It’s a slow day here at the blog as I try to get ahead on all the things I need to do before and during Comic-Con and the TV critics press tour (today’s project: transcribing a typically-wordy interview with Matt Weiner that will run, along with my usual review, after the “Mad Men” premiere), but I wanted to take a moment to offer thoughts on some recent TV news developments:
I apparently will be watching a lot of FX this fall. FX is one of my go-to channels in general, but they tend to air one show at a time – or, at least, one at a time that I care about. (This summer, for instance, the wonderful “Louie” is airing alongside “Rescue Me,” which I gave up on after the disastrous end to last season.) But their fall schedule (Fienberg has details on timeslots and premiere dates) includes one of the best dramas on television in “Sons of Anarchy,” Shawn Ryan’s private eye show “Terriers” (which also stars the wonderful Donal Logue, whom I’ve loved going back to his Jimmy the Cabdriver days on MTV, and who starred in one of my favorite underrated indie films, “The Tao of Steve”), plus “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The League.” The latter is a show I didn’t much like when it debuted (in part because it was a comedy about fantasy football that seemed to be afraid to be about fantasy football) but that grew on me. The former, while I don’t always love it (and only occasionally write about it) is coming off possibly its most consistent season so far, which included Green Man vs. the Phillie Phrenetic, Flipadelphia and, of course, Kitten Mittens). So any broadcast network stuff airing at 10 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may have an uphill climb to find their way onto my DVR.
I am very excited – and very worried – about “Luck.” The HBO drama about horse gambling may have the most prominent creative firepower, in front of and behind the camera, of any show in the channel’s history. “The Sopranos” made stars out of James Gandolfini and David Chase, where “Luck” comes in with Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, among others, in the cast, and it has David Milch and Michael Mann as its producers, all of them bringing their stars with them. Horses are a passion of Milch’s, so I have high hopes for this. At the same time, as I discussed briefly in yesterday’s podcast, I have no idea how the temperaments of Hoffman and Milch will co-exist long term. Perhaps Hoffman has mellowed in his later years, but I would love to be a fly on the wall the next time he gets new dialogue hours or even minutes before cameras roll on a scene. This is one where the behind-the-scenes feature on the eventual DVD ought to be almost as promising as the show itself.
I had higher hopes for Amber Tamblyn’s career than being the Replacement Thirteen for a few weeks on “House.” I loved Tamblyn on “Joan of Arcadia,” even though I eventually lost interest in the show as a whole, and I enjoyed her a lot as the relatively sane center of ABC’s short-lived “The Unusuals.” I know work is work, but now her big move is filling in for Olivia Wilde for a few weeks on “House”? Well, she’ll get to play opposite a great actor in Hugh Laurie, but this is a show that only occasionally does right by its ongoing guest stars, coming off a season that started off wonderfully before falling back on its usual tricks. But more people will see her there than watched any of “The Unusuals.”
Back to musing on Don Draper and company…