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John Benjamin Hickey

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  • TV Picks: 'Party Down,' Funny or Die video selection, 'Manhattan'

    TV Picks: 'Party Down,' Funny or Die video selection, 'Manhattan'
    "Party Down" (Hulu). This comedy about a less than merry band of caterers, which went for two seasons on Starz in 2009 and 2010, was created by "Veronica Mars" mastermind Rob Thomas with "Mars" cohorts Dan Ethridge and John Enhom and actor Paul Rudd, who appeared in the pilot but was a movie star by the time the series came around. Even so the cast reads like some retrospective supergroup whose album you can't believe you've never heard (unless you did): Adam Scott (in for Rudd), recent Rolling Stone cover girl Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch (who left near the end of the first season for "Glee" but returned for what turned out to be the series' finale), Martin Starr, Megan Mullally and Ryan Hansen (now going from the axed "Bad Teacher" to the new "Bad Judge"), but with appearances also from cool kids Ken Jeong, Joey Lauren Adams, Kristen Bell, June Diane Raphael, and various cool kids like Jim Piddock, Paul Scheer, Thomas Lennon, J.K. Simmons and Rachael Harris among others. (My original review is here.) Every episode is set at a different Southern California party or event, bringing in a fresh group of guest stars and a new theme to explore, while the servers work out their own messy business, their antipathies and affinities, as they remind one another and themselves that this is just a job and what they Really Do is act, play music, write. The series, which punches above its weight, has a guerrilla swing to it -- well-finished, but not overtly slick in the way even shoestring productions manage to look now -- and one can sense the actors' delight beneath their characters' dissatisfaction.
  • 'Manhattan' Cast Talk Secrecy and World War II at Paley Center Panel

    The cast and creator of WGN America's second original series "Manhattan" talked to Variety about keeping secrets, living in isolation and their personal connections to this story on the red carpet at the Paley Center for Media Wednesday night. "The...

    'Manhattan' Trailer: First Look at WGN America's Atomic Bomb Drama

    WGN America has unveiled the first full trailer for "Manhattan," a period drama set around the mission to build the world's first atomic bomb. The series -- based on the secretive Manhattan Project -- will premiere at 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 27. The...

    'Manhattan' Campaign Blasts Away Image of History Lesson

    WGN America has a message for potential audiences of its ambitious new series "Manhattan:" It's not a boring history lesson. The show may revolve around the Manhattan Project, whose scientists secretly built the first atom bombs used during World War II,...

    WGN America Announces 'Manhattan' Premiere Date

    WGN America has announced a July 27 premiere date for its second original scripted series "Manhattan." The 13-episode drama, created and penned by Sam Shaw ("Masters of Sex") and helmed by Emmy winner Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing"), explores the...