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‘The Guest Book’ Review: The TBS Hotel Comedy Can Be Anything, And That’s Its Biggest Problem

‘The Guest Book’ Review: The TBS Hotel Comedy Can Be Anything, And That’s Its Biggest Problem
The premise of the new comedy “The Guest Book” is an exciting one: a quiet, unassuming cottage at a cozy mountain getaway plays host to a number of weekend travelers with something to work out or something to hide. Each of them relate their wacky adventures in the room’s guest book, using a few pages to write a confession, an alibi or a farewell. It’s the kind of “if these walls could talk” setup that makes you wonder why TV hasn’t taken advantage of hotel-adjacent stories more often.

There’s a certain flexibility that comes with getting to reinvent a show’s character list every episode. Like its new motel counterpart “Room 104,” each episode of the first season of “The Guest Book” focuses on a different set of occupants: These vacationers range from scientists to quarreling spouses to parents with misplaced preoccupations.

Read MoreHow Squeaky Clean Kellie Martin Wound Up on Greg Garcia’s Quirky Cable Comedy ‘The Guest Book’ — Turn It On Podcast

But the problem with cycling so many of these performers in and out of the world of the show is that creator Greg Garcia has essentially made 10 different pilots. Rather than treating these individual chapters like short stories, there’s an unspoken effort to squeeze a season’s worth of quirks and angst into a twenty-minute window.

Over the course of his work on “My Name is Earl” and “Raising Hope,” Greg Garcia shepherded shows that presented unconventional family dynamics and disjointed inner circles of friendship. But, despite their collective shortcomings, the offbeat characters of those series worked together to create something built on love, appreciation, and understanding. To see so many episodes of “The Guest Book” tinged with cynicism and frustration seems like a misstep that doesn’t play to his strengths as a writer and observer of human tendencies. The humor here often seems forced, both in its writing and the physicality of the performances it asks of its actors.

It’s all the more frustrating when some episodes seem to strike the ideal tone that the others strive for. Episodes 4 and 5 are probably the strongest efforts of this first season, the latter of which stars Jenna Fischer as a scientist uncovering some unexpected memories of an Alzheimer’s patient left in her care. Some of those developments are legitimately shocking, but it doesn’t have the same manufactured chaos that plagues so many of the other installments.

The Guest Book” boasts an impressive roster of guest stars, including Michaela Watkins, Danny Pudi, Lauren Lapkus, Stockard Channing Tommy Dewey, and Michael Rappaport. But the actors who have worked in previous Garcia shows seem to be the only natural fits for this new venture. Jamie Pressly, a bright spot on “My Name is Earl,” instantly finds the heart a character that in lesser hands could have been an episode-length punchline. Same goes for Shannon Woodward, who finds some an extra emotional layer in a character that could easily be a fodder for sight gags.

And although many of the recurring side players in the town surrounding the cottage are little more than means for advancing the handful of season-long throughlines, Garret Dillahunt is an exception. As Andrew, a local doctor whose marital foibles and parenting misadventures pop up across the season, Dillahunt gets another much-deserved chance to show off his comic chops. The shifting dynamic between Andrew and Kellie Martin’s Officer Kimberly hints at an alternate foundation for the show that might not be as formally innovative, but would make for a more satisfying series.

Read MoreThe 20 Best TV Comedies of the 21st Century, Ranked

The stealth stars of “The Guest Book” might just be Arjay Smith and John Milhiser as two office co-workers who serve as the show’s “Previously On” Greek chorus. Reorienting audiences at the start of each episode, their changing 15-second banter is one of the show’s best bits of character development. That they make such an impression in short snippets is a testament to Garcia’s ability to find some fun developments with a repeatable framework, but it also emphasizes that the constant cast list churn of check-ins and check-outs is rarely the part of this show that’s most engaging.

With a handful of drug-fueled benders and neuroses-driven montages, “The Guest Book” gets the chance to match its changing cast list with a few visual switch-ups. Some split-screen episode bookends and some inventive camera placements keep the cottage from getting too familiar. But those occasional touches can’t replace the fact that the show lives and dies on the strength of its episode-to-episode stories. A few of them are entertaining enough, but a show that’s still in search of its strengths still keeps it from being a reliable trip worth taking every week.

Grade: C+

The Guest Book” airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on TBS.

Sign UpStay on top of the latest film and TV news! Sign up for our film and TV email newsletter here. Related stories'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee' Aired a Positive Segment About Donald Trump, World Still Confirmed to Be Spinning -- WatchHow Squeaky Clean Kellie Martin Wound Up on Greg Garcia's Quirky Cable Comedy 'The Guest Book' -- Turn It On Podcast'Manhunt: Unabomber' Review: Discovery's First Scripted Drama Intrigues as It Evokes Empathy in a Madman
See full article at Indiewire »

Arjay Smith Joins ‘Major Crimes’; Daniel Zovatto In ‘Brooklyn Animal Control’

Arjay Smith (Perception) has been tapped for a recurring role on TNT drama series Major Crimes. Smith, repped by Global Artists and More/Medavoy Management, will play Dennis Price. Best known for playing Max Lewicki on TNT’s Perception, he also recurred on Sons Of Anarchy and recently guest starred on CSI. Daniel Zovatto (It Follows) has signed on to the USA Network pilot Brooklyn Animal Control, based on the Idw Publishing comic created by Jt Petty. It follows the inner…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Perception

Network: TNT

Episodes: 39 (hour)

Seasons: Three

TV show dates: July 9, 2012 -- March 17, 2015

Series status: Cancelled

Performers include: Eric McCormack, Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith, Kelly Rowan, and LeVar Burton.

TV show description:

This TV show revolves around Doctor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), an eccentric and brilliant neuroscience professor. Unfortunately, his mind is also damaged and he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Pierce struggles with hallucinations and paranoid delusions brought on by his schizophrenia. Oddly though, he considers some of his hallucinations to be a gift. They occasionally allow him to make connections that his conscious mind can't yet process. At other times, the hallucinations become Pierce's greatest curse, leading him to behave in irrational, potentially dangerous ways.

(more…)
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Perception: Season Three Ratings

Last year, viewership for Perception dropped 28% when compared to the first season's ratings. Will the numbers continue to fall, hold steady, or grow? Will this TNT TV show be cancelled or renewed for a fourth season? Stay tuned!

Perception follows Doctor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), a talented and schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist, as he assists his former student, FBI Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), solve complex cases. Other castmembers include Kelly Rowan, Arjay Smith, LeVar Burton, and Scott Wolf.

(more…)
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Perception: TV Show Cancelled by TNT, No Season Four

The axe keeps flying over at TNT. The cable channel already cancelled Dallas and Franklin & Bash and now, they've cancelled Perception as well. There won't be a fourth season.

Perception follows Doctor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), a talented and schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist, as he assists his former student, FBI Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), solve complex cases. Other castmembers include Kelly Rowan, Arjay Smith, LeVar Burton, and Scott Wolf.

The show is currently in its third season. Ten of the season's 15 episodes have aired so far and have averaged 2.78 million viewers with a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That's down about 10% when compared to season two.

While Perception certainly isn't TNT's biggest series, it's been a respectable performer. It seems that the cancellation is at least in part due to the cable channel's desire to
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

'Perception' Canceled at TNT

'Perception' Canceled at TNT
Another drama has bit the dust at TNT. The Turner-owned cable network has opted to cancel veteran drama Perception after three seasons, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The drama centered on Dr. Daniel Pierce (Will & Grace's Eric McCormack), an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith, LeVar Burton and Kelly Rowan co-stared in the ABC Studios drama. The series will air its remaining season three episodes in February. The news comes days after TNT — under new president Kevin Reilly — canceled veteran

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See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

'Sons Of Anarchy' Recap: August Marks Kills Bobby, Ends Up Behind Bars

Sons of Anarchy, "What a Piece of Work is Man,” begins with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) steeling himself for an inevitable confrontation with the Indian Hills after killing Jury, and his ongoing dealings with August Marks (Billy Brown).

Sons of Anarchy Recap

Upon learning that Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) was further mutilated after he didn’t give Marks everything he wanted, Jax needs to rethink how he’s going to deal with him. Jax reasons that he can use the compromising video of the pastor as blackmail against Marks. Grant (Arjay Smith) points out to Jax that his previous blackmail plan hadn’t worked out so well. In fact, hardly any of Jax’s plans have gone all that well lately.

When Tyler (Mo McRae) shows up, Jax asks him to set up a meeting with Marks or Moses (Mathew St. Patrick) to show them he’s ready to give them
See full article at Uinterview »

TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor

Some quickie TV news you can use, that wasn't previously mentioned on this blog: - First, Marsha Stephanie Blake (who's appeared in TV series like "Girls," "Elementary," and "Law & Order") has joined the cast of Netflix's hit drama series "Orange Is the New Black," in a recurring role as a new corrections officer. She will make her debut on the series during its third season. - Arjay Smith has joined the cast of FX’s "Sons Of Anarchy" for the seventh and final season. He's signed up to play a Grant McQueen, who's described as "a good, street smart kid who is trying to protect his mother." - Shonda Rhimes'...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

‘Sons of Anarchy’ Casts ‘Perception’ Star Arjay Smith

  • The Wrap
‘Sons of Anarchy’ Casts ‘Perception’ Star Arjay Smith
As the body count continues to grow on “Sons of Anarchy,” so does the cast of the bloody FX biker drama. Arjay Smith, who plays Max Lewicki on the TNT drama “Perception,” has signed on for the seventh and final season of “Sons of Anarchy,” which premiered Tuesday. Also read: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Star Theo Rossi Talks Juice's Fate and His ‘Quite Nude’ Final Season Smith will play Grant McQueen, who's described as a loyal son and devout churchgoer who is caught between an Oakland Gangster, his heroin-addicted mother and his perverse, deceased pastor step-father's secrets. McQueen is forced to make an.
See full article at The Wrap »

Perception: Season Two Ratings

Last year, TNT's Perception started out strong in the ratings but then fell over the course of the season. Will the numbers grow this time or continue to fall? Cancelled or renewed for season three? Stay tuned to find out.

Perception airs on Tuesday nights and there are 14 episodes this time (vs 10 last year). The cast includes Eric McCormack, Arjay Smith, Kelly Rowan, LeVar Burton, and Rachael Leigh Cook.

Below are the TV show's ratings for the Summer 2013 season, the best way to tell if the show will be cancelled or renewed for another season. These figures will be updated as the weeks progress so you can check on how it's doing.

Update: Perception has been renewed for a third season 15 episodes.

Final season averages: 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 3.06
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Perception The Complete First Season DVD Review And Giveaway

TNT‘s Perception has returned for season two, and the series continues from the first season finale in brilliant fashion. The show threw out some big events, opening the door for a variety of next steps, and many that might leap to mind would not seem to continue things in a way that embraces the heart of what we followed in the series up to that point. Such is the talk of the initiated and nervous anyway.

The show stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a genius neuroscience professor who works with the FBI, via agent Kate Moretti (Rachel Leigh Cook) to help solve the most outlandish cases. The spin here is that Dr. Pierce is a paranoid schizophrenic prone to delusions and hallucinations when he’s off his meds, and he’s also prone to not taking his meds… or imagining that he took them.

As the show
See full article at AreYouScreening »

Perception Season 2 Scoop Straight From the Set: Welcome to the World of Dr. Pierce’s Imagination

Last summer introduced viewers to the wondrous world of Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), a neuropsychiatrist working as a professor at Chicago Lake Michigan College and in his spare time as an expert consultant for the FBI. Paired with his former student, Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), they delve into the mysteries of the mind and the criminals that may or may not be afflicted by neuropsychiatric disorders. However, as was revealed fairly quickly, Dr. Pierce struggles himself each day with distinguishing what is real and not real. Diagnosed as a highly-functioning schizophrenic, Dr. Pierce uses his unusual medical condition to perceive realities and truths that a normal functioning brain may not; and so perceptionally-enhanced, Dr. Pierce and Agent Morreti make a phenomenal crime-solving team.

Yet even the most brilliant mind has a few flaws. Daniel’s ability to perceive how crimes may or may not be committed,
See full article at The TV Addict »

Perception Chooses A Pretty Thief From Leverage

Fans know Beth Riesgraf as Parker on TNT’s Leverage. Now Perception plans to leverage the actors to gain some more fans of their own.

If you thought Homeland‘s Carrie Mathison, acted by Claire Danes was crazy, then wait until you get a load of Eric McCormack in the role of Dr. Daniel Pierce, a schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist who helps the FBI with some of their most complex cases. He’s the star of Perception, a little crime drama that TNT launches last summer, which is produced by ABC Studios.

Season 1 pulled in around 4 million viewers each week and the best news is that season 2 will premier on June 25th. with returning cast members, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kelly Rowan, Arjay Smith and recurring actor LeVar Burton, TV Line has learned that Riesgraf will pop in as Daisy Brannen, “a fiercely loyal woman who is startled when Pierce and Moretti catch
See full article at Boomtron »

On VOD - Snag Films-Distributed Dramedy 'We Made A Movie'

It made its online premiere in mid-September on Snag Films (the parent company of IndieWire), and is also available via several VOD platforms like iTunes, Amazon.com, Vudu, X-Box and others. Distributed by Snag Films, We Made A Movie, is an independent dramedy presented by Worldwide Pants Incorporated, B&B East Productions, Inc. and Bona Fide Productions. It centers on  graduating high school seniors with no prospects who decide to make a comedy movie, hoping that it'll make them famous enough to leave their depressing town. Their leader and director, LeBron (played by Arjay Smith) is so confident the movie will be a success, he gets some freshmen to...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Perception: Season One Ratings

On Perception, Doctor Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) is an eccentric neuroscience professor who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. As he helps solve complex cases for the FBI, Daniel sometimes sees things that aren't there. More importantly, TNT's hoping enough viewers will "be there" to give the series strong enough ratings to support a second season renewal.

Others in the TV show's cast include Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith, Kelly Rowan, and LeVar Burton.

The first season of Perception typically airs Monday nights and there are 10 episodes.

These figures will be updated as the weeks progress so be sure to bookmark and return to this page:

Final season averages: 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 4.24 million total viewers.

Episode 01-10: Monday, 09/17/12

0.6 demo rating (-25% change) with 3.49 million (-2% change).
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

What to TiVo: Tuesday

  • BuzzSugar
8:00 The Middle (repeat) 8:30 Last Man Standing (repeat) 9:00 A Special Edition of 20/20 (new) 11:35 Nightline (new) 12:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live (new, with guests Richard Gere and Josh Radnor) 8:00 NCIS (repeat) 9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (repeat) 10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (repeat) 11:35 Late Show With David Letterman (new, with President Barack Obama) 12:37 The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (new, with guests John Goodman and Arjay Smith) 8:00 So You Think You Can Dance (new, season finale) 8:00 The Voice (new) 9:00 Go On (new) 9:30 The New Normal (new) 10:00 Parenthood (new) 11:34 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (new, with guests Justin Timberlake and Steve Nash) 12:37 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (new, with guests Jon Cryer and Taraji P. Henson) 8:00 Hart of Dixie (repeat) 9:00 The Next (repeat) More TV to watch when you read more.
See full article at BuzzSugar »

'Perception': Watch to air Eric McCormack drama in the UK

'Perception': Watch to air Eric McCormack drama in the UK
Watch has announced that it will air Us drama Perception in the UK. The show, which has been renewed for a second season, stars Eric McCormack as an eccentric neuroscientist working for the FBI. UKTV's controller Emma Tennant has now announced at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that the show will be broadcast on Watch in the UK. Rachel Leigh Cook, Kelly Rowan and Arjay Smith are among the other (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

'Perception' renewed for a second season on TNT

'Perception' renewed for a second season on TNT
TNT is giving a second look to its crime drama "Perception."

The cable channel has renewed the series, which stars Eric McCormack as an eccentric neuroscientist (and paranoid schizophrenic) who consults with the FBI on cases, for a second season. The show has enjoyed strong ratings so far airing behind "The Closer" and will be paired with "Major Crimes" for the rest of the season.

"'Perception' has captured the imagination of TNT's audience of armchair detectives with wonderfully intricate cases, emotionally charged situations and, of course, a terrific cast led by Eric McCormack," TNT president and head of programming Michael Wright says. The cast also includes Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan.

So far this season the show is averaging 7 million viewers per episode (including DVR viewing), with about a third of that audience falling in TNT's sweet spot of adults 25-54.

Season 2 of "Perception" will
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »

'Perception' gets second season green light at TNT

  • Hitfix
'Perception' gets second season green light at TNT
TNT has ordered a second season of "Perception," the drama starring Emmy winner Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace") and Former teen idol Rachael Leigh Cook ("She’s All That"). The drama centers on Dr. Daniel Pierce (McCormack), a professor of neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help a former student-turned-agent named Kate Moretti (Cook) solve complex cases. The cast also includes Arjay Smith ("The Day After Tomorrow"), Kelly Rowan ("The O.C.") and LeVar Burton ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"). "'Perception' has captured the imagination of TNT's audience of armchair detectives with wonderfully intricate cases, emotionally charged...
See full article at Hitfix »

TNT’s ‘Perception’ Renewed For 2nd Season

TNT has ordered a second season of Perception, its freshman drama starring Eric McCormack. Perception, produced by ABC Studios, currently ranks second behind TNT’s just launched Closer spinoff Major Crimes among basic cable’s top new scripted series this year. The network has ordered 13 episodes for season two, which is slated to air in 2013. “Perception has captured the imagination of TNT’s audience of armchair detectives with wonderfully intricate cases, emotionally charged situations and, of course, a terrific cast led by Eric McCormack,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. Perception, which airs Mondays at 10 Pm, is averaging 7 million viewers (Live + 7), with 1.8 million adults 18-49 and 2.3 million adults 25-54. It centers on Dr. Daniel Pierce (McCormack), an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Rachael Leigh Cook stars as FBI agent Kate Moretti, Pierce’s former student who
See full article at Deadline TV »
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