Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Fall Preview -- oh boy!

Every January the LA TIMES Calendar section would devote a Sunday edition to all the new movies coming out that year. As you read through the thumbnails you thought, “this is going to be the best year for movies EVER.” Every premise sounded intriguing. Aside from all the sequels (even back then) there was one novel idea after another. And each film had A-list actors, directors, or writers attached.

Then you started watching them as the year unfolded. Ugh! What happened? One LONE RANGER (starring the great Johnny Depp you know) after another.

The following year would be the same thing. And so on.

Now that we’re in September we’re getting assaulted with promotion for the new TV season and movie season. Fall Previews are everywhere. And of course this year there’s not a single project that isn’t a can’t-miss.

Flash forward to November and half the new shows will be cancelled. CBS will wish they still had RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to plug in the lineup. NBC will beg the NFL to let them air football every night. Some highly touted movies will gross eleven cents in three weeks of wide release. And more people will be watching BREAKING BAD on Netflix than the new “hit” series.

With that in mind I recently leafed through ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S Fall Preview. Wow zowee! One director’s hands were sweaty because the script was so riveting. Four or five actors were predicted to become breakout stars. Current stars gushed over their upcoming roles. Oscar buzz was everywhere.

And now I realize, I don’t believe ANY of it. They could be touting this new TV series called THE WIRE and I’d be like, “yeah, yeah, probably a piece of shit.” A new STAR WARS is coming! So what? This could be another Jar Jar Binks STAR WARS.

I feel like Charlie Brown and the football. Lucy tees it up, Charlie goes to kick it, she pulls it away, and he falls on his ass. And this happens repeatedly. Charlie never learns. I’ve been so inundated with hype, so besieged with hyperbole that I now don’t buy any of it. Sorry, Lucy, find another chump.

So then I asked myself, “if you feel that way, why are you even reading this?” And my answer was, “You’re right. This is insane” and I tossed the magazine away.

Obviously there will be some Oscar-worthy films coming down the chute in the next couple of months. And one or two new shows (out of eighty) will be worth watching. Please let me know what they are. You guys won’t pull the football out from under me...will you?

31 comments:

Peter said...

Come on, Ken, Star Wars will rule!! This won't be another Jar Jar shaped disappointment. JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script, it was shot on 35mm film, they used as many practical effects as possible instead of making it a total CGI-fest, they've got the original cast back, and the trailers so far have been fantastic! December 18 can't come quick enough!

If there's anything to be cynical about, it's Stallone playing Rocky a SEVENTH time in the spin-off CREED!

Bill Avena said...

The Onion AV Club is a better bet for previews in terms of humor and realism.
Not a parody headline:
"Novelty T-shirt to become network sitcom from 2 Broke Girls writer."

Peter said...

By the way, what's your opinion on the news that Cate Blanchett will play Lucille Ball in a biopic written by Aaron Sorkin?

James Van Hise said...

And then there are the great movies which skip the US box office entirely. A couple years ago I read about a Japanese animated film called The Wolf Children. A great movie which finally appeared in the US on dvd and as downloads. It got a major release in Europe. In Japan it won top awards. In the US it was at least reviewed in the LA Times and played in one LA theater for one week with one showing a day at ten o'clock at night! Still, I expect it to be ripped off by some American producer as it is different--a woman marries a man who turns out to be a shape-shifter who can turn into a wolf (an actual wolf, not a Lon Chaney werewolf). She has twins and shortly thereafter he's killed. Her children are also shapeshifters who can change at will and she has to find a place to live in the country in order to raise them safely. It covers the early life of the mother and children (into their early teens) and establishes that there will come a day when the children can choose to live their lives as a human or a wolf. One chooses humanity, one chooses to be the new guardian of the forest after the old guardian dies.

richard said...

it would be interesting to re-visit this post in 6 months time and compare the quotes about the amazing shows with the actual outcome of the same..

Terrence Moss said...

lucille ball's story is pretty well-known from a myriad of interviews and autobiographies. cate's great and the world is round, but this is unnecessary.

blinky said...

As my financial guy says: "Past Performance Is Not an Indication of Future Results" an axiom proven by True Detective. That said, I am looking forward to The Leftovers and Stephen Colbert. But that's it.

Katie said...

I usually get pretty excited about a new tv season. I make a calendar for myself and everything so I won't miss anything. I just made my calendar the other day and it is sad. Only a few new shows and NONE that I am excited about. So while I would normally say, "come on, Ken! new tv!"... not this year.

Astroboy said...

I'm surprised how much I enjoyed the trailer for the series "Lucifer" on Fox. Going to give that show a shot.

Astroboy said...

Also I'm pretty sure my feelings about the new 'Star Wars' movie will be the same as I feel about Abrams' 'Star Trek' films. They were good exciting films, but they weren't true to the 'Star Trek' mythos. I think "Star Wars' will be like that too.

blinky said...

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/videos/a37614/stephen-colbert-jeb-bush-video/?mag=esq&list=nl_enl_news&src=nl&date=090315

Ellen Davies said...

Did you catch "UnReal" on Lifetime?
I'm looking forward to "The Americans."

Jonathan Ernst said...

My pick for worth watching TV- Difficult People on Hulu, although I think I'm in the minority on that. It has actual jokes (lots of them) and really fast pace ala 30 Rock.

Richard John Marcej said...

Could any of the new fall season series on all the networks live up to the hype?
Yeah, maybe. I guess.
But I won't be watching them.
If the past decade is any indication, devoting time & interest in watching any new series (ESPECIALLY the dramas) on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX or CW is a waste of time. How many new shows have you given a shot, especially the ones with promise and a unique take, only to see them canceled within weeks.
No thanks networks. If you don't have faith and confidence to give new shows, to give them at LEAST 13 weeks to find an audience I'm not going to waste my time.

RyderDA said...

And you wonder why I stopped watching it all. Super hype and it sucks; super good shows (like SPORTS NIGHT) cancelled. Movies are worse; most trailers seem interesting, then the movies themselves are awful. They wrecked THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. They wrecked THE AVENGERS. They wrecked MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (but it still became a pointless franchise with nothing to do with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE). Who in their right mind would play guinea pig for a movie, seeing it before reviews are out? And where I live, movies are only here for fewer than 15 shows in 2 weeks, then they close. By the time you figure out they're any good and worth seeing, they're gone. In TV, by the time a series shows it's worth watching, you're 12 episodes in to a series (that now only does 15 episodes a season), and you have no idea what the heck is going on. Or it's on a channel you don't get or a streaming service you don't subscribe to. Is it any wonder that sales of series on DVDs actually work (I'm still waiting for ALMOST PERFECT).

Mike Mathis said...

That EW cover cracks me up - it's Cylon Darth Howard the Duck.

Cap'n Bob said...

Cheer up, Two Broke Girls has gone into syndication.

My take on The Lone Ranger is this: It was a horrible telling of the Lone Ranger tale, but a fun Western otherwise. I enjoyed it by not accepting it as an LR entry.

scott said...



Blogger Terrence Moss said...
lucille ball's story is pretty well-known from a myriad of interviews and autobiographies. cate's great and the world is round, but this is unnecessary.

Yea, but everybody knew that the Titanic sinks at the end of the move but they watched anyway.

Anonymous said...

The thing I alway wondered about the Lucy story - the standard version is that she divorced Desi because he was running around and living hard. She was the aggrieved party.
But then you hear how Lucy could be ahem, "difficult", and wonder if maybe Desi had a point.

Jabroniville said...

Friday Question (related to this bit about the "Hype Machine"):

The concept of these "Breakout Star" actors always fascinates me. It's blatantly-obvious well ahead of time that these actors are pre-ordained to be the "Next Big Thing", and that the entertainment industry is kind of based around creating these new stars sometimes (I still remember reading up on the cute girl who played Mystique in the X-MEN: NEW CLASS film and wouldn't you know it, this "Jennifer Lawrence" chick was already set up to appear in a TRILOGY based off of a major Young Adult Fiction book series).

So my question is- how does this work? Does some studio head just randomly pick some names out and go "these actors are going to be huge. Make it so." and their minions go out and tell casting directors about these actors and how big they're going to be? Do they bribe certain people to do it? I've often thought they must actually pay magazines like People & Variety to do "Next Big Thing!" and "The New IT GIRL!" reports on these nobodies (Gretchen Mol is an infamous one- she was getting major press in magazines before her movie was even out)- is that was goes on? And at what point does somebody on top give up?

How many times have you seen this while working in the TV industry? You've mentioned before that occasionally the casting of some new show will get messed up because the studio's in love with some actress and shoehorns them into every project. It it omnipresent and annoying, or just something you usually end up having to deal with.

(I'm reminded of the current push for the chick from DANCING WITH THE STARS, or how ten years ago they put Jude Law in absolutely every movie they could for a year before they gave up)

Thanks a lot!

-Grant Woolsey

Myles Warden said...

The Jerrod Carmichael show, which has already started airing on NBC, is the perfect (okay nothing is truly perfect) blend of classic multi cams and new edgy humor. It's a throwback to ALL IN THE FAMILY or JEFFERSONS where the entire family has strong yet very different opinions on important topics and no punches are pulled. Very hilarious and with legends like Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier and newcomers like Jerrod Carmichael and Amber Stevens there is something for everyone regardless of your age. For what it's worth week two ratings from last nite jumped 20% from premiere week. Word of mouth is doing this show good. I advise everyone to tune in... And no NBC isn't paying me to say this. LOL.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Peter: *PLease* tell me you made that up. It's too awful to contemplate.

wg

Rashad Khan said...

I still remember when the major networks would run half-hour specials promoting the new shows on their lineups.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I used to subscribe to EW and enjoyed it for a number of years. And then my interest in showbiz news (a) kinda died and (b) I found I could sign up for THR's email newsletter so I could just click on what interested me. EW always was a bit of a hype machine and then it seemed to become nothing but a hype machine. This Fall, I'm looking forward to watching old shows.

Pete Grossman said...

Yes, Myles, good advice. Definitely diggin' The Jerrod Carmichael show.

VP81955 said...

I lost interest in Entertainment Weekly when it appeared it was logrolling for fellow TimeWarner property "Friends" -- I blame it, more than any other publication, for making millions of shopgirls and receptionists obsessed with Jennifer Aniston and her love life.

Myles Warden said...

No problem! Glad to hear it man.

Pat Reeder said...

I have subscribed to EW for years but am having a hard time remembering why. Every other week, they devote an entire issue to some series like "Girls" or "The Walking Dead" that I have no interest in. The upcoming "most awaited" music releases are even worse than the movie and TV previews. I'd rather put a pair of earwigs into my ears than a pair of earbuds playing most of the aural torture they orgasm over. At least the writers have stopped whining about the cancellation of "Arrested Development" in every other paragraph. I thought that would never stop.

I agree that the hype is hard to take when the actual product is so awful. I went through the entire summer and saw maybe two movies that I had any interest in at all. Virtually everything was a comic book movie about things that "blowed up real good," aimed at 14-year-olds.

At least in earlier years, the hype was over something worthwhile. Just yesterday, I was doing some research and hauled up a PDF of a Dallas Morning News article from June, 1974. I noticed the rest of the page was movie listings, so I checked out what was playing. Moviegoers had their choice of "The Exorcist," "Blazing Saddles," "The Last Picture Show," "American Graffiti," "Benji," "Blume In Love," "Daisy Miller," the Redford "Great Gatsby," and those were just the first-run pictures from one page. There were also rereleases of "Easy Rider," "You Only Live Twice" and more in theaters. Today, we'd call that a classic film festival. Forty-one years ago, it was called "a random Thursday."

DwWashburn said...

The only movie I'm looking forward to IS the Charlie Brown movie where Lucy will pull the football away plus other stuff. The sneak peaks online and at Comic Con have been fabulous.

jbryant said...

Jabroniville: Jennifer had already done Winter's Bone and received an Oscar nomination for it before X-Men First Class was even released.

Jabroniville said...

jbryant: That's cool- it's probably what got her noticed by some studio head (or at least the casting directors for something). It's pretty clear that somebody in a high place got the idea that she was going to be huge at SOME point, because she was a household name almost overnight.