Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

The Roundup: Goodbye "30 Rock," it's been fun

This Thursday marks the series finale of NBC's "30 Rock"

TV viewers who appreciate quality will bid farewell to NBC's "30 Rock" this Thursday night, with an hour-long series finale. The critically acclaimed series never ranked above #69 in its 7 seasons despite an impressive cavalcade of guest stars that included everyone from Matt Damon to Al Gore to Jennifer Anniston. "30 Rock" always looked different, not only because of it's always-excellent cinematography but because it was one of very few sitcoms filmed in New York City, a refreshing break from LA sound stages and predictable locations (the beach, The Grove, Disneyland, etc.). "30 Rock" was probably the most meta series out there that wasn't on the G4 network, dropping deep pop culture, technology, business, and political references left and right in frenetic walk-and-talk exchanges between any combination of the series' characters. The show heralded Alec Baldwin's arrival as a comedic actor (people are forgetting his turn in films like Beetlejuice, etc.), and cemented Tina Fey's status as the premiere comedy visionary who happened to be female, at least until Lena Dunham came along. Sometimes too frenetic, almost always over-scored (the series composer happens to be married to Fey), the show has been fearless, criticizing the various owners of NBC over the years as well as performing episodes live (repeatedly for both East and West coast time zones). It's been a fun ride, ridiculously underappreciated by an American public who chose to watch God-knows-what on Thursday nights - farewell!


The Roundup: FX premieres 'Legit,' 'Archer' and 'Totally Biased' Thursday night

"Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" is part of FX's big night of comedy premieres.

Tonight is a big night for FX with the return of "Archer" (10pm), the series premiere of "Legit" (10:30pm), and the return of "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (11pm). We spoke with Bell last December for an interview on here KPCC (for the full audio, listen to this podcast) where he revealed that more comedians will be participating in innovative segments on the show, so tune in.

It will be interesting to see how people will receive "Legit," another FX series originated, written-by, and starring a comedian, this time Jim Jeffries. "Legit" is no "Louie" and Jeffries level of involvement of the show doesn't extend to casting, directing, editing, and writing the music, a burden that Louis C.K. shoulders for his show, but Jeffries does a lot. While it could be pointed out that tonight's premiere episode is the adaptation, almost to the last detail, of a closing bit from his HBO special, "I Swear To God," what was most apparent to me was how Jeffries' raw and raunchy style has been toned-down and is verging on sweet - and it works! Another significant difference between "Louie" and "Legit" is that "Legit" has supporting characters who are given the chance to develop at least as much as Jeffries as the episodes go on. DJ Qualls and Dan Bakkedahl play brothers who have the misfortune/fortune of being friends with Jeffries who, while unscrupulous, does what he can to make his friends happy. Their relationship with Jeffries is what the show is all about (at least in the 3 episodes I have seen) and what gives the show its chance to win over an audience.


The Roundup: Mid-Season TV shifts into top gear this week, Kimmel moves to 11:35pm tonight

Tonight "Jimmy Kimmel Live" will move to 11:35pm tonight, going up against Jay Leno, David Letterman, and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"

It seems like the dust has only recently settled from the debacle of Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show" implosion and move to TBS but a new skirmish begins this week as ABC moves "Jimmy Kimmel Live" from 12am to 11:35pm. Twenty-five minutes doesn't seem like a lot but the late night audience stratification has always seemed like a delicate arrangement and to put Kimmel in direct competition with Jay Leno and Kimmel's idol, David Letterman, is provocative. It will be interesting to see if Kimmel's format changes, including his announced-sponsor segment at the opening of the show, among other mechanics. Kimmel has lined up a number of A-listers for his premiere week, including Jennifer Aniston, No Doubt, Ryan Gosling, Dr. Oz, Sofia Vergara, and Bruno Mars with Letterman and Leno responding with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ryan Seacrest, Michael J. Fox, Ben Affleck, and Kristin Bell.


The Roundup: Will Ferrell returns to "SNL" this Saturday, IFC launches web series


Part 2 of Fox's "Fringe" season finale airs this Friday at 9pm

DVR This! After last weekend's very mediocre "Saturday Night Live" (highlights were the "50 Shades of Gray" commercial and the Scandinavian "Chelsea Lately" spoof) the show returns to its origins with a visit by Will Ferrell. | Earlier on Saturday, FX will be broadcasting Louis C.K.s self-produced/self-released special for those of you too cheap to cough up the $5 to get it online. | IFC is building up to its June 8th launch of "Comedy Bang Bang" by releasing the first episode of its web series, "Reggie Makes Music," starring Reggie Watts and featuring Jon Hamm. See the embed below. Want more Reggie? Look for him to close out Wednesday's "Conan." | Shame on Viacom for pulling the various clips on YouTube and elsewhere of unaired footage of the Beastie Boys appearing on "Chappelle's Show." If there was a time to not act like a horrific corporate entity, it was now. If the company didn't want the clip on YouTube, then put it somewhere else, such as Comedy Central's website. Pathetic.


The Roundup: The week's TV picks, podcast connections, and more

Nurse Jackie


Here's the news, "Nurse Jackie" isn't funny, it has funny moments, but it's a drama, take note TV Academy. [Photo courtesy Showtime]

If you have been watching Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" this season you will know that the show has gone to a very dark place and any humor that occurs is meant to highlight the drama. That's because "Nurse Jackie" is, and has always been, a 1/2 hour drama despite the TV Academy's insistence on nominating and awarding Edie Falco with Emmys for "Best Actress in a Comedy," something that should not happen this year if the Academy wishes to preserve what little credibiity it may have left. Delving deep into a battle with addiction and the collapse of her family, moments of levity are few and far between. On the flip side, Louis C.K. won resoundingly this weekend at the 2nd annual Comedy Awards in New York City (look for our report on the event here tomorrow) and we had better see similar honors bestowed upon FX's "Louie" this Fall, an innovative comedy show that delves into drama.