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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Daily Beast: "True Blood’s Scene-Stealer"

As Pam, True Blood 's resident bitchy vampire, Kristin Bauer van Straten has walked off with the drama’s best lines and many of its scenes. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled " True Blood ’s Scene-Stealer," in which I sit down with Kristin Bauer van Straten to talk about Pam, Eric, and Alexander Skarsgard, as well as her background and why she nearly quit acting. (Plus, Seinfeld 's "Man Hands!") True Blood airs Sunday evenings at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Chains: Capture and Release on True Blood

"There's a light in you, it's beautiful. I couldn't bear it if I snuffed it out." - Eric Northman Imprisonment, both literal and figurative, seemed to be one of the underlying themes of this week's episode of True Blood ("Me and the Devil"), written by Mark Hudis and directed by Daniel Minahan, which found the various characters encountering their worst fears and darkest truths about their natures. Tommy Mickens began the episode wrapped up in chains, ensnared by his no-good mercenary parents, but his storyline in this week's episode closed out with Tommy victorious over them, though his sense of guilt caged him anew. (In literature, there is nothing worse than a kinslayer, a grievous sin that one of the worst that anyone can perpetrate. There are cosmic consequences that come from spilling one's own blood, after all.) Tara found that she had trapped herself by the lies she's constructed about her identity; Eric by the unexpected sh

Chuck at Comic-Con: Morgan Versus the Intersect

"I've got an old-fashioned Rocky montage..." NBC already has its Chuck Comic-Con exclusive ("Morgan Versus the Intersect") online for those of you not at San Diego Comic-Con (such as yours truly) or those still standing in the line outside Ballroom 20... And, yes, the rumors are true: it does feature Jeffster performing "Eye of the Tiger." (And if the above video stops working--as it appears to have just done--you can see the video here .) Season Five of Chuck begins this fall on NBC.

No Such Thing as Forever: HBO Unveils Comic-Con Sizzle Reel for Season Four of True Blood

"There ain't no such thing as normal." Missed yesterday's Comic-Con panel for HBO's True Blood ? Fret not, we've got the gorgeous and atmospheric trailer that HBO debuted yesterday right now. Be warned: it contains many, many spoilers for Season Four (past even the next few episodes that I've already seen), but for those desperate for a Blood -related fix, this might be just the thing to tide your appetite over until tomorrow night... Some more words to tempt your hunger: Silver chains, hot pink outfits, wooden bullets, sunlight, blood splatter, Sookie's stomach, and, well... Just watch and see. Season Four of True Blood airs Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Dispatches from San Diego: Comic-Con 2011 Game of Thrones Panel (Photos)

I'm not in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con (marking the first year in about six that I haven't traveled south for the annual pop culture confab) for a number of reasons. Not surprisingly, the one session I'm most upset about missing out on this year is HBO's session for Game of Thrones , moderated by George R.R. Martin, given my slavish devotion to the show and Martin's novels. However, Televisionary correspondent Lissette Lira was on the scene to offer some photos from Thursday's Game of Thrones session. [Panel report tk later.] * * * [Photos from the session follow after the jump...]

Dispatches from San Diego: Comic-Con 2011 TV Guide Panel

I'm not in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con (marking the first year in about six that I haven't traveled south for the annual pop culture confab) for a number of reasons. However, Televisionary correspondent Lissette Lira was on the scene to offer her report on Thursday's TV Guide panel as well as some photos from the fan-favorites sessions. * * * All in all the TV Guide panel was a bit of a mixed bag. While it was great fun seeing such an eclectic group of stars share the stage together, there were so many participants that everyone wound up getting a bit short-changed in the process. Nonetheless, there were still a few memorable highlights, including Zach Levi passionately voicing his agreement with a fan about the need for the TV ratings system to be changed. Levi vowed to write more about the subject on the website Nerd HQ which he was promoting with his baseball cap. Levi also spoke about his hope that CHUCK fans will b

Dispatches from San Diego: Comic-Con 2011 Preview Night

I'm not in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con (marking the first year in about six that I haven't traveled south for the annual pop culture confab) for a number of reasons. While I'm sad to be missing some friends and some of the events (particularly the Game of Thrones panel moderated by George R.R. Martin), I'm feeling a rare sense of Zen that I never do this time of year. However, Mark DiFruscio was on the scene to offer his report on Wednesday's opening Preview Night and some photos from the convention floor. * * * The 2011 San Diego Comic-Con kicked off Wednesday night with an uncharacteristically subdued Preview Night. While a throng of Con-goers still managed to pack the aisles of the exhibit floor-- frequently to suffocating degrees-- absent were the more overtly eye-catching feature film promotional displays of recent years such as the life-sized Owl Ship from WATCHMEN, the Light Cycles from TRON, and even a

The Way of All Flesh: Corruption and Decay on True Blood

"I'd never harm you." - Eric Northman In the world of True Blood , vampires may be a part of nature, but they also exist in their own unique sphere of the natural world. After all, their status quo is vastly different than anything else on the planet: they shun the light and their bodies retain their youthful looks after centuries--or even millennia--upon this earth. There's an unnaturalness to their very naturalness, even in Charlaine Harris' and Alan Ball's vision of the world. Which might explain why the vampires are so concerned about necromancy: it represents a real threat to the very balance of their existence. Vampires are dead, after all, and necromancers have an uncanny knack for controlling the dead. Which means that their very autonomy is at threat, and as we saw this week, necromancers like Marnie have the ability to remind the vampires that they are in fact the walking dead. On this week's episode of True Blood ("I'm Alive and

The Daily Beast: "The Emmy Awards’ 10 Biggest Snubs"

The nominations are out: Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights , and Mad Men get their shot at the awards, while Community , Nick Offerman, and many others are shut out. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled, "The Emmy Awards’ 10 Biggest Snubs," in which I examine shows and actors were snubbed by the TV Academy. Plus, view our gallery of the nominees . The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be televised live on September 18th on Fox.

Strength of Conviction: An Advance Review of Season Four of Damages

"If you have to ask the question, you already have your answer." - Patty Hewes Serpentine legal thriller Damages returns for a twisty fourth season of backstabbing and betrayal, though if you don't have DirecTV, you'll have to wait until the inevitable DVD release to check in with Glenn Close's Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne's Ellen Parsons. The show, which aired its first three seasons on FX, moves over to the satellite platform's The Audience Network (formerly called The 101 Network) for an exclusive run. (That's right, exclusive. You're not going to see it anywhere else.) Given its nature, Damages is one of those tense, labyrinthine dramas that's nearly impossible to discuss without spoiling the plot in some fashion, making it really, really difficult to review in advance. The first two episodes of Season Four ("There's Only One Way to Try a Case" and "I've Done Way Too Much for This Girl"), which I watched a fe

A Doll's House: Games People Play on True Blood

As often happens in Bon Temps, people don't seem to be falling together, but rather falling apart. Case in point: star-crossed lovers Jessica and Hoyt, who have embarked on a life of domesticity together, only to find that playing house isn't as easy as it looks from the outside. Over the last few weeks, we've seen these two engage in all manner of domestic sparring, as insignificant squabbles blow into something bigger and more indefinable about their relationship: an argument over dinner turns into a raw-egg-eating contest, a trip for Advil becomes a case of Jessica feeding on another man, and a confession turns into something brutal and heart-breaking here. On this week's episode of True Blood ("If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyinʼ?"), written by Alan Ball and directed by David Petrarca, the widening chasm between Jessica and Hoyt looked all the more vast and empty, as something terrible came between the two young lovers on opposite sides of the vampire-huma

Death Takes a (Long) Holiday: Thoughts on Starz's Torchwood: Miracle Day

When we last saw Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), they had managed to save the world from a menacing alien incursion that threatened to harvest the world's child population. While Team Torchwood managed to save the day, it came once more at a heavy price: the loss of team member Ianto, the sacrifice of Jack's own grandson, and the discovery that Gwen herself was pregnant. Jack took off for the stars, while Gwen went into hiding. Pyrrhic victories are something of Torchwood 's stock-in-trade, really. The spinoff of Doctor Who , which originally launched in 2006 on BBC Three (and on BBC America here in the States), is far less sunny than its predecessor, more concerned with the darkness of both the extraterrestrial threats to the planet and to that inside its alien hunters. This is a series that revolves around some inherently flawed, damaged individuals who are constantly forced to make some tough choices. It naturally then inhabits the g

The Daily Beast: "George R.R. Martin’s Triumphant Return" (A Dance With Dragons Advance Review)

After a six-year wait, George R.R. Martin’s "A Dance With Dragons" finally hits bookstores next week. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "George R.R. Martin’s Triumphant Return," in which I review "A Dance With Dragons," the fifth installment and the latest in Martin’s bestselling "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, on which HBO's Game of Thrones is based. "A Dance With Dragons" will hit bookshelves on Tuesday.

The Daily Beast: "Torchwood Heads to America"

With Torchwood: Miracle Day , the British cult sci-fi drama travels across the pond to investigate a global conspiracy. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Torchwood Heads to America," in which I visit the Los Angeles set of the BBC/Starz series (a spinoff of the venerable British science fiction drama Doctor Who ), which premieres July 8 in the U.S., and sit down for breakfast with creator Russell T. Davies. Plus, allow Russell T. Davies to bring you up to speed on who’s who in among Torchwood: Miracle Day 's cast of characters . Torchwood: Miracle Day begins Friday, July 8th at 10 pm ET/PT on Starz.

Sunshine in a Pretty Blonde Bottle: Bargains on True Blood

There is a price for everything. Whether it's a spell to resurrect the dead or a new screen door (plus a microwave, to boot), there are strings attached to every bargain, no matter how slight or how severe. Whether or not that toll is immediately clear remains to be seen, but what is inexorable is that the collector will come courting eventually, whether it's for your blood or your soul. This week's fantastic installment of True Blood ("You Smell Like Dinner"), written by Brian Buckner; directed by Scott Winant, presented the residents of Bon Temps with some new bargains thrown into their already overwrought status quo. After last week's lackluster season opener, this week's episode represented a seismic leap forward in terms of quality. No B-grade sci-fi shenanigans here, but rather a taut (and at times quite funny) installment that depicted Sookie integrating back into her old life, only to find that things--including her best friend Tara and her ch