To kick this review off, I’ll just start off my saying Great News is…well…GREAT! Low-ball comedy here from me but Great News comes to us from trusted stock in the form of Tracey Wigfield, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock – all familiar names to those who knew and loved (and still love) 30 Rock.
The pedigree of those behind the scenes shines through in the cutting yet hilarious take on life behind the camera on The Breakdown, a nightly news program broadcast from New Jersey where executive producer Greg (Adam Campbell) has to deal with egotistical and old-school co-anchor Chuck Pierce (John-Michael Higgins) and his millenial co-host Portia (Nicole Richie) while news producer and lead character Katie Wendleson (Briga Heelan) is trying to vie for meatier stories to work on all the while dealing with her helicopter mom Carol (Andrea Martin) who has just been hired as an intern.
But don’t think that the mother-daughter relationship that plays between Katie who is dying to earn more respect and responsibilities at work and her overbearing mother Carol who has found her way into Katie’s work life as an intern is your usual sit-com fare as the snappy and quick witted script pushes this work place comedy into territory seen in Arrested Development (and of course 30 Rock) and the gone-too-soon Ground Floor and Cougar Town.
Martin’s Andrea, who has been out of the workforce for decades has been hired (out of spite by Greg) to be Chuck Pierce’s intern who, in similar age to Andrea, is struggling to keep relevant in a fast moving, technological era where news stories are delivered via Snap Chat and Facebook and becomes increasingly worried his age and lack of ability to keep up will be the end of his reporting career. And I quote “Like, who is Snapchat and is he one of the Minions? And are they all Pokémen?”
The biggest shame surrounding Great News is the fact it only survived two seasons before being cancelled by NBC only to find a new life in the world of on-demand television on Netflix.
Check out the trailer below:
Great News season one is now streaming on Netflix Australia
We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived. This tagline for Netflix’s docuseries ‘Mortified Guide’ rings true for all us 30-something year old’s who can remember the awkward, angst ridden life we all lived ‘back in the day’ of our teen years and the dairy entries that accommodated those life defining moments.
The six episode series takes heed from a generalized topic such as “The Mortified Guide to Fitting In” and “The Mortified Guide to Pop Culture” among others and puts willing participants on stage, in front of a live audience, to read aloud actual diary entries written in the moments of rage, love, happiness and oblivion.
Think of it as a live action, modern day version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.
The beauty behind Mortified Guide is just how affirming it is to know that what we experienced and felt and believed all those years ago, mimics that of pretty much everyone else and that is in thanks to how Mortified Guide is presented.
This is about the celebration of our awkward years, the celebration about how inept we all really were about love and sex and family and well….pretty much life in general and the celebration of how we all saw this and interpreted it into written form.
Each of the six episodes offer plenty of standout diary moments including a re-telling of a very erotic story written about an encounter with Jon Bon Jovi in the high school corridors, a star trek obsessed lad who wrote his diary entries in the form of ‘captains logs’, one girls attempt to get popular with online fanfic readers with her clueless homo-erotic Harry Potter fan fiction and my personal favorite – episode one’s closing of two life long friends re-enacting their old MSN chats where being friend-zoned is painfully hilarious.
There’s so much warmth to this awkward humor, so much so that you’ll be encouraged to pull out your own teenage journal from the back of wardrobe and cringe a little less than the last time you read it.
And so rings true it does, the shows tagline “We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.”
Mortified Guide To is now streaming on Netflix Australia
Since the news broke that NBC were two thumbs up for the Will & Grace revival, a slew of information has been streaming out about what to expect when the show returns for a brand new run in late September (Sept 29th on NBC to be precise). From how THAT original finale plays out into this series to who’s back, who’s missing and who’s stopping by I’ve put everything you need to know about the Will & Grace finale into one single fabulous post!
The Revival: Even before a single episode has aired of this new season, NBC have already confirmed the show will be back in 2018 for another 13 episode round. This new season (officially classed as season 9) has already been extended from its originally announced 13 episodes to 16 while at present, season 10 is sitting at 13.
This revival came about thanks to that hilarious election themed mini-reunion episode with NBC taking note of the huge response from fans old and new and went about ordering a 10 episode season revival.
How will the original finale play into this return?: The original finale that aired back in 2006 saw Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) parting ways for almost 20 years, with both characters married (Will to Vince played by Bobby Cannavale and Grace to Leo (Harry Connick, Jr) and each couple with a child. The last scenes in that finale saw Will & Grace eventually reunite after their college aged children ended up living across from each other at the campus dorm.
Even though this return will be classed as the show’s 9th season and takes place only 11 years after the finale, the entire dissolution of the friendship and each couples kids will be ‘erased’ from the Will & Grace history. Talking to EW, co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan said‘When the decision was made to bring the series back, we were like, well, we left them with kids, right?” And if they have children, then it has to be about them being parents, ‘cause presumably it would be a priority in their lives. And if it wasn’t a priority in their lives, then they’re still parents, they’re just bad parents, right? We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents. We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”
The Core Cast: The revival will see Will and Grace living together as the two did for the bulk of the series’ run with Jack (Sean Hayes) living across from them and Karen (Megan Mullally) still a rich boozy socialite living in her mansion. Will is still working as a corporate lawyer, Grace remains an interior designer but with a bigger office and working with current day design technology along with ‘assistant’ Karen while Jack, who flitted from ‘acting’ to retail to student nurse to acting teacher during the shows original run will be back in his latter career teaching the ‘Jackting’ method of acting.
The Recurring Cast: Shelley Morrison who played Karen’s long suffering, viper tongued maid Rosario Salazar confirmed she won’t be back for the revival. Morrison has now retired from acting, with the exception of a small appearance in the 2016 Will & Grace political themed mini episode. Rosario won’t be forgotten on ignored with Mutchnick adding “The audience has come to know and love her — as we do — and we’re dealing with her as a character and we’re writing to it very specifically.”
Along with Rosario’s absence, the revival will touch on Grace’s mother Bobbi Adler played by the late Debbie Rynolds.
Confirmed to return are thee integral characters to the Will & Grace history – Harry Connick, Jr as Grace’s husband Leo, Bobby Cannavale as Will’s husband Vince and Minnie Driver as Karen’s British nemesis Lorraine Finster. Noting that the 2006 finale is being wiped, how Leo and Vince fit into this revival is yet to be seen considering Will and Grace will be back living together.
No word yet on Leslie Jordan as Karen’s best friend/enemy number one Beverly Leslie, Blythe Danner as Will’s widowed mother Marilyn Truman or Tom Gallop and Leigh-Allyn Baker as game night friends Rob and Ellen.
Update Sept 18th: Michael Angarano is a confirmation to return having filmed his scenes last week. Angarano played Jack’s son Elliot for 12 episodes during the original run and is currently tapped for a single episode in season 9.
The Guest Stars: From Madonna to Demi Moore, Cher and Britney Spears, the original series run never shied away from nabbing big named stars to appear on the show and this next season won’t be any different with the recent news that Glee’s Jane Lynch, Girls star Andrew Rannells and 2017 Tony Award winner Ben Platt have all signed on to guest star in season 9.
When and how to watch: Will & Grace season 9 begins Thursday September 28th as part of NBC’s must-see-TV lineup at 9/8c in the states while here in Australia, the series begins on Friday the 29th on streaming service STAN
This post will be updated as news comes about for the sew season.
I’ll happily admit that when the first promos for Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs went live, I was immediately put off. I Did not want to watch it, thought what I had seen seemed crass and happily joined the throngs of those condemning it on social media. So much was my nose point out of join by a 30 second promo that I a) did not really want to watch the first two episodes provided for review and b) had a whole spiel mentally prepared about “who at Channel Nine thought this was a good idea?”
I guess that’s what happens when a bad promo for what turned out to be a funny two episodes, is given out to the public.
Judging it by it’s cover we all are.
Lets get into the nitty gritty of Here Come the Habibs.
FouFou Habib (Michael Denkha) and wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) have found themselves able to “live the Australian dream” and to move into the rich and swanky suburb of Vaucluse after a rather hefty ($22 million) lotto win – but they aren’t telling anyone about their windfall, not even their children Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Elias (Tyler De Nawi) and Layla (Kat Hoyos).
Neighbours Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) and her castrated husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) are not too keen on their new Mediterranean neighbours (well mainly Olivia) and a war erupts between the two – Olivia wants them out, FouFou wants to stay.
The script, written by Phil Lloyd is tight and full of zippy one liners and throws casual playful punches at multiculturalism, terrorism, greedy family members and the Cronulla riots. The fish-out-of-water premise is very reminiscent of shows like the Beverly Hillbillies and even the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and right from the outset, the loud and brassy Habibs are not the focus of ‘being made fun of’ instead, it’s the rich white privileged that takes most of the hits and should take most of the bullets from the viewing public.
A scene in episode two where Mariam is attempting to join the local yacht club but is thrown a curve ball by Olivia that leads to public embarrassment, will leave you hoping the snotty cow gets hers in a later episode.
While the pilot took a bit for me to warm up to, by the time a turf war was established between the newly rich Habibs and their snotty neighbours the O’Neill’s, I was full on humble pie.
Here Come The Habibs is Channel Nine’s first foray into locally made scripted comedy in over 15 years and personally, I’m picking that the Habibs was actually a wise choice for the network to work it’s way into bringing back some good Aussie comedy. Granted though, Nine isn’t doing itself any favours with how it is choosing to market the show that has resulted in public outcry from an outrage addicted audience and calls for the show to be pulled due to claims it’s racist. Let’s not forget, this show hasn’t even aired yet!
Shows currently airing like Fox8’s (American import) Fresh Off the Boat and SBS’s The Family Law both offer a humorous look on multicultural families and the Habibs is no real different. Able to poke fun at itself while ensuring we’re laughing with and at them at the same time, plus Habibs is actually a bit more engaging than the two shows mentioned above.
While Australia is still trying to find steady ground when it comes to scripted comedy, Here Come the Habibs will hold it’s own against the haters and those trying to tear it down before they’ve even seen an episode. I was like you, then I watched and saw what the Habibs was actually offering.
Here Come the Habibs begins Tuesday night, Feb 9th @ 8:30pm on Channel Nine.
p.s – keep an eye out for the wretchedly funny Pippa Grandison as Olivia’s best friend, who is more than happy to stir the pot when it comes to poking Olivia’s buttons and her new neighbours.
You know its been almost 6 months since season one of USA’s Playing House ended it’s first season run and until now, there had been no news, yes NO news, on whether or not our sassy and brassy friends and housemates Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) and Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) were going to be gracing our screens again.
In a Christmas miracle, USA network announced Playing House will in fact be returning for an 8 episode run season 2 in 2015!
And we all cheered and clapped and drank wine and smiled!
The well received, but low rated comedy is only one of three scripted comedies to remain on the network after it ‘cleaned house’ of original scripted comedies. The news of the show’s renewal comes on the back of the networks new approach to television in 2015 which will see USA focus on VOD (Video on demand) platforms first then air it on television, a move which, it seems, saved Playing House. The show is being used a guinea pig to test how VOD views affect live to air ratings.
VOD, Guinea pigs, cleaning house….I don’t care as it means we get our girls back for another 8 episodes of crazy! And if Lennon and Jessica were to ever read this…..please bring back Bird Bones!
Playing House Season 2 is set for a mid 2105 return!
The pulled-after-eight-episodes American comedy Friends With Better Lives (Or FWBL) is finally making is Aussie TV debut with Channel Eleven airing the series starting September 9th.
From the press release: Friends With Better Lives is a romantic comedy about six friends at different stages in their lives: married, divorced, newly engaged and single. They are all outwardly happy but are finding it tough to look at each other without wondering who really has the better life.
Central couple Bobby (Kevin Connolly) and Andi (Majandra Delfino) are married with kids with another on the way who are struggling to find a balance between being married with kids (and being pregnant) and keeping the romance alive in their relationship. Bobby’s best friend and co-worker Will (James Van Der Beek) has just moved in after finding his wife having an affair with their marriage councilor but he refuses to believe the marriage is actually over.
The beautiful Jules (Brooklyn Decker) has found herself a new boyfriend in free-spirted environmentalist Lowell (Rick Donald) who owns and runs a local organic health food coffee shop while Kate (Zoe Lister-Jones) finds herself more successful in her professional life than her romantic one.
Of all the characters, It’s Kate and Will, both steadfast and overtly determined to outdo the other, who bring out the biggest laughs, often finding themselves in a myriad of dating disasters while their happily co-joined friends natter among themselves about the troubles that come with coupledom.
Like most comedies that have come out in the past few years, the humor offered up by FWBL leans more towards the adult side (think Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls and Mom) thankfully though, it’s not as crass as the aforementioned shows that seem to push the boundaries of what’s subtle and what would make one blush. FWBL finds the right fit with it’s taste level resulting in a nice balance between comedy and sexual comedy – a certain scene (and very funny one at that) in the pilot episode see’s a surprise birthday party resulting in another surprise all on it’s own for married couple Bobby and Andi.
While Two and Half Men and 2 Broke Girls never appealed to me, FWBL fitted quite nicely into my viewing roster and I found myself looking forward to the next episodes and while the show itself is nothing really new, FWBL is just a fun show with a fun cast that offers up some fun laughs.
Yes, FWBL was pulled after just eight episodes in America. As someone who was enjoying the series, I assumed everyone was watching it, so I was certainly surprised by the news of it’s cancellation (considering FWBL comes from the same network that brings us the god-awful Mom) but hopefully, Eleven will air the additional four episodes not aired in the US.
So here it is, I enjoyed FWBL, was sad to see it cancelled and can’t wait to see those missing last four episodes if and when they eventually air. Give it a shot, see what you think, even if it’s just to see James Van Der Beek playing funny after his stellar turn in Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23.
Friends With Better Lives begins Tuesday September 9th, 9pm on Eleven.
To be honest, when the networks announced the long lists of new shows they picked up for the upcoming Fall season, ABC’s comedy titled ‘Selfie’ and staring Karen Gillan did not even ping on my radar. I knew of it, but the premise and the early release trailer did nothing for me. To me, it was being touted as a social media savvy and utterly vapid valley girl has humiliating moment and tries to go humble.
Well, that pretty much sums up what Selfie is all about, but after watching the pilot episode, I think i’m going to be a bit more nicer about the show than other reviews have been.
Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) is a pharmaceutical sales rep who relies more on what her online followers are doing, hash-tagging and liking via vine, instagram, twitter, Facebook etc etc etc than dealing with the actual real life people around her. Attached to her phone like a drunk to a bottle of whiskey, she’s what I imagine Clueless’s Cher Horowitz to be like had she been created in this technologically advanced era.
Sashaying down the isle of an airplane, we’re first introduced to Eliza where every meme, lol, yolo, hashtag and Valencia filter is thrown at us to ensure that we know Eliza is a ‘millennial’ and that we shouldn’t really like her, plus she’s snagged herself an upgrade and she’s messing around with her co-worker – whom she finds out is married. It’s then the plot is switched up and we’re manipulated to feel sorry for her when she ends up covered in her own vomit (it’s a slow motion liquid mess of a scene that almost had me dry retching) and it’s captured on multiple cameras and subsequently uploaded to every form of social media available – including Google +.
Searching for help from her online cheer-squad, Eliza quickly learns that she doesn’t actually have any real friends.
Thankfully, there’s the non-sexual and non-threatening co-worker and anti-any-form-of-technology Henry Higgings (John Cho) just around the corner willing to fix her and turn her into a respectable lady capable of migrating into society without the need to constantly take a selfie. If you hadn’t worked it out by now, Selfie is an attempt at taking the classic My Fair Lady and throwing a Mayfair filter over it to make it accessible to a younger audience – sort of what Clueless did with Jane Austen’s Emma – but no where near as effective.
Not that Selfie is really that bad. Sure, there were a mass of quotes spewed out of Eliza’s mouth (including and not restricted to “BF BS. Got played like Flappy Bird. Mortified.com.” and “make like Elsa and let it go”) that were enough to make me a) glad I’m in my mid 30’s and will never have to speak like that and b) wonder how someone who actually talks like that finds themselves employed, but there were a few moments I let out a very hearty laugh – Henry Higgins “What makes you confused?” Eliza Dooley “Plus sized skinny jeans, I mean what the?!”
I looooove Briga Heelan. Her guest starring role in Cougar Town as party girl Holly (and mother to Grayson’s awesomely named baby Tampa) still remains a favorite and I always hope she continues to pop up in future episodes. That said, it seems Briga will be setting up in a permanent role in a new comedy from Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence.
From TVequals.com “TBS is staying in the Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town) business with their new sitcom Ground Floor, an upstairs/downstairs comedy with a twist–it is set in an office building where the upstairs and downstairs workers are separated by 34 floors. This won’t stop Skylar Astin’s ladder-climbing business guy from falling for Briga Heelan’s maintenance woman, hence the trailer’s use of Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator.”
While the trailer is little more than a music video featuring the cast, Ground Floor already looks promising: not only does it have Lawrence’s name attached, it will also star Scrubs‘ standout Ted C. McGinley. Check out the trailer below. Are you excited for TBS’s latest comedy?”
Ground Floor is set to premiere November 14th at 10/9c on TBS in America.
Remember a few posts back when I mentioned I had heard that Chris Lilley had been spied doing some filming as Ja’mie King? Well…..Ja’mie is back! The overtly confident, butter wouldn’t melt, former part-time lesbian school girl has been confirmed as the star in Chris Lilley’s new show titled Ja’mie: Private School Girl!
Easily one of Lilley’s more popular characters (and a favorite of mine), Ja’mie was first seen in We Can be Heroes; Finding The Australian Of The Year where King was a nominee and followed her events leading up-to and during the competition. She returned in Lilley’s second outing, Summer Heights High where Ja’mie takes part in a student exchange program with a local public school.
Ja’mie: Private School Girl will follow the popular teenager in her final year of school, this time, back at fictional Hillford Girls Grammar School. As well as experiencing some “life-changing events”, the show is said to document Ja’mie as she takes to social media with a vengeance including Instagram, Twitter and Skype.
Says Lilley “I find teenage girls endlessly funny, so being able to write for and play the meanest bitch in school has been so fun, I can’t wait to show everyone what Ja’mie’s been up to.”While we will see Ja’mie prance and bitch her way about school on the ABC network, the show will also be shown on HBO in America and on BBC Three in the UK. “Ja’mie King is easily one of the most cunning characters in a school uniform we’ve ever seen,” said ABC1’s Brendan Dahill.
While it doesn’t reveal much, you can check out the teaser trailer below, followed by some of Ja’mie’s best moments from previous shows.
Many fans (including myself) are also hoping to catch a glimpse of another popular character – drama school teacher Greg Gregson or Mr.G as he would like to be known.
Ja’mie King: Private School Girl is set to air on the ABC network later this year!
NBC’s comedy kill spree claimed another victim today with news that the Matthew Perry led comedy Go On has been cancelled after just one season. NBC aired 11 scripted sitcoms during the 2012-13 ratings season and Go On’s cancellation makes a total of 8 of the 11 comedies that are not returning for a new season.
30Rock and The Office both finished their series up, Sophomore sitcoms Whitney and the Christina Applegate/Will Arnett sitcom Up All Night were both cancelled along with fellow freshman entries Animal Practice, 1600 Penn and Guys with Kids all dead as well.
Go On featured Perry as sports radio announcer Ryan King who undertakes grief counseling after the death of his wife. The show premiered to decent ratings with the helping boost of having coverage of the 2012 Olympics as a lead in, but over the course of the season, viewing numbers began to dwindle giving NBC to push to switch the show off.
This is unfortunately Perry’s third failed attempt at scripted television post FRIENDS with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine also faltering at the season one finish line. Perry shouldn’t fret though. It’s taken several false starts for other former cast members to find their feet post FRIENDS. Lisa Kudrow finally found her’s via internet-based-turned-TV-series Web Therapy while Courteney Cox managed to scrape two seasons of tabloid drama DIRT in before ending up in Cougar Town now in it’s fifth season. Most well known of the cast to struggle was Matt LeBlanc whose FRIENDS spin-off Joey was so widely panned it caused a spin-off of sister comedy Will & Grace featuring characters Jack & Karen to be cancelled. Luckily LeBlanc picked up the incredibly funny Episodes playing himself and even nabbed himself a best actor Golden Globe award.
To date, Parks and Recreation is the only comedy on NBC to be given the green light for a new season while Community andThe New Normal wait for that breath of new life. (I’d be surprised if NBC didn’t renew both) Instead, NBC plan to re-invigorate their comedy line up with new shows including The Michael J Fox show (How great to see him back on our screens!) About A Boy (Based on the movie starring Hugh Grant and Toni Collette) and Sean Saves The World starring Sean Hayes.
One can only hope that NBC manage to clean up the dead comedies with as little blood on their hands as possible.
Update: Community officially renewed, New Normal cancelled 😦