Friday Night Lights

The Bridge

Here’s one of my pet peeves: critics describing the setting of a TV show or film as a “character,” the way Manhattan was routinely called a “fifth character” in Sex and the City. Describing a location as a “character” is supposed to be a compliment — it means the writers, set designers, and directors have done their job of building a convincing world — but to me it usually just sounds like a disparagement of TV shows and films that don’t bother to feature a unique background. The current “golden age of television,” which dawned after a conspicuous New Yorkification and Californization of the TV landscape in the 1990s, has largely taken place outside of the five boroughs and the Golden State. The Sopranos, the herald of the prestige cable drama era, took place in northern New Jersey — geographically close but culturally far from the big city. Breaking Bad has achieved brilliant cinematography in New Mexico, while The Wire and Friday Night Lights accomplished in-depth explorations of why Baltimore and the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, are the way they are. Justified gets great mileage out of its unique and detailed portrayal of Harlan County. All the above shows were filmed on location — enriching TV as a visual medium. Even Mad Men, The Shield, and Sex and the City, which do take place in America’s two cultural capitals, have grander ambitions regarding their settings. The action in those shows takes place mostly in relatively small neighborhoods of their respective cities. Thus, Don Draper’s Manhattan isn’t Jerry Seinfeld’s. Vic Mackey’s LA isn’t even in the same universe as Beverly Hills, […]

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Bates Motel

Who in their right mind would want to see a prequel to Psycho? Sequels and remakes have been attempted, but have failed miserably recapturing the original’s magic. If Gus Van Sant can’t come out looking good when playing Alfred Hitchcock, then why even bother? A producer and writer from the show, Lost honcho Carlton Cuse, attended this year’s Southwest by Southwest to both tell us and show us why, premiering the show’s pilot to a few hundred people. It’s fair to say he answered the question of “who cares?” swiftly, mainly because of the prowess of Vera Farmiga, helping to bring real drama to the show’s key relationship. The pilot has a good deal of set up, but it still allows for smaller, more nuanced moments to tells us everything we need to know about Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother’s dynamic.

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The 11 Best TV Shows of 2011

Because it’s Saturday, we’re talking television. That’s when Amber Humphrey publishes her weekly entry of Channel Guide, our twice-weekly column on all things television. But there’s something else at work this week. It might be Saturday, but it’s also the final day of the year. And what better way to send off our coverage of television in the year 2011 than with a list of the shows that we loved most dearly. In order to do so, Channel Guiders Amber Humphrey and Mikela Floyd each contributed their picks for the five best shows of the year, in no particular order. In keeping with our ’11 Best’ theme for the Year in Review, FSR Publisher and closet television fanatic (don’t tell movies, we don’t want them to be jealous) Neil Miller throws in one final pick with his own best show of the year. All powers combined, they have unleashed our list of the 11 Best TV Shows of 2011.

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The first glimpse we got of Peter Berg’s upcoming board game adaptation (it hurts me somewhere deep to have to type those words) played a little coy with us, and at first made it look like the film would be sticking to the Battleship board game’s naval battle roots. Once a spaceship popped up and the whole thing turned into an alien invasion movie, it was kind of a surprise. This second look at Battleship, however, doesn’t bother to take any time tying this movie to the board game at all. It’s all alien invasion from beginning to end. And with a color palette very reminiscent of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, a bunch of elaborately techno ships and weapons that look like they’re right out of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, sound effects that seem to be ripped from Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, and a big ol’ headline that says this movie is from the company that brought you Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, I think it’s safe to say that Universal is aiming this thing less at fans of grid based strategy games and more at fans of Michael Bay’s big, dumb Transformers movies. It leaves me with a question: if this movie isn’t going to have anything to do with naval battles at all, why even attach it to the Battleship name? Why not just admit what you’re doing and call it Gobots? Check out the new trailer below.

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Young actor Zach Gilford is best known for his role as Matt Saracen, the unlikely choice for a starting quarterback on TV’s Friday Night Lights. Over the course of a few seasons, Gilford took Saracen from being a shy, mumbly-mouthed, and in-over-his-head second-stringer to being a less shy, less mumbly-mouthed star player with aspirations toward being an artist; so you know the kid has the chops. But even if you’ve already proven your skills on the small screen, you don’t just jump right into meaty Hollywood roles, you’ve got to pay your dues. To that end, Gilford has recently signed on to play Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sidekick in the upcoming action showdown Last Stand. Last Stand is the Kim Jee-Woon-directed Western that has been described as a cross between Die Hard and High Noon. It stars Schwarzenegger as an aging, small town sheriff who finds himself mixed up in some nasty business with a Mexican drug cartel. You see, one of the cartel’s big wheels has broken out of a U.S. prison, and Schwarzenegger and his sleepy town are the only things that stand between the escaped con and his pathway of destruction back into Mexico. I haven’t heard it mentioned until now, but apparently Schwarzenegger also has a bright-eyed young deputy under his command. This is the role that Gilford will be playing. It may not be a glamorous part, but you’ve got to break out of the stigma of being a TV and indie film actor somehow, and jumping into a […]

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Primetime Emmys broadcast. Winners will be highlighted in bold and you can check out the winners that were already announced at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The very first Emmy Award was given to a ventriloquist named Shirley Dinsdale who worked with a puppet called Judy Splinters. Is that significant? Of course it is. That fact coupled with the design of the award itself – a woman holding an atom – represent the true heart of television’s most significant celebration: artistic inspiration, scientific technology, and wooden humanoids that only talk with a hand shoved up their back. Ponder that while you bask in the glory of the victorious. Here are the winners of the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards.

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I’ve recently been using the magic of streaming video services to catch up with Peter Berg’s high school football melodrama Friday Night Lights. The show isn’t great, it’s got its good points and bad points, but easily the strongest aspect of the whole thing is not the teenagers or the football, it’s the marriage between main character Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami (Connie Britton). A lot of why it works is that their relationship is written more real, and with less forced crisis than any other marriage I’ve seen on a prime time drama, but the other part of why it works is because Kyle Chandler is just such a warm, engaging presence on the screen. And now that the show is over he’s going to need to find some more work. I’m rooting for the guy. He landed a pretty big role in J.J. Abrams Super 8 earlier this summer, and that’s got to help some with his visibility. And in a current piece focusing on the actor in USA Today, they’ve revealed that he has a small role in Ben Affleck’s upcoming hostage thriller Argo. I hadn’t heard his name attached to that film yet, and a quick look at the IMDB page reveals that it hasn’t been added there, so let’s treat this as news. And also I’ll treat it as an excuse to talk a bit more about the cast that Affleck has assembled. I already reported on the story that John Goodman […]

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Billy Bob Thornton owned the role of Coach Gaines in 2004’s Friday Night Lights, which is partially why it was so surprising for Kyle Chandler to own the role of Coach Taylor in a completely distinctive way when the television show hit in 2006. That pilot is one of the best produced in the past ten years, and it launched a hell of a series. That series which was borne out of the big screen now looks to make the jump back to its roots. “We have a real good script idea. We want to do it. We’re very serious about doing it. We intend to do it,” director and show creator Peter Berg told TVLine. He went on to describe the concept as one that revolves around Chandler and Connie Britton (who plays his wife in the series). The other roles would ostensibly be new characters taken up by new actors – the benefit of working with characters in high school. That very thing is a big structural part of why the show worked. New seasons would mean new seasons, and the audience would have to say goodbye to some and learn to like (or hate) newcomers. That won’t benefit a movie as well, but at its heart, it’s a story about sports and the impact they have on a small town in Texas. That’s a pretty classic story on its own. Now to see if Brian Robbins and James Van Der Beek have a new football movie in […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to links. These links will take you places. Mostly to great articles with topics rooted in the entertainment industry. Sometimes to shenanigans. You just never know. Especially if you don’t read before clicking. Comic-Con begins this week, and as you might expect, our team will be there to bring you all the play-by-play. If you’re around the San Diego Convention Center this coming weekend, keep an eye out for the Rejects. Also, you should read this 25 easy rules of Comic-Con etiquette over at io9. We will adhere to at least 10 of these. We promise.

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Yup, it’s that time of the year again. That time of the year where we TV folk bitch and moan about what shows won’t be getting some golden Emmy love because the Academy is full of old people who think basic cable is what holds up the Brooklyn Bridge, which they also saw get built… I think… That said, this year’s Emmy Nominations are no more surprising than they were last year. Mad Men leads in the scripted drama series dept with nineteen nominations, but more interestingly, the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce leads the overall with twenty one nominations. Before we get and further into this, let’s check out some of the shows that didn’t get nominated for anything in either overall, acting or technical categories (not that any of this matters, like usual).

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Actress Adrianne Palicki, fresh off of a press tour where she tried on a bunch of Wonder Woman outfits or something, has already landed her next big job. The Friday Night Lights veteran is set to make her highest profile jump to the big screen yet when she joins the cast of G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes. There has been a lot of casting news coming out about this one in the last few days, and it’s reportedly because Cobra Strikes got put on the fast track for a release next summer once it became clear that the Star Trek sequel was going to need more time to get made. Recently we’ve gotten news that Dwayne Johnson has joined the cast as Roadblock, the RZA as the Blind Master, and D.J. Cotrona as Flint. Palicki has been chosen to play Lady Jaye, and if I remember my cartoon continuity correctly, she was often romantically entangled with Flint. It might then be important to speculate on whether or not there is any onscreen chemistry to be had between Palicki and Cotrona. On the other hand, if I remember my G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra continuity correctly, onscreen chemistry might not be the sort of thing they’re worried about. Perhaps we should speculate on how she would look in one of those robotic urban assault suits instead. As long as there’s not too much pleather I’m sure it’ll be fine. Yo Joe! [Deadline Valparaiso]

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In my eyes Paul Thomas Anderson is pretty much the most bulletproof director working in Hollywood today. After a string of movies including the likes of Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and There Will Be Blood I’ve built up faith that anything he does is going to be extraordinary. So I’ve been following the development of his next film, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as the founder of a Scientology-like cult, very closely. In a happy bit of news, it seems like the film is one step closer to starting production, as in the past week several casting decisions have been made.

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Every TV season there are a select group of people that really stand out above the rest. People that really push their shows to a place that no one expects. People that take the medium of television and spin it on its head. And that’s why sometimes they need the love that the Emmys just refuse to give. And with that, I bring you The Top 10 TV Big Shots of 2010-2011. Let’s celebrate these creative minds and their teams in no particular order.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to the first week of April! Now that all of the internet jokes, gags, and pranks are out of the way it’s time to settle in with another week of movies and TV shows on DVD to keep you entertained at home. Like every other week of the year this one features a fairly interesting array of titles that run the gamut from the good to the bad, but we also get two offbeat comedies that I think are worth a purchase for fans of oddball romances and charmingly humorous characters. Oh. And two shitty Tron movies hit shelves this week too. Year Of the Carnivore A young woman named Samantha Smalls (Cristin Milioti) has a terrible sexual experience with her guitarist crush, and he suggests she cut loose, have fun, and gain some more experience in bed. And so she does… and along the way she learns everything you’d expect her to in an oddball, indie comedy from Canada. Milioti is adorable, endearing, and truth be told pretty damn sexy as the shy tomboy who giggles whenever guys touch her, and the movie features more than a few laugh out loud scenes of highly inappropriate self discovery.

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With premiere week over I’ve compiled a list of the week’s top premieres from each night. The winner of each night is based upon the quality of the writing, the shows entertainment value and if it’s a new series, the shows sustainability. This year had some extremely heavy hitters and some of the best performances we have seen on the small screen. So without further ado, here are the winners of the FSR Fall 2010 Watch List (please note that this list only applies to shows that started before or during the week of September 19th). Sunday: Boardwalk Empire In what should come as no surprise, Boardwalk Empire was top dog on Sunday. I’m not big into period pieces which is why I really never got into Mad Men, but Scorsese has made me fall in love with the 20’s and Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi is a great lead and a guy I can’t wait to watch every week. If only Scorsese could direct every episode and not just the pilot.

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Well, we’ve reached the middle of the week. Wednesday night has been home to many beloved series over the years. A night filled with shows that range from the hysterical to the dead serious, Wednesday is one of the best nights for television. This year is no exception. With more of the same coming down the pipeline from all networks. So put the kids to bed, break out that week old Outback Steakhouse left over, and refresh the DVR batteries because here comes Part IV of the FSR Fall 2010 Watch List.

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Friday Night Lights: The Second Season

The first thing I noticed from watching the second series of this underrated NBC drama without having watched the first is that just about every major female character has great big knockers.

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Doesn’t it seem like you could farm the entire cast of the new Justice League movie from the cast of NBC’s Friday Night Lights. It does to us…

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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