Thursday, September 6, 2007


Just back from the showcase of ABC pilots at the Paley Center.

First off, in case you weren't aware, the Museum of Television & Radio is now known as the Paley Center for Media. The new name was launched back in June and probably was instigated to encompass the ever-expanding role online productions will have in Television. (Before MT&R, it was the Museum for Broadcasting, but cable made that term obsolete.)

At any rate, the Paley Center is continuing their yearly tradition to host evening showcases at which its members sample the various pilots for the coming fall season from all of the major networks. I was in luck that the one show I was really keen on seeing fell on the one night I had free - ABC's 'Pushing Daisies'.

This was the lineup for the event, which began at 6:00 pm with a little wine & cheese partay:

'Pushing Daisies'
'Dirty, Sexy Money'
'Samantha Who'
'Big Shots'

Kim Rosenfeld of ABC hosted the event and claimed jet lag as an excuse for any possible faux pas in what he said. I think it was all planned though when he mentioned 'Men In Trees' rather than "Men In Black" for a Sonnenfeld credit.

My only complaint overall had to do with the sound system - very muffled at times and that was a detriment especially to 'Pushing Daisies', as a lot of its dialogue was then lost.

As I said, I went for 'Pushing Daisies' - written by Bryan Fuller ('Dead Like Me', 'Wonderfalls', 'Heroes'), directed by Barry Sonnenfeld ("Addams Family", "Men in Black"), and looking like it should be a Tim Burton production. (But don't tell that to Sonnenfeld; apparently it pisses him off.)

Very good, great visual look to the whole thing. Lee Pace is a find; reminds me of Tom McFadyen. Jim Dale is the narrator. The other two main characters are played by Chi McBride and Anna Friel.

Also with Kristen Chenowith, Swoosie Kurtz, and Ellen Greene, so I expect a musical episode!That show's a watcher.

'Dirty Sexy Money' - it was fun but I don't have time in my life for these scum bag rich people on a regular basis, although I'd watch Donald Sutherland in just about anything. I already know what TV show to hook this with, and maybe you'll guess if this quote means something to you: "You got time to eat, you got time for music!" (The key is the Family name and the resemblance Sutherland bears to a late, great character actor.)

And it had fun cameos from Dan Rather and Peter Bogdanovich.

'Samantha Who' - I was not expecting much so I was pleasantly surprised to find it very interesting. Christina Applegate wakes up after an 8 day coma with amnesia and finds out she was a horrible person in her previous life. It's a sitcom, no laugh track, single-camera show. With Jean Smart as her mom and Kevin Dunn as her father, Jennifer Esposito as a friend from her horrible life and Tim Russ as her philosophical doorman (who treats Tom Waits lyrics like Vulcan aphorisms. Hmmmm, I wonder why......)

Also, this print had historical value, as its title card listed the show as 'Sam I Am', which was changed after complaints from the estate of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

'Big Shots' - Michael Vartan, Dylan McDermott, Joshua Malina, and Christopher Titus as CEOs for various companies who hang out together and have relationship problems. Dylan: "Men - we're the new women." A complete waste of talent, I could sense little enthusiasm for the show among the audience.

My recommendations? Enjoy 'Pushing Daisies', 'Samantha Who' is a pleasant way to spend a half hour, sample 'Dirty Sexy Money', skip 'Big Shots'.

Toby OB

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