Film and TV

The Week In TV

The sun came out, we all lost an hour of sleep, and Charlie Sheen refused to die. This was the week in TV Land:

• Charlie Sheen got fired last week. It's weird that it took so long for it to happen, considering how he's thrown himself gleefully off the deep end. Again, it's worth noting that CBS executives didn't have a problem with Sheen's public drug use, trips to rehab, or his habit of knocking around women; they drew the line at him publicly bashing the network, Two and a Half Men, and creator Chuck Lorre. Last Monday, Warner Bros. issued a brief statement that said only, "After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen's services on 'Two and a Half Men' effective immediately." It's uncertain how or if this will affect Sheen's desire to find an intern who will presumably be responsible for performing his tiger blood transfusions and cleaning up the extra coke after the porn stars go back to their cages for the night. The news definitely didn't affect Sheen's desire to get litigious, since he went on to sue Warner Bros. and Lorre for $100 million. Classy. A little while back was also "Worldwide Unfollow Charlie Sheen on Twitter Day" according to the folks at sister publication Village Voice. They launched the movement to try and get Sheen's 2 million-plus followers to stop paying attention to the guy. Here's hoping that it worked on a few of them.


• NBC last week announced the season finale dates for their roster of shows, some of which are doing better than others. (Weirdly, despite a lack of advertising and its general crappiness, Harry's Law is doing OK.) Many of the half-hour shows are getting hour-long finales, including Community (May 12), The Office (May 19), and Parks and Recreation (May 19). I hope and pray with all my might that NBC realizes that they've got a good thing going with Community and Parks, and that they get to stick around. Do it for me, NBC.

• You play in dirt, you get dirty: Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, best known as the tiny woman who struck fear into the heart of corner boys and hardware salesmen on The Wire, was arrested in a Baltimore drug raid that focused on heroin and marijuana operations in the city. She's also been charged with aiding and abetting as well as intent to distribute heroin. Wire creator David Simon came to her defense with a Slate piece that made some good arguments (Pearson's entitled to a presumption of innocence) as well as some weak ones (there's a class divide in America, so, uh, chill out?). Regardless, it sucks to see Pearson doing so poorly. She's had a tough life, and The Wire could've been a gateway to better things.

• The HBO TV-movie Recount was a taut re-creation of the 2000 presidential election, which as you remember worked itself out smoothly and had no lasting negative effects. Now Director Jay Roach (the Austin Powers series, the first two Fockers movies) and writer Danny Strong (no longer with The Trio) are re-uniting with the network for Game Change, based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book about the 2008 race. It was announced last week that Julianne Moore has been tapped to play Sarah Palin in the film, meaning the lady who once told Dirk Diggler he could finish inside her will now play a hockey mom who's all about abstinence. Acting! No word yet on an air date, but chances are good you'll watch the movie and wonder all over again what the fuck John McCain was thinking.

• Michael Chabon and his wife, Ayelet Waldman, have set up a drama at HBO that will stay right in Chabon's wheelhouse of alternative histories, personal Judaism, and magic. Tentatively titled Hobgoblin (at least until somebody at Marvel wakes up and sues them), the series will revolve around a group of con men and magicians in World War II who use their skills to fight Nazis. Just typing that sentence makes me want to re-read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. The project's still in the early stages, but here's hoping it takes off.

• A couple weeks ago, Nathan Fillion made an offhand comment to Entertainment Weekly that, were he to win $300 million from the California Lottery, he'd buy the rights to the short-lived cult hit Firefly and make more episodes. This is a funny and sweet thing to say, but Fillion forgot the cardinal rule of the Internet: Thou shalt not give false hope to Whedonites. Devoted fans of the show, still reeling from the fact that it was canceled a decade ago, leaving them with apparently nothing else to fill their lives with, started to put together online petitions to "Help Nathan Buy Firefly." Fillion eventually piped up on The Nerdist podcast (which is hilarious and worth your time) that fans could better spend their time and money by banding together to raise funds to fight disease or homelessness or any of a number of causes not related to old TV shows, but, perhaps because the comment was buried in a 90-minute conversation, his words didn't stop the signal. It took multiple tweets from Joss Whedon's collaborator and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen to put an actual end to the madness. Look, I really like Firefly. I get misty when I watch "Heart of Gold" and mournful when I watch "Out of Gas." But folks, it's time to start moving on. We've got 14 great episodes of the show, a movie, and comic books. Let's celebrate that and carry on with our lives.

• This fall, Nickelodeon is going to pay tribute to the generation of kids who helped grow the network in the 1990s by programming a two-hour block of series from the era. The block will run from midnight to 2 a.m. and feature shows like Rugrats, Kenan & Kel, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Amanda Bynes Show, All That and Clarissa Explains It All. The return of Pete & Pete alone will be a stylistic departure for the network, which started out catering to slightly weirder tastes and has since evolved into a channel whose candy-colored, frenetically edited offerings resemble Disney Channel series. The idea for the programming block came about when channel executives discovered the Internet and realized that there's a whole swath of bored twentysomethings who have nothing better to do late at night than relive their childhoods through television. Now if only they'd dust off Salute Your Shorts.

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson