CBS at TCA: News Nuggets on CBS’s Four New Shows Premiering Fall 2012They may not have a monkey (cough*NBC*cough), but CBS is still #1! The network previewed its four new series for journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. Get some inside scoop on Elementary (Jonny Lee Miller!), Partners (by the writers of Will & Grace!), Vegas (surly cowboy/Sheriff Dennis Quaid!) and Made in Jersey (Bump-its!) By Erin Fox
Nope, this is not the BBC’s incredibly popular TV series Sherlock Holmes adapted for broad CBS audiences. Sorry, guys. This is Elementary, dear audience. This modern-day adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic is brought to you by Rob Doherty, whom CBS president Nina Tassler called a “Holmesian expert.”
Doherty started off with some quick news about casting. He said they officially have a plan for “our Moriarty” and they will be moving closer and closer to meeting Sherlock’s father, who was referenced in the pilot. Though he wants to keep all their juicy character and story points a secret, he did say that Holmes’s father was a shadowy figure and that Moriarty will unfold a bit differently than in the books. Doherty said, “I feel like there’s a little more wiggle room with Moriarty in that, again, in so many of the books, he was such a shadowy figure. I think he was described as the spider at the center of the web of crime in London.… You know, he has a finger in every pie.” But, beyond those tidbits, we’ll just have to be patient and watch the show!
Doherty also said that this version of Sherlock is not just a self-involved sociopath who only cares about being right. Doherty explained, “I absolutely don’t see him as a sociopath. I see him as someone who is driven, again, to solve puzzles, to do the right thing, to help people. I really do think, at the end of the day, he believes in justice. It’s not just about putting bad guys behind bars. Helping people and doing the right thing are factors that play into it as well.”
It may be difficult to not draw comparisons between Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock from the award-winning series from BBC and Miller’s version. But in fact, the ideas behind the show and the scripts themselves are very different. And when asked if the two had spoken to each other about it, Miller said Cumberbatch (best name ever) has been very supportive.
The other thing that will differentiate this version of Sherlock Holmes is that Lucy Liu is playing the normally male character of Watson. And don’t expect a lot of Watson pratfalls or comedy in Elementary. Liu told journalists, “Originally, if you ever have been able to read the actual literature, Watson is actually not really comedic. He’s somebody who is incredibly observant, and all of the stories come out of what he sees and what he experiences, and so it’s a very fresh and wonderful take on who Watson is. Who Watson is now is also somebody who is sort of on the sideline right now, observing him, because she’s his sober companion. So she’s not engaged in the mystery. She’s engaged in him, and from that point on, then you get to see how that sort of blossoms out.”
Elementary premieres on Thursday, September 27, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Partners is about a gay man and his straight business partner who have been best friends for years. Huh, sounds much like Max Mutchnick and David Kohan’s real-life relationship—and that was the point. Famous for their must-see TV hit Will & Grace, the writers have now decided to explore their own relationship in sitcom form.
David Krumholtz (Numb3rs, The Newsroom), who plays the character based on Kohan, told journalists, “Max and David’s dynamic is at times almost vaudevillian in its lunacy. And it’s really funny to observe, and it comes from the deepest love. These two men genuinely love each other and have been through some serious stuff with each other. And so it’s nice to play something that is grounded in a very deep reality.”
Friends since they were 14 years old, the two writers admit that they know each other so well that at some point their partnership started to feel like a marriage.
Kohan explained, “And the question becomes, you know, what constitutes the best partnership? We have a way of communicating and a way of resolving our issues that is sometimes loud but is usually effective. And if you try to bring that dynamic to your partnership at home, it may or may not work the same way. And there’s a built‑in tension there.” Kohan continued saying, “Well, I get this from my, you know, my spouse at work… Why do I not get this from my spouse at home? And that was the dynamic we were interested in exploring.”
Partners premieres on Monday, September 24, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.
From the writer of Goodfellas and Casino (Nick Pileggi!!), Vegas is set in Vegas in the ’60s as control of the bustling casino town is being fought for by organized crime and law enforcement. There is a procedural element that is interwoven with the mob story so we can really see how Vegas came to be the mecca it is today.
The cast is top-notch, including feature film staples Carrie-Anne Moss, Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, and Jason O’Mara. Though Chiklis and O’Mara are also TV drama vets, Quaid hasn’t been on the small screen since his time on Baretta. So what lured him to the small screen? Quaid said the quality of the staff and the characters was pretty powerful. “I came in because a lot of exciting things are happening on television now, I think. A lot of the best writers have come to television.… But, you know, Nick Pileggi and Greg and Jim Mangold and everybody that was in it, it just seemed really authentic and a chance to really play a character and let him unfold over a long period of time,” said Quaid.
The show is based on the real-life Vegas lawman Sheriff Ralph Lamb (who was actually in house at the TCA panel). Though stories were somewhat inspired by his experiences, they did have to take some creative license. Quaid said that his character is a representation of the locals in Vegas who really wanted to keep the town more simple and pure. “I guess Ralph also represents the people who really lived in the area of Las Vegas and had been around for generations. And to have these outside forces coming in vis‑a‑vis the mob, and really kind of coming in, in their minds, to take over in their town, is sort of an invasion. And they just wanted to—Ralph and the locals really—kind of want to keep as much control as they can over their own town,” explained the actor.
The other interesting aspect of the show is that Carrie-Anne Moss’s character is really a woman ahead of her time. She’s a strong personality who is really concerned about keeping Vegas the kind of town that she grew up in as a kid. Moss explained, “I was mostly interested in the fact that she was a woman at this time and she’s not married and she doesn’t have kids, and she’s educated, and she’s smart. And she came from Vegas, and she went away, got educated, and she’s back to preserve this place that she grew up in that she loved, that is filled with nature and is now being corrupted, in her mind, by greed.…”
CBS showed us some of the first pictures of their early Vegas sets and they are quite impressive and accurate replicas of the time period.
Vegas premieres on Tuesday, September 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
MADE IN JERSEY
A true fish-out-of-water story, Made in Jersey is about a Jersey girl, played by Brit Janet Montgomery, who gets a job in a fancy Manhattan law firm despite her rough-around-the-edges upbringing. It’s a law procedural infused with humor and a dose of family drama as well.
Executive producer Kevin Falls and crew are clearly excited about casting Janet Montgomery as their Martina, and Falls told TCA members, “I just wanted to say that I hope this is the last TCA where Janet Montgomery is not a household name.” And in other casting news, Falls revealed that Broadway vet Donna Murphy will become a regular on the show, as will Ringer’s Kris Polaha and House of Lies’ Megalyn Echikunwoke.
Creator Dana Calvo said she was inspired to create a show about New Jersey that fought all the stereotypes from TV and movies and portray a positive viewpoint of her home state. She explained, “We [she and Falls] had both seen The Fighter, the Mark Wahlberg movie. And both of us loved it so much, especially that scene of all the sisters on the couch. They were joking that Amy Adams was putting on airs, and they were introducing themselves to each other like they were the Queen of England… and we just thought, ‘What if one of those gals had the audacity to go beyond what was expected of her?’ And that was really the genesis of the idea of this show.”
Sex and the City and, hey, even Twin Peaks fans will also enjoy seeing Kyle MacLachlan back on TV playing Martina’s mysterious boss Donovan Stark. When asked about his character’s interaction with Martina, McLaughlin smiled and said, “I’m very excited to discover more about Mr. Donovan Stark. He’s a bit of an enigma right now. I think Martina has jarred something loose inside of him—or woken something up inside of him—that has been dormant for a while. And he’s reminded of himself, you know, a good 25 or 30 years ago when he first started.”
So get those bumpits out and watch the premiere of Made in Jersey on Friday, September 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Powered by Facebook Comments