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Neal McDonough in talks for 'Captain America,' Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green get magical in 'Camelot'

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  • Neal McDonough is in talks to play former circus strongman Dum Dum Dugan in The First Avenger: Captain America. McDonough would have to be strong to have survived I Know Who Killed Me. [Variety]
  • Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green have been tapped to star in Starz’s Camelot re-telling. Fiennes will play Merlin, while Green will play Morgana, who’s haunted by relentless future visions of herself on top of a staircase looking down at Jack Davenport. [THR]
  • Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, and Malin Akerman will topline Catch .44, an indie drama about three women who face-off against a psychopathic hitman (Whitaker), a trucker, and a delusional line cook. One reason to not send your pancakes back at Denny’s. [Variety]
  • The death of The Life & Times of Tim? The series has been canceled by HBO — but might get picked-up elsewhere. [Deadline]
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Max Thieriot will star in horror thriller House at the End of the Street, which follows a teen who learns the house across the street was the site of a double murder. And the Winslows thought Urkel was a bad neighbor. [THR]
  • A mechanic who appeared on reality show Chop Cut Rebuild on the Speed Channel was arrested and charged with auto insurance fraud. [AP]
  • Leah Remini will join Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert in CBS’ daytime talk show. [Deadline]
  • Thandie Newton will replace the maybe-pregnant Mariah Carey in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide. [People]

'FlashForward' R.I.P.: Farewell to a weird, wonderful show

flash-forwardImage Credit: </em>Michael Desmond/ABC<em>FlashForward arrived on the scene last fall with lots of hopeful pre-release buzz that it could be the new Lost. The magical thinking failed. Blame it on the awful pilot, on ABC’s curious half-and-half release strategy, or the simple fact that people just don’t really want another Lost. For a whole host of reasons, ABC has officially canceled FlashForward.

FlashForward had its problems. There were some storylines which would have probably been eliminated if there had ever been one defining creative personality at the helm (I’m looking at you, Aaron the ex-soldier alcoholic with the secretly alive dead daughter being hunted by a government conspiracy!). But there was also a lot to love, and in the end this show was a fascinating gem. If Lost is the smartest kid in class who’s also a varsity basketball player, then FlashForward is the four-eyed chess prodigy who stutters when girls are around but secretly writes beautiful poetry about old videogames. READ FULL STORY

'FlashForward' recap: Janis goes bad -- and so does the drama

Flashforward-SacrificeImage Credit: Ron Tom/ABCThe implosion of FlashForward continues. The ratings have spiraled downward, and with it, the quality. I can sum up my recent frustration in a word: Janis. I really liked her character… until last week, when the writers led us to believe that she and Agent Noh had sex in Somalia in order to make her pregnancy flash-forward come true. What a groaner. And I don’t mean the hot-and-bothered kind of groan, either. Just bothered. I didn’t believe either character would have made that choice. To paraphrase a line from another show I happen to write about: It was, in fact, a violation — a violation of character integrity; a violation of my investment. I was particularly bummed for Janis, a strong, smart, sexy, wholly admirable woman worthy of being crushed on by both male and female viewers. READ FULL STORY

'FlashForward' recap: Some blowback for 'Blowback'

flash-forward-David-GoyerImage Credit: Ron Tom/ABCLast week, FlashForward returned with a cinematic, emotionally and thematically rich, mythologically substantial two-hour spring premiere. It was an impressive installment that inspired hope at least in this viewer that the under-appreciated, ratings-challenged ABC mystery drama could finish the season strong and perhaps earn another year of storytelling. But two discouraging developments have occurred since then. 1. The ratings report came out, and the numbers for last week’s sterling work represented an all-time low for the series. 2. Last night’s episode happened. It was called “Blowback.” And it kinda blew. READ FULL STORY

Your DVR: Which new fall series are you now going steady with?

‘Tis the season to be jolly despondent that the forecast for brand-new network fare looks relatively bleak from now until the New Year. But then again, my DVR could use a little vacation, considering it’s been worked harder than an Anna Wintour assistant for most of 2009. Back in September, I publicly announced my intention to break up with Grey’s Anatomy and Masterpiece Mystery, but while I indeed made good on my promise to axe those series from my DVR’s “series recording” list (as well as The Mentalist), I ended up adding a whopping seven new series to my regular rotation — which either says something about the high quality of the networks’ fall development slate, or the increasingly low threshold of what keeps me entertained.  (I choose the former theory, obvs.) Anyhow, without further ado, here’s the rundown of freshman series that have made the cut at Casa Slezak:

* Cougar Town: One of the very best ensemble casts on television today on a show where the writing grows more confident, funny, and randomly raucous with each passing episode.
* Modern Family: Hilarious/Beautiful. Does anyone not love this show?
* Glee: Yeah, I have the occasional night terror that this frothy rollercoaster is headed straight off the rails, but when Glee is good, it’s fantastic. And any weekly forum for the genius of Jane Lynch gets my “must-watch” stamp of approval.
* V: Quite possibly the worst set design on television — that church front is seriously supposed to look like New York City? — and the teen romance is 1-800-killing-me, but the first four episodes have hooked me nonetheless. Of course, Elizabeth Mitchell could get me hooked on anything — except maybe CSI: Miami. And Heroes. Oh, and Raising the Bar. — and that Mark Hildreth ain’t too hard to look at either.
* FlashForward: I dallied with the idea of deleting ABC’s Lost-in-training after ending up with a backlog of six episodes by mid-November, but even though Joseph Fiennes and Courtney B. Vance occasionally deliver their lines like they’re reading off a grocery list, the rest of the cast is strong enough to help the show get past its occasionally clunky dialogue.
* The Vampire Diaries: I am a rare Twilight virgin (shhh…don’t tell my bosses!), and I’m also one of those weirdos who actively dislikes True Blood, but thanks to The CW’s angsty little gem, I am not completely bloodsucker-deficient.
* Melrose Place: What? There’s not a single shred of junk food in your pantry? Worth it just for Katie Cassidy’s Grade A bitchery, and drinking games involving Ashlee Simpson’s unintentionally comedic line-readings.

Okay, I’ve totally fessed up about my viewing habits, and now it’s your turn. Which freshman series have gotten a season pass on your DVR/Tivo/Life Partner since September? List ‘em all in the comments section below, and don’t even think about omitting anything to make yourself look cooler! PopWatch is a judgment-free zone, after all.

Image Credit: Cox: Eric McCandless/ABC; Fiennes: Adam Larkey/ABC; Somerhalder: Alan Markfield/The CW

'Friday Night Lights,' 'Lost,' 'Glee'...Are the Writers Guild Awards our dream come true?

I feel a little like the Writers Guild Award nominees, announced yesterday, were downloaded directly from my own brain. Or at least my DVR list. And knowing what I know about what shows PopWatchers tend to get all message-boardy about, I’m guessing you feel the same. There in the drama category are Breaking Bad, Dexter, Friday Night Lights (pictured), Lost, and Mad Men. In comedy we have 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, and The Office. And as if all that weren’t enough, we have the new series category: Glee, Modern Family, The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, and Hung. First and foremost, I’m thrilled when any awards are smart enough to recognize the brilliance that is Friday Night Lights — a show that, by premise, could’ve been lame at best, but instead manages to wring tearful drama from grounded-in-reality situations every week that it hangs on despite its ratings challenges. I’m also thrilled when any awards are smart enough to get Lost, as well, which basically does the opposite — makes utterly ridiculous, barely comprehensible plotlines hit us in the heart (oh, Sawyer and Juliet!) despite their reliance on string theory. It’s nice to see Glee up for its first big awards, too — it’s just plain not easy to write a musical every freaking week and make it work, and while the dialogue and plotting occasionally gets heavy-handed, it still works — and ditto for Modern Family, the funniest new show this season. (Love 30 Rock and Mad Men, too, but even the Emmys have been onto those for a while.)

I’m a writing-first kind of TV watcher, so it makes sense that I’d like this list. (The awards, by the way, will be given out Feb. 20.) But what’s missing? How I Met Your Mother is the only one I can think of off my own DVR list — what do you think, PopWatchers? Was Grey’s Anatomy good enough? Did Gossip Girl hold up for you? Did FlashForward get dissed?

'FlashForward' and 'V': Can viewers handle long breaks in TV seasons?

This is officially network TV’s Year of the Hiatus. Yesterday’s announcement that ABC’s FlashForward won’t be returning until March 4 follows the network’s plan to give rookie V a long break. Fox earned itself some reader discontent announcing that Glee would take a post-Sectionals hiatus until April 13. Lie to Me will also be gone. What’s a viewer to make of all this?

Lost and 24 both demonstrate the best thing about a long hiatus: no reruns! Serialized TV is supposed to leave you breathlessly desperate for more, more, more! at the end of every episode. Back in 24’s early seasons, we all used to scream at the sound of the “Next Time On” dude uttering the terrible words “24 returns in four weeks. And as much as the term “fall finale” feels like a PR invention, you have to admit that some shows have really run with the idea. FlashForward’s fall finale, which aired last night, might’ve been its best episode yet.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence that long breaks can be problematic. READ FULL STORY

'FlashForward': Why fans shouldn't miss the final three minutes tonight

After taking Thanksgiving off last week, FlashForward returns tonight with its fall finale. The show will then take the rest of December off before returning in January, though viewers won’t have to wait that long to get a literal flash-forward glimpse of what’s to come. At the end of tonight’s episode, ABC will offer a super-sized, three-minute preview of the second half of the season. It’s a smart move. Even loyal fans have been griping about the show’s deliberate pacing, and as EW reported a couple issues back, the show is responding to the criticism by accelerating the storytelling and revealing more of the mythology, starting with the episodes that arrive with the new year. So offering them a preview of what’s coming up in January could help assure them that their patience will be rewarded. (Note: Those middle season eps are also being engineered to be entry points for new viewers, so curious novices won’t feel too lost.) READ FULL STORY

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