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'60s "Batman" TV series coming to DVD and Blu-ray in November

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 31, 2014

Word of this has been around since at least Comic-Con, but here's the official announcement:

For the very first time, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) is releasing the fan-favorite original 1960’s Batman TV series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. On November 11, 2014, just in time for the holiday season, Batman: The Complete Television Series Limited Edition will hit shelves on Blu-Ray™ ($269.97 SRP). Batman: The Complete Television Series DVD ($199.70 SRP) and Batman: The Complete First Season ($39.98 SRP) will also be available. Additionally, The Complete Series will be released for purchase on Digital HD. This highly collectable set is one fans won’t want to miss!

 

Batman: The Complete Television Series features all three classic seasons of the fan-favorite show, including all 120 original broadcast episodes completely remastered, as well as over three hours of never-before-seen enhanced content including interviews with both Adam West (as Batman) and Burt Ward (as Robin). In addition to favorites West and Ward, the series featured a long list of notable guest stars and cameo appearances over the course of three seasons including Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, Liberace, Vincent Price, Burgess Meredith, Bruce Lee, Sammy Davis Jr. and many more!

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Big numbers for "Sharknado 2"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 31, 2014

The word from Syfy: Lions and tigers and sharks, oh my! Syfy’s pop culture sensation Sharknado 2: The Second One absolutely devoured the world during last night’s July 30 premiere, becoming the channel’s most watched Original Movie ever with 3.9 million total viewers and 1.6 million Adults 18-49. The movie also averaged 1.8 million Adults 25-54.

 

Sharknado 2 delivered One Billion (yes, with a B) estimated impressions for Sharknado Twitter conversations.

 

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WOIO gets Browns-Bengals primetime game in November; ripple effects for viewers (updated)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 31, 2014

Oh, the complexities of TV scheduling. WOIO (Channel 19) has the local broadcast rights to the Nov. 6 Browns-Bengals game, a primetime duel. The game is on NFL Network, but teams' home markets are supposed to get over-the-air broadcasts of cable games, and WOIO picked up this one.

Football is a consistently big ratings draw, and this gives WOIO the game during the hotly contested November ratings sweeps, so their decision makes sense. In fact, for some viewers, this may look like regular scheduling. CBS, with which WOIO is affiliated, will simulcast NFL Network games on Thursday nights from Sept. 11 through Oct. 23.

Since that pre-empts "The Big Bang Theory," one of the network's most popular shows, CBS planned to put "BBT" on Mondays beginning Sept. 22, then move it back to its regular Thursday slot beginning Oct. 30 -- the same night that it would have the season premieres of "The Millers," "Two and a Half Men" and "Elementary" as well as the series premiere of "The McCarthys."

The football means that those fans will get the premieres, then the following week have to seek the shows wherever WOIO ends up putting them. (I have asked WOIO it it has details. UPDATE:The station will run the prime-time shows immediately after that night's telecast of "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson," in other words in the early hours of Friday.) And there's more ...

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Watching stuff: "Guardians of the Galaxy"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 31, 2014

Asked for my reaction to "Guardians of the Galaxy" shortly after seeing it, I said it was "very 'Firefly.'" I didn't get to that point right away; at first it felt like a movie about the life of Han Solo outside of the "Star Wars" saga, and then like a Han Solo movie as if written by Joss Whedon and then to the idea that it was "Firefly," only in a somewhat weirder part of the universe than "Firefly" and its big-screen companion "Serenity" occupy.

This is not a surprise. Whedon, after all, is the maestro of "The Avengers." a consultant to Marvel and, according to many reports, a good friend of "Guardians" director and co-writer James Gunn.

In fact, if you look closely at the credits of "Guardians," you will see the names of Whedon stock company members Nathan Fillion (the "Castle" star who was also the lead in "Firefly/Serenity") and Alexis Denisof. "Guardians" has the wit and the cultural cross-references Whedon fans have come to expect -- and in a safely commercial context which Marvel and Whedon have so successfully occupied. Indeed, where Whedon has said in interviews that he wanted "Guardians" to have Gunn's voice, a look at Gunn's revisionist costumed-hero movie "Super" shows humor in a far grimmer, even uglier framework than the let's-pack-the-multiplex Marvel movies have tried.

Because of that, as often as "Guardians" could seem fresh, it still had an air of a project where punches were pulled and old Marvel tropes favored over something really bold.*

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NBC casts Allison Williams as Peter Pan

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 30, 2014

The "Girls" actress and daugthter of NBC anchor Brian Williams will star in the network's live musical production in December. The official word:

“Girls” star and classically trained singer Allison Williams has been cast as the iconic title character in NBC’s Dec. 4 telecast of “Peter Pan Live!” 
“We couldn’t be happier that Allison Williams is our Peter Pan,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.  “She’s a lovely rising star on the award-winning show ‘Girls’ -- where she occasionally shows off her incredible vocal talent -- and we think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook.”

"Allison Williams is a major find," said executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.  "She will reinvent the iconic role of Peter Pan with her wit, her warmth, her dynamic flying and her wonderful musical abilities.  The score will be sung beautifully and introduced to a whole new generation of families."

“I have wanted to play Peter Pan since I was about three years old, so this is a dream come true,” said Williams. "It’s such an honor to be a part of this adventure, and I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides,” added Williams, "what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?"

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Notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 29, 2014

You can read my notes about "Sharknado 2," "The Honorable Woman" and some other TV topics here.

Local author Martin Gitlin has a new book with his ranking of the 70 greatest sitcoms. You can read my chat with Gitlin here.

Women, violence and ESPN -- here's a good look at one recent controversy, and the woman who stood up against an ESPN star.

As Comcast looms, consider this.

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"Gone With the Wind": Thoughts?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 29, 2014

As you may know, I am going to talk about "Gone With the Wind" at Hudson library in a couple of weeks. I rewatched it over the weekend, taking notes along the way. But what do you think? How often have you seen it? Do you love it/hate it? Why do you think it's considered one of the greatest American films? Please use the comments section for your notes. All remarks are appreciated.

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Podcast: Discussing 'Fargo,' anthology shows, a 'Simpsons' marathon and more

By Dan Kadar Published: July 28, 2014

This week on the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podcast, pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels analyzes various topics. Among them are the second season of Fargo, which will be set in the 1970s. It's not the only show distinctly changing direction, with Better Call Saul and True Detective deviating from their source material. Rich also contrasts being a movie actor versus a TV actor.

Later in the show, Rich talks The Simpsons and the show's upcoming 10-day marathon on FXX starting Aug. 21. All 552 episodes of the classic Fox animated series will air. What is your favorite episode? Rich is partial to "Mr. Plow." We close discussing NCIS, one of the most popular shows on TV, despite it not being critically acclaimed.

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Cartoon Network renews 5 series

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 25, 2014

The official word: Today and tomorrow at Comic-Con® International: San Diego 2014 Cartoon Network will host jam-packed panels for all their hit original comedy animated series.  Amongst the surprises and hilarity of Comic-Con and coming on the heels of ratings and critical success around the world, the Network will announce Season 7 of the Emmy®-winning Adventure Time, Season 7 of the Emmy®-winning Regular Show, Season 2 of the Emmy®-winning Uncle Grandpa, Season 2 of Steven Universe and 13 more half hours of Clarence.  Regular Show, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe and Clarence originate from the prolific artist-driven Cartoon Network Shorts Program at Cartoon Network Studios.

"We have created global momentum with this group of home-grown series,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network.  "Our commitment to keeping all of these comedies going strong is a reflection of our continued belief in the impressive creative talent powering them." 

What time is it?  Just nominated for a 2014 Primetime Emmy® Cartoon Network is happy to announce that pop cultural phenomenon Adventure Time will be back for a seventh season.  New episode premieres from Adventure Time’s Season 6-to-date have averaged almost 2.9 million Persons age 2+, nearly 1.4 million kids 2-11 and more than 1.0 million kids 6-11.  Adventure Time’s unlikely heroes Finn and Jake are buddies who traverse the mystical Land of Ooo and encounter its colorful inhabitants. Adventure Time is created by Pendleton Ward and is produced at Cartoon Network Studios.  Currently in Season 6, Adventure Time airs Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. (ET/ PT).

Regular Show, also nominated for a 2014 Primetime Emmy® has been greenlit for Season 7.  Regular Show’s Season 5 new episode premieres to-date have averaged nearly 2.5 million Persons 2+, almost 1.2 million kids 2-11 and 909,000 kids 6-1.  Created by JG Quintel and produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Regular Show features best friends and groundskeepers, Mordecai, a six-foot-tall blue jay and Rigby, a hyperactive raccoon who spend their days trying to entertain themselves by any means necessary.  Their everyday pursuits often lead to things spiraling out of control and into the surreal.  Regular Show currently airs Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. (ET/ PT).  Season six of Regular Show will premiere this fall on Cartoon Network.

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"Walking Dead" resumes Oct. 12

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 25, 2014

The official word: AMC announced today from Comic Con International in San Diego, CA the premiere of “The Walking Dead” season five on Sunday, October 12 at 9pm ET/PT.  As in previous seasons, the series’ fifth season of 16 episodes will air in two-parts with the first eight hours kicking off October 12 and the final eight episodes returning February 2015.  Following “The Walking Dead” will be the season premieres of AMC’s unscripted series “Talking Dead,” hosted by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist), at 10pm ET/PT and “Comic Book Men” at midnight ET/PT.  Internationally, “The Walking Dead’ will return to audiences in 125+ FOX International Channels (FIC) markets within 24 hours of the U.S. broadcast, as part of FIC continued commitment to broadcast the series near date-and-date globally.

 

“From the opening tease in the premiere onward, season 5 is without question the most ambitious and satisfying season this amazing team has ever crafted” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “In the zombie apocalypse, event television is alive and well, and I am proud to acknowledge that this uniquely talented writing staff, production team and cast have once again raised the bar (and the crossbow).”

 

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Talking "Lucy"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 25, 2014

 

If I were to add one comment to this, it would be that "Lucy" is fundamentally Besson reworking "2001: A Space Odyssey" as an action movie. And even that does not precisely explain its weirdness.

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ICYMI: The new "Fifty Shades" trailer

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 24, 2014

"24: Live Another Day" coming to Blu-ray & DVD with "story extension" of the season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 24, 2014

The official word: One of television’s most critically-acclaimed dramas returns for one more mission as “24: Live Another Day” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD September 30 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Starring Emmy® winner Kiefer Sutherland* as legendary hero Jack Bauer, the action-packed series follows our hero in real time over 12 episodes as a new terrorist threat unfolds overseas.


The year’s most anticipated television event, “24: Live Another Day,” delivers more explosive action than viewers could have hoped for! Exiled in London for four years, former Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland) must spring into action to try to save U.S. President James Heller (William Devane). In retribution for a drone strike he ordered, Heller sits in the crosshairs of the widow of an al-Qaeda leader. Along the way, Jack faces his ex-love, Heller’s daughter Audrey (Kim Raver), who’s married to chief of staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan). Teaming with CTU operative-turned-hacktivist Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Jack risks everything to try to protect the U.S., prevent a global terrorist attack and outrun the CIA head (Benjamin Bratt) – as the pulse-quickening tension unfolds in real time!


Deemed one of AFI’s "Top Television Series of All Time" and winner 20 Emmy Awards, “24: Live Another Day” takes Jack to a foreign land for his most dangerous mission yet. The Blu-ray comes loaded with bonus material including “24: Solitary,” an intense story extension of Season Nine. Additionally, both the Blu-ray and DVD include the featurette “When Worlds Collide” illustrating how this thrilling season and the pulse-pounding storytelling stems from today’s terrorism and government headlines, “Destination London” focusing on shooting overseas, “Green Production” about the environmentally responsible making of the show and deleted and extended scenes.


Fans who want to experience every second of Jack Bauer’s heroism can also pickup, 24: The Complete Series on September 30, which features all nine seasons, including “24: Live Another Day” and the TV movie 24: Redemption.

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Todd Rundgren coming to Kent Stage in November; tickets on sale Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 24, 2014

 

 

Some of you may opt for a different song to define Rundgren. But "Loosen Up" is my favorite Nazz song. Home of the tuna fish hoagie, indeed. Anyway, the announcement: Todd Rundgren is coming to the Kent Stage in Kent Ohio on Wednesday, Nov. 12th, 2014 at 8:00 pm as part of his "Unpredictable Evening" tour.

 

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Michelle Fairley ("Game of Thrones," "24") joins ABC's "Resurrection"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2014

The official word: Internationally acclaimed actress Michelle Fairley, best known for her role as Catelyn Stark on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” will return -- in more ways than one -- to network television this fall, in a season-long arc on ABC’s hit series, “Resurrection.” The second-season premiere of “Resurrection” will air SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on the network.

Fairley will recur as Margaret Langston, the formidable matriarch of the Langston clan. Mother of Henry and Fred (Kurtwood Smith, Matt Craven), and dead for over three decades, she will reappear in Arcadia as one of the returned. Margaret brings with her knowledge of the Langston family’s dark past, a past she is determined to keep hidden. Her return will have consequences for the entire family.

In addition to “Game of Thrones,” Fairley played international industrialist Ava Hessington on the USA series “Suits” and most recently starred in 2014 on a season-long arc as Margot Al-Harazi on “24 Live Another Day.” 

“Resurrection” stars Omar Epps (“House”) as J. Martin Bellamy, Frances Fisher (“Titanic”) as Lucille Langston, Matt Craven (“Crimson Tide,” “A Few Good Men”) as Fred Langston, Devin Kelley (“Chernobyl Diaries,” “The Chicago Code”) as Maggie Langston, Mark Hildreth (“The Tudors”) as Pastor Tom Hale,  Samaire Armstrong (“Entourage,” “The O.C.”) as Elaine Richards, Landon Gimenez as Jacob and Kurtwood Smith (“That '70s Show”) as Henry Langston.
“Resurrection” was developed by Aaron Zelman (“Damages,” “The Killing”), who is executive producer.  Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters are executive producers.  Christopher Misiano is executive producer/director. Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are executive producers for Plan B and Jon Liebman is executive producer for Brillstein Entertainment.  “Resurrection” is produced by ABC Studios.

 

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"Criminal Minds" co-star Shemar Moore returns to "Y&R" for two telecasts in September

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2014

The official word: For the first time in nearly a decade, CBS Daytime veteran and CRIMINAL MINDS star Shemar Moore will return to television’s #1 Daytime Drama, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, for a special two-day guest appearance, Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Thursday, Sept. 11 (12:30-1:30 PM, ET; 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon, PT) on the CBS Television Network.

 

Moore, who appeared as a series regular for 11 years (1994-2002 and 2004-2005), will reprise his role as the charismatic Malcolm Winters, a portrayal that earned him a Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2000. During his two-day return, Moore will reunite with longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John, who portrays his on-screen brother, Neil Winters. In the episodes, Malcolm returns to Genoa City after leaving town years before without a proper goodbye. Now, he’s back for an important visit with the Winters family to make amends and catch up on everything he’s missed.

 

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"X-Men: Days of Future Past" on digital Sept. 23, Blu-ray/DVD Oct. 14

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2014

The official word: X-Men Unite! The only way to save the future is to go into the past. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment takes you back in time to stop the end of the world with X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on October 14 and Digital HD September 23rd. Featuring a massive collaboration of legendary actors and the return of director Bryan Singer, “the very best [film] of the franchise since the first X-Men” comes to life in amazing fashion that you’ll have to see to believe (Stephen Rebello, Playboy).

A heroic all-star cast including Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence forms the ultimate X-Men ensemble as the unstoppable characters from the original X-Men trilogy must join forces with their younger selves in an epic battle to change the past and save the future.

The X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Blu-ray and DVD brings nearly an hour of never-before-seen special features that will take you even further into the making of this epic adventure. From the background story and creation of the building of the Sentinels program, to a gag reel of cast member’s “finest” mutant moments, the Blu-ray is a must-have for any true fan and new fans of the franchise.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST SPECIAL FEATURES
● Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer
● Gag Reel
● Kitchen Sequence
● Classification: M
● X-Men: Reunited
● Double Take: Xavier & Magneto
● Sentinels: For A Secure Future
● Gallery: Trask Industries
● Second Screen App
● Theatrical Trailers

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Complete "HIMYM" DVD set coming in September, with alternate ending

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2014

The official word: You don’t have to “wait for it” any longer… the complete series collection is here as “How I Met Your Mother” – The Whole Story arrives on DVD September 23 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Suit up” for all nine legendary seasons of the slap-happy show that took TV comedy to hilarious new heights. Join Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Robin (Cobie Smulders), Marshall (Jason Segel), Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and their romantically challenged best friend Ted (Josh Radnor) for more than two-hundred truly awesome episodes. Relive all the inside jokes, crazy time-jumps, never-saw-that-coming plot twists and classic long-running gags: from the Bro Code to doppelgängers to Robin Sparkles to the infamous slap bet between Marshall and Barney.


With its limited-edition Bro Code Playbook packaging, “How I Met Your Mother” - The Whole Story makes the perfect gift for the holidays. The collection includes all nine seasons of the Emmy® Award winning show along with the show’s alternate ending fans have been eager to see. A brand new bonus disc comes loaded with featurettes including a complete series retrospective documentary of the series, a piece focusing on the casting of the infamous mother, a look back at how the Mosby kid sequence from the finale was shot back in 2006, the San Diego Comic-Con introduction and panel from 2013, a live table read of the touching series finale and an in-depth look at “The Pineapple Scene” where the mystery of the pineapple is FINALLY revealed!


That’s not all! Suit up and give one last high-five for the awesome final season of “How I Met Your Mother,” available in The Whole Story and individually on DVD September 23. Surprising answers to hilarious questions will be revealed during one epic wedding weekend. Can Marshall complete a cross-country road trip and make it to the ceremony? Will Robin and Barney really tie the knot? Is Lily hiding a shocking secret? Will Ted finally meet the mother of his children…and is she truly “the one”? It all builds to a climactic two-part series finale, leading to one of the most talked about endings in TV history.


The “How I Met Your Mother” Season Nine DVD is loaded with more never-before-seen content, including the previously mentioned alternate ending, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the finale, a “Where Are They Now” retrospective of the guest stars featured in the 360 degree sequence from the “Gary Blauman” episode, Cristin Milioti’s audition tapes, deleted scenes, three commentaries with Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and a hilarious gag reel.

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"Downton Abbey" Season 5 begins Jan. 4, 2015

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2014

The official announcement: Downton Abbey returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories
centered on an English country estate—a deliciously entertaining formula that has
made it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Downton Abbey, Season 5, airs
Sundays, January 4 - March 1, 2015 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
Season 5 features returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery,
Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech,
Robert James-Collier, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Lily James, Brendan Coyle,
Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Samantha Bond, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy,
David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift, and
Andrew Scarborough.
This acclaimed ensemble is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter (Atonement), reprising
her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan (Death at a Funeral), who returns as Lord
Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant (Girls),
Anna Chancellor (The Hour), and Rade Sherbedgia (24).
“Four wonderful seasons of Downton Abbey, each drawing a larger audience than the last,
and now Series 5,”says MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “This is a
television dream come true!”
Written and created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, Season 5, is a
Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE Co-Production. Carnival Films, headed by Downton Abbey
Executive Producer Gareth Neame, is a division of NBCUniversal International Television
Production. The series’ many honors include ten Emmys®, two Golden Globes®, and two
Screen Actors Guild Awards®. Season 4 just received 12 Emmy® nominations, including
Outstanding Drama Series.
Executive Producer Gareth Neame says, “Our cast and crew have been immersed in
the world of Downton for the last five years and it is a thrill to have seen it grow in
popularity in the United States to become one of the most watched shows on television.
We're currently hard at work on season 5 and viewers can expect all the highs and lows, the
heady mix of drama, romance and comedy and plenty of new surprises.”
Viewership and social media stats have soared since Downton Abbey launched in January
2011. Season 4 drew an average audience of 13.2 million viewers, making it the top PBS
drama of all time and one of the highest-rated dramas now on American television.
Funding provided by
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every previous outing, Season 4 dazzled critics. The New York Times wrote that the show, “casts a spell on viewers not unlike
the allure of a Harry Potter novel.” NPR chimed in, “Julian Fellowes … has crafted characters so well-rounded, so complicated,
and so interesting that we’re drawn to them no matter what the circumstances.”
And Variety’s praise entered another dimension: “This annual escape into the early-20th century is an experience in time travel not
to be missed.”
Viewers can expect to follow plot threads left dangling from last season, including Lady Mary’s courtship contest, Lady Edith’s
trials as a secret single mom, Thomas’s scheming against Bates, Robert’s battles against modernity, Tom’s quest to be true to his
ideals, Violet’s one-line zingers, and much, much more.
One of the recurring themes of Downton Abbey is change, from the wrenching consequences of the Titanic disaster in Season 1 to
a notorious automobile accident at the end of Season 3—plus World War I, women’s rights, and the new morals, inventions, and
fashions of the 1920s.
Which is where Season 5 kicks off. It’s 1924. The United Kingdom has its first Labor Party prime minister. The radio is the latest
miracle of the age. And Downton’s traditional ways are besieged on all fronts, as evidenced by this exchange between the head
housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, and the butler, Mr. Carson:
“We’re catching up, Mr. Carson. Whether you like it or not, Downton is catching up with the times we live in,” says the
forward-thinking Mrs. Hughes.
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of!” the butler retorts.
Whet your appetite for Downton Abbey, Season 5, with a MASTERPIECE SPECIAL: The Manners of Downton Abbey, hosted
by on-set historian Alastair Bruce. Airing on January 4 on PBS, just prior to the series' premiere, this fascinating one-hour
documentary follows Bruce, the maestro of period manners and historical accuracy, as he helps the Downton Abbey cast and crew
recreate the social behaviors of early-1900s Britain. Cast members Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery reveal what it’s like to
inhabit characters from a different era, giving fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of the series.

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Clip: Nick Swisher on "American Muscle"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2014

 

The telecast airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Discovery.

Inspirational message: "If tossing around a half-beer keg is going to get me to hit more home runs, I'm in." According to ClevelandIndians.com, right now he has 8.

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For your listening and dancing pleasure

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2014

"The Fault in Our Stars" DVD/Blu-ray plans, with an extended version

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2014

You can read my review of the movie here. The official word: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings you “a beautiful, poignant, funny and heart-warming film” (Chicago Sun Times) on September 16, when THE FAULT IN OUR STARS arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD with an extended version of the movie! Featuring brilliant performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that made the film a favorite of fans and critics alike, this inspirational modern day tale of star-crossed lovers will have you going from laughter to tears and back again. Fans of the book and the film showed up in droves to theaters across the globe to share little infinities with their beloved characters, driving nearly $240M in box office sales worldwide!


Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) share a sarcastic sense of humor, a distaste for the conventional, and ultimately a love that sweeps them on an unforgettable journey. Although the two teens face unlikely challenges, their courage and dedication to each other prove that while life isn’t perfect, love can still be extraordinary. Laura Dern (Little Fockers) and Sam Trammell (TV’s True Blood) also star in this powerfully moving film based on John Green’s New York Times best-selling novel.


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD with an extended version that will keep Augustus and Hazel’s beautiful infinity going even longer and have the millions of lovers of the film and book holding on to every last second. Die-hard fans of the film must get their hands on the Blu-ray™, which is the only place to find a behind-the-scenes look at how the two lover’s paths aligned in bringing the book to the screen and six deleted scenes to complete the inspirational tale.


Okay? Okay.

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552-episode "Simpson" marathon coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2014

It's being called the longest TV series marathon ever, and I can't disagree. And I may check in for "Baby on Board" and "Mr. Plow." The official word:

Cowabunga! In celebration of its landmark acquisition of the exclusive cable and authenticated non-linear VOD rights to legendary animated comedy The Simpsons, FXX will launch a record-breaking marathon of the series on August 21, 2014. The marathon will begin August 21, 2014 at 10 AM ET/PT and will conclude September 1, 2014 at 12 AM ET/PT, making it the longest-running marathon in television history. For 24 hours a day, over the course of the 12 days, FXX will air 552 episodes of The Simpsons (through Season 25) as well as The Simpsons Movie (airing after episode 400), in chronological order.

 

FXX will also launch “Simpsons World” - the ultimate Simpsons digital experience featuring enriched branded content through SimpsonsWorld.com and handheld/connected devices via FXNOW, the authenticated multi-network on-demand video service supporting FX, FXX and FXM - in October.

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TCM sets James Garner marathon July 28-29

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2014

It includes "The Americanization of Emily," which Garner called his favorite among his films; "Victor/Victoria," and "Marlowe," an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's "The Little Sister" with Garner as Philip Marlowe. The schedule:

TCM Remembers James Garner – Monday, July 28

6 a.m. – Toward the Unknown (1956) – starring William Holden, Lloyd Nolan, Virginia Leith and James Garner

 

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A fifth, seven-episode season of "Louie" coming in 2015

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2014

The official word: FX has picked up a fifth season of the Emmy®-nominated comedy series Louie.  The seven-episode new season from Creator/Executive Producer/Writer/Star/Director/Editor Louis C.K. will premiere in Spring 2015, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks & FX Productions.

 

“Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking – always thought provoking,” said Landgraf. “The show went to narrative and cinematic places no comedy has gone before and we look forward to seeing what Louis comes up with next.”

 

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FX orders another "Fargo"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2014

The official word: Get your snow gear ready, FX is headed back to Fargo! Executive Producer and Writer Noah Hawley is moving forward with a second installment of the multiple Emmy®-nominated miniseries from MGM Television and FX Productions, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks & FX Productions.

 

The new chapter of the Fargo story will feature an all-new cast of characters, a new time period and a new “true crime” story that will unfold over the course of 10 episodes. 

 

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Mixed notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2014

Gabrielle Nicole, the Clevelander competing on "Rising Star," was eliminated last night. In a duel against Macy Kate,

Nicole went all-out in a version of "River Deep Mountain High" but ended up screechy in the process. She landed a 49 percent score in the East Coast telecast. Kate countered with Imagine Dragons' "Demons," and scored 80 percent. That meant that Nicole had to have the highest West Coast score among the losers in Sunday's three duels if she was to continue, and that did not happen.

Nicole remains an impressive singer, even with an admitted streak of diva. But, going against a singer who was certain to be a tough competitor. Nicole miscalculated in her song and vocal choices.

After going to Sunday's' RubberDucks-SeaWolves game (which Erie won), I composed the following Facebook note to the Akron operation.

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James Garner, RIP

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 20, 2014

Saying James Garner was one of my favorite actors does not quite cut it. Garner, who has died at the age of 86 was the embodiment not only of an articulate cool, but of a determination to do what was right, whether it was to bring a certain amount of unpleasantness to a performance or to do battle with studios.That side is part of what made his Polaroid commercials so successful. At the same time, though, he could make you believe in a character, even one doing awful things, because Garner convinced you that the awful thing had some kind of moral foundation. And there were the Garner looks; he played Philip Marlowe in one movie, and while Bogart is still THE screen Marlowe for many, Garner looked more the way Raymond Chandler imagined the character, and absolutely sold a scene at the end which might have been audience-repelling if played by another actor.

It is also not quite right to call his characters heroes, even when they did heroic things. Both Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford were only partly heroic, and reluctant about the heroism at that; Garner often said his favorite of his films was "The Americanization of Emily," and that is Garner -- unapologetic about his principles even when those principles go against mainstream thinking, but basing thsat on a sense of right and wrong that was carefully thought through and articulated.

Garner was often underestimated as an actor because so much of his best work was in comedies, and ones that sometimes had a layer of subversion over a more laugh-laden frame; look not only at "Maverick" (indeed, all the different places he played Bret),  "Rockford" and "Emily" but "Support Your Local Sheriff." It has the surface of a silly comedy but an underpinning of utter defiance of western wisdom. He could get away with this because he was big and charming and handsome, with an engaging grin, which made people want to forgive him his sins because, heck, it was James Garner.

But he would also remind people that he was a fine dramatic actor, whether playing Wyatt Earp in "Hour of the Gun" (he would also play Earp again, in "Sunset") or Dr. Bob Smith in "My Name Is Bill W.," one of his collaborations with James Woods -- and Garner was even better in another, "Promise," which had a similar idea to "Rain Man" and is many times better than that big-screen success. Look, too, at "Murphy's Romance," where his wooing of Sally Field is built not only on charm and wisdom but his character's old hurt and his determination to be seen not as a father figure to Field but someone deserving her passion (and ultimately getting it). Consider, for that matter, "Twilight," not a great film but one where Garner deserves his acting place in a cast that also included Paul Newman, Gene Hackman and Susan Sarandon.

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Television Critics Association awards 2014

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2014

The list of the awards, which were presented tonight:
• Individual Achievement in Drama: Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective,” HBO)
• Individual Achievement in Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep,” HBO)
• Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey” (FOX and National Geographic Channel)
• Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (LOGO)
• Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “The Fosters” (ABC Family)
• Outstanding New Program: “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
• Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: “True Detective” (HBO)
• Outstanding Achievement in Drama: “The Good Wife” (CBS)
• Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: (Tie) “Veep” (HBO) and “Louie” (FX)
• Career Achievement Award: James Burrows
• Heritage Award: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
• Program of the Year: “Breaking Bad” (AMC) – second consecutive
 

ABOUT THE TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION
The Television Critics Association (TCA) represents more than 200 professional journalists who cover television for publications across the United States and Canada. The members reach tens of millions of consumers each week, and are considered experts within the industry, representing their employers as moderators, panelists, radio/TV guests and more. The prestigious organization honors outstanding achievements in television and enduring contributions to the medium’s heritage through the TCA Awards each year. This year’s TCA Awards are the organization’s 30th anniversary. For additional information about the TCA, visit www.tvcritics.org; Facebook; and Twitter. To follow the Summer TCA on twitter, follow tweets with the hashtag #TCA14
 

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The evolution of "NCIS"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2014

When  you think about the cultural divide in the television industry, you cannot find a much better example than "NCIS." It is immensely popular, and its fans howl on a yearly basis when it is overlooked by the Emmys.* More respect is deserved, and every now and then a critic realizes that. Or the intensity of its fan base is made evident when there's a big change at the show, such as the departure of Cote de Pablo after a long run.

But "NCIS' quietly goes about its business week to week, blending humor with drama and sometimes serialized stories; it is enough of a brand name to have a spin-off, "NCIS: LA," with a second one, "NCIS: New Orleans" due in the fall.

Only  "NCIS: LA,' even as it replicates elements of the original series, is not as good as just plain "NCIS." Nor did the pilot for "New Orleans" show much promise, even with the affable Scott Bakula in the lead. And this goes to a point I want to make about "NCIS": It is not an easy show to do.

For starters, it is never simple  to craft a hit, let alone one that has been on the air for more than 10 years and has done work that is both popular and credible.

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New Aaron McGruder series premieres Aug. 7

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2014

The official word: Adult Swim has announced their new half-hour live-action scripted comedy Black Jesus from award-winning writer/producer, Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks, Red Tails) will premiere on Thursday, August 7th at 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The series finds Jesus living in present day Compton, CA on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers.

The series stars newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson as “Black Jesus.”  The series also stars Charlie Murphy (The Chapelle Show), Corey Holcomb (The Cleveland Show), John Witherspoon (The Boondocks), Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids), Andra Fuller (L.A. Complex), Antwon Tanner (One Tree Hill), Andrew Bachelor (House of Lies), Angela Gibbs (The Fosters), and Valenzia Algarin (True Blood). 

McGruder is executive producer through his 5 Mutts Productions, along with director Mike Clattenburg, LEG’s Norman Aladjem, John Bravakis and Stu Schreiberg, with Robert Wise and Meghann Collin.

Adult Swim (AdultSwim.com), launched in 2001, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s network offering original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults.  Airing nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET/PT), Adult Swim is basic cable’s #1 network with persons 18-34 and 18-49, and is seen in 99 million U.S. homes.

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TNT orders a final season of "Falling Skies," new seasons of "Last Ship" and "Major Crimes"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2014

The official word: TNT has renewed three of its chart-topping summer hits:  The Last Ship, Major Crimes and Falling Skies. All three dramas rank among basic cable's Top 5 scripted series this summer with total viewers and adults 25-54. They have also helped TNT score a significant lead as basic cable's #1 network in primetime for the summer-to-date.

 

TNT has ordered 13 episodes of The Last Ship, an increase over its first-season order of 10 episodes. The network is also ordering 15 episodes for season four of Major Crimes. And Falling Skies will mark its fifth and final season with 10 episodes.

 

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Watching stuff: "Sex Tape"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2014

 

 

The new movie "Sex Tape" would have been an amusing, R-rated hour-long special on HBO. But stretched out to 90 minutes for big-screen consumption, it lapses into some shaky late-stage plotting that is no longer amusing, especially in the context of what has gone before.

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star as a couple who, after a constantly-hot-for-each-other courtship, have seen marriage and parenthood give them the sexual blahs. Looking to spice things up, they decide to record a sex video (there never is an actual "tape") on an iPad*. That marathon of rutting, though apparently enjoyable for both, then somehow is released onto other iPads owned by friends, family and Diaz's possible future boss.**

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Final "Sons of Anarchy" season begins Sept. 9

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2014

The official word: It all comes down to this.  Sons of Anarchy, the highest-rated series in the history of FX, will begin its 7th and final season on Tuesday, September 9th at 10 PM ET/PT with a special 1 hour & 45 minute episode.  Immediately following the premiere, the live post-show “Anarchy Afterword” will air in its entirety on FX.

 

Hosted by Chris Franjola (Chelsea Lately) and produced by Emmy nominated Mob Scene Creative + Productions, “Afterword” will air live on FX twice this season – the season premiere and the series finale.  It will stream live on FXNOW three other times throughout the season. The episodes will be posted on FXNOW as well as online the following day for VOD viewing and remain there until one month after the series finale. In addition to watching, fans of the show will have the opportunity to ask their own questions via a toll-free call-in number and the show’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

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More LeBron

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2014

I spent part of this morning in pursuit of LeBron James, who was expected to shoot a commercial at his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. You can read the result of my efforts here.  Then today's email included a note about an unexpected tribute to the King in music. Yes, "Polka Time Again" offered songs tied to LeBron's return ("Homecoming Polka," for instance. You can watch it here.

Some details about the show, from the folks at Wadsworth Commuinty Television:

Polka Time Again” is one of the area’s most popular public access programs.  It is produced through the facilities of WCTV (Wadsworth Community Television) and broadcast on WCTV Channel 15, as well as Cable 9 in Macedonia, Hudson Community Television, Brunswick Area Television,  Austintown Community Television, Clear Picture in Wooster, and on the Perry and Mentor public access channels.  Each program features a full hour of polka music, interviews and polka news of interest to polka fans.  Hosts Gene Kovack and Joe Gabrosek keep their audience happy with jokes, news about local and national polka stars, and schedules of all the meeting places for polka dancing and jam sessions. 

Over 1000 episodes of the program have been produced since its premier e in 1994.  Hosts Kovack and Gabrosek have been inducted into the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame as Achievement Award winners for Support and Promotion of the Polka Music Genre, as well as inductees to the 2013 Polka Hall of Fame Trustees Roll. 

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Boxtrolls characters coming to Soap Box Derby

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2014

 

The official word: America's iconic FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby holds its 77th annual World Championship finals at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio on Saturday, July 26th – and characters from the Boxtrolls movie will be joining the fun, even racing down the track in their own custom-built car.  Focus Features, which releases LAIKA’s family event movie The Boxtrolls nationwide on Friday, September 26th, is partnering with the International Soap Box Derby and inviting families attending the World Championship to explore the fantastical world of The Boxtrolls as an official sponsor of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby.

 

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TV's trouble with relationships

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2014

Was there a recent burst of breakups and bumbled marriaages in the television industry? You'd certainly think so from what's getting on the air, particularly tonight. Consider:

"Satisfaction," 10 tongiht, USA Network. Matt Passmore of "The Glades" stars as a married man who, in addition to major dissatisfaction with his job, learns that his wife has been cheating on him -- with a paid escort. (No spoilers here if you've seen even one ad for the show.) This prompts him to start his own sexual exploration, whiich may or may not help save his marriage.

"Married," 10 p.m., FX. Nat Faxon and Judy Greer are the central couple in this series which, in the network's own description, is "about being miserably in love."

"You're the Worst," 10:30 p.m., FX, "a dark twist on the romantic comedy genre" (that's FX talking again) where two largely unpleasant people (Chris Geere, Aya Cash) meet at a wedding where he has caused a scene and she has stolen one of the gifts, have a night of sex and conversation -- and in spite of themselves begin to build a relationship.

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Advance look at "Guardians of the Galaxy" soundtracks coming July 29

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

The official word: Hollywood Records and Marvel are set to release three albums from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on July 29, 2014.  The Guardians of the Galaxy Deluxe soundtrack features classic 1970s songs from the film, plus score by composer Tyler Bates (“Watchmen,” “Slither,” “Dawn of the Dead”).   Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is the collection of 12 songs including Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc, Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” and The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb,” and Guardians of the Galaxy is the digital score soundtrack.  The film opens in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.

Announcement continues after the playilsts. The deluxe set, with the classic cuts and original score, has this playlist:

1.  Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feeling 02:52 
2.  Raspberries - Go All The Way - 1999 Digital Remaster 24-Bit 03:21 
3.  Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky 04:02 
4.  David Bowie - Moonage Daydream - 2012 Remaster 04:41 
5.  Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around And Fell In Love - Album Version 04:35 
6.  10cc - I'm Not In Love 06:03 
7.  The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back - Album Version 02:58 
8.  Redbone - Come And Get Your Love 03:26 
9.  The Runaways - Cherry Bomb - Album Version 02:17 
10.  Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Album Version 04:37 
11.  The Five Stairsteps - O-o-h Child 03:13 
12.  Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Album Version 02:29 
13.  Tyler Bates - Morag (Disc 2) 01:58 
14.  Tyler Bates - The Final Battle Begins (Disc 2) 04:21 
15.  Tyler Bates - Plasma Ball (Disc 2) 01:18 
16.  Tyler Bates - Quill's Big Retreat (Disc 2) 01:38 
17.  Tyler Bates - To The Stars (Disc 2) 02:52 
18.  Tyler Bates - Ronan's Theme (Disc 2) 02:24 
19.  Tyler Bates - Everyone's An Idiot (Disc 2) 01:26 
20.  Tyler Bates - What A Bunch Of A-Holes (Disc 2) 02:14 
21.  Tyler Bates - Busted (Disc 2) 01:34 
22.  Tyler Bates - The New Meat (Disc 2) 00:36 
23.  Tyler Bates - The Destroyer (Disc 2) 01:27 
24.  Tyler Bates - Sanctuary (Disc 2) 02:26 
25.  Tyler Bates - The Kyln Escape (Disc 2) 07:23 
26.  Tyler Bates - Don't Mess With My Walkman (Disc 2) 00:44 
27.  Tyler Bates - The Great Companion (Disc 2) 00:51 
28.  Tyler Bates - The Road To Knowhere (Disc 2) 00:37 
29.  Tyler Bates - The Collector (Disc 2) 03:20 
30.  Tyler Bates - Ronan's Arrival (Disc 2) 00:56 
31.  Tyler Bates - The Pod Chase (Disc 2) 03:56 
32.  Tyler Bates - Sacrifice (Disc 2) 03:20 
33.  Tyler Bates - We All Got Dead People (Disc 2) 01:46 
34.  Tyler Bates - The Ballad Of The Nova Corps. – Instrumental (Disc 2) 01:48 
35.  Tyler Bates - Groot Spores (Disc 2) 01:11 
36.  Tyler Bates - Guardians United (Disc 2) 02:46 
37.  Tyler Bates - The Big Blast (Disc 2) 03:05 
38.  Tyler Bates - Groot Cocoon (Disc 2) 02:29 
39.  Tyler Bates - Black Tears (Disc 2) 02:43 
40.  Tyler Bates - Citizens Unite (Disc 2) 01:15 
41.  Tyler Bates - A Nova Upgrade (Disc 2)
1.  Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feeling 02:52 
2.  Raspberries - Go All The Way - 1999 Digital Remaster 24-Bit 03:21 
3.  Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky 04:02 
4.  David Bowie - Moonage Daydream - 2012 Remaster 04:41 
5.  Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around And Fell In Love - Album Version 04:35 
6.  10cc - I'm Not In Love 06:03 
7.  The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back - Album Version 02:58 
8.  Redbone - Come And Get Your Love 03:26 
9.  The Runaways - Cherry Bomb - Album Version 02:17 
10.  Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Album Version 04:37 
11.  The Five Stairsteps - O-o-h Child 03:13 
12.  Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Album Version 02:29 
13.  Tyler Bates - Morag (Disc 2) 01:58 
14.  Tyler Bates - The Final Battle Begins (Disc 2) 04:21 
15.  Tyler Bates - Plasma Ball (Disc 2) 01:18 
16.  Tyler Bates - Quill's Big Retreat (Disc 2) 01:38 
17.  Tyler Bates - To The Stars (Disc 2) 02:52 
18.  Tyler Bates - Ronan's Theme (Disc 2) 02:24 
19.  Tyler Bates - Everyone's An Idiot (Disc 2) 01:26 
20.  Tyler Bates - What A Bunch Of A-Holes (Disc 2) 02:14 
21.  Tyler Bates - Busted (Disc 2) 01:34 
22.  Tyler Bates - The New Meat (Disc 2) 00:36 
23.  Tyler Bates - The Destroyer (Disc 2) 01:27 
24.  Tyler Bates - Sanctuary (Disc 2) 02:26 
25.  Tyler Bates - The Kyln Escape (Disc 2) 07:23 
26.  Tyler Bates - Don't Mess With My Walkman (Disc 2) 00:44 
27.  Tyler Bates - The Great Companion (Disc 2) 00:51 
28.  Tyler Bates - The Road To Knowhere (Disc 2) 00:37 
29.  Tyler Bates - The Collector (Disc 2) 03:20 
30.  Tyler Bates - Ronan's Arrival (Disc 2) 00:56 
31.  Tyler Bates - The Pod Chase (Disc 2) 03:56 
32.  Tyler Bates - Sacrifice (Disc 2) 03:20 
33.  Tyler Bates - We All Got Dead People (Disc 2) 01:46 
34.  Tyler Bates - The Ballad Of The Nova Corps. – Instrumental (Disc 2) 01:48 
35.  Tyler Bates - Groot Spores (Disc 2) 01:11 
36.  Tyler Bates - Guardians United (Disc 2) 02:46 
37.  Tyler Bates - The Big Blast (Disc 2) 03:05 
38.  Tyler Bates - Groot Cocoon (Disc 2) 02:29 
39.  Tyler Bates - Black Tears (Disc 2) 02:43 
40.  Tyler Bates - Citizens Unite (Disc 2) 01:15 
41.  Tyler Bates - A Nova Upgrade (Disc 2)

The Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 has this:

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Cote de Pablo set for CBS miniseries

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

For those of you who keep asking about Ziva, and wondering if there's bad blood with CBS, this official word:

Cote de Pablo will star in THE DOVEKEEPERS, a four-hour CBS miniseries event from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, which will be broadcast in 2015.  The project is based on Alice Hoffman’s acclaimed historical novel about four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada.

De Pablo will play Shirah, one of the four women, who is a sensual, mysterious and fiercely independent single mother with uncanny insights and a quiet and mysterious power.  She is derided by many as the “Witch of Moab,” as she covertly practices forbidden ancient rites of magic and is keenly knowledgeable about herbal remedies.  However, those in need don’t hesitate to approach her for her help and generosity of spirit.

“We are thrilled to have Cote de Pablo starring in THE DOVEKEEPERS,” said Roma Downey.  “Her talent, strength and beauty will light up the screen in the important role of Shirah.”

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Watching stuff: "The Divide," "Los Jets"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

Cable premieres tonight include two shows of interest, "The Divide" on WE at 9 p.m. and "Los Jets" at 10 p.m. on NUVOtv.

"The Divide," which begins with a two-hour premiere before settling into the 10 p.m. hour on July 23, comes from a team including director-actor Tony Goldwyn ("Scandal") and writer-director Richard LaGravenese ((the screenplay for "Behind the Candelabra"). It involves a decade-old murder in Philadelphia in which a convicted killer is about to be executed. The case was racially charged, with the victims a well-heeled African-American family and two white men implicated in the crime. But an investigation into the conviction begins to raise questions about what exactly happened. Especially engaged in the case is Christine Rosa (Marin Ireland), a caseworker with the Innocence Initiative, who has personal reasons for involvement. But any attempt to overturn the conviction is going to run into Adam Page (Damon Gupton), the district attorney who won the original conviction -- and who has higher ambitions that the case could derail. And any attack on the African-American Page is going to bring race back into the argument.

The premiere reminded me a bit of "The Killing" in its sometimes too-slow pace and in Christine's weariness. There's also a liberal tinge to it (angry at a reporter, one character snaps, "Where did you study journalism -- at Fox News?"). But it tries to have a variety of points of view expressed, and to make everyone more than a position paper; the supposed good guys have their flaws, and the ones who appear to be the bad guys in the premiere are given reasoned motivations for their actions. On top of that, by the end of the premiere, it's clear that the show is about more than saving one man from execution. Is that enough to watch more? I'm not sure. But Ireland's performance is quite good.

"Los Jets," which has an hour-long premiere tonight and then will be weekly half-hours, is -- as I mentioned in a previous post -- one of two soccer-connected shows making debuts this week; the other is El Rey's "Matador," which started last night.

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Pre-orders being taken for "Wonder Years" complete-series box

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

The release will be in early October. The official word:

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Hallmark Movie Channel sets "Jesse Stone" marathon

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

I don't know of any new movies being made in the series starring Tom Selleck, and based on books by Robert B. Parker. But the old movies will be repeated by the Hallmark Movie Channel on Aug. 23. The lineup:

11am – 1pm     Night Passage
1pm – 3pm      Stone Cold
3pm – 5pm       Death in Paradise
5pm – 7pm       Sea Change
7pm – 9pm       Thin Ice
9pm – 11pm     No Remorse
11pm – 1am     Sea Change
1am – 3am       Thin Ice

 

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"Hot in Cleveland" asks: What if LeBron never left?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2014

The issue arises in the comedy's animated episode, premiering July 30. Clip above. Here's the announcement of the episode:

The women of TV Land’s "Hot in Cleveland" are officially animated! Melanie Moretti (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy Scroggs (Jane Leeves), Victoria Chase (Wendie Malick) and Elka Ostrovsky (Betty White) have come to life in cartoon form with the help of animation studio Titmouse, Inc. – and they’re bringing along Steven Tyler. Tyler will guest star in the episode as himself, serving as a guide through their magical, animated adventure.

"The Animated Episode," the first-ever for TV Land, is set to air Wednesday, July 30th at 10pm ET/PT. The episode starts with the women at Elka’s apartment, which before now has been a mystery to them…and they soon find out why. From there, they will meet up with Steven Tyler (and some other special friends) and go on a psychedelic romp through pop culture hits, including scenes with homages to “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” “The Walking Dead” and “Frankenstein.” Plus, they’ll also see what life in Cleveland would have been like if LeBron James had never left.

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Watching stuff: "The Hotwives of Orlando"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

I approached this new Hulu series with mixed feelings. The cast -- including as it does Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey and Kristen Schaal -- seemed a terrific ensemble for extreme comedy. But it seemed nearly impossible to concoct an extended parody* of a form that is so ludicrous in its original form -- full of self-important characters, stilted attempts at natural dialogue, overdressed women and melodramatic twists. I mean, I have one of the real "Real Housewives" shows on as I am writing this, and keep shaking my head in disbelief -- particularly over one 'wife's discussion of "going potty."

But, in the first episode at least, "Hotwives" managed to be funny by creating a set of characters who are all the more outrageous because the writing and the marvelous performances get to the nub of these shows -- that the people really think their ideas and lives are significant even when they are at their most mundane. Then "Hotwives" simply ups the ante -- look at how it handles the idea of a dying husband, for instance, or what happens when a campaign to get high heels for dogs runs up against, well, logic. And with actresses completely commited to their characters, it works. Recommended.

*There are seven episodes. Two are currently on Hulu, the other five on Hulu Plus.

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ABC fall premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

The official word: Below are ABC’s Fall premiere dates for the 2014-2015 season. All times listed are ET; new shows are in bold. 

 

“Forever” will be kicking off premiere week with two new episodes, with a special sneak preview on Monday, September 22, and a second, all-new episode on Tuesday, September 23, for its regular time period premiere.

 

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Watching stuff: "Matador"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

If you find it amusing that a major sports team in Los Angeles would be named The Riot, then you may find still more amusement in "Matador," a pulpy crime-and-soccer series premiering at 9 tonight on the El Rey network.

"Matador" is one of two soccer-themed series premiering this week on networks focusing on the Latino audience; the other is "Los Jets," an earnest reality show about a Southern high-school soccer team, which begins at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Nuvo TV. I may have more to say about it later; I have been fighting some kind of cold or allergy attack for a couple of days, hence my sporadic posting (and viewing).

There is no suggestion of reality in "Matador." It stars Gabriel Luna as Tony Bravo, an undercover DEA agent whose skills have led to his being recruited by another agency to help infiltrate the operation of a billionaire (Alfred Molina) who may be up to some dirty business. Bravo's point of entry is the billionaire's soccer team, the Riot. If he can get through tryouts, he may earn an invitation to the big man's house -- and can get some crucial information. But Bravo makes a bigger impression on the team than expected (and earns the nickname Matador), and his undercover adventure continues.

That's the central thread; around it are wrapped details of Bravo's family life, and the various principals and players connected to the Riot. Some of it is reasonably entertaining, once you accept that it's an action show that does not worry much about plausibility. At the same time, it more than once shows its budgetary limitations,  the acting is pretty basic, and it's not clear how it is going to balance the dynamics of the soccer team with the skullduggery. Still, I would watch a second episode.

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Pam Oliver changing Fox Sports gig; Erin Andrews to replace her on NFL sidelines

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

An interview with Oliver, including the new about Andrews, is here. A far sunnier presentation of Oliver's situation is this announcement from Fox about Oliver:

Pam Oliver, one of the premier reporters and interviewers in sports television, has been elevated to senior correspondent, FOX Sports, effectively immediately.  The announcement was made today by Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer, FOX Sports.  Oliver, the longest-tenured NFL sideline reporter, a fixture at games since joining FOX Sports in 1995, continues in that role, this year working with play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst John Lynch.

 

In Oliver’s new position, she expands her influence beyond the NFL to include the wide breadth of sports and events covered by FOX Sports year-round, with her exclusive interviews, commentary and essays featured on a variety of FOX Sports programs and platforms, including FOX NFL SUNDAY, FOX SPORTS LIVE, AMERICA'S PREGAME, FOX SPORTS 1 ON 1, college football and basketball and FOXSports.com.

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Rogen-Efron "Neighbors" coming to digital 8/12; DVD and Blu-ray 9/23

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

The official word: Good fences aren’t nearly enough to keep things neighborly when a non-stop rager breaks out in the suburbs next door to sleep-deprived new parents in the comedy blockbuster, Neighbors, available on DIGITAL HD August 12, 2014 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.  The outrageously funny comedy will arrive on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack including Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital HD with UltraViolet™ and On Demand September 23, 2014.  Both the Digital HD and Blu-ray™ include a never-before-seen uproarious Alternate Opening that Yahoo! Movies’ Kevin Polowy hails as "explosively funny.”  The Alternate Opening reveals just how the boys of Delta Psi Beta came to suburbia.  The Neighbors Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will also include additional bonus features including a Gag Reel, Line-O-Rama, Behind The Scenes interviews and more. 

 

Director Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) breaks out the bros, booze, and babes in an over-the-top laugh-fest critics have praised as “hilariously funny from beginning to end” (ComingSoon.net).  Seth Rogen (This Is The End, 50/50), Zac Efron (The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment) and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, the Insidious series) star in a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. High-octane antics are also supplied by a supporting cast that includes comedy all-stars Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Now You See Me), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (This Is the End, Superbad), Jerrod Carmichael (“The Goodwin Games,” upcoming Untitled Jerrod Carmichael Project) and Craig Roberts (Submarine, Jane Eyre) in a movie hailed by critics as “this generation’s Animal House” (Aint It Cool News).

 

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Yet another "Bachelor/Bachelorette" spinoff, "In Paradise," on Aug. 4

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

The dreary details: This summer, 25 of “The Bachelor’s” biggest stars and most controversial contestants are back looking for a second chance at love on “Bachelor in Paradise.” They all left “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” with broken hearts, but now they are back to find their soul mates. “Bachelor in Paradise” begins with 14 former cast members, eight women and six men, who travel to beautiful Tulum, Mexico hoping to turn a potential summer fling into the real thing. However, in true “Bachelor” fashion, there is always a surprise.

At the first rose ceremony, the six men are given a rose to hand out to a woman they’d like to spend more time getting to know in paradise. With an uneven number of men and women in the group, the two women left without roses are immediately sent home heartbroken. Just as potential couples start to pair up, everything changes drastically in the next episode when two new men arrive to paradise with love on their mind. For seven weeks, each episode will alternate between two new men or women joining the cast. New relationships may form and current ones may end. Every week, the two people who don’t receive a rose will be forced to leave paradise. It’s a constant love shuffle where surprise arrivals can rekindle old romances, spark new ones or splinter existing love affairs.

Below are the “Bachelor in Paradise” first-episode arrivals:

· AshLee Frazier, 33, Houston, TX – The Bachelor, Season 17 (Sean)
AshLee was falling hard for Sean so much so that she brought him home to meet her family. She thought they were taking their relationship to the next level, only to be sent home, shocked, after the overnight dates.
· Ben Scott, 30, Dallas, TX – The Bachelorette, Season 9 (Desiree)
Ben came off as the bad guy who used his son to gain attention from Desiree and in turn, alienated the other guys in the process. He was later dumped by Des after an awkward two-on-one date. This time around, Ben is looking to rehabilitate his image and is ready to meet the love of his life.
· Clare Crawley, 33, Sacramento, CA – The Bachelor, Season 18 (Juan Pablo)
After Juan Pablo humiliated Clare in a helicopter in St. Lucia, he rejected her at the proposal. Clare won America’s heart by standing up for herself and putting Juan Pablo in his place after his offensive behavior.
· Daniella McBride, 26, Los Angeles, CA – The Bachelor, Season 17 (Sean)
This beachy blonde dated Sean for 7 weeks without receiving a one-on-one date. She was then sent home in tears. 

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Rudd-Poehler comedy to DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 2

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

It hit theaters just a couple of weeks ago, with mixed reviews. The official word:

From the director of Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust and Role Models comes a hilarious and irreverent subversion of the romantic-comedy genre: They Came Together, arriving on Blu-ray™ Disc (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD September 2 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

The film is also currently available via Video on Demand and Pay-Per-View. This laugh-out-loud comedy features an all-star cast including Paul Rudd (Anchorman, Role Models), Amy Poehler (TV's "Parks and Recreation," TV's "Saturday Night Live"), Cobie Smulders (TV's "How I Met Your Mother," The Avengers), Christopher Meloni (TV's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Wet Hot American Summer), Max Greenfield (TV's "New Girl," Veronica Mars), Bill Hader (upcoming The Skeleton Twins, TV's "Saturday Night Live"), Ellie Kemper (TV's "The Office," Bridesmaids), Jason Mantzoukas (TV's "The League," Neighbors), Melanie Lynskey (TV's "Two and a Half Men," The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Ed Helms (TV's "The Office," The Hangover franchise).

When Joel (Rudd) and Molly (Poehler) meet, it's hate at first sight: his big Corporate Candy Company threatens to shut down her quirky indie candy shop. Plus, Joel is hung up on his sexy ex (Smulders). Amazingly, they fall in love, until they break up about two thirds of the way through, and Molly starts dating her accountant (Helms). But then right at the end...well, you'll just have to see. (Hint: Joel makes a big speech and they get back together.)

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New "Doctor Who" trailer

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 13, 2014

Christopher Walken to play Captain Hook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 13, 2014

I am so ready for that. The official word:

Oscar-winning actor Christopher Walken, one of the most revered talents of his generation and a veteran of film, television and stage, will portray the iconic Captain Hook in NBC’s Dec. 4 telecast of “Peter Pan Live!”


“We are absolutely delighted that Christopher Walken will be putting his unique stamp on Captain Hook for our holiday musical event ‘Peter Pan Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “He’s not only one of the most versatile actors in our business, but his love of musicals and uncanny abilities as a dancer make him perfect for stepping into this classic James M. Barrie character. Get ready to be charmed, amused, frightened and dazzled by Captain Hook in an entirely original way.”


“We’re so happy to reunite with Chris, who starred in our film version of ‘Hairspray,’” said “Peter Pan Live!” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “The exhilarating thing about doing these live musicals is giving the stage to a thrilling performer like Chris, and seeing his once-in-a-lifetime performance unfold at the same moment the audience is watching at home.”

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Three musical farewells

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 13, 2014

Lorin Maazel, the acclaimed conductor, has died. The New York Times obituary is here. His passing comes on the heels of the passing of jazz great Charlie Haden, and of Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of the Ramones. So we have had a series of blows to music lovers across the spectrum.

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Weekend notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 13, 2014

Friday turned a little crazy because of the LeBron James news, and you can read my contribution to the coverage -- which is about the coverage -- here.

as a result, there's no TV roundup column for today. But:

I strongly recommend "Masters of Sex," beginning a second season on Showtime. And, besides the still-fine performances by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, both Beau Bridges and Allison Janney are doing extraordinary work.

I also make note of "The Strain," premiering tonight on FX. It's a horror story and had me creeped out in a matter of minutes.

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This week's movie video

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 11, 2014

Friday notebook (updated)

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 11, 2014

I talked to Mark Mitten, movie producer and former Akron resident, about "Life Itself," the lovely documentary about Roger Ebert, which opens locally today. You can read the story here. The Saturday night showing I mentioned in the story is now sold ont. Mitten will also introduce a showing at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. (UPDATE: He will not be at the Sunday showing mentioned in an earlier version of this post.). No word on whether those showings will include a Q&A. I will update this as needed.

A look at how the "American Idol" auditions in Columbus tomorrow will work is here. Quite a contrast to what "Idol" encountered when it brought auditions to Cleveland in 2004.

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Fox announces fall TV premiere dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 10, 2014

I am putting the calendar at the top and the boilerplate below. With that caveat, here's the official word:

FOX has set the fall premiere dates for its new and returning series.

Sunday, Sept. 7

8:00-10:00 PM UTOPIA (Series Premiere, Part One)

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Two Guys Talkin' - When celebrities strike back (updated)

By Ohio.com Published: July 10, 2014

Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm X Abram talk about when celebrities strike back against erroneous reports and stories. UPDATE: Clooney continues his criticism of the Daily Mail, says it knew the story was false when it printed it.

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The Emmys make no sense again

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 10, 2014

You can look at the nominees here. Hue and cry have already begun: no Tatiana Maslany nomination, for instance, and no love for "The Americans." For that matter, it wasn't a great year for "Downton Abbey" but the Emmy nominations are all over it; I mean, really, Michelle Dockery?

Those of you who still live in a broadcast TV world should look at a category like lead actor in a comedy, where Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" is the only nominee from an over-the-air network.

But as you look over the lists, ask yourself how and why the Emmys make certain calls. Why are Natasha Lyonne and the amazing Uzo Aduba "guest" actresses on "Orange Is the New Black" when they are key to the show (and don't tell it's because they get paid or billed as guests)*? Why, for that matter, is "OITNB" in the comedy category? If "True Detective" is not a minsieries, why is "American Horror Story" one?

The Emmys let shows decide what they are, and what actors' status is, which sometimes makes the path to a win easier ("AHS" as a miniseries dodges the tougher best-drama category) but can also create some challenges. Much talk, for instance, about "True Detective" going into drama even with its closed-end story, since that puts it against the likes of "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" for best series and puts Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey both up as possible roadblocks to another win for Bryan Cranston as best actor. (And what on earth is Jeff Daniels doing in that category?**)

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DVD/Blu-ray news: "The Millers" Season 1, "Revolution" Season 2

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 9, 2014

The official word on the CBS sitcom, which is returning in the fall, and the NBC drama, which is not.

"The Millers":

TV’s newest and funniest family moves in when THE MILLERS™: THE FIRST SEASON lands on DVD August 19 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution. Created by Greg Garcia, the #1 new comedy of the season features an ensemble cast led by Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale, JB Smoove, Jayma Mays and Nelson Franklin.

Packed with bonus material that takes fans behind the scenes of the show’s premiere season, THE MILLERS™: THE FIRST SEASON includes every episode of the series that “shows what a thing of glory hear-the-laughs sitcomedy can be in the hands of masters” (Newsday). Capturing an average 11 million viewers during its first-season run, THE MILLERS™ was a People’s Choice Award® nominee for “Favorite New TV Comedy.”

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Rejoice: "Now and Again" coming to DVD

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 9, 2014

I deeply admired this series from Glenn Gordon Caron when it premiered in 1999, and lamented its quick demise. Below the DVD announcement I have included a couple of pieces I wrote when the show was on, to give you an idea of my mad love for it. As for the DVD news ...

You only live twice in the gripping series NOW AND AGAIN. Hailed as “stylish, clever, and unpredictable” (People) and “a joy ride full of surprises” (New York Daily News) upon its broadcast premiere in 1999, the drama stars Eric Close, Dennis Haysbert, Margaret Colin and Heather Matarazzo.

From the creator of Moonlighting and Medium, Glenn Gordon Caron, NOW AND AGAIN: THE DVD COLLECTION arrives August 26 as a five-disc set including all 22 episodes of the series, along with all-new bonus material exclusive to the collection from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Special to this release are several must-see, in-depth featurettes that delve into the making of the critically acclaimed series. A special highlight is the four-part documentary, “Gimme A Sign: Engineering Now And Again,” which features newly filmed interviews with the cast members including Eric Close, Dennis Haysbert, Margaret Colin, Gerrit Graham,Heather Matarazzo, Chad Lowe, along with Glenn Gordon Caron, director and executive producer Ronald L. Schwary, and writers René Echevarria, and Michael Angeli.

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Brecksville in Family Circle's Top 10 towns for families

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 8, 2014

The official word: – Family Circle, the leading lifestyle brand that celebrates the health and well-being of family, announces the results of its exclusive survey to identify America’s 10 Best Towns for Families. The brand’s eighth annual list reveals the country’s top towns that provideaffordable housing options, strong sense of community and exemplary school systems. Brecksville, known for its family-friendly setting and ample green space, makes this year’s 10 Best Towns for Families list and is featured in the August 2014 issue of Family Circle, on newsstands July 8 and online at FamilyCircle.com/besttowns.

 

Family Circlereveals the 10 Best Towns for Families (in alphabetical order):

 

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Monday notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 7, 2014

I took a holiday weekend break, getting in a little fun, some work around the house and a fair amount of relaxing. The week ahead may be a bit challenging; I have jury duty. We will see how that fits with the blog and other platforms.

In case you missed them, I have had some items of interest the last few days:

A farewell column about Phil Hoffman, local documentarian and UA staffer, who is moving to a new job in Missouri.

This week's DVD/Blu-ray column, including "Bad Words" and "Nymphomaniac."

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Thursday notebook

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 3, 2014

At 7 p.m. Monday, Fast Lane in Barberton hosts an open-mic chance to fast-track Columbus "American Idol" auditions. Bring one song,and must be 15-28 years old, RSVP to info@thefastlanebowling.com.

Discovery Channel will replay "Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks" at 4 p.m. Sunday. The telecast of the 2012 program is in memory of Louis Zamperini,, who died Wednesday. Zamperini was a subject of "Adrift," part of  a rich and colorful life which inspired Laura Hillenbrand's book "Unbroken," which Angelina Jolie has turned into a movie due in December.

You may remember a previous note here when a Vivian Maier exhbiti came to Cleveland. The photographer will be showcased closer to home. in Canton, soon, as will her biographer John Maloof. The official word:

Vivian Maier:  Photography’s Secret Master will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 at the prestigious Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, 520 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton.  Maloof will be present, to sign his book, discuss the 30-piece photo exhibit and escort people to a viewing of his film, Finding Vivian Maier, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre (605 Market Avenue North, Canton).

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Trailer for "The Killing" Season 4

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 3, 2014

The last season of the series will be on Netflix on Aug. 1.

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Podcast: Pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels talks July 4 movies and Melissa McCarthy's career

By Dan Kadar Published: July 3, 2014

The Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podcast is back. This week's guest is pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels. Listen to it right here and see a run down of the show below if you want to skip around.

(Some Internet Explorer users may need to use another browser)

1:00 - The allure of July 4 movies: Why this year's slate of holiday movies aren't quite the blockbusters of year's past.

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Ms. Wheelchair USA looking for extras for a TV taping

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 3, 2014

I offer here the official word. Further comment about manipulation just seems unnnecessary. Here goes:

NBC tv show “The Doctors”* will be taping a segment at Cuyahoga Falls Auditorium on Sat., July 19 in association with the national competition of Ms. Wheelchair USA.  The live event, featuring twelve national pageant contestants and optimism author David Mezzapelle, is being taped showcasing the contestants, their use of optimism techniques for health, and the live national pageant competition. 


Extras, including families, men, women, teens, and children over age 5 accompanied by  a parent, are needed to serve as the live television show audience for the event.  Extras will be taped during various parts of the show supporting contestants, will be assigned to contestant routing, and support sections and some extras will be selected for interview segments with Media Central hosts that are also part of the show.  Those selected will arrive at the show site on Sat., July 16 at 6:30pm for direction and assignment.  Live taping begins at 7:30pm. This segment of The Doctors is slated to broadcast in the fall. 

All extras must apply in advance, and be approved prior to show date.  Extras will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, with needs filled first by families, then by women, and all other individuals extras based on age and need.  Registration is open July 3 and will close based on availability.  To apply to be an Extra, email Info@MsWheelchairUSA.org.  Please provide each potential extra(s) name, age, phone number, and one paragraph explaining any prior acting and/or television experience. 

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Cleveland singer Gabrielle Nicole on next "Rising Star"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 2, 2014

Also contending is Cliff Cody, from Perry County south of Columbus. The official word: The next set of 10 phenomenal acts from across the country will perform on this Sunday’s final Live Auditions episode of ABC’s new groundbreaking reality series “Rising Star,” SUNDAY, JULY 6, (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET; check local listings) on the ABC Television Network. These 10 performers will compete for the last spots in the final group of contestants competing for a recording contract with legendary Capitol Records. They are:

Cliff Cody, 39, Perry County, OH
Audrey Kate Geiger, 24, New York, NY
Skye Griffin, 26, Houston, TX
Gabrielle Nicole, 20, Cleveland, OH
Dana Williams, 24, LA, CA
OhMG (Gabby Puyat, 20 and Michael Dunn, 25), LA, CA
TX3 (Lance, Miles and Jordan Tindall), 23, Chester, IL
Unselfish (Kevin Taylor, 23; Brandon Jackson, 23; Anthony Frazier, 25; Antwan Jackson 24),
Atlanta, GA
Karen Hornsby, 36, Jacksonville, FL
Morgan Higgins, 16, San Clemente, CA

This Sunday holds a special treat for viewers--“Rising Star” expert and country music superstar Brad Paisley will perform his current hit single, “River Bank,” live on Sunday’s show. The song is from his upcoming album, Moonshine in the Trunk, which will be released on August 25. During and after the performance, “River Bank” will be available to purchase at this link: http://smarturl.it/riverbankitunes and is available now through all digital retailers.

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'Tammy' and the McCarthy dilemma

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 2, 2014

On Monday night, I saw "Tammy," the latest film starring Melissa McCarthy and a pet project for her; she co-wrote it with her actor husband Ben Falcone, and Falcone directed. (He also has a small role in the movie.) It's great that McCarthy has generated that much clout in Hollywood thanks to the success of "Bridesmaids," "Identity Thief" and "The Heat." But where "Tammy" has a decent number of big, rude laughs, it is almost a dead end for McCarthy in career terms, a recycling of character and attitude from her previous movies without improving on them.

McCarthy plays the movie's title character, a woman with a lousy job and a worse attitude. It's never made clear how old Tammy is, which is probably a good thing since the movie follows the Hollywood tradition of dubious actor chronologies: there's no calendar that can make sense of McCarthy as the daughter of Allison Janney and the granddaughter of Susan Sarandon. In any case, the movie begins with Tammy losing her job and catching her husband having dinner with another woman; turning to her mother for help, she instead teams up with her grandmother for a road trip to Niagara Falls. Said road trip then provides the movie's comedy, romance and Learning of Valuable Lessons.

And yes, I laughed, more than at "Identity Thief" but far less than at "The Heat" or "Bridesmaids." "Tammy" suffers from the same problem afflicting a lot of comedies, which is that at some point the comedic set pieces have to be held together by  a plot. (Consider in contrast Wes Anderson, whose movies can seem aimless until he begins showing how all the pieces have been carefully put together -- while remaining funny.) 

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ICYMI: Jennifer Love Hewitt joins "Criminal Minds"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 2, 2014

The official word: Jennifer Love Hewitt has joined the cast of CRIMINAL MINDS as a series regular.  Her character will be introduced in the series’ 10th season premiere, Wednesday, Oct. 1 (9:00-10:00 PM) on the CBS Television Network.

 

Hewitt will play Kate Callahan, a seasoned undercover agent whose stellar work at the FBI has landed her a coveted position with the Behavioral Analysis Unit.

 

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Starz developing a series from Gaiman's "American Gods"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 1, 2014

Starz has announced a script to series development of FremantleMedia North America’s (FMNA) adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed urban fantasy novel “American Gods.”  The pilot script will be penned by Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”) and Michael Green (“The River,” “Kings,” “Heroes”), who will also showrun the series. They will executive produce along with Gaiman. FremantleMedia North America will produce the series.

 

Starz Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said, “‘American Gods’ is a project that deserves to be made.  With our partners at FremantleMedia and with Bryan, Michael and Neil, we believe we can create a series that honors the book and does right by the fans and viewers.”

 

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RIP, Paul Mazursky

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 1, 2014

The director-writer-actor  has died at the age of 84. One obit is here. That obit singles out "An Unmarried Woman" among his efforts, but that's a movie that from first viewing has tended to bring out my class-warfare impulses with its giving characters plenty of time to find themselves and few money worries."Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice" is too tidy. But there was other work that deserved admiration.

"Next Stop, Greenwich Village," had well-drawn characters -- indeed, Mazursky's strength lay in his characters -- and Ellen Greene's performance was perfect. The adapted "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" was a high-water mark for most of its cast. You can find it right now on Netflix.

"Harry and Tonto," even with its road-movie plot, is a good portrait of a lot of lost people; check out what Larry Hagman does in it.  Art Carney holds the movie together very well, too -- although I still object to that Best Actor Oscar*. Still, those notes should remind you as well that Mazursky knew how to find good actors and get the right performances out of them most of the time. (Dyan Cannon in "Bob and Carol" is a grating exception.) Mazursky worked occasionally as an actor, and he knew the moves. But, in some cases at least, he was even better as a director.

*Carney was better than Albert Finney in "Murder on the Orient Express." But the other nominees that year were Al Pacino in "The Godfather Party II," Dustin Hoffman in "Lenny" and Jack Nicholson in "Chinatown." Really, Oscars?
 

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AMC sets "Breaking Bad" binges with new features

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 1, 2014

The official word: AMC announced today a Breaking Bad Binge television event beginning on Sunday, August 10.  Every episode from the Emmy®  Award-winning drama series will air in order on Sunday nights from 5pm-1am ET/PT beginning with the pilot and concluding on Sunday, October 5 with the series’ record-breaking finale, “Felina.”  Episodes will kick-off with never-before-aired interviews with the cast and crew, including an inside look at the making of the episode, and commentary from those who helped make Breaking Bad “one of the greatest dramas in TV history” (The Hollywood Reporter).  

 

With millions of Breaking Bad viewers still engaged each week on social media, AMC will also give fans an even deeper dive into the Breaking Bad world with custom social graphics and content, including episode and season badges, character quote cards and iconic moments. Through a partnership with Facebook, the network will deliver a never-before-seen glimpse into the evolution of the Breaking Bad Facebook community, which consists of almost 10 million fans and still continues to grow each week.  Together, AMC and Facebook will analyze over six years of posts, likes, shares and comments to bring the series’ social stats to life and demonstrate how trends, such as the Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) alter ego “Heisenberg,” took off on social media.

 

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CBS orders James Patterson-based "Zoo" series

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 1, 2014

The official word: CBS has given a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of ZOO, a drama based on the bestselling novel of the same name by James Patterson, for broadcast in summer 2015.

 

Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg wrote the script and are executive producers with James Mangold, Cathy Konrad, James Patterson, Bill Robinson, Leopoldo Gout and Steve Bowen.

 

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