The Week in TV: The Muppets Now Control Everything
Not much happened last week, what with everyone taking extra naps and blaming it on the turkey. Still, it wasn't a totally uneventful week in TV Land:
• Having been dragged back into the mainstream spotlight by Jason Segel, the Muppets are now eyeing a return to TV, the medium that first brought them into people's homes. NBC has, according to Deadline Hollywood, closed a script deal for The New Nabors, a comedy about a human family that lives next door to puppets who are, one worries, genetically linked to Jim Nabors. The Muppets are so hot right now, but they haven't been on primetime network TV since Muppets Tonight in the late 1990s. It'll be interesting to see if the show takes off.
• The multi-format adaptation of The Dark Tower may have fallen apart, but Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman aren't done with revisionist Westerns. Goldsman just signed a two-year overall deal with HBO, and the first project is a series about Doc Holliday that has Howard attached to direct the pilot. The series will be based in part on Doc, a recent novel about the character, and it will explore a love triangle between Holliday; his wife, Kate Elder; and Wyatt Earp. HBO's track record with Westerns is, well, amazing, though Howard and Goldsman don't quite feel like heirs to the Deadwood throne. Still, the network's on a creative surge with Game of Thrones, so the still-untitled Holliday project could be just what they need to get some of that Swearengen swagger back.
• All the hand-wringing for Community is just beginning, which is why the A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff wrote an insightful piece about the business of sitcoms and why the show shouldn't be counted out yet. It's the best article to date about the show's tortured life expectancy. Go read it.
• Michele Bachmann stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon the other night in hopes that Fallon's demo includes some wildly unhinged right-wingers along with college kids, amiable stoners and people who just want to watch something good on Hulu the day after it airs. She got a cold welcome from The Roots, Fallon's house band, who played her out with a version of Fishbone's "Lyin' Ass Bitch." Fallon had to play clean-up the next day, tweeting that Questlove was "grounded" and that he was "honored" to have Bachmann on the show and he'd love to have her back. For her part, Bachmann unironically commented, "This is clearly a form of bias on the part of the Hollywood entertainment elite." She added, "This wouldn't be tolerated if this was Michelle Obama. It shouldn't be tolerated if it's a conservative woman, either." On one hand, yeah, The Roots probably wouldn't slam the first lady, no matter who's in office. On the other, when you classify homosexuality as sexual dysfunction, you're going to upset some people. This is the price you pay for being a high-profile bigot. If this is all it takes to knock the wind out of your sails, maybe the Oval Office isn't for you.
• NBC, enamored of Whitney Cummings's brash attempts at humor and adorable habit of confusing being loud with being funny, has picked up another pilot from an abrasive brunette comedienne. The network has ordered a half-hour comedy from Sarah Silverman (who arguably got this whole "wacky ladies who say 'vagina' a lot" thing started in the first place) that will star Silverman as a woman getting used to single life after the end of a lengthy relationship. I've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to think of a knot to tie on the end of this story, but honestly, there isn't one. If you dig Silverman, you will watch this show. If you don't, you won't. There's not going to be much crossover, and Silverman's a highly acquired taste. Go with your gut.
• This made me happier than anything else on TV last week:
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