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Maybe peer pressure made Cristin Milioti emotional on How I Met Your Mother set

- March 28th, 2014

Cristin Milioti, gallery

Cristin Milioti didn’t want to feel out of place.

With TV reporters and critics gathered on the set of How I Met Your Mother, many of the cast members choked up while talking about the show. How I Met Your Mother wraps up with a one-hour series finale, Monday, March 31 on CBS and City.

Milioti, who joined the cast just last season as the long-talked-about “mother,” couldn’t help but be close to tears, too.

“I don’t know why I almost started crying right now, because I feel like I have no right to cry,” said Milioti, prompting laughter.

“It was definitely very scary in the beginning, before I started properly, because I kept thinking, ‘They’ve been together for nine years.’ But it has been fantastic and very warm and lovely.”

How I Met Your Mother, which debuted back in 2005, stars Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris as a group of adult friends. By now you surely know the premise, which is, Radnor’s Ted character is telling his children in the year 2030 the lengthy tale of how he met their mother.

The entire final season has been set over the course of one weekend at a Long Island inn, as Barney (Harris) and Robin (Smulders) prepared to tie the knot. The show has been full of its usual flashbacks and flash-forwards, though.

Since the series already has taken away the mystery of who the mother is, there has been intense speculation about major twists in the finale. Some of the theories are quite dark, actually.

For Milioti, though, there has been no down side to this, moist eyes notwithstanding.

“It’s definitely like my own specific thing, because I haven’t been here for that long,” she said. “But I was made to feel so welcome by everyone here, everyone on the crew, literally everyone along the way.

“That has made this a dream come true for me.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

From Red John and the Challenger to Cosby and Cracked; TV must-sees for the week

- November 24th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Nov. 24

1 The Challenger Disaster
Debut: Made-for-TV movie about the controversial commission that investigated the infamous 1986 space-shuttle tragedy. Cast includes William Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bruce Greenwood and Brian Dennehy.
When: Sunday on Discovery

2 The Mentalist
After a 10-year pursuit, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) finally comes face to face with Red John, the killer who murdered his wife and daughter. Well, it’s about damn time.
When: Sunday on CBS, CTV Two

3 How I Met Your Mother
Titled Bedtime Stories, this has been billed as a special rhyming episode told in three tales: Mosby at the Bat; Robin Takes the Cake; and Barney Stinson, Player King of New York City.
When: Monday on CBS, City

4 Ja’mie: Private School Girl
Debut: Another comic installment from Australian Chris Lilley, who reprises his role as schoolgirl Ja’mie. But now she’s far away from her familiar stomping grounds at Summer Heights High.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

5 The Secret Disco Revolution
Documentary about the dominant music genre of the 1970s features the Village People, Gloria Gaynor, the Trammps, Kool and the Gang and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Shake your booty.
When: Tuesday on Bravo

6 Murdoch Mysteries
Doesn’t that Newfoundlander on the run from the law look a lot like Jake Doyle from Republic of Doyle? It is, in fact, the man who plays Jake, Allan Hawco, guest-starring as one of Jake’s ancestors.
When: Monday on CBC

7 Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
Debut: This new standup special from the 76-year-old sweater-wearing, Jell-o Pudding Pop-eating comedy legend was filmed last summer in Los Angeles.
When: Saturday on Comedy

8 Cracked
Second-season finale: Dr. Clara Malone (Brooke Nevin) initiates an experimental therapy that explains the voices a young man is hearing in his head, which in turn leads to a peril-filled climax.
When: Monday on CBC

9 Getting On
Debut: Six-episode dark and candid medical comedy about a hospital unit in California that cares for elderly patients. Stars Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein and Niecy Nash.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

10 Sleepy Hollow
Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) come across a Colonial-era house – or, as Ichabod calls it, “new” – that is hiding long-dormant evil. You know, like all old houses do.
When: Monday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

From Doctors and Miracles to Blinders and Blades; TV must-sees for the coming week

- November 16th, 2013

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Bill Harris TV must-sees for the week of Nov. 17

1 The Day of the Doctor
Debut: A worldwide, commercial-free simulcast marking the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith teams up with 10th Doctor David Tennant. I hope there isn’t too much math.
When: Saturday on Space

2 Almost Human
Debut: From J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman, this series is set in 2048, when human police officers are partnered with highly evolved androids. Can you tell the difference? Karl Urban and Michael Ealy star.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

3 Battle of the Blades
Fourth-season finale: The three remaining pairs with title hopes are Violetta Afanasieva and Jason Strudwick; Marie-France Dubreuil and Mathieu Dandenault; and Amanda Evora and Scott Thornton. Ron MacLean hosts.
When: Sunday on CBC

4 Nikita
Final-season debut: Nikita (Maggie Q) still is on the run after being framed for the assassination of the president of the United States. Maybe she describes herself as a “patsy,” just like Lee Harvey Oswald.
When: Friday on CW

5 Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
Debut: Taped in front of a tiny live audience – 39 people, to be exact, at a club in Los Angeles – the never-shy Silverman takes aim at subjects such as pornography, sexuality and U.S. President Barack Obama.
When: Saturday on HBO Canada

6 Peaky Blinders
Canadian debut: A six-part British drama set in 1919 Birmingham as returning soldiers, criminal gangs and revolutionaries angle for supremacy. Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Helen McCrory star.
When: Thursday on Super Channel

7 New Girl
Jess (Zooey Deschanel) does her best to occupy Schmidt (Max Greenfield) while Cece (Hannah Simone) goes on a date with Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.). Sound madcap enough for you?
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

8 Battleground
Canadian debut: Originating with U.S. online provider Hulu, this is a dramedy about a group of volunteers who set aside their personal lives to get involved in a long-shot political campaign. Jay Hayden and Teri Reeves star.
When: Monday on Super Channel

9 How I Met Your Mother
John Lithgow returns in a guest-starring role as the father of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Meanwhile, best man Ted (Josh Radnor) believes he has been framed when a wedding-related duty is botched.
When: Monday on CBS, City

10 Styled to Rock
Debut: Executive produced by Rihanna, this new reality series is a search for the next trend-setting fashion designer. Celebrity guests include Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen and Kylie Minogue.
When: Sunday on E!

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Does The Walking Dead still Reign? TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 13

- October 12th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ top 10 TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 13:

1 The Walking Dead

The first episode of the fourth season is titled 30 Days Without an Accident. So why am I thinking the streak is about to end? Followed by the return of wrap-up show Talking Dead.

When: Sunday on AMC

2 Reign

Series debut: Danger, intrigue and romance lurk around every castle corner for Mary Queen of Scots, played by Adelaide Kane. Doesn’t quite pay attention to history, but hey, who does?

When: Wednesday on M3; Thursday on CW and CTV Two

3 The Big Bang Theory

The always awkward relationship between Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) gets even more weird when she takes a job at his university.

When: Thursday on CBS, CTV

4 The Blacklist

Red (James Spader) informs the FBI that the kidnapping of a key witness may have been perpetrated by a criminal known as the Stewmaker. Mmmmmm, stew.

When: Monday on NBC, Global

5 The Biggest Loser

Society does not appear to be running out of contestants for this inspirational show that literally burns fat. Ruben Studdard – a winner back when American Idol still mattered – is on board.

When: Tuesday on NBC, OMNI

6 How I Met Your Mother

As the final season continues, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) helps Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) pick a side in a fight between his mom and Robin (Cobie Smulders).

When: Monday on CBS, City

7 Super Fun Night

A law-firm executive urges Kimmie (Rebel Wilson) to act more professionally, but that won’t sit well with Marika (Lauren Ash) or Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira).

When: Wednesday on ABC, City

8 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish

Series debut: The title pretty much says it all. Vanilla Ice is on a mission to learn the lost art of hand craftsmanship. Feel free to insert your own joke here.

When: Sunday on DIY network

9 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A woman who is behind a series of high-stakes heists holds a troubling secret that has the potential to ruin Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

When: Tuesday on ABC, CTV

10 Ironside

Holly (Spencer Grammer) and Ironside (Blair Underwood) follow the trail of a professional poker player with a drug problem. Wow, that really narrows it down. I kid, I kid.

When: Wednesday on NBC, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

My picks, favourites and dark horses for the Emmy Awards

- September 22nd, 2013

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It’s tough to remember just what the heck I was watching on TV a year ago.

As you view the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which air live Sunday, Sept. 22 on CBS and CTV from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, keeping the eligibility window in mind will be a helpful thing.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, these particular Emmys cover the period between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. So that means, for example, the current final half-season of Breaking Bad is not eligible. You have to ponder the eight episodes that aired last summer.

Final season of The Killing, not eligible. Most recent season of True Blood, not eligible. Final season of Dexter, not eligible. Second season of The Newsroom, not eligible. No Devious Maids. No Ray Donovan. No The Bridge. No Orange is the New Black. No Under the Dome.

I’m not saying those shows necessarily would have received nominations. But with TV scheduling not tied to September and January debuts any more, watching the Emmys can be a bit of a time-warp experience.

Nonetheless, here’s a look at the major award categories. Just remember to set your internal body clock back a year.

DRAMA SERIES

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

Homeland

House of Cards

Mad Men

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Breaking Bad seems like something of a slam dunk here.

UP TO ME? Can’t really argue with Breaking Bad.

DARK HORSE: Voters might want to seem cool and go for House of Cards, from online provider Netflix.

DRAMA LEAD ACTOR

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Damian Lewis, Homeland

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Cranston as Walter White.

UP TO ME? You know who never has won this? Jon Hamm. Just sayin’. And Cranston can win it again next year, based on the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad.

DARK HORSE: Spacey has received some buzz, and voters might want to pretend they’re hip with the online kids.

DRAMA LEAD ACTRESS

Connie Britton, Nashville

Claire Danes, Homeland

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Robin Wright, House of Cards

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Danes as Carrie Mathison.

UP TO ME? I thought Moss was great in the most recent season of Mad Men.

DARK HORSE: A lot of people are talking up Washington’s Olivia Pope in the frantic Scandal.

COMEDY SERIES

The Big Bang Theory

Girls

Louie

Modern Family

30 Rock

Veep

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Modern Family is a safe pick for voters, even though its best days might be behind it.

UP TO ME? Veep is the funniest show on television.

DARK HORSE: If voters are feeling nostalgic, they might tip their hats to the departed 30 Rock.

COMEDY LEAD ACTOR

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Louis C.K., Louie

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Baldwin usually is the front-runner whenever he’s nominated for anything.

UP TO ME? Parsons deserves a lot of credit for holding together The Big Bang Theory this long.

DARK HORSE: Everyone seems to love Louis C.K., the only question is whether Emmy voters are willing to be that edgy.

COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS

Laura Dern, Enlightened

Lena Dunham, Girls

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Louis-Dreyfus as Vice-President Selina Meyer.

UP TO ME? Louis-Dreyfus, hands down.

DARK HORSE: Poehler has been consistently funny in Parks & Rec for a long time, and Louis-Dreyfus did win this last year.

MOVIE/MINI-SERIES

American Horror Story: Asylum

Behind the Candelabra

The Bible

Phil Spector

Political Animals

Top of the Lake

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Behind the Candelabra, with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as boy-toy Scott Thorson.

UP TO ME? I love American Horror Story, but I’m just funny that way.

DARK HORSE: Top of the Lake, starring Elisabeth Moss, was a real critical darling.

MOVIE/MINI-SERIES LEAD ACTOR

Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End

Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra

Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra

Toby Jones, Alfred Hitchcock

Al Pacino, Phil Spector

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Douglas as Liberace.

UP TO ME? From a pure acting perspective, I actually thought Damon had a tougher role than Douglas in Behind the Candelabra.

DARK HORSE: Pacino as the latter-day Spector, inadvertently thwarting his own defence team while on trial for murder.

MOVIE/MINI-SERIES LEAD ACTRESS

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum

Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter

Helen Mirren, Phil Spector

Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Lange as Sister Jude, who went from evil to crazy to sweet.

UP TO ME? I’m in the Lange gang.

DARK HORSE: Wouldn’t it be something if Moss won this category, and also won for her role on Mad Men? She’s deserving of both.

VARIETY SERIES

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

THE ODDS FAVOUR: The Daily Show, as usual.

UP TO ME? Kimmel arguably has the most innovative and topical show on TV right now.

DARK HORSE: Might it be time for Colbert to emerge fully from Stewart’s shadow?

REALITY-COMPETITION SERIES

The Amazing Race

Dancing with the Stars

Project Runway

So You Think You Can Dance

Top Chef

The Voice

THE ODDS FAVOUR: The Amazing Race always is the favourite, and I’m not even really sure why.

UP TO ME? The Voice is the only one of these shows that anyone even talks about any more.

DARK HORSE: Top Chef, I guess.

REALITY HOST

Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars

Anthony Bourdain, The Taste

Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway

Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers

THE ODDS FAVOUR: Bergeron.

UP TO ME? Eliminate this category.

DARK HORSE: Maybe America feels badly for booing Seacrest at a recent NFL game.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca