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BuzzFeed: "Was That Good Wife Twist Cheap Or Profound?"

No one saw that coming, not even BuzzFeed Entertainment Editorial Director Jace Lacob and Senior Editor Louis Peitzman, who discuss the shocking reveal on the legal drama. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, if you haven’t watched. Over at BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "Was That Good Wife Twist Cheap Or Profound?" in which Louis Peitzman and I debate whether the twist in this week's episode of The Good Wife was warranted or manipulative. The March 23 episode of The Good Wife (“Dramatics, Your Honor”) pushed the critically acclaimed legal drama into new directions, courtesy of an unexpected plot twist that somehow stayed under wraps until it unfolded on-air. (If you haven’t yet seen Sunday’s episode, stop reading right now. I mean it. STOP. Just stop. There are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead and if you’ve somehow managed to avoid finding out what happened, this is your last chance to do so.) On this week’s episode, Will Gardner (Josh Charles) was shot and killed by his cl

BuzzFeed: "A Lover And A Hater Debate The Veronica Mars Movie"

BuzzFeed’s Entertainment Editorial Director Jace Lacob (that's me!) and Chief Los Angeles Correspondent Kate Aurthur sat down to discuss the sequel film. They agreed on one thing. Maybe two. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "A Lover And A Hater Debate The Veronica Mars Movie," in which I sit down with Kate Aurthur to debate the merits of the new Veronica Mars movie, which opens on March 14. Jace: Ah, Veronica Mars. A long time ago, we used to be friends… And I’m honestly happy that the former teenage sleuth is back in the Veronica Mars feature film, which I quite enjoyed. Yes, I’m one of those people who has watched all three season of the UPN-CW drama several times over, and that may have played a role in my feelings about the film. But I feel like, while you loved the show, you didn’t feel the same way about the film? Kate: Yes, I loved the show — or at least the first season, which I thought was close to perfect. After that, I found it sporadical

The Daily Beast: "Girls Gets Graphic"

This week’s episode of Girls graphically depicted the results of a male character’s climax. Why the scene has outraged some, and why it’s a watershed moment for the HBO comedy. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Girls Gets Graphic," in which I write about Girls , viewer responses, graphic content, and why THAT scene from this week's episode was a watershed moment for the Lena Dunham comedy. HBO’s Girls has always been a lightning rod for critical reaction, whether it be allegations of nepotism, privilege, or racism. It’s impossible to imagine a week going by without someone, somewhere, having an adverse reaction to the Lena Dunham-created comedy. And that’s okay: art is meant to trigger emotional responses. I’d far rather watch a television show that stirred up feelings within its viewers—that challenged them to watch something complicated and often uncomfortable—than a show whose main goal was simply to please the most people, across all

The Daily Beast: "Zero Hour: Is This the Dumbest Show Ever to Air on TV?"

ABC tries to get back in the Lost game with the ridiculous Zero Hour . My take on the show, launching Thursday, that just might be the dumbest ever on television. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my review of the first episode of ABC's overhyped adventure drama "Zero Hour" (entitled " " Zero Hour : Is This the Dumbest Show Ever to Air on TV?" ), in which I call the Anthony Edwards-led drama "nothing more than stale schlock, an hour full of zeroes. Ever since Lost went off the air—and, actually, before—the broadcast networks have desperately searched for a show that could tempt viewers eager to get, well, lost in the complexity, mythology, and mystery of the Damon Lindelof/Carlton Cuse drama. Zero Hour is not that show. The ABC drama, which begins Thursday night at 10 p.m., recalls fiascos like FlashForward more than Lost . Created by former Prison Break writer Paul Scheuring, Zero Hour is no valentine to television, offering up a l

The Daily Beast: "House of Cards: Should You Binge-Watch Netflix’s Political Drama?"

Netflix just released all 13 episodes of its first original show. Having binge-watched all 13 episodes this weekend, I ponder whether the strategy behind House of Cards represents a new narrative format for television—and if it could backfire. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " House of Cards : Should You Binge-Watch Netflix’s Political Drama?" in which I discuss binge-viewing and Netflix's strategy regarding House of Cards . Is this television's new narrative form? Bet you can’t eat just one. A lot has been written lately about consumer patterns and television, specifically the rise of what has been coined “binge-watching” or “binge-viewing,” the practice of marathoning an entire season or multiple episodes of a television show in a highly concentrated period of time. It might occur during a single evening or over the course of a weekend, but the notion of consumption is apt. Netflix, the streaming video service that started out as a d

The Daily Beast: "The Good Wife: Has Season 4’s Kalinda Storyline Gone too Far?"

Has the legal drama’s steamy Kalinda/Nick plot gone too far? Maria Elena Fernandez and I debate the merits and flaws of this season’s most polarizing storyline on The Good Wife . At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife : Has Season 4’s Kalinda Storyline Gone too Far?" in which Maria Elena Fernandez and I offer up a he said/she said-style discussion on the Kalinda/Nick storyline on Season 4 of The Good Wife . Archie Panjabi’s Emmy-winning turn as Kalinda Sharma has been one of the highlights of CBS’ stellar legal drama, The Good Wife . But something happened on the way to fleshing out the fiercely independent investigator’s storyline—and not everyone is thrilled about it. Entertainment Weekly’s TV critic Ken Tucker last week criticized the show’s handling of the twisted dynamic between Panjabi’s Kalinda and Marc Warren’s Nick. “The intrusion of Nick, Kalinda’s ex-husband and played by State of Play ’s Marc Warren as though he’d wandered in fr

The Daily Beast: "Community: The NBC Comedy is Shelved Until Later, But Why?"

I explore NBC’s decision to hold Community until an undisclosed later date, which arrives during a television season that lowers the bar on expectations and on success. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Community : The NBC Comedy is Shelved Until Later, But Why?" in which I explore some of the reasons why NBC opted to hold Community until a later date. Community will not be returning on Friday, October 19, and will instead remain in limbo for the foreseeable future. While the news left Greendale fans panicking, the network claims it has made the late decision because NBC had focused promotional support on the network’s Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday lineups, apparently forgetting about the existence of Community and Whitney, which were meant to return next Friday. The two low-rated comedies may instead end up filling in for the network’s other trouble spots in the coming weeks or months. While this sort of network scheduling second-guessing is onl

The Daily Beast: "2012 Emmy Nomination Snubs & Surprises"

The nominations are out: Homeland, Downtown Abbey , and Girls get their shot at the awards, while The Good Wife, Community, Louie, Justified , and many others are shut out. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "2012 Emmy Nomination Snubs & Surprises," in which I discuss which shows and actors were snubbed by the TV Academy as well as a few surprise nominations. Plus, view our gallery of the nominees . The Television Academy has today announced its nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards and, looking at the list, you may be forgiven for thinking that every single member of the casts of Downton Abbey and Modern Family had walked away with nominations. (It just seems that way.) AMC’s Mad Men and FX’s American Horror Story tied for the most nominations, with 17 apiece, while PBS’ cultural phenomenon Downton Abbey—which shifted from the miniseries category into Best Drama this year—grabbed 16 nominations (tying with History’s Hatfields &

The Daily Beast: "HBO’s The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin’s Woman Problem"

HBO's The Newsroom transforms its female characters into hysterics and fools. In a critics’ conversation, Maureen Ryan and I dissect the woman problem embedded in Aaron Sorkin’s troubling drama. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "HBO’s The Newsroom : Aaron Sorkin’s Woman Problem," a critics' conversation in which The Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan and I explore the women problem within The Newsroom . In certain circles, HBO’s latest drama, The Newsroom , from creator Aaron Sorkin ( The West Wing, The Social Network ), has been the galvanizing event of the summer, eliciting no shortage of strong responses both pro and con. In a critics’ conversation reprinted below, The Daily Beast’s Jace Lacob and the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan delve into the troubling issue of women within the HBO drama. MAUREEN RYAN: One of the bigger problems with The Newsroom is that so many scenes involve men setting women straight, men supervising wome

The Darkest Timeline: Quick Thoughts on Dan Harmon's Firing from Community

On Thursday evening, NBC burned off the final three episodes of Community ’s third season, 90 minutes of the remainder of the season haphazardly arranged around the 30 Rock finale. These well-received episodes tapped into the heart of what makes the offbeat comedy tick: 8-bit video games, an elaborate heist, and a trial over ownership rights to a sandwich shop. If this all seems gonzo and out there, that’s the point: Community blazed creative trails that were largely heretofore unseen on American broadcast network television. If this had marked the end of Community , it would have gone out with a bang that was both joyous and triumphant. NBC had rescued the show with an eleventh hour reprieve, granting it a 13-episode renewal and moving it to the graveyard of Friday nights. But whether Dan Harmon, whose contract expired at the end of the third season, would be returning to the show he created was still very much unknown when the end credits ran on the final episode. It was report

The Daily Beast: "Sweet Genius: Ron Ben-Israel is the Scariest Man on Television"

Ron Ben-Israel may be a renowned pastry chef in real life, but as the host of Food Network’s cooking show Sweet Genius, he terrifies me. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The Creepiest Man on Television," in which I discuss just why Ben-Israel freaks me out and review his Food Network show, Sweet Genius , a bizarre and often head-scratching mishmash of styles, tones, and freaky weirdness. The scariest man on television is obsessed with cakes. Ron Ben-Israel, the host of Food Network’s bizarre culinary competition series Sweet Genius, absolutely terrifies me. Watching the show reduces me to cold sweat, imagining that Ben-Israel has forced me into the Saw-like confines of the Sweet Genius set, where I must bake a génoise while he cackles eagerly at my misery before murdering me. Sweet Genius is a variation on the network’s highly successful Chopped: Four chefs—pastry chefs and confectionary makers in this case—must cook three courses from pre-select

The Daily Beast: "What Happened to NBC’s Smash?"

While the pilot was a hit with critics, few have been happy with NBC’s Smash since. How could things have gone so wrong, so quickly? Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature , in which I offer my take on NBC's Smash , which started out with such promise but has turned into a head-scratching mess of a show. (Also, said story is being advertised on the site as, "A Jace Lacob rant." Ha!) What has happened to Smash? Despite a pilot episode that was praised by critics, Smash went from must-see TV to stumbling, face first, into the orchestra pit in a matter of weeks. While the show will be back next season after a renewal last week, the show’s creator, Theresa Rebeck, won’t be returning. That has to be a boon, given how uneven Smash has been. For every well-done and lavish musical number, there have been countless appalling elements each week. One of the concerns about Smash going in was that it would be too insular: that its depiction of the rush to

The Daily Beast: "Community on Hiatus: Why NBC Is Making a Mistake"

Community fans, this is your St. Crispin’s Day moment. Dumping Community in favor of shifting around the Thursday-night comedies feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Community, after all, is not the iceberg that’s sinking NBC. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest story, " Community on Hiatus: Why NBC Is Making a Mistake," in which I look at the case for and against keeping the brilliant and subversive comedy around. For right now, Community airs Thursday evening at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The Daily Beast: "Super 8: Stop Being So Secretive, J.J."

J.J. Abrams' Super 8 falls into some of the same traps as his other projects, setting up expectations of mysteries it can't possibly fulfill. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled " Super 8 : Stop Being So Secretive, J.J.," in which I offer a memo to Abrams and discuss why the director needs to move on. And, just in case you haven't yet seen Super 8 , I'll offer up the following caveat. WARNING: Contains spoilers! What do you think? Has J.J. Abrams outgrown the mystery box? Does he need to stop cloaking his projects in such shrouds of secrecy that audiences come to expect the delivery of a major twist or surprise reveal that he's setting himself up to fail? Head to the comments section to discuss.

The Daily Beast: "Charlie Sheen: Stop Putting Him on TV!"

The Charlie Sheen media frenzy continues onwards, it seems, with no end in sight. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, a strongly-worded essay entitled "Charlie Sheen: Stop Putting Him on TV!" As the dek reads, "It’s not strange that people want to see Sheen’s crazed rants wherever they can... but it sure is disgusting that mainstream media outlets are giving him a platform." What's your take on the media's role in this feeding frenzy? When it is time to say enough?

The Daily Beast: "Skins Is Not Kiddie Porn!"

There's been a lot of furor in the last few days about MTV's adaptation of British teen drama Skins , particularly whether the show crosses the line into "child pornography." Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled " Skins Is Not Kiddie Porn!" As you might expect from the title, I examine, whether or not, despite the hype, MTV’s Skins breaks child-pornography laws. While I'm of the firm mind that it does not legally do so, I say that the show, a pale imitation of the original, still has plenty to be ashamed of. The conversation reminds me that just because you might disagree with something, or find it to be immoral, doesn't mean that it is in fact illegal. And that the parties who are throwing around the term "child porn" might actually have better things to do with their time: such as actually focusing on preventing and prosecuting distributors, producers, and suppliers of actual child pornography, rather t

In Defense of Downton Abbey (Or, Don't Believe Everything You Read)

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Which means, if I can get on my soapbox for a minute, that in order to judge something, one ought to experience it first hand. One can't know how the pudding has turned out until one actually tastes it. I was asked last week--while I was on vacation with my wife--for an interview by a journalist from The Daily Mail, who got in touch to talk to me about PBS' upcoming launch of ITV's period drama Downton Abbey , which stars Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens, Elizabeth McGovern, and a host of others. (It launches on Sunday evening as part of PBS' Masterpiece Classic ; my advance review of the first season can be read here , while my interview with Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and stars Dan Stevens and Hugh Bonneville can be read here .) Normally, I would have refused, just based on the fact that I was traveling and wasn't working, but I love Downton Abbey and am so enchanted with the p

Rant: Dear Bravo, Please Stop The Obvious Editing on Top Chef

Gee, I wonder who was going to pack their knives last night? Honestly, I was going to do a Top Chef culinary recap today, but I'm just not feeling it, especially after last night's episode ("Capitol Grill") fell into the same trap that recent episodes of Top Chef have (which I bemoaned last week at length). I understand that we're in the early rounds right now and there are still a lot of contestants to cover but I've officially had it with the editing on Top Chef this season as within five minutes of each episode beginning, it's painfully obvious to anyone who has ever watched a reality competition series just who will be getting eliminated that week. Is Top Chef about more than just who packs their knives and who walks away the winner that week? Sure. It's a culinary-themed competition and as a voracious foodie, I love watching the chefs at work. But it also can't lose sight of the fact that it's also a reality competition series and t

Office Over-Expansion: Why "The Office" Hour-Long Eps Concern Me

Everyone here knows how much I love The Office . I loved the British original way back when before anyone over on this side of the pond had even so much as heard of the thing; I bemoaned NBC's attempt to adapt the series for a US audience, following the debacle that was Coupling ; and I grew to love the US Office after its first season. In my spare time, I create wish lists for Season Four of my beloved comedy series. Clearly, I am an Office fanatic in every sense of the word. So what is making me so worried that I can't get the very fear off of my mind grapes? It's those hour-long episodes that former NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly had touted at the network upfronts in May, right before he got the axe and Office executive producer Ben Silverman was brought in as the new man on the top of the totem pole. You might be asking yourself why I'm so up in arms about the one-hour episodes if I'm a fan of the series. After all, isn't an hour-long episode

Televisionary Rant: "MI:5" (a.k.a. "Spooks") Vanishes Right Off A&E Schedule

I was all excited to watch MI-5 tonight. While it's on at 11 pm and, though preceded by two and a half hours of Doctor Who tonight, I couldn't wait to catch up on those daring Brit spies and whatever dastardly plot they're foiling this week. Hell, I even wrote about the espionage drama this morning. And then A&E had to go and mess up all of my carefully laid TiVo plans. The cabler, better known for reality fare like Dog the Bounty Hunter and Criss Angel, Mindfreak than top-notch quality programming from across the pond, has decided in its infinite wisdom to pull tonight's episode of MI-5 --and all subsequent episodes--and burn off the fourth series on Saturday, October 21st, airing the remaining episodes (um, that would be all of them other than the two-part premiere) in a single eight-hour block during the day. Um, wow. Really, thanks, A&E, for depriving the American audience of a quality drama like MI-5 and relegating it to burn-off status on a weekend