TV News for Mad Men, The Office, Community and Your Official Winner for Best Pilot of the TV Season

Probably gonna be pretty short today, sorry:

UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Davy Jones of the Monkees died today. Tear. Maybe poor health is why the Monkees canceled their tour last year — including a date at the Mountain Laurel Center. Oh wait, The Mount. The band’s comeback in the 80s was nothing short of incredible since they hadn’t been heard from in decade, and was one of the first signs that kids would watch whatever the heck MTV decided to put on the air. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

tee hee. she's naked.

OK, so I think I get Mad Men’s new season 5 poster. Is it Don’s life being stripped down, combined with the changing of the wife/woman in his life while he looks at it all in his normal, emotionally detached fashion? That’s it, right? Yeah, that’s it. I think I’m starting to get officially jazzed for Mad Men coming back. Actually, I am jazzed.

Not too surprising return dates for FX comedies Wilfred and Louie, June 28 is about when they started last year. Really, really interested to see if I’m as enamored with Wilfred this year as I was last year. It seemed like it was getting a little one-notish last year, but still made me laugh like crazy. The surprising part of the announcement is that Charlie Sheen’s new show Anger Management will be on at 9:30 p.m., the first time an FX original will air before 10 p.m. It just seems weird. And you know what? The combination of Sheen’s Two and a Half Men history, the 9:30 time slot, the TV-14 rating, the fact that I didn’t think the movie Anger Management was very funny at all makes me go right past this show because I don’t think it won’t be as edgy as all of FX’s other shows. Fair or unfair, that’s just my gut reaction.

It’s pretty rare when I pimp a PBS show, but WVIA, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre PBS affiliate, will be broadcasting its State of Pennsylvania show live from the Tobyhanna Army Depot at 7 p.m. Thursday. Then after the one-hour show, it will air a one-hour documentary about the depot highlighting its 100th anniversary. It always amazes me how most Monroe County residents don’t know that much about the depot. This is your chance to find out. And as long as we’re on the subject of WVIA, it looks like I’ll be appearing on State of Pennsylvania next week as a panelist.

"ahhhhgggggg!!!! everyone jummmmmmmpppppp!!!!"

Looks like Stroudsburg native Danny Chun isn’t the only person jetting from The Office. James Spader says he’s out too, with Mindy Kaling and Rainn Wilson possibilities for departure too. That leaves the cast in a state of flux, and now the other stars have to decide if they want to come back too. This doesn’t really have the look of a sinking ship that people are jumping off even without life jackets. Spader as a one-and-done can be handled and as much as we love Chun here at PopRox, let’s face it, writers aren’t the most recognizable faces of any show. But if you’re Ed Helms and you’re getting big movie offers, what do you think about working 16 hour days for six months out of the year on a show that may or may not be heading downhill?

Normally I don’t like TV spoilers, I’m cool waiting to watching the show. Sure I’m curious, but I’d rather be surprised (kinda) when Quinn gets broadsided by a semi on Glee. Well, kinda surprised, since they telegraphed it like a Rex Grossman pass, but surprised nonetheless. But I do like Michael Ausiello’s annual May Sweeps scoerecard to the crazy things that are going to be happening at the end of the TV season. It’s a fun little dose of frivolity to keep everyone interested in the TV season and at least partly educated when your friends start talking about Grey’s Anatomy and you have know idea what the words are coming out of their mouths.

We want our favorite actors/sports stars/politicians/famous people to be invested like we are. Too often it’s just a job to them, which has its pros and cons. But give us something to show that you actually give a crap. Let us know that as our world is crumbling when Friday Night Lights goes off the air or when the Phillies get shut out to lose the NLDS, yours is crumbling too. Maybe it’s cliche to have a woman crying over something, but at least Gillian Jacobs is giving us the sense that being on Community is not just a job for her. She really wants the show to succeed, she’ll be devastated if it gets canceled, and she has the public tears to prove it. Just like us regular people. That’s all we’re asking for, famous people. Some emotion.

i can't even formulate any theories yet on what's real and what isn't. it's that mysterious. in a good way.

AWAKE (10 p.m. Thursdays, NBC): Thursday is the most important night of the TV week. It’s when the most people watch TV and it’s when the networks offer their best shows, or at least what they believe is their best, most marketable lineups. Of this best lineup night, 10 p.m. always has been the most dignified. Networks traditionally unleash what they believe is their “best” — quality and ratings — show at 10 p.m. Thursday. It doesn’t always happen that way, but since the early 80s, NBC had this down to a science. Starting in 1981, the network regularly aired only three shows in the Thursday 10 p.m. slot for 28 years — Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and ER.  28 years. No network owned any time slot like NBC owned 10 p.m. Thursdays. Since ER ended in March 2009, the network has aired seven different combinations of shows. 28 years, three shows. Three years, seven shows. And it’s actually eight shows, I’m counting last year’s ill-advised 30 Rock/Outsourced combo as one show. Awake makes the ninth show in three years that will be in what once was NBC’s cherished time slot. Whether Awake will work out there, who knows. But this is what I do know — you’ve never seen a TV show like Awake. It’s the most original, freshest idea for a TV show I’ve seen since Pushing Daisies. That’s not to say it’s anything like Pushing Daisies, it’s completely not. But it’s a stylized concept on how to deal with the doldrums of a killer-of-the-week procedural cop show. The pilot is a fantastic mix of sci-fi/fantasy staples like alternate universes and realities, great drama, selective action that’s well done and a surprising lack of plot holes in what could be the most complex pilot of the last five years or so. If a show can be confusing in a good way, then this show is. Something like The Event was confusing in a bad way. I can tell you all about the plot, but I’d be doing you a disservice because it will only confuse you. Here’s what I can tell you — Awake is the best pilot of the 2011-12 TV season. GRADE: A-

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