"Strike Back" returns to Cinemax tonight. As I said on Twitter, I have a hard time watching it without thinking of Philip Winchester as "Commando Nanny," a planned series based on the real-life experiences of reality maestro Mark Burnett. It never made it from pilot to air. Akron's own Rachel Sweet, these days a writer-producer on "Hot in Cleveland," recalled the show this way when we talked a couple of years ago:
''Oh, my God, it was such a fiasco!'' Sweet said. ''There was Mark Burnett . . . and there was the WB, wanting to get a reality show from Mark Burnett. I met with him probably a year before, and he pitched Commando Nanny , and I said, 'No, I can't write that.' He went off and got another writer to write the pilot, and the pilot was shot. I was on a deal with Warner Bros., and I got a call from [Warner Bros. TV boss] Peter Roth, and he said, 'Guess what? You're running Commando Nanny .' '' Sweet had no choice, since - as she put it -? Roth ''signs my checks.''
''It was a business deal, basically,'' Sweet said. The WB ''gave [Burnett] a scripted show because they wanted a reality show from him. And neither one ever materialized, because it was an ill-conceived situation. Sometimes you get caught in those and, you know, you write your best stuff and you see what happens.''
Back to "Strike Back": As is evident in tonight's season premiere, it is a very efficient show. It is as if someone looked at the scene in "Heat" where the bank robbers seemed trapped and just keep moving forward, guns blazing, until they open a path for rescape -- and said that's a series. On "Strike Back"
they keep moving forward, regardless of whether they are in dingy hotel rooms or the middle of river. Move. Shoot. Move again. Shoot more. Set something on fire. MOVE.
I can watch that. I won't go far out of my way to do so, but I won't change the channel immediately when it's on. I know, it has a plot, and schemes, and double-dealing. All I care about it watching it move.
Today is the birthday of actress Anna Kendrick, so good in things like "Pitch Perfect" and "Up in the Air," and the Huffington Post has marked the occasion with 28 great tweets by Kendrick. Enjoy. And those of you who dream of romance with Kendrick. note her PB&J demands.
"Breaking Bad" returns Sunday. I have a few, non-spoilery words about that here. Or you can wait and read it in Sunday's print edition. Or should I say premium print edition? Because the Beacon Journal delivers premium print SEVEN days a week.