In an effort to rev up for the fall season, it's time to inaugurate what I intend to make a regular feature of this blog, namely lots of video snippets from our favorite, and even not-so-favorite and we're-not-sure-yet, shows.
Let's call it Clip Madness. (This edition was made possible by the kind folks at Fox and ABC who helped me quickly wrangle some clips. In subsequent weeks we'll spread the spotlight around to all the nets that care to offer up easy-to-embed snippets.)
Clip Madness is presented in the spirit of this wonderful time of year, the tail end of the honeymoon period when every new show is full of promise, this year's sleeper, a new "Friends," the next "CSI," a slow-building gem a la "The Office," etc. etc. Showrunners are starting to stock up on Mylanta, vodka and Vicodin, but network marketing mavens are in their element as they head into the final now-or-never stretch of piquing the American public's interest in what the programming department came up with this year.
(Pictured above: A scene you're not likely to see on ABC's "Pushing Daisies," for reasons that will become clear in the clip posted below. Pic of actors Lee Pace and Anna Friel kissing comes from the Aug. 16 screening of "Daisies" at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.)
Fox kinda got the new season off to a rough start with "Anchorwoman" getting the super-quick hook, though the remaining four segs will stream away on the Fox.com website. (Kinda feels like the decision to ax it from the mothership net was made while the first episode was still running...)
Fox's biggest comedy bet of the fall, of course, also has a newsroom theme, the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton starrer "Back to You." It's got a tough assignment in opening Wednesdays for the net as of Sept. 19, in tandem with the sophomore year of "Til Death." But the combo of two sitcom vets in front of the camera, Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, behind the scenes and Fred Willard is a pretty good recipe to bet on. Roll the "Back to You" clip with one click right here....
ABC is betting a whole lot of billboards and bus sides on its ability to turn the charmingly quirky, wonderfully rendered fantasy "Pushing Daisies" into a genre-defying hit in the Wednesday 8 p.m. berth starting Oct. 3. I for one hope they succeed, big-time, because this show is like rainbow sherbet: a light and delicious treat. The cast is top-notch, starting with romantic leads Lee Pace and Anna Friel. The convoluted premise is by now well-known, at least in the biz and among the hardcore fans of "Daisies" creator/exec producer Bryan Fuller: Sweet-natured guy named Ned has the ability to bring dead people back to life, just as long as he doesn't touch them again. His long-lost girlfriend from childhood winds up murdered, so he works his one-touch magic, and the romantic tension begins as they search for the man (or woman) who done her wrong, very wrong. It's all explained very effectively, in children's storybook fashion in this promo clip that showcases the great visuals delivered by exec producer and pilot helmer Barry Sonnenfeld.
A fall show that is not getting much attention now but has caught the eye of Fox insiders is the net's unscripted skein "Nashville," which has a bit (OK, just a bit) of that Robert Altman-ish video verite look to it as it chronicles life at C&W chart hopefuls crooning their hearts out in clubs in Music City, U.S.A., as seen in this clip. Show slides into Friday 9 p.m. slot as of Sept. 14.
Gordon Ramsay of "Hell's Kitchen" fame has had a sizzling summer with the second year of his culinary exploits. In the new "Kitchen Nightmares," Gordon takes his withering sneer into "restaurants in crisis," as Fox describes at. In the clip at your fingertips right here, you'll see how easily Ramsay strikes fear into the heart of otherwise snooty waiters and chefs. Let the utensils fly!
ABC hopes to add another title to its roster of high-end, classy ensemble dramas with "Dirty Sexy Money," starring Peter Krause as a lawyer who's suddenly tasked with keeping one crazy, rich, powerful and devious Gotham family in line and off of Page Six. There's a lot of actor power on this set, as seen in this clip, with Donald Sutherland, Blair Underwood, Jill Clayburgh and William Baldwin also in the cast. Show hails from playwright Craig Wright and counts Greg Berlanti and Bryan Singer among its exec producers. "Dirty Sexy Money" unfolds in the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot following "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" as of Sept. 26.
Among the crop on tap for January, after Fox gets up to full strength after rebooting "American Idol" and "24" for new seasons, "The Return of Jezebel James" is the sweet half-hour standout about a pair of very different sisters who are brought together for the cause of allowing the older one to become a mommy. Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose make the most of a great script from the queen of chick-TV, Amy Sherman-Palladino of "Gilmore Girls." Coincidentally, in real life it's Lauren who's the new mother and Parker the foot-loose and fancy free single gal in the city. But see how good they are in the roles? You'd never guess it from this clip of the two in the scene that is the highlight of the "Jezebel" pilot. (No, neither sister is named Jezebel.)
Another big, action-packed bet waiting in the midseason wings for Fox is "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," a smallscreen take on the "Terminator" franchise starring Lena Headey and "Heroes" trouper Thomas Dekker. Show is expected to land a Sunday night slot, though this far out that could easily change, natch. In this rendition of the tale, the fate of the world hangs in the hands of John Connor, the son of the martyr-hero from the films, who's being hunted right and left by good Terminators and very baaaaad Terminators. So what does he do? Like any good teenager, he tries to pass most of the buck on to mom, as shown in this clip.
Thanks for sticking it out through the first installment of Clip Madness. Come back soon, and bring a friend.