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Doux News: March 4, 2012

This week: Returns and premieres -- Cancellation anxiety, especially for Fringe -- Another "new Lost" strikes out? -- Do I even have to talk about the Oscars? -- Bits and pieces -- Reader of the week -- Tweet of the week -- New at Doux

Welcome to our new weekly column! We had quite a discussion in the virtual writer's room about what to call it, and although I initially wanted something weirder, I think I'm happy with the simplicity of Doux News.

(Just in case you didn't sit through several years of college French or weren't born on the continent, "Billie Doux" is a take-off of the French expression billet-doux, meaning "love letter". Doux (pronounced 'du') by itself means "sweet" or "soft". Sweet news! Doux News also sounds a bit like "Da News", or possibly "Duh News".)

Returns and premieres

And just when you thought the television season was limping to a close... Winter is coming! Game of Thrones returns April first. (Josie made me post this.)

For that matter, there are lots of returns and premieres: Awake (already out, March 1); Community (March 15); Mad Men (March 25) and last but not least, the final season of Eureka (April 16). Why isn't Doctor Who returning this spring? Why do we have to wait so long? What were they thinking?

Season two of Sherlock, which already aired in the UK, arrives in the United States on PBS May 6, and may I add how infuriating it is to wait five freaking months for something half of our writers and a goodly percentage of our readers have already seen?

For more about premiere dates, including witty comments about Oakland and Dirk Gently, go here. (Josie also made me post this.)

Cancellation anxiety, especially for Fringe

In spring, a fan's fancy turns to fears of cancellation. This year, I've been keeping my eye on the fates of Supernatural, Fringe, Nikita, Ringer, The Secret Circle, Community and Alcatraz. TV By the Numbers has been doing a piece on Fringe pretty much every week, and it's actually amusing if you're not emotionally involved. The upshot appears to be that Fringe is certain to be canceled -- except that it might not be. There's the theory that they'll give us an abbreviated fifth season to bring the episode count up to 100. And there's the one that they won't cancel Fringe because they don't want to piss off J.J. Abrams. (That one's my favorite.)

I'm not sure what I wish for Fringe, other than that if it has to go, they leave us with an ending that is even marginally as cool as its second and third seasons. Even though I'm enjoying season four, I'm also finding it frustrating. Fans don't enjoy frustration.

It's funny how I'm not stressing about my current favorite Supernatural this year. Seven seasons is more than I ever expected, and if that's all we get, I'm okay with it. If there is an eighth, I'm on board, and even though nothing is certain, it sounds very much as if only a strike by stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki will keep it from happening. That, or the CW's rating woes will become so extreme that they'll only renew one show, and you know what that will be. (In case you don't, that would be The Vampire Diaries.) Is it possible that the CW will go under completely? It used to be The WB and UPN, right? Maybe they'll reinvent themselves and come up with a new set of initials.

Another "new Lost" strikes out?

Speaking of cancellation... I wanted to love Alcatraz because I love time travel, San Francisco, and Jorge Garcia. Unfortunately, Alcatraz has sat unwatched on my DVR a bit longer with every week that has passed, and I must reluctantly confess that I haven't watched the last two episodes. Cancellation seems likely, and I can't tell you how much I hate saying this about a show with such a strong pedigree.

Where did Alcatraz go wrong? It wasn't the casting, because Sarah Jones and Sam Neill are as terrific as Jorge Garcia. I keep thinking that it's the focus of the story. It's just too much of a procedural for me. I don't want to watch a show about an escaped criminal of the week, even with the twist that he's from 1963. There are certainly plenty of hints that we're getting more weird time travel goodness, but it's not happening fast enough.

What's your opinion of Alcatraz, love it or don't love it, thumbs up or thumbs down? Vote in this week's poll (top right of the blog) and post a comment. Results will be posted in next week's Doux News.

Do I even have to talk about the Oscars?

Mostly, I hate award shows. (They mostly come out at night. Mostly.) As usual, the Academy Awards show last week was a disappointing waste of time, even though I only watched the last hour. The Artist? A silent French film? Seriously? And Meryl Streep again? Not that she isn't awesome and a national treasure, bless her heart, but even she got up on the podium and essentially said, "Me again?" She was probably rooting for Viola Davis or Rooney Mara.

Didn't they add lots of slots for best picture so that a movie the public actually liked would occasionally win? When is it going to start happening? Maybe when the Academy isn't mostly made up of old white men, I guess.

At least we have the 38th Annual Saturn Awards, whose nominees were just announced. Now this is my kind of awards show. Science fiction and fantasy movies actually win, and the television nominees are shows we cover: Fringe, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, American Horror Story, Breaking Bad, Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Torchwood, and The Walking Dead.

Personally, the awards I'm feeling the most passionate about this year are Giancarlo Esposito for best supporting Actor for Breaking Bad, and Jennifer Carpenter for best supporting actress on Dexter. And Mark Margolis for best guest performance, also for Breaking Bad. *ding*

For a complete list of nominees, go here.

Bits and pieces

-- Alan Ball is stepping down as the showrunner of True Blood. Is this good news or bad news or I don't know what the heck is gonna happen news? I'm not completely dismayed, though. It's time to leave the books behind, and a fresh, creative mind behind the series might not be a bad thing.

-- Alex O'Loughlin, star of Hawaii Five-O and Moonlight, is heading for what sounds a lot like rehab because of a shoulder injury and prescription drugs. Best wishes and I hope he's better soon. He's been looking way too skinny and drawn lately.

-- Adam Baldwin is guest starring on an upcoming episode of Castle (no, I don't know which one), giving us an unofficial Firefly reunion.

-- Leonard Nimoy is guesting on Big Bang Theory. Or at least, his voice is. I think Nimoy should stop talking about official retirement. He obviously loves to work, because I'm pretty sure he doesn't need the money.

Reader of the Week

No contest. Our very first "Reader of the Week" is ChrisB, who has gone through The Vampire Diaries, six seasons of Supernatural, and all of Firefly in just a few weeks, posting terrific comments along the way.

Tweet of the Week

I follow some witty people on Twitter, and this week, Nathan Fillion wrote the tweet I enjoyed the most:
My gamertag is a vague Firefly reference. When someone gets it, I do my best "Mal", & they tell me it needs work.

This week's runner up is by Tim Carvell, who makes me laugh nearly every day:
It'd be great if, in NBC's "Awake", it were ridiculously obvious which world was the dream one. "Am I a cop? Or a flying unicorn repairman?"

New at Doux

Although it's been more than a week since he arrived, I wanted to post a welcome to our newest writer, Panda, who will be covering Once Upon a Time and The Secret Circle for us. Welcome to the site, Panda! We now have twelve writers. And I was a bit put out to notice that with four women and eight men, the guys now outnumber us two to one.

That's it for our first column. Opinions, raves, rants? Is a weekly column a good idea or a bad one? Do you have questions for any of us? Feel free to post a comment.


  1. I "thumbs up-ed" Alcatraz, but it was half-hearted. I really want to like this show, but you are right, it is too much "creep of the week" and not enough sci-fi. Yes, there have been hints, but they are too few and far between to keep me interested for the long haul. I'm still watching for now, but I think they may have blown their chance at grabbing the former Lost audience. Oh well...

    And as a northern California native, they completely annoyed me on the BART episode in which they didn't call the trains BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), they called them SFTA. Minor, maybe, but if you are going to set a show in SF, then GET IT RIGHT! BART is too huge of a part of the Bay Area psyche to call it something else.

  2. I think Alan Ball leaving can be good. Maybe it's the breath of fresh air the show needs now.
    Adam Baldwin on Castle? Yay. I hope they give him good material to work with.

  3. Great first article, Billie. It made me laugh several times.

    The only good thing about the Academy Awards was that Dean Pelton now has an Oscar.

    Fringe is the only one of my favourite shows that I am seriously worried about. I am confident that Community will get another season. None of NBC news shows have taken off so a fourth, maybe final, season of Community is not beyond the realm of possibility. But I fear Fringe is done for. One of the reasons I'm so concerned is because the showrunners have clearly stated that they have no intention of pulling a Babylon 5 and wrap everything up early. They are sticking to their five year plan which means if Fringe does end this year we'll likely be left without closure.

    An abbreviated season, which would force the writers to ditch the case of the week filler episodes and focus entirely on the major story arc, is probably the best case scenario. Another alternative is that Warner Bros. possibly shopping the show to another network. A show with Fringe's ratings would be a hit by The CW's standards.

  4. Wow! How cool is that??? Thank you and thank TPTB that struck with down with pneumonia so that I actually had the time to watch it all.

    I LOVE this site and have been telling everyone about it. In addition to the three above, you got me into 'Fringe' and 'Glee', so I owe you.

    Great article, Billie. By the way, I read an article the other day online (and now, of course, I can't find it) that said both Jensen and Jared are keen for an eighth (and final) season. Fingers crossed...

    Thanks for this. You really made my day!

  5. Thanks for the shout out Billie, I'm so glad to be a part of the site!

    This is a great idea, too, I meant to say. I'm a little bummed about The Secret Circle being so on the bubble, I thought it was a sure thing. I still think renewal is more likely than not, though. Ringer is a goner, but Supernatural is definitely coming back, no two ways about it. Its pulling great numbers for a Friday.

    I had no idea that Alan Ball was stepping down, I'm not sure if that's going to be a good or bad thing in the long run. I assume it'll be post season 5 though, right?

    Great article, Billie. I'm already looking forward to next weeks. =)

  6. "Sunday in the Park with Billie"? That was my idea but my e-mail went all kabluey this week. Or "Shop Talk" or something. I'm always late with these things. Really love the column though, great idea for the blog.

    Fringe is a show that I really enjoy, but I wouldn't exactly be saddened if it was canceled. This season has been interesting, but it feels a lot like the show could probably end right now and it wouldn't be a huge loss. It feels like the right time. But only if they actually bring some resolution to everything... which I've heard through the grapevine that they're not going to do. Ugh.

    I didn't tune into Alcatraz despite its Abrams pedigree, but I think people are just a little weary of these kinds of shows by now. Especially since Lost is really the one success story of this type. Invasion blew chunks, my brain got mushy via Heroes, and FlashForward was a six-car pile-up. I just can't anymore.

    Finally... Billie, you're awesome, but I need to put on my movie snob hat for that Oscar bit. There are a lot of problems with the Academy Awards, but I don't think it's fair to criticize them for not awarding movies that the "public would like". There were a ton of major snubs this year (Young Adult, Drive, Martha Marcy May Marlene), but on the other extreme the show would turn into the MTV Movie Awards if the nominations turned too much in favor of 'regular folk'. You know?

    This was a really bad Oscar year, though. Almost all the major acting nominations were great performances stuck in terrible movies, while most of the nominees were even more bait-y than normal. There also wasn't a ton of buzz about any of the movies this year. Compared to 2011 when everybody went crazy over Black Swan and Inception and The Social Network, nobody was exactly buzzing about, gosh, Hugo, were they? It was just a pretty bland ceremony, a bony right leg becoming the one major highlight. Eh.

    Great post, Billie. Looking forward to more...

  7. I like the new column, Billie. A nice weekly roundup with a bit of commentary. Good stuff.

    I'm bummed about Alex O'Loughlin! It isn't too surprising he sustained an injury, given the degree of physical action required for HF0, but that's terrible that he's now struggling with addiction to pain meds. It's good he's getting help.

    I think Fringe will likely be cancelled. It doesn't seem like Warner Brothers has a lot of incentive to deeply discount the show for FOX again, since it already has enough eps for syndication. Hopefully, whatever happens we got some modicum of closure. I'm not terribly optimistic on that front, though.

    I bailed on Alcatraz after three episodes. Definitely too much "criminal of the week." I wouldn't mind so much if they'd tried to develop the main characters better. I've got no problem watching the case-of-the-week on Hawaii Five-0 because I enjoy the dynamic they've established with the core characters, and I've got a bit more investment in the overall "mythology." But on Alcatraz they weren't giving me much to hang on to on a week-to-week basis. Despite liking the lead cast.

  8. A new column!!! Love it!!!

    My favorite quote from my beloved Newt....I use it often.

    I couldn't get into FRINGE, SUPERNATURAL or ALCATRAZ. Those shows did anything for me.

    RINGER lost me quickly. As much as I love SMG, she hasn't done anything good since BUFFY ended.

    I'm looking forward to the next seasons of TRUE BLOOD and AMERICAN HORROR STORY. I love that Jessica Lange will be back for AHS season two.

    I think TRUE BLOOD will be fine without Alan Ball running the day to day.

  9. Love the new column, Billie! Keep up the good work!

    I really wanted to love Alcatraz, not least because I visited San Francisco and Alcatraz for the first time last year so the setting is a lot of fun. But ugh, the criminals in the first few episodes were so horrible it really felt like work, and it seemed quite repetitive as well. I was a lot more interested in the time travel story and the replica prison in the woods, but that hardly got any time. Not enough Sam Neill either:).

    Speaking of New Zealanders, all of us Down Under will have to disagree with you about this year's Oscars. Bret McKenzie (FIGWIT and Flight of the Conchords) took away the song Oscar and we are all thrilled. It's not quite as good as that year where LOTR took practically half the Oscars, but we're still very proud!


  10. If you don't include Game of Thrones news with every column, I will feed you to my pet Lannister.

  11. Not Fringe! The idea of wrapping up at 100 eps is appealing to the OCD sufferer hidden in me, but I want the original 7-year plan. I don't care what I have to do to get it!

    I don't plan to watch True Blood anymore, but I think it's good that AB is leaving, because I can hope he focuses on something better, at least half as good as 6 Feet Under. One can dream.

    And I've said it many times in the Supernatural reviews' comments: the show must end before it gets completely lost. I'd like to see everyone involved move on to new projects too.

    Alcatraz could have been good, but missed the chance. It's a pity.

    I watched The Artist last Saturday, and loved it. I was rooting for Midnight in Paris, but it was unlikely.

    Nimoy on TBBT would be better news if not right after I gave it up. They haven't made a new joke this season. It's always the same.

    Enough talking about my pipe dreams. Have a good week, everybody!

  12. Great idea with the news. Especially that it's only for shows we all love. :)

  13. Great idea. Hope this continues to be a weekly thing.

    Sad to see AB stepping down from True Blood actually. I wonder who'll take over it.

  14. I was really pleased about The Artist - first Best Picture winner I've actually seen and enjoyed in years. It did pretty well over here I think, was it not so popular in the States? Also, Meryl hadn't actually *won* for 30 years, so I was pleased for her too. Seems like another transatlantic difference - everyone over here thought Meryl was the leader throughout (and not because of Thatcher - a good proportion of my friends hate that woman with a vitriol normally reserved for Nazis) whereas it seems in the US everyone thought Viola Davis would take it?

    Not sure how I feel about Alan Ball stepping down from True Blood... but if Community comes back, all will be well with the world.

  15. Hope this column continues, its a great addition to a great website.. "Mostly, I hate award shows. (They mostly come out at night. Mostly.)".. I thought that line was hilarious btw..

  16. Love the new column! More to read on Billie Doux can only be a good thing...
    Billie, listen to Josie, you can't ever have too much GOT discussion.
    Gus - I am with you on Fringe. I want the WHOLE story, not some shortened version to "wrap it up" and supposedly make us all happy.
    ChrisB - I don't know whether to feel bad for you for being sick or jealous because you've been able to catch up on so many shows! (ok, "feel bad" won out, pneumonia is no fun), I just started Supernatural season 2 and I can only sneak a show in here and there on Netflix because my whole family already thinks I watch too much TV....which I don't. Really.

  17. wow, so many comments and still adding up

    Yes, this IS a good idea LOL

  18. Even though I don't always have time to comment, I am a regular reader if your website, Billie, and have been for several years. This is a great addition. I will look forward to it each week. Thanks!

  19. Funny experience tonight. My best friend came by with food, medicine and her cat to cheer me up. The cat is because she's going on holiday and I get to catsit...

    Anyway, the conversation went like this:

    She: "I went on to the Billie Doux website. Congratulations on being Reader of the Week."

    Me: "How did you know it was me?"

    She: "First of all, it's your name. More importantly, who the hell else has the time to watch that much television?"

    Made me laugh! Thanks for all the good wishes.

  20. Thank you all for the great comments and the encouragement. I'm definitely planning to post something every Sunday for the foreseeable future, with possibly some down time during our two quietest months (June and December).

    I've decided that I should probably keep my mouth shut about the Academy Awards. :)

    And ChrisB, if we're playing a small role in helping you recover from pneumonia, I'm very pleased. Keep us posted about your progress.


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