All the tube news that’s fit to surf …
– Tonight’s must-see viewing: Sons of Anarchy (10PM ET, FX), which features a clever guest appearance by Stephen King.
– Worth checking out among tonight’s series premieres: Fox’s Raising Hope (9PM), from the creator of My Name Is Earl. The comedy revolves around 23-year-old Jimmy, who finds out his one-night-stand — a murderer who’s about to be executed — is about to give birth to his baby. High concept, yes, but surprisingly funny, and with that same Earl vibe.
– The success of the Glee soundtrack has prompted Billboard to recall some of the most memorable, charting TV theme songs of all time.
– More Glee news: Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest potential celeb guest star.
– Notice anything different about The Price Is Right, which kicked off its 39th season this week? Like Drew Carey‘s amazing 80-pound weight loss? He did it with exercise and changing his eating habits … he looks incredible!
– Boardwalk Empire has been renewed for a second season. Who watched the premiere? Did you love it? Like it? I think it’s really good, and definitely worth checking out, but it’s not yet at that must-see level of The Sopranos or The Wire (or the aforementioned Sons of Anarchy).
– Weeds and The Big C have been renewed by Showtime.
– ABC seems to be planning its own version of Mad Men, but with the action revolving around Pan Am pilots and flight attendants in the ’60s.
– Lost stars Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson have been talking about re-teaming for a new TV show, and it looks like it might actually happen, with Lost creator J.J. Abrams involved.
– NYMag.com answers nine questions you might have about the new TV season.
– The cast of Saturday Night Live, along with producer Lorne Michaels, will be Larry King‘s guests Friday night, and on Thursday, Jerry Seinfeld will appear, and promises to reveal “one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets.” Any guesses as to what could it be? NYMag.com has a funny theory.
– Sad news about Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield, who is once again battling cancer. The actor, who lives in Australia, has announced that he won’t return to the Starz series.
– Like season 12, season 25 of The Real World will be based in Las Vegas.
– ABC announced that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will join the judges on Shark Tank for season two, though the entrepreneur is going to have his hands full with that just-reinstated insider trading case.
– And can’t wait to see the holiday episode of Community, which is being Rankin/Bass-ized.
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Tommy Flanagan, Taylor Sheridan, Dayton Callie, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi and Hal Holbrook
The Big Idea: When last we hung out with the SAMCRO gang, Jax’s baby son Abel had been kidnapped by Cameron, the Irish gun runner who thinks Gemma killed his son (and fellow gun runner) Edmond, and Gemma fled town after nasty ATF Agent Stahl set her up to take the blame for Edmond’s murder.
Season three opens just a few days later, and Jax is a drunken mess. BFF Opie and the Sons sober him up by tossing him in the shower (yes … Hunnam … shower scene), and Jax is off fast and furiously to track down Abel.
Gemma, meanwhile, with Tig in tow as her bodyguard, lands home, her original home, where she reunites with her ailing dad Nate (guest star Holbrook), who’s slipping further and further away into his Alzheimer’s disease.
To Watch or Not to Watch: Absolutely. We already knew that the beginning of the season, at least, was going to revolve around the search for Abel, and SOA creator Kurt Sutter is cleverly using that storyline to launch into more of the Sons backstory. Without spoiling too much, the fact that Cameron, the True IRA gun runner, has taken Abel back to Ireland opens the path to new characters (and at least one familiar face from the past) and new revelations about others. Suffice it to say we, and I’m guessing Jax, are going to find out some surprising tidbits about John Teller via this Irish connection.
Family also continues to be one of the show’s strongest themes, not only with Jax and Clay’s temporary truce as they try to bring Jax’s son home, but, most poignantly, with Gemma’s reunion with her dad. Much light is shed on Gemma’s relationship with her late mom, but her interactions with Nate, and a difficult decision that has to be made about his care, put the fierce motorcycle mama in a rare state of vulnerability, and makes for yet another Emmy-worthy performance by Sagal.
Elsewhere in the first four episodes of the season, there are some great moments of comic relief with Tig, Gemma and Tara, as they deal with a situation involving Nate’s home caregiver (Coates, by the way, also deserves some Emmy love as perpetual scene stealer Tig); and, though I feel like TV critics throw the word “shocking” around a little too often, the last few minutes of the season premiere are so (sorry) shocking that I wasn’t even sure what I thought had happened did actually happen until episode two. And that shocking event is going to have huge blowback (one of my favorite phrases that’s oft repeated by Jax and company) for SAMCRO and the entire town of Charming.
TV Screener Tidbit: In episode three, Caregiver (airing on Sept. 21), a guest appearance by Stephen King is every bit as wonderful as you trust Kurt Sutter would make a guest appearance by the likes of King be.
Sons of Anarchy‘s third season premieres Tuesday, September 7, at 10PM ET on FX.
Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred — returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) […]