The Week in TV: Let's All Go Back To Not Caring About Hockey For Another Four Years
The Olympics are over, spring is just around the corner, and I would totally write you a personalized 5,000-word essay about why you are all so awesome. This was the week in TV Land:
• I saved the most recent Parks and Recreation, the one that aired before Valentine's Day, and watched it a couple nights ago. NBC's Olympic coverage has made for a dull couple of weeks for fans of the network's Thursday comedy block, and I knew it would be bad going in, so I stored up some Parks and Rec to act as a kind of light at the end of the curling tunnel. And the episode didn't disappoint. "Galentine's Day" was a hilarious resolution to the relationship between Leslie and Justin (played by Justin Theroux), a chance for Andy and April to get a little closer to hooking up, and another solid opportunity for Aziz Ansari to play the public, dickish version of himself. 30 Rock still has great moments, and The Office is hit or miss, but Parks and Recreation and Community are the new hotness.
• Speaking of NBC and boring: Dermot Mulroney has been cast as Jim Rockford in the network's remake of The Rockford Files. Will the show be any good? It doesn't even exist yet, but: probably not. And here's why: You can't plan zeitgeist. Everyone chides TV and film remakes for being boring and lazy and stupid, and they are all of those things, but worst of all is the cheap hubris of the producers who think that a new version of a show with the same name will be as big a hit or have as much cultural impact as the original. The remakes of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place are testament to this. They wanted to be big, but that honor went to the insanity that is Jersey Shore, and that's because you can't load the dice. The only TV remake I can think of that's been any good was Battlestar Galactica, and that's because it went so far from its source material and had such good ideas that it couldn't help but be great. (And even that show took a nosedive in its last season and a half.) So, yes, Dermot Mulroney is your new Jim Rockford, but the old one works just fine.
• Conan O'Brien is on Twitter. He's racked up close to 450,000 followers in less than a week. Put those people in Nielsen homes, and we're back in business. Viva Coco!
• Casting Timothy Olyphant as a sheriff is kind of a no-brainer at this point (he's a lawman in the new film version of The Crazies). That's why FX is hoping to recapture some of his Deadwood magic with their new series, Justified, which stars Olyphant as a U.S. Marshal sent to work his home turf of small-town Kentucky. The ads so far have done a great job capturing the neo-Western vibe, and given FX's track record with original dramas (The Shield, anyone?), this definitely warrants a look. Check the trailer:
• Craig Ferguson did something pretty interesting the other night: He did a show without an audience, just to see what it felt like to play with the format and do something in the vein of Tom Snyder, one of his predecessors on The Late Late Show. He spent the whole episode chatting with Stephen Fry, and it was pretty fun to watch. Ferguson enjoys a special position in the late-night ranks: He's a joyful host who gets almost zero press, at least compared with the other late-night guys, so he operates below the radar and gets to play a bit more. Check out the clips here.
• Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah, has been cast on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She'll play herself, too. I seriously have nothing to add to this cartoon. Write your own jokes.
• PBS and BBC Worldwide are teaming up for a new, "fast-paced, 21st century" version of Sherlock Holmes, which will star Martin Freeman (Tim from the original The Office) as Dr. Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch (real name!) as Sherlock. No word yet on airdate.
• Jay Leno returns this week as host of The Tonight Show. His guest list is similar to the artist lineup for this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: You know they're popular, but you don't want anything to do with them. Sarah Palin is on Tuesday's episode (if there's a better way for Leno to show he's the dumbed-down version of a late-night host, I haven't heard it), while other guests include Matthew McConaughey and Dana Carvey. I can't even bring myself to tune in for good ones like Judd Apatow or Christoph Waltz, knowing they're competing for airtime with the "Jaywalk All-Stars."
Looking ahead to this week, most of your shows should be back, now that the Olympics are over and we can all go back to not pretending to care about curling. NBC's Parenthood premieres on Tuesday, as does TNT's revived version of Southland, which is the best network cop show out there right now (which isn't saying a ton, but still).