Film and TV

The Week in TV

Boxers are out, sheriffs are in, and DJ Roomba lives on. This was the week in TV Land:

Entourage is heading into its eight and final season, which means it's lasted longer than Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks and Veronica Mars combined. While you reflect on that, chew on this: Andrew Dice Clay, the rapiest non-rapist to ever take the microphone, will have a recurring role on the HBO series when it returns in July. The best thing about this news is that it gives you a chance to go read the plot summaries of Entourage at Wikipedia, which are so hilariously deadpan you can't tell if they're written by a fan or hater. Personal favorite: "Left to his own devices by his friends, Vince spends much of the season relaxing." Enjoy!

• This week in Aaron Sorkin news: Jeff Daniels is in negotiations to star in Sorkin's HBO pilot set behind the scenes at a cable news series. "Behind the scenes" is a big thing for Sorkin, and this new show looks like it'll mix the cable-news vibe of Sports Night and the politicized stories of The West Wing. Daniels is an interesting choice, too; he's always working, but it's been a while since he's been the emotional focus of a project.

Sorkin also popped up last week on 30 Rock, in the most entertaining minute of the episode. His walk-and-talk and the rapid-fire dialogue were a nice nod to his m.o., and the fact that he was willing to say the self-deprecating about Studio 60 might mean Tina Fey's ready to bury the hatchet after years of subtle digs. Here's a link to the clip, which is a real pain to try and embed.

• It's been a rough year for wannabe breakthrough dramas on FX. After the critically acclaimed but little-seen run of Terriers led to that show's cancellation, FX last week pulled the plug on Lights Out, the drama about a former boxer that you probably thought about watching but then totally forgot existed. As is becoming his habit, network president John Landgraf was remarkably candid about the decision, praising the show's nuance and depth but pointing out that all the quality in the world doesn't matter if you can't get people watching. Lights Out earned about 500,000 viewers a week in the 18-49 demographic, a fraction of the people that tune into shows like Sons of Anarchy and the magnificent Justified. Speaking of: Justified is closing in on an official renewal for a third season, so that's something to celebrate. It's one of the strongest and most enjoyable dramas running right now.

• Heads up, fans of Netflix's Watch Instantly (which is pretty much everyone): Showtime is getting ready to yank its current series from the streaming service, which means the only way to watch Dexter is to pony up for a Showtime subscription. Completed Showtime series no longer in production, like The Tudors and Sleeper Cell, will still be online at Netflix, though. Basically, Showtime is following the lead of HBO, which doesn't allow for streaming of its series through Netflix. If you want to see them, you have to pay for the channel or wait for DVD. So, if you (like me) have been putting off catching up with Dexter, now's the time.

• Quick! Name at least three actors or characters on Perfect Couples. No points for Olivia Munn. If you can, you're probably on the show. The NBC comedy is a shotgun-broad approach to comedy that feels transported here from the 1980s, what with all its "dudes are all bleh and girls are all wahhh" plotting. The latest development doesn't bode well for the show: Beginning April 14, the show will be replaced by The Paul Reiser Show, a comedy in the Episodes/Curb Your Enthusiam vein that sees Reiser playing a version of himself, meandering through late middle-age and coasting on the vapors of the fame he had when Mad About You was on the air. No word yet on what's gonna happen to Perfect Couples, but, well, insert your own divorce puns here.

• Small progress on the Mad Men front: it looks like creator Matthew Weiner and producer Lionsgate TV are at long last closing in on a deal that would enable the AMC drama to return. However, you should probably give up any hope of seeing the new season this summer, or even fall: as Nellie Andreeva points out over at Deadline, when Weiner last renegotiated, the deal closed in January, pushing that season's launch back to August. Following that template, Mad Men wouldn't come back before this October at the earliest, and if this drags out much longer, AMC might just bump it to early 2012. I guess we'll have to wait longer to find out, uh, what happened with that one repressed lady and the emotionally tortured guy? (I haven't kept up with the show in a while, but that feels pretty close.)

• Finally, the last line of the last scene in Parks and Recreation had me howling, and it's the best way to start the new week:

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson