It's always interesting when a basic cable network adds a new series to its schedule that does not readily resemble the kind of programming for which said network is known. This has been a big week for such swings with the premieres of the reality series with the self-explanatory title "Virgin Territory" on MTV, the boundary-pushing reality series (also with a self-explanatory title) "Dating Naked" on VH1, the relationship comedy "Married" on FX, the scripted drama "The Divide" on WE TV and, tonight, the debut of a show that one might describe as a powerful, profound psychological drama, "Satisfaction," on …
Yet another basic cable network enters the original scripted programming arena tonight with the premiere of "The Divide" on WE TV. This eight-episode series, which could return for future seasons, has for convenience by many been classified as a legal drama. But with a racially charged primary storyline about a white man convicted of the murder of most members of an African American family and the aftermath involvement of a group known as the Innocence Initiative that seeks to overturn the conviction, it proves to be so much more as it plays out.
The premiere tonight on the El Rey network of the new action series "Matador" comes as a genuine breath of fresh air at a time when the sheer volume of high-brow dramas (or those aspiring to that distinction) threatens to crush the audience and the industry alike. It seems that all of a sudden everything has to appeal to the intelligentsia (or those aspiring to that distinction) with storytelling that is dense, intense, top-heavy with serious themes and generally over-thought, if not over-wrought and overdone.
The oversights this year in the drama arena may have been exasperating, but in general, voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences didn't disappoint with their Emmy Award nominations in the comedy categories.
The nominations for the annual Emmy Awards are usually a mixed bag of happy acknowledgments and infuriating oversights. That is certainly true this year. For me a pall was cast over the entire affair when I learned that CBS' consistently outstanding "The Good Wife" failed to get a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. This omission begs the question: Are voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences paying attention to the work being done in their business, or do they just look at it as one big popularity contest?
If it's true -- and by the time you read this we might have a definitive acknowledgement from ABC -- the news that Rosie O'Donnell is (or very likely will be) returning to "The View," the show on which she frequently became quite agitated back in 2007-08 before departing amid memorably explosive circumstances, suggests that ABC Daytime may still be mired in the type of questionable decision making that egregiously compromised the network's once robust daypart. In other words, if ABC is even considering recruiting O'Donnell, it shouldn't.
The arrival tonight of the new science fiction thriller "Extant" on CBS represents a carefully considered expansion of CBS' continued dedication to providing summer programming and reinforces its recently renewed interest in adding quality scripted fare to its summer schedule. That interest paid off last summer with the first season of "Under the Dome" -- a big success both for CBS and for Amazon Prime. "Dome" and "Extant" were developed specifically as escapist summer fare, a concept that has eluded many broadcast and basic cable networks over the years.
For a sport that seems as simple as soccer does, the biggest impediment to getting me to be a hardcore soccer fan is that it's really, really confusing to me. Why doesn't television do a better job of explaining how the sport is played? Actually, I can only speak for ESPN's coverage here, because I didn't really understand what the European announcers were saying, but I think it has been missing some really good teachable moments that would encourage more casual viewers to become longer-term soccer fans.
I remember enjoying "Green Acres" when I was a little kid. I was likely responding more to the visual and occasional physical comedy in the show than to the writing and the performances, which I appreciate more in adulthood than ever before. Some folks have suggested that my renewed fondness for "Green Acres" is an indication that I'm regressing. But I think that as an adult I'm enjoying it in an entirely different way.
The news that Yahoo has committed to fresh episodes of the cult success "Community" -- the average audience of which these last few seasons on NBC was likely smaller than the crowd of shoppers that passes through the Mall of America in December -- signals that we now have another serious player in this expanding arena. It seems that broadcast's weakest shows are finding new life as the Internet's most delectable treats, or so Web programmers would like us believe.