NBC Sports’ Championship Season coverage takes center stage this Sunday with numerous high-profile events airing on NBC and NBCSN, including Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference Final between Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers; the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix; Premier League’s “Championship Sunday;” the first round of the 2015 French Open; and the Senior PGA Championship.
“Championship Season” consists of high-profile events from May through July, and continues with the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the 147th Belmont Stakes featuring Triple Crown contender American Pharoah, The Men’s and Women’s French Open Finals, and the 2015 Tour de France.
After six seasons, when the producers of most TV sitcoms are feeling lucky just to simply still have a place on the schedule for their shows, the biggest question facing “Modern Family” is whether room will need to be made on the mantle for a sixth straight Emmy for outstanding comedy series.
“I feel very good about what we did this season,” co-creator Steven Levitan told Variety Monday at a For Your Consideration event on the 20th Century Fox lot, where fans – and, importantly, Television Academy voters – assembled to watch the sixth-season finale and listen to members of the cast and creative team discuss the most recent crop of episodes, which all agreed felt as fresh and funny as the high-water mark seasons that preceded them.
I think for better or for worse, I read the internet and I understand people are getting plot-twist fatigue, but personally I think we end the season with a run of episodes that were so twisty and turny and each one seemed to be more surprising than the next. I’m really proud of that. One of my litmus tests is, do we feel like we won’t be able to top it next season? And I certainly feel like we basically blew up the show and that continues on through the finale, so I’m really proud of that, because it’s something you can’t repeat — obviously you can’t blow up the show every year, so it’s exciting to me. The finale, when we finished writing it, I jokingly said I want to call it “Sticking the Landing” because there’s so many plot twists — and the thing about all the plot twists is, it’s all well and good but you’ve got to be able to explain it on the B-side, and all those questions have got to get answered, and at the same time you want it to be an entertaining episode on its own. It can’t just be 42 minutes of us reading Twitter and answering everyone’s questions, and knock on wood, I kind of feel like it’s satisfying in that regard. It answers the questions you have; it sets up new ones that hopefully people will carry into season four; it’s a very definitive ending…
People ask me, “does it end on a cliffhanger” and it really depends on your definition of a cliffhanger, because if your definition of a cliffhanger includes, “well how can they possibly continue to do this show after this episode?” then yes, this is very much a cliffhanger. [Laughs.] At the same time, it probably could function as a series finale if that’s the route we were going, but we’re at work on season four and I’m excited about what we’ve come up with.
ABC opted for stability in the fall, launching just five new series with no major shakeups to its nightly strategies. The network, which had momentum this past season with improved ratings, is clearly hoping to maintain its uptick, simply swapping dramas for dramas and comedies for comedies.
They’re the best-known protest organization against graphic TV sex and violence. Even if you don’t know their name, you’ve seen the results of their efforts. Those headlines about that long Sons of Anarchy sex montage? The furor over ABC’s Charlie Brown repeat leading into a Scandal sex scene? The content protests against Fox’s Family Guy, VH-1’s Dating Naked and CBS’ Stalker? All the work of the Parents Television Council, a 19-year-old oft-outraged Los Angeles-based organization that’s probably the best known remaining anti-indecency group around.
Last night Nickelodeon aired the finale of the animated spin-off series The Legend of Korra, bringing a nine-year journey that started with Avatar: The Last Airbender to a close. But perhaps “aired” is the wrong word. Because, in an unprecedented move, Nickelodeon pulled The Legend of Korra off TV earlier this year and screened almost the entire last two seasons online only. That’s right, something called The Legend of Korra, an adventure show about teenagers with the supernatural ability to manipulate the elements, pushed the envelope so far it got yanked from TV. And last night, during the finale, creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino shoved that envelope even further. And they shoved it hard. Kids TV may never be the same again.
You can trace the history of television comedy through its families: The Cleavers, the Kramdens, the Bunkers, the Evans, the Keatons, the Huxtables, the Tanners, the Bundys, the Winslows, the Simpsons, the Griffiths. And the Belchers of Bob’s Burgers have stealthily become one of those iconic clans.
Over its four and a half seasons, the show has evolved into a true product of today, combining the heartwarming moments that were a hallmark of ABC’s TGIF lineup 20 years ago with the eccentricity and deadpan tone that’s more at home on Adult Swim (where the show fittingly re-airs). The Belchers—restaurant owners Bob and Linda and their three kids Tina, Gene and Louise—are real, comfortable oddballs, and the laughs come from a group just being themselves. No recycled, vulgar, referential, or cheap gags necessary.
They picked one of my favorite eps as a “can’t skip” pick. No, I won’t tell you which one it is. ^_^
With all that went down in the last episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” it might be a little difficult to remember that “What We Become” was only a mid-season finale. Daisy Johnson! Terrigenesis! Inhumans! The episode just brimmed with revelations. Needless to say, many of the questions asked at this season’s opener have been answered. I’ve talked a little about how the show could use the Inhuman angle, but — with the Inhumans officially confirmed by name — where do we go from here? What happens on “AoS” now that their best-kept secret has been revealed?
For the last several years TV networks have tried to use the upfronts to show they can compete with or take advantage of digital platforms with their own second-screen apps, Twitter partnerships and digital series. While this week saw some brief digital announcements and stats about social engagement, the focus swung back to TV: how networks are getting viewers to watch live and how broadcasters can match cable networks’ edgier fare.
While each network introduced new comedies, a challenging area for most, the attention was really on dramas — darker thrillers, limited series and big superhero series. Here’s a look at the biggest takeaways from the 2014 TV upfronts.
Side note: Congrats to AoS for getting a second season pickup!