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The Daily Beast: "Damages Premiere: The Creators on That Twist, Julian Assange & The Final Season"

Watched last night's, uh, surprising season opener to Damages ? Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Damages Premiere: The Creators on That Twist, Julian Assange & The Final Season," in which I talk to the creators of the serpentine legal thriller Damages about the show’s final season, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, and THAT shocking twist. (You know which one I'm talking about.) Damages, which began its life in 2007 on FX before moving to DirecTV last year, began its fifth and final season last night, promising a bloody final showdown between two adversaries, malevolent and dangerous litigator Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her former protégé, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Season 5 revolves around a WikiLeaks-esque website and issues of corporate transparency, but what fans are really waiting for is for Patty and Ellen to finally throw down against each other. One of them, it seems, may not walk away from this five-years-in-the-making

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

The Daily Beast: "Summer 2011 TV Preview: 15 Reasons to Watch TV This Summer"

We’re starting our summer at a bit of a disadvantage: there is no new season of Mad Men to look forward to this year, as we’ll have to wait until March 2012 to find out what happens to Don Draper and the other staffers at Draper Cooper Sterling Pryce. It’s enough to put a damper on anyone’s television-viewing this summer, but there are still some bright points amid a series of repeats and burn-offs like NBC’s Love Bites . (Seriously, avoid that one like you would the plague.) Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "Summer 2011 TV Preview: 15 Reasons to Watch TV This Summer," in which I round up what’s new and noteworthy on the telly in the coming months, from True Blood and Torchwood: Miracle Day to British period drama The Hour and the return of Damages and Breaking Bad . All in all, 15 reasons to come in from the warmth of the summer evening and sit down on the couch for a few hours. What are you most excited about heading to the small scr

Damages Report: Televisionary Talks to Rose Byrne and Executive Producer Daniel Zelman About Season Four

I'm already getting excited about the fourth season of serpentine legal thriller Damages , which moves from FX to DirecTV next year, following a landmark deal that brought the series back from the brink of cancellation and guaranteed a fourth and fifth season. Quite a lot has changed since I spoke to creators Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler, and Todd A. Kessler for my Season Three postmortem over at The Daily Beast , not least of which is that surprising (and very welcome) two-season pickup and the series' move to the satcaster's The 101 Network. At last night's Sony Pictures Television party at the Beverly Hilton's Bar 210, I caught up with executive producer/co-creator Daniel Zelman and series lead (and Emmy Award nominee) Rose Byrne to discuss Season Four of Damages , why things always come back to the dock outside Patty's beach house, where we might find Ellen Parsons, whether we'll see Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) again, why Ellen seems to have forgiven Pat

Channel Surfing: Damages Season Four Details, Susan Sarandon Gets Miraculous, RTD Teases Torchwood, Fringe, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Now that the ink has dried on Damages 's DirecTV deal, Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello talks to executive producers Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman about whether the format for the serpentine legal drama will be altered for its fourth and fifth seasons, whether the budget will be affected, why Ellen has gotten past the fact that Patty tried to have her killed, who will be returning, and a host of other issues. "DirecTV wants us to do the show that we’ve been doing," said Zelman. "If anything, they want us to push what we’ve been doing even further . They’re encouraging us to be as bold as possible, which is something we strive for anyway. There have been no discussions about altering the show in any fundamental way." Except for the fact that the episodes will be longer, that is. "What’s exciting for us as creators is that on the 101 Network there are no commercials, so it’l

Channel Surfing: DirecTV Saves FX's Damages, David Cross to Join Running Wilde, Gregory Itzin Finds Big Love for HBO, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Many had given up hope that FX's brilliant and labyrinthine legal drama Damages would survive another season, given the low ratings for the series' fantastically taut third season, which wrapped its run earlier this year. Not so: DirecTV has come to the aid of the Sony Picture Television- and FX Productions-produced series and has renewed the Glenn Close-led series for two seasons of ten episodes apiece. The only problem: it won't be airing on FX anymore as DirecTV has the exclusive rights to the series on The 101 Network. "We're excited to partner with Sony Pictures Television as we breathe new life into this outstanding drama," said Patty Ishimoto, general manager of The 101 Network and vice president of entertainment for DIRECTV, in a statement. "It's a win for our customers because only they will be able to see these new episodes and another great step forward for DIRECTV as we continue to bui

The Daily Beast: "Damages' Bloody Finale"

Have some answers about last night's season finale of Damages ? Wondering just how likely it is that it will serve as the series finale? Head over to The Daily Beast, where you can read my exclusive day-after interview with Damages creators Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Todd A. Kessler, entitled " Damages ' Bloody Finale." In an exclusive Q&A, we discuss the season finale and the series' potential future, as well as get to the bottom of some of this week's extraordinary plot twists (which I won't spoil here). Head to the comments section to share your thoughts about the finale, whether you think Damages should return, and reactions to the third season as a whole.

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth: The Season Finale of FX's Damages

"I want my ashes scattered here." - Patty Hewes In the end, it always circles back around to that dock, the scene for so many significant--and often fatal--encounters within the labyrinthine world of Damages . As it should be really, considering that their relationship is the central dynamic within the series, we're left once more with a conversation between Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) that signals the closing of one chapter in their lives as they square off on the dock of Patty's beach house. But a house, after all, is not a home. Patty must contemplate the fact that she might truly be alone in this world after the events of the third season and particularly its finale ("The Next One Goes in Your Throat"), written by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman ( whom I speak to exclusively here ) and directed by Todd A. Kessler. Her conversation with Ellen is an intriguing one, revealing a rare vulnerability in Patty He

Channel Surfing: HBO Renews Treme, Damages May Be Dead, Jared Harris Promoted on Mad Men, 24, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. It took just one episode, apparently, before HBO ordered a second season of New Orleans-set drama series Treme , from creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer. "We would have picked up this show last week," HBO president Michael Lombardo told The Hollywood Reporter 's James Hibberd. "We've seen the first nine episodes it's as strong as any show we've seen. Much like The Wire , the audience is so passionate and so invested. We're about servicing our subscriber base and I believe that people will become addicted to this show. We have to be a place where this kind of excellence is giving space to continue." According to Lombardo, Season Two of Treme is being targeted for a spring 2011 debut, where it will likely be paired with the first season of fantasy drama Game of Thrones . "They should be ready about the same time," said Lombardo. "[ Game ] looks beautiful, the compelling scr

The Grifters: Schemers and Dreamers on Damages

Just a word of advice: don't mess with the person who knows all of your secrets. This week's phenomenal episode of Damages ("You Were His Little Monkey"), written by Glenn Kessler and directed by Timothy Busfield, began to draw together the extremely diverse story strands of the series' taut third season before next week's finale. (It's worth noting here that Damages ' ultimate fate is unclear and next week's installment may serve as either a season finale or a series finale. I'm hoping it's the former rather than the latter.) I can't quite wrap my head around how the writers will manage to tie everything up, with Tom's murder, Patty's car accident, the Frobisher case, the Ponzi scheme, African charities, Wes Krulik, feature films, and dreams all in the mix somehow. Yet Damages has proven itself quite adept at building tension throughout the season and bringing together a slew of clues to offer one hell of a final act. Which

Channel Surfing: Showtime Gets Shameless, HBO Enlightened, FX Confirms Damages Talks, Veronica Mars, Doctor Who, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Showtime has ordered twelve episodes of ensemble drama Shameless , based on the British Channel 4 drama series created by Paul Abbott, who co-wrote the pilot for the US adaptation with John Wells. Project, which is expected to begin production late this summer, stars William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Justin Chatwin, Jeremy White, Cameron Monaghan, Ethan Cutkosky, Emma Kenney, and Allison Janey, who recurs. Wells will serve as showrunner on the series, which hails from Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions. No launch date was announced for the series, which Showtime's Robert Greenblatt likened to " Party of Five on acid." ( Variety ) HBO, meanwhile, ordered ten episodes of single-camera comedy Enlightened (including the pilot) from writer/executive producer Mike White and star/executive producer Laura Dern. Dern stars as "a self-destructive woman who has a revelatory experience at a treatment center an