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Showing posts from March, 2011

Mad Men Deal Closed: Matthew Weiner to Stick Around for Potentially Three More Seasons

We can all exhale now. While the the ad men of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce won't be back on the airwaves until March 2012 now, creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner will be returning to the 1960s, having successfully closed a deal with AMC and Lionsgate that will keep him around for Seasons Five and Six, and a potential seventh season. “I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support," said Weiner in a prepared statement. "I also want to thank AMC and Lionsgate for agreeing to support the artistic freedom of myself, the cast and the crew so that we can continue to make the show exactly as we have from the beginning. I'm excited to get started on the next chapter of our story.” “AMC’s original programming began with a mission to create bold storytelling of the highest quality, and Mad Men was the perfect expression of that commitment. We've been proud to support this show from the day we read Matt's ground-breaking pilot script and have lo

New Doctor Who Trailer: "The Doctor's Darkest Hour"

"This is the day he finds out who I am..." - River Song Auntie Beeb has released the first full trailer for Season Six of Doctor Who , starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, and the incomparable Alex Kingston, who plays River Song, the Doctor's... well, we'll be finding out this season. Below, you can catch the full trailer, which looks absolutely bloody brilliant and features clowns, astronauts, a kiss from River Song, the Utah desert, explosions, pirate ships, Hugh Bonneville, puppets, peepholes, and who knows what else... What do you think of the trailer? How excited are you for the return of The Doctor? Head to the comments section to discuss. Season Six of Doctor Who premieres April 23rd on BBC One and BBC America.

The Daily Beast: Game of Thrones Author George R.R. Martin Curates His All-Time Best Science Fiction Films

Game of Thrones , HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s first book in his bestselling series "A Song of Ice and Fire," premieres April 17th—and the network is showing the first 15 minutes of the first episode this Sunday. In anticipation, Martin curates his 10 favorite science-fiction films, from The Road Warrior to Blade Runner at The Daily Beast . (And be sure to check back next week, when Martin curates his favorite fantasy films in Part Two of this two-part feature.) Did your favorite make the list? What's your take on GRRM's favorite science fiction films? Head to the comments section to discuss and debate. Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, April 17th at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Tongue & Cheek: Fois Gras Ice Cream and Pepperoni Sauce on the Season Finale of Top Chef

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf Is it just me or was that a Top Chef season finale showdown for the ages? Last night's finale was so tense, so filled with suspense and anticipation, nerves and anxiety, that I actually found myself nauseous from stress watching it. After dozens of Quickfire Challenges and Eliminations, broken dreams and chances of redemption, which of the final two chefs would walk away $200,000 richer and be crowned the winner of the first all-stars edition of Top Chef ? Would it be visionary Richard Blais, whose expansive skill set, precise palate, and dazzling creativity are the stuff of Top Chef legend? Or would it be dark horse Mike Isabella, who returned to the competition energized, refreshed, and determined? I don't think many of us thought that Mike would make it this far or offer such a huge obstacle for Richard to overcome, but he's managed to surprise throughout this seas

The Daily Beast: AMC's New Killer Drama, The Killing

Every now and then comes along a supremely smart, compulsively addictive serialized drama series that hooks you from the very first moments. Welcome to The Killing , AMC's newest drama offering, which begins on Sunday evening (look for a review of the first three episodes before then) and is based on the hit Danish series Forbrydelsen . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature , in which I talk to executive producer Veena Sud and cast members Mireille Enos ( Big Love ) and Billy Campbell ( The 4400 ) and explore the show's thematic similarities to another addictive mystery, Twin Peaks , and compare it to the disturbing trend of "murder porn" in most American television crime procedurals. The Killing premieres with a special two-hour launch on Sunday at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC. You do not want to miss out on this remarkable new series!

The Saints' Guide to Bottoming Out: An Advance Review of Season Three of Nurse Jackie

It's always rewarding--and exceedingly rare--to see a show have such a sense of itself right out of the gate and to continue to mine its central premise and its characters for new depths (and highs) as the seasons pass by. Showtime's dark and hysterical dramedy Nurse Jackie returns tonight for a sensational third season with its sense of self firmly intact. Revolving around in-denial drug addict Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco), her family, and her memorably offbeat emergency room co-workers, the show is a winning blend of emotional highs and lows. Jackie still can't function without the assistance of prescription painkillers, but the walls have closed in on her after the intervention at the end of last season, thrown on her by husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) and best friend Dr. Eleanor O'Hara (Eve Best). But rather than get the help we all know she needs, Jackie lashes out at those who would help her; there's a lesson inherent within her reaction that we can only help

Fringe Promo: "Where Will You Be?"

Hot off the heels of the announcement that Fringe will be returning for a fourth season , FOX has unveiled a new promo for the science-fiction drama that seemingly offers a clue to the coming danger facing the Fringe Divisions of both universes. You can review this new promo--which I am referring to as "Where Will You Be?"--in full below, but I'm extremely curious to know just what everyone makes of the odd 6:02 am that appears at the end of the promo? Is that when the doomsday device is triggered? Is that when the universe(s) could come to an end? The time they bleed together? Just what does the time code mean and what conclusions are the producers pushing us towards? Head to the comments to share your thoughts, theories, and conjectures... Fringe returns with new episodes on Friday, April 15th (with an episode entitled, naturally, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide") on FOX.

My Dinner with Abed: Emotional Truths and the Lies We Tell Ourselves on Community

It's safe to say that Community will never give you exactly what you think you're getting. In this case, this week's brilliant and moving episode of Community ("Critical Film Studies"), written by Sona Panos and directed by Richard Ayoade (of The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh ), seemed to be a spoof of Pulp Fiction . It looked and sounded--from the promos and the information being sent out by the publicity and marketing teams--like Pulp Fiction , so it had to be a spoof of Quentin Tarantino's landmark film, right? Wrong. While there were elements from Pulp Fiction in play for Abed's PF -themed surprise party at the diner where Britta works, the episode itself was an astute yet emotional homage to Louis Malle's 1981 film My Dinner with Andre , which is essentially a conversation between two men (Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory) about the nature of reality, of fabricated theatre, and of true and honest experiences as opposed to robotic reactions t

VIDEO: Doctor Who Prequel: "There Are No Monsters in the Oval Office"

Season Six of Doctor Who might not kick off until next month, but Auntie Beeb is offering a sneak peek at the first episode ("The Impossible Astronaut"), written by head writer/executive producer Steven Moffat, with the first of three prequel clips heading your way in the next few weeks. You can view the first prequel clip below, which depicts U.S. President Richard Nixon receiving a rather eerie phone call while he's seated in the White House's Oval Office, a message that urges him to "look behind" him, even as he claims that "there are no monsters in the Oval Office." We'll see about that... Check out the prequel clip below and be sure to catch the start of Doctor Who 's sixth season in April. Season Six of Doctor Who begins Saturday, April 23rd at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

It's Official: Fringe Renewed for Fourth Season

The impossible is indeed possible where Fringe is concerned: the sci-fi drama has been picked up by FOX for a fourth season. Executive producer Joel Wyman broke news of the renewal via Twitter, writing, " Fringe was picked up!!!! Thanks Fringedom!" A FOX spokesperson confirmed the renewal to me via email, which means we can officially take Fringe off the endangered series list, as it's officially been renewed for the 2011-12 season. No word on how many episodes will be ordered for next season (though several sources seem to indicate that it will be a full 22-episode season) or on the timeslot, so stay tuned. UPDATE: Fox has now also confirmed to me that Season Four will consist of 22 episodes! How happy are you about Fringe renewal? Surprised? Elated? Discuss! UPDATE #2 (March 25th): Fox has now issued a press release with quotes from Kevin Reilly and the executive producers, which can be read below... FOX RENEWS “FRINGE” FOR FOURTH SEASON – IN BOTH UNIVERSE

Nothing Is Written In Stone: An Advance Review of Fringe's "Bloodline"

What's done is done, but what has yet to happen is far from certain. This is especially true within the world of Fringe , where anything is possible and where the actions of characters have ripple effects that have impact on not only their lives but on entire universes. A father's love can doom a world or two. A child can become a lifeline to another universe. An ancient device could destroy the future. But the future, for all of its infinite possibilities, is a blank slate yet to be written. We can choose, we can fall, we can fail. But tomorrow is forever in front of us. Nothing, we're told, is written in stone. This week's sensational and gripping episode of Fringe ("Bloodline"), written by Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker, is set Over There and it's with a certain amount of relish that we dive through the veil to see the after-effects of Fauxlivia's return to her own world: how she's coping with her pregnancy and the fact that the fathe

Black as Coal, Dark as Sin: Quick Thoughts on the Next Three Fantastic Episodes of Justified

It's always gratifying when a fairly procedural show takes a serialized plot and runs with it. That's the case in the next three amazing installments of FX's Justified , which pick up the threads of last week's Winona-centric "Blaze of Glory" and several other ongoing storylines and take them to some truly remarkable places, including next week's "The Spoil," which might just be the strongest episode of the series to date. It's with these episodes, viewed individually or as a whole, that Justified not only reaches the heights of last season's Crowder storyline but overtakes it as well, transforming this season into an intoxicating blend of procedural cases of the week and a larger mythology for the series, one that entangles Raylan and Winona, Boyd and Ava, Mags Bennett and her clan... and a coal company with designs on the mountain and lands of both Harlan and Bennett counties. This last element introduces one of the season's mos

Slugger: The Truth About Kalinda Comes Out on The Good Wife's 'Ham Sandwich"

Whatever secret you thought Kalinda was keeping, it certainly wasn't this one. Last night's tension-filled episode of The Good Wife ("Ham Sandwich"), written by Keith Eisner and directed by Griffin Dunne, may have seemingly revolved around the episodic plots--the continued story of Peter's political campaign, here embodied in race issues involving the kids and the campaign, and the firm handling Lemond Bishop's divorce proceedings--but it was the Kalinda plot that once again fueled the installment and offered an emotional knee-capping at the very end of the episode. Throughout the series thus far, Archie Panjabi's Kalinda has remained the mysterious presence in the room, the one with all of the answers who seems to be the source of most of the questions on the show. Just who is she? What is she hiding? Why is she so determined to keep her past a secret? And what does Blake (Scott Porter) really have on her? The audience learned the answers to some of t

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth: An Advance Review of HBO's Mildred Pierce

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is/To have a thankless child!" - William Shakespeare A word to the wise: Don't go into HBO's Todd Haynes-directed mini-series Mildred Pierce , which begins Sunday, expecting the noir-tinged murder plot of the 1945 Joan Crawford film. In adapting James M. Cain's novel--the basis for that famous film--writers Todd Haynes and Jon Raymond have hewed closely to the underlying material, rather than the sensationalized drama film with the same name, where the titular businesswoman, Mildred Pierce (Crawford), is suspected of killing her wealthy playboy husband, allegedly trading her pie weights for bullets. Here, there is no murder, no discussion of criminality, though the notion of maternal sacrifice looms large over the action. Here, in Haynes' five-hour miniseries, Mildred Pierce is played by Kate Winslet, who gives her Mildred a brittleness and hubris-like pride that are wholly in keeping with McCain's original no

Eternity: Thoughts on the Series Finale of HBO's Big Love

"I may not always love you But long as there are stars above you You never need to doubt it I'll make you so sure about it God only knows what I'd be with you." Saying goodbye is never easy, particularly when it's a series as deeply nuanced and as emotionally resonant as HBO's Big Love , a groundbreaking series that subtly shifted our perceptions of what the television family drama could accomplish. Over five seasons, the audience witnessed the struggles of the Henrickson clan as they attempted to seek out their own destinies, both as a group and as individuals. This was a series that was centered around hearth and home, sex and salvation, faith and family. It was at times hugely operatic (Season Four, I'm looking at you), Shakespearean, or pared-down (the final season). But what Big Love accomplished was to deliver a look into a family that was markedly different, perhaps, than our own, but which also had the same growing pains, the same fears, the

The Daily Beast: "Big Love Series Finale: Its 12 Most Memorable Moments" (UPDATED)

HBO's landmark drama series Big Love ended its run tonight with a fantastic series finale. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Big Love Series Finale: Its 12 Most Memorable Moments," in which I select the twelve best moments from Big Love 's entire run, including tonight's series finale, and allow you to relive these searing moments, thanks to our wonderful video team. Did your favorite moment make the list? Head to the comments section to discuss.

The Daily Beast: "Big Love Series Finale: Its Ten Most Memorable Moments"

HBO's landmark drama series Big Love wraps up its run tonight with a fantastic series finale. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Big Love Series Finale: Its Ten Most Memorable Moments," in which I select the ten best moments from Big Love 's run ahead of tonight's series finale and allow you to relive these searing moments, thanks to our wonderful video team. Be sure to check back after the episode when I unveil my two additional moments from the series finale, which is gripping and emotional, to say the least, as well as my thoughts about the show's end. Did your favorite moment make the list? How do you think tonight's series finale will wrap up the last five years of storylines? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Doctor Who: "Space" and "Time" (Red Nose Day 2011)

"This is how it ends... Pond flirting with herself." While Doctor Who doesn't officially return until next month, BBC One has given us a little glimpse of the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), and Rory (Arthur Darville) in Steven Moffat's Red Nose Day mini-episodes, "Space" and "Time," which can be viewed below. Hoping to sneak a peek at Amy Pond flirting with herself, the TARDIS materializing inside itself, and a gag about a skirt, a driver's test, and a glass floor? You've come to the right place. Allon-y! "Space" "Time Season Six of Doctor Who begins with "The Impossible Astronaut" on April 23rd on BBC One and BBC America.

PaleyFest 2011: Details From NBC's Community Panel

Everybody now: Pop Pop! Last night marked Community 's second time at the annual Paley Festival and the evening, moderated by The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff, was a celebration of the off-kilter NBC comedy and its cast and crew, which came out in full force (save Donald Glover and Alison Brie, who were shooting) for this hysterical and fun session. The evening began with a screening of this week's upcoming episode of Community ("Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy"), written by Andy Bobrow, which featured guest star Enver Gjojak ( Dollhouse ) as Luka, a friend of Troy and Abed's with whom Britta becomes romantically involved. I don't want to give too much away about the episode--it was hysterical, after all--but I will say that it involves war crimes, kidnapping charges, Chang smoking a pipe, and Kickpuncher III , as well as Gillian Jacobs' Britta creating chaos in her wake and the pregnancy/paternity subplot swirling around Yvette Nicole B

The Daily Beast: "15 Reasons to Watch TV This Spring"

Yes, spring is finally here (or thereabouts, anyway), and that brings warmer weather and, very fortunately, a slew of new and returning television series. Over at The Daily Beast, you can check out my latest feature, "15 Reasons to Watch TV This Spring," which includes a look at such series as Mildred Pierce, Game of Thrones, The Borgias, The Kennedys, Camelot, The Killing, Body of Proof, Upstairs Downstairs, and returning series such as Nurse Jackie, The United States of Tara, Treme, Doctor Who, Top Chef: Masters, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and the NBC premiere of the final season of Friday Night Lights . What are you most excited about that arrives on the airwaves between now and May? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Falling or Floating: The Bell Tolls for Thee on Fringe

Hmmm, it appears that a father's love will drive men to do some horrific things in order to save their sons. On this week's episode of Fringe ("Os"), written by Josh Singer and Graham Roland and directed by Brad Anderson, I couldn't help but notice the parallels between Walter Bishop and Alan Ruck's Dr. Crick (itself a likely shout-out to DNA visionaries Watson and Crick), who was experimenting on wheelchair-bound subjects in order to find a way to help his son walk again. We've seen the consequences of Walter Bishop's actions and, as we're often told on Fringe , that long road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. Walter passed through the veil separating two universes in order to save Peter's life, but in that case, his love for his son, may have inadvertently destroyed two worlds as a result. And, like Walter, Crick crossed a number of moral (and legal) boundaries in order to save his son, to transform his life for the better.