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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

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.

Winter Is Coming April 17th: HBO Announces Start Date for Game of Thrones

The date we've been waiting for is finally here. HBO today announced a launch date for Game of Thrones , its adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novels. That date? April 17th at 9 pm ET/PT. (The pay cable network also announced the start date for its upcoming Kate Winslet-led miniseries Mildred Pierce , which will air its first installment on March 27th. The sizzle reel they showed made the mini look insanely amazing.) As for Game of Thrones , I watched the 15-minute clip reel that HBO assembled and think that it looks extraordinary. Entire scenes have been reshot since the original pilot I saw last summer and several roles (in addition to the two major ones) have been recast. I also sat down with George R.R. Martin and David Benioff and Dan Weiss earlier today as a few of us joined the author and the series' executive producers for a series of roundtable discussions. More on that to come! Stay tuned.

Channel Surfing: Bones Dish, ABC Super-Sizes Lost Finale, Mandy Moore Heads to Grey's, Jersey Shore, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. WARNING: If you haven't yet seen last night's simply amazing 100th episode of Bones , look away. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello has an interview with Bones executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan (and series lead Emily Deschanel) in which they talk about the big twist at the end of the episode. You know, the one that has to do with Booth and Brennan? "I think it opens it up in a whole new way," Nathan told Ausiello about the twist. "It gives us some history, which allows us to see all the additional possibilities that could occur between the two of them." Hanson went a step further. "We aren’t nervous about making them a couple, but we want it to play out in a way that is realistic for these two and that will make fans happy," said Hanson. "Everybody always mentions Moonlighting , but that honestly never comes up in our discussions on how to deal with them. The Moon

Channel Surfing: Glau to Don "Cape," "Parks and Rec" to Lose an Actor, "Doctor Who" Companion, USA Orders "Facing Kate," Callis to "Eureka," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. It was only a matter of time before someone snapped up River Tam. Former Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Summer Glau, who most recently appeared in a multiple-episode story arc on Dollhouse this season, has landed one of the leads in NBC's vigilante drama pilot The Cape . Project, from writer Tom Wheeler and directed by Simon West, revolves around a a disgraced former cop (David Lyons), framed for a crime he didn't commit, who becomes a costumed vigilante in order to clear his name. Glau will star opposite Lyons, James Frain, and Dorian Missick, and will play Orwell, described as "a cute and intrepid investigative blogger who fearlessly goes after corrupt cops and costumed bad guys" and who "gets physical and is quite capable of kicking ass." If that isn't a part made for Glau, I don't know what is. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Los Angeles Times ' Denise Martin talks to

Channel Surfing: Kate Winslet is HBO's "Mildred Pierce," Series on the Bubble, Marsha Thomason Returns to "White Collar," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. HBO has officially announced that Academy Award winner Kate Winslet ( The Reader ) has come aboard the pay cabler's five-hour miniseries Mildred Pierce . Based on the novel by James M. Cain (which was the basis for the 1945 melodrama starring Joan Crawford and Eve Arden), Mildred Pierce will star Winslet as the titular character, a self-made millionaire who struggles to earn her daughter's love. Project will be directed by Todd Haynes ( Far From Heaven ), who will write the script with Jon Raymond. Production on the five-hour miniseries, to be executive produced by Haynes, Christine Vachon, and John Wells, is set to being in New York in April. ( Variety ) The Wrap's Josef Adalian breaks down the current crop of series that are said to be on the bubble for renewal next season, including Chuck, Fringe, V, FlashForward , and Community and names the five series he feels are worth saving. "Being on the bubble is incre

Channel Surfing: "Fire" Sale at ABC, Winslet Cops to "Mildred Pierce," Mr. Eko Wants to Get "Lost" Again, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. ABC has given a script order with a sizable penalty to a contemporary series take on 1985 feature film St. Elmo's Fire . Project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television, will be written/executive produced by Dan Bucatinsky and executive produced by Topher Grace, Jamie Tarses, and Joel Schumacher. The series would revolve around a group of six friends--three men, three women--who hang out together at a Georgetown restaurant called St. Elmo's Bar & Grill. "I feel it is time to re-create Friends in the hourlong genre and feel like this is the perfect opportunity," said Bucatinsky. ""More than anything, the movie evokes a feeling that doesn't go away, the feeling of bonding with your friends who become your surrogate family." ( Hollywood Reporter ) Could Kate Winslet be headed for the small screen? HBO is said to be in the running to pick up a mini-series adaptation of 1945 feature film Mildr