LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - TLC is facing growing criticism over the decision to air "My Husband's Not Gay," a one-hour special slated to air on Jan. 11, which follows a group of Mormon men who, according to the network's description, "are happily married and attracted to their wives, but they are also attracted to other men. They refer to it as Same Sex Attraction... not gay, SSA."
A Change.org petition protesting the special has amassed over 71,000 signatures urging TLC to cancel the broadcast. Josh Sanders, a gay Christian man, began the petition because he believes the show "promotes the false and dangerous idea that gay people can and should choose to be straight in order to be part of their faith communities... The men featured in this show deserve to be shown compassion and acceptance. Perhaps even more importantly, TV viewers need to know the horrific consequences of trying to change who you are. Instead, TLC is presenting victims' lives as entertainment, while sending the message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed, or that you should reject your sexual orientation by marrying someone of the opposite sex. This message is harmful to both LGBT people and communities of faith, and I call upon TLC to stop spreading such dangerous misinformation by cancelling 'My Husband's Not Gay' immediately."
GLAAD has also condemned the special. "This show is downright irresponsible," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. "No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm's way."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Just days before its season-four premiere, HBO has announced that "Girls" has been renewed for a fifth season.
The network's programming president, Michael Lombardo, unveiled the news Monday night at the New York City premiere and screening for the upcoming season, which debuts Jan. 11.
"Girls" is nominated for best comedy series at the 2015 Golden Globes, which fall on the same day that season four begins.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - HBO and IMAX have struck a deal to make "Game of Thrones" the first TV series to grace the theatrical distributors' big screens.
An exclusive season 5 trailer, as well as the final two episodes of the fourth season, will get an unprecedented run Jan. 23-29 at 150 theaters in top markets across the U.S.
While the visual spectacle of the HBO hit makes it a natural for the big-screen treatment, "Thrones" will be digitally remastered to fit the IMAX format.
Brian LowryLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Marvel's synergistic efforts remain one of its assets, but transforming a supporting player in "Captain America," played by Hayley Atwell, into the star of a limited ABC series was inordinately opportunistic even by its standards, and as it turns out, a pretty smart bet. That's because the combination of the British actress and post-World War II setting make the Marvel-branded vehicle, "Agent Carter," considerable fun, and in some ways more promising than the series it's replacing, the uneven "Agents of SHIELD." While there's no assurance this spinoff will have legs, the opening salvo is worthy of a hearty "Hail, 'Carter.'"
Shrewdly using a clip from "Captain America" to intro the show (a cheap way, if you think about it, to get Chris Evans into your series), the program picks up in 1946, with Atwell's Peggy Carter working as a spy for a covert agency, albeit one in which the male-dominated hierarchy doesn't take her seriously.
"I didn't know our government had such good taste in secretaries," a suspect sneers, while her boss ("Boardwalk Empire's" Shea Whigham) tells Peggy to step outside so she won't have to sully her delicate eyes by seeing a colleague employ what might be euphemistically described as enhanced interrogation methods.
Brian LowryLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - At this point, a new season of "Downton Abbey" is much like a visit from old friends. Sure, the stories are familiar -- perhaps even just variations on what you've heard before -- but it's more about sharing their company and the feelings they rekindle. So after some awkward aspects to season four, the new year returns exploring many of the same issues while adding wrinkles to old ones, as Julian Fellowes continues to masterfully juggle a vast assortment of players upstairs and downstairs. Modernity is the overarching theme, but that won't prevent admirers from dutifully returning to savor "Downton's" Old World charms.
In some respects, the latest episodic flight (all but the Christmas episode were made available) feels less like Season 5 than Season 4, Part B, what with so much unfinished business to transact. That's not a serious knock on the show, necessarily, although the latest storyline doesn't contain the sort of signature events that have dictated the course for past runs.
It's 1924, meaning roughly a dozen years have passed since the narrative officially began, with the devastation of World War I in the middle.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Picking the worst moments from a TV year overflowing with them - an inevitable byproduct of having so much stuff from which to choose - is the journalistic equivalent of playing a no-win game of Whac-a-Mole.
So consider the following list of "worsts" culled from 2014 - including events related to television, as well as on-air missteps - a mere snapshot of some of the places where TV went wrong, with the disclaimer that a good show isn't immune from being singled out when it experiences a particularly weak moment.
As for the worst individual programs, only a few merit a spot on this roster, in part because amid a fall of mostly poor new comedies, it seems unfair to single out one or two of them. (OK, fine, "Bad Judge" and "Mulaney.")
Brian Lowery, Variety.com
Critics should avoid bringing too many expectations to projects, trying to view each with a fresh set of eyes. But inevitably, returning programs, the occasional new show and even entire networks/services foster certain preconceived notions, based on what’s come before, the premise or the creative auspices.
From that perspective, 2014 produced a number of pleasant surprises, in part from existing programs that received a creative makeover, as well as projects or providers that proved more appealing than anticipated. (The following is in alphabetical order, and as always, beware of spoilers.)
Almost Royal. BBC America’s unscripted spoof — about two sprightly youths, several dozen places down on the list of succession to the British throne, visiting unsuspecting Americans — looked like just another “Borat” knockoff. But it turned out to be great fun, thanks in large part to the heroics of Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart in those roles.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The troublemaking Gallagher clan returns to Showtime on January 11, and after a particularly dark fourth season -- which found Fiona in jail and Frank dying of liver failure -- the series' stars say things are looking up this time around.
"Things have to get better for Fiona," says Emmy Rossum, "because they got really rough last year for her with jail and drugs. She's going to be a little more introspective, and a little slower to throw the first punch."
Her ever-dramatic love life, too, is going to get a bit more complicated: She'll experience rejection for the first time.