The Week in TV: More Arrested Development! Kind of! Eventually!
Has anybody in this family even seen a chicken? This was the week in TV Land:
• At the New Yorker Festival over the weekend, the reunited cast and creators of Arrested Development announced that they'd be bringing the show back for a shortened season of 10 or so episodes before spinning into the feature film that's been rumored since the show ended in 2006. Deadline Hollywood's Nellie Andreeva says that Netflix and Showtime have both been approached about the revival. Now, fans of the show should, as always, take this news with boulders of salt. Creator Mitchell Hurwitz has been making noises about a movie for so long that each successive news story feels like actual news and more like a sick joke designed to sap viewers of whatever love they felt for the show and replace it with fatigue and bitterness. However, this seems like the most official-ish announcement to date, so who knows, maybe it really will happen on the schedule projected by Jason Bateman on Twitter, which would have the gang shooting next year for an early 2013 release. As with all Arrested Development news, I'll believe more episodes are coming when I'm sitting down to watch them. And even then, it might take me a couple weeks. After all, even Hurwitz is only "eighty percent" sure that this is going to happen, so don't hold your breath.
• In a move that signals their bold commitment to giving sitcoms to stand-up comedians of debatable talent and insight, NBC has signed a development deal with Dane Cook to give the comic his own show, which will presumably revolve around a group of bros who keep trying to bro but find their bro harshed by girls who just do not get bros. Cook's most recent TV appearance was a guest spot on Louie that dealt in typically reality-blurring ways about Cook's reputation as a slickster and joke thief, and it was never quite clear if the episode was about Cook and Louie or "Dane Cook" and "Louis CK." More importantly, Cook's public exorcism of the demon was really just a comedy nerd story, and many people who would tune into his NBC show might not know or care about the inside baseball. He's broad and repetitive, and his good bits tend to be sandwiched between long stretches involving invented slang and dull observational stuff. In other words, he's the perfect male counterpart to Whitney Cummings. Personally, NBC can hire Cook to host every singing show they can think of as long as they don't mess with Parks and Recreation or Community. Balance the bad with the good, after all.
• On the good side: Fox's cute New Girl had its season extended from 13 episodes to 24 thanks to strong ratings in its second week (9.28 million viewers, down just a tick from the premiere, plus a 4.5 rating in adults 18-49). The second episode was pretty good considering the amount of sudden change it had to pretend was normal. Damon Wayans Jr.'s Coach character was gone because Wayans is on ABC's Happy Endings, which was picked up for a second season, so New Girl subbed in Lamorne Morris as Winston and just rolled ahead after a few quick lines about how Winston was one of the original roommates all along and had just been renting his space out to Coach. It's a cute show, and I don't say that to diminish it. It's sweet and pleasant, and it's nice to spend time with these characters for 20 minutes a week. New Girl is essentially My Boys with some tighter editing and a bigger ad budget. I'm glad it'll get a full year to find its legs.
• I tried to watch 2 Broke Girls again, I really did. But I only made it three lines in before I changed the channel. The puns are awful, the characters are less than one-dimensional, and co-creators Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings seem to think that making Kat Dennings bitter 100% of the time is the same as making her strong and interesting. It's just not worth the hassle. Here's hoping the other broke girl sells her horse, gets them close to their financial goal, and they start their own business and vanish. Then Dennings can move on to something better. Anything would do.
• Andy Rooney retired over the weekend, bringing an end to his weekly tirades on CBS' 60 Minutes against things that no one really found bothersome. Rooney has been with the show since 1978, and every joke you have ever heard about his style, tone, and general lack of connection with anything resembling culture after 1965 is absolutely accurate. He was mostly a well-intentioned man (aside from the times when he got racist or homophobic), but his weekly opinion pieces were basically the ramblings of the relative you spend every Thanksgiving trying to avoid. His departure brings an end to the Andy Rooney Game, a video meme spawned by comedian Joe Mande in which everything is edited out of a Rooney rant but the first and last sentence. In Mande's own words, the last one is "almost too perfect."
• ABC is getting back in business with Lost's Carlton Cuse, purchasing his drama Stronger, about a musician who finds a calling as a spiritual mentor. Despite the fact that said musician is actually named Tom Stronger (please, please let this change before the show airs), the drama's got some interesting roots. Cuse's co-creator is Rob Bell, a pastor at Michigan's Mars Hill Bible Church and author of a number of books that focus on a more welcoming approach to religion in general and Christianity in particular. Lost never shied away from spirituality or metaphysical mysteries, so the two men could make a good pair. But if the second season deals with an alternate universe that's actually a purgatory generated by Tom's love for a handful of specific people, I am going to lose it.
• Not content with the damage done to society with Hannah Montana, Disney Channel has lowered its standards to green-light Dog With a Blog, a comedy (technically, anyway) about a talking dog who maintains a blog and offers life advice to his family's teenage kids. This is not a joke, or an Onion headline, or an attempt to fill space with bad jokes. This is an actual show, that will actually be made and put on your television. We have to stop giving the Disney people money.
• Because you know you want to watch it: Ty Burrell on "7 Minutes in Heaven":
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