Selasa, 1 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

<i>Modern Family</i> spinoff may be possible


The popular sitcom has won four Emmys for best comedy series.

In light of the sitcom's popularity and critical acclaim, it's no surprise that ABC is open to expanding the fictional world of Modern Family. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network is currently examining different possibilities for a spinoff.

In September, Modern Family won its fourth consecutive Emmy Award for best comedy series. Three days later, 11.7 million TV viewers in the United States tuned in for the show's fifth season premiere.

Eager to capitalise on this success, ABC is weighing its options regarding possible premises and title characters for a spinoff. One idea involves Gil Thorpe, the ruthlessly competitive real estate agent seen in two episodes last season and played by Rob Riggle.

If the spinoff goes into production, Modern Family co-creator and showrunner Steve Levitan will head up the project, leaving Chris Lloyd alone in charge of the original series.

ABC has turned to the spinoff concept several times to develop new shows in the past: Private Practice, for example, followed a character from the medical drama Grey's Anatomy. This season, on Oct 10, the channel will premiere Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, a spinoff of its Once Upon A Time series.

Cable channels are beginning to try out the concept with their own hit shows. This October, CW will introduce The Originals, expanding upon the world of The Vampire Diaries. AMC, meanwhile, is working on its Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, starring Bob Odenkirk. — AFP Relaxnews

What&#39;s in your mind


A new TV series shows just how our brain works ... and doesn't work.

IT took just a few minutes for Jason Silva to completely blow my mind. The host of National Geographic's Brain Games is a self-confessed "wonder junkie" whose mile-a-minute speech is not only engaging, it's hypnotic as well.

"I was shocked to find out that we don't actually perceive the world in 3D," he says. "We actually take in low-resolution, flat, 2D images through our eyes and our brain takes that raw, incomplete information and creates a matrix of the high-definition, 3D reality which we call 'the world'. Isn't that shocking? The fact that our brain creates a 3D world for us. It's really a guess-timation."

This, says Silva, was one of the many things he learnt in the process of shooting Brain Games, a show that uses brain teasers and experiments to show how and why our brain responds the way it does.

"It's a sort of 'how-to' on the brain. Brain Games is a pop science series about neuroscience … we use games and interactive experiments to hack into our brain, and highlight the shortcomings in our wiring and in the way our brain perceives reality. We show you that what you see isn't always what you get, and this creates an appetite for audiences to learn why – and then we tell them why," Silva explains.

The 31-year-old Venezuela-born Silva was selected to host the show based on a series of short web documentaries (dubbed Shots Of Philosophical Espresso) he'd made that explored the role of technology in extending the boundaries of the human brain.

The documentaries went viral, with over 1.2 million views, and Silva became a much sought-after speaker at international events such as the now world-famous TEDGlobal talks.

Brain Games is a spin-off from a hugely popular three-part programme the channel did on the brain in 2011. Each episode of the 12-part series zooms in on a different aspect of how the brain works. Topics include focus, fear, motion, perception and persuasion.

In each 30-minute segment, viewers are engaged and challenged in several games that disprove many accepted beliefs about the brain.

In the premiere episode entitled Focus Pocus, for example, Silva and psychologist Brian Scholl conduct experiments on concentration and peripheral vision which reveal some startling results. Also featured in the episode is "deception specialist" Apollo Robbins (who made headlines some time ago for picking the pockets of Secret Services agents guarding former US president Jimmy Carter) who, through his various tricks, reveals how weak our ability to focus can be.

In an experiment with people on the street, Robbins asks volunteers to watch for a particular card as he flips a deck of cards in his hands. Only after many, many tries do they realise that the card in question is actually plastered on Robbins' forehead – in plain view – all the time. There is no real deception involved; the brain just chooses to focus on the deck of cards and nothing much else.

"Isn't that crazy? Robbins is a master at misdirecting attention and what this proves is that this idea we have of our abilities to multitask is an absolute myth. The brain can move rapidly between different tasks but the idea of really multitasking … of simultaneously paying attention to different things is a total myth," reveals Silva.

The show reinforces Silva's own belief that the brain needs stimulation to come alive.

"I decided very early on in my life to take control of it to make sure that I am constantly exposed to situations that excite inspiration in me. It was my answer to the existential questions we always ask ourselves like, 'What's the purpose of life?' or 'What's the meaning of our existence?'

"I would say, well, we are the meaning and the purpose, and it's our job to inspire ourselves … to be curious and to go down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass and find things to enliven us.

"The lust for new experiences … the novelty of things really excites the brain. It fires dopamine which is a chemical associated with pleasure and seeking. Which is why things that are always around us become invisible. That is why routine becomes stale and sterile, and that is why human beings have always sought adventure – why we go to the moon, why we constantly invent and innovate. It is this restlessness and desire to transcend the ordinary," he says animatedly.

What the show ultimately hopes to create is a sense of doubt, followed by wonder and the desire to learn.

"It is surprising to discover how the most complicated object in the universe … the brain … can be so easily hacked and fooled. There is simplicity in its complexity and that is kind of what the show is about. These brain teasers actually engage the brain in a new and novel way, forcing us to reconfigure our mental mode and to stretch our minds. That's always a good thing." he says.

"By tricking the audience, by having them participate in the games, that whole idea that we only use 10% of our brain's capacity … well, it is a myth. I think it was a metaphor which has been misunderstood.

"I mean, we have MRI scanners that can scan the entire brain and see all the areas that light up when any stimulation occurs. All of the brain is being utilised but it might be appropriate to say that all of us do not utilise our brain to its full potential.

"Maybe we don't engage all our faculties in the most creative ways. Certainly, when we witness an amazing athlete or artist perform, we realise the potential of the brain. We gawk and marvel because we recognise there is this potential in all of us," he explains.

Brain Games airs exclusively on the National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553) on Tuesdays at 10pm.

Coming soon: Rihanna&#39;s reality series


The Barbadian singer's fashion-based TV programme will go on as planned.

Good news, Style Network viewers: If you were eagerly awaiting Rihanna's fashion competition series, it will still go on.

Originally ordered to series by Style Network, Styled To Rock will now air on the Bravo channel, TheWrap has learned. It will premiere in the United States on Oct 25. Styled To Rock features 12 designers fighting for a US$100,000 (RM320,000) cash prize, a feature in Glamour magazine and the chance to become a member of Rihanna's design team.

Music artiste/producer Pharrell Williams, model Erin Wasson and Rihanna's personal stylist, Mel Ottenberg, will mentor the contestants.

With Rihanna executive producing, the freshman series landed some big name judges, including Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Minogue, Kelly Osbourne, The Band Perry, Naya Rivera, Big Sean, and Ne-Yo.

Alongside Rihanna, Shed Media US, Overbrook Entertainment and Marcy Media Films are producing. Styled To Rock is the latest Style Network show to move to a sister NBCUniversal network after Style was shuttered last week and replaced by Esquire Network.

TheWrap reported exclusively last week that Style series Tia & Tamera and Giuliana & Bill have moved to E!. It will also air the remaining new episodes of Giuliana & Bill's sixth season next year. Both series are under consideration for renewal. The fate of other Style Network series is still under consideration.

The male-centric Esquire Network replaced Style Network in 75 million homes last Monday in the US. Its programming currently includes five new original primetime series and shows mined from sister NBCU networks and other content providers. — Reuters


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