The third season finale of SoapNet’s time-tripping Canadian-born gem Being Erica on Wednesday took our title heroine back to her less-than-fantastic beginnings, but the resilient Erica came out the other side to pass Dr. Tom’s test and become a doctor in training. Below, series creator Jana Sinyor tackles the episode’s big questions and previews what’s ahead for the show’s fourth and final season, which she says aims “to tie up any loose ends and to give the audience closure.”

What’s Erica’s journey in Season 4 as a doctor in training? | “Season 4 is about coming full circle,” says Sinyor. “It’s about finding happiness and balance. … The regrets are done. [Erica’s] still learning about herself, but she’s learning about herself through how she’s helping as a doctor in training.” A more mature, healthy Erica will pave the way for the show to adopt a lighter tone. “We’re going to be putting a lot more comedy into the show in season 4,” explains Sinyor. “That’s not to say that some big stuff’s not going to happen.” And to reward loyal viewers, Erica will be “revisiting the most loved characters from the first three seasons,” promises Sinyor.

Who is Erica’s first patient? | The next season will pick up right where the finale left off  “with the reveal of who that is” with the gloved hand. “Erica’s first patient is somebody she knows,” teases Sinyor. “The discovery that this person is her patient is unbelievably shocking to Erica.” In addition to a patient, every doctor needs an office, and Erica’s will evolve into something that’s more reflective of who she is. “She ultimately settles on something that is quite different,” while keeping one element from the original design, explains Sinyor.

Find out more about what’s ahead for Erica, Julianne, Brent, Adam, etc. by reading the rest of my article at


Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / The CW

With only a handful of episodes left to go this season, “The Vampire Diaries” has a lot of answers to dole out and a lot of mythology to get through. In this week’s episode, simply titled “Klaus” — what else needs to be said, really? — the show managed to do a big info dump in highly entertaining and enlightening fashion. As usual, the surprises were aplenty, and I didn’t see them coming. The biggest ones came from Elijah’s (Daniel Gillies) twisty backstory of Klaus (Joseph Morgan). After pulling out the dagger, Elena (Nina Dobrev) gave Elijah her word that she’d tell him everything. He returned the favor, spilling the following reveals:

1. Elijah and Klaus are brothers. This is one that as soon as he said it, I kicked myself for not thinking of it sooner. “The Vampire Diaries” is very much about history repeating itself. At the center are two brothers who’ve twice been in love with the same girl. Of course Elijah and Klaus would be brothers also involved with the same girl, the very one who looks like the present-day version. But while Elijah seems like the Stefan (Paul Wesley) in this triangle, Klaus does not seem to care for Katherine (Dobrev) the way Damon (Ian Somerhalder) does for Elena.

2. The Sun and the Moon Curse is fake. The thing they’ve been fighting nearly all season? Not real, psych! Bold move, show. Klaus drew up the Aztec scrolls himself because nothing gets supernatural species looking for a doppelganger and a moonstone quicker than some ancient mumbo jumbo. Just as Elijah reveals this, Stefan calls Elena about Jenna (Sara Canning). She runs off to find her, but all I’m thinking is, “Screw Jenna! What do you mean it’s not real?! And why does he still want the doppelganger and the moonstone?”

3. Klaus is half vampire/half werewolf! Elijah told Elena that he and Klaus are the oldest vampires on earth and all other vampires come from them. How this is possible with human parents, Elijah dismisses as a long story. Then Elijah dropped the bombshell that Klaus is from a different bloodline, a blood of werewolves! Their mother had an affair. So that makes Klaus what exactly? A “deadly hybrid,” Elijah tells her. So deadly that the witches sought to restore balance to nature by making his werewolf side dormant, which is the real curse. And he wants to lift the curse because…

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

Photo Credit: Carin Baer / Fox

Despite the title of this week’s “How I Met Your Mother” – “Hopeless” – it seems things are not hopeless for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), who has a real epiphany about his life. Barney decides to bust Jerry (John Lithgow) out of the suburbs and take him on a wild night out on the town. For the purposes of the evening, he’s constructed new, cooler identities for his friends. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) now have an open marriage while Marshall is a womanizing playwright. Robin (Cobie Smulders) is a professional Scotch taster who’s dating Ted (Josh Radnor). “Oh man! Why?!” Robin whines. She, like viewers, must be getting tired of the show pulling out the Ted/Robin card every year just to mess with us. Barney explains that he can’t have any single female friends because then his dad will be like, “Why don’t you marry Robin? You guys were cut together. Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her.” Robin looks a little surprised, but the scene quickly moves on. Still, this little moment seems very loaded with possibility. Is that Barney’s subconscious speaking about his true feelings for Robin, the things he can’t even admit to himself? Is it foreshadowing that Robin and Barney are the ones getting married in the premiere wedding?

After a lengthy argument about where to go, filled with club names like Was, Lame, Open that really reminded me of the episode “Okay Awesome,” everyone ends up at Hopeless. Barney exclaims that he wants to hang out with Crazy Jerry, who told him to “never stop partying” when he was 6, not lame suburban Jerry. So Jerry downs a few shots and lets loose, but being a bit older, he does so in an incredibly embarrassing way that includes wearing his tie around his head and calling the club a disco. “This is awesome!” says Barney. “I finally know what it’s like to be embarrassed by my dad.” The two take the party to the streets, where Jerry rips a parking meter out of the ground, gets into an argument, and throws up on a police car. As Jerry and Barney sit on the curb in handcuffs, Jerry reveals that he’s not really drunk. It was all a sleight-of-hand aided by the fact that “a magician’s best friend is a drunk audience.” Jerry thought if he could show Barney what it’s like when you try to make the party go on forever, he’d realize he can’t do this forever.

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown / The CW

“I think I convinced myself he’s not real, but he is.” That’s how Elena (Nina Dobrev) described Klaus (currently a very clearly gleeful Matt Davis) on the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries.” And boy, did the threat of Klaus become real in “The Last Dance” as Klaus took over Alaric’s body and began to terrorize Elena, her friends and even her enemies. Klaus did a number on Katherine (Dobrev), who practically jumped out of her skin when he got close. It was a startling sight to see Katherine so unnerved. Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone thought Katherine was their biggest problem? How far we’ve come… Katherine had good reason to be scared. Klaus is a pretty sadistic bastard, who compelled her to stab herself over and over. He also compelled her to get the 411 on Elena and Alaric’s background, including his currently M.I.A girlfriend Jenna (Sara Canning). I was disappointed we didn’t get a Klaus-as-Alaric (Klausric?) and Jenna confrontation. But I was even more disappointed that Jenna seems to have disappeared from the show. Just when she finally learned something true and had story potential, she went away to stew at the library. This is the time when Jenna should start to dig and demand, not disappear.

Klaus used his new human disguise to infiltrate Elena’s circle, even stepping in to teach Alaric’s history class. In Alaric’s body, Klaus doesn’t need permission to enter Elena’s new home, the Salvatore mansion. Pretty ingenious, and clearly he had designs on Alaric’s body for a reason. He strolls right in and powwows with the group about how to kill Klaus. Bonnie (Katerina Graham) basically says, “Bring it!” She’s powerful enough to take him. Klaus’ human body is not as powerful, but his minion helpfully suggests a protection spell and a game of chicken. He just has to keep provoking Bonnie until she over-exerts herself and dies. Witch problem solved.

At the 60s dance, Klaus continues his taunting spree before compelling some students to attack Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) while he goes after Bonnie and Elena.

“You’re not on my hit list tonight,” he says to Elena before looking at Bonnie. “But you are.”

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

Jason Katims has been bringing slices of life to television since 1994 when he was a story editor and writer on ABC’s short-lived but beloved teen drama My So-Called Life. He wrote three episodes of the series, including the fan favorite “Life Of Brian,” bringing the often painful, awkward experience of being a teenager to life with vividness and honesty. He took a look at twentysomethings next, creating Relativity for ABC in 1996. When the series was canceled after 17 episodes, Katims went back to what he knew best: teenagers. He took the lessons he learned on My So-Called Life to make teenage alienation literal with the teen-alien drama Roswell and to walk the halls of Boston Public. But it wasn’t until 2006 that Katims helped nurture a slice of life not often seen on TV: As an executive producer on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, he took viewers to Dillon, Texas, a place where football is the town religion. Then in 2010, he entered the world of the Bravermans to explore what Parenthood means today. Katims recently spoke to The A.V. Club about juggling Parenthood’s sprawling cast, writing teenagers for TV, and saying goodbye to Friday Night Lights, which returns to NBC for its final season April 15. (The season already ran on DirecTV, and is available now on DVD.)

The A.V. Club: Parenthood has really been hitting its stride in the last few episodes; it’s gotten a little bit more dramatic in tone. Is this a new direction?

Jason Katims: Not really. I think a similar thing happened in the first season. If you look at the first season, it evolved so that, in the last group of episodes, it got more dramatic and got more grounded. I think it was partly the show finding its voice, but it was also partly that we had been leading up to more dramatic storylines. For example, the thing in last season with Amber going out with Steve. That wouldn’t have been a big story if we hadn’t first seen Haddie kind of fall for Steve and connect with him. This year, I think it’s similar to that, where a lot of the storylines that we’re exploring have been slowly built up. The stakes are built up. Things have started to explode. So I think in one way, it seems to be the nature of the show, where it tends to build toward a more dramatic place. I think the show always sort of rides a line between the more comedic and the more dramatic storylines. I wouldn’t want to forsake the comedy in the show, because I think that’s a really nice aspect, but when it gets to these stories now, the comedy tends to be less and the focus gets shifted a little bit more toward the dramatic storylines. So I don’t feel like it’s changed. I do feel like the show has hit a stride. I’m really proud of these episodes. To me, it doesn’t feel too heightened or melodramatic. They all seem to be stories that would happen in the lives of these characters.

Read the rest of my interview with Jason Katims about Parenthood and Friday Night Lights (and a little bit My So-Called Life) at The A.V. Club.

Much earlier this year, I got to visit the set of ABC’s new comedy Happy Endings. It was so early, in fact, that the series, which follows a group of friends dealing with one couple’s breakup at the wedding altar, didn’t even have a premiere date yet. The cast chimed with their timeslot pick – Wednesdays after Modern Family, of course.

Working without a premiere date is just par for the course for Eliza Coupe (Scrubs), who plays Jane, the straight-laced sister of Alex (Elisha Cuthbert of 24), aka the one who left her fiance at the altar. “That’s kind of my M.O.,” explained Coupe. “I was on a HBO show [12 Miles of Bad Road]. We shot six episodes. It was like, ‘This is going to be the greatest thing!’ I was playing Lily Tomlin’s daughter. The whole thing was amazing. And then it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to do that.’” And then there’s the ninth season of Scrubs, Coupe added, which had its own ups and downs. “The UK really loves it,” she joked.

But the cast got its wish (sort of) with Happy Endings. The series will make its debut after Modern Family this Wednesday, April 13, at 9:30 p.m. with two back-to-back episodes before moving to its regular timeslot of Wednesdays at 10 p.m. next week. To gear up for the show’s premiere, I present 5 things to know about ABC’s Happy Endings:

1. The cast maintains that Happy Endings is different from the plethora of friends-in-different-stages-of-relationships comedies this season (Perfect Couples, Traffic Light, Mad Love, and the unseen Friends With Benefits). “I think the fact that we are a group of friends that deals with an actual, huge breakup sets the tone for a pretty unconventional relationship, especially between the two that broke up,” said Coupe. “We all have to take sides. … It’s just a very current dynamic of individuals coming together or being together and then having to deal with that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

As “How I Met Your Mother” nears the end of its season — there are just four episodes left!— the issues that have been lying dormant in Ted (Josh Radnor) and Zoey’s (Jennifer Morrison) relationship are starting to surface. Since becoming friends and then something more, the two have been getting along pretty well even though they were on opposite sides at the beginning of the season. Although future Ted confirmed their inevitable breakup, things had been going pretty smoothly for the couple. But executive producer Craig Thomas teased to me that their issues regarding the Arcadian would complicate their relationship. It was nice to finally see that brought up onscreen with this week’s episode.

But the Arcadian is not the only thing Ted and Zoey argue about. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) brings up their constant screaming matches, which Ted calls “growing matches.” They dispute everything: Sex moves, who should hang up first, even “Tommy Boy.” Not everybody can be “one hermaphroditic blob” like Lily and Marshall (Jason Segel). Lily’s response: “Marshall and I have been together for 15 years, and the only debate we’ve had about ‘Tommy Boy’ is whether it’s awesome or super awesome. That’s love, bitch.”

When Marshall finally quits his job and takes a nonpaid position saving the environment, Lily is completely supportive. Ted thinks her giant anime eyes give away the truth: She’s not OK with Marshall’s choice. Lily counters that his feminine mouth gives away his true feelings. It’s saying, “Zoey, why can’t I be on top just this once?” Lily mimics in a little-girl voice, which actually kind of sounds like an anime character. But they’re still friends, so she admits that even though Ted and Zoey’s relationship is different, that doesn’t mean it’s not right.

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

Photo Credit: Quantrell Colbert / The CW

Hiatuses can be difficult, but the great thing about “The Vampire Diaries” is that the show always makes it worth the wait. Tonight’s episode, “Know Thy Enemy,” wasted no time getting down to business and was full of surprise twists I didn’t see coming. You’d think at this point, I’d be able to telegraph a few twists, but nope. I credit the writers with creating some of TV’s most shocking, thrilling hours. Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s biggest reveals:

John (David Anders) and Isobel (Mia Kirshner) have hearts! After giving Jenna (Sara Canning) a shock by showing up on her doorstep, Isobel (and John) had a chat with Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley), who seemed to take some pleasure in telling Damon (Ian Somerhalder) to call Alaric (Matt Davis) and “let him know that his wife showed up on his girlfriend’s doorstep.” They claimed to be working to protect Elena. All those vampires that died during Founders’ Day? That was to help Elena (and a nice tieback to Season 1’s mythology). They couldn’t risk word getting back to Klaus that Katherine (Dobrev) was alive. After the events of the hour went down, the cold, unfeeling Isobel from last season seemed to have been replaced by a woman who truly regretted not getting to know her daughter. And then, in a surprisingly touching moment, John offered to do whatever it takes to keep Elena safe, even if that means leaving town. She declined his offer because he’s the only parent she has left and maybe she could learn not to hate him. (Is it just me or did Damon seem bemused by the indestructible John? I loved the way he kept tossing him around. John is the (semi-redeemed) cockroach that won’t die!)

Read the rest of my recap at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown / The CW

Raise your hand if your excitement for new episodes of “The Vampire Diaries,” kicking off tonight on the CW, is equally matched by your anxiety and fear about what’s to come. After chatting with Katerina Graham, who plays witch Bonnie, Show Tracker is definitely scared for the safety of Mystic Falls’ residents. Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) life is in jeopardy, and that means Bonnie will do anything she can to help her, according to Graham. Including risking her own life? In the interview below, Graham talks about the dangers ahead, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and Bonnie’s new relationship, friendship onscreen and offscreen between the show’s leading ladies, “an amazing scene” between Bonnie and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and much more. She also hints at the return of a familiar face.

I have to ask you about the video you posted on YouTube of you and Candice Accola dancing to “Holiday.”

You know what’s so funny is that Candice and I go to dance class all the time, and we usually never film it. Just out of privacy for each other, we don’t film the stuff we do, but Candice was like, “We have to film this class!” So she actually got her phone and we literally filmed it on her phone. She did try to post it on Twitter, but we had to upload it on YouTube first. I don’t think she has a YouTube account, so we just did it on mine. [Laughs] It was just really fun, you know what I mean? It wasn’t like planned. It was just very real and very much how we are together. We’re very goofy. We’re very fun. We’re happy girls, you know. We do hang out! People are like always surprised that actresses hang out with each other, but me, Candice, Nina, Sara [Canning] — we’re pretty solid.

When I talked to [executive producer] Julie Plec, she made it clear that keeping Elena safe from Klaus [Joseph Morgan] is the No. 1 priority in the final episodes. What lengths is Bonnie willing to go to to save her friend?

Anything. Elena is the only family she has left. So imagine if that was you and that was the only real family that you had left. What would you do for them? I know I would do anything for mine. Bonnie’s no different. If it had been anybody else given the responsibility and the secret of how to kill Klaus, I think that, hopefully, any other character would have done the same thing.

Read the rest of my interview with Katerina Graham at the L.A. Times Show Tracker blog.

What’s this? A WB Wednesday post? It’s been almost an entire year since my last one, but a certain CW show (and a Twitter convo with @TVandDinners) inspired me. What does that have to do with the WB? To explain that, I have to start with Gossip Girl. It’s been a long time since I’ve cared about the series, but I can honestly say I’m ridiculously, anxiously excited for the show’s return on April 18th. And it has everything to do with Dan and Blair. Throughout the seasons, I’ve thought they shared great scenes — their heart to heart in season 1’s “Bad News Blair,” teaming up to take down Georgina and Juliet, to name a few — and have been intrigued by the idea of them as a couple. But I never imagined that the series would actually go there. After discovering the chemistry between Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick and the delicious push and pull of the Chuck/Blair relationship, it seemed the writers had found their ship. And I was fine with that. While I’ve never liked Chuck as a character, I can’t deny that Chuck and Blair make for a great TV couple and are infinitely more watchable than some of the show’s other couples.

But then Gossip Girl threw a curveball at me with the growing Dan/Blair friendship. Suddenly, I found myself caring about the about the show again and looked forward to new episodes. I was smitten. And I might not be the only one. In the last new episode, the two decided to test their new friendship with a kiss, leaving fans waiting anxiously for new episodes. Is it a passing thing? A real relationship? Will the writers seriously pursue Dan and Blair romantically? Or is the pairing just a speed bump in Chuck and Blair’s journey? If Dan and Blair spark and win over viewers, can the show’s presumed endgame — Chuck and Blair — change? Would that be too big of a change? Would it be a violation of the show’s previously established universe?

Pilots try very hard to establish the universe of show — the characters, the conflicts, the couples — so it’s rare for a show to deviate wildly from the established One True Pairing. But it does happen. Things don’t work out as envisioned, chemistry is discovered, and actors bring things to life the writers may not have considered. A couple examples come to mind: Veronica/Logan on Veronica Mars, Buffy/Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the biggest one of all, Pacey/Joey on Dawson’s Creek.

Read the rest of this entry »