Third Annual Nerd HQ Sells Out in Minutes – Remains Hot Supplement to Comic-Con

It didn’t take long for the entire lineup of the Third Annual Nerd HQ to sell out at Comic-Con. Even after moving to a larger venue, Petco Park, tickets to see intimate panels for BBC America’s Orphan Black and Doctor Who, I, Frankenstein, PBS Sherlock, Syfy’s Haven, USA’s Psych, Joss Whedon, Joe Manganiello, The Maze Runner, and 300: Rise of an Empire sold out within minutes of the noon time sale Thursday on Brown Paper Tickets.  The only panel that still had tickets available as of 12:30 PST was the Thrilling Adventure Hour panel on July 20 at 11:30am. These are additional panels that are separate from the panels that would be conducted at the San Diego Convention Center and seats were extremely limited.

Individual tickets cost $22 and each panel features either unmoderated discussions with one speaker such as Whedon and Manganiello, or a conversation with leading cast members and creators of the shows listed above including Tatiana Maslany, Steven Moffat, Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne, Strahovski, Eva Green, Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Emily Rose, James Roday and Dule Hill. By making separate tickets available, Nerd HQ is opened to Comic-Con attendees as well as those who were locked out of the convention this year. Advance tickets also bypassed the worry of long lines and almost ensures a memorable and personable experience. Fear not though, the panels will eventually be broadcasted over Nerd Machine’s Youtube Channel.

Proceeds from ticket sales go to Operation Smile, a charity that provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe.

Forget Elementary, More Sherlock on the way – Cumberbatch thumbs-up fourth series

If you can’t stop yourself from saying, “meh,” at the end of every episode of Elementary, it’s probably because you’re a fan of BBC’s grittier, more robust Sherlock series.

While CBS’s Sherlock Holmes, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, may lack the depth of Sherlock, it more than makes up for the void with its healthy, broadcast episode count.

After every short, three episode series of Sherlock, fans are always left waiting another year for more.

Thankfully, Sherlock and Star Trek star Benedict Cumberbatch has confirmed a fourth season of BBC’s acclaimed show.

According to the Radio Times, Cumberbatch said that both he and co-star Martin Freeman will return to sleuthing for a fourth go-round.

“We’ve agreed to two more series but I could get into trouble for saying that,” Cumberbatch said at the South Bank Show Awards.

Season 3 begins filming its 3-episode arc on March 18. Cumberbatch said that he has signed on for those three episodes (and if you know Sherlock, which you should, the episodes are more akin to 90-minute movies) and an additional three.

Sherlock returns for its third series this Fall.

Emmy Nominations – Who Got Served and Who Got Screwed Again

Emmys Banner

The 2012 Emmy nominations have been announced and we’ve got all of the major categories listed as well as our initial, emotional reactions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Boardwalk Empire
Mad Men
Game of Thrones

Reaction: What’s to debate here? All deserve it to some degree. Even in a down season, Downton Abbey is still phenomenal television, even if it’s not your cup of tea. My only gripe is that last year Abbey was considered a Miniseries and now they take the place of an equally deserving show. Nothing is budging Breaking Bad or Mad Men, and there’s no one else more thrilled to see Homeland and Game of Thrones included. Boardwalk Empire belongs too, but again, Sons of Anarchy will sadly never be in the Emmy conversation for whatever reason even though this past season wasn’t its most consistent. There were series that were going to be left on the outside looking in and SOA, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead and Justified were left out this year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men
Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey
Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law
Claire Danes – Homeland
Glenn Close – Damages

Reaction: There is nothing but rage, absolute rage. Someone please take Bates out and place Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal! It’s absolute B.S. And where’s Sarah Michelle Gellar for playing dual roles in Ringer. I’m kidding about that last comment, people, I’m kidding.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Reaction: It’s a glorious day to see Anna Gunn break into the category and get some recognition for Skylar White. It’s well-deserved and been a long time coming. Downton Abbey was a bit too soapy for me this past season but I can see why Smith and Froggatt are nominated. The Good Wife is filled with great actresses up and down that cast so there was no doubt that Baranski and Panjabi were going to be nominated. No Joelle Carter this year, but if all goes right, next year could be her year knowing her potential storylines in Justified.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Joan Cusack – Shameless
Uma Thurman – Smash
Julia Ormond – Mad Men
Loretta Devine – Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart – Harry’s Law
Martha Plimpton – The Good Wife

Reaction: Good choices, especialy with Plimpton and Cusack. Thurman was one of the few memorable things about Smash, but does anyone believe that show qualifies as a Drama series? It’s more like a comedy…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
Jon Hamm – Mad Men
Damien Lewis – Homeland

Reaction: This is one of the toughest categories year in and year out. Anything Homeland is hot, but Cranston is putting on a clinic each week on Breaking Bad. Hall is getting a bit long in the tooth in this category and is a bit outclassed, so I would have cheered more had Fringe’s John Noble took his place who is long overdue for some recognition for playing a dozen versions of his character Walter Bishop. We still love you, John. And Timothy Olyphant was also left out for what was his finest season as Raylan Givens.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle – Downton Abbey
Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
Jared Harris – Mad Men
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones

Reaction: Again, a knockout category and I’m glad I don’t have a vote for this one. Harris had a season to remember, and I’ve never rooted for an antagonist before like I did with Esposito’s Gus Fring. What’s not to love about Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister? And both Carter and Coyle are strong on Abbey but I’m surprised not to see Alan Cumming from The Good Wife, also no Walton Goggins for Justified? Bah!

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis – Breaking Bad
Jeremy Davies – Justified
Jason Ritter – Parenthood
Ben Feldman – Mad Men
Dylan Baker – The Good Wife

Reaction: How the hell do you leave Neal McDonough off this list? What an absolute crime! He deserves the spot more than fellow Justified guest, Jeremy Davies who is great on the show, but McDonough was riveting. We’ll be rooting for Breaking Bad‘s Mark Margolis (DING! DING! DING!) who got to finally step out of the wheelchair and show people a great performance in the Breaking Bad episode, “Hermanos.” Ritter who got no respect in The Event, did remind people of his talent in Parenthood.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields and McCoys

Reaction: Even with Downton Abbey leaving this category, it still stacked. BBC is well represented with Luther and Sherlock. American Horror Story qualified and that helped it not to get lost in the Drama series. I’m glad it’s recognized. Hatfields and McCoys made a late charge and it’s fresh on voters’ minds.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Connie Britton – American Horror Story
Ashley Judd – Missing
Nicole Kidman – Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore – Game Change
Emma Thompson – The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Reaction: Lots of reliable Academy and fan favorites make this category extremely competitive this season, but something tells me that Moore will get it for portraying Sarah Palin. Judd’s action role in the canceled Missing, AKA TV’s Taken, is a bit of a odd pick.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kevin Costner – Hatfield & McCoys
Idris Elba – Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Woody Harrelson – Game Change
Bill Paxton – Hatfield & McCoys
Clive Owen – Hemmingway & Gellhorn

Reaction: – Connect yourself to Ernest Hemmingway in any way, shape or form and you will get attention. I’ll be rooting for either of the BBC representatives in Elba and Cumberbatch because both are so clearly distinct in the massive sea of good television.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ed Harris –  Game Change
Denis O’Hare –  American Horror Story
David Strathairn –  Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Tom Berenger – Hatfields & McCoys

Reaction: I’ll admit to seeing only Freeman and O’Hare, who I both enjoyed for different reasons. Knowing this Academy, Harris is the front runner in portraying McCain.

Outstanding Host in Reality TV
Tom Bergeron – Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley – So YOu Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan – The Amazing Race
Betty White – Off Their Rockers
Ryan Seacrest – American Idol

Reaction: I’m rooting for White. I am not afraid to admit that I watch this show and yes, I do think it’s funny. Also, does anyone really care about the rest of these puppets?

Outstanding Reality – Competition
Dancing With the Stars
The Amazing Race
Top Chef
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Project Runway

Reaction: If we’re talking reality here, why is Dancing with the Stars here? The Voice could be roped into that strange celeb/reality blend too because in all honesty, our eyes are on what Christina Aguilera will wear and say next. The Amazing Race will be the odds on favorite, as usual, especially with Survivor being absent. I’ll still be rooting Top Chef and Project Runway but again, Survivor’s absence is a big surprise. Let’s just be thankful that American Idol wasn’t nominated.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Daily Show
Colbert Report
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Reaction: It’s the usual suspects except Conan O’Brien is missing. That move to TBS has not done much for Conan outside of security. It seems like everyone’s forgotten what network he’s moved to. I also don’t think this was one of SNL’s better years either.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Julia Louise-Dreyfus – VEEP
Lena Dunham -Girls
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly

Reaction: The Academy is in love with Fey, Poehler, and McCarthy. Fey can do no wrong despite 30 Rock not currently being as great as the earlier seasons. Poehler and Parks and Rec probably had its best season, and it’s probably no coincidence that both that and Veep’s  leads were nominated in an election year. Well played HBO and NBC. I like Deschanel, but I’m surprised she got nominated, then again, I’m not. Dunham and Falco are no surprises here after their seasons but I feel like this category is missing some stronger candidates.  Also no Alison Brie and no Krysten Ritter… double sigh. Waitaminute, does anyone else notice how they got seven nominations when most others had only six? Lots of gripes are going to come at this one…

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Merritt Wever – Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives

Reaction: When is the Academy going to grow some balls and nominate Kaitlin Olson for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? I’m eye-rolling at the Modern Family nods but mildly applauding Bialik’s nomination. Wiig is the only thing that saves SNL half the time and I have to admit that I never been desperate enough to tune into Housewives since the first season. Where are the girls of Happy Endings? Cheryl Hines or Allie Grant of Suburgatory? Bah! The comedy nominations get me pissed every single year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Louis C.K. – Louie
Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Reaction: People need to stop recognizing Two and a Half Men, seriously. Every time Cryer and this show are recognized, it shows why Hollywood keeps making brain dead comedies for the networks. Parsons, Baldwin, and David were almost written in months ago. Snooze. Here’s where Louis C.K. gets his nomination along with his writing and directing. Him winning would be an incredible upset knowing these voters, but there’s no one else who actually deserves it more than him.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Bill Hader – SNL
Max Greenfield – New Girl

Reaction: Again, no disrespect to MF, but the Academy should be ashamed at nominating four goddmamn actors from one show in one category. There are other shows out there you know. Damon Wayans Jr. should be on this list. Also Nick Kroll from The League should be here and I also think that Garrett Dillahunt deserves a nomination for Raising Hope. Want another diss? How about James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. Hell, anyone but a Modern Family cast member–this season anyway.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Curb Your ENthusiasm
30 Rock
Modern Family

Reaction: Wow, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a resurgence in the comedy awards. Was hoping Louie would crack this category once and for all but somehow 30 Rock got yet another nomination even though it’s been sitting in park for the last few seasons. The same could be said about Modern Family. I’m not sure if Archer entered as a comedy or animated series, but it should be here nonetheless. Wilfred is a cutting edge show that requires more thought than just laughing straight jokes but it seems to go over many heads. Episodes was another snubbed victim. VEEP and Girls took away spots normally held by network comedies and that’s nice, but Louie still deserves to be in this category and so does Community. Booooooo!

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad – Hot Water
The Penguins of Madagascar – The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole
Futurama – The Tip of the Zoidberg
Bob’s Burgers – BurgerBoss
The Simpsons – Holidays of Future Passed

Reaction: Where’s Archer? One episode of Archer is more entertaining than all of the nominees back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program
Regular Show – Eggscellent
Adventure Time – Too Young
Disney Phineas and Ferb – The Doonkleberry Imperative
Robot Chicken – Fight Club Paradise
Mad – Kitchen Nightmare Before Christmas / How I Met Your Mummy

Reaction: Knowing that Adventure Time, Regular Show, Mad and Robot Chicken all have nominations this year but Sons of Anarchy doesn’t sums up the type of twisted turmoil happiness and anger bestowed on people like us who follow television.


Other notable nominations and notes:

  • In the comedy writing category, both Community (Remedial Chaos Theory) and Louie (Pregnant) got nominations. So essentially the Butterfly Effect and TV’s longest fart joke got nominated. See how random the Emmys can be?
  • Louis C.K. also got a directing nomination for “Duckling” which may have been the greatest half hour of television last year.
  • Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan got a directing nomination for the series climax, “Face Off”
  • Mad Men dominated the drama writing category with three nominations; Homeland picked up one too for its Pilot.
  • Nominated for Main Title Design: FX’s American Horror Story’s creepy opening, Cinemax’s Strike Back, Starz Magic City, PBS’ Great Expectation, and Fox’s New Girl that lasts less than 10 seconds. How is Game of Thrones not nominated?
  • Burt Reynolds did not get an Emmy nomination for Voice-Over performance in Archer. Dammit!

Well, those are our initial reactions, want to share yours? For a complete list of the Emmy Nominations including the technical categories, click here.

Blast Off #13: ‘Elementary’ Vs. BBC’s ‘Sherlock’

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes is getting a facelift in a major way this fall in the new series Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, on CBS.

sherlock holmes cbs elementary

But will Sir Doyle be rolling in his grave when he sees the new series? In the 13th Team Focus Blast Off, BuzzFocus Community Manager Ernie Estrella and I discuss the latest news on Elementary, the CBS modernization of the Sherlock Holmes saga, which will be set in New York City. In the wake of the current BBC Sherlock series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, we look at key differences between Sherlock and Elementary – most notably Liu as Watson. We also explore all the things that made Sherlock great and what pitfalls showrunner Rob Doherty should avoid in order to reach the same success as Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Listen to the latest Team Focus Blast Off and let us know your thoughts on CBS’ Elementary, slated for a Fall 2012 premiere, Vs. BBC’s Sherlock, currently heading into its third season.
Listen now:

Tune in weekly by Subscribing to our Podcast on iTunes.

‘Dexter’ Villain Jonny Lee Miller to Star as Sherlock Holmes on CBS’ Adaptation ‘Elementary’

Fans of BBC’s Sherlock Will Soon Moan & Groan at New NYC Adaptation of Holmes series.


New York City is gearing up to receive the greatest detective of all time (well, next to Batman aka The Dark Knight).

According to Deadline, Dexter villain Jonny Lee Miller has been cast as the legendary Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective, Sherlock Holmes. The new series is titled Elementary. It follows suit of the BBC Sherlock series, re-imagining Sherlock for the modern era, except this series will feature a Sherlock that has moved on to New York City.

The British actor recently appeared in London, starring in the stage version of Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein. He received the best actor Evening Standard Theatre Award for his performance.

Unlike the film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. (upcoming The Avengers, Iron Man 3) and Jude Law (Hugo, Contagion), the BBC series focused more on Sherlock’s sleuthing ability and less on large scale action sequences.

The Elementary pilot is written by Robert Doherty and will be directed by Michael Cuesta. Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, and Doherty will serve as executive producers on the new CBS series.

Elementary will join the slew of BBC series that are remade for US audiences, including Being Human and The Office.

BBC’s Sherlock and Mickey Will Travel to The Final Frontier

benedict cumberbatchThe manor of lord Cumberbatch is expanding. Hot off being cast as the voice of Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, featured in Oscar buzz films Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse, the star of BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch just landed a lead role in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel. Deadline reports that it is not known whether he will play a villain or hero but it is indeed a lead role.

Variety also reported on Wednesday that sci-fi veteran Noel Clarke will also board the adventure as a family man with a wife and young daughter. Clarke is the third British actor to draw Abrams’ eye most likely in five seasons playing Doctor Who sidekick Mickey Smith.

Cumberbatch and Clarke will be first time Trekkers along with Alice Eve and Peter Weller. They will merge with a returning cast of Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg. Benicio del Toro was supposed to be cast as the film’s villain but could not come to financial terms and ultimately passed on the role that many had believed it would be Khan. It’s possible Cumberbatch could be del Toro’s replacement as it was said they wanted to fill the antagonist role quickly. Another question in Star Trek castings is whether or not Cumberbatch is playing a younger version or relative of a classic character, or he could be a completely new character that will be introduced in Star Trek 2.

Abrams is directing while the screenplay written by Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. All four parties will co-produce with Bryan Burk and David Ellison. Paramount is planning a May 17, 2013 release date for the film.

Go Back to the Shire For The First Official Trailer of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Bilbo Baggins Martin Freeman

The rolling green hills of The Shire never looked so good and Howard Shore’s majestic score has never sounded so sweet. That’s right, the first official trailer for The Hobbit has arrived and it’s so good it’ll make you grow hair on your feet. In it you’ll hear a voice over of Bilbo Baggins start into another storytelling session to Frodo and soon we see Gandalf luring Bilbo Baggins into his destiny to the Lonely Mountain in search of the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Martin Freeman looks terrific as the younger Bilbo Baggins and he should be splendid in the lead role. There’s also a few familiar faces that will be sure to please fans as well as a roll call of the 13 dwarves joining Bilbo and Gandalf. The trailer is also planned to be shown in theaters before showings of the Adventures of Tintin this week in case you want to see it as it’s meant to be seen. Check it out!

There’s been a bit of casting news since our last Hobbit post.

The main cast of The Hobbit are Martin Freeman (Young Bilbo Baggins, Sherlock), James Nesbitt (Bofur, Millions), Rob Kazinsky (Fili, Timeless), Aidan Turner (Kili, Being Human UK), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield, Captain America), Ken Stott (Balin, One Day), Graham McTavish (Dwalin, Rambo), Peter Hambleton (Gloin, The Last Tattoo), John Callen (Oin, Man Who Lost His Head), Stephen Hunter (Bombur, All Saints), Adam Brown (Ori, Chucklevision), Mark Hadlow (Dori, King Kong), William Kircher (Bifur, Out of the Blue) and Jed Brophy (Nori, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers). Nothing has changed there.

Some other new names that have been attached to the film are Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug, Sherlock), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman, Immortals), Lee Pace (King Thranduil, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt.2), Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt (Beorn) and Stephen Fry (Master of Laketown, Qi). Rumors are still circling whether Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon) will be added and it appears that Viggo Mortensen will not make an appearance as Aragon in the two-part Hobbit saga.

The casting of Cumberbatch is a pleasant surprise in that the production of BBC’s Sherlock was rumored to be held up because of Freeman’s involvement with The Hobbit, but it appears that Weta got them both in a package deal. As the dragon Smaug, Cumberbatch (who can be seen this month in two feature films: War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will be undergoing the motion capture process like Andy Serkis does with Gollum. It’s one thing to believe Serkis hunched over playing Gollum, Caesar (Rise of The Planet of the Apes) or King Kong (King Kong) but imagine the mo-cap sessions of Cumberbatch crawling around on the ground or pretending to fly, or yes, flaring his nostrils! This should be an amazing performance.

Returning to their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy are Orlando Bloom (Legolas) Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Elijah Wood (Frodo) Andy Serkis (Gollum) Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Ian Holm (Old Bilbo) and Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey). Thankfully Peter Jackson is back directing both films and we wouldn’t have it any other way (sorry, Guillermo del Toro). The Hobbit is scheduled for a December 14, 2012 release date.

Well, what do you think? Share it with your friends and post your first impressions below!

UK Gets New Year’s Premiere Date For Sherlock Season 2 – Americans Just Get Photos

sherlock cumberbatch freeman

I love British television but there are some days I wished I was actually in the UK to watch it. One of those days is this upcoming New Year’s Day when the second season of Sherlock. Co-Creator and head writer, Steven Moffat tweeted today:

“Sherlock returns, Sunday, Jan 1st, 8.10pm, BBC1. First the woman, then the Hound and then, of course, the fall…”

What he’s referring to are the three titles of each 90-minute films: A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of Baskerville and The Reichenbach Fall.

A Scandal in Belgravia is described as follows:

Compromising photographs and a case of blackmail threaten the very heart of the British establishment, but for Sherlock and John the game is on in more ways than one as they find themselves battling international terrorism, rogue CIA agents, and a secret conspiracy involving the British government. But this case will cast a darker shadow over their lives than they could ever imagine, as the great detective begins a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold and ruthless and brilliant as himself: to Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler will always be THE woman.

Moffat and co-creator Mark Gatiss’ (also Doctor Who writers) contemporary take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is the must-see version of the famed private investigator starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes), Martin Freeman (Dr. John Watson), Mark Gatiss (Mycroft), Rupert Graves (Inspector Lestrade), Andrew Scott (Moriarty), Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson) Louise Brealey (Molly Hooper) and Lara Pulver (Irene Adler). It took TV by storm in England in the summer of 2010 reaching over 9 million viewers for each episode and in the States when it eventually aired on PBS in the fall of that same year. It won the British Academy Television Awards in 2010 and was nominated for an 2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Mini-Series, Movie or Dramatic Special. If you haven’t seen this yet, spend the holidays with the DVD or blu-ray of Season One.

For all of my fellow stateside BuzzFocus readers, we have to wait until May to see it air on PBS on Masterpiece. Or for those who savvy with you too can get BBC One on your laptop, TV or mobile device. By the way, if you need your Benedict Cumberbatch fix this winter, you can catch him in the film adaptation of John le Carré’s espionage novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. You can also see Martin Freeman in the role that I was introduced to his talent in the original Office as Kevin which just came out in a 10th Anniversary DVD.

In the meantime, here are some photos for Season 2 to hold you over.

‘Justified’, ‘Game of Thrones’, and ‘Parks and Recreation’ Earn Four TCA Nominations Each

As the weeks go by, a select few shows are gaining steam and momentum. This week nominations were announced for the Television Critics Association Awards, not to be confused with the Critics Choice Television Awards and FX’s Justified, HBO’s Game of Thrones and NBC’s Parks and Recreation got four nominations each. Glee was shutout completely, further proof that the luster on Ryan Murphy’s glee club has grown dull. Below are all the nominees with comments.

Individual Achievement in Drama
1. Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire,” HBO)
2. Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones,” HBO)
3. Jon Hamm (“Mad Men,” AMC)
4. Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife,” CBS)
5. Margo Martindale (“Justified”, FX)
6. Timothy Olyphant (“Justified,” FX)

justifiedIt seems like this is Jon Hamm’s or Julianna Margulies to lose but don’t count out Justified’s Margo Martindale and Timothy Olyphant. Martindale wowed critics as the rough and gruff crime matriarch Mags Bennett while Olyphant let his Raylan Givens do more talking with his mouth instead of his gun this past second season. It’s cruel that they have to be roped in together. Buscemi was grand in Boardwalk Empire, while others have said he’s not big enough to lead the show. Don’t count out dark horse Peter Dinklage either. He’s a fan-favorite actor who is a stand out because of his acting ability, not because of his stature.

Individual Achievement in Comedy
1. Ty Burrell (“Modern Family,” ABC)
2. Louis C.K. (“Louis,” FX)
3. Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation,” NBC)
4. Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation,” NBC)
5. Danny Pudi (“Community,” NBC)
6. Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show,” Comedy Central)

The network stars are coming in as the heavy hitters like Ty Burrell and Amy Poehler; Jon Stewart is always a media darling, but Louis C.K. took everyone by surprise in the first season of Louie, and his show is uniquely formatted, sharp, and full of acerbic wit that always seems to win critics over.

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information
1. “If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise” (HBO)
2. “Restrepo” (National Geographic Channel)
3. “60 Minutes” (CBS)
4. “The Rachel Maddow Show” (MSNBC)
5. “30 for 30” (ESPN)

As far as I’m concerned it’s between Spike Lee’s follow up documentary to the When the Levees Broke, If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, a look at the Gulf of Mexico post BP Spill and the wonderful series of sports-related films, 30 for 30 that ranged from the powerful Two Escobars to the light-hearted Silly Little Game.

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming
1. “Amazing Race” (CBS)
2. “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (Travel Channel)
3. “Survivor” (CBS)
4. “The Voice” (NBC)
5. “Top Chef: All Stars” (Bravo)

Look at The Voice coming in and taking the Reality Programming by storm. For a singer-competition shows, The Voice has been innovative and a fresh change from the typical talent rhetoric. Top Chef All-Stars showed that viewers can be brought together and passionately debate about food that they can neither taste or smell in person. Survivor and Amazing Race attempt to give a sampling of culture but it’s the personalities that seem to take over. For my money, No Reservations showcases the food, the life, and the stuff that breathes the spirit in people’s lives all around the world through the master of words, Anthony Bourdain.

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
1. “A Children’s Garden of Poetry” (HBO)
2. “iCarly” (Nickelodeon)
3. “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” (Nickelodeon)
4. “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour” (The Hub)
5. “Sesame Street” (PBS)
6. “Yo Gabba Gabba” (Nick Jr.)

It’s hard not to keep Sesame Street in the mix even though they’ve become so Elmo-centric that it’s nauseating.Could A-list actors and musicians reading classic literature’s finest poems beat out the contagious sing-songy fun of Yo Gabba Gabba, or will the darker and scarier R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour show how far our obsession with frightening fiction has gone?

Outstanding New Program
1. “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
2. “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
3. “Terriers” (FX)
4. “The Killing” (AMC)
5. “Walking Dead” (AMC)

It’s nice to see Terriers get recognized even if it was cancelled. For Shawn Ryan’s creativity to have evolved from The Shield to what Terriers was, it took me completely by surprise and there’s not enough that can be said about Donal Logue’s performance. How many more votes can it get? I hope a lot. It took Justified two seasons to really find out what it could become and Terriers is a show that could have benefitted from at least one more go at it. I could easily see Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones canceling each other out as each has its own distinct fan base. Red Herring-filled show The Killing thankfully got renewed for a second season despite trying viewers’ patience. but has blossomed into a favorite of mine. As for the Walking Dead, what’s not to like? I did feel he zombie show was trying to show everything it can be instead of having a driving focus of what it is. Slightly uneven, TWD only had six show to show off how truly horrifying the world would be in a zombie invasion, still they made it one of the more exciting shows of 2010.

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials
1. “Cineme Verite” (HBO)
2. “Downton Abbey: Masterpiece” (PBS)
3. “Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
4. “Sherlock: Masterpiece” (PBS)
5. “Too Big to Fail” (HBO)

Sherlock was indeed a masterpiece with Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement) in the title role, Martin Freeman (The Office, UK and The Hobbit) that had fans beating the table for more. It’s going to be long shot though against the much lauded Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road), and Cineme Verite starring Diane Lane (Superman: Man of Steel), James Gandolfini (Sopranos), Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption) and Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), which detailed the story behind the ground-breaking 1971 PBS documentary “An American Family” where the filmmakers struggled with the family as to what to show to the public. HBO’s other nominated film, Too Big to Fail might be also a contender given how fresh the struggling economy is on our minds.

Outstanding Achievement in Drama
1. “Friday Night Lights” (DirecTV/NBC)
2. “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
3. “Justified” (FX)
4. “Mad Men” (AMC)
5. “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Not a bad show in the lot. And the sentimental favorite is going to be Friday Night Lights as its in its final season, but
Mad Men and The Good Wife continue to set the bar high for TV drama. Game of Thrones has put its foot on the throats of critics and they’re enjoying it week after week; Meanwhile, Justified has impressed a lot of people this season with strong writing, mesmerizing acting and top-notch production by Elmore Leonard and Graham Yost. The delay of Breaking Bad Season 4 put it out of the running automatically but even with the absence of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, this category is stacked.

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
1. “Community” (NBC)
2. “Louie” (FX)
3. “Modern Family” (ABC)
4. “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
5. “Raising Hope” (FOX)

In comedy, it’s usually about what’s fresh. Raising Hope and Louie made an impact on network and cable respectively in their first season. Modern Family did not suffer a sophomore slump with the critics and Community and Parks and Recreation are winning over more and more viewers like what 30 Rock and The Office were doing years ago. Something tells me if more critics committed themselves to Adult Swim, shows like Children’s Hospital would also be in the mix.

Career Achievement Award
1. Steven Bochco
2. Dick Ebersol
3. Cloris Leachman
4. David Letterman
5. William Shatner
6. Oprah Winfrey

Forget about Oprah, Bochco, or Letterman. William-F-ing-Shatner is nominated in this group. Please TV gods, let him take this down as a victory. While I think Leachman would make a great speech too, nothing, and I mean nothing would top Shatner.

Heritage Award
1. “All in the Family”
2. “Freaks and Geeks”
3. “The Dick Van Dyke Show”
4. “Twin Peaks”

This is an interesting tribute. I never really had a connection with The Dick Van Dyke Show, but All in the Family had one of the greatest characters in television history in Archie Bunker. Twin Peaks was the two seasons-worth of David Lynch unleashed and never has there been anything like it since. Freaks and Geeks not only made Paul Feig and Judd Apatow recognizable brands in Hollywood while launching the career of Linda Cardellini, Jason Siegel, James Franco, Seth Rogen and many more, this one-season show reflected the high school experience that probably most could identify the most with. It was honest, it was not glamourous, it’s simply the most perfect high school show since the original Degrassi High.

Program of the Year
1. “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
2. “Friday Night Lights” (DirecTV/NBC)
3. “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
4. “Justified” (FX)
5. “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

Almost a mirror of the Outstanding Drama Series, it’s almost surreal to see Justified alongside HBO heavy hitters Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire proves that the FX crime neo-western has arrived. Could it be building momentum for the Emmys? Parks and Recreation showing up here is a big surprise and shows that at least one NBC Thursday night comedy has some punch with a majority of the critics, but can it really compete with the list of dramas here?

We’ll see on August 6 when the winners will be announced at a non-aired ceremony.

‘Sherlock’ Season 2 Heads into Core Production as Freeman Takes Break from ‘Hobbit’

Fans of BBC’s Sherlock can rejoice, production is shifting into full gear now that Martin Freeman has taken a break from work on The Hobbit: Part 1.

In Sherlock, Freeman plays Sherlock Holmes sidekick and partner Dr. Watson. The premiere season, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, featured four 90-minute episodes that felt more like standalone movies. The breakout series was heralded as one of 2010’s best new shows. Freeman also stars as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Hobbit co-star Sir Ian McKellen, who is reprising his role as Gandalf, has taken the helm on the film’s PR. Due to a production conflict arrangements were made for Freeman to take a short break from Hobbit filming to work on Sherlock.

“Martin Freeman has left The Hobbit. This is not another April Fool, just a May Fact.” McKellen announced on his blog.

“Before signing as Bilbo, Martin had agreed to make three 90-minute TV films in London, again playing Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.

“No worries: he’ll be back in Middle Earth after our first hiatus, during which Peter Jackson will have spare time to edit the scenes already completed.”

The Hobbit will be a two part film with the first film expected to open in December 2012. Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) recently revealed that despite rumors she will not be appearing in the movie.