her Little Britain-esque show The Catherine Tate Show.

To many, she was the best- meaning funniest- part of a very dull finale, and many though she would add a different flavour to the show which would give the show- which is slowing in its old age- a new lease on life.

The addition of James Spader was one obviously made because of the fact he is a big name in the TV world thanks to his role in Boston Legal, hence he is also a recognisable face for new viewers to latch on to.

But the decision to only keep him on for a short time is an interesting one.

It has obviously been made due to a combination of factors; Spader may not want to commit to the show long-term. It is also a win-win for the show; as mentioned before, the familiar face, along with Spader’s good track-record will make it more difficult for the nay-sayers to criticize the addition of a new cast member. On the other hand, the flagged early exit will alleviate any of the doubts that Spader may bring. And if he does prove to be a phenomenal success, I’m sure NBC would have a clause in his contract allowing him to be kept on with a pay rise.

And the other reason for the rumoured short term? Possibly because the whole new boss experiment was largely a failure. The finale- despite its big names- was a fizzer. Even the David Brent/Ricky Gervais cameo failed to match the surprisingly brilliant Carell-Brent chance meeting earlier in the season.

Most of the guest stars supposedly in contention for the role were really never “in contention”; Jim Carrey? Ricky Gervais? Ray Romano? Puh-lease…

And now that Catherine Tate seems to have been ruled out – presumably the writers/producers couldn’t get her over the line with the network powers that be.

At least this way, Spader will be able to exit and wrap up that particular story arc without it looking like a cop-out. It will also leave a spot open for one of the established cast to move into.

For what it’s worth, it’s got to be between Ed Helms (Andy) and Craig Robinson (Darryl). Both have enjoyed considerable increases in fame since becoming major characters in the cast (Daryl has moved up from the warehouse while Ed Helms is now included in the main credit sequence).

They will both be looking for pay-rises for this reason, and making one of them the main man would allow for this.

I know it’s crazy, and I doubt they would go down the co-managers route again, but would the show even go with the both of them as bosses? It would certainly test their growing friendship (or “bromance”, if you prefer), and compare their contrasting characteristics well.

But again, they’ve already been down this path in the very mediocre season 6.

Which ever way it goes, it will certainly make for an intriguing season 8. And it will be interesting to see whether the show will benefit greatly from this shake-up or alienate its loyal fans.

A Quick Word on Community Season 2


There’s a slightly amusing interview from Zap2it with Gillian Jacobs who plays Britta on Community which got me thinking about Season 2 as a whole, and the (only slight) problems I had with it.

She takes slight offence (albeit somewhat mockingly) to the Britta being referred to as “strident”… she prefers “opinionated”. I would have thought it was a fairly accurate description though. Not that that’s a bad thing though, her character certainly adds a great deal to the show, unlike Chevy Chase’s Pierce.

For anyone who’s seen Season 2, they’d know that it was almost single-handedly ruined by the presence of Pierce. Now, I’m not coming at this from a show fanboy perspective, as in, “I hate Roy being on the show because he’s keeping Jim and Pam from getting together”, to use an old, The Office example. I’m talking about the way that he has become more of an antagonist than ever, creating unnecessary, annoying subplots to episodes which would have been fine as they were. Take the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode, in which a perfectly fine idea of an imaginary game of D&D was played out to boost the self-esteem of fellow student Neil (it makes more sense if you watch it), was ruined by way of Pierce’s sniping. Again, in the “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” episode, he was manipulative and conniving. Now again, I don’t mind so much the idea of him playing an antagonist of sorts, like he was in the first season (where he was pretty much just a bumbling, politically incorrect old man, who didn’t know any better), but for mine, he has shifted the focus of the show and he seems to constantly derail plot-lines. It has created a problem for both the characters on the show (should the keep in the study group or not?) and the writers (should they make him more docile and forget all this character “development” or play up his role as villain?) which hopefully is resolved in Season 3.

I found it interesting that at the beginning of the season, Chang was pegged at being a potential problem for the show (he no longer was a teacher, so he lost all of his power, and consequentially, any kind of gravitas or importance on-screen). It seemed he would become an annoying, insane presence on the show, who constantly wanted to join the study group. And it was quite admirable how the writers handled it, they introduced the Shirley baby-plot to make him appear more human, and his other appearances were inserted sparingly.


She also states; “I don’t know what’s left”, in terms of weird plot-lines for the show (they’ve done zombies, space, etc.), and that might indeed be a good thing. While the big, flashy episodes may garner a small amount of publicity, it relies too heavily on them and would appear gimmicky to newcomers. A return to Season 1’s more understated “big” episodes would be welcome (“Contemporary American Poultry”, for example).

And a word on the finale; yes it was good, but it could never top “Modern Warfare”, no matter how many big-name guest stars (Josh Holloway, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd) were shoved into it, no matter how long and overblown it was (a two-parter stretched across two weeks, no less), no matter how many shows it tried to reference (Star Wars, spaghetti Westerns, etc.), no matter how many “surprise” kisses were thrown in (I won’t spoil it), no matter how high the stakes were… It just couldn’t. But I reiterate, it was good, it was great even, but it couldn’t top the first, and it seemed endemic of the writer’s desire to top Season 1 by recreating the “best” parts of Season 1 and multiplying it by a billion. The best part about Season 1 was that it seemed different to everything else on the box at the time (and as it turned out, it was), Season 2 should have seemed different to Season 1, is all.

[And just a word on the Josh Holloway, Busy Phillips and Dan Byrd appearances.  I know the show is supposed to be meta, or meta on top of meta on top of meta, or whatever, but the fact that Abed referenced Lost in “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, then one of the central stars happens to show up on campus the next year… seems kind of strange. At least, if everyone assumes that he is a Holloway lookalike, there could at least be a sly mention of it. I’m happy to let the Cougar Town stars’ appearances slide, as even though Abed spoke incessantly about it in “Critical Film Studies”, he may not have seen these two celebs who have made their way into the crowd. Nit-picky? Narrh…]