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Jonah from Tonga finds Partners and Mistresses at The Knick; TV must-sees for the week of Aug. 3

- August 3rd, 2014

The Knick cast, with Eve Hewson as Lucy Elkins, centre rear

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Aug. 3

1 The Knick
Debut: Set at a New York hospital in 1900, Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) becomes chief surgeon but quickly is pressured by benefactors to hire a black assistant, Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland).
When: Friday on HBO Canada

2 Partners
Canadian debut with back-to-back episodes: On a bad day for both of them, community lawyer Marcus Jackson (Martin Lawrence) meets unscrupulous corporate reject Allen Braddock (Kelsey Grammer). An unexpected alliance forms.
When: Thursday on Global

3 Jonah from Tonga
Canadian debut with back-to-back episodes: Chris Lilley revisits one of his characters from Summer Heights High, but this update caused a lot of controversy in Lilley’s native Australia earlier this year.
When: Friday on HBO Canada

4 Bachelor in Paradise
Debut: Twenty-five of the franchise’s most controversial contestants, both men and women, are back again, still looking for love. It all begins in an isolated romantic paradise in Mexico. Hey, what doesn’t?
When: Monday on ABC, City

5 The Strain
A secret autopsy demonstrates the bizarre progression of the mysterious virus, while Ephraim (Corey Stoll) and Nora (Mia Maestro) race to find the father of the youngest victim of the plane tragedy.
When: Sunday on FX Canada

6 Halt and Catch Fire
First-season finale: Gordon (Scoot McNairy) and Joe (Lee Pace) prepare to transport the Giant, but a suspicious defect threatens the partnership and Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) takes control of her future.
When: Sunday on AMC

7 Perception
When an FBI agent is found dead, Pierce (Eric McCormack) must face the one case he never solved. It could mess him up mentally, but he agrees to help Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) anyway. What a guy.
When: Tuesday on Bravo

8 True Blood
As Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) close in on Sarah (Anna Camp), Adilyn (Bailey Noble) finds refuge with Violet (Karolina Wydra). Um, don’t trust her.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

9 Unforgettable
Al (Dylan Walsh) becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a parolee he helped put in jail, forcing Carrie (Poppy Montgomery) to conduct an off-the-books investigation to prove his innocence to Internal Affairs.
When: Sunday on CBS, CTV

10 Mistresses
April (Rochelle Aytes) worries her past is coming back to haunt her after receiving a shocking phone call, while Savi (Alyssa Milano) reaches out to her long-absent dad. Hey, could it be Tony Danza?
When: Monday on ABC, CTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Jon Cryer reacts to gay-marriage story line on Two and a Half Men

- July 18th, 2014

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Jon Cryer says Two and a Half Men is not going to trivialize gay marriage and adoption in its final season, although he totally gets why some people are wary.

“We will be fully aware that this is not something trivial for people, we don’t want to trivialize it, and I completely can understand why some people might be afraid that Two and a Half Men might trivialize an important issue,” Cryer said.

“It’s still an issue, and I totally understand why people might be afraid that we’re not going to handle it particularly well. After all, this is Two and a Half Men.

“People have been fighting for this and it means a great deal to people, so we’re not making light of that. We are, however, making fun of the fact that the marriage of convenience has been a comedic trope for centuries. So we are taking advantage of the fact that the winds of change are finally blowing in the States, so we can have some comedic fun with it. But obviously we’re not going to make fun of gay marriage at all.”

Cryer made the comments late Thursday night at a CBS function during the Television Critics Association tour. Earlier in the day, CBS chairman Nina Tassler had provided some details about the final season of Two and a Half Men, in which Walden (Ashton Kutcher, above left) will conspire with Alan (Cryer, above right) to pretend they’re a gay couple so they can adopt a child, after Walden’s efforts to adopt as a single male are unsuccessful

“There’s a certain amount of, now that same-sex marriage is legal, you get to have fun with it as well,” Cryer said. “And we’re going to bring up the fact that it’s still not legal for gay people to adopt in some states. We’re going to talk about the fact that this is California, where that’s fine, and that precedent has been set.”

Coincidentally, Cryer will be appearing at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal next week. He said he’s looking forward to it and has heard great things, although he never has attended before, because he never has been asked.

“What’s up with that? Who dropped the ball?” Cryer said jokingly. “I’ve only been on one of the top-rated comedies on TV for, I don’t know, let me count them, 12 seasons.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Alan and Walden look to adopt a child as a fake gay couple in the final season of Two and a Half Men

- July 17th, 2014

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -  A gay marriage and adoption storyline featuring the lead characters on Two and a Half Men will kick off the final season of the show.

“Walden (Ashton Kutcher) is going to have a major health scare and it is going to give him a little bit of an existential crisis,” CBS chairman Nina Tassler said Thursday at the Television Critics Association event. “And he wants to find a way to add more meaning to his life.

“So he decides he wants to adopt a child. He starts the process and he realizes it’s very difficult to adopt a child as a single straight man. So once and for all he decides he’s going to propose to Alan, we’re going to get married, and adopt a child as a gay couple. That’s going to start the season for Two and a Half Men.”

According to Tassler, the Walden and Alan characters will not be turning gay, but rather pretending to be gay in order to attempt the adoption.

Tassler was asked if she feels there will be any push-back from the gay and lesbian community about the gay marriage and adoption storyline.

“Positive – I think it’s a very positive statement,” Tassler said. “I am going to adopt a child as a gay couple. And the reality is, he can do that. In a universe when at one point you couldn’t do that and now you can do that, I think that’s a much more positive statement that he’s making.”

Are there any chances Charlie Sheen might return at any point in the final season?

“We’re not having those conversations right now,” Tassler said.

Additionally, Tassler offered nothing concrete as to the participation or non-participation of Angus T. Jones in the final season of Two and a Half Men.

The series also airs in Canada on CTV.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Should TV series creators worry about hashtags when titling their shows?

- July 15th, 2014

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Perhaps the new series How To Get Away With Murder should be retitled How To Get Away With A Long Name For A TV Show.

The panel session for How To Get Away With Murder at the Television Critics Association tour produced a lot of questions about the title, which doesn’t lend itself very well to hashtags on Twitter. Like, #HTGAWM? Not really catchy.

But series creator Shonda Rhimes didn’t want to hear about it.

“We don’t consider a hashtag when we’re writing a show,” said Rhimes with flat incredulity.

But you know, I’ll bet a lot of writers do. And maybe they should, in this day and age.

“The idea that we decide what Twitter is going to call something is a very weird notion to me,” observed Rhimes, whose new show is coming this fall to ABC and CTV. “Twitter makes its own decisions about that kind of thing.

“Twitter has a lovely community of people who decide stuff and then they hashtag stuff. It’s a very new notion now that networks are trying to push (hashtags and trends) on the community of Twitter. Twitter makes stuff up and that’s far more interesting.”

Over to you, Twitterverse.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

 

Seth Meyers not sitting down on standing up; headed to Toronto for JFL42

- July 13th, 2014

Gallery art, Seth Meyers

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – If timing is the most important thing in comedy, it also is the most important thing in writing comedy. Just ask Seth Meyers.

The host of Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC and CTV will be appearing at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Toronto this September. He said he currently is trying to hone his standup act one or two weekends per month, after taking several months off from standup completely when he launched his Late Night show last February.

So how does Meyers find the time to work on his separate standup routine while doing a TV show every night?

“I don’t know,” Meyers said. “So if it seems like I’m doing last year’s act when I’m in Toronto, you’ll know why.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv