Friday, May 19, 2006

"Ghetto night" and Naomi Watts news

There have to be more important things to get mad about than TV, but that's what's caught my ire right now, so bear with me.

The lineup for the new CW, which is rising from the ashes of the former WB and UPN, features a horrendous mistake.

In a move that can only be called punishment for "Everybody Hates Chris," the CW has moved it to 7 p.m. Sunday, guaranteeing it will be missed by football fans every week of the fall, until they lose interest completely and just move on.

Worse, it leads off what the CW is calling an "urban" block of comedies, but looks depressingly to me like "ghetto night," a sad holdover from the days of UPN.

Following "Chris" will be "All of Us," "Girlfriends" and its spinoff "The Game," which will surely revel in the high-class booty jokes of its predecessor.

"Everybody Hates Chris" is great because it triumphs over rather than traffics in the stereotypes that are fodder for these other dismal shows. Critics called it a black "Wonder Years," which almost gets the point; it is the sincerely funny coming-of-age story of Chris Rock, who adds his touch with razor-sharp bits of narration.

Why would you put a comedy that appeals to all ages and races in a block with shows that just promote the same tired jokes that drove UPN to its death in the first place? It's short-sighted at best, and will probably doom Rock to a spot atop the trash heap with Bernie Mac. Here's hoping he can survive this horrible move for a run at least as long as the Mac's on Fox.

In better news, Tuesdays look like they will belong to the CW, with a solid back-to-back block of "Gilmore Girls" at its regular 8 p.m. slot, followed by "Veronica Mars." The best of the WB followed by the best of UPN. Now that's what a merger should look like.

Naomi Watts and David Cronenberg

Incredibly beautiful women just seem to have a thing for virtuoso director David Cronenberg. After he landed Maria Bello to headline 2005's "History of Violence," now comes word that Naomi Watts will star in the director's next thriller, "Eastern Promises," also again starring Viggo Mortensen.

And why not? Cronenberg drove Bello to a remarkable performance in "Violence," for which she should have received an Oscar. Watts should fare as well or better here.

In the film, a 14-year-old girl dies on Christmas giving birth in a London hospital. The hospital's midwife (Watts) sets out to find the girl's family for the orphaned child. Her search takes her to London's shady Russian crime community and to a Russian crime boss (Mortensen) who is not what he seems.

This all has a juicy Le Carre kind of feel to it, and Cronenberg should have a lot fun. Add to this the name of screenwriter Steven Knight, who showed he's familiar with the darkest aspects of life with "Dirty Pretty Things," and you've got one of the most exciting projects in the works now. Shooting is set to start in November in London.


themarina said...

OOO. The Cronenberg project sounds really good. I've always been a fan of his and it's good to see Hollywood is starting to take notice.

Senor Beavis said...

Given that Veronica Mars is my very favorite show (fully developed characters and attention to continuity will get you everywhere with me), I feel obligated to submit some pictures in which she does not appear to be 12.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Beavis ... I just grabbed the first picture I could find!

LaReinaCobre said...

I hardly watch tv, but Everybody Hates Chris deserves so much better!!!

odienator said...

Worse, it leads off what the CW is calling an "urban" block of comedies, but looks depressingly to me like "ghetto night," a sad holdover from the days of UPN.

Say what you want about it, but "ghetto night" kept UPN going longer than it had any right to be going.

The problem with ALL network execs is that they see a Black face and they automatically hang a "coloreds only" sign on the show. The one thing that ELC has that "Girlfriends" et al do not have is crossover appeal. I acknowledge that "Girlfriends" is a niche show--and there is nothing wrong with that--but it is not in the same class as ELC.

To me, Rock's show displays that, even though we may have a different style, Black people are just like everybody else. We have rent to pay and bad ass kids with sibling rivalry. Those other shows traffic in exaggeration for comedic purposes (which is sometimes funny) but are far from progressive.

Why is it that the networks always try to sabotage innovative shows that feature minorities? If gays, Asians, Hispanics and Blacks are not catering to their "specific" i.e. stereotypical roles, the networks can't murder the shows fast enough by moving them to NO MAN'S LAND.

Case in point: Grey's Anatomy.

Just my rant. Sorry to barge into your blog like this.

odienator said...

Talk about Freudian slips! I meant to say EHC, not ELC. (Pointer finger, H. Pinkie finger, L. Get it right, Odie...) I am always doing that, calling the show Everybody Loves Chris! Somebody hit me with a copy of Bring the Pain please.

Reel Fanatic said...

No need to apologize Odie .. all are welcome here!

Koenig said...

Writing up my own brief look at what I'll be watching this fall, I completely missed EHC! I'll be watching, but man - that's a sucky time slot.