‘DEADWOOD’ RIDES OUT
Fans of the groundbreaking western Deadwood knew it was coming, but the last little bit of hope for closure died when Ian "Al Swearengen" McShane told reporters the last sets were being packed up and torn down. After the sudden cancellation in 2006, HBO promised that there would be a pair of two-hour tv movies wrapping up the adventures of Al, Johnny, Silas, Doc Cochran, EB, Sol, Bullock, Charlie, Jane, and the rest — but as more and more time passed, they became less and less likely. With many of the actors (McShane among them) busy with other projects and unable to commit until after the strike, HBO made the decision to pull the plug on both films. RIP Deadwood — you were one of the best things HBO ever did, full of poetry and humor, each character a human being, capable of darkness and light. Still, if those three years made sure that actors like McShane and Robin Weigert (who I really don’t like on Life, but I guess that’s kind of the point) get work from now on, then the show did its job. Here’s to taking it like a man, and giving some back.
A ‘CUPID’ COMEBACK
This is kind of unexpected: ABC is allowing Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas to develop a new version of his 1998 series Cupid. Cupid is one of those shows that frequently gets filed under "brilliant but cancelled," as the romantic comedy starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall only lasted fifteen episodes. Now, ABC is allowing Thomas to go back to the well, and while Thomas will be writing an all new pilot, he won’t be "reinventing" the show. Marshall and Piven won’t be starring, obviously, but the central idea of a man who thinks he may be Cupid, banished to Earth until he can help 100 couples get together, will remain. The Cupid remake is one of two projects Thomas is working on for ABC, the other is Outrageous Fortune, about a family of blue-collar criminals. I haven’t seen Cupid (no DVD release), but even though the wheels really came off the wagon last year on Veronica Mars, I’m willing to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt for this one. Plus, as other critics have pointed out, Cupid was a show that should have been a success if it was given enough time — and ABC is in a much better place than it was a decade ago. (This is one of the first times I’ve heard of a network reviving a short-lived show like this, save CBS’s Grapevine adventure last summer. If you can think of any others, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
GO BACK TO BED, AMERICA — HULK HOGAN IS UNDER CONTROL
The nostalgia train continues roaring, and NBC is the latest one to hop aboard. This stop, Bionic Woman. Next stop, everyone’s favorite late 80s/early 90s game show. No, I’m not talking about Legends of the Hidden Temple or Super Sloppy Double Dare — I refer to American Gladiators, the steroids infomercial that still has a cult following to this day (201 Facebook groups and counting!). And if this little retro flashback weren’t enough, NBC just announced a deal with one of the all-time great Americans to host this remake. According to TV Week, Hulk Hogan is "the perfect fit" for the revival, and for once, they’re not talking out of their ass. I mean, if you’re going to bring back American Gladiators, why wouldn’t you get the star of Santa with Muscles? NBC will debut its Gladiators remake at midseason, and hope to bring in Hulk’s son Nick as a vehicular specialist. I leave you with the words of Mr. Bollea, who said, "Gladiator-mania is going to be sweeping the nation, brother!" Um, isn’t that 2000 nostalgia, not early 90s nostalgia, there, Hulk?
CLINTON LOVES BAUER
Future First Gentleman (yeah, right) and former President Bill Clinton has the ‘war on terra‘ fever, and the only prescription is…more Jack Bauers? On last Sunday’s Meet the Press, the international crusader said he hopes that a Bauer-like agent steps up should the government be faced with the ticking-bomb scenario in real life. Clinton continued, "When Bauer goes out there on his own and is prepared to live with the consequences, it always seems to work better." Two things: One, Jack Bauer is a "fic-ti-on-al character!" Two, Bill Clinton’s favorite show on television right now is Grey’s Anatomy — does that mean Hillary’s universal health care plan will account for crazy doctors who cut their heart patients’ wires?
A ‘COMANCHE’ CHRISTMAS
CBS’s adaptation of the prequel to Lonesome Dove has finally, finally, finally got a premiere date. Too bad it’s going to be on when NOBODY WATCHES TV. Comanche Moon, based on the Larry McMurtry novel of the same name and starring Karl Urban, Steve Zahn, Rachel Griffiths, and Val Kilmer, will air at 9 pm on December 30th before finishing on Jan. 1st and 2nd of the new year. This is akin to what Alan Sepinwall calls Summer Burn-Off Theatre, so this must really be a stinker — or maybe CBS just doesn’t have faith in the miniseries. We shall see.