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maandag 21 januari 2013

NBC orders three more single-camera comedy pilots

NBC has placed orders for three more single-camera comedy pilots, including projects produced by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and the team of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

The untitled Greg Daniels project is written and executive produced by Office scribe Robert Padnick. Described as a look at the trials and tribulations of dating in your 20s as explored through a group of friends, the pilot will focus on bright eyed and vulnerable Matthew being pushed by his three best friends to get back into the dating scene.

Executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Assistance is based on a play written by Leslye Headland, who wrote and directed the feature comedy Bachelorette. This fast-moving comedy will center on an idealistic "working girl" assistant who is pulled between her "work husband" and her actual fiancé while trying to manage a demanding boss.

From writer Alex Schemmer and producer Geyer Kozinski, the third project is entitled Donor Party, an ensemble comedy that revolves around an irresponsible man forced to grow up when he discovers he has children resulting from his days as a sperm donor. A new family unit is formed when he is contacted by a single mother and begins to develop a relationship with her and the son he never knew he had.

Donor Party seems quite similar to the new Canadian comedy Seed, premiering on CityTV February 4 at 8:30 PM. What are the odds that any of these projects will end up on television?

Co-star announced for NBC's 'Dracula' series

Can a program based around the story and legend of Dracula work on a broadcast network? NBC is going to give it a shot, as it is developing 'Dracula,' a series that will star Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the iconic figure, with an anticipated fall 2013 premiere date.

Today the network announced his co-star. Australian actress Jessica De Gouw will be appearing on the program opposite Rhys Meyers. She will be playing Mina, a woman studying to be a doctor in London in the 1890s.

Her character is clever, self-sufficient and preparing for her future when she encounters Dracula, an America businessman living in London who wants to integrate modern science into the Victorian age. He falls for Mina, who reminds him of his deceased wife.

De Gouw appeared on radars earlier this year for her turn as the Huntress of The CW's 'Arrow' series. She appeared in a multi-episode arc.

In addition to NBCUniversal, British Sky Broadcasting, Carnival Films & Television and Flame Ventures will be co-producing the project.

I really am not sure what to think of this. This does not feel like NBC fare to me in the least. Rhys Meyers was decent in 'The Tudors,' but can he pull off Dracula? I have my doubts.

"Glee" blatantly rips off Jonathan Coulton

As a show that’s whole premise revolves around doing covers of songs, you would think that they would be a little more careful about how they go about their business. For example, they may want to ask first before they use content from songwriters.

“Glee”, the hit television show about high school teenagers dealing with the pressures of growing up by singing their hearts out, does not typically rely on new material for their show but instead covers songs from all genre’s and decades. However, in next week’s episode, “Glee” has blatantly ripped off an arrangement from geeky songwriter Jonathon Coulton. Who is that? I didn’t know either, but he is best known for his video game anthem “Still Alive” from the game Portal, and he was not too happy to learn that one of his arrangements was stolen by the show…without even asking him first.

“Hey look, @GLEEonFOX ripped off my cover of Baby Got Back: Never even contacted me. Classy.” Coulton tweeted yesterday morning.

If you take a look at Coulton’s version of the song and compare it to “Glee’s” you can see that they are pretty much identical.

 So as you can see, Coulton has a point here. It is not like they just borrowed a few guitar strums or phrasing choices from the song – the two are identical. Coulton went on his Twitter again to say “After listening, I think that @GLEEonFOX may have even used parts of my recording. Do I hear a duck quack? And of course they say "Johnny C".”

The “Glee” version of the track is no longer for sale on iTunes, having been pulled by FOX, but it can still be found on the Swedish iTunes store.

More Disney-Lucasfilm ‘Star Wars’ Synergy — This Time On ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’

When volunteers dressed as Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers helped build a house on an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition special a month after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm was announced, the Mouse House dismissed the corporate synergy as a coincidence as the ABC special had been filmed a year prior. But that cannot be said about tonight’s episode of ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon A Time, which featured the Star Wars music theme.

Incorporating Star Wars into the show is tricky as it takes place almost elusively in fairytale world — past and present. But the first chance the producers had to introduce Star Wars since the Lucasfilm acquisition — a guy from Pennsylvania driving into fairytale Storybrooke — they took it. When the stranger’s cell phone rang, its ringtone was the Star Wars theme. The homage shouldn’t come as a surprise — Once Upon A Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis are self-professed “massive Star Wars fans.”

As for Darth Vader and Co. making an appearance on Once, it is not that farfetched following tonight’s episode which established that characters from worlds other than fairytale land (like Dr. Frankenstein) can find their way into Storybrooke. Maybe that includes a galaxy far, far away…

Forget Jack the Ripper! Ripper Street Tackles Other Victorian Murders

Despite the show's name, don't expect to see Jack the Ripper cases play a big part on Ripper Street.

That's because the new BBC America crime drama, which kicks off Saturday at 9/8c, takes place in 1889, a good six months after the last murder was attributed to the notorious serial killer. "The whole idea for us setting out on this journey was to really try and actually discard Jack the Ripper, at least in terms of wondering after who he was and trying to catch him," creator Richard Warlow told TV critics at BBC America's winter previews. "What we wanted to do really was to tell stories about the streets down which he walked and committed his crimes in the wake of those terrible murders and how it affected the community and, most importantly, the police that tried and failed to catch him."

In particular, Det. Edmund Reid (Matthew MacFadyen), loosley based on the real-life Ripper investigator of the same name, will head up the division that tries to lessen the body count in the seedy and impoverished Whitechapel district. Helping Reid is right-hand bruiser Sgt. Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and a mysterious expat American named Cpt. Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), who lends his groundbreaking forensic skills to the police force.

Here's an idea of what to expect from Ripper Street beyond Jack the Ripper:


Although the Ripper killings aren't featured, Reid & Co. have plenty of dead people to keep them busy. Fans of forensic-crime dramas will immediately recognize Jackson as Ripper Street's resident CSI who uses strange methods, the forerunners of modern forensics, to examine the bodies. Reid, whom MacFadyen describes as "free-thinking and forward-looking," is Jackson's biggest fan and obtains the tools he needs.

"I always thought one of the most interesting things about Reid was that he kind of was always convinced that if tomorrow's technology had been here today, they would have got the Ripper," said executive producer Will Gould. "They just didn't have the resources. They didn't have the things they needed to get that guy. And that was, obviously, a big kind of cloud hanging over them all."

Check out this clip of Reid presenting Jackson his new "dead room":


Let's face it: The Ripper wasn't the only one who targeted prostitutes. They are, after all, often walking the streets alone, unprotected and approaching strange men. Also, Jackson's unclear association with a brothel-keeper known as Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) makes the ladies of the night allies of sorts in certain police investigations. "On the one hand, [the Victorian era] was strict and filled with rules," said Buring. "It was also quite well known for being quite deviant and it really had this sort of dark undercurrent."


It's not just the women who will be trotting out their finery, but the men too. And although two of our heroes are part of the police force, don't expect to see them in the traditional bobby uniform. Both Reid and Drake wear suits, with the former sporting a snazzy bowler hat.

"Early on ... part of us, wanted to put [Drake] in uniform and really sort of fetishize a uniform," said Warlow. "Someone in uniform beating the crap out of suspects, that was sort of exciting to me somehow. [But] the thing about a British police uniform is you just look like a prat. There is no way around it. You just look like a bobby on the beat. So it was like, 'All right. Get him out of that and put him in a killer suit.'"

Celebs who are out and proud

MacFadyen is thrilled with his Victorian garb, or at least one element of it. "I really, really loved my hat. Probably too much," he confided. "But for me, it was kind of a love-hate relationship with those starched collars."

Rothenberg, whose free-spirited Jackson wears a number of colorful waistcoats and trousers, only focused on his facial hair. "The mustache did something to my head," he said. "I miss it too. I feel that when I shaved it, I felt like Samson cutting his hair off all of a sudden."


Yes, the series is gritty, edgy and deals with matters of life and death, but the core group of crimefighters have a three-way bromance that is built on high-minded moral ideals and occasional moments of humor. This isn't a farce by any means, but there is a bit of humanity and hopefulness that pervades the show, setting it apart from its darker BBC America cousin Copper.

Jimmy Savile 'Tweenies' episode aired, BBC apologises

The BBC has apologised for showing a Tweenies episode featuring a character imitating disgraced DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

CBeebies broadcast the repeat, first screened in 2001, this morning (January 20).

The programme had Tweenies character Max appearing in a white wig and Savile-like tracksuit, and adopting his accent and catchphrases such as "Now then, guys and gals".

The BBC said: "This morning CBeebies broadcast a repeat of an episode of the Tweenies, originally made in 2001, featuring a character dressed as a DJ impersonating Jimmy Savile.

"This programme will not be repeated and we are very sorry for any offence caused."

Numerous Twitter users had expressed shock at the incident, with @mrkennysenior writing: "Are BBC trying to self destruct? Max from Tweenies dressed as Jimmy Savile just now nearly chokes on my cornflakes."

"Jesus Christ, Max from Tweenies is dressed as Jimmy Savile. He just called them all guys and gals..." @theQuietus tweeted.

Savile, who died in October 2011 aged 84, has been revealed to have committed more than 200 sexual crimes, including 34 of rape or penetration, on victims as young as eight years old.

It was recently claimed that he used to boast of having contacts in the police who would "get rid" of allegations of wrongdoing.

Big Brother USA's Dominic Briones and Daniele Donato Wed

Big Brother alums Dominic Briones and Daniele Donato wed Saturday in Huntington Beach, Calif., People reports.

The couple met in the summer of 2011 while filming Big Brother 13. At the time, she was a returning contestant from Season 8 and he was a newbie. Although Donato, 26, tells the magazine she "didn't like him at first," the two became friends during filming and fell in love after the finale. Briones, 26, proposed last August at the St. Louis Zoo during a carefully planned behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin habitat.

For their Bohemian ceremony, Donato wore a BHLDN dress from the wedding line of Anthropologie and Briones wore dark purple pants from the Gap, a plaid purple shirt with a cardigan, an off-white bow tie and matching Converse sneakers.

Big Brother couple Brendan and Rachel Reilly Villegas, and fellow alum April Lewis were among the 120 guests. Lewis' 5-year-old son served as the ring bearer. The couple have no immediate plans to honeymoon, but that's OK by Donato. "I don't care where we go for the honeymoon," she told the magazine. "All I care about is that I married my best friend, and we're going to share our lives together. We mesh so well. We don't like being away from each other. We love being around each other so much. That's enough for me. I couldn't be happier."

Has The CW's Amazon cast Wonder Woman?

British actress Amy Manson has made it through two auditions for The CW's new Wonder Woman pilot...

Some stories carry with them more than a touch of déjà vu. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were reporting on young Adrianne Palicki donning the crown and bracelets to play TV's new Wonder Woman for the now-defunct NBC pilot, and here we are, back again, pondering the identity of her successor in The CW's Amazon.

The reason for the flurry of speculation? Three lines in a Scottish newspaper, specifically, these three lines:

"A NORTH-EAST actress could be set to play Wonder Woman.

Amy Manson, originally from Westhill, could don the famous star-spangled costume of the DC Comics heroine.

The 27-year-old, who now lives in London, has made it through two rounds of nail-biting auditions for the chance to play Wonder Woman in a proposed US TV series."

Amy Manson has made herself a familiar face in UK geek TV over the years with roles in Misfits, Being Human, and Torchwood (respectively, as Leah, the girl who shrivelled up Rudy's downstairs area, Daisy, the vamp who bumped supernatural uglies with George, and Victorian orphan-turned Torchwood operative, Alice Guppy) as well as a fantastic performance opposite Aidan Turner's Dante Rossetti as Lizzie Siddal in the BBC's Desperate Romantics.

The CW’s plan is for a Smallville-style origins story under the working title Amazon, from a script by Young Avengers scribe Allan Heinberg. “Unlike past TV incarnations, it will focus on Wonder Woman as a young budding superhero, rather than a fully formed defender of liberty” reported Vulture.

If that translates to Diana Of Themyscira: The High School Years, then 27-year-old Manson could follow a long tradition in teen drama of actors pushing thirty playing characters several years their younger (Buffy's 17-year-old Cordelia Chase and Xander Harris were played by 26-year-old Charisma Carpenter and 25-year-old Nicholas Brendon, much of the cast of the original Beverly Hills 90210 were born during WWII...).

How Sex-y Will Carrie Diaries Be? "We're Fighting For It," Showrunner Says

How will the CW's The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to a series based almost entirely on having and talking about sex, handle the topic in a way that both honors Sex and the City and follows the rules of network television?

On the series premiere, a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) returned to high school after a summer of grieving the death of her mother. On the first day, she "meets" the new guy in school, Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler), who was actually Carrie's first kiss the summer before. But now that the pair is together, how long will it be before the 16-year-old virgin starts down the path to becoming the Carrie viewers fell in love with on the HBO series? Executive producer Amy B. Harris is OK taking her time.

"We're not yet to a place where they're 'doing it' yet," Harris tells "We're taking it very slowly and then sometimes speeding it up the way your first relationships often are. What I love about Carrie and Sebastian is that we are really delving into that first relationship that inspires the potential to say, 'I love you' for the first time."

But that doesn't mean the new show will be completely sex-less. "We've been fighting the good fight with the network," Harris says. "We have Standards and Practices, so there are certain things we can't show. But you saw [on the premiere] that [Carrie's best friend] Maggie was trying to give Walt a bl-- j--. [The network] fought for that to be in the show."

Carrie Diaries Star: Don't compare it to Sex and the City, "Embrace it for what it is"

So what can and can't be shown? "Apparently you're not allowed to thrust, so you're basically lying on top of each other," Butler says, before hinting that a Carrie-Sebastian romp is still a ways off. "But I haven't filmed a sex scene yet, and we're going into Episode 9."

Just as the older Carrie's relationships were complex and complicated, younger Carrie's relationship with Sebastian won't be all high school dances, flowers and rainbows. On the third episode, Carrie discovers something alarming about Sebastian's past that leads Carrie's dad (Matt Letscher) to forbid her to see him.

"Through her own curiosity, she makes a lot of mistakes with how she approaches the subject [with Sebastian], which is very Carrie Bradshaw," Harris says. "A lot of people would've kept that information to themselves, but she could not. In a strange way, the father also becomes a part of the triangle. These two men are the most important to her, and one of them doesn't want the other around. So that'll play a big part of this season."

With bumps ahead for Carrie and Sebastian, and the fact that it's unlikely a high school relationship could last the length of the series, how will the show keep Sebastian at the forefront of the series? For Harris, it's about making him the "Mr. Big" of the show. "Similar to Big [Chris Noth], he will be around even when he's not a part of her life in a couple kind of way," she says. "But they're drawn to each other. For me, the way we told stories on Sex and the City about those smaller, but very relatable aspects of relationships is a lot of what we'll be chasing in this one."

Oona King leaves 'Dancing on Ice'

Oona King has become the third celebrity to leave Dancing on Ice.

The politician faced rugby star Gareth Thomas in the Save Me Skate, which was one of the most dramatic in the reality show's history after King's partner suffered a severe injury live on air.

After discovering they had to perform again, 45-year-old Baroness King and professional partner Mark Henretty were skating out onto the ice when Henretty fell.

He appeared to clutch his arm in pain and had to be sent away to receive medical attention.

It was revealed by presenter Phillip Schofield that Henretty had suffered a dislocated shoulder live on air, and the performance was suddenly in doubt.

However, after having the joint popped back in, Labour politician King and Henretty performed their skate to 'Just the Two of Us'.

Henretty said of the accident: "It popped out, but they popped it back in. I'm fine, I'm good. it's back in now."

Judges Robin Cousins, Karen Barber and Jason Gardiner all chose to save Thomas after their 'Save Me Skate' performances, while ex-Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts chose King to stay in the competition.

After discovering she was to leave, King said: "I loved learning how to skate. i just adored it. I think more people in Britain should do it."

She added: "I loved skating with Mark. He's amazing. I feel really devastated for him because I'd like people to see his skating more."

Meanwhile, Henretty said that King had been "a pleasure" to skate with. He also revealed that his partner Cathy is expecting their baby any day and was watching from home.

He said of his accident: "Sorry about the stress. That might have sent her into labour!"

Castle: Can Esposito Fill the "Hole" in His Life with Kelly Hu?

Castle's Jon Huertas has been thrilled with the opportunity to take a closer look at his character, Detective Javier Esposito, during the ABC drama's fifth season.

Following a Christmas episode that highlighted Esposito's loneliness now that Detective Ryan (Seamus Dever) is married and his booty calls with Lanie (Tamala Jones) have become less frequent, last week's episode featured Esposito taking special interest in an at-risk youth and revealing his character's own troubled upbringing.

"I thought it was an interesting story line," Huertas tells. "[It was] something I felt I could relate to. It was nice to be able to show that sometimes someone can come into someone's life and be that instrument of guidance for them to do better. On our show, it's always the male-female type of relationship. So I was really excited that it wasn't about two people falling in love or playing with the idea of love."

That's not to say the issue of Esposito's love life won't be explored. In fact, Monday's episode (10/9c, ABC) finds Esposito taking more than a professional interest in a suspect. Kelly Hu plays Scarlet Jones, the bodyguard of a Joe Francis-like adult entertainment mogul. When he ends up dead, all eyes are on Scarlet, who makes an unusual (perhaps intentional?) mistake for someone running a security detail.

"Being a former Special Forces military guy and a cop that's probably been on several executive protection details through the NYPD, Esposito sees a flaw in in her technique," Huertas says. "Is that actually a mental flaw or is that something that she set up? So we investigate it in that way. At the same time, she's pretty badass, so that's something that Esposito is attracted to. He wants a girl he can wrestle with."

Adds Hu: "He does criticize her at first, and she, of course, doesn't take too well to that. But sometimes the person you butt heads with the most is the person you're attracted to the most."

So is there some connection between Esposito's recent actions and this sudden attraction to a new flame? "There's a hole in him, and there's something there that Esposito longs for," Huertas says of his character. "[Maybe] it has to do with family, with a relationship, maybe with father issues. That's from my own personal issues, so I would love to explore that. For me, sometimes playing Esposito is like therapy. I get to air my own self out."

But Hu's not certain her character's fling with Esposito is necessarily that deep. "I think he's interested in sleeping with her — it's that simple," she says with a laugh. "I think he makes it pretty clear. It becomes more complicated, and the date doesn't go as planned. Just when you think it's going really well for him, it doesn't."

And how does Lanie figure into all of this? Though Huertas says Esposito mostly keeps Lanie in the dark about his new flirtation, Hu, who says she thinks her character could easily return, is prepared for fan reaction. "I know there are fans out there who are really rooting for the Lanie character to get together with Esposito," she says. "So I might ruffle some feathers there. I might get a little bit of hate mail.  Bring it on!"

The Following: Violent Serial Killer Drama or Tragic Love Story?

Chances are you've probably heard a lot about Fox's new serial killer drama The Following.

It's violent. It's suspenseful. It's often terrifying. And someone does something unimaginable with an ice pick in the very first episode. But according to creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek, The Vampire Diaries), it's also a love story.

The story goes like this: Literature professor Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) brings his obsession with the works of Edgar Allan Poe to life by murdering 14 co-eds before being caught by FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, making his TV series debut), who now wears a pacemaker as a permanent reminder of the encounter. After beginning and ending a relationship with Carroll's wife Claire (Natalie Zea) and going on an alcohol-soaked downward spiral, Ryan is called back to duty when Carroll escapes from prison just days before he's set to be executed.

But instead of going on one final killing spree that includes finishing off Hardy, Carroll has a far more insidious plot: He's created a cult (or, you know, a following) of killers to do his bidding and torture Hardy at every turn. "They have this extraordinary, weird dance of death around each other," Purefoy says. "He doesn't want to kill Ryan Hardy, but Ryan has put him in prison and Ryan has been playing footsie with his wife. For both of those reasons he wants to f--- him up and will continue to do that forever."

That doesn't sound much like a traditional TV love story. But Williamson, who first took an interesting look at serial killers with the Scream movies, thinks his characters fit nicely into today's TV landscape. "We are in the age of flawed heroes," he says. "I feel like the audience is ready for this. I am going to ask you to get engaged in the relationships of killers. I'm asking you to care about these very, very dark, twisted people. It may not be for everyone. But I think if you let loose and just sort of go with the twisted story of it all, I think you'll find it engaging.

"My villain and my hero have the same goal, the same motive," Williamson continues. "They want to be reborn. They want to have a new life. ... The more people that die, the more Ryan comes back to life. [He becomes] more energized, more determined, more fearless, more obsessed. But it takes those deaths in order to reinvent him and re-energize him."

Indeed, Bacon says that Hardy, whose personal backstory features plenty of death and sadness, is at rock bottom when the audience meets his character. "He's a person that feels toxic. And even in his own toxicity, he's trying to do the right thing by pushing people away," Bacon says. "He's got a lot of demons. He self-medicates. He had this relationship with [Claire], which is probably the worst person in the world to have the relationship with. It's so professionally and personally ill-advised. He had to cut it off. But I think he's starting to realize that she's the one true love of his life."

But Williamson says Claire will eventually realize that a relationship with Ryan may be just as dangerous as being married to a serial killer. "She has a blind spot," he says. "Sooner or later, she has to look at herself and ask, 'Why do I love these damaged, tortured types of men?' But they are also so damaged in a weird way, who else could they be with, except each other? They came together under such horrific circumstances, it's never going to be an easy love story."

Then again, the true love story of the series may be between Hardy and Carroll. "This man has a lot of qualities that [Ryan] wishes he had," Bacon says. "He's bookish. He's charming. He's dynamic and people are drawn to him. That's not who Ryan Hardy is... and he just admires him."

But Purefoy doesn't simply see his character as a master of charisma. "What he's doing is enabling people in the worst possible way," he says. "He has managed to create contact with people who would give him whatever he needs because they have a grotesque and appalling fascination with harming other people. All of them are being enabled and put into a safe place where they are being allowed to enact their fantasies."

And in some way, Carroll is also enabling Hardy. After all, Purefoy says his character's ultimate objective won't work unless Hardy is "activated" into playing his game. "Joe continues to play Ryan like a violin," Bacon adds. "He even tries to prop him up in subsequent episodes, [to] get him back on the horse.  The sad thing is, I think that there's a part of Ryan that increasingly believes that if he was dead that would be it for Joe. If his endgame is truly to torture me, to just keep sticking metaphorical needles in my eye, if I was dead, that's it. Game over. I won."

Naturally, it won't be that easy. "[Carroll] actually has double motives," Williamson says. "Charles Manson preached there was a racial war coming and he sucked everyone in to sort of build their army. He [actually] wanted to be a rock star and he wanted to hang out with the Beach Boys. He was a narcissist. So there is always a double hidden motive. Joe Carroll has several motives. At the root of a lot of the motives here is love. Sick, twisted, f---ed-up love, but love."

The question remains, will a broadcast network audience sit through the sick and twisted elements to get the deeper story? Purefoy believes so. "We've always need boogey monsters," he says, referring to Grimm's fairy tales. "Boogey monsters are a form of social control. They're about [the idea that] if you behave badly, you will get caught by this person. So, stay on track and do as you're told. And that's what this show is really about. It gets under your skin. I don't think it's about the body count or the blood. It's about getting under the skin of the audience and making them feel a little bit panicky."

Adds Bacon: "I don't think any of this matters if we don't make them interesting characters to watch. Of course some people are going to be turned off by it. Some people are turned off by gay couples on television. Some people don't like anything that takes place in a city. ... But you have to make these characters interesting and compelling. ... That's much more interesting than how somebody is going to get killed. If there's somebody about to jump out of a closet with a knife, [and] if you don't give a sh-- about the person that's walking by, it doesn't matter."

Chuck's 10 best moments

Tom talks us through ten great moments from five seasons of the dearly departed Chuck...

I’m crap at watching TV. Not the act of sitting down, snacks in hand, and enjoying a good programme, that bit's easy. I do find it tricky to sit myself in the chair the same time each week to keep up with a series, though.

The DVD box-set is therefore a big friend of mine. I have discovered many of my favourite shows – The Wire, 24, Mad Men, Misfits – a while after they originally aired. Holding its head high among those is Chuck. I have to confess to my ignorance and admit I knew very little about the show when I saw the first two seasons on the shelf of HMV for £15. I took a punt on it, and I am very glad I did.

I stumbled across a funny, action-packed show about an archetypal under-achiever, whose world is turned upside down when the Government’s top supercomputer is downloaded into his brain.

The premise of Chuck sounds one-note, but the show has strong characters and a great blend of drama and comedy. It fought against cancellation throughout its run, and the fact it lasted five series is a great credit to the writers, actors, and team behind it.

Chuck ebbed and flowed in quality, but even at its low points – which were still good, I would argue – it was full of fantastic moments. Throughout its run from start to finish, episodes and plotlines were punctuated with satisfying resolutions for characters, delightful comedic highlights, and exciting action set pieces. You name it, Chuck probably has it.

Here then, in chronological order, are its ten best moments...

Chuck meets Sarah (Series 1, Episode 1, 'Pilot') 

Every great love story has to begin somewhere. For Romeo and Juliet, it was the Capulet Ball. For Anthony and Cleopatra, it was Egypt. For Chuck Batowski and Sarah Walker, it was the Burbank Buy More.

It's the day after Chuck's birthday. It seems pretty much like any other day, except for Chuck has unknowingly just downloaded the US Government's top supercomputer, the Intersect, into his brain. Enter Sarah Walker, blonde bombshell and sexy super spy for the CIA. She enters the Buy More posing as a customer with a faulty phone, getting Chuck to fix it. When faced with a pretty girl, he's hardly suave. He drops his own phone, he references Batman and points out the finer aspects of being a nerd rather than a geek. He does show his sweet side however, when he helps a confused father film his young daughter performing ballet. Sarah is intrigued by his soft, caring side, going above and beyond his lowly Nerd Herd duties to comfort the young girl.

Zachary Levi shows off both his comedic skills and Chuck's sensitive side really well in this scene, encompassing all that Sarah eventually comes to love about him. His chemistry with Joshua Gomez as Morgan is already in place, as is his attraction to Sarah. Can you blame him? Plus, beatboxing about Vicki Vale has got to be a winner.

Jeffster! is born (Series 2, Episode 13, 'Chuck versus the Best Friend') 

Chuck was a great show for balancing action, humour and touching character-driven storylines. It once again confidently trod that fine line with the birth of 'Jeffster!'.

Having found out that Chuck's sister Ellie and Captain Awesome, aka Devon, are looking for a wedding band, Chuck's Buy More colleagues Jeff and Lester put themselves forward. They ultimately secure an audition from a reluctant Captain Awesome. Their song of choice? Toto's Africa, and they rock it hard. They completely suck, but they rock hard. Jeffster had many (perhaps too many) moments throughout the show's remaining seasons, but this is their highlight for me.

This is a great moment for so many of the characters, not just Jeff and Lester. Chuck gets to quietly let Sarah know how much he cares for her, Morgan proudly declares how much he likes Anna, and Captain Awesome shows how awesome he is by allowing Jeffster to have their moment in the sun.

Toto kick a lot of ass, too.

Chuck and Sarah get it on (Series 2, Episode 21, 'Chuck versus the Colonel') 

The title of this entry makes it sound more pervy than it is meant to. In reality, it's one of Chuck's sweetest and most tender moments. Sarah and Chuck are on the lam from the government, having gone on the run to track down Stephen Bartowski, Chuck's dad. The sexual chemistry between the two continues to bubble under as they share a hotel room together. At this point, that tension has been building for two seasons.

This wonderful scene brings all that to a crescendo. As they slowly awaken from their slumber in each other's arms, their fingers intertwine. They share a momentary glance before, finally, they kiss. They've kissed before, but this time it is for real. Not only satisfying in terms of payoff, the music, performance and direction add to the romance of the scene. This moment is laced with comedy too, as Chuck discovers he has no condoms, thanks to Morgan.

'I'm gonna kill you, Morgan.' Can't say I blame you, Chuck.

'Guys... I know Kung-Fu.' (Series 2, Episode 22, 'Chuck versus The Ring') 

Romance is in the air at Ellie and Captain Awesome's wedding. With Sarah apparently about to confess her feelings for our leading man Chuck, the proverbial plop hits the fan. Chuck's college roommate and Sarah's old flame, super spy Bryce Larkin, is kidnapped by The Ring, a corrupt spy organisation hell-bent on obtaining its own Intersect.

Our three heroes rush from the wedding to save Bryce from the nefarious Ring operatives. Chuck ends up locked in the Intersect room with a dying Bryce, who begs Chuck to destroy the Intersect 2.0 before The Ring can get their hands on it. Naturally, Chuck ignores him, and reluctantly uploads the Intersect 2.0 into his own mind before destroying the hardware. The Ring agents finally break in, and are about to kill Sarah, Casey and Chuck.

The new Intersect is full of surprises though, and Chuck defends his friends with a whirlwind display of kung-fu, disarming the five Ring henchmen before unloading a can of whoop-ass on each of them. Chuck has truly arrived as a kick-ass spy. The ensuing fight scene is brilliantly choreographed, made all the better for using Levi as much as possible. The close-quarters fist fighting is intense. The show may have not had the biggest budget going, but fight scenes like this are Chuck at its action-filled best.

Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) play their part wonderfully, providing the comic relief through their exasperation at Chuck's antics. Casey grunts a lot during the show, but his 'Uh?' at the end of this fight scene is absolutely priceless.

Sprinkle a Matrix reference on the top, and you have Chuck gold dust.

Morgan finally finds out (Series 3, Episode 9, 'Chuck versus The Beard') 

Throughout the earlier seasons, Chuck fought an ongoing battle to hide his spy life from his friends and family. Among those he found it hardest to keep his secret from was Morgan. Chuck's nerd of a best friend his whole life, more than anyone else, Morgan anchors Chuck to the real world. They share pretty much everything.

The tension caused by Chuck's secrecy has become so bad that Morgan 'fires' Chuck as his best friend. So when they face an impending death, Chuck finally reveals his secret. Does Morgan react with anger at the news? "My best friend is a spy...? This is unbelievable, this is the best news I've ever heard!".

Chuck finally gets the monkey off his back, and one of his nearest and dearest is finally in on his secret. Morgan's reaction is completely in character, and he is full of questions. Chuck is momentarily stunned into silence with relief before spilling the beans. Awesome.

Chuck shoots Shaw (Series 3, Episode 13, 'Chuck versus the Other Guy') 

Chuck made a thing of using guest stars from TV and film franchises, to varying effect. I'll get on to two of my other favourite stars later, but Brandon Routh from Superman Returns has to count as one of the most effectively used of those guest stars. Routh plays Daniel Shaw, an exemplary agent working with Team Bartowski to bring down The Ring. His motivation for bringing out The Ring is driven by his need to avenge his wife Evelyn, apparently murdered by a Ring operative.

Upon discovering that Sarah shot Evelyn as part of her 'red test', a spy's first kill, Shaw breaks. He aligns himself with The Ring, abducts and drugs Sarah, and takes her to the place where she shot Evelyn. Consumed by his grief, Shaw informs a paralysed Sarah of his intention to kill her. Chuck catches them up and pleads for Sarah's life. The use of flashbacks here is brilliant, as is the accompanying music. The soft piano and ghostly vocals of Kettering by The Antlers offers the moment a haunting quality.

A spy who detests guns, Chuck finally pulls the trigger on Shaw when left with no other choice. The implications for Chuck, who knows that Sarah loves him for his pacifism, are thrown to one side as he saves her life and his own by shooting Shaw. Shaw's admission that he won't reveal Chuck's secrets to the Ring shows he still has a moral code. It makes the moment all the more tragic. Daniel Shaw, a noble agent fallen from grace, driven by his crippling grief.

I do kind of wish he had stayed dead after this, though.

Shaw shoots Stephen Bartowski (Series 3, Episode 18, 'Chuck versus the Subway') 

Alongside Brandon Routh, Scott Bakula of Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise fame ranks up there as one of the show's best guest stars. Not my favourite (I'm getting to it!) but up there.

The road for Bakula's Stephen Bartowski and his children Chuck and Ellie was never smooth, having a complicated relationship with the pair of them. Just as things start to settle down though, a vengeful Shaw returns to shoot Stephen, and cripple Chuck's ability to use the Intersect.

Wonderfully acted by Levi, Bakula, and Sarah Lancaster, it is a tragic scene that proves the show had the capability to carry off heavy drama alongside the secret agent hi-jinx and laughter. Much as Evelyn Shaw’s death becomes a driving motivation for Shaw, Chuck finds himself driven to keep saving the world in his father’s memory.

Casey's Couch Lock (Series 4, Episode 5, 'Chuck versus the Couch Lock') 

Writing about this moment, I had not realised quite how little I have mentioned Casey in this article. Appalling really, considering his contribution to the show. Somewhere along the line, the writers saw fit to pair up nerdy loser Morgan with everyone’s favourite gruff NSA badass. The result? Many of Chuck's funniest moments, including this one.

Casey is under the influence of paralysis-inducing drugs as part of a mission. Upon medical advice from Captain Awesome, Morgan has to anger or surprise Casey to get him out of his paralysed state. Reluctantly, Morgan reveals to the world's scariest over-protective father that he is dating Casey's daughter, Alex.

Joshua Gomez hits a home-run with his fearful delivery as he reveals all, goading Casey into coming out of his 'couch-lock'. Adam Baldwin is predictably awesome, slowly arousing back to life before exploding out of his 'couch lock' into a choke-hold on helpless Morgan.

The escalation of the scene, the use of close-ups, the satanic music as Casey shows signs of life, and Adam Baldwin's trademark grunts only add to the hilarity.

Chuck thwarts Volkoff (Series 4, episode 13, 'Chuck versus the Push Mix') 

Some people may argue Brandon Routh or Scott Bakula was Chuck's best guest star. For me though, there is only one choice: Timothy Dalton.

Throughout the fourth series he starred as Alexei Volkoff, international arms dealer and the head of criminal organisation, Volkoff Industries. Later on in the series we find out that Volkoff is in fact Harvey Winterbottom, a mild-mannered colleague of Stephen Bartowski whose mind was corrupted by a flawed Intersect upload.

Though as Volkoff, Dalton plays a stone cold psychopath, infatuated with Chuck's mother Mary. As Chuck and Sarah close in on Volkoff's information network, Hydra, Volkoff tracks down Stephen Bartowski's cabin, thinking him to still be alive and finds Chuck waiting for him. After a scintillating verbal sparring match, Chuck tricks Volkoff into speaking the words that give access to Hydra.

The scene is a wonderful culmination of a long-running arc, performed by two supremely talented actors. Stephen Bartowski's posthumous involvement in the takedown of Volkoff is the bittersweet icing on a very sweet cake. The gradual reveal of Chuck's plan throughout the scene is wonderfully realised, and a testament to the show's great writing.

The proposal (Series 4, episode 13, 'Chuck versus the Push Mix') 

Two moments from the same episode, I hear you cry? Well when series co-creator Josh Schwartz boasted that this episode ends with the "best ten minutes in the show's history", he was right.

Throughout the fourth series, Chuck has been trying to find the perfect way to propose to Sarah. He finds it in one of the most unexpected places. Volkoff is thwarted. Ellie is having her baby, and Chuck rushes to the hospital via helicopter to be there for his sister. As baby Clara Woodcomb joins the world, Sarah and Chuck sit patiently in the waiting room. Gazing into her eyes, he rises to his feet, presents the ring box to Sarah and drops to one knee.

Set to the background hum of a floor waxer, they embrace and kiss. We hear no words being said, and the episode fades to black. Chuck often did a great job of mixing the bombastic set pieces and the smaller, quiet moments, giving those quiet moments a greater impact.

After the excitement of taking down Volkoff, this is a perfect way for the episode to finish. Chuck remained pretty good until the end of the fifth series, but it never reached these heights again.

Celebrity Big Brother: Rylan fuming after Heidi, Spencer blogger task

Rylan Clark, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt engaged in another argument with each other after Big Brother revealed details of the secret blogger task last night (January 19)

It was reported earlier that the Hills couple would be involved in a task where they would answer live questions from their fans in the Diary Room. In reality, the rest of the housemates watched the pair on the television screen and posed the questions themselves.

Heidi and Spencer were told that they had won a public poll to take part in the live chat. Once the couple had entered the Diary Room, the rest of the housemates were given details of their role in the task. They were told that if they could avoid arousing suspicion they would win an American-themed party.

The first fake question asked was "Why do you think you keep getting saved?" to which Heidi replied that she believes it is because they've been "the most honest in the house and that people can relate to us and the struggle that they've been going through".

Watching the pair on screen, Neil remarked: "F**king struggle sleeping all day!"

Another question posed to the pair was: "You are always saying in the Diary Room how much you want to win Celebrity Big Brother, but you've also said you hate the experience and want to leave - which is it?"

Spencer replied: "We 100% want to win, we always have, but we do hate living with these people and they are awful to live with. They don't like us."

Heidi added: "We've had one of the hardest experiences out of everyone who has been on Celebrity Big Brother. We've been put through a lot."

Later in the task, Rylan posed as 'Speidi' fan 'SusyEssex89' and asked the pair about the most annoying thing that a housemate had done in the house.

Spencer referred to the night of his argument with Rylan: "Rylan proved exactly what we're saying - that he is the fakest in the house as he freaked out, you don't go that crazy."

After Big Brother revealed that the housemates had passed the task and would be receiving their party, Rylan and Neil talked about Heidi and Spencer in the garden, with Rylan remarking: "How have they been playing us like that? I'm not even going to speak to them afterwards."

However, the former X Factor star went on to approach the husband and wife, asking Spencer if he felt he had been genuine in the house.

Spencer replied: "Nothing about my feeling for you has changed since you put us in the basement."

Rylan explained that he's living this experience like it's real life and being genuine, adding that Speidi are the "fakest housemates ever to walk in this house".

After hearing Rylan's comments, Spencer said 'Great', with Heidi choosing to remain silent on the matter.

Simon Cowell to help audition actors for 'X Factor' musical?

Simon Cowell has revealed plans to help audition actors for the upcoming X Factor musical.

Harry Hill is currently developing a comedic musical version of the ITV competition, which is scheduled to open in spring 2014.

The talent show judge has stated that he plans to be heavily involved in the audition process, especially with who will play himself.

"We're going to see a workshop on the musical in a couple of weeks' time," he told The Sun.

"What I'm hearing is that it's very funny and very good.

"That workshop will be the time we decide whether we are in or out. We have to wait and see whether it's going to work.

"But the buzz from the people who know about these things is that it's very good."

Cowell added that he is planning an Any Dream Will Do-style audition process in order to find his actor.

"Musicals are not my business but I'm going to approach it like I would a TV show," he added. "The team have spent a long time working on this, and from the very first time I met Harry Hill he was absolutely besotted with the idea, so we'll see.

"Who would play me? We may have to do an audition show. That would be a good idea."

Hill previously said of casting Cowell that he was looking for a person "of a small stature" and with "a great voice".

"We do need a big star. Perhaps the viewers can suggest someone?" he added.

TV Tonight 21st of January 2013

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

't Schaep in Mokum S01E03: "Hennie"
2 Broke Girls S02E14: "And Too Little Sleep"
90210 S05E10: "Misery Loves Company"
Adventure Time with Finn and Jake S05E08: "Mystery Dungeon"
Alaska State Troopers S04E15: "TBA"
American Pickers S05E09: "The Million Dollar Mistake"
Amnesia S01E03: "III"
Antiques Road Trip S06E11: "Series 6, Episode 11"
Antiques Roadshow (US) S17E03: "Corpus Christi (Hour Three)"
Being Human (US) S03E02: "(dead) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
Belle's S01E01: "One Big Happy Family"
Big Brother's Bit on the Side S06E19
Black Ink Crew S01E03: "TBA"
Bones S08E12: "The Corpse on the Canopy"
Britain On Film S01E06: "War and Peace"
Bunheads S01E13: "I'll Be Your Meyer Lansky"
Cake Boss: Next Great Baker S03E08: "TBA"
Castle (2009) S05E12: "Death Gone Crazy"
Catfish: The TV Show S01E09: "TBA"
Celebrity Big Brother S11E22: "Series 11 - Day 18 Highlights"
Chasing The Saturdays S01E02: "Satscriesandvideotapes"
Chelsea Lately S07E09
Come Dine With Me S20E91: "Series 20, Episode 71"
Conan S03E32: "Timothy Olyphant, Busy Philipps, Coheed & Cambria"
Cornwall with Caroline Quentin S02E03: "Series 2, Episode 3"
Coronation Street S54E15: "Mon January 21, 2013 [Episode 2]"
Coronation Street S54E14: "Mon January 21, 2013 [Episode 1]"
Crash & Bernstein S01E09: "System Crash"
Crème de la Crème S01E03: "Season 1, Episode 3"
Danni Lowinski S04E01: "Neue Männer"
Daybreak S03E94: "January 21, 2013"
Deal Or No Deal (UK) S08E139: "Episode 2132"
Deception S01E03: "A Drop of Blood and a Microscope"
Der Letzte Bulle S04E01: "Die Jagd beginnt"
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives S16E06: "Hometown Haunts"
Disappeared S05E09: "Out of the Ashes"
Dispatches S27E03: "Secrets of Your Supermarket Shop"
Doctors S14E173: "Whatever It Takes"
EastEnders S29E13: "January 21, 2013"
Embarrassing Fat Bodies S02E03: "Toilet Troubles"
Emmerdale S42E18: "January 21, 2013"
Escape To The Country S13E41: "Lincolnshire"
Extreme Smuggling S01E02: "Drugs (Part 2)"
Face the Clock S01E11: "Episode 11"
Father Brown (2013) S01E06: "The Bride of Christ"
Four In A Bed S04E11: "Series 4, Episode 11"
Got to Dance S04E18: "Series 4, Episode 18"
Great British Railway Journeys S04E11: "Stirling to Invergowrie"
Hawaii Five-0 (2010) S03E14: "Hana i wa 'ia (Scandal)"
Hollyoaks S19E14: "January 21, 2013"
Home and Away (AU) S26E01: "Episode 5661"
Hotel Impossible S02E06: "Telemark Resort & Convention Center – WI"
House Crashers S07E15: "Speakeasy Living Room Lounge"
House Hunters S51E15
House Hunters International S35E07
How I Met Your Mother S08E14: "Ring Up"
Ich bin ein Star - Holt mich hier raus! S07E11: "Tag 11"
Independent Lens S14E06: "Beauty Is Embarrassing"
Jimmy Kimmel Live S11E11: "TBA"
Lewis S07E03: "The Ramblin' Boy (1)"
Loose Women S17E84: "Series 17, Show 84"
Love & Hip Hop S03E03: "TBA"
M.I. High S06E03: "The Face of Revenge"
Market Warriors S01E14: "Antiquing in New Milford, CT"
MasterChef: The Professionals (AU) S01E02: "Pop-Up Tram Challenge"
Mike & Molly S03E12: "Molly’s Birthday"
Miranda S03E05: "Three Little Words"
Mr. D S02E03: "World Religions"
Mrs Brown's Boys S03E04: "Mammy's Valentine"
My Mad Fat Diary S01E02: "Chapter 2: Touched"
Natural World S32E06: "Jaguars Born Free"
Neighbours S29E11: "Episode 6561"
Panorama S61E01: "Immigration Undercover"
Pawn Star$ S06E20: "TBA"
Pawn Star$ S06E19: "TBA"
Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs. S01E03: "For Pete's Sake"
Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs. S01E04: "Creature of Habit"
Pointless S08E14: "Series 8, Episode 14"
RAW comedy club S06E06: "Season 6, Episode 6"
Regular Show S04E14: "The Longest Weekend"
School 2013 S01E14: "Season 1, Episode 14"
Shipwreck Men S01E02: "Bahama Drama"
Storyville S20E12: "Harry Belafonte: Sing Your Song"
Switched at Birth S02E03: "Duel of Two Women"
Teen Mom 2 S03E10: "TBA"
The All New Gadget Show S02E10: "Compilation"
The Bachelor S17E03: "Week 3 (S17)"
The Biggest Loser S14E04: "Pay It Forward"
The Carrie Diaries S01E02: "Lie with Me"
The Chase (2009) S06E54: "Series 6, Episode 54"
The Chew S02E94: "Episode 332"
The Colbert Report S09E09: "Ta-Nehisi Coates"
The Daily Show S18E47: "Justice Sonia Sotomayor"
The Dr. Phil Show S11E90: "Good Luck Fixing Me, Dr. Phil!"
The Ellen DeGeneres Show S10E86
The Following S01E01: "Pilot"
The Jeremy Kyle Show (UK) S08E89: "January 21, 2013"
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S09E11
The Layover S02E08: "Taipei"
The Murdoch Mysteries (2008) S06E03: "Murdoch on the Corner"
The Project S05E15: "Season 5, Episode 15"
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills S03E10: "TBA"
The Sheriffs are Coming S02E06: "Series 2, Episode 6"
The Staircase S01E03: "A Striking Coincidence"
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S21E24
Thuis S18E106: "Season 18, Episode 106"
Tipping Point S02E14: "Series 2, Episode 14"
Tron: Uprising S01E18: "No Bounds"
True Crime with Aphrodite Jones S03E03: "To Catch a Killer"
Ultimate Spider-Man S02E02: "Electro"
Ultimate Spider-Man S02E01: "The Lizard"
University Challenge (1994) S19E33
Vanderpump Rules S01E03: "You Don't Know Jax"
Voetbal International S05E39: "Season 5, Episode 39"
Wanted Down Under S07E14: "Series 7, Episode 14"
Wereld draait door, De S08E81: "Season 8, Episode 81"
What Happens in Kavos... S01E03: "Episode 3"
World's Craziest Fools S02E03: "Series 2, Episode 3"
WWE Raw S21E03: "Episode 1026"
Универ. Новая общага S04E01: "Season 4, Episode 1"