FX

Fargo

Aw jeez, we didn’t think that FX’s hit series Fargo was really going to run for just one single season, don’t cha know, but it sure is exciting to hear that we’re getting more of the good stuff, you betcha! (End bad slang usage.) Hot on the heels of some major Emmy nominations — 18 total, the most for any FX series ever — the cable channel has renewed their beloved series, based on the Coen Brothers’ film of the same name, for ten all new episodes. And they really will be all new, thanks to a new setting, a new cast of characters, a new actual cast, and a new crime to follow. But, rest assured, this Fargo promises to still feel like both of its predecessors. So what does the second season of the series hold for us? Well, probably plenty more winter jackets. But this time, they will be vintage winter jackets.

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fx movies

With yesterday’s announcement (via THR) that cable network FX is adding yet another television series to their development slate that comes from movie blood (this one is a spin on 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans, with that feature’s co-writer again returning to James Fenimore Cooper’s novel of the same name for historical entertainment), the network’s transformation from “channel that plays Fox reruns over and over” to “original programming dynamo” seems nearly complete. Well, nearly. The network has steadily turned out solid original television programming over the years – including shows like Nip/Tuck, The Shield, Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Damages, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Archer, The League, Louie, Wilfred, The Americans, and American Horror Story – building the sort of slate that any network would love to have, and yet FX still doesn’t seem to get the same respect as other cable networks with their own original programming (like the current big gun, AMC). So why is that? Because what FX doesn’t have is its own brand identity – there is nothing about these shows that feels indelibly “FX-y.” In fact, every show currently airing on the network could easily be divided up along other network lines (The League could be HBO, and Justified is easily AMC, Louie could have a home at Comedy Central, and on and on). How can FX make “FX” finally sound like any television lover’s favorite network?

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Terriers Movie?

It’s a tale as old as TV: great show gets made, nobody watches the first season, the network cancels it before it can find an audience, and then the small but dedicated fan base bitches and complains for the next ten years about how it needs to be brought back, or how there should at least be a movie made out of the property so that they can get some closure. Sometimes, like with Netflix reviving Arrested Development or Firefly spawning the Serenity movie, the fans get their wish and a beloved property ends up getting a second life. But, nine times out of ten, great shows that were gone too soon are dead for good, and all of the whining, complaining, and online petitions in the world won’t do anything to bring them back. The media landscape is changing though, and new technologies and new means of rallying people together are making it easier and easier for creators to take control of their content and not rely on big TV networks or big movie studios to get their stuff produced and distributed. Are we soon going to reach the point where a small but dedicated fan base is all that a show is going to need in order to keep going? That’s what television producer Shawn Ryan is hoping, as he’s told TBI Vision (via Screen Crush) that he’s going to try to use Kickstarter to fund a film version of the awesome and under seen FX private eye […]

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Channel Guide - Large

Anyone who has watched Mike Judge’s Idiocracy can’t help but see some of the more moronic features of the present as signs of a Dystopic future where electrolyte enriched sports drinks flow from drinking fountains, Costco hands out law degrees, and “Beef Supreme” is a perfectly acceptable baby name. We can be thankful, though, that two new shows on FX are at least attempting to combat stupidity. Brand X with Russell Brand, which wrapped up its six-episode run earlier this month, and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which premiered last week, synthesize what’s happening in the news in ways that are accessible to people who don’t usually seek out political comedy or care about social commentary. Like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, both Brand X and Totally Biased offer a sometimes biting, sometimes silly spin on current events. The two FX shows, however, aren’t concerned with satire or news parody and structurally are informal to the point of almost seeming haphazardly thrown together. Russell Brand and W. Kamau Bell dress casually and spend the majority of their time standing in front of a wall—something that is fittingly and simultaneously reminiscent of a comedy club performance and an academic lecture.

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Channel Guide - Large

I doubt many people tuned into the premiere of Charlie Sheen’s FX show Anger Management thinking that it was going to be their new Thursday night fave. If you’re anything like me, then sheer curiosity is what brought you to Sheen’s latest, in which he plays, of all things, a therapist (get it? ‘cause he’s Charlie Sheen and he’s helping people with their problems! Oh brother! Cue laugh track). The vague, non-plot of the series opener finds Sheen counseling a group of sitcom archetypes (the senior citizen whose dialogue is filled with folksy bigotry, the young gay man who sits beside the folksy bigot on a couch, the socially inept guy who makes women uncomfortable, the superficial chick who’s made uncomfortable by the creepy, socially inept guy) and fuming over the values his ex-wife’s new boyfriend is passing down to his daughter. You see, he helps people with their anger management issues but he also has anger management issues, hence the title and hence the reason why you don’t really need to watch more than one episode. Honestly, the show wasn’t the wholly objectionable thing that I’d thought it would be. I did, however, find almost every aspect of it mystifying.  “How is it that this exists?” I thought to myself as I watched the premiere.

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Boiling Point

As much fun as it would be to pick on SOPA/PIPA some more and make some jokes about how “SOPA,” when said aloud, is Spanish for soup, this is something entirely different. Oh, it still has to deal with censorship, but this is some self-imposed completely idiotic and maddening censorship. On air, movies and television have to play by a set of rules. These rules aren’t totally set in stone, but basically there are some words you can say and some you can’t say. Then there are some you can sort of say, but mostly only in the right context. An example? Pretty much any show on at any time could say “bitch” meaning female dog, because that’s just the definition of the word. If you want to call someone a bitch, generally that’s kept to after 8pm. Cable gets a bigger break than network, as it’s a paid service, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to fines and more importantly, advertiser backlash, so everyone kind of plays with kid gloves. Of course, it’s parents who should be responsible for policing the television. If a show wants to say bad words, let them. Put it on after 8pm, put a “Language” notice on it, and parents can set their TVs to block it. Easy cakes. I mean, I still don’t understand why HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax won’t show hardcore porn, because why not, amirite? But I’m getting distracted by the thoughts of boobies. This boiling point is specifically about language. […]

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We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. You gotta give Ryan Murphy credit for one thing, he sure as hell doesn’t believe in doing anything “normal,” and his triumphant return to adult television in the new FX series American Horror Story fits right in with the rest of his filmography, and the creepy child would agree. What can honestly be said about American Horror Story? Well first off, there’s no way to properly market this show. It’s honestly one of the most twisted things this reviewer has ever seen attempted by a mainstream television network. Here are a few adjectives and phrases I would use to describe the series: bloody, creepy, hyper-sexual, campy, crazy, ummm…okay…, WTF?!, where the?, huh?, holy shit, behind you! If any of that sounds appealing, then you are going to fucking love American Horror Story.

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In 2004, Rescue Me premiered to an audience that just three years earlier has suffered one of the biggest tragedies of its lifetime. Since then, the show has gone on to be critically praised for its very real portrayal of life for those closest to (and sometimes far from) the tragedy of 9/11. From its dealings with PTSD in firefighters, the loss of relatives (both in blood and in spirit), and general themes about family, Rescue Me has never pulled any punches in the way it delivers its drama, and it all finally come to an end in the series finale.

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No one can deny that in the last ten years there has been a revolution in the world of basic cable television. The programs that air now are generations ahead of what the landscape used to be. And this summer we will see the end to one of the programs that ushered in that change, Rescue Me. Yes, sadly the boys of Ladder 62 will be hopping into the rig for the final time come the end of the season, but from what this reviewer has seen so far (seven of the nine episodes), the show has no plans in riding of quietly into the sunset.

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Wilfred is… Wilfred is…. I honestly have no idea what Wilfred is. Recently, FX afforded me the opportunity to watch the latest edition to their comedy line-up, an adaptation of an Australian show called Wilfred starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gaan (who is the creator of both versions of the show and stars as the title character in both). The plot of the show follows Wood’s character Ryan as he’s going through a massive case of depression, to the point where he attempts suicide at the start of the series. After the failed attempt, he meets his new neighbor Jenna and her dog Wilfred. The only problem is that while everyone else sees a dog, Ryan sees a man in a dog costume that speaks to him and smokes a crap load of pot.

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At the beginning of the ’00s, basic cable networks were known for nothing more that twenty four hour news and syndicated broadcast television. Some networks had a few original shows, but nothing that really went passed the throw away slots. And certainly nothing that would ever win any Emmys and gain critical acclaim. The only place on cable you could go for ground breaking drama was HBO. That was it. At least until 2002 when a little known cable broadcaster known as FX came along. In 2002 the network launched the first of a radically bold, and never before seen move in basic cable. Hard hitting, edgy original programming. This began with what would become one of the most critically acclaimed crime dramas in television history, The Shield, but it didn’t stop there. In 2003 the network launched the massive hit Nip/Tuck. A year later would see the turn to a more emotional drama with the hit Rescue Me. And then in 2005 FX went comedic with the hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Things laid dormant at FX with a few programs reaching minor success, but that changed in 2008 with the networks biggest hit to date, Sons of Anarchy. Sons would go on to carry the network for the next two years, allowing FX to test new ground with shows like Louie and The League, as well as launching the hit Justified, bringing us to the current television season.

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With Smallville ending in a few weeks, Human Target (unfortunately) hanging on by a the skin of its teeth in ratings, The Incredible Hulk in pre-production and the Wonder Woman pilot now shot and awaiting word on series pickup possibilities, this is a great time to discuss what other comic book franchises would be well served by a live action TV adaptation. So without any ado at all, I offer five comic book franchises that would make great TV and the networks that would make the best match.

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The time has come. World War III is upon us. IT’S ON! As Barry Word would say. Lights and Reynold will step into the ring for one final time to determine who the true champ is and settle the score once and for all. Both men will sweat. Both men will bleed. And both men will leave everything they have in the ring to know who the king really is. But by the end, the true winner will come forth and be crowned champion for the final time. Ding! Ding! Ding!

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We’re one week away from the ultimate boxing showdown and the count down has begun. But before Lights and Reynolds go at it for the final time, Lights will get one more surprise thrown his way. And the drastically changed odds on the fight and the attempted drive by aren’t it. This surprise is going to force Lights to make a choice. A choice between his family and… his family. Light and Reynolds will also meet face to face one final time before stepping foot in the ring to determine who the champ really is.

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Are you a recently defrosted human from the year 1999 that woke up in the thirtieth century? If so, then do I have some news for you… Comedy Central has ordered two more seasons of Futurama for a total of a twenty six episode order. Each season will contain thirteen episodes, clearly the return of the show last year drew even stronger ratings than anyone realized, because it takes a bomb under the feet of a television executive to get an order this high. And to be honest, I would not put that out of the realm of possibility for Bender Bending Rodriguez. It took about five episodes to get its footing back, but once Futurama started delivering episodes, some of which surpassed the quality of the original run from FOX, it never stopped. So I’m more than welcoming of another season, and the fact that we can guarantee Futurama through 2013 is more than a happy surprise for the day. But unfortunately that news is counter balanced with the unfortunate announcement that FX has decided not to pick up the critically acclaimed boxing series Lights Out for a second season. This news though tragic does not come as a surprise considering the ratings were only slightly higher than Terriers, and like Terriers, the show was never able to cross the one million mark in ratings beyond the airing of the pilot in January.

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It’s been a week since Lights and Death Row went through a glass window courtesy of well, each other. The fight is on and the date is set, but this week Lights has much bigger fish to fry. While on an errand run with his sister, Lights runs into a old friend and retired boxer. But this is no ordinary run in, because this old friend can barely remember what he ate for breakfast that morning. And things get even worse when Lights learns that one of his “favors” has come back to bite him in the ass.

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Last week Lights’ come back took a major blow when Johnny accidentally stabbed him with a pair of rusty scissors. Now what was a smooth training regimen till August, has become a race against the clock to get Lights healed up before the big day. And things take a turn for the worst when Lights gets word that Barry has begun the process of looking for a replacement opponent for Death Row Reynolds. By the end of the episode, at least one person with make a choice that they might end up regretting down the road.

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It’s only been a couple weeks with Ed Romeo but Lights can already feel a new energy within him, and boy is he gonna need it. But not for boxing… his family and his higher ups are going to force Lights to choose between winning and promotion, and by the end of the episode both of them are going to come back to bite him in the ass. Death Row Reynolds’ personal life with also be put in the spotlight, and he too will have to start choosing between his family and his career.

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It’s been a week since Lights’ big comeback win against El Diablo and he’s all fired up for a now confirmed fight in ten weeks against Death Row Reynolds. But things aren’t so bright and sunny after Pops dropped a bomb on Lights when he decided to no longer continue training him if he was going to go through with the Reynolds fight. Lights is now in desperate need of a new trainer before the fight, and his search will lead him to a possibly unstable man who is hell bent on changing everything about Lights that Pops has built over the years.

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Ding, ding, ding, it’s fighting time. The day has arrived and Lights has done everything he possibly can to get ready for his come back fight against El Diablo. But his right eye is still giving his trouble, and when Johnny begins to take notice of the level of intensity Pops is taking to train the prize fighter he steps in to try and help. And that’s only the beginning of Lights’ troubles. Because he and Theresa are about to get the one phone call they could have never expected.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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