So I finally bit the bullet (or drank the coolaid depending on your viewpoint) and signed up to LinkedIn – and I have to admit I think its pretty cool.

For anyone who doesn’t know, LinkedIn is essentially a professional/business social networking site designed to allow you to manage your professional circle. (think facebook for people with jobs!). You can invite anyone you know to join your circle, and in return that (usually) gives you access to that persons circle – and so on.

Certainly of more use to people in certain types of jobs that others, though that said its probably a site which every professional should consider signing up to.

The CW Upfronts.

Returning : 90210, GG, OTH, Life Unexpected, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Smallville (for whats confirmed as being the last season).

Cancelled/Finished : Melrose Place.

New Shows : Hellcats : about a college cheerleading squad. mhmmmm .. cheerleaders! Nikita : Starring Maggie Q as the assasin who goes rogue.

CBS Upfronts

Returning : HIMYM, 2aaHM, NCIS, NCIS : LA, Good Wife, Criminal Minds, TBBT, CSI*, Mentalist, Medium

Cancelled/Finished : Cold Case, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, Accidently on Purpose, Gary Unmarried, Old Christine

New Shows : Mike & Molly : A comedy about fatties who fall in love at overeaters-anonymous? $#*! My Dad Says : starring William Shatner as an overly opinionated Father (parents groups are already up in arms about the name – which for the record is pronounced Bleep My.. )  Defenders : starring Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi as Vegas-based defense attorneys. Blue Bloods : Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan star in this drama about an irish new york police clan. Hawaii Five-o : expect surf, sands and hotness (Grace Park woot!). Criminal Minds Spinoff : coming midseason.

Of these, the ones that caught my eye were :

PS : CBS do pants trailers.

ABC upfronts

Over at ABC we have :

Returning : Castle, The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Greys, Private Practice, DH

Cancelled/Finished : FlashForward, Better Off Ted, The Deep End, The Forgotten, Happy Town, Romantically Challenged, Scrubs, and Lost of course.

New shows include : No Ordinary Family: an hour-long light drama starring Michael Chiklis about a family that develops superpowers after their plane crashes in the Amazon River. (The incredibles anyone?)  Detroit 1-8-7: its an NYPD Blue’esque cop drama shot as a documentary following a Detroit homicide unit starring Michael Imperioli of Sopranos’. Body of Proof: with Dana Delany as an unconventional ME; Half medical drama – half cop show by the looks of it. Also stars Jerri Ryan. The Whole Truth : A new legal drama staring Joely Richardson. With Another medical drama, Off the Map, looking at a lot like Greys-abroad coming midseason along with Matthew Perry’s new comedy Mr Sunshine.

http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/05/abc-video-mr-sunshine-detroit.html

Of all these, the ones that caught my eye were :

Fox upfronts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eF3GRPPAXEDecidedly less change over at FOX.

Returning shows include : House, Glee, Bones, Lie To Me, Fringe, Human Target

Exit stage left for : 24, Sons of Tucson and Dollhouse (from mid season)

New Shows : Lonestar, a drama following a Texas-based con artist juggling lives and wives in two different cities, Raising Hope, a sitcom about a 25-year-old slacker who suddenly finds himself playing single dad, and Running Wilde, a comedy about a selfish, filthy rich Beverly Hills guy who falls in love with a charity-minded environmentalist …hmmm. Ridealong : the new Shawn Ryan cop show set in chicago. They also announced a mid season spot for Spielbergs Terra Nova – about a family from 100 years in the future that travels 150m years back in time! (it all seems very land of the lost’y to me).

Most of the clips are available here : http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/05/fox-upfront-clips.html

Catching the eye :

NBC Upfronts

This week was upfronts, where all the major broadcast networks pitch their wares for the upcoming season.

First up was NBC – who after last years disastrous Jay-Leno-Prime-Time experiment – has lots of hours to fill. They announced 8 new shows for the fall – with another 6 in the wings as mid season replacements.

Some of those new Fall shows include – The Event, about a guy who uncovers a massive government cover-up while trying to locate his missing fiancee; Chase, a Jerry-Bruckheimer-produced cop-action show about U.S. marshals hunting naughty fugitives; Undercovers, a J.J. Abrams creation about a husband-and-wife team of CIA agents; Law & Order: Los Angeles, a Californian spin on bleh bleh bleh; and Outlaw, which stars Jimmy Smits as a U.S. Supreme-Court justice who quits and to opes a private practice defending the little guy in big court cases.

NBC is also adding two new comedies – Outsourced, a half-hour sitcom that follows a middle-management type from the American midwest to India to train his replacement after his job his shipped overseas, and Love Bites – from team behind Love Actually and Bridget Jones diary.

NBC’s list of returning series includes Chuck, Parenthood, Law & Order: SVU, Community, 30 Rock, The Office and Parks and Recreation (mid-season).

The network announced last week that the original Law & Order will not be renewed for a 21st season; also being dropped are two rookie medical dramas, Trauma and Mercy, and  Heroes ofc..

You can catch full trailers for all of NBC’s new shows here : http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/05/nbc-trailers-shows-.html

One’s that caught my eye were :

VHI Ad

For the benefit of those who have yet to see it (likely those who refuse to own a TV) – here for posterity (and for the general annoyance value its likely to cause) … is Elaine’s 15 minutes of fame! :P

TCA Winter Tour

The Television Critics Association’s (TCA) biannual Press Tour has been going on since Saturday. It’s typically a shindig where all the networks and their stars come out to shop their warez, talk about upcoming projects and generally to get people to love em …

Notable highlights so far included (in no particular order)…

Showtime talked about The Borgias, a new series about the notorious Renaissance-era family. Jeremy Irons will star as Rodrigo Borgia, the family’s patriarch, in his first series-regular role. It’ll essentially be filling the Tudors boots, which is due to finish up this year.

Most everyone took the opportunity to laugh and point at NBC and their failed prime-time Jay Leno experiment (Its being pulled from its 10PM slot starting Feb 12th). The silver lining of course is that NBC will be commissioning a shedload of new pilots to come up with the shows required to fill the 5 prime time hours Leno will be vacating.

Showtime reminded us all that United States of Tara is due back in March. Expect the family to be at least one member bigger.

Life Unexpected is coming to The CW on Jan 18th, apparently the critics already love it. Will anyone else though… ?

Expect Eric Kripe to have 30 pieces of silver dangled in front of him in an attempt to force a turnabout vis a vis his longstanding assertion that Supernatural would run for 5 seasons and no more.

Watch out for Jack Black appearing in an upcoming episode of Community, Sharon Stone in 4 eps of L&O:SVU, Dawson arrives at Mercy general for 8 eps and Kathy Bates to appear in an ep of The Office .. hmmm ..

Heroes will almost certainly get another season on NBC thanks to the Leno fall-out.

You might recall that during the upfronts I mentioned a show called Day One, which I figured was a sort of Jericho’esqe clone. Well it had been originally slated as a mid-season replacement with an order of 13 eps. That was later shortened to a 4 ep mini-series, and this week we learn that’ll it’ll actually air as just a two hour movie. Wouldn’t surprise me to see it get turned into a full season order (again) for next year if it isn’t totally shit, given the number of holes NBC has to fill.

Network chiefs are talking about bringing us Law and Order : Los Angeles. Cos you know, what we really need is MOAR L&O!!

Deal or no Deal’s Howie Mandel, will be stepping in to replace The Hoff on America’s got Talent.

Watch out for the new Jerry Seinfeld produced “the marriage ref” due to hit screens after the winter Olympics. It’s a comedy-reality hybrid with the trappings of a sports show — including announcer Marv Albert — which takes squabbles between married couples and settle them once and for all via the Marriage Ref, comedian Tom Papa. A panel of celebrities will also watch the taped arguments and try to sway Papa’s decision.

GLEE is to be picked up for a second season. Unsurprisingly. (PS : if you haven’t watched GLEE, seriously consider giving it a go).

Bones turns 100 in April with a Boreanaz directed ep recounting their first ever case working together. Pffft, it doesn’t sound like no Criminal Minds “head in a box” moment …

As has been well reported in the dailies here, Cowell is done with American Idol for now, so that he can work on bringing X-Factor to the states. Both shows will be on Fox. XF pre xmas, and AI remaining in its post xmas slot. Remains to be seen how they can differentiate the two brands.

Other networks (including Fox) are apparently circling like vultures around NBC in the hope of poaching Conan (who is possibly peeved at the likely timeslot bump he’ll be getting).

And finally, to mark last nights 100th Ep of How I Met Your Mother, here’s some of the cast speaking at the TCA Press tour about their favourite moments of the show .. More info, including interview here.

Wii Homebrew.

Like so many people I know, I’ve had a Wii for going on two years now but never really used it in anger. (Blame the Xbox and PS3 for that). So this weekend, with little to lose (save for the possiblity of bricking a Wii I barely use anyway) I decided to take the plunge and install some homebrew.

Following GAFS’s Wii Homebrew guide (to the letter) together with a 2 gig SD card I pick up in argos for about €10, a few hours later I was the proud owner of a Wii capable of playing downloaded iso’s directly off a USB-HD plugged in the back. The guide is pretty straightforward and handy enough to follow, though I’d caution against rushing into anything without reading each section in advance in its entirety.

By the end of the guide, with USB Loader installed in the Homebrew channel I was a little lost with regards how to properly format the usb device and load the iso’s onto it. The answer to this turned out to be this handy app which takes care of all those issues.

All six games I loaded onto the usb drive worked perfectly first time.. and so I’ll admit I’m a pretty happy camper (or is that Wii’per?)

|EDIT| If you want to store your games on a drive formatted as FAT rather than WBFS, check out Wii Backup Manager

Avatar

James Cameron has done his damndest to break the cinematic mold (once again) with his latest movie Avatar. The idea has apparently been rattling around inside his brain for nigh on 15 years, although technological limitations meant that he had to wait before attempting to make it. And now with a reported budget of $300M, 2000 different staffers and 3 and half years in the making…. it’s here. And its amazing.

Avatar tells the story of Jake Sully (Australian actor Sam Worthington), an ex-marine who arrives on Pandora, a distant moon, as part of a giant corporate effort to mine the hugely valuable unobtainium. Standing in the way is the indigenous population of Na’vi, a nature loving race who refuse to cooperate. In an attempt to reach some diplomatic solution to the problem Dr Grace Ausgustine (Weaver) has a developed a program that creates avatars, genetically engineered hybrids between human and Na’vi DNA, basically human minds in Na’vi bodies. Sully is one of these human minds, and sets out on a dual mission of both bonding with the Na’vi and gathering intel for the impending military operation.

What follows is an outrageously beautiful piece of moviemaking which demands to be seen on the big screen. The mix of live-action and cgi is seamless with the Na’vi so realistic that you never question the fact that they are as real as the human characters. The forests of Pandora are alive with a huge array of exotic creatures and wildlife and teeming with an amazing collection of creatures big and small. The 3D is generally understated, never feeling the need to resort the usual cheap tricks we tend to see, but instead simply adding to the overall experience.

The story is not exactly original, drawing on Dances with Wolves amongst others, but its a classic tale which survives retelling. Running time is just over 2 hours and 40 minutes, and does feel a tad sluggish in the middle though that’s easily forgiven thanks to the awesome visuals. Any other criticisms would be nitpicking for the sake of it, and so I won’t bother.

Put simply, you NEED to go see this movie in the cinema. See it on the biggest screen you can and see it soon. Afterwards you’re likely to question the originality of the story-line, though you’ll never question its incredible delivery or indeed your decision to see it.