First things first, the rather intense photo above is of John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe in James McTeigue's (let's go with "V for Vendetta" rather than "Ninja Assassin") thriller "The Raven," set to come out March 9. In the flick, Poe joins forces with a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) to hunt down a mad serial killer who’s using Poe’s own works as the basis for a string of brutal murders. Should be pretty darn fun, and it seems like forever since I've seen Cusack in anything.
It would certainly be better if that were actually filmed in the great city of Baltimore rather than in Serbia, but oh well. Moving on, there certainly are more important and sometimes indeed more disappointing things in life than TV, but there really wasn't anything more disappointing in last season's finales than the dud that was delivered by "The Office."
With each potentially very funny guest star getting at most two minutes to work with almost universally blah material, it was much more like a pilot looking for its funny rather than a well-established show making an essential transition. Now, however, it seems they've at least picked the guest who made the most of his time, James Spader's Robert California, to be the new boss.
The thrall he has over Jim, Dwight and others should make for a big dose of fun on a show that's sorely in need of it, but Spader's character apparently has bigger plans than taking over Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch. According to Entertainment Weekly, he'll soon move on up to replace Kathy Bates as CEO of parent company Sabre, leaving another void to fill.
And, according to EW, the favorite to replace him then would be my favorite candidate going into the finale, "Doctor Who" vet Catherine Tate (who also appeared in the charming little British romantic comedy "Starter for 10" - rent that one if you can find it.) Combined, these two developments should bring some new life back into a show which, in my opinion, has fallen to the bottom of NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup, with them being, in my order, "Parks and Recreation," "Community," "30 Rock" and then "The Office."
For a taste of what Spader could bring to "The Office," here, courtesy of Hulu, is the first half of last season's finale with, unfortunately, way too many commercials. Enjoy, and then stick around for word about a fun new project for "Office" funnyman Ed Helms.
"The Office" star Ed Helms has the distinction of starring in one of my favorite comedies of the year in "Cedar Rapids," but also easily the worst I've seen, "The Hangover Part II." and now comes word of a new pitch that could be a lot of fun.
The project pitched by writer-director Rob Pearlstein will be titled "True North," and it's set to star Helms as a high-powered, workaholic talk show host and father who slips into a two-year coma after suffering through a horrific plane crash. Upon emerging from the coma, the once-debonair man finds that he has undergone reconstructive facial surgery and looks nothing like his former self. He then must track down his family and reconnect with his former life.
Sounds like pretty deep stuff for a comedy, so stay tuned for more on this whenever I can find it.
And to close, bringing things back to TV, "True Blood" returns to HBO this Sunday, and for the premiere episode it will be bringing along a fairly groovy new tune by Neko Case and Nick Cave. Actually, it's just a cover of the Zombies' "She's Not There," but it still sounds great. Enjoy this audio-only clip, and if you like to laugh, go see Jake Kasdan's "Bad Teacher," which for raunchy fun is a whole lot better than most critics make it out to be. Peace out.