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‘Simpsons World’ is an unlimited pass into Springfield

- July 21st, 2014

UPDATE: FX has confirmed the Simpsons World app will only be available for U.S. subscribers. There are currently no plans to bring the app to Canada or other countries around the world at this time.

Homer Simpson once profoundly asked, “What’s the point in going out? We’re just going to end up back here anyways.”

I agree with you Homer, and it looks like FX does too.

During the TCA’s on Monday, an annual gathering of television critics and industry professionals in Los Angeles, FX president Chuck Saftler announced the creation of Simpsons World, a heaven for all Simpsons fanatics.

The multi-platform app will not only allow viewers to watch every episode of the series made to date, but will also give them ample access to trivia, character biographies, and an “ultimate” episode guide with actual scripts embedded into each episode summary.

Saftler confirmed the episodes would be partnered with commercials and in order to use the app, you must be an FX subscriber.

If that’s not a good enough reason to purchase cable, though, you probably won’t find one.

The Wrap also reported that subsequent to Simpsons World is a tool called Simpsons TV. Within Simpsons TV, users can bookmark their progress through a season, or personalize a viewing playlist based on specific characters or themes.

In order to prep for the launch of Simpsons World, FX will be carrying out a marathon of all 552 episodes –an event that will take a week a half of around the clock broadcasting. The marathon will kick off on Aug. 21 and run through Sept 1.

Personally, I think they’re missing the boat by not coordinating it to run over the Labour Day long weekend, but I’m not an executive at FX.

The Simpsons World app will be launching on all Apple and Android devices, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360 platforms in late October.

Fargo renewed by FX with new characters and cast, return to Alberta likely but not finalized; Louie is back, too

- July 21st, 2014

fargo blood snow

BEVERLY HILLS., Calif. – FX clearly has a thing for loners and lonely landscapes, as Fargo and Louie have been renewed for second and fifth seasons, respectively.

FX announced on Monday that executive producer and writer Noah Hawley is moving forward with a second installment of  Fargo. This new chapter of the Fargo story will feature all new characters, all new actors, a new time frame (1979), new locations (Sioux Falls, S.D., and Laverne, Minn.) and a new “true crime” story that will unfold over 10 episodes.

The first season of Fargo was shot near Calgary, and while FX CEO John Landgraf said he would “like” to shoot season two there as well, it has not been finalized yet. Later in the day, Hawley and co-EP Warren Littlefield implied it is their intention to be back in Alberta. Production likely will span the winter and spring of 2015, but the story may not take place entirely in a winter climate. The earliest the second season of Fargo will air is in the fall of 2015.

The first season of Fargo – which starred Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Alison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Keith Carradine, among others – aired on FXX in Canada. It has not yet been determined if the second season will air on FX Canada or FXX Canada, both of which are owned by Rogers.

A younger version of Carradine’s Lou Solverson character will be part of the second season of Fargo.

“We could not be more proud of Fargo,” Landgraf said. “Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favoruite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history. Fargo was nothing short of breathtaking and we look forward to the next installment.”

Meanwhile, Louis C.K.’s multi-award-winning Louie will be back on FX and FX Canada with new episodes – the official release said seven, Landgraf said “seven or eight” – in the spring of 2015.

“Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking – sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, always thought-provoking,” Landgraf said. “The show went to narrative and cinematic places no comedy has gone before and we look forward to seeing what Louis comes up with next.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

Ryan Murphy casts Neil Patrick Harris in ‘American Horror Story’ on Twitter

- July 18th, 2014

Who needs backdoor deals in Hollywood when you can just connect with talent over Twitter?

It didn’t take long after Neil Patrick Harris told Entertainment Weekly’s Mario Correa he’s always wanted to appear on Ryan Murphy’s Emmy award winning anthology series American Horror Story for the showrunner to eagerly respond.

 

The quick nod of approval from Murphy must have come as a major relief to Harris who admitted he even wrote the co-creator asking for a position on the show and never heard back.

“I wrote a letter to Ryan asking if I could be in it, even though I wasn’t even available to be in it, but he never responded,” Harris admitted to Correa. “I love those series so much, and to do one that involves any kind of freak circus nonsense is going to be so unsettling to watch. “

Harris may be in luck, after all, considering the theme of American Horror Story’s upcoming fourth season – a sadistic, murderous freak show.

“I love crazy random freak show stuff, like that’s just what I love. I’ve always been drawn to it.”


He’s also proven that he’s not averse to getting grimy for a role, winning a Tony just this year for his portrayal of the transgender punk singer Hedwig in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The question of whether an official deal been made still remains. Although there hasn’t been confirmation from either camp, with Harris’ show finally ending and Murphy clearly on board to work with the actor, American Horror Story fans should already be excited.

Ray Donovan feels The Strain of Dating Naked; must-sees for the week of July 13

- July 13th, 2014

Capture Strain

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of July 13

1 The Strain
Debut: Creator Guillermo del Toro admits he is obsessed with the biological element of vampires. Like, how would it actually work? Um, let’s just say the first episode bites into that question.
When: Sunday on FX Canada

2 Masters of Sex
Second-season debut: So now Virginia (Lizzy Caplan) knows how Bill (Michael Sheen) really feels about her. Love complicating sex? Wow, I don’t think that ever has happened before.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network and Movie Central

3 Ray Donovan
Second-season debut: Ray (Liev Schreiber), Mickey (Jon Voight) and FBI Bureau Chief Cochran (guest star Hank Azaria) deal with the fallout after the murder of Sully (James Woods).
When: Sunday on The Movie Network and Movie Central

4 The People’s Couch
Debut: Watching TV is one thing. But how entertaining is watching people watch TV? This new Canadian series, styled after a show called Gogglebox in the U.K., coddles couch potatoes.
When: Sunday on Bravo

5 Apocalypse: World War I
Debut: Co-produced by companies in Canada and France, this five-part documentary series uses colourized archival footage to bring the horror, lunacy and legacy of the Great War to life.
Monday on TVO; Tuesday on TVO.org

6 Camp X: Secret Agent School
Debut: The first North American school for spies secretly was opened near Whitby, Ont., during World War II. This documentary explores how Camp X laid the foundation for the CIA.
When: Monday on History

7 Rush
Debut: This flashy 10-episode medical drama stars Tom Ellis as Dr. William Rush, an on-call, problem-solving doctor for elite L.A. clients who are willing to pay a cash-only premium for discretion.
When: Thursday on Bravo

8 Married
Debut: This comedy allegedly is about being “miserably in love,” with Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina (Judy Greer) trying to recall what life was like before kids, debt and suburbia ruined their romance.
When: Thursday on FXX Canada

9 You’re the Worst
Debut: A comedic investigation of what happens when two toxic, self-destructive people – Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) – hook up. So, just like every relationship, ever.
When: Thursday on FXX Canada

10 Dating Naked
Debut: This 10-part “cheeky” reality series sees new suitors, male and female, exposing themselves as they really get to know each other in exotic locations. Wait, don’t they call this Survivor?
When: Thursday on M3

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Maslany, McConaughey, Margulies earn nominations for 2014 TCA awards

- May 27th, 2014

TCA_Logo_FINAL_LARGE

Orange and True.

That would be one way to describe the list of nominees for the 30th annual Television Critics Association Awards, which were announced Tuesday.

Two new shows – Orange is the New Black (Netflix) and True Detective (HBO, HBO Canada) – were included among the five nominees for the prestigious program-of-the-year award. The others were Game of Thrones (HBO, HBO Canada), The Good Wife (CBS, Global) and defending champion Breaking Bad (AMC).

As logic would dictate (although you never can be too sure with critics), Orange is the New Black and True Detective also were nominated in the outstanding-new-program category, alongside Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, City), Fargo (FX, FXX Canada) and Sleepy Hollow (Fox, Global).

Nominees for individual achievement in comedy were defending champ Louis C.K. (Louie), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation).

Nods for individual achievement in drama went to defending champ Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans).

The eligibility period for the 2014 TCA awards was from May 15, 2013 to May 15, 2014. The awards will be handed out on July 19 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv