Is your favorite show coming back?

A couple quick PopRox programming notes:

–I’ve set up the official PopRox NCAA tournament bracket at Yahoo. I did it last year at ESPN, and it didn’t work out too well because I started it too late. This year, I’m getting the jump on it. It’s free to play, it’s just for PopRox bragging rights. You need a Yahoo! ID, but that’s free too if you don’t have one. Maybe I’ll be able to reach deep in the PopRox prize vault to find something for the winner. So to sign up, head over to Yahoo’s tournament page, click the “sign up” button, then click on the “join group” option. When prompted, the Group ID is 26876 and the password is poprox. Join in today! There is no limit on how many people can sign up. Plus, I’m just going to annoy you for the next week with constant reminders about joining, so just do it now and save yourself the trouble of hearing it over and over.

–Friday will be the fourth annual PopRox tradition of writing about the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the only guide I know of that gives a yearly assessment of what goes on at the parade every year, including a beginner’s bar guide if you haven’t been there before. It’s the only day of year I allow myself to talk about a non-Poconos-related regional topic. Yeah, it’s that big. Plus, I’m too excited about it to write about anything else. Look for it Friday.

that's danny chun on the set of the office. he took that for the paper yesterday.

that's danny chun on the set of the office. he took that for the paper yesterday.

–Yesterday I talked to Danny Chun, a Stroudsburg HS grad who is living my dream as a writer on The Office. There will be a story about Danny in Thursday’s paper, but I’m going to put some extra tidbits from the interview in PopRox either tomorrow or Thursday. Just some inside stuff any fan of The Office or TV in general would love to know. Look for it then.

Today’s links:

Maybe the first weekend in March is becoming the new July 4th weekend. Five out of the last six years and counting, a major studio release racked up huge money — including this weekend, when Alice and Wonderland scored the sixth-biggest opening weekend of all time. It’s the only opening weekend in the top 20 that didn’t happen in either the summer or the holiday movie season.

This first weekend of March is turning into quite the movie bonanza:

2005: The Pacifier, $30.6 million

2007: Wild Hogs, $39.7 million. Closer to the date (March 9-11), however, is 300, which surprisingly made $70.9 million and set the March record.

2008: 10,000 B.C., $35.9 million

2009: Watchmen, $55.2 million

the sad part is, this isn't the weirdest johnny depp has looked.

the sad part is, this isn't the weirdest johnny depp has looked.

2010: Alice in Wonderland, $116 million

The one constant in all of these release weekends — they’ve been the only major movies released. No industry copies more than Hollywood, so this probably will be the last year you see it with one release. Currently, there are no releases scheduled for that spot next year. That should last about a week until something gets moved out of an already crowded holiday season. Tron? Green Hornet? Red Dawn? Something big will be there within the next couple months.

Not surprisingly, Oscar ratings were up this year withthe interest in one of the most popular movies of all time in the running. The Oscar people should be careful not to come out and say it’s because of the 10 nominees, because it isn’t. Not unless Avatar would have been excluded withfive nominees, which I don’t think it would have. With five nominees, the best pic noms would have been Avatar, Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds and Precious. That would have been a pretty interesting list without the superfluousness of The Blind Side.

The weirdest moment of the night apparently had somewhat local ties when the weird lady ambushed the stage and stole the podium from Roger Ross Williams, an Easton native. If this had happened during the best picture award, people would have gone crazy. Best documentary short film? Not so much.

That closes the chapter on 2009 movies, so it’s time to start getting excited for 2010 movies and I’m completely digging the new Iron Man 2 trailer. I was critical of the first trailer because it seemed like it was pretty much rehashing the first movie and was, for the most part, ignoring the new people and characters involved. But now we get longer looks at Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle in full War Machine garb. After watching it, I felt like I was on one of those Windows7 commercials because it felt like they listened to my complaints and designed the new trailer around me. Hey, wait a minute … is Jon Favreau a PopRox reader?!?!?! Just in case — “Am I the ultimate fighting champion yet?” He’ll know what that means.

Fringe fans, be happy. The sci-fi show, which has done nothing but gotten better in the season-and-a-half it’s been on Fox, has been renewed for a third season. Surprisingly, there were questions surrounding the future of the show past May for two reasons — it’s an expensive show to produce and it’s gotten trounced this year in the most competitive night on TV. The expensive complaint is legit, especially when a show isn’t pulling in the big numbers. Every one is cutting back, and Fringe should be no different. The Thursday night thing, well, Fringe just can’t do anything about that. Fox couldn’t possibly have expected Fringe to just jump in to Thursdays and kick some Grey’s Anatomy tail, but because it didn’t, people started to worry. Fox did the right thing and made sure it would be back in the lineup next year. Quality wise, it probably deserves a renewal more than any other show on TV because of how much it’s improved.

get to know these guys. they'll be back next year.

get to know these guys. they'll be back next year.

Same goes for Community, which keeps getting funnier and deserved another season. You could easily call it the live-action version of Family Guy since its plots and jokes are so steeped in pop culture — really, Color of Money? — but it’s clever, quick and funny. Shows like this deserve time for people to realize just how funny they are. Office and 30 Rock also got their renewals for next season. That didn’t happen already? Guess I just assumed it. Weird that Parks and Rec got its early pick-up but NBC made 30 rock and Office sweat it out a little longer. Then again, Parks and Rec has made me laugh more this year than either Office or 30 Rock.

We already know where Brothers and Sisters is heading — and it’s not pretty. Despite the exit of Rob Lowe at the end of this year, the show got another year for the Walkers to fight and drink and talk too fast for an hour each week. This year has been better than the previous year, but that doesn’t make it a good year. The bar wasn’t set remarkably high. Is it even worth it if Lowe isn’t in the cast though? He’s easily the best part of the show this year, even if he’s being misused as a whole. When we’re left to deal with Walkers and only Walkers, it’s anybody’s guess where this show goes.

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