New TV shows Tuesday and Wednesday: Something is awfully familiar here

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 TV Shows To Watch In An Otherwise Uninspiring Fall Season.

It is perhaps the most controversial series of the fall television season, a dark reworking of old children’s tales in which the world is stood on its head and darkness comes out of the light. The Muppets have been working in Hollywood for almost 40 years, but rather than considering retirement, they are well into the second act of their careers.“The Muppets” stars Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy paid a visit to “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday night to give their first interview since their very public “break-up” in August.

President Obama, the first lady and Vice President Biden will greet the pontiff Tuesday afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., but the pope’s schedule doesn’t pick up until Wednesday morning. The duo, who Kimmel described as “the most prominent interspecies couple in the world,” were on acrimonious terms during the appearance, which was ostensibly to promote the debut of their new ABC comedy, premiering Tuesday night at 8 p.m. The vagaries of interspecies puppet love is but one workplace issue explored in “The Muppets,” a new series that returns the fur-clad wags to living rooms nearly 35 years since they last carried prime time with “The Muppet Show.” (A short-lived series, “Muppets Tonight,” aired in the 1990s.) Led by the amphibian-porcine duo (recently broken up), the whole gang is back when the ABC comedy debuts Sept. 22, including Fozzie, Animal, Gonzo and — to the delight of cynics everywhere — peanut-gallery pundits Statler and Waldorf. This means there’s never been a greater need for ambitious, groundbreaking material to prove the broadcast networks haven’t become the buggy whips of the media business. When asked why they decided to split after decades together, Piggy noted that it was “the usual laundry list: put the lid down, closing the refrigerator door… not doing the dishes while taking a bath in the sink.” Kermit’s amphibian qualities were a major source of contention between the two — Piggy noted that Kermit had webbed feet, and when Kermit pointed out that it was a feature that all frogs shared, Piggy said she was oblivious to that fact since she didn’t learn it in school. “The only time I ever came across a frog in school, I dissected it!” During the interview, talk also turned to Kermit’s new paramour, Denise, and Piggy dropped hints about a potential future as ABC’s next “Bachelorette” (talk about corporate synergy), as well as comparing herself to Donald Trump, thanks to her ability to generate headlines.

There is an application form you have to fill out and then maybe you’ll get a date with me.’ Things are awkward for the pig and frog duo though as they still have to work together while Kermit – who has a new girlfriend called Denise – produces her new show. Unlike the “Muppets” movies (which tended to focus on a specific quest) or the original series (which both indulged in and poked fun at the conventions of the classic variety show), the new “Muppets” aims to explore the lives and relationships of its title characters.

The continued success banks on the nostalgia of a generation that grew up with Jim Henson’s creations and is now raising their own children on the Disney-owned characters. Because they must court advertisers and the widest audiences possible, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox have developed nearly two dozen new series which can mostly be summed up by one word: Retrenchment. Piggy also managed to throw some shade at Kimmel himself, since she now has experience hosting her own late-night show, telling him, “I basically do whatever it is you do here, only better and in high heels.” Kimmel also welcomed Bill O’Reilly onto the show on Monday, and told the conservative pundit that he believed only one Republican had the chops to beat Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race: O’Reilly himself. “I don’t know about that,” O’Reilly demurred, only noting that he believes himself to be “a good debater,” who could hold his own in a debate with Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In the lead-up to Tuesday night’s premiere of the new The Muppets TV show, ABC president Paul Lee has been touting that this is “not your grandmother’s Muppets.” As you may have heard, the new sitcom version of the beloved Jim Henson gang features Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the gang in more “adult” situations than we’re used to seeing them in. Viewers follow the creatures at work, at home and out and about in Los Angeles. “Whether it’s Kermit on the 405 or Fozzie at Gelson’s, we want you to see them as real people out in the world,” said Bill Prady, “The Big Bang Theory” co-creator and Jim Henson acolyte who cocreated the new series. “There’s a bar that the ‘Big Bang’ cast goes to when they finish shooting an episode.

Last year, broadcast TV shows like Black-ish, Jane the Virgin, American Crime and Empire made a big impression with new stories offering fresh takes on family, romance, race and society. We want to take you to that bar, only it’s with the Muppets.” Yet as with Beaker trying not to blow up the lab, the question of whether a forerunner can come back in the age it helped create is a perpetual one. So, of course, using the topsy-turvy logic of the television business, this year’s season is packed with shows that play it safe trying to stitch a new face on old concepts. USA TODAY Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan will face one of the toughest tests of his career Tuesday when shareholders decide whether to strip him of his role as chairman of the board. After all, the Henson creatures’ latest big-screen foray, “Muppets Most Wanted,” flopped just last year. “What the show does is let us really see who these characters are on a 365-day-a-year basis instead of just once every few years,” said Debbie McLellan, vice president of the Muppets Studio, which oversees the property.

To celebrate the next step in their long careers, we’ve gathered a few of their best pieces of advice from one of their very first creative ventures together, 1979’s The Muppet Movie. There are TV versions of old movies (Fox’s Minority Report, CBS’ Limitless), retreads of old hits (NBC’s Heroes Reborn) and new shows which seem like retreads of old hits (ABC’s Dallas-style soap opera Blood & Oil). Last year, the bank’s board agreed to elevate Moynihan to the role of chairman — the most powerful job at any company — without first consulting shareholders. The duo’s love, like a tadpole on a hot summer day, is a fragile thing, and as the show opens Kermit has separated with her to be with Denise from marketing.

That led to a wave of criticism because it went directly against a 2009 vote by shareholders to separate the chairman and CEO roles under then-CEO Ken Lewis. Kermit may be the leader and the one with the plan, but he’s always recognized that you can accomplish a lot more with others than you can on your own. “I’ve got a dream too. It is as clever and well constructed as many series whose casts are entirely human (and an improvement on the pilot, released to the press early in the summer).

Lead director Randall Einhorn and others are shooting episodes in the docu-comedy style popularized by “The Office” and “Modern Family,” where Einhorn has worked. The former anchor for NBC Nightly News will serve as live breaking news anchor for MSNBC during the cable network’s coverage of Pope Francis’ D.C., New York and Philadelphia stops. To set it around a late-night talk show is in its way quite in the spirit of the old “Muppet Show” — late night being the place where variety and vaudeville still live.

When Kermit sighs after an argument with Piggy and pronounces his life a “bacon wrapped hell on Earth,” you know you’re in new territory — kinda like The Larry Sanders Show-meets-Muppets 2.0. And it kind of makes us like a family.”—Kermit Kermit has long served as an inspiring leader for his eccentric group, but in the closing number of the movie that served as their origin story, he reminds them that they control their own destiny. He has written for seven different Muppets shows or specials and worked on a different potential Muppet TV show in 2007 that never started the music or lit the lights. When Kermit wrestles with his guilt about disappointing his new friends, he realizes that perseverance is also important in order to keep the promises you make to yourself.

The behind-the-scenes qualities of the show might add appeal in the TMZ era, as might Muppet characters’ appearances on “Sesame Street” over the years. The show has a loose connection to the most recent Man of Steel movie, depicting a relative from Superman’s doomed homeworld who got caught up in space travel and arrived on Earth many years after he did. Current musical guests will be featured on the show too; Imagine Dragons is among the first. “I know there are questions like that out there,” Prady said when asked if edge could be maintained. “But that’s for people on the outside to decide. Crafted by the producers who made the CW’s superhero hits The Flash and Arrow, Supergirl laces its story about a wannabe hero who can fly and lift a passenger jet with the emotional tale of a young woman ready to push herself to the limit while trying to hold her non-superhero life together.

So how much good does it do — which is to say, how much good does it do us — to give the Muppets sex lives and psychologies that, except in the broadest and sketchiest of terms, are new to them? Melissa Benoist (Glee, Whiplash) is spot-on as Supergirl and Ally McBeal alum Calista Flockhart chews the scenery appropriately as media mogul Cat Grant.

All of that said, in a perverse way, this maturation of the franchise may be exactly what was needed if The Muppets has any hope of being the same lightning rod or have the same longevity as the original Muppet Show, which ran from 1976 to 1981. Grandfathered and The Grinder: Both of these Fox series are centered on pretty boy leading-man TV stars who don’t always get credit for how funny and sharp they can be. The vaudevillian nature at the heart of their humor was a dying comedy genre and the beating heart behind these characters’ humanity was no longer around to give it a pulse. None of these qualities is required for good television, of course — indeed, they are conspicuously absent from much of what is prized in this New Golden Age of Television — but most would be considered useful if not absolutely essential to what would appear to be a family show.

Grandfathered features John Stamos as a self-centered forever bachelor who discovers he has a son and a grandson in the same moment, turning the typical criticism of Stamos — that he too often seems like a TV-sized version of megastar George Clooney — and making it work for this character. The Office-style mockumentary is a show-within-a-show as we follow Kermit, the executive producer and Piggy, the talent, behind the scenes of her Up Late with Miss Piggy venture. The Grinder stars Rob Lowe as an actor who played a lawyer for many years on TV returning to his hometown to help a law firm led by his perpetually overshadowed brother — played by perpetually overshadowed Wonder Years alum Fred Savage. Staff members Fozzie Bear and Gonzo are fighting their own love battles: Fozzie is trying to woo his human girlfriend’s parents and Gonzo explores online dating.

The band is now “legally happy.” Refusing to tour with Imagine Dragons, drummer Animal groans, “Too many women, too many towns.” Of his romantic life, Fozzie Bear notes, “When your online profile says, ‘Passionate bear looking for love,’ you get a lot of wrong responses; not wrong, just wrong for me.” And Lea Thompson, you will now know, is on Kermit’s “free pass” list. What “Muppet Show” Kermit or Piggy or Fozzie would or would not do is not even an issue here; that world, “The Muppets” seems to say, was an illusion, a dream of childhood. Stocks: U.S. stock futures and European markets fell Tuesday, after Fed officials tried to soothe fears over the global economy, and investors hoped for stabilization in weak China factory data. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Originally intended for Showtime, this CW series centers on a high-strung overachiever who walks away from a high powered legal career to chase a high school ex-boyfriend who dumped her years ago.

This Muppets, however, embraces the very trendy entertainment that threatened the franchise’s relevance all these years: more mature, less earnest humor; the rise of the single-camera comedy; and the reality TV conceit that the show spoofs. Oh yeah, and it’s a musical comedy, with a showstopping production number about getting ready for an important date and a cast with serious Broadway credits.

Still, star Rachel Bloom, who’s also the show’s co-creator, is an energetic talent worth watching closely, even when the program’s oddball premise gets in the way. Ken: It’s the worst malady for any old school multi-camera sitcom: Domineering Star Syndrome, a TV comedy illness in which only the star is allowed to be funny. Turns out, a serious case of DSS has hobbled comic actor Ken Jeong’s disappointing ABC sitcom about an acerbic doctor with a wacky family — no one else gets to shine. Truth Be Told: This awkward, completely unfunny NBC sitcom about two couples who are best friends — one is black and the other is a white man married to a biracial woman — feels like a program developed by a committee determined to Tell The Truth About Race In America.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "New TV shows Tuesday and Wednesday: Something is awfully familiar here".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site