Weekly Roundup is a feature posted each weekend on I Wonder if You Wonder. It gives me a chance to react to the week’s industry news and to provide some quick thoughts about the films and TV shows I’ve been watching. (Plus it’ll give you some idea of the sheer amount of stuff I watch!) Let’s dive right in.
This week’s music to read by: The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” from tonight’s episode of Mad Men (and, y’know, Revolver).
No TV reactions this week – nothing really struck my fancy – but there’s plenty of news to make up for it. And with a whole bunch of season and series finales coming up over the next couple of weeks, rest assured that I’ll be writing a lot about TV in the immediate future.
The Avengers: Yeah, they’re a pretty big deal. It’s made $640 million worldwide – which, by the way, is already more than megahit The Hunger Games – and broke the record for best opening weekend ever, which was previously held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The movie’s performance vindicates Marvel’s unique strategy of emphasizing continuity between its superhero movies, with each character getting their own individual film before they were brought together for The Avengers. A few quick takes: 1) I’m ecstatic for Joss Whedon, who deserves all of the success he’s getting. And to think that Fox cancelled Firefly after 13 episodes. 2) I’m glad that Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame is finally getting a chance at big-screen stardom. 3) I can’t wait to see if The Dark Knight Rises can match The Avengers’ success. And 4) Can either of those flicks knock off Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time? Hmmm…
Veep and Girls Renewed: It’s TV renewal season! Most of the major networks won’t make up their minds until next week or beyond, but a few shows did get renewed this week, starting with HBO’s freshman comedy duo of Veep and Girls. I’m an enormous fan of Girls and everyone else seems to be an enormous fan of Veep, so good news all around.
CW Renewals: A trio of shows on the CW were also renewed: Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and 90210. No surprises there. More interesting is the fact that Gossip Girl hasn’t been renewed yet; its ratings place it firmly in “bubble” territory, but it’ll probably get renewed anyway thanks to its devoted core audience and a lack of other options. Nikita and Ringer still look like goners.
The Borgias Renewed: A Showtime renewal. I’ve never seen the show so I can’t really comment, but yay, I guess?
The Glass House: A strange story here. This summer, ABC is (was?) planning on airing a new reality show called The Glass House, from former Big Brother producer Kenny Rosen. Described as “an interactive real-life and real-time reality competition, Glass House features 14 contestants living and competing for a quarter million dollars in a wired, state-of-the-art house, playing against each other as well as for the viewers’ online votes that will help determine which contestants are sent home and also which eliminated players will earn the chance to return.” If that sounds like a blatant Big Brother rip-off to you, then you’re not alone, because only a couple of days after this announcement CBS threatened legal action if ABC proceeds with the show. Should be an interesting story to follow in the weeks ahead.
Community on May 17: Viewers will be getting a triple dose of NBC’s Community next week, with new episodes airing on Thursday, May 17 in the show’s usual timeslot of 8:00 and then again at 9:00 and 9:30, with the 9:30 episode being the show’s third season finale. This is a highly unusual development in several ways, and has prompted wild speculation online as to what it might mean. Under normal circumstances, a move like this would be viewed as a network “burning off” its remaining episodes of a show in anticipation of an official cancellation announcement. What makes this situation unusual, however, is the fact that it’s taking place in the middle of the May sweeps period, which is one of the times of the year when advertisers pay special attention to network ratings in preparation for setting advertising rates for the upcoming year. During sweeps, networks go all out to get the highest ratings possible, often saving things like big name guest stars and major plot developments for during this time period. The 9:00-10:00 timeslot that Community is filling next Thursday was originally reserved for the season finale of Awake, but Awake’s ratings have plummeted over the past several weeks and it seems likely that Community was called on to fill the timeslot simply because NBC execs thought that it would get higher ratings and thus be a good move for sweeps. Still… a very unusual decision by NBC, and as a Community fan it has me slightly apprehensive. We’ll likely find out Community‘s ultimate fate sometime early next week, which makes things even more ominous; if NBC has decided that it’s going to cancel Community next Monday, then burning off all of its remaining episodes on the Thursday makes more sense, since it might help the network avoid the kind of prolonged fan displeasure that has accompanied the cancellation of several other cult shows.
Cougar Town to TBS?: ABC’s underrated show Cougar Town seems to be heading for cancellation, but word leaked this week that cable network TBS might consider picking up the show if the price is right. This kind of speculation happens all the time with doomed shows and almost never leads anywhere, but there might be a grain of truth to this one: for one, the producers of Cougar Town are the same guys that ran Scrubs, which also switched networks mid-stream (from NBC to ABS, in that case), and two, TBS has frequently expressed interested in getting into the sitcom game, and in fact has several show in various stages of development. The proposed deal would apparently be for two 15-episode seasons and could be announced as early as next week.
Previewing features and articles I’m working on for I Wonder if You Wonder, some of which will be posted this week, some in weeks ahead, and others that’ll be abandoned due to laziness or frustration. (Hey, at least I’m up front about it.)
- More articles in the “30 Days of Alien” series.
- A Listmania feature on the upcoming Sight & Sound poll.
- A look at one particular aspect of adaptation, using The Hunger Games and another famous novel/film as prime examples.
- Examining the Golden Age of TV Title Sequences (hint: we’re in it right now).