I’ll admit, maybe it’s personal—recently I’ve become addicted to “The Big Bang Theory,”—but with all the talk of technology and science here, the opening frame of TCA seems mighty close to SCTE. Understand, TCA normally is a decidedly tech-free zone. For TCA, having more than 3 sets in your home is considered TV everywhere. TV critics aren’t troglodytes, but their priorities are different. While cable is concerned with a seamless connection between platforms, TCA members are more interested in how tight that seamless chiffon Eva Longoria wore at yesterday’s ESPN panel was. Yet for 24 hours here, critics have been offered a CTAM -sponsored briefing about TV Everywhere. TV is thought of as brain-destroying, yet some of Nat Geo ’s slate is cranium-heavy, with returning series like “Brain Games” joining “The Big Picture with Kal Penn,” which looks at Big Data (March premiere). Another Nat Geo panel, for “American Genius,” featured geeks like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack, Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy,’ and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. Clips shown included events in the lives of Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. TCA’s proximity to Hollywood means there’s much talk about stars, but Wed that meant a discussion with “Cosmos” host Neil deGrasse Tyson about NASA ’s relatively puny budget—roughly half a penny of your tax dollar. deGrasse Tyson was on hand to promote Nat Geo’s 1st talk show, a version of his podcast. There was even a Nat Geo Wild panel featuring a discussion about dogs’ intelligence for “Is Your Dog a Genius?” (May 15)—dogs, like people, have different kinds of intelligence; some canines are better with numbers, others with math, for example. The scientific bent continued Thurs, when Science Channel gm Rita Mullin said, “science is on the rise… it’s everywhere.” She might have meant Science, not science, which just had its most-watched month, but that’s not the point. And it’s true, Grant Reynolds, co-host of Science’s “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?,” is a cross between a young James Brolin and Christian Bale. Still, briefly, the heady atmosphere of science and technology trended at TCA. – Seth Arenstein

Reviews

“Babylon,” Thurs, 10p, Sundance. A police series whose protagonist is a PR person? Really? But it works, mostly, since the pace is rapid ( Danny Boyle directs), the venue is Scotland Yard and the PR whiz is a young American ( Brit Marlig). James Nesbitt is the uptight police commissioner and Bertie Carvel is outstanding as Marling’s PR rival. Frontline police, who seem to battle each other as much as they do the bad guys, are juxtaposed perfectly against the brass, in the Yard’s relative calm. Throughout, social media churns as cameras watch. — “Man Seeking Woman,” premiere, Wed, 10:30, FXX. The nightmare of dating becomes surrealistic for likeable schlep Josh ( Jay Baruchel). The pilot is odder than eps 2 and 3, which deliver spot-on commentary. — “Togetherness,” premiere, Sun, 9:30p, HBO. Amanda Peet and Steve Zissis are an unlikely couple in this semi-serious look at suburban angst. — Returning: A slew of notable series return, including “Girls” (Sun, 9p, HBO), with Lena Dunham’s Hannah still whining, yet looking better; Carrie Brownstein’s portrayal of a ‘typical’ commitment-phobic male in next week’s “Portlandia” (Thurs, 10p, IFC) is remarkable; just when you thought “Banshee” (Fri, 10p, Cinemax) couldn’t get more violent, this excellent guilty pleasure does; and “Shameless” (Sun, 9p, Showtime) continues to show how a poor, highly dysfunctional family ultimately can triumph. – Seth Arenstein

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