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Bonnie and Clyde meet Sons of Anarchy in Lilyhammer; top 10 must-sees for the week

- December 7th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Dec. 8

1 Bonnie & Clyde
Debut: A four-hour, two-night simulcast over three channels that stars Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as the infamous Depression-era title couple. Also with Holly Hunter and William Hurt.
When: Sunday on History, Lifetime, A&E

2 Lilyhammer
Second-season debut: Steve Van Zandt, best known as Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist in the E Street Band and Sil on The Sopranos, heads back to Norway for more criminal and cultural clashes.
When: Friday on Netflix

3 Sons of Anarchy
In a special extended episode to wrap up the sixth season, the ramifications of the choices made by Jax (Charlie Hunnam) put his club and his family in jeopardy. Um, isn’t that every episode?
When: Tuesday on Super Channel

4 Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale
Debut: This is billed as a comedic musical take on a traditional Christmas morality story. Joining Clarkson are the likes of Blake Shelton, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Heidi Klum and Danica Patrick.
When: Wednesday on NBC, Global

5 Dragons’ Den
The Dragons – Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon, Jim Treliving, David Chilton and Kevin O’Leary – get into the Christmas spirit by listening to holiday-themed pitches. Ugly festive sweater, anyone?
When: Wednesday on CBC

6 Civil War 360
Canadian premiere: Hosted by Ashley Judd, Trace Adkins and Dennis Haysbert – all of whom had ancestors who were greatly impacted – this three-part series explores the American Civil War.
When: Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel

7 Cedar Cove
Back-to-back episodes: Olivia (Andie MacDowell) is shocked by the arrival of a pregnant woman with a possible connection to Jack (Dylan Neal). Yep, might put a damper on turkey dinner.
When: Wednesday on W

8 The Sing-Off
Return: Hosted by Nick Lachey, this reality-competition holiday extravaganza for “a cappella” groups will air seven episodes before Christmas, including the two-hour finale on Dec. 23.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

9 Holidaze
Debut: Made-for-TV movie follows Mel (Jennie Garth), an executive who unexpectedly finds herself in her home town trying to convince residents to let her company construct a massive discount store.
When: Sunday on ABC Spark

10 Modern Family
In a holiday episode directed by Bryan Cranston, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is on edge because her mother is visiting. Likely will be slightly less violent than Cranston’s recent work on Breaking Bad.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

The X Factor, Sons of Anarchy, Derek; must-sees for the week of Sept. 8

- September 8th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Sept. 8

1 The X Factor
Third-season debut: Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato are back as judges, but Britney Spears and L.A. Reid are out, replaced by Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. Will this show ever work?
When: Wednesday on Fox and CTV Two

2 Sons of Anarchy
Season-six debut: Having taken extreme measures with regard to Clay (Ron Perlman), the leadership of Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is uncontested. I’ll bet you a Harley it doesn’t last.
When: Tuesday on Super Channel

3 Breaking Bad
Only four episodes to go. This one is titled To’hajiilee, which is a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. Creator Vince Gilligan has hinted that this will be a big episode for quirky Lydia (Laura Fraser).
When: Sunday on AMC

4 Mistresses
First-season finale: April (Rochelle Aytes) makes a decision about the men in her life – it’s about time – while Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller) and Karen (Yunjin Kim) have a showdown.
When: Monday on ABC, CTV

5 The Million Second Quiz
Debut: Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, this is a live competition with contestants partaking in head-to-head trivia matches. Airs 10 times over 11 nights. That’s a lot.
When: Monday on NBC, City

6 Derek
Debut: Having already aired on TV in Britain, this stars Ricky Gervais as a naïve and intelligence-challenged worker in a home for the elderly. A second season has been ordered in the U.K.
When: Thursday on Netflix

7 So You Think You Can Dance
Tenth-season finale: A new champion is awarded the Golden Boot (not really) in front of judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, as well as host Cat Deeley.
When: Tuesday on Fox, CTV

8 MasterChef
Fourth-season finale: A new king of cooking is crowned before hard-to-please judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. First prize is getting away from those guys.
When: Wednesday on Fox, CTV

9 Graceland
First-season finale: The high-strung housemates – played by Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana and Serinda Swan – unite to save one of their own.
When: Thursday on Bravo

10 The Newsroom
Election-night coverage moves forward, while Sloan (Olivia Munn) is upset that her book was auctioned with a forged signature. Hey, glass half full, it could have been a forged cheque.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Harold Perrineau is Lost no more; now everyone knows his songs in Wedding Band

- October 31st, 2012

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Everybody always knows all the songs you’re playing. There’s never that awkward moment when you announce, “And now here’s something from our latest album,” and everyone groans.

That’s the up-side of being in a wedding band according to Harold Perrineau, one of the stars of the new comedy series Wedding Band.

“Everybody knows the words and nobody is going anywhere,” said Perrineau, who is pictured above in full rock ‘n’ roll pose. “They’re all screaming and they all want to have a good time.

“And yet if you’re observant, there is hilarity to be found all around.”

Wedding Band, which debuts Saturday, Nov. 10 on MuchMore in Canada and on TBS in the U.S., stars Perrineau, Brian Austin Green, Derek Miller and Peter Cambor as four dudes in a wedding band called Mother of the Bride.

The foursome is intent on moving up the chain of command in the wedding-band world. And yes, there is a chain of command.

“It’s a whole sub-genre in the music business,” said Perrineau, who is best known for his roles on Lost and Sons of Anarchy.

“You can be really popular as a wedding band, people request you. There’s a hierarchy, you can move up the ladder.”

There are rivalries, too. One of the funniest scenes in the first episode of Wedding Band is when Mother of the Bride gets into a physical fight with a Def Leppard cover band called Armageddon It.

Perrineau’s character, Stevie, is an “African-Canadian” – it’s a one-off joke early in the first episode – who is both the newest member of the band and its most seasoned member.

Stevie is an accomplished studio musician who has played bass with the biggest acts in the world, but his face never has been on an album cover because he hasn’t been an official member of any band – until now. He relishes playing live and being in the spotlight, even one as narrow as the spotlight into which Mother of the Bride crowds.

Stevie quickly is schooled by the veteran Mother of the Bride members on how to suss out the ceremony attendees.

“That whole Derek thing makes me laugh more than almost anything in the pilot,” said Perrineau, referring to the stereotypical guy at a wedding who just never is going to hook up with anyone. But the band still has to make sure every single person has a good time, because that leads to more bookings.

“At every wedding there’s a Derek, and as his tie gets a little lower and a little looser, that’s when he needs to be made an honorary band member,” Perrineau said. “And if you do that, he’ll also sneak you booze all night.

“Now, you can go with the tragedy that often happens at weddings. But if you focus on the funny stuff, that’s why I think this genre works, with films like The Wedding Singer or Wedding Crashers, any of those.”

Perrineau was a musical theatre major in college so he has some skills in this world. But training aside, Wedding Band showcases a very unique aspect of the music biz.

“You really get to be the rock star you’ve always wanted to be,” Perrineau said.

Rock star, mock star, same dif.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Will traditional TV Vuguru this day? TCA tour, day 11

- July 31st, 2012

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Television Critics Association tour, Day 11.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – How do you Vuguru? Well, Vuguru to you, too.

Geez, I can’t really find a play-on-words that works, or even makes sense.

But time waits for no man, and it formally was announced on Tuesday that Rogers Media is partnering with Vuguru – a studio that produces digital content – to deliver the second season of a digital series called The Booth at the End through Rogers’ various digital initiatives (Citytv.com, Rogers Anyplace TV and the Citytv Video App).

Wait … there was a first season?

Joking aside, the five-part second season will be available on the same days and dates as Hulu in the United States, beginning Aug. 6.

In addition, FX Canada will start airing the first season of The Booth at the End on Aug. 9.

The Booth at the End centres on a mysterious man (played by Xander Berkeley) who sits in a booth at the end of a diner. In each episode, various characters come to him with unattainable requests. He can help, but at a price.

In season two the man returns, but to a booth at a different diner. He now has a wish of his own and is given his own difficult task to complete.

The second season also will feature actor Dayton Callie (pictured above), who is best known for Sons of Anarchy.

There definitely was more of an online-content presence at the Television Critics Association tour this summer. Certainly that was notable to FX president John Landgraf, who strongly suggested that if online stuff is going to be part of TCA, the media should start demanding that the internet folks supply apples-to-apples ratings comparisons. Landgraf dismissed all that bunk about “unique hits,” which might mean someone clicked on something for seven seconds and then clicked away.

Who knows where all this leads?

Eventually maybe Vuguru will be the Viagra that addresses the TV industry’s erectile dysfunction.

There it is, finally, nailed it.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv