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One set, two actors, all dialogue: TV's best 'bottle' episodes

Sunday night’s episode of Masters of Sex, titled “Fight,” was one of the series’ best. It stuck the show’s two main characters, Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant/lover Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), in a single hotel room and then let them batter out their anxieties and anger through flirtation, role play, and sex, all while an actual boxing match rages on TV.

In TV parlance, episodes like “Fight,” where characters are restricted to a few sets, are often called “bottle episodes”—they’re cheaper to make (you don’t have to build new sets or cast guest stars) but they succeed or fail depending on the quality of the writing and the actors’ performances. In other terms, “Fight” was also nearly a “two-hander,” a term borrowed from stage performance that refers to a play in which only two actors appear. READ FULL STORY

'Community' at Comic-Con: New episodes coming 'probably sometime after Christmas'

TV Guide Magazine hosted the panel “Greendale Forever” in honor of the impending sixth season of Community on Yahoo TV. The panel included Community creator-mascot Dan Harmon, longtime writer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, and Jim Rash, plus Dino “Star Burns” Stamatopoulos.

The ebullient panel didn’t reveal very much about the upcoming season, although Harmon did announce that he wanted to adhere to the same basic Community episode structure even though the show is no longer bound by broadcast restrictions. “My philosophy is: Attempt to make the same show, and let the lack of boundaries kind of make themselves felt, instead of just going, ‘We can make the episode 49 minutes long, and say the f-word the whole time.'” READ FULL STORY

Entertainment Geekly: 'Community' survives. Television dies?

Entertainment Geekly is a weekly column that examines pop culture through a geek lens and simultaneously examines contemporary geek culture through a pop lens. So many lenses!

If you’re a human being, you probably don’t watch Community. The show’s audience is engaged, empowered, and one-sixth the size of the audience accidentally watching whatever’s on after The Big Bang Theory. And I know why you don’t watch. Even by the standards of low- rated cause-célèbre wonder shows, Community is hard to like. The lead characters are pricks, lunatics, deluded mock-intellectuals, and self-important gasbags. The most likable character on the show would be the most annoying person you have ever met.

So Community’s brilliance testifies to the full commitment of the actors, the writers, the directors, and mad-genius showrunner Dan Harmon. And the fact that Community lasted five seasons on NBC testifies to to the postapocalyptic state of television in general. READ FULL STORY

The agony and the ecstasy of getting more 'Community'

Here’s to some more time in a dreamCommunity was picked up by Yahoo Screen yesterday, rescued from cancellation after its original home, NBC, declined to give it a sixth season. Dan Harmon is back and so is the cast, whose contracts were set to expire Monday night.

Yahoo’s 13-episode order puts the show that much closer to fulfilling its fans’ perpetually hashtagged mantra—#sixseasonsandamovie, a quote from Abed’s season-two love of NBC’s now-cancelled The Cape. But even as it’s time to pull out the old hashtag (and invent new ones—#sevenseasonsandasearchengine, anyone?), Community‘s renewal reanimates the painful something that makes Abed’s original line funny: the absurdity of being a diehard fan, of loving something blindly and too much.

READ FULL STORY

Seth MacFarlane will match donations in 'Reading Rainbow' Kickstarter

Yesterday, LeVar Burton announced in a video on the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter website that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in donations made to the campaign during its final five days. MacFarlane’s donation will allow more underfunded classrooms to have access to the new Reading Rainbow web series free of charge.

The Associated Press reports that MacFarlane made the promise after hearing that the campaign needed to raise at least $5 million. The campaign has already raised over $4 million and has five days to reach its $5 million fundraising goal. According to the Kickstarter campaign site, if the $5 million fundraising goal is reached, the Reading Rainbow web series will be given to approximately 7,500 classrooms free of charge. MacFarlane’s added donation of $1 million would bring that number up to approximately 12,500.

The Kickstarter campaign ends on July 2 at 3 p.m. ET. MacFarlane’s offer will remain in effect until that time.

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi talk 'Community,' video games, and a 'Community' video game

On Tuesday, Donald Glover and Danny Pudi were hanging out inside of the Ubisoft Booth at video game mega-convention E3. EW asked them questions about video games — and also inquired about the current status of a certain canceled NBC sitcom.

This is what happened. READ FULL STORY

'Community' coming back? Hulu should revive these shows, too

Remember the days when network cancelations felt absolutely irreversible? I’m sure networks do. But a world with Kickstarter, Netflix, Hulu, social media, and all things interactive, cancelation has morphed from a death knell to a possible new beginning.

As Veronica Mars fans know, if you want more of your favorite story, it’s not impossible to get your wish — and in their case, they helped to make the revival happen. The latest example: Community getting canceled, only to be in talks for a Hulu pickup. If Community ends up getting its #sixseasons, could Hulu become TV’s newest superhero? And if so, which other shows would we like to see it rescue? READ FULL STORY

Dan Harmon writes letter to 'Community' fans: 'You can totally sit back and relax'

The major broadcast networks are deep in the trenches of upfronts week, rebuilding their fall lineups for the future. But some people remain trapped in the past — specifically last week, when NBC finally canceled Community after five seasons of almost canceling Community. READ FULL STORY

How the final season of 'Community' destroyed and rebuilt itself, over and over again: A visual analysis

COMMUNITY-SAVE-GREENDALE.jpg

So Community is canceled, whatever that means. The NBC comedy spent five seasons on the brink, and so in a weird way, it’s always felt canceled. Its continued existence was a curiosity, a glitch in the matrix, a referendum on NBC’s inability to reclaim its mojo; a miracle, really. On The Bubble, Barely Renewed, Reduced Order, No Premiere Date, Declining Ratings: These are phrases that loom large in the Community myth. There was turmoil behind the scenes. Dan Harmon, the show’s combination Showrunner-Mascot-God-Devil, was fired after season 3; original star Chevy Chase was already an absent figure before he left the show at the end of season 4; Harmon returned just in time to see Donald Glover depart. READ FULL STORY

'Nashville' joins proud tradition of unorthodox clip shows: 5 more that stand out

So it’s come to this: A Nashville clip show.

Kinda. On Wednesday, instead of another soapy installment of country-fried drama, ABC will air an hourlong “On the Record Music Special” — during which Nashville cast members will “take the stage to perform show favorites then sit down in the Bluebird Café for acoustic performances and an intimate look at the songwriting process with the songwriters themselves.”

In other words, this is Nashville‘s spin on one of television’s oldest, most reliable hole-pluggers and money-savers: the clip show. Like clip shows of old, this one will be centered on previously-seen material (every song to be performed has already appeared on Nashville); unlike, say, that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel contemplate their relationship on the even of his wedding to Emily, the Nashville special won’t simply intersperse a few new scenes with a bunch of old ones and call it a day. Which got me thinking: Which other series have found ways to invigorate the clip show formula, adhering to its basic rules while presenting something innovative and exciting? The five best answers I could come up with:

READ FULL STORY

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