After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.

But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]

After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.

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I know already I’ve gone on and on about how excited I am by HBO’s adaptation of Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections, but considering the talent signed on — Noah Baumbach, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest — can you blame me? Today the good news continues with the report that Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rhys Ifans could be up for parts in the series as well. More details after the jump.

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‘The Muppets’ – What Did You Think?

After a long promotional runup that included a never-ending string of parody trailers, photo shoots and gleeful audio experiments, The Muppets is finally in theaters. Jason Segel‘s loving ode to Jim Henson‘s puppet troupe combines some winking modern showmanship with a whole lot of love for the Muppets and what they have always represented in pop culture. Because the Muppets mean a lot to many of our readers, it is possible that the film has a difficult standard to live up to.

So the question is: did director James Bobin, co-writers Segel and Nicholas Stoller, songwriter Bret McKenzie, co-stars Amy Adams, Jack Black, Chris Cooper and all the Muppet puppeteers manage to craft a modern Muppet vision that jibes with the classic image of the characters? Tell us what you thought in the comments after the jump. As always, spoilers are fully cleared to go in this discussion. Read More »

Hollywood’s had a long history with botched adaptations of beloved novels, but from here it looks like fans of Jonathan Franzen‘s acclaimed book The Corrections have nothing to worry about. After years of attempting to bring the story to the big screen, producer Scott Rudin eventually turned to HBO — and things have been shaping up nicely from there.

The Squid and the Whale writer-director Noah Baumbach signed on to helm and (with Franzen) pen the drama pilot earlier this fall, while Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest joined the project several weeks later. Now Ewan McGregor has boarded the series as well, in the role of Cooper and Wiest’s screwup middle child. More details after the jump.

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‘The Muppets’ Review: Reunited, and It Feels So Good

For those who came of age any time between the ’50s and the ’90s, the Crayola-colored felt faces of the Muppets hold a certain unshakeable allure. Kermit’s familiar green visage is a face I grew up with, and I still have a knee-jerk tendency to break out in a smile whenever I see him or his pals. While the Muppets have never entirely left the public consciousness, they’re hardly the ubiquitous powerhouse they once were. This year’s The Muppets marks the first real introduction for a whole generation of kids who were born too late to remember 1999′s Muppets in Space, let alone 1979′s The Muppet Movie.

So if The Muppets coasts just a tiny bit on the goodwill that people like me still reserve for them, I’m pleased to say it’s still a solid enough film to appeal to the uninitiated while also pleasing old(er) fogies who recall them fondly from past decades. Which, not coincidentally, is also the characters’ goal within the storyline itself.

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The Muppets Tackle Bollywood in One Last(?) Parody Trailer

We thought we’d seen the last of The Muppets parody trailers with that one parody trailer that parodied the Muppets’ own parody trailers (so meta!), but our fuzzy friends are apparently having some trouble breaking their addiction. So Kermit and company are back for one more round, with Bollywood as the latest target of their gentle ribbing. There isn’t much about this trailer that’s really new, but in typical Muppets fashion it’s adorable, self-aware, and above all, fun. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Below you’ll find a minute of the opening of Disney’s The Muppets, whcih hits screens on November 23. The scene is a fun little song and dance number that introduces new Muppet Walter and his human friend Gary, played by the film’s co-writer Jason Segel.

This is a pretty effortlessly charming little piece of film that helps sell The Muppets as a film that still has at least one foot firmly planted in the classic musical storytelling style that always made the show a small wonder. I think you’ll like it. Read More »

Though the small screen retains an unfair reputation as a lesser medium — think of all the snobby types who’ll brag about not owning a television, but would never be so dismissive about books or movies — the truth is that the medium varies as much as any other. Today’s TV Bits runs the gamut from highbrow (a literary adaptation on HBO) to lowbrow (a modeling industry reality show on The CW), with plenty of stuff in between. After the jump:

  • Noah Baumbach’s Jonathan Franzen adaptation The Corrections is a go at HBO
  • HBO will offer an early look at its highly anticipated Luck next month
  • Fox puts new eps of Alcatraz on hold while it goes back for reshoots
  • Burt Reynolds signs on to guest star on FX’s Archer
  • Summer Glau joins Tricia Helfer on TNT’s Scent of the Missing
  • The CW announces start dates for its midseason shows

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