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Showing posts from August, 2011

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones' Creative Gurus:" (Interview with Dan Weiss and David Benioff)

Hungry for some Game of Thrones scoop? (I know I am.) Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones ' Creative Gurus," in which I catch up with Game of Thrones writer/executive producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff to discuss the show's numerous Emmy nominations (and Emilia Clarke's snub), the casting of Carice van Houten and Hannah Murray (as Melisandre and Gilly, respectively), "sexposition," and what's to come in Season Two of the HBO fantasy drama. All together now: "HODOR!" Season Two of Game of Thrones will launch in 2012.

The Daily Beast: "The Brits' Surprising Emmy Hit" and "Inside Downton Abbey Season Two"

Yes, Downton Abbey adherents, I've got a bit of a treat for you: not just one, but TWO, features about the hit British period drama today. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The Brits' Surprising Emmy Hit," Part One of Two of my Downton Abbey features today, this time an Emmys feature on the British drama, recognized with 11 nominations this year, including Outstanding Made-for-TV-Movie or Miniseries. I talk with creator Julian Fellowes and the cast about Emmy nominations, the show’s insane popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, and what’s coming up on Season Two. If that's not enough period goodness for you, there's my second feature, entitled "Inside Downton Abbey Season Two," in which Julian Fellowes and the cast of Downton Abbey (including Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, and Siobhan Finneran) provide me with some clues about what's coming up on the second season of the period drama, begin

The Daily Beast: "Margo Martindale: Emmy’s Stealth Frontrunner"

Nominee Margo Martindale, in the running for outstanding supporting actress, may not be prepping an Emmy acceptance speech--but she should be, especially after her magnificently malevolent turn as Mags Bennett on FX's Justified this year. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Emmy’s Stealth Frontrunner," in which I sit down with Martindale to discuss playing Justified ’s Mags Bennett, how she won’t be wasted on CBS’s A Gifted Man , and why she believes in ghosts. Justified returns for a third season in 2012.

More from Moffat: Outtakes From My Interview with Doctor Who Showrunner Steven Moffat

Yesterday, over at The Daily Beast, I ran my interview with Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat , in which we discussed the shocking identity of River Song (Alex Kingston), criticisms of “bad girl” companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), the tenture of Moffat and series lead Matt Smith, and we dispelled quite a few (false) rumors about Season Seven along way. Not everything from the time I spent with Moffat made it into that interview, so below you'll find some of the outtakes that were cut for length from The Daily Beast Q&A with Moffat. Among the topics: whether we'll see Torchwood 's Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) in the TARDIS anytime soon (and why River is, in some ways, a replacement for Jack), why Moffat seems to relish killing Rory (Arthur Darvill) over and over again, why Season Six was split into two halves for broadcast, how dark the second half of the season gets, and a brief discussion of Doctor Who 's episodic budget. The Daily Beast: What

The Daily Beast: "Doctor Who’s Global Takeover" (Interview with Steven Moffat)

Once a cult series, British sci-fi drama Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon, and new audiences are embracing the 900-year-old alien time traveler--now played by roughly 29-year-old Matt Smith--with alarming passion. (Witness the rock-star welcome Smith and co-star Karen Gillan got at July’s Comic-Con.) Doctor Who , under head writer Steven Moffat, who replaced Russell T. Davies last season, returns for the second half of its sixth season in the U.S. and the U.K. on Saturday. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Doctor Who ’s Global Takeover," in which I sit down with Moffat in Los Angeles to discuss the shocking identity of River Song (Alex Kingston), criticisms of “bad girl” companion Amy Pond (Gillan), and rumors about next season. Doctor Who returns Saturday, August 27th for the second half of Season Six, kicking off with "Let's Kill Hitler," at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America and at 7:10 pm GMT on BBC One.

The Daily Beast: "Emmys 2011: The Good Wife's Best Actress" (Julianna Margulies)

Julianna Margulies has been nominated for an Emmy Award for CBS’ The Good Wife . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature (and the first in a series of Emmys-centric pieces heading your way), " The Good Wife 's Best Actress," in which I speak with Margulies about playing the brilliant and career-driven Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife , Alicia and Will (Josh Charles), Alicia and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), wigs, gate-crashing the Governor's Ball, and her Emmy nomination. Season Three of The Good Wife begins Sunday, September 25th at 9 pm ET/PT on CBS.

The Daily Beast: "Becoming Chloë Sevigny"

Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny may be the former star of Big Love on TV – but online, she’s developed a viral following at the hand of her drag-queen impersonator, Drew Droege. Over at The Daily Beast, Droege writes about his muse and inspiration, and how the two came face to face, in the hilarious first-person piece "Becoming Chloë Sevigny." (Complete with video from Droege's mordant and biting viral video series Chloe .)

True Blood's Downward Turn (Or Why I'm Not Writing a Typical Review This Week)

Confession: I couldn't bring myself to rewatch last night's episode of True Blood . This hasn't happened to date. Typically, I watch the series via press screener a few weeks ahead of broadcast and then sit down on Sunday night to rewatch the week's latest installment in order to have it fresh in my mind so I can write my review. This was not what happened this week. In fact, I was so turned off by Sunday's episode ("Let's Get Out of Here"), written by Brian Buckner and directed by Romeo Tirone, that I couldn't actually force myself to sit through it again. Which is saying something, I think. Perhaps it was the overabundance of Emma (shudder), the hostage standoff/ Ghost Whisperer plot of Lafayette (double shudder), Sookie's intensely unerotic dream, or the irritating showdown at the Vampire Rights rally (yawn), this episode just got under my skin in the worst possible way. I've been able to rationalize a lot with True Blood and fin

The Daily Beast: "The Hour: The British Mad Men?"

The British drama The Hour , launching on Wednesday, Aug. 17, on BBC America, arrives at an inauspicious time for British journalists currently mired in a phone-hacking scandal and charges of police bribery that has closed newspapers and brought media moguls in front of Parliament. Those involved with such illicit and illegal wiretapping bear little resemblance to the journalist-heroes of The Hour , set in and around a BBC newsroom in 1956, where the truth was the most important principle. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The British Mad Men ?" in which I sit down with The Hour 's creator Abi Morgan to discuss the journalist-heroes of the six-part series, comparisons to AMC’s ‘Mad Men,’ and Morgan’s upcoming Margaret Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady . The Hour premieres tonight at 10 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

Stylish Love Triangles, Newsroom Politics, and Murder: An Advance Review of BBC America's Period Drama The Hour

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." - Freddie Lyon CBS' newsmagazine 60 Minutes represents something tangible and honest to most Americans: an hour of news and opinion that cuts through the news cycle clutter to offer insight and context about the issues of the day. In England, the show's analogue would have been something like Panorama or Tonight , but British journalists at the moment are widely tarnished by a phone hacking and police bribery grand scandal that has to date closed a newspaper, saw the departure of longtime Rupert Murdoch confidante Rebekah Brooks, and brought the media mogul himself before Parliament to answer for the grievous charges against the tabloid newspaper he owned. In other words: it's not a good time to be a British journalist, with the world watching and waiting. In a quite prescient move, creator Abi Morgan's intoxicating and atmospheric British drama, The Hour , harkens back to the journalist-heroes

Shot Through the Heart: Spellbound on True Blood

"She has a warrior's heart." - Eric Upfront: I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, so I approach HBO's True Blood from a very different vantage point than I do, say, Game of Thrones , where I'm familiar with the novels, the characters, and where the story is going several seasons down the road. Not so with True Blood , which means that I'm not approaching the material with any degree of anticipation of future events, seminal moments, or the infamous shower scene, which--as promised by yours truly several weeks ago--did play out this week, albeit in a vastly different fashion than many of Charlaine Harris' fans expected. They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but the reverse is also true: familiarity can breed passionate love, particularly where adaptation is involved. Knowledge of the source material can color one's perceptions of an adaptation, especially one which strays from the established for the new. I say this with no judgmen

The Daily Beast: "Inside ink.: Top Chef Michael Voltaggio's Next Act"

Michael Voltaggio, the swaggering winner of Top Chef prepares to open two Los Angeles eateries, ink. and ink.sack (opening this week!) in West Hollywood. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "A Top Chef’s Next Act," in which I sit down at the restaurant with the chef to discuss sandwiches, his future, his personal regrets, and how The New York Times insulted him. ink. is set to open in September in Los Angeles, while lucky Angelenos can get a taste of ink.sack's amazing sandwiches this week.

Top Chef Taste: Inside Michael Voltaggio's Sandwich Shop, ink.sack

Yes, I ate my way through the menu at ink.sack last night. ink.sack, of course, being the top secret sandwich shop overseen by Top Chef Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio, which the chef unveiled last night at a press event held at his upscale boite ink., which is slated to open on West Hollywood's Melrose Avenue next month. (For more on both restaurants, you can read my feature over at The Daily Beast, " "A Top Chef’s Next Act," because of which I had to keep mum about ink.sack for several weeks now.) After a champagne-fueled question-and-answer session in the dining room of ink., Voltaggio took us two doors over to the newly unveiled ink.sack, which has a soft opening today (Wednesday) and will be fully operational tomorrow. This is not a restaurant, per se, but a small sandwich shop with no seats, no alcoholic beverages, and no tables whatsoever. (It's intended as a takeaway shop, though there are narrow counters for those of you who want to stand and e

The Daily Beast: "Desperate Times for TV Networks"

The fall of 2004 kicked off a television season that brought us some of the biggest hits of the last decade, launching Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy , and House . Seven years later, those supernovas are either burning out or dead altogether, victims of audience fatigue or oversight, as their once-huge numbers dwindled year after year. ABC announced on Sunday that Desperate Housewives will end its run in May—-the demise of the once powerful drama signals a death knell for serialized storytelling at the broadcast networks. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Desperate Times for TV Networks," in which I examine the death of massively popular scripted TV, with the announcement that long-running drama Desperate Housewives is to end. Have the days of 2004-05 season--and those massive ratings--gone for good? Does Terra Nova have a chance in hell? Head to the comments section to discuss and debate.

Bright Light, Dark Star: Fun in the Sun on True Blood

Enter the daylight. Vampires, as we all know (or at least within the world of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and True Blood ), are denied the warmth of the sun and forced to spend their existence in the cold darkness of night. Sookie Stackhouse's faerie blood allows the user to daywalk, granting limited exposure to the sunlight for the vampire in question. But this is just a taste of the sun's light; it's far from permanent and it often leaves the user even more vulnerably cast back into the shadows. Sunlight, then, is deadly: the rays of the sun bring the one true death, a crispy, sizzling, burning one as a vampire is consumed from within, their blood boiling and their skin smoldering in the heat. It is not a pleasant demise by any stretch, which must be why vengeful spirit Antonia finds it so deliciously simpatico with her needs: bring the vampires into the one thing they all crave but cannot survive. Quite a lot happens in this week's episode of True Blood (&quo

TCA Awards: Friday Night Lights Wins Program of the Year, Game of Thrones Named Outstanding New Program

It is known: Game of Thrones is the winner of this year's Outstanding New Program by the TCA. As a member of the venerable Television Critics Association (TCA), I joined the professional journalists' organization this evening for the annual TCA Awards, which are always a fantastic evening celebrating the best of television. At the ceremony (which, as per TCA tradition, are not be televised), Parks and Recreation 's Nick Offerman was on hand as the host of the evening, which saw awards given out to Game of Thrones (Outstanding New Program), Friday Night Lights (Program of the Year), Mad Men (Outstanding Achievement in Drama), Modern Family (Outstanding Achievement in Comedy), Sherlock (Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials), and The Amazing Race , among others. Individual winners included Mad Men 's Jon Hamm, Parks and Recreation 's Offerman, Modern Family 's Ty Burrell, and Oprah Winfrey, who was the recipient of a career achiev

Downton Abbey: Odds and Ends from PBS' TCA Session (Plus, the Uptown Downstairs Comic Relief Sketch)

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know I spent yesterday in a lovely Downton Abbey dream, as PBS presented their session for Masterpiece (which included several announcements) and a 45-minute panel for Downton Abbey which returns to our shores in January. (I also spent the morning doing one-on-one interviews with cast members Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Siobhan Finneran, and Elizabeth McGovern, but you'll have to wait a bit to read the feature.) The session--the most lavishly fannish of any TCA session possibly ever (we critics are huge Downton fans)--began with a hilarious sizzle reel from Season One of Downton Abbey set to the strains of "Downtown," (adorable) before executive producer Rebecca Eaton took to the stage to introduce the panel and get through some housekeeping issues. "To our audience, Anglophilia is not a dirty word," said Eaton. (It certainly isn't, this Anglophile thought, nodding sagely.) Season Two of Downton Abbe

Howling at the Moon: The Price of Being Special on True Blood

"There ain't no such thing as normal." As I said on Twitter last night, I thought that this week's episode of True Blood was the strongest installment the series has had in quite some time. Beautiful and emotionally resonant (as well as overflowing with plot), this week's thought-provoking episode ("I Wish I Was the Moon"), written by Raelle Tucker and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, revolved around the full moon over Bon Temps and found the sleepy (and yet supes-teeming) town coming to terms with themselves and their true natures. This thematically made quite a lot of sense with the use of the full moon--planted several episodes ago--bringing out the "special" in quite a few of the supernatural denizens of Bon Temps. But it was the sequence between Ryan Kwanten's Jason Stackhouse and Deborah Ann Woll's Jessica that stood out as the heart of the episode, as the two lay on their backs in the woods staring up at the moon. Would Jason t