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Showing posts from February, 2012

The Daily Beast: "Revenge is not only winking noir, it’s a retribution fantasy for the 99 percent"

ABC’s hit nighttime soap Revenge is not only winking noir, it’s a retribution fantasy for the 99 percent. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature , in which I visit the set of Revenge and talk to its creator, Mike Kelley, and cast members--including Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, and Gabriel Mann--about the show’s popularity. It’s difficult to escape the narrative lure that ABC’s nighttime soap Revenge —equal parts vengeance fantasy, noir-tinged thriller, and sprawling character-based soap—casts in its wake. The drama (Wednesdays at 10 p.m), inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo , has been featured everywhere from the cover of Entertainment Weekly to a sumptuous Oscar-night promo. Every one of its deliriously unexpected plot twists is voraciously dissected on Twitter by the Revenge faithful, captivated by the show’s premise: a young woman, Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), returns to the Hamptons to wreak havoc on those who destroyed her fam

The Daily Beast: "The Women of Community"

At The Daily Beast, Community ’s female stars—and one of its writers—sit down for a roundtable discussion about being a woman in comedy, the show’s legacy, slut shaming, and more. Tears are shed! You can read my latest feature, entitled "The Women of Community ," in which I visit the set of NBC's Community on the final night of shooting Season 3 to sit down with Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, and writer Megan Ganz to discuss being a woman in comedy, the “dark night of the soul” ahead, and the Bridesmaids effect, among other topics. Fans of NBC’s Community —the wildly inventive yet criminally unwatched critical darling, now in its third season—were shocked when the network unceremoniously placed it on an indeterminate hiatus. Those same loyal viewers turned to Twitter hashtags, flash mobs, and original pieces of artwork (depicting the Greendale gang alternately as Batman villains, X-Men, Star Wars characters, and even Calvin and Hobbes), all in an

The Daily Beast: "NBC's Community Returns March 15"

While fans of NBC's beloved--if low-rated--comedy Community , which went on an indefinite hiatus in December, have had to make due these last few months with casting news (Giancarlo Esposito! John Hodgman! A Law & Order -themed episode!) and ++fan-generated art++ [], there is some good news to be had for the loyal followers of the Greendale study group. Community will return Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m. with the first of twelve all-new episodes. Multiple sources close to the production confirmed the news, first tweeted by Community creator Dan Harmon, that the Sony Pictures Television-produced show would be returning to its old Thursday night stomping ground next month. Read it at The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast: "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short"

Game of Thrones ’ Peter Dinklage used the Golden Globes last month to draw attention to a dwarf-tossing attack in England. But with the launch of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short on HBO, it’s hard to imagine a stranger time to be premiering a potentially exploitative comedy about a dwarf. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short ," in which I look at Ricky Gervais' new HBO comedy Life's Too Short and ponder its exploitative potential. When Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor last month, he used the award show’s significant global viewing audience to name-check Martin Henderson, to whom he dedicated his award. While millions of viewers raced to Google Henderson at Dinklage’s suggestion, it quickly became clear that he was not speaking of the Australian actor (who costarred in The Ring), but rather a 37-year

The Daily Beast: "Downton Abbey: How PBS Got Cool" (Again)

At The Daily Beast, my colleague Maria Elena Fernandez and I examine how PBS got cool: the massive success of Downton Abbey has brought PBS an increase in donations, funding for Masterpiece , a boost in ratings for other programs, and an unlikely place in the zeitgeist. (Plus, RuPaul on Downton 's appeal.) You can read my latest feature, entitled " Downton Abbey : How PBS Got Cool," in which Fernandez and I talk to Rebecca Eaton, RuPaul, PBS SoCal, WNET, and PBS executives, and The Soup producer Matthew Carney, among others. Patton Oswalt obsessively live tweets it from his weekly viewing parties. Katy Perry is using it to distract herself from her marital woes. Roger Ebert has stepped outside the movie realm to praise it in his blog. Saturday Night Live spoofed it. Mob Wives star Big Ang Raiola recited favorite quips for Us Weekly. The Onion equated watching one episode with reading a book. And Wednesday night The Soup will celebrate it with a special parody starr

The Daily Beast: "Switched at Birth: ABC Family’s Groundbreaking Deaf/Hearing Drama

And now for something different. I'm definitely not within ABC Family's target demographic, but I've fallen head over heels in love with the cable network's drama Switched at Birth , which is a profound and reflective exploration of communication, identity, and self-expression. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled " Switched at Birth : ABC Family’s Groundbreaking Deaf/Hearing Drama," in which I take a look at the teen soap, which explores self-expression and the communication gulf between the hearing and deaf communities, and talk to creator Lizzy Weiss and stars Katie Leclerc, Sean Berdy, and Marlee Matlin. When Marlee Matlin walked away with an Academy Award for her heart-wrenching turn as a deaf custodian in 1986’s romantic drama Children of a Lesser God, it seemed as though film had finally encountered a definitive depiction of a deaf individual and the often tenuous relationship between the hearing and the deaf worlds. Tel

The Daily Beast: "Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens! Lost, NCIS, Big Love, Veep Writers on His Legacy"

Happy birthday, Mr. Dickens. Over at The Daily Beast, we're celebrating Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday. You can read my latest feature, entitled "Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens! Lost, NCIS, Big Love, Veep Writers on His Legacy," in which I talk to TV auteurs including Lost 's Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, The Thick of It and Veep creator Armando Iannucci, NCIS 's Gary Glasberg, and others as they reflect on how Dickens’s work has influenced storytelling on television. Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens (1812–1870), but the popularity of the writer of such novels as Great Expectations, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield—to name but a few of his immortal works—hasn’t diminished in the time since his death. In the pantheon of great English-language novelists, Dickens reigns supreme for a number of reasons. He was a master storyteller who created unforgettable characters—a menagerie that included th

The Daily Beast: "Smash: Anjelica Huston on Her Husband’s Death, Her New Role, and Whether She’ll Sing"

Over at The Daily Beast, I talk with Anjelica Huston about her husband’s death, her formidable character on Smash , and the “cult of murder” on television today. You can read my latest feature, entitled " Smash 's Scene Stealer," here. It is impossible to miss Anjelica Huston when she walks into a room. In this case, the room was the bar at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California, a few hours before Huston was set to take the stage before a ballroom of television critics at the TCA Winter Press Tour to answer questions for her new show, the Broadway-set drama Smash , which premieres Monday on NBC. With her raven Cleopatra cut, an armful of gently clanging bracelets, and her impressive height, Huston is unlikely to get lost in a crowd, but her considerable talents as an actress render that an impossibility. As she slinked into a club chair on a gray January morning, she exuded a sense of serenity and warmth that is deeply at odds with the troubled characters she

The Daily Beast: "Why I’m Tired of Top Chef"

Sometimes the things you once loved can disappoint you the most. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "Why I’m Tired of Top Chef ," in which I take a look at the current season of Bravo's Top Chef , whose repetitive challenges, lackluster contestants, and Texas-sized problems have made watching this season a chore. E verything is bigger in Texas, Bravo’s culinary competition Top Chef keeps reminding us, but the show, which airs Wednesday evenings, has never felt quite so irrelevant and predictable. Now in its ninth season, Top Chef appears to be a pale imitation of its former self, a reality competition show that turned an often-mysterious world—the thought processes of highly trained chefs, their inspirations, and their imaginations—into something accessible and deeply understandable to the lay viewer. But that was before Bravo’s schedule was littered with various iterations of the Top Chef concept, variations that included pastry c