CBS

patricia arquette medium promo

The CSI franchise is spawning yet another series, this time set in the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division in Quantico, Virginia. While there’s no official name yet for the new CBS show, there is a lead, as Medium and True Romance star Patricia Arquette is set to be front and center of a team tasked with solving crimes that “start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world.” Arquette’s Medium, a supernatural procedural drama, aired on NBC from January 2005 to January 2011 and coincidentally ran directly against CBS’s CSI: Miami and, in later seasons, CSI: NY. Arquette won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her fictionalized portrayal of real-life medium Allison DuBois in its first season on air.

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Frances Ha - Greta Gerwig

The entire planet was palled by a cratering sadness late last night when it was announced by Variety that Greta Gerwig, Queen of Indie Darlings, had signed on to produce, write and star in CBS’s spin-off sitcom How I Met Your Dad. Her most ardent fans are furious that they’ll be able to see an actress they love on a weekly basis. Of course, per Arbitrary Cultural Rule #293, it also means that her nuanced indie filmmaking career is over. As we all know, once you’ve chosen artless sell-out fare that will provide a higher profile that empowers you to make more personal films, you can never make a personal film again. To make matters worse, Gerwig’s show will shoot in New York City where independent films are rarely, if ever, made.

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Walter White Dr House

Holy God, would this be an awesome buddy cop spin-off. It would be like an immovable object meeting another immovable object. Now, there’s no way that Walter White and Dr. House would ever actually team up, but we’re getting the next best thing (which also sounds like the next best thing to hit television). According to Variety, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore are executive producing a new CBS series called Battle Creek – a show about two detectives (who couldn’t be more different!) fighting crappy budgets and dire situations in order to sweep the streets of the show’s namesake city in Michigan. Let’s see. CBS is a wildcard, but with antihero protagonists (assumption, but come on), an iconic American city and a deteriorating infrastructure, this fits the formula for prestige TV perfectly. No matter what, the potential created from these two master storytellers teaming up is through the bathtub-breaking roof.  Gilligan’s post-Breaking Bad project was always going to be cause for excitement, but this is answering the door to discover the pizza place accidentally made an extra pizza for you. Gilligan and Shore? That’s enough to make anyone feel better about Heisenberg’s reign of terror coming to an end.

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They say the world is divided into two types of people: those who prefer Star Wars and those who prefer Star Trek. Of course, they also say the same thing regarding Elvis Presley/The Beatles, chocolate/vanilla, and Charlie Sheen/Emilio Estevez. I’ve always leaned towards the Star Wars side of things (along with The Beatles, chocolate and Estevez), and to that end I’ve never before watched an entire episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The original series I’ve seen from beginning to end over the years, but The Next Generation? Never gave it the time. Which reminds me… the world is also divided into people who prefer Captain James Kirk and those who prefer Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The show ended its seven-season run in 1994, but the series has never received the high definition treatment that fans have been clamoring for. That HD drought ends this week as CBS-HD and Paramount bring all 25 episodes of the show’s first season to Blu-ray along with a strong complement of special features. And now I’m no longer an NCC-1701-D virgin.

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Channel Guide - Large

The premise of the new CBS sitcom ¡Rob! is only interesting if you’ve never heard of Fools Rush In or Guess Who or the Meet the Parents trilogy or perhaps if these are the only movies that you’ve ever truly enjoyed. After a six-week courtship, Rob (Rob Schneider) has eloped with Maggie (Claudia Bassols), having never met her mother and father. Being introduced to the in-laws under these circumstances would probably be distressing for most people but it is particularly so here because Maggie is Mexican-American and Rob…isn’t. Awk-ward! What’s worse, Rob is apparently unable to have a normal conversation with someone whose ethnic background is different than his. “I’m a huge fan of Mexican culture,” he says, trying to endear himself to his father-in-law Fernando (Cheech Marin). He continues: “This dip is excellent. I believe it’s called guacamole.” Was this the kind of woo he was pitching when he first met Maggie?

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

Ah, the television midseason. By now, the public has decided which new shows they’ll stick with (Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl), which they’re unsure about (Pan Am, Prime Suspect, Once Upon a Time) and which aren’t even worth thinking about (The Playboy Club, Free Agents). There’s little chance that if something hasn’t become appointment viewing by now, it’s worth cancelling the DVR season pass. So while we’re all finally getting over the tragedy that was Charlie’s Angels, the network bigwigs are using their highly-representative sample (comprised, one can only imagine, of elderly people, religious zealots, and the entirety of the state of West Virginia) to determine just what they’ll throw at us next. Sure, some of the best shows have been birthed out of a midseason replacement (ahem, Happy Endings, ahem), but the pickings are often more than slim – shows the networks don’t often find strong enough to debut with their fellow newbies in the fall. So what will we have to look forward to (or to run away from) in our TV Guide in the coming weeks? Sure, PBS will kick off the second season of critical and ratings darling Downton Abbey January 8th, while NBC’s 30 Rock is back January 12th. Cee-Lo Green will once again be gracing our television screens with The Voice’s post-Superbowl premiere, and Timothy Olyphant will be emanating his rugged swagger on Justified once more, as the lawman drama kicks off its third season January 17th. But what of the newly minted […]

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At this point, the undying love yours truly has for the Canadian cop drama Flashpoint is more than known. The dynamics of its three-dimensional characters, the quality of its episode to episode stories as well as its season/series long arcs, the high standard of acting employed by both its regular and episode specific cast, all these things make for one of the best television experiences anyone can have. This week’s episode was especially important as it’s Flashpoint‘s first go around in the U.S. since leaving the airwaves of CBS for ION. The episode did not dissapoint.

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This past March, the Mark Gordon-produced, Ben Ripley-written, Duncan Jones-directed science fiction thriller Source Code hit theaters to both critical and commercial success. So much commercial success apparently that the film is being commissioned by Gordon and CBS for a TV adaptation without Jones or Ripley involved. According to EW, the series will focus on “three former federal agents who are part of a top-secret program. Each week, they’ll use “Source Code” technology to jump into the consciousness of people involved in tragic events.” Clearly that’s a fairly big leap from the film where the main protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) had no clue that he was inside the Source Code. The series will mark the first time ABC Studios will produce an off-network show. But as this will clearly be more of a procedural, it will fit right in at CBS who has actually been taking stabs lately at more high concept versions of the genre (like Person of Interest).

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Ratings… We all hate them. They’re the things that keep programs like American Idol on the air but shut out shows like Lone Star. It’s no secret that the system is out-dated. When the Nielsen Ratings were first established, the only way to watch television was through, well, a television. There was no on-demand cable, no internet, no laptops… you get the point. Because of the archaic nature of the current system, many eye-balls are not counted, and thus, fan favorite shows get cancelled (I’m still shedding a tear for CHASE). It’s not that the networks have a vendetta against fan-favorite programming, they just need it to be profitable. And if the data says “this works, but this doesn’t” that’s what they’ll follow. In other words: Don’t hate the playa, hate the game. But thanks to CBS, it looks like that game might be changing sooner, rather than later.

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Next to The CW, CBS is the network we’ve heard next to nothing from in regards to shows getting picked up. Some announcements were made last month as well as yesterday, but over all there hasn’t been a definitive list yet. But that all changes this morning as CBS has announced their schedule for next season. As for the full list of returning shows? Not many surprises there: How I Met Your Mother; Hawaii Five-0; NCIS: LA; Criminal Minds; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; The Mentalist; CSI: NY; Blue Bloods; Rules of Engagement; 48 Hours Mystery; The Good Wife; and CSI: Miami. As for the schedule itself? It’s actually quite radical. So before commenting on it, you should read it for yourself:

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Starting with the biggest, and frankly just annoyingly scary stories in the bunch, according to Deadline, cartoon “expert” (or devil to some people) Seth MacFarlane is finalizing a deal with FOX that will give him the green light to reboot the classic cartoon The Flintstones for both television and film. Frankly, there is no way to respond to this without wanting cause physical injury to someone. But needless to say, it’s a bad idea. In other news, CBS has picked up three more pilots to series including “The 2-2 (formerly known as Rookies) and Unforgettable (formerly known as The Rememberer) and the comedy How To Be a Gentleman” according to TV By The Numbers. And finally, NBC in addition to the clips we saw on Sunday, has released full four minute trailers for many of their new series. Each trailer includes loads of footage not seen in the clips:

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After Sunday’s bombshell NBC announcement it’s a wonder as to what could possibly top it. Well we will know that answer Monday afternoon, but for now CBS has made some pre-upfront decisions on some current shows. The William Shatner starring $#*! My Dad Says has been given the boot by the network. The first show to be based on a twitter stream was never able to really recover after it’s decline in ratings that began in October. Also having the door slammed in its face is freshman law-comedy The Defenders which has been on the bubble since the top of the season. Another CBS comedy, Mad Love was also thrown out after low ratings performance. But it’s not all bad news, the remake of Hawaii Five-0 which has proven to be a juggernaut for the network on Monday nights has been given a second season pick up. I for one am beyond happy to hear this and look forward to arguing the merits of Alex O’Loughlin’s charisma with Rob Hunter for yet another season. [Ed. note: Merrill is the one who claims that O'Loughlin actually has charisma.] Also getting a second season order is bubble procedural Blue Bloods which recently underwent a major overhaul behind the scenes after the shows creators were fired by CBS in order for the network to make the show “more procedural.” Also receiving a renewal is the freshman Chuck Lorre comedy Mike & Molly which has seen major success on Monday nights and serves as yet more proof […]

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Continuing with our on-going coverage of all things TV for the next few days, NBC has made yet another pick up announcement for four more series orders. The four pilots that have been picked up to series are “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, starring Laura Prepon, Free Agents, starring Hank Azaria, Bent, starring Amanda Peet, and BFF (formerly Best Friends Forever)” according to TV By The Numbers. The astute reader will notice that all of these series are comedies. Could NBC be planning another day worth of prime time comedy in addition to their already stacked Thursday night comedy block? It’s looking very likely. As for the cancellations? The peacock has decided to finally pull the plug on the god awful demon spawn that is The Event. The show has been an absolute mess since day one with a forcefully, and annoyingly convoluted plot. Let this failed show be a sign to all other networks, just because one sci-fi show is successful (LOST), doesn’t mean all of them will be. Of course, that’s not all that got cut.

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A few weeks ago, news came out that CBS was dropping their CIA comedy CHAOS from the schedule, and as a result was pushing the U.S. premiere of established police procedural Flashpoint up a month to the 8pm slot. A slot which is new to the show as Flashpoint has always been switching between the 9pm and 10pm slots since it began in the summer of ’08. I had the chance to ask series co-creator Mark Ellis about what fans can expect from the upcoming season:

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Team One is under investigation after an active spree shooter at a gala leaves one of the highest, and bloodiest body counts in the unit’s history. Things get even more unstable when an SIU agent (Lauren Holly) is called in to asses Team One’s conduct. Was the SRU out of line, or were they acting by the book? At the end of the day, there is much more to this investigation than the agent is willing to lead on. And by the end, her true motive for her ruthless hunt will be answered. And Team One will be faced with one of the worst nights of their lives.

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A little girl who has been crying wolf to 911 for the last month is suddenly faced with a real life crisis when her mother is gunned down at point blank range in her home. Now it’s up to Greg, Ed and the rest of Team One to find her and her father before the other three gunman find them. But there is much more to this little girl than any of the SRU realize. At the same time, Greg receives an unexpected visit to SRU HQ. And this person has come to deliver a message that will rattle him to the core.

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Flashpoint

Team One suits up for a hot call in a residential neighborhood after some people reported a loud fire cracker like sound. Turns out that, that sound was the bullet of a Mac10 being fired inside a stash house where a buy is currently taking place. Upon storming the front of the house the team discovers that Ed’s brother Roy is behind the buy. Now it’s up to Team One to figure out if Roy has turned to the wrong side of the law, or is he in fact playing an elaborate game of undercover cat and mouse to take down one third of the entire Toronto illegal gun supply.

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It’s an average night in Toronto. That is until a group of kids kidnap a teen and assault him. That’s where the SRU comes in. At first they try to find the abducted teen, but soon learn that he escaped the clutches of his attackers, who happen to also be his team mates. But then things take a turn for the worse when the abductee shows up on the roof of his school threatening to jump off. Now it’s up to Parker, Ed and the rest of the team to talk him down before it gets any worse, while at the same time trying to figure out why the team members assaulted him in the first place.

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Teams One and Four suit up when a 911 call comes through the line from someone claiming that a Neo-Nazi cult is planning a mult-bomb threat across the city. But things don’t go as planned when some of them escape after the initial raid. Now it’s up to the SRU to not only take down the cult, but find the bombs and defuse them before all hell breaks loose. Major developments: Jules may have a new love interest. What worked: The best episodes of South Park are the ones where the boys are just being boys. The best episodes of House are the ones where House just being a genius doctor. The best episodes of Futurama are the ones where the crew is just going on a wacky adventure. And the best episode of Flashpoint are the ones where the team is just doing their jobs, and that’s what this episode was all about. Multi-team hot call, 911, Neo-Nazi raids, shootouts, and that’s all before the opening title sequence. I said that last week’s episode lacked in action, well this episode made up for it big time. Between Parker getting shot (which I did not see coming), a massive warehouse shoot out and a multi-level bomb threat, this episode is jam packed with action. And more importantly, quality action. Action you don’t see much on TV anymore now that shows like 24 are off the air.

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The SRU is called in after a woman kidnaps two little girls. But things take a major turn when it’s discovered that the woman is actually the biological mother of the girls she has taken. Now Team One must track her down and get the girls back before she goes off the deep end. Major developments: Greg learns about Ed’s wife’s pregnancy and also decides to re-connect with his son who he hasn’t seen in ten years. What worked: This episode is what I hope to be the beginning of an ongoing story line with Greg. He has talked about his son throughout the season and last weeks episode explained why Greg’s ex-wife took his son to Houston. Now he realizes that things have changed and he wants to see him again. It’s a very cool dynamic that show needs, because Greg has been really down played this season so far.

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