Thursday, July 10, 2008

If there's full-frontal male nudity, it must be HBO

I always seem to wind up entering press tour at a, um, colorful moment. At my very first session of last summer's tour, Sarah Silverman told me to go bleep myself (she was kidding, I think), and the first image to greet me upon my arrival at this summer's tour was two very muscular, very naked, very silly-looking men (see above) being more affectionate than they perhaps realized.

This was a clip from "Little Britain," the popular British sketch comedy series that's arriving on HBO (with all new episodes, produced in America and directed by Michael Patrick Jann from "The State" and David "Ross" Schwimmer) in late September. Needless to say, it got my attention.

The "Little Britain" session was the next-to-last of the day -- HBO is paneling the Alan Ball vampire soap opera "True Blood" as I type this -- so I'm still playing catch-up. Among the things I missed today while I was in the air:
  • "Little Britain" HBO will debut on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 p.m. It'll be following new episodes (and hopefully funny ones, though based on the last few seasons, I'm not optimistic) of "Entourage," which will be back on Sept. 7, along with the debut of "True Blood."
  • I've been saying from the day that HBO canceled "Deadwood" that I would believe the proposed wrap-up movies would get made the day the review screeners crossed my desk. Looks like that's never going to happen: HBO co-president Richard Plepler told the critics, "I think it's safe to report that the likelihood of Deadwood (movies) happening is slim to none."
Maybe more later tonight as I get acclimated, and I hope to hit the ground running first thing tomorrow.


Oaktown Girl said...

Thanks for the Deadwood update, even though it's bad (but not unexpected) news.

HBO screwed up in every possible way for this great series as soon as Season 3 ended. Unforgivable.

Anonymous said...

I really liked True Blood and I never watched any of the other tv vampire shows. My guess is it wont get very good reviews and it is probably safe to say Alan will not like it. I'm still lookin forward to it and really like the concept, just hope there are not anymore vampire sex scenes.

I never expected the Deadwood movies so it is not a huge shock to hear they will not be getting made. It was a terrible decision to cancel Deadwood and I hope those people that made the decision can see that. How nice would it be to have a 5th season coming up this fall to wrap up the series.

And as far as the fall schedule I'm suprised we are not goin to see Big Love this year. Showtime is going to have 2 first class shows, Dexter and Brotherhood, going against True Blood and Entourage.

Anonymous said...

One other thing that you missed Alan, HBO officially greenlit a pilot for David Simon's New Orleans series (titled "Treme").

Matthew said...

Interesting to hear that there is a new Little Britain series on HBO - have you seen the original series?

I really liked the show when I first saw it, but by the end of the third series I was really watching out of duty than enjoyment.

The main problem with the show is that each recurring character revolves around exactly the same joke. That's not always a bad thing if done well - think of the way Arrested Development always made jokes about, say, Tobias being gay; always the same idea, but they always found different and inventive ways to actually make the joke (for example, Tobias ending up on the gay-rights boat trip, Tobias's combined analyst/therapist job, or Lindsay pointing out "He knows" that it was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Same fundamental idea, wildly different joke and execution.)

But in Little Britain, as soon as the sketch starts you pretty much know what the final punchline will be, because you've seen it all many many times before. (The only exception was with Lou and Andy where they at least had two different jokes - the joke where Andy insists he wants something until he gets it then changes his mind, and the one where Andy gets out of his wheeelchair and runs around without being noticed. This meant that you at least had to wait for the setup before knowing which joke it was going to be.)

Plus, when they actually try to change a sketch, it's less about trying to do something different, and more about doing something more. Instead of having one rubbish transvestite, let's have two! Instead of one obese woman running around naked, let's have two obese women running around naked!

Basically, Little Britain is the worst type of catchphrase comedy - if you watched the second series of Extras, while When The Whistle Blows was a sitcom rather than sketch, it is very clear that the show was his criticism of Little Britain.

I do think David Walliams and Matt Lucas are talented comedians - most of their sketches were originally funny - but their constant reuse of the same joke for each character just comes across as a bit lazy.

The big question is, will Tom Baker be providing narration? By the end of the show's run, his absurd narrations seemed the only part of the show that Walliams and Lucas were trying to make original, and Baker's distinctive voice and delivery really added to the jokes. In fact, the narrations would almost make the otherwise awful show worth watching. Without Tom Baker as narrator, I'm not sure I would bother watching.

Anonymous said...

completely off topic but i was out tonight and saw Neil Patrick Harris in a commercial

(i haven't even *heard* it yet - i was in a restaurant)

Happy TCAing - see you've been busy.
Heard anything about a TNT pilot co-starring Scott Bakula?

Anonymous said...

what would it take hbo to do the deadwood movies? if they can do the john adams mini to no viewership i feel like they can do the deadwood movies. its abundantly clear that they dont care about anything but the money which is reasonable i suppose. but i can hate them anyway.

Will said...

Did anyone else think the last season of Deadwood was really, really bad?

selector x said...

I'm slightly surprised there wasn't any news about Milch's new HBO project. You know that 70s cop show? Or was I imagining that..

Alan Sepinwall said...

My guess is it wont get very good reviews and it is probably safe to say Alan will not like it.

Good guess -- at least about me. How did you know?

Anonymous said...

As for the proposed Deadwood finale, even if the sets have been demolished, can't they do an animated version?

Anonymous said...

"Did anyone else think the last season of Deadwood was really, really bad?"

My problem with the last season was that everything was all-Hearst, all the time. Previously, the show had been about all of these separate characters' stories overlapping and bumping into each other in unexpected and surprising ways. But Hearst took up all of the oxygen in the room and turned the show into a plotfest where the characters were less important than what was going to happen next.

Anonymous said...

I've given Little Britain a few tries and gave up on it. Just didn't find it funny at all.

I enjoyed the last season of "Deadwood" because I found Hearst to be a very interesting character and I was curious how they were going to dislodge him from town since they couldn't kill him. Plus Major Dad rocked it.

Pamela Jaye said...

Stupid Question - does Press Tour cover TNT? Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher have a pilot.

and if any HIMYM fans are here - have you seen NPH's Old Spice ad? you can get it at youtube and (smartly)

Pamela Jaye said...

darn, everytime anyone says Big Love, I think of the doctor/candidate on House.

Pam, who can't afford premium channels

Alan Sepinwall said...

One other thing that you missed Alan, HBO officially greenlit a pilot for David Simon's New Orleans series (titled "Treme").

Yeah, I found out about "Treme" after the fact, along with HBO picking up "Boardwalk Empire," an Atlantic City period piece from Terence Winter (David Chase's other right-hand man from "The Sopranos") and a fella by the name of Scorsese.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Stupid Question - does Press Tour cover TNT? Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher have a pilot.

TNT just wrapped up a little while ago, but their presentation focused on shows that have already gone to series and will be on the air soon: "Leverage," a con artist show with Timothy Hutton, and "Raising the Bar," a Steven Bochco legal drama with Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

Anonymous said...

So HBO and Milch ditch Deadwood for John from Cincy and a 70's cop show?

I got that right?

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan, thanks for the answer, and sorry - didn't realized I'd actually posted twice (you will love the NPH ad though, if you haven't seen it yet)

still behind on the updates - I'm watching the last two eps of House (with your blog entries and the comments) and trying to clear out all the Jeopardy on my DVR (by actually watching it)