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Devious Maids clean up after a Bad Teacher in Salem? TV must-sees for the week

- April 20th, 2014

Ari Graynor in Bad Teacher

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 20

1 Bad Teacher
Debut: Based on the Cameron Diaz film, this stars Ari Graynor (pictured above) as a former trophy wife masquerading as a teacher. Wait a minute, isn’t there already a show called Trophy Wife? I’m so confused.
When: Thursday on CBS, Global

2 Devious Maids
Season-two debut: More sexy clashes between the rich and not-so-rich. Marisol (Ana Ortiz) finds a new love, while Zoila (Judy Reyes) discovers that Valentina (Edy Ganem) has returned from Africa.
When: Sunday on Lifetime

3 Salem
Debut: This is a new take on the infamous witch trials of the 17th century, exploring intriguing theories as to why they actually may have taken place. Stars Janet Montgomery and Shane West.
When: Sunday on Space

4 Parks and Recreation
One-hour, sixth-season finale: Leslie (Amy Poehler) ponders her future while Ron (Nick Offerman) has another run-in with ex-wife Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally). Michelle Obama guest-stars.
When: Thursday on NBC

5 Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide
Canadian debut: Standup special sees Morgan performing in his home town of Brooklyn, talking about everything from growing up in the projects to the time he had to be, um, removed from Prince’s house.
When: Saturday on Comedy

6 Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Debut: If you’ve ever wondered what happens to “dead letters,” well, this is not a documentary. Rather, it’s a new series about ridiculously dedicated postal people, starring Eric Mabius and Kristin Booth.
When: Sunday on M3

7 Veep
Dan (Reid Scott) tries to minimize the impact of a Saturday Night Live sketch about Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) just as she is preparing to announce her candidacy for president of the United States.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8 Black Box
Debut: Kelly Reilly stars as Dr. Catherine Black, a world-famous neurologist intent on unraveling the mysteries of the human brain. But she is hiding the fact that she’s bipolar. Is that good thinking?
When: Thursday on ABC

9 The Returned
Canadian debut: This creepy series from France allegedly breaks conventional zombie stereotypes. I’m just stunned we’re living in a world where conventional zombie stereotypes exist.
When: Saturday on Space

10 True Tori
Debut: I’m not going to lie, while it really doesn’t affect my life one way or the other, I don’t quite get the endless fascination people have with Tori Spelling. What is this, reality show No. 90210 for her?
When: Tuesday on Lifetime


Sherlock gay fanfic reportedly facing crackdown in China

- April 19th, 2014

Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat may insist the famed detective’s relationship  to Dr. John Watson is a totally platonic bromance, but countless fans, especially those with Tumblr accounts, tend to disagree.

Sherlock and Watson are perhaps the most slashed TV due since Kirk and Spock, and China has allegedly had enough of it. Pink News reports:

According to That’s Shanghai magazine, the large amount of gay slash fiction generated by fans of the BBC show is falling foul of the latest purge by the Chinese National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications (NOAPIP).

Fan fiction based on the pairing of Sherlock and John Watson is very common, with the pair, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, nicknamed ‘Curly Fu’ and ‘Peanut’ by Chinese fans.

Offbeat reports that NOAPIP’s latest initiative, Cleaning the Web 2014, has targeted self-published male-on-male fan fiction, known as danmei, and that several writers have been arrested, and websites forced to shutter.

One of the country’s largest fan-fiction websites, Jjwxc, has removed its danmei section, while other websites devoted to slash, such as Dmxsw, were shut down entirely.

A police official told Offbeat: “[Slash fictions] are essentially pornographic novels that promote homosexuality.”

Joking aside, it’s sad to see anti-gay censorship crush fans’ creative endeavours.  People seizing control of fictional universes for their own creative purposes — whether it be fanfic, fan art, or cosplay — is one of the most beautiful things fandom has to offer.

What’s more, the Washinton Post reminds us that NOAPIP is about a lot more than protecting BBC canon.

The Washington Post reports that the new anti-porn initiative is also being used to stifle dissent in the country.

Blogger Zhang Jialong wrote: “As social conflicts intensify, particularly between Chinese officials and the people they are supposed to serve, central authorities hope to clamp down, clean up, and suppress any so-called ‘harmful information’ that is disadvantageous to their dictatorship.”


Signed, Sealed, Delivered follows the “letters” of the law

- April 19th, 2014


Signed, Sealed, Delivered, cast pic

In real life, traditional mail delivery is dying in many communities across Canada and the U.S.

Alas, if only budgets allowed for the impossibly dedicated postal employees who are characterized on Signed, Sealed, Delivered, a new series that debuts Sunday, April 20 on M3 in Canada and on the Hallmark Channel (the show’s network of origin) in the United States.

I have to say, Signed, Sealed, Delivered has a unique tone to it. It’s kind of funny, kind of serious, kind of sad, kind of dangerous, kind of corny, kind of sweet, kind of romantic, kind of modern and kind of retro, with a Scooby-Doo mentality holding it all together.

After a made-for-TV movie aired last year, it was decided to expand Signed, Sealed, Delivered to a series, the first season of which consists of 10 episodes. It stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Crystal Lowe (Smallville) and Geoff Gustafson (Primeval: New World) as civil servants who transform themselves into an elite team of dead-letter detectives.

For example, in the first episode of Signed, Sealed Delivered, a legendary postal supervisor – played by Valerie Harper – oversees the unraveling of a mystery behind a letter from a young boy whose life is in danger. The letter is addressed merely to “Gramma,” and the team must identify both the grandmother and the grandson before it’s too late.

Shot in Vancouver, Signed, Sealed, Delivered was created by Martha Williamson, who also was behind the long-running Touched By An Angel. Generally, if not specifically, there are some similarities, I suppose. Signed, Sealed, Delivered tugs at the heartstrings, but bad guys get caught and loved ones are reunited.

In that way, Signed, Sealed, Delivered brings a whole new meaning to “going postal.”


Gwen Stefani joining ‘The Voice’

- April 18th, 2014

Gwen Stefani may actually be a “hollaback girl” after being called in to replace Christina Aguilera on The Voice next season.

According to TMZ’s inside sources, NBC and The Voice’s show runners began looking for a big name star to take over for Aguilera after the singer announced she was pregnant.


Aguilera allegedly wanted to stay on throughout the duration of her pregnancy, but ultimately stepped back from the position after she began to feel waned down.

TMZ also reported that Stefani, who gained recognition for fronting the popular ’90s alternative band No Doubt before emarking on her solo pop career, had only signed a contract for the eighth season, and Aguilera had already signed on to take over for the following year.

The next season of NBC’s popular singing competition begins filming in June. NBC had no comment on the news at the time of this posting.