Call the Midwife

Initially Call the Midwife was a memoir written by Jennifer Worth, later it was called Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s. The book was published in 2002 and a few years later when it was reissued it became a best seller. The BBC’s TV show based off of Worth’s book in 2012 only increased the popularity of her memoir. The series premiered for the first time on January 15th, 2012. The second season aired on January 20th, 2013, the third season aired January 19th, 2014, and the last season thus far aired January 18th 2015. Heidi Thomas created the series and it now includes more new historical information which does go beyond the original book. Neal Street Productions is responsible for producing the series, and it is owned by Sam Mendes, Caro Newling, and Pippa Harris.

The series quickly became popular from the very beginning, and in fact it became BBC One’s most successful dramas in over a decade. So far each season has had between 10-11 million UK viewers. The television series Call the Midwife—and the those who participate in the show–have been nominated for a number of awards and won quite a few of them. TV Choice Awards, UK, gave the series an award for Best New Drama, TV and Radio Industries Club Award gave it Drama Programme of the Year, Christopher Award gave Call the Midwife a TV and Cable Prize, and the women Miranda Hart, Philippa Lowthorpe, and Christine Walmesley-Cotham all won awards for their contributions.

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Call the Midwife made its way internationally and on September 30th, 2012, it premiered in the United States on PBS. The series has also been broadcast in many other countries too, including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greece, Spain, and Australia. BBC Worldwide also sold Video on Demand rights to Netflix.

The central character in the series is the Nurse Jenny Lee, played by Jessica Raine. At only 22 she comes to the Nonnatus House in the year 1957, entirely naive to what kind of life she is about to find there. Jenny is surprised to find out she is moving into a convent and not a private hospital as she initially believed. Jenny comes from a completely different world than the East End during the 50s and is met with culture shock, but she learns to adapt to the new environment. Miranda Hart plays Nurse Camilla “Chummy” Browne. Although she comes from a fairly important family Camilla suffers from poor self confidence. Despite this, she is a very kind. Jenny Agutter plays Sister Julienne, who is not only a very experienced midwife but also the sister who is in charge. She is very religious, practical, compassionate, and generally a mediator and diplomat among the others. Pam Ferris plays Sister Evangelina, who is the most familiar with the rough background where the midwives and sisters serve. She is very good at her job and has a good sense of humor. Judy Parfitt plays Sister Monica Joan, one of the first women to become a midwife in Britain. Helen George plays the flirty vivacious Nurse Beatrix “Trixie” Franklin and a friend to Jenny. Bryony Hannah plays Nurse Cynthia Miller, later Sister Mary Cynthia, who is gentle and sensitive. Laura Main plays Sister Bernadette, later Shelagh Turner, who is very well educated and connects well with her peers.

There are a number of other main characters and recurring characters who all have important roles in Call the Midwife. Cliff Parisi plays Frederick ‘Fred’ Buckle, Stephen McGan plays Dr. Patrick Turner, Ben Caplan plays Police Constable Peter Noakes, Victoria Yeates plays Sister Winifred, Emerald Fennel plays Nurse Patsy Mount, Charlotte Ritchie plays Nurse Barbara Gilbert, and Linda Bassett plays Nurse Phyllis Crane.

During the time that Call the Midwife is set there are a lot of babies being born and in the East End, and according to one review the best way to grab an audience’s attention is by depicting a baby in distress of some sort. Although this is sometimes seen as a taboo or cheap way to get viewers many people say that Call the Midwife is a very quality TV program. The series is respectful about the concept of labor and it does not shy away from showing the realities women faced in that time and place. Many struggled to pay for medical aid. Although some viewers say it might be a little slow it is worth watching and many people rave about the acting, which is not so surprising in light of the fact that a couple members of the cast have been given awards.

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On the other hand, some consider the show to cling to predictable characters and stereotypes without getting into the deeper aspects of the midwives, which some viewers find a little bit frustrating. One review even says that Call the Midwife suffers from a lack of ambition in these particular areas. Even so, the characters are often viewed as endearing and provoking.

Rotten Tomatoes gives Call the Midwife an approval rating of 95%, and IMDb gives it an approval rating of 8.4/10 stars, so in general viewers have liked the show reasonably well. Those who like the series call it a cozy Sunday night drama, many calling it addictive and full of heart. Some even say it is of about the same quality as Downton Abbey, functioning as a sufficient replacement. Although not always historically accurate many say that the series is made more for entertainment and it does a good job of just that, causing emotional reactions from many people. There are a lot of people who read the book and discovered that the TV show does not always follow it very closely. For some people the historical inaccuracies (especially for those who lived in the area at the time the show takes place) are inexcusable and have ruined the show, at least for them. There are not too many vocal critics, but one of them says that the show is confusing and contradictory and that the only things ever to be happening are people giving birth, helping others to go through labor, or else dying. In the end however the critics are few and far between.

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What Every Period Drama Series Gets Wrong About Historical Fashion

When any TV show tackles a historical time period, there’s always going to be some allowances made for historical accuracy—whether it’s because of the budget or because the storyline demands it. But there are some particular historical inaccuracies that show up time and time again in historical TV shows, not because they are impossible to do without a high budget, but because the show’s costumes designers don’t do their own research and simply copy what they see on TV before them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common historical fashion mistakes perpetuated by TV period dramas.

French hoods were not headbands

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French hoods were made popular in the late 15th and early 16th century by the French court, who preferred these lighter and more fashion-forward headpieces to the stiffer, larger and more imposing looking English gable hoods. French hoods were made popular in English by Anne Boleyn, who introduced the court to French fashion, and rose and fell out of favor with various English queens after her.

French hoods, naturally, make plenty of appearances in TV shows set in that time period—but they are, almost without exception, always portrayed incorrectly. TV shows and films are guilty of this particular fashion sin: showing women wearing French hoods like headbands, with their natural hair hanging out the back. French hoods, however, were just that: hoods! They included large hoods of fabric in the back which covered the hair; the only part of the hair visible was the front, which was considered somewhat scandalous because English gable hoods were meant to cover every bit of a woman’s hair.

18th century dresses did not lace up in the back

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This particular historical fashion sin tends to crop up in TV shows that get their costumes from warehouses, which often reuse costumes that have been in circulation since the 1980s. In many period shows set in the 18th century, the dresses are shown lacing up or otherwise closing up in the back. This particular myth is so prevalent that it even shows up in films where original costumes are created instead of being rented!

However, 18th century dresses did not close in the back—with the exception of some French court dresses. Instead, they would close in the center front or side front, if the dress had a traditional stomacher. The reason for this was that most gowns were actually made up of several pieces—stomacher, overdress, skirt, petticoat, etc.—which could be interchanged with different pieces to great different outfits.

Codpieces were definitely on display

This particular inaccuracy is more related to modern prudishness than it is budget or laziness. Codpieces, which enjoyed a heyday in the 16th century, were pouches that were attached to men’s trousers which were meant to accentuate, highlight and generally make a show of their private regions. Some historians believe that codpieces may have been developed during outbreaks of venereal disease, since the extra room given by the pouch would allow for medical dressing—but since codpieces appear before and after such outbreaks, this may have just been a happy coincidence for the afflicted men. Codpieces could be simple or elaborate; elite men often had expensive, custom made codpieces which were much more elaborate than the simple cloth pouches worn by the common man.

In short: men wore codpieces. Codpieces were everywhere. Yet period drama TV shows—and films—are very reluctant to actually show them being worn. There are a handful of shows which attempt to include codpieces, such as Wolf Hall, but even then they are much smaller and more subtle than they were in the historical reality.

Chemises were not optional—and they weren’t dresses, either

Women in period drama TV shows are sometimes shown in various stages of undress—and we’re not always talking about the bedroom, but when they’re going out and about their normal day! The undress we are talking about is the lack of a chemise, or a gown worn under dresses to preserve modesty and protect clothing from becoming dirty due to skin contact. Chemises were commonplace for several centuries, and even have a modern form—the slip, though slips are not considered essential today in the way that chemises were in the past. However, show after show—from the Tudors to Outlander to Reign and beyond—show female characters clearly not wearing this important and very much expected item of clothing.

Another “chemise” mistake that pops up time and time again are characters wearing chemises as dresses. Now, there are certain periods of history where chemise-like dresses were worn, such as the (in)famous “chemise a la reine” popularized by Marie Antoinette, and the thin chemise-like dresses popular for a brief period after the French Revolution. But these dresses were often still seen as scandalous. The famous portrait of Marie Antoinette in her ‘chemise a la reine’ dress, which was then referred to as ‘en gaulle,’ had to be taken down from the Paris Salon because people thought the Queen had been painted in her underwear! A second portrait in a court dress was quickly painted and put up, but the damage was done, and Marie Antoinette from then on only wore her chemise dresses at her exclusive, private retreat.

Aside from these brief periods of time where chemise dresses were (scandalously) fashionable, chemises were simply not worn out in public on their own.

It was unusual for women to have their hair down


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For most time periods, it would have been unusual to see a woman going outside with her hair simply hanging down. Hats, hoods, bonnets and other hairpieces were expected for women in most European societies, from the richest queens all the way down to lowly peasant women.

Yet so many period TV shows have no problem with female characters going out and about with their hair on full display! At the very least ,historical women would have put their hair into buns or other simple updos, if they couldn’t afford expensive gables, hoods, or other hairpieces.

 

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There Are Literally 42 New TV Shows Based on Comic Books Coming Out—Here are the Must-See Selections

Comic books are big right now—very, very big. Just how big, you ask? There are 42—yes, count them, 42!—TV shows based on comic books currently in development. And that’s just the titles revealed as of summer 2015! Who knows, there may be even more comic book TV shows waiting in the wings.

The spike in comic book TV shows and movies is not exactly a new trend. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, comic books began to appear on big and little screens in droves; from the Spider-Man films to TV shows like Smallville, Birds of Prey, and multiple Batman animated shows.

But this particular spike in popularity is more dramatic than any comic book trends from the past. One of the reasons for the high number of shows may be due to the fact that TV shows are no longer restricted to actual TV. Shows on streaming services, such as Hulu and Netflix, make it possible for more series to be given the greenlight than when network TV was the only option.

With so many new comic book TV shows on the verge of being released, how do you know which ones to give the time of day? It’s easy: just go for the best! Let’s take a look at some of the must-see selections from the literally dozens of upcoming TV shows based on comics.

Supergirl (CBS)

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CBS might seem like a strange place for a superhero show, but the fact that the show is premiering on CBS may be a sign of the high expectations the network has for it. Supergirl is being helmed by Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, best known for the co-creators of both Arrow and The Flash. The show stars Melissa Benoist, best known for her work in the film Whiplash and on the series Glee, as the titular Supergirl and is expected to premiere in October of 2015. The show’s pilot episode has already leaked and has fairly good reviews, with many critics praising the unique, less formulaic take on a superhero comic book.

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)

Fear the Walking Dead will be based on the concept of The Walking Dead comic book series, although it will not directly adapt the storyline from the original comic books. Instead, Fear the Walking Dead will take place before the walker plague begins, and will focus on a group of characters living in a city when hell—just about literally—breaks loose.

The series will premiere on AMC in August of 2015 and is already receiving mostly favorable reviews from critics, although many critics have pointed out that the show’s slower, more dramatic, less walker-filled storyline may not be appealing to some The Walking Dead fans.


Lucifer (fox)

Lucifer is based on the comic book series published by Vertigo Comics; the show, like the comic book, will focus on Lucifer (yes, that’s “prince of Hell aka Satan” Lucifer) becoming bored of life in Hell and deciding to move to Los Angeles. In the show’s adaptation of the story, Lucifer will become involved with the local police department, helping them solve certain crimes. This aspect of the story was not in the comic books and is a fairly drastic departure, but fans of the show should be pleased that most other details from the comic book series will be kept intact. Lucifer is set to premiere in the fall 2015 season.

Static Shock (N/A)

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Static Shock may be coming back to TV screens soon: the comic book was originally adapted into an animated TV series, which ended a fairly long run in 2010 after moving from Cartoon Network to Disney XD. The first animated series, like the comic book, focuses on a high school student named Virgil Hawkins who finds himself given the ability to control electricity. He gives himself the name Static Shock and begins to fight crime. The first animated series dealt with more real-life issues than the comic, such as suicide, school shootings, racism, and bullying.

No network has picked up Static Shock yet, but a decision on the TV series is expected to come before the end of 2015.

Krypton (SyFy)

Krypton has many fans of Superman buzzing with excitement, and for good reason. The show will be the first series to be set on Krypton, rather than on earth; although the full details have yet to be confirmed, the series is expected to take place well before Krypton is on the verge of destruction, and Kal-El and his family are expected to appear. Some SyFy insiders have suggested that the current plot for the series is similar to Fox’s Gotham—where the primary focus is on a younger Jim Gordon, with Batman (at this point still Bruce Wayne) is a younger, supporting character. In this vein, Kal-El’s parents may be supporting characters to a different Krypton-native’s lead role.

The series does not have a definite premier date yet, but it is expected to begin production in 2016 with a possible air date in 2016 or 2017.

X-Men (Fox)

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The announcement that an X-Men series was in talks has definitely set the internet talking, usually in a good way. Despite all of the internet gossip, however, not much is known yet about the new live action X-Men series which is in the very early stages of concept development. Due to the fact that there are some potential copyright and trademark issues with certain characters, some fans are speculated that the series may either have to write-out certain characters or focus on a different group of X-men than the primary characters featured in almost all films based on the original comic book.

According to insiders, Fox is the network who has secured the rights to a TV series, and they have enlisted multiple writers (including J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who are currently working on the next Star Trek film) to help them create and write the new series.

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The Untold Secrets of Reality TV

It’s not exactly a secret that reality TV isn’t exactly reality—but just how far from real life do these reality TV shows go? Many fans of reality TV shows are willing to admit that any reality show will be a little fake simply due to the nature of filming, but what the producers of these shows don’t want fans to know is just how much editing, tricks, and flat-out lying really goes on behind the scenes of some of the biggest reality TV shows on the air, from Master Chef to Big Brother and even talent competition shows like The Voice and American Idol. If you’re ready to go behind the scenes and possibly burst your bubble, read on to find out some of the biggest untold secrets of modern reality television.

The food on cooking competitions gets cold

 

Cooking competition reality shows would have you believe that the food goes right from the contestant’s pans into the judge’s mouths, but the reality is that most of the food on cooking competitions doesn’t get judged for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. The reason for this is usually practical: it takes time for the production crew to set up the necessary cameras and shots for the judging portion. In cases where the judging is watched by an audience, the production team may need to stop and explain various rules and instructions to the people watching before filming can begin.

There are some cases where the food is eaten fresh off the kitchen—although the regular judging in Master Chef may take place an hour or so later, the pressure tests involving time-sensitive foods (such as eggs or soufflés) is usually done as quickly as possible.

Conversations don’t always happen as they appear

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One of the biggest-used tricks in the reality TV production book is editing multiple conversations and shots together to create one scene. This is often done to fabricate drama, such as fights or other types of tension. The most typical type of editing comes in the form of reaction shots: when someone says or does something and the camera cuts to someone else reacting. This editing is often used in shows like Big Brother, Master Chef, and various VH1 “wives” reality shows to make it look like people overhear things they really didn’t, or to make it seem like they are directly reacting to another person’s behavior.

To use Master Chef as an example, the production team loves to pit contestants against one another and one way they showcase that is through clip editing. One common trick they use is editing clips when contestant 1 gets a favorable review from the judges; the camera will then to contestant 2 rolling their eyes or sighing or looking angry or shocked. However, that shot may have actually been completely unrelated to contestant 1 receiving a favorable review—it could have come from someone telling a corny joke, or even an off-screen production member saying something to them to make them look angry.

The producers have power over the judges

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Competition reality shows would love to have audiences think that the judges have the final say in who goes and who stays—but in almost all reality TV competition shows, it’s the producers (and executive producers) who have the power to keep contestants and to kick them off. Producers will often veto judge’s decisions if they feel that a certain contestant has more marketability, or if they bring something to the show—such as drama or fighting—that might keep it more interesting. Unfortunately, this can mean that contestants who had more talent (whether it’s better cooking or better singing skills) might be cut by the producers because they aren’t deemed interesting enough.

In reality competitions where the fans vote, producers will often use other means to influence who stays and who goes, such as giving people they want to keep “good edits,” while giving the people they want fans to leave “bad edits” or even more difficult competitions. Former contestants on America’s Got Talent have revealed that the producers would sometimes force them to choose new songs to perform the day of competition, or suddenly cut out the feedback from their headpiece during the competition so they couldn’t hear themselves or the music properly.

The timeframe is completely sped up

Shows where homes, businesses or other properties are remodeled or renovated usually trick viewers into thinking that everything is done in a very short timeframe—usually 24 hours, and sometimes evens less! This makes the renovations more exciting since they seem like they’re happening very quickly to the homeowners or business owners. However, in almost all cases, the timeframe for construction is sped up to a ridiculous degree. One reality TV show producer admitted that they would often advertise a room being completely redone in just 24 hours, when in fact it took 2 weeks—and a team of professionals—to complete it.

Sometimes, the show Flat out Lies

People expect some degree of editing and unreality from reality TV shows, but they expect there to be mostly truth in what is shown on TV. Unfortunately, however, reality TV shows can and frequently do outright lie by creating fake storylines, hiring actors, and more.

Take the popular Lifetime show Dance Moms, for example. During one of the earlier seasons, there was a tension-filled storyline where one of the dancers decided she wanted to try out for cheerleading, and ended up having to miss a dance competition because of it. The episode even showed her trying out and making the cheerleading team. Abby Lee Miller subsequently screamed at her and questioned her loyalty to the dance team. The reality, however, was quite different. In real life, the dancer had made the cheerleading squad months before, she didn’t miss a dance competition because of it, and Abby Lee Miller had no problem with her being a cheerleader because the cheerleading practices didn’t conflict with dance practice and competitions. The show’s producers faked the tryouts, the drama, and Abby Lee Miller’s reaction. How is that for reality TV?

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The Best TV Shows Netflix (And Other Streaming Companies) Saved

Netflix has gone from a Blockbuster competitor to a TV show juggernaut its own right. The streaming company has added multiple facets to its service: not only does it stream older movies and TV shows, it airs original programming and in many cases, has actually picked up or “saved” cancelled TV shows by giving them new life.

Netflix and other streaming services are doing this more often than ever before, which has now lead fans of cancelled TV shows now quickly turn to online streaming services to see if any of them will pick up their favorite programs after they’ve been dumped by traditional cable services. In the past, if a show was cancelled, fans had to hope against hope that another network would pick up the show—with Family Guy being one notable example of a cancelled show being revived by a different network, but in the past revived shows were a rare occurrence.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the very best shows that Netflix, or similar streaming services, have saved, much to the delight of fans.

yoda-clone-wars-1024x313Star Wars: The Clone Wars

This series originally aired on Cartoon Network for 5 seasons, and was considered one of the best spin-offs of the Star Wars franchise to ever be created. The show was frequently praised for its animation, its interesting storylines, and the way that it filled in the gaps between the Star Wars prequel films. During its five year run on Cartoon Network, the show won several awards and many nominations for its quality. However, Cartoon Network decided not to renew the show after the fifth season; but Netflix decided to step in and pick up the series. So far, one new season of The Clone Wars has aired on Netflix and fans are praising it for being even more exceptional than the first five seasons due to its slightly more adult content and tone.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Fans of this quirky, hilarious show helmed by Tina Fey may not know that the series was originally intended to air on NBC. In 2013, NBC ordered a 13-episode season in addition to a pilot episode. However, after ordering a season, NBC did nothing with the property and eventually let go of the rights. Netflix quickly stepped in and picked up the rights to the show, airing it exclusively on Netflix as an original series. The show has been a massive success–in addition to a renewal for season 2, it has received multiple awards and nominations.

Degrassi: Next Generation

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Degrassi was a popular Canadian teen drama which has launched careers and been a staple teen drama show since it first began airing in 1979. The show’s updated incarnation, Next Generation, was cancelled after its 14th season and left without a network. Fans of the long-running series were dismayed until Netflix decided to pick up the show. So far, Netflix has aired a 15th season, with a 16th season slated for release in 2016. One of the reasons that Netflix may have picked up the show is its widespread popularity and its very low production costs, making it much easier to turn a profit.

Longmire

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AMC’s Longmire debuted on AMC to the highest ratings for any debut on that network, making it one of the hottest shows on AMC in decades. Although the show kept up fairly decent ratings throughout its original three-season run, the ratings by the third season of the show had dipped low enough for AMC’s executives to decide not to renew Longmire for a fourth season. Fans of the hit series were dismayed and petitioned various cable networks to pick up the show, to no avail. It was Netflix who decided to step in and pick up the show for at least one season, which has satisfied fans who will be happy to resolve the very intense cliffhanger that ended the season 3 finale.

Community

Community, which originally aired on NBC, was a critically praised and beloved comedy which fans loved for its quirky sense of humor and down to earth cast. But after four reasons, NBC decided to cut ties with the comedy series, citing low ratings and a general lack of interest in the series. This time, it wasn’t Netflix who swooped in to the rescue, but Yahoo! The online media company has made its first steps into original content recently, and by picking up the rights to Community they have picked up a property with a built-in fan base. The fifth season of Community aired on Yahoo’s streaming network, Yahoo Screen, to generally favorable reviews from critics and fans alike.

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project originally aired on Fox but was cut loose from the network who felt that its ratings never reached a high enough number, despite the online popularity of the show and its relatively large and loyal fan base. It was Hulu who stepped in to pick up The Mindy Project; the service has secured at least one more serious of this well-loved show, with the potential for further season orders depending on how well The Mindy Project does on the streaming service.

Ripper Street

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This BBC original series was cancelled after one season on the BBC, namely due to low ratings which may have been related to the show’s grisly subject matter. This was all despite very positive critical reviews of the show, which was described by TV critics as thrilling, intense and one of the best historical crime shows on modern TV. After the BBC decided not to renew the show, Amazon (more particularly, the British division of Amazon’s video service) decided to pick up the show for a second season. The second season did very well on Amazon which made the BBC decide to re-order the show for a third season and worked out a deal with Amazon: now the episodes of the show will air on the BBC first, before being moved to Amazon’s video service exclusively.

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Smash, Galavant, and Why Musical TV Shows Struggle

Even diehard fans of the short, quirky and definitely strange ABC series Galavant were shocked when the networked announced that they had renewed the show for a second season. The first season of Galavant did not do very well in live ratings, even with the allowance given for the fact that Galavant was intended as a filler show during the winter TV break. Galavant was also positively reviewed by most critics, who found its irreverence and lightness a refreshing change in the TV fantasy genre.

Although Galavant didn’t break any records for ratings, it developed a significant online following of fans who appreciated its odd sense of humor, silliness and—above all—its music. Because Galavant, in case you weren’t subjected to the ear-worm commercials promoting the show, is a musical television show.

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And it is Galavant’s status as a musical TV show which had many critics and TV viewers pegging it as a goner before a single episode had even aired. Why? Because musical TV shows almost always been the underdog, with exceptions made for TV shows aimed at younger children and the occasional rare breakout show like Glee. Most of the time, however, when the show is intended for an older demographic—which Galavant, with its Robin Hood: Men in Tights style comedy, definitely was—musicals just do not fare well on television.

Galavant was not the first musical TV show to get the greenlight. Musical TV shows have a long, on-again-off-again relationship with cable TV. More recently, however, the relationship is definitely “off again.” Sometimes musical shows manage to make it past one season, such as NBC’s Smash, which made it through two seasons before being cancelled due to struggling ratings and a relatively poor critical reception. Most of the criticism levied against Smash lied in the writer’s strange decision to veer into soap opera territory with murder attempts, over the top fighting, and a general lack of realism; this was all despite NBC promoting the show as a behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to create and star in a Broadway show.

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Some of the most intense criticism came from the writer’s decision to pit two characters, both aspiring actresses—one played by country singer Katherine McPhee and the other Broadway star Megan Hilty—against each other, with McPhee’s character often coming out on top as the “better” actress and singer. Broadway fans were keen to point out why Megan Hilty’s character was obviously a much stronger and solid choice for the lead role, even though McPhee’s character was eventually cast above her.

Although Smash was not exactly a favorite among critics, it did make it through two whole seasons, which is something that some musical shows cannot claim. There are several instances of musical TV shows being so poorly received that they were cancelled before a single season, or even half a season, aired! Viva Laughlin, a musical comedy about a businessman who finds himself under criminal investigation while trying to open a struggling casino, lasted only two episodes before CBS decided to pull the plug. The show was criticized for using contemporary music rather than original songs, and for having musical numbers in scenes that didn’t quite make sense.

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But musical TV—animated shows aside—has not always been so poorly received. Some of the first forays into musical TV include shows like The Monkees, the Partridge Family, and Fame which were all considered hits during their time. The Monkees and the Partridge Family were so popular that both fictional ‘bands’ in the show actually went out on tours, and their merchandise is still coveted by international TV fans around the world. Fame was much closer to a traditional musical than The Monkees or The Partridge Family, and it ran for a whopping six seasons. Fame also received fairly high ratings even during its later seasons, which would be a feat for any show, much less a musical one!

So—what changed? Why are TV viewers no longer receptive to musical TV shows as they once were?

The answer may lie in the shifting nature of cable television. In the past, musical TV shows were somewhat common. In addition to shows like The Partridge Family and Fame, annual musical productions (often aired live) were the status quo among home TV viewers. If new productions weren’t being aired, then re-airings were put in their place, creating a tradition that kept musicals in the minds of TV viewers. Both musical TV shows like Fame and the Partridge Family and musical specials such as Cinderella and Peter Pan just as much a part of the television landscape as non-musical shows

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This, however, began to change in the 1980s. The trend for airing annual musical TV productions, and gradually even the idea of a regular musical TV show itself, began to decline. From the mid-1990s to very recently, TV musical shows were simply not common outside of children’s animated shows and the occasional “very special musical episode,” such as the ‘Once More, With Feeling’ musical episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.

But the pendulum may be swinging in favor of musical specials and musical TV shows once again. Thanks to the popularity of newest live musical specials, such as NBC’s The Sound of Music Live and NBC’s Peter Pan Live, musical TV shows may be able to make a comeback. The upcoming production of The Wiz on NBC is already generating lots of hype due to its professional cast and unique source material, and its likely success may help boost the popularity of musicals on TVs even further. And it is that success that could potentially affect Galavant, and any future musical shows like it, as cable TV continues to develop.

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Galavant may not be renewed for a third season—its second season may not even manage to be the quirky critical darling that the first season was. But the fact that Galavant was given a chance at a second season at all is amazing enough and more than many musical fans have learned to hope for from TV networks.

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Secrets Behind “My Kitchen Rules” the Producers Don’t Want You to Know

My Kitchen Rules is a cooking competition show which began airing in Australia in 2010; the series is a spin-off of the popular show My Restaurant Rules, which was produced by the Seven Network.

The premise of the current show, which underwent some format changes after its first season, is as follows:

Each episode features at least two teams who have to set up an “instant restaurant” in their home. This includes preparing a three-course restaurant meal for a panel of judges, which has to be completed in three hours or under, but also transforming the dining area of the home into a nicely decorated restaurant for the panel. As the season goes on, the teams who come out on top are eventually put into semi-final and final rounds to compete for the top prize. The judging panel, like the judges for similar cooking competitions, is made up of celebrity judges such as Pete Evans and Manu Felidel. Other food celebrity judges are often brought in as guests, especially during special instant elimination challenges.

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But like any reality TV show, there is more to My Kitchen Rules than meets the eye. All reality TV shows use tricks such as editing, staging and sometimes flat-out deception to create the perfectly marketable reality TV show episode; the secrets behind My Kitchen Rules may make you look at the show with a more critical eye the next time it shows up on your TV screen.

The producers sent the contestants to cooking school before the show

The show would like to have you believe that the home cooks are judged on their actual cooking skills, but some former contestants on the show have revealed that they were sent to a cooking school for a short but intense training program that would boost their knowledge and give them a much better chance of cooking something high-end. Sometimes the contestants are shown dashing through recipe books to give the impression that they don’t have much time to prepare, but in reality the show wants to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.

They don’t always cooking at their own kitchens

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The primary gimmick behind the show is that contestants cooking for the judges out of their own kitchens and transform part of their home into a nice dining space. However, former contestants have revealed that “my” kitchen isn’t always the truth: in many cases, they are actually cooking in the homes of friends, family members or even neighbors. The reason for this is that the My Kitchen Rules producers have strict criteria regarding the home kitchens, which among other things require them to be big and spacious enough for the camera crew to fit comfortably in. If their kitchens aren’t big enough, the teams have to find their own kitchen space that meets the producer’s requirements.

The show provides contestant’s wardrobes

Although the idea behind the show is to showcase real-life home cooks, their real-life houses and real-life personalities, the show doesn’t always approve of how the contestants dress in real life. Instead of allowing them to wear their own clothing, the show’s wardrobe department provides them with everything they wear—including the clothes that are supposedly from their own closet! Some former contents have complained that the show dressed them in unflattering clothes to make them appear frumpy or unappealing, in order to make them less sympathetic to audiences; while other contestants have admitted that their style on the show was nothing like their style on real life, such as one female contestants who says the show wanted her to wear lots of dresses and bright colors when she preferred to wear muted tones and pants.

 Drama and storylines are invented by the producers

The contestants on My Kitchen Rules sometimes get into feuds which may last as long as the entire season, culminating in a dramatic and tension-filled finale; contestants may also have their own personal storylines, often involving their home lives or personal relationships. However, most of the tension, drama, and storylines area actually invented by the show’s producers in order to make the show more exciting and drum up better ratings. Some of the show’s most notorious “feuds” have been completely faked, according to some contestants, who were told that they needed to act mean to each other for the cameras. One contestant admitted that the producers asked her to pretend like she had relationship trouble that inspired her to learn how to cook, and kept this fake storyline going for the entire time she was on the show.

The producers sometimes pick out the menu

Although the premise behind My Kitchen Rules is that the contests pick out a theme and menu for what they are going to cook for the judges, the producers of the show have been known to pick out menus and themes for the contestants themselves. According to one former contestant, the producers strongly encouraged him to try cooking his menu using a technique he hadn’t done before—the end result was a disaster, but it made for great ratings since the show could then ramp up the tension by highlighting their kitchen disaster and subsequent elimination from the show.

The food isn’t eaten right away

This is status quo for most cooking competition shows, but fans of these cooking shows often don’t realize that the food they see being judged may have been cooked anywhere from 30 minutes to hours before! In My Kitchen Rules, like similar cooking competition reality shows, the production team requires some set-up time before they can set up the shot for the judging process. This means that the cooked food must sit and wait for the production to be ready, which depending on the location and the episode, could take up to several hours. The judges on the show are instructed to pretend like the food is fresh and hot in order to keep up the illusion that it is being eaten right away.

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Bob’s Burgers

Loren Bouchard created Bob’s Burgers for Fox. The American animated sitcom debuted January 9th, 2011, and since then there have been five seasons and 88 episodes. The series began developing at Fox on August 6th, 2009, and in December of that year Fox ordered a 13 episode first season. Wilo Productions and Buck & Millie Productions replaced Bento Box Entertainment after the first season. 20th Century Fox Television and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are responsible for producing and distributing the series. Jim Dauterive is the executive producer of Bob’s Burgers and he also worked on King of the Hill for a long time. In a way Bob’s Burgers is meant to be the successor of King of the Hill, but with more focus on shock humor and workplace comedy. In September of 2014 Dynamite Entertainment published a comic book series based on the show and September 25th, 2015 marks the release for a soundtrack album. On January 8th, 2015, Fox renewed the series for a sixth season which is scheduled to start on September 27th, 2015.

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“Human Flesh” was the series premiere of Bob’s Burgers and it bought in 9.38 million viewers, which is quite a number for the first episode. In fact, “Human Flesh” was the highest-rated series premiere of the season and it ranked 9th in the ratings that week. On June 23rd, 2013, reruns began airing in syndication on Adult Swim and Cartoon Network. TV Guide ranked Bob’s Burgers as one of the top 60 Greatest TV Cartoons of all Times in 2013. The series has been nominated for many awards including Best Animated Series, Choice TV: Animated Show, and the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program, which it also won.

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Jay Howell’s art was featured in the proof of concept for Fox Broadcasting Company. The proof of concept was to give the company some idea of what the series would be like before they agreed to purchase it. Although the proof of concept eventually evolved into the pilot episode, there were a few changes made. In the proof of concept the animation was cruder, their noses were longer, the eldest child was a boy named Daniel, instead of a T-shirt Bob wore a tank top, and there was extra dialog.

Bob’s Burgers is about Bob and Linda Belcher and their children, Tina, Gene, and Louise. Bob’s Burgers is the name of the family-run hamburger restaurant which is located on Ocean Avenue in a community that is not openly named. The restaurant is part of a two-floor building and the Belchers live in the apartment above the restaurant. To one side of the Bob’s Burgers is a funeral home and on the opposite side there is a building housing tenants. The family business is always struggling to make ends meet and most of their customers come from those who are visiting Wonder Warf, an amusement park, at the end of Ocean Avenue on a pier. Calvin Fischoeder owns the amusement park as well as the Belcher’s home and restaurant and many other buildings throughout the town. He is obviously very wealthy and also happens to be eccentric.

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The writing staff informally call the community where Bob’s Burgers is stationed “Seymour’s Bay.” In 2012 Loren Bouchard said that the town was located somewhere in the Northeastern United States. Later on entertainment writers hinted that the town may be located in New Jersey due to a particular episode in season three called “It Snakes a Village.”
One of the biggest reasons Bob’s Burgers is struggling are the other restaurants it must compete with. Jimmy Pestos Pizzeria is Bob’s Burgers biggest competitor and Bob is not at all fond of the owner. Aside from that, bad luck seems to run amock for Bob’s Burgers but Mort and Teddy are two loyal customers the business can always depend on.

Several Fatburger locations across the United States temporarily re-named their restaurants Bob’s Burgers as a promotion. They featured limited-time offers like the “Thanks a Bunch Burger” and “Bob’s Burger” coupons. The locations for the switch included the states Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, and California. One of the restaurants in California kept the name into 2012. There have also been a number of crossovers between Bob’s Burgers and other similar TV shows, such as Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, and Archer.

There are five main cast members in Bob’s Burgers who play the voices of the animated characters: H. Jon Benjamin as Bob Belcher, John Robets as Linda Belcher, Dan Mintz as Tina Belcher, Eugene Mirman as Gene Belcher, and Kristen Schaal as Louise Belcher.

There are many critical reviews online suggesting that Bob’s Burgers is the funniest show on television. Although a lot of people were slightly skeptical when Bob’s Burgers first aired many people have quickly warmed up to it. Now that everyone has had a chance to see what it is all about it has garnered a lot of enthusiastic responses. Although Bob’s Burgers is like a few other TV shows out there that offer similar humor and storytelling, it is different enough to stand on its own.

TV.com gives Bob’s Burgers 7.5/10 stars and IMDb gives it 8.1/10 stars. Fans stand by the TV show and will defend its value, some even saying it is better than its rivals like Family Guy and The Simpsons, as it is more fresh and subtle. Primarily its fans love the humor of Bob’s Burgers, saying that it is top-notch funny. Those who like the show say that the series is refreshing and original, a nice change of pace, and even the best show on Fox.

Those who did not like the series say that it is primarily filler and lacks very much real substance. There are also people who like Family Guy and The Simpsons but Bob’s Burgers does not strike them as funny in quite the same way, saying the jokes might have been good if done right, but they simply fell flat. Many say that the series is not original but recycled. For those who do not appreciate the crude humor in programs like Family Guy and American Dad, the series probably won’t be appealing, but many who like similar shows have found Bob’s Burgers to be quite amusing.

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What We Know About Once Upon a Time Season 5 (So Far)

The fourth season of Once Upon a Time was received with mixed reviews from fans; while many fans praised the first story arc of the season (Frozen-palooza!) the second story arc, which featured a trio of Disney villains working for Rumpelstiltskin, was less positively received. The fifth season of the show, on the other hand, has already been receiving plenty of hype from fans who can’t wait to see where the show goes from here.

At the end of the season 4 finale, Emma transferred the dark magic of the Dark One into herself in order to save Regina and the people of Storybrooke. We didn’t get to see what happened to Emma at the end of the season 4 finale, but spoilers and reveals for season 5 have given fans a lot to think about. The following is what we know about season 5 of Once Upon a Time so far.

“Dark One” Emma won’t be a carbon copy of Rumpelstiltskin

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While fans had a blast playing with the idea that Emma would suddenly be mimicking Rumpelstiltskin, the executive producer of the show revealed that the way the “Dark One” manifests is different in each person. It depends on who they are—or were—and their own personal sense of dark, light, love and hate. As the Savior, the way that the Dark One’s powers will manifest in Emma will likely be radically different than they were in Rumpelstiltskin, an ordinary and cowardly person. One thing is for sure: she won’t be wearing Emma’s standard wardrobe anymore! Jennifer Morrison revealed that “Dark” Emma will have more elaborate costumes.

We’ll be seeing some new (and possibly some old) characters

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One of the staples of Once Upon a Time are the additions to its cast of characters. In season 4, viewers were treated to characters from Frozen, as well as more developed versions of three Disney villainesses. In season 5, the new characters will include Merida from Brave, as well as Merlin, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, who live in Camelot. The show has hinted that Lancelot may be returning as well–although since he was killed in the show’s second season, his role is still unclear.

The exact nature of these characters is still unknown. However, the show’s writers have revealed two things: one, that Merida will be involved in the Camelot timeline; and two, that Prince Charming has a connection to Camelot through the Round Table. Perhaps he was once a knight?

Some characters are moving up–and some are moving down

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While exact details have yet to be revealed, the moving up and down of certain actor’s status in the show may give some hints as to their character’s roles in season 5. Michael Socha, who plays Will Scarlet, has been reduced from a series regular to a recurring cast member. While both Sean Maguire and Rebeca Mader–Robin Hood and Zelena, respectively–have been bumped up to series regulars!

 

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What We Know About Fox’s GREASE LIVE! So Far

The immense success of NBC’s live musical airing of The Sound of Music in 2013 has led to a revolution—or should we say “re-“-revolution—in television: networks are once again choosing to air live musicals in the hopes of grabbing great ratings and reviews. The trend is not new—live musicals were considered status quo holiday viewing for decades—but it had been many years since a major network outside of public broadcasting aired such an event.

NBC is continuing the trend of live musicals with a new version of The Wiz, expected to air this December; but NBC isn’t the only network jumping on the live musical train. Fox announced earlier this year that they would be airing GREASE! LIVE, a live version of the popular musical Grease. Fans of the show—and musical theater—are already buzzing about the upcoming special, which is expected to air in late 2015.  The following is what we know about Grease! Live so far.

The Cast

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The cast for some of the major roles in Grease! Live have finally been fully announced. The cast includes Julianne Hough as Sandy; Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko; Vanessa Hudgenson as Betty Rizzo; Keke Palmer as Marty Marashino; and Carlos PenaVega as Kenickie.

Most of the cast, with the exception of Julianne Hough and Carlos PenaVega has previous Broadway and professional live theater experience, which has been warmly received by fans of the original musical and its famous movie adaptation.

It will probably be based on the musical, not the film

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Fans of the original film would likely be surprised if they saw a production of the original Broadway version of Grease! Primarily because many of Grease’s most iconic songs and moments were written exclusively for the film. So far, Fox has not confirmed or denied just what version of the show Grease! Live will be based on—productions after the success of the film, most notably the most recent Broadway revival, incorporated many of the film’s changes in order to appeal to movie fans. However, the version that is available for licensing is the original Broadway production.

Here are some notable differences between the original musical (not the revival) and the film:

  • In the musical, Sandy is called Sandy Dumbrowski instead of Sandy Olssen, and she isn’t from Australia; Danny Zuko’s gang is called the Burger Palace Boys instead of the T-Birds.
  • One of the film’s most iconic moments is the dance scene, where Danny ends up abandoning Sandy for Cha-Cha during the dance competition. In the musical, however, Sandy and Danny fight before the dance–and she stays home, while Danny enters the competition with Rizzo instead.
  • There are many more songs in the original musical, most of which didn’t make the cut of the film. It’s Raining on Prom Night, Freddy My Love, Those Magic Changes, Alone at a Drive-In Movie, and Alma Mater are some of the most notable cuts.
  • Some songs were created just for the film, including Hopelessly Devoted to You; Sandy; You’re the One that I Want.
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