The Light from the TV Shows: It’s Time to Take Another Trip to “The Glades”

Although I’ve been a regular attendee of the Television Critics Association press tour in my stead as a writer and senior editor for Bullz-Eye.com, I don’t really get the opportunity to attend all that many press junkets, so on those occasions when I do find myself on the sets of various TV shows, I tend to kind of bask in the uniqueness of the experience. (Maybe it’s just because I have a history of being easily amused, but I find that, no matter how many sets you visit, if you don’t do it regularly, it still manages to be a pretty cool experience every single time.)

Earlier this year, I was invited on a rare joint junket between two different networks—A&E and USA—to do meet-and-greets and Q&As with the casts of “The Glades,” which returns to A&E this evening for its fourth season, and “Graceland,” a new USA drama which bows on June 6. Both series film in the general vicinity of Miami, so the first day of the expedition was spent on the set of the latter, with the next day dedicated to the former. Rest assured that I’ll be filling you in on “Graceland” soon enough, but for the moment, let’s focus on “The Glades,” shall we?

TheGladesCast

Given that the series is, as noted, about to kick off its fourth season, there’s a fair chance you’re already familiar with “The Glades,” but for those who either only know of it or haven’t even got that much history with it, here’s the nutshell summary from the A&E homepage for the series:

Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is an attractive and brilliant Chicago homicide detective with a reputation for being difficult. When his captain wrongfully accuses him of sleeping with his wife and shoots him, he is exiled and forced to relocate. He lands in the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, outside of the Florida Everglades, where sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. But Longworth soon finds out this town isn’t quite as idyllic as he originally thought, when murders keep piling up. Each case pulls Longworth off the golf course and reluctantly into his element as one of the sharpest homicide detectives to wear a badge.

Season 4 is packed with even more mystery, intrigue, and fun. From haunted plantations to rum-soaked shot girls and even a zombie apocalypse, Longworth is once again solving murders that can only happen in the Sunshine State. This season also promises more drama on the personal front for Longworth, Carlos (Carlos Gomez), Manus (Michelle Hurd), and Daniel (Jordan Wall) as friends and relatives from near and far arrive on the scene. But the big question remains to be answered as Longworth waits for Callie (Kiele Sanchez) to accept his marriage proposal, or not.

If I’m to be honest, the pointed use of the word “attractive” as a descriptor of the main character in any series immediately makes me suspicious that it’s something that’s going to tickle my fancy—I can’t recall any occasion when I’ve been sold on a show because I was assured in advance that its cast was going to be good-looking—but “The Glades” has been a hard-to-dislike show since its debut. Yeah, I know, that’s kind of damning it with faint praise, but I really do intend it as a compliment: there are a lot of series that are very easy to dislike, but the show’s cast is pretty darned likeable across the board. Okay, maybe the aforementioned Jim Longworth is a bit too smug for his own good sometimes, but, hey, when you’re that attractive and brilliant…

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The Light from the TV Shows: Executive Producer John Coveny talks A&E’s “Longmire”

If you haven’t been watching A&E’s new series “Longmire,” you’ve been missing out on arguably the best original drama on the network…and in case you think that might be damning it with faint praise, I’ll go ahead and up the ante and suggest that it’s one of the best new dramas of 2012. With a tone that places it somewhere between FX’s “Justified” and CBS’s “Jesse Stone” movies, “Longmire” has the modern-day-western elements of the former but the pace of the latter, resulting in a series that isn’t afraid to take its time to get to where it’s going. I was fortunate enough to speak with “Longmire” executive producer John Coveny about the series wrapping its first season, prepping for its second, and how much more of the supporting cast we’ll get to see when the show comes back for its sophomore year.

Bullz-Eye: Season 1 of Longmire is just getting ready to wrap up. How have you enjoyed working on the show thus far? Do you feel like you’ve gotten a handle on these televised adventures of Walt Longmire?

John Coveny: I feel like we do. I’ve said this before, but when I come home, I’ve said, “I’ve never been more tired or more proud in my life.” [Laughs.] Just as far as what we’re creating, that kind of crazy creative alchemy that shows have, with the crew and cast, the writers and editors, the studio and the network, all seem to be on the same page. Or, by virtue of the experience of seeing a couple of episodes, they’ve gotten on the same page. We’re all making the same show, I guess you’d say, and we’re all ready proud of it. And we’re looking forward to ramping back up for Season 2. We like being kind of the unknown show that people are starting to discover. It’s a nice place to be right now.

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A Chat with Billy the Exterminator

When it comes to the A&E reality series known as “Billy the Exterminator,” there seems to be no middle ground: either you’ve never heard of it, you’ve heard of it but can’t watch it because you’re too squeamish, or you’re absolutely addicted to it. I was in the first camp, but after receiving review copies of the first two seasons of the series on DVD (both of which hit stores on Dec. 21), my wife immediately fell in love with Billy Bretherton and his family-filled pest-control operation and demanded that I watch the show with her.

So I did…and now I’m addicted, too.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to chat with Billy in conjunction with these DVD releases, but when I first called him at Vexcon headquarters, I was told that he wasn’t in the office. It was never formally confirmed whether or not the reason for his absence was confusion over time zones – I’m in eastern, he’s in central – or the fact that he was battling a bit of a sore throat, but whatever the case, I was told to call him on his cell phone. After listening to his hold music (John Lennon’s “Imagine,” if you were wondering) for a few seconds, Billy picked up and the interview began.

Join us now for…

Bullz-Eye: I understand you’ve got a little bit of laryngitis working on you.

Billy the Exterminator: (Laughs) Yessir, a little bit.

BE: Well, I’m battling a sore throat myself, so you may consider me sympathetic.

BtE: Well, thank you!

BE: I’ve got to tell you that I’ve only just discovered the show, thanks to these DVD sets of Seasons 1 and 2, but my wife and I are now both officially addicted to it.

BtE: Oh, well, cool! I appreciate that, man! I appreciate all the support I get.

BE: Hey, no problem. What’s funny is that I’m a TV critic, but somehow I missed out of the show, so when we got the DVD sets, my wife put on Disc 1 of Season 1 just on a whim, really. But it’s hard to stop watching!

BtE: Cool! I appreciate the compliment, thank you!

BE: So your show was a long time coming, wasn’t it? I mean, they first filmed you for “Dirty Jobs” in 2004, correct?

BtE: Yessir, that’s when we went international…or the United States, at least. (Laughs) But we’d been filmed for the local news since about ’96.

BE: How did that come about? Did the news approach you?

BtE: No, sir, basically…we live in a small town: Benton, Louisiana. There’s about 2,000 people here. In northwest Louisiana, there’s 72 companies, and we just called them all and told them to send us their undesirable work that they won’t do. Of course, that draws media attention, newspapers and magazines. They would upload the information on the internet, and some producers found the footage, fell in love with the family, and the rest is history.

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