Random thoughts: TV news edition!

21:51, Nov 29 2012

It's been a slow television week - despite brilliant episodes of Homeland, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire and SoHo's new BBC-made police drama Line of Duty, starring Lennie James and about a dozen folk you'll recognise - so this seems like the perfect opportunity to weave our way through a forest of topics that just aren't big enough for their own blog posts. That's right! It's a brand new Random Thoughts: TV News Edition! Let's go ...

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE TV writers, Alan Sepinwall, has released a new book titled The Revolution Was Televised; it traces the recent history of serial drama, with chapters on hits like The Sopranos, Deadwood, Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica and Breaking Bad. I really enjoyed this taster, the first part of the chapter about Lost, in which he explains that the first season could have ended with the survivors fighting the monster. I'm not making that up.

THE GOOD FOLK AT Ain't It Cool News have been flashing around the artwork for the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, titled The Snowmen - in addition to the official poster, they've also got a rather comical shot of the bad guys themselves. By the way, Prime have told me that they are negotiating to air the special very soon after the UK broadcast. Keep an eye out for more information at the OTB Facebook page (link below).

DID YOU KNOW THAT Scott Bakula's character on Quantum Leap nearly leapt into the body of Tom Selleck's character on Magnum PI in what would have been the most insane television crossover ever to take place?At least, it nearly happened, if you can believe the people at Cracked.com. (Warning: that link is mildly NSFW.)

SO MUCH FOR WEDNESDAY'S blog post: Angus T Jones has already apologised for his outburst against Two & A Half Men, saying "I apologise if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation". Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen weighed in on the topic, saying "it is radically clear to me that the show is cursed", before going on to say "I dare anyone to spend 10 years in the laugh-track that is Chuck Lorre's hive of oppression and not suffer some form of an emotional tsunami." Ah, Charlie. Still crazy after all these, er, months.

WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE of AMC, in light of the impending conclusion to Breaking Bad and the final seasons of Mad Men? The cable network has a pair of interesting dramas on the way: Halt & Catch Fire is set in the 1980s and tells the story of three players in the growth of personal computing, while Turn follows a group of amateur spies during America's fight for independence in the 1770s. By the way, did you realise AMC's The Walking Dead has a chance to be the first cable show ever to end the year as the highest rated scripted series? Not bad for a zombie drama.


FOLLOWING ON FROM THE cancellation of TV2's big pickup 666 Park Avenue, Deadline is reporting that Emily Owens MD (to be aired on Prime in 2013) has been cut loose by The CW, and the Stateside remake of The Inbetweeners (currently without a time slot here) has been canned by MTV. Fare thee well, failed dramas!

OKAY, IT ISN'T TELEVISION related, but I can't help but get excited by rumours that Joseph Gordon Levitt will play Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie (to be released in 2015), and by speculation that the film will continue in a shared fictional universe occupied by Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel.

IN CASE YOU MISSED the good news, Julian Fellowes and the producers of Downton Abbey have negotiated themselves a fourth season for the period drama - I'm pretty happy to hear this, especially given the resurgent, back-to-its-best Season 3. Also, in case that isn't enough, Fellowes is behind a US-based period drama called The Gilded Age, which will be set in late-1800s New York and follow the tribulations of a wealthy family. Nice!

IN OTHER NEWS, BREAKFAST - TV One's morning show - has announced that Toni Street will be taking over co-hosting duties following the departure of Petra Bagust. I'd be more excited, but Toni Street-Rawdon Christie is exactly the pairing everyone thought should have taken over hosting duties before Bagust and Corin Dann even started. Oh well, at least Breakfast got it right eventually.

"IT WORKED FOR GAME of Thrones, why can't it work for Homeland?" EW'S Adam B Vary makes a fairly compelling case for why everybody's favourite mentally unstable double-agent needs to be whacked before the end of the second season. I don't mind if he lives or dies ... just please, Homeland writers, don't give us a Season 3 in which Brody and Carrie are living together in some kind of pseudo-The Honeymooners (with Carrie as a new-age Ralph Kramden). Nobody wants to see that.

IF IT WASN'T FOR fellow television blogger (and highly skilled satirist) Paul Casserly, I would never have realised that US cable network HBO turned 40 years old last week - though I disagree on his Top 10: Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are nearer the top and The Wire takes first place, if you ask me.

I'M NOT SURE WHAT they're putting in the water at SyFy, the US-based science-fiction channel and home to shows like Warehouse 13, but they should up the dose: in the last couple of days, there have been reports that the network is readying a reality show titled Robot Combat League, a real-life version of the premise to Real Steel, and are looking at reviving Kevin Costner's financially-flopped-but-actually-rather-good mid-nineties global warming tale Waterworld as either a new film or a television series. Full disclosure: both of these ideas made me a little too excited.

POOR OLD DOBBO HAS another reason to cry: Sports Tonight has been cancelled by TV3, to alleviate pressure on the current affairs budget. I think this is a real shame. How am I supposed to wind down before bed now?

TRY NOT TO PANIC ... but Sherlock isn't going to be back until late 2013, maybe 2014, at the very earliest, thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch's villainous role in the new Star Trek movie, and Martin Freeman doing reshoots for The Hobbit: Seriously, Please Stop Extending This Film Series (in theatres December 2023).

FOR THOSE OF YOU who waited until last night to watch (due to the 10.30pm time slot), here is my review of Wednesday's absolutely phenomenal and absolutely devastating episode of The Walking Dead.

TODAY IS THE LAST day of Movember - I've been growing a moustache for the annual event, and if you'd like to donate a few dollars for a great cause, you can do that here.

LAST, MY CONDOLENCES to the family of Larry Hagman: the actor, best known as the evil oil tycoon JR Ewing on Dallas - the man at the centre of the famous Who Shot JR? cliffhanger which had over 90 million American viewers in 1980, making it one of the most watched episodes of anything, ever - passed away last week at the age of 81. May his 10-gallon hat never be forgotten.

What TV news has caught your eye in the last week? What else has been on your mind?

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