Tag Archives: Modern Family

September’s A Long Way Away

…and a very, very long time to wait for a new episode of Modern Family. Even though it’s only been two days since the finale, we don’t blame you if you’re in MF-withdrawal. Since September’s a long time to wait, hopefully this video of Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Mitchell”) covering Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” will be able to give you a quick fix:

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Next Year’s TV Now

This is the week many have waited for in Hollywood. In their annual display of wasteful pomp and circumstance, broadcast networks will be announcing their fall 2010 TV schedules to advertisers, in the grand tradition known as “upfronts.” What does this mean if you aren’t an advertiser, writer, or network executive? That you get to find out when your Tivo will be in overload now, so you can strategize your prioritizer all summer long.

All in the (new) family. via Flickr

A reporter from The Hollywood Reporter broke into the tech rehearsal for NBC’s presentation over the weekend, and divulged the details of their fall lineup early, ruining the surprises they hoped would generate some positive press for them this week (what a year…this after the disastrous Leno-Conan war, the cancellation of half of their lineup, and a highly rated Olympics that somehow lost them money…oy).

While it will take all week for all the schedules to fully be revealed, there are some general trends that are making headlines:

  • The Sitcom Strikes Back – Although people have been griping about the decline of network sitcoms for over a decade, these half-hour “situation comedies” have somehow made it through countless critics’ eulogies. Sure, they aren’t the water cooler shows that Friends, Seinfeld, or Will & Grace were (for all those too young to remember, NBC once had shows people talked about), but few shows outside of American Idol, Lost, or Dancing with the Stars are today. These “event” shows are the ones most resilient to DVR-ing, and thus, most appealing to advertisers. However, this season, broadcasters have a ton of sitcoms in the pipeline. Could a full-fledged renaissance be underway? If ABC’s Modern Family is any indication, these shows seem poised for a big primetime comeback.
  • Changing of the Guard – While every spring marks the end of a couple long-lasting, beloved shows, this year has been a bloodbath. This year, we’re saying goodbye to 24, Lost, Law & Order, Heroes, Ugly Betty, and Scrubs. We knew that Lost & 24 were probably expected, and the others were guessable after years of declining ratings – but Law & Order – really?! This is the clearest sign yet that NBC is shutting the door on the past and trying to relaunch itself into a new era.
  • Fallen Idol – While it’s bound to be America’s most watched show yet again this year (and with 6 years on top, break All in the Family’s record of 5 seasons at #1), American Idol is starting to look weak. Ratings are down, fan criticism is up, and Simon’s out. Could next year finally be the year that another show steal’s Idol’s ratings crown?

While networks announce their grand plans to boost their ratings next year, we’ll be enjoying the last few episodes of the shows still on this season. It’s really a shame you can only fast forward and skip through commercials on TV, and can’t just jump past upfronts as well.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Looking at Lost: The Things You May Have Missed

As with any show that is as all-encompassing as Lost, you’re bound to miss things along the way. And with 121 episodes over 6 years, you can’t blame yourself for missing some things along the way. We’re not talking about forgetting that Ben killed Locke – if you missed that, then please, stop here. While it would be nice to do a full plot recap, it’d also be a task damn near impossible. So, what we’re going to take a look at are the cool messages, easter eggs, and items hidden along the way that you may not notice until watching the episodes again…and you will watch them again. All of them.

Time Lost? Indeed, 6 years of it. via Flickr

Anagrams

For a show as smart as Lost is, the producers have an awful lot of fun with simple tricks – like rearranging the letters in many of the show’s different names.

Mittelos Bioscience – In order to recruit new people to the Island (like Juliet), the Others use a fake business with this name. Mittelos also happens to be an anagram for “Lost Time.” (Season 3 – “Not in Portland”)

Ethan Rom – Arguably the most frightening character introduced in season one, Ethan Rom was the first Other we meet on the island after he kidnaps Claire. His name also coincidentally spells out “Other Man.” (Season 1 – “Solitary”)

Hoffs/Drawlar Funeral Parlor – This is the epic place that we learned that off-island Locke (also known as Jeremy Bentham) is dead. This is also, the first time we experience a “Flash Forward.” Didn’t see that one coming, did you?! (Season 3 – “Through the Looking Glass, Part 2”)

Herarat Aviation – Operating out of Miami, Herarat was the airline that Juliet believed would take her to her future cancer research locale. Rearranged, it spells “Earhart”, the name of the famous pilot whose plane, like Oceanic flight 815, disappeared over the South Pacific.  (Season 3 – “One of Us”)

Sadly, we know about as little as we did then. via EyeMSick

Soundtrack Secrets

Room 23 – One of the most puzzling scenes in Lost history takes place on the mysterious, smaller Hydra Island.” Karl, Alex’s boyfriend and young Other, is shown being brainwashed in the Hydra’s station’s enigmatic Room 23. Strapped to a chair, images flash across with messages about Jacob, the Hansos, and the Degroots. Not only was among the first times we are introduced to Jacob, but it’s also one of the earliest clues Lost would begin playing with different dimensions. If you play the audio track backwards, you can clearly hear it warn, “only fools are enslaved by space and time.” (Season 3 – “Not in Portland”)

Geronimo Jackson – Not exactly hidden, but more of an undercurrent throughout Lost, Geronimo Jackson is an imaginary band made up by one of the show’s writers. Lost writer Eddy Kitsis actually created the band as an homage to the Grateful Dead. Since its creation, the band has taken on a life of its own – including a single on iTunes which can be overheard in Jin’s Dharma van during Season 5’s episode “316.”

Polar pictures. via Sledgweb's Lost

Planted Props

Walt’s “Missing” Milk Carton – Early in the second season, Hurley’s dreams come true when he discovers the food pantry in the hatch…until he realizes that actually is dreaming. During that fantasy sequence, he is shown holding a milk carton, which has a photo of Walt under the headline “MISSING.” Only thing? Since Hurley hasn’t been outside of the hatch since Walt got kidnapped at the end of season one, there’s no way he could know Walt had been taken yet. (Season 2 – “Everybody Hates Hugo”)

Dharma Shark – Just as we were being introduced to the hatch and the mysterious organization known as the “DHARMA Initiative,” we got a quick peek of a shark swimming underwater with the Dharma logo tattooed on its body. While we didn’t yet know the extent to which Dharma was testing animals on the island, this sneak (and the polar bear that preceded it) gave us the first signs that something was clearly up. (Season 2 – “Adrift)

Chalkboard at Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute – Just as the survivors learned about the existence of a freighter stationed off the island, a chalkboard behind Abaddon at Hurley’s Mental Hospital reveals the same thing in a flash forward. (Season 4 – “The Beginning of the End”)

Widmore’s Painting – Probably one of the most blatant (and yet unexplainable) easter eggs in Lost is one of the paintings on a wall in Charles Widmore’s office. Featuring a polar bear, the statue of Tawaret, an inverted Buddha, and the word “Namaste,” it seems to sum up many of the show’s stranger elements, and yet there’s no explanation of how it ended up there (or painted in the first place). (Season 3 – “Flashes Before Your Eyes” & Season 5 – “Jughead”)

A different type of Flash Forward. via 2M17S

Lost References in the “Real World”

Desperate Housewives – While it wasn’t blatantly refered to during the show itself, an Oceanic Airlines plane crashed into Wisteria Lane during this ABC show’s season 6 episode “Boom Crunch.” I wonder if any other imaginary airline has had such a bad track record…

Kayak.com’s Flight 815 – Before the premiere of Season 6, travel website Kayak.com offered a deal on Oceanic Flight 815, departing Sydney for Los Angeles on September 22, 2010. The cost? $4815.16 with $23.42 in taxes/fees. That seems like a lot of money for- oh…wait…

Cloverfield – In the opening sequence of 2008’s Cloverfield (also directed by Lost mastermind JJ Abrams), a Dharma logo flashes onscreen during the government warning.

FlashForward – A billboard in the background of a scene during the pilot of FlashForward (also on ABC) clearly displays an ad for “Oceanic Airlines” with the promise of a “Perfect Safety Record.” Could this mean that the season six flashsideways timeline is in fact reality and that the explosion at the end of season 5 prevented the crash of Flight 815? We might be reading too far into it…just a bit.

Modern Family – During the May 5th “Airport 2010” episode of this ABC sitcom, Luke tells his mother Claire (Julie Bowen, who also plays Jack’s ex-wife, Sarah, on Lost) that it would be cool if their plane to Hawaii got lost on an island like in Lost.

Bad Twin – In 2006, at the end of season 2, Disney published a real-life version of “Bad Twin,” a book by imaginary flight 815 passenger Gary Troup. Isn’t it ironic that four years later we’ve just found out that the entire plotline of Lost has been the resulting aftermath from a “bad twin” (Jacob & the Man in Black)?

It’s been a long strange trip, and I’m sure there’s a lot more that could be included in this list. In the coming years, when we re-watch the show thousands of times, more clues will probably surface…after all, it’s more likely we’ll discover hidden secrets than we’ll learn any answers to the show’s questions.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Is it Too Early to Speculate About 2011?

The 2009-2010 TV season isn’t even over yet, but networks are surging forward with announcing their plans for new shows for the 2010-2011 season. As with every pilot season (when networks pick up new shows and cancel dying ones), spring offers hope for a better next year and hopes of forgetting the past. This year, some networks would like to forget a lot (The Jay Leno Show? Eastwick? The Beautiful Life? Remember those gems?). So, as we say goodbye to the good and bad (LOST! Don’t go!), we get to look forward to next year’s inevitable bombs and that one or two breakthrough hit. Here are some that have already made it past the elimination rounds and will get a chance to make it or break it in your living room next year.

I'm backkk! via Flickr

The Undercovers – NBC

With Lost signing off, I guess JJ Abrams needed something to do (apparently Star Trek 2, Cloverfield 2, Fringe, and Mission Impossible IV weren’t keeping him busy). This is his first collaboration with NBC, and it seems like we’re returning to his Alias-era focus on government agencies:

Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha’s easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Smallville”).  Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA’s best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired.  When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood”) to locate and rescue Nash.  The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe — and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.  Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”). [THRfeed]

Criminal Minds Spinoff – CBS

When CBS does something right, they replicate it until there is no more room on the schedule for anything else (see NCIS, CSI, Survivor, etc.). So, why not do the same to proven ratings success Criminal Minds? With Forest Whitaker cast, this pilot hasn’t been officially picked up yet, but it looks about as safe a bet as you can get on TV.

Mr. Sunshine – ABC

Also not officially picked up, but incredibly likely to be filling up your TV screen is Matthew Perry’s new sitcom. With a strong comedy block on Wednesday nights (Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Middle), ABC just needs to fill up a few missing slots to brand the night as its own. And with Matthew Perry onboard, there’s absolutely no doubt that ABC is hoping for a Friends-level hit…but I think we all remember what happened when NBC tried that. Joey? Yeah, most of us wish we didn’t remember.

No comment could sufficient mock them enough. via Hollywood Today

Among other titles being considered for pickup are The Rockford Files and Hawaii Five-O. I honestly don’t get why networks think remakes are such solid bets – any of the 5 people who tuned into Dragnet, Bionic Woman, Melrose Place, The Fugitive, or Knight Rider should be able to tell them it’s normally not a good idea. But, then again, when you can’t rehash an old title, I guess the next logical step is rehashing an old star or idea – a legal drama from David E. Kelley, a sitcom with Paul Reiser, a medical drama from Shonda Rhimes, and a slacker comedy from Greg Garcia. No, these aren’t Boston Legal, Mad About You, Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice, or My Name is Earl. They’re Kindrids, Next, Off the Map, and Keep Hope Alive. With all of these ideas being regurgitated, forget it being too early to speculate about next season’s new shows…can we start speculating about what will be next season’s cancellations?

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Idol Hangover: The Top 8 Guys Perform

In case you missed last night’s American Idosl (I know, I know, Modern Family is the best thing about Wednesdays), here are the night’s best three performances:

Michael Lynche – He brought Kara to tears. Not Paula! Kara!!

Lee Dewyze – I may eventually regret this choice, but I enjoyed it last night.

Casey James – Kara may be “kind of” back on his train, but I’m chugging along.

And who’s going home?
Hopefully Todrick Hall (I’m sorry, but if you’re going to cover a song that was already on Glee this season, you need to really kill it), and Aaron Kelly (his voice isn’t the worst, but he is scarier than Clay Aiken and David Archuleta combined).

Time for some elimination!

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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