The Week In TV: Winners/Losers

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Between reruns and Charlie Sheen, the past few days have been kind of a blur. This was the week in TV Land:

• Here's the biggest problem for SNL, aside from the occasionally terrible sketches: They're always going to be late to the party in the digital age. The Charlie Sheen debacle is a perfect example. By the time of my brief recap of Sheen's antics to date in last week's blog post, the insanity was already a few days old, and every day last week brought some new bizarre tweak to the living meme generator that is Carlos Irwin Estevez. It's basically consumed the whole Internet for more than week, which is seven eternities in Internet time; I bet you can't even remember that the whole Ted Williams thing was only two months ago. By the time SNL finally airs, every other comedian and blogger has chewed the meat off the bone. Their Sheen jokes Saturday night felt tired, like they were trying to ride the first part of the wave of insanity when we were all saying "I'm an F-18, bro!" at work, when we've all moved on to now wondering what it means that we're cheering on a bipolar drug addict with sexual abuse problems. (Spoiler: it's not good.)

The only part of the show that worked, as usual, was Seth Meyers' "Weekend Update" segment. He managed to drill down and find some good Sheen jokes, but here's hoping that this can be the last word on the affair for a while.

• HBO's A Sword of Thorns A Hammer of Blades A Game of Thrones is building quite the buzz. The series premieres Sunday, April 17, but the network will offer a 15-minute preview of the pilot episode two weeks earlier, on April 3, in an attempt to further whet the appetites of those who can't wait to see Sean Bean once again grow his hair long and furrow his brow at magicians. In related news, author George R.R. Martin recently announced that the fifth book in the fantasy series that inspired the HBO show will be published in July. I'm going to let you down easy, though: there is no way the TV series will include all the action, or do so in the right order, or even probably last long enough to pretend to cover the whole story, especially since Martin's series is still ongoing. But hey, if you want to see what a TV version looks like, tune in.

• In what is becoming a trademark career move, Summer Glau's latest TV show is being exiled to a brisk cancellation. NBC's The Cape, a throwback attempt at humor-filled, action-oriented superhero shows that forgets to bring the humor or the action, is being relegated to the internets for its 10th and final episode. Adios, Capey.

• So, there's going to be a Community porn parody. This is how far we've fallen: Not even our pornos have original stories any more. Worse than that, they can't even come up with original puns. No more Shaving Ryan's Privates or Pulp Friction; just The Simpsons: A XXX Parody. Thanks for letting us all down again, San Fernando Valley residents.

• Kevin Spacey has signed to star in House of Cards, a drama series based on a novel that was previously turned into a BBC miniseries. The new show will be executive produced by Spacey and David Fincher, who is directing the pilot episode. The original story revolves around political intrigue in the Thatcher era, though it's safe to assume that the narrative will be updated for a 21st-century America. Although the show hasn't gone out to networks yet, it's got an HBO feel, since HBO has a recent track record of drama series starring high-profile stars whose pilots are directed by big-name moviemakers, who in turn lend their names as executive producer, as well. Martin Scorsese did it with Boardwalk Empire, starring Steve Buscemi, and Michael Mann helmed the pilot for the upcoming Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman. Maybe they'll nab this one and make it a trifecta.

• This is the point in the program where I remind you how great Justified is. Last week's episode was a strong mix of humor and action that totally encapsulated how engaging the show can be. The villain-of-the-week story let the Marshals work as a team, while the progress on the overall arc proved to be equally satisfying. The scripts have to deal with fallout from the first season while also moving the ball with new stuff, and they do it wonderfully. Seriously, it's one of the strongest dramas on TV right now, and it's never too late to catch up. Get thee to Netflix and Hulu. You've got time, too: thanks to some weird deal, episodes from this season of Justified don't start hitting Hulu until Friday, March 11.

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