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The Unopened Door: Thoughts on the Season Finale of The Good Wife

Auteur Hal Hartley once said, "A family is like a gun. You point it in the wrong direction and you could kill someone." The message therein, and the parallels between the potential explosive energy of a family and that of a loaded gun, was keenly felt in this week's outstanding season finale of CBS' The Good Wife ("The Dream Team"), written by Corinne Brinkerhoff and Meredith Averill and directed by Robert King, which posited two parallel situations between Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) that will fuel our imagination during the long summer. The Good Wife is one of a very small handful of television shows that can take innately simple moments--those that may seem quotidian or mundane, such as a knock at the door or a look through an open window--and make them transformative. This has been the case in the past as well: look at Alicia and Will (Josh Charles) opening a hotel door at the end of last season. While t

The Daily Beast: "The Good Wife's Bad Mother"

71-year-old Mary Beth Peil is stealing scenes for her work on CBS’ The Good Wife . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife 's Bad Mother," in which I talk to the former opera singer and Dawson’s Creek star about playing Jackie Florrick. While The Good Wife’s title refers, rather cheekily, to Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick—who found herself embroiled in a political and sexual scandal at the start of the series’ run—the show explores both individuals’ and society’s definitions and expectations of wives, mothers, and career women. Margulies’ Alicia juggles work, children, and romance, often without much regard for her own well being, perhaps outside of a solitary glass of red wine at the end of a day in court. Yet Alicia’s outlook, behavior, and mores are constantly commented on or outwardly attacked by her mother-in-law Jackie Florrick, played by 71-year-old Mary Beth Peil, who began the series as a babysitter for Alicia’s teena

The Daily Beast: "The Good Wife: Robert and Michelle King on Alicia, Kalinda, Renewal Prospects, and More"

After a few missteps at the beginning of the season, Season Three of CBS' The Good Wife has settled into its groove. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Gets Back on Track," in which I sit down with the show’s husband-and-wife creators, Robert and Michelle King, and discuss the highs and lows of the season, the Alicia/Kalinda dynamic, the handling of various romances, Will, Cary, Wendy Scott-Carr, Caitlin, renewal prospects, and what’s to come. (Along with much more, including the answer to "What ever happened to Imani?") Coming off of a taut and provocative second season, CBS’s The Good Wife reset itself in many ways when Season 3 began in September: pushing together prim Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies)—who had struggled to remain faithful to her husband, Peter (Chris Noth)—with her boss and former flame, Will Gardner (Josh Charles), while creating a chasm in what might be the drama’s most central dynamic, the f

The Daily Beast: "TV's Worst New Show: CBS' Rob"

There’s a new contender for the worst new show of the year in CBS’s Rob Schneider vehicle, Rob —it’s racist and unfunny. At the Daily Beast, I take a look at the truly terrible first episode in my latest feature, "TV's Worst New Show." The media have lately been celebrating the remarkable comeback of the sitcom, which had seen better days. Modern Family continues to outperform itself; Community dazzles with its inventiveness; Suburgatory perfectly captures the suburbs-are-hell trope with wit and bite; Happy Endings has surprised many by becoming a hit; and CBS’s 2 Broke Girls is poised to become television’s most-watched comedy. But for all the talk about revitalized formats and audience engagement this past fall, this doesn’t account for Work It and Rob, two midseason comedy offerings that are so awful they may in fact be harbingers of the Fall of Man. While this may be hyperbolic, Rob and Work It do symbolize how far the sitcom format has fallen, at any rate. It’s h

The Daily Beast: "Fall TV Report Card: The Winners and Losers"

With the 2011-12 television season in full swing and the cancellation orders stacking up, Jace Lacob rounds up the season’s winners ( Revenge ! Homeland !), losers ( Man Up! Whitney! ), and draws. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest story, "Fall TV Report Card: The Winners and Losers," in which I offer up not a critic's list, or a Best of 2011 TV list, but a business story selecting the winners and losers (as well as draws) for the first half of the 2011-12 television season. (Those selections are in the gallery.) With the 2011-12 television season well underway, it’s become increasingly clear that this isn’t the best fall the broadcasters have ever had. Back in May, when the networks touted their new offerings to advertisers, it appeared they were trying to take some risks with their programming. But the opposite is true: most of those shows featured what the networks hoped were built-in audiences for retro brand settings ( Pan Am ! The Playboy Club !)

The Daily Beast: "The Cult of Linda Hunt"

At 66 and four-feet-nine, Linda Hunt is an unlikely action heroine. But as the enigmatic Hetty Lange on NCIS: LA , Oscar winner Hunt (who won for her staggering performance as a male Indonesian-Australian dwarf in Peter Weir's The Year of Living Dangerously ) has become a Teen Choice Award recipient and the show’s breakout character. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "The Cult of Linda Hunt," in which I sit down with the Oscar (and Teen Choice Award!) winner Hunt to discuss NCIS: Los Angeles' Hetty, The Year of Living Dangerously , water from the moon, and what the future holds. (I also talk to creator Shane Brennan and Chris O'Donnell about the remarkable Hunt and her character.) NCIS: Los Angeles airs Tuesday evenings at 9 pm ET/PT on CBS.

Brand New Day: Thoughts on the Season Premiere of The Good Wife

The wait is over. After months of waiting breathlessly for the repercussions of Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will (Josh Charles) entering that hotel room together (with Alicia taking control of the situation), The Good Wife returned for the start of its third season ("A New Day"), written by Robert and Michelle King, with a new night and timeslot, a new haircut for Alicia, and a new office for our erstwhile good wife, who proved this week just how bad she can be. Among other areas, The Good Wife has excelled in its handling of female sexuality, particularly in terms of how it's handled within the confines of a primetime broadcast network drama. This hasn't been a show featuring much bed-hopping from its main character, who spent the first two seasons coming to terms with her husband's infidelity, her passion towards her boss, and her decision to kick said husband to the curb after learning that he had slept with one of the few friends she had (that would

The Daily Beast: "A Gifted Man's Leading Lady: Jennifer Ehle"

Jennifer Ehle, best known for playing Elizabeth Bennet in BBC’s Pride & Prejudice , co-stars in a new CBS drama, A Gifted Man . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " A Gifted Man 's Leading Lady," in which I sit down with Jennifer Ehle to discuss ghost sex, Game of Thrones, A Gifted Man, Pride & Prejudice , attachment parenting, Mr. Darcy, and more. A Gifted Man begins tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on CBS.

The Daily Beast: "Inside The Good Wife Writers’ Room"

There is an emergency session underway within the writers’ room of CBS’s critically acclaimed drama, The Good Wife , which returns for its third season on Sunday, Sept. 25. With 48 hours to go, the writers—overseen by husband-and-wife creators Robert and Michelle King—must rewrite the latest script and untangle a Gordian knot to come up with a new procedural case for hotshot lawyer Alicia Florrick (recent Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies) and the firm to tackle. In the second season of the critical and ratings hit, the personal loomed large for all of the show’s characters. Alicia gave into temptation and slept with her boss, Will (Josh Charles), after years of having bad timing. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) went to great lengths to conceal a long-buried secret—that she had, years before, slept with Alicia’s husband, Peter (Chris Noth)—in a storyline that involved baseball bats, smashed-out windows, and assaulting rival investigator Blake (Scott Porter). With its deft plotting an

The Daily Beast: "The Fall TV Season Begins!"

Time to head back to the couch, America. The fall TV season is here and all of your favorite shows—from The Walking Dead and The Good Wife to Dexter and Boardwalk Empire —and a slew of new ones are soon heading to a TV set near you. Will you find Ringer to be the second coming of Sarah Michelle Gellar… or is it the second coming of Silk Stalkings ? Time will tell, but at least your TV favorites are back with brand new seasons, and lots of plot twists. To refresh your memory after the long summer, over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "The Fall TV Season Begins!," in which Maria Elena Fernandez and I round up a guide to the good and bad times of last season--or in this case, 23 cliffhangers--and offer a peek into what’s coming next this fall.

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.

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: "TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2011-2012's New Shows"

Will the 2011-12 television season be a winner or another dud? Over at The Daily Beast, my fellow Daily Beast staffer Maria Elena Fernandez and I offer our first impressions of more than 30 network pilots--from Awake and Ringer to Alcatraz and Work It --coming to TV next season. You can check out our he said/she said-style thoughts in my latest feature, entitled "TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2011-2012's New Shows." Which fall or midseason show are you most excited about? And which are you most dreading? Head to the comments section to discuss, and see whether you agree with our first impression take on more than 30 broadcast network pilots. Did your potential favorite make the must-see list?

The Daily Beast: "2010-11 TV's Winners and Losers"

The dust has settled on the TV season— American Idol and The Good Wife are in, The Event and $#*! My Dad Says are out. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "2010-11 TV's Winners and Losers," in which I rate the hits and the flops of the 2010-11 season and take a look at the broadcasters' position going into and coming out of the 2010-11 television season. Brief caveat: please do remember (because I inevitably will receive something to this effect in the comments section), this isn't a critical evaluation. While certainly some shows I love (cough, The Good Wife , cough) did end up in the winners' column , this is more a look at how individual shows and networks fared in terms of series launches, ratings retention, and (to a smaller extent) critically.

The Daily Beast: "The Death of Will-They-or-Won't-They"

In recent years, it’s been a given that romantic pairs on television had to be subjected to the will-they or-won't-they dilemma—where couples as clearly in love as Ross-and-Rachel, Sam-and-Diane, or Jim-and-Pam were prevented from jumping into bed together for years, as the writers forced them through increasingly tight narrative hoops. These days, though, it seems like more and more TV couples just will. As writer-producers have sought to surprise the audience, they’re puncturing romantic tropes in the process. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The Death of Will-They-or-Won't-They," for which I talk to Community ’s Dan Harmon, Parks and Recreation ’s Mike Schur and Greg Daniels, and Bones ’ Hart Hanson about how TV is throwing off that age-old will-they-or-won’t-they paradigm in the post-Jim-and-Pam era.

The Daily Beast: "Upfronts 2011 Full Report"

Television's upfronts week came to a close Thursday with the CW, which will bring Sarah Michelle Gellar back to TV with the thriller Ringer . On Wednesday, CBS presented J.J. Abrams' Person of Interest and five others, showed off new Two and a Half Men star Ashton Kutcher, and moved The Good Wife to Sundays. ABC, meanwhile, unveiled its schedule Tuesday; Fox and NBC did their dance for advertisers on Monday. Watch trailers of the networks' new shows, including ABC's Charlie's Angels reboot, Fox's supernatural drama Alcatraz , and troubled NBC's The Playboy Club . Over at The Daily Beast, we're keeping track of every renewal and cancellation (and which shows are still in limbo) and well as keeping an eye on the bigger picture issues facing the broadcasters this May. Plus, we've got the lowdown--in-depth breakdowns as well as information you can't find anywhere else--on the 44 (and counting) new series heading to the networks next season.

The Daily Beast: "The 8 Best Pilot Scripts of 2011"

The network upfronts—when the broadcasters unveil their fall schedules, tout their new programming, and bring out stars to shake hands with advertisers—are the week of May 16, but it’s never too soon to take a look at which shows you might become addicted to next season. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "The 8 Best Pilot Scripts of 2011," in which I pick my favorite scripts--from the period dramas Playboy and Pan Am to the Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring noir thriller Ringer and Kyle Killen's mind-bending drama REM . What shows are you rooting for? Which will make the cut as the networks unveil their fall schedules in the coming weeks? Head to the comments section to discuss...

Slugger: The Truth About Kalinda Comes Out on The Good Wife's 'Ham Sandwich"

Whatever secret you thought Kalinda was keeping, it certainly wasn't this one. Last night's tension-filled episode of The Good Wife ("Ham Sandwich"), written by Keith Eisner and directed by Griffin Dunne, may have seemingly revolved around the episodic plots--the continued story of Peter's political campaign, here embodied in race issues involving the kids and the campaign, and the firm handling Lemond Bishop's divorce proceedings--but it was the Kalinda plot that once again fueled the installment and offered an emotional knee-capping at the very end of the episode. Throughout the series thus far, Archie Panjabi's Kalinda has remained the mysterious presence in the room, the one with all of the answers who seems to be the source of most of the questions on the show. Just who is she? What is she hiding? Why is she so determined to keep her past a secret? And what does Blake (Scott Porter) really have on her? The audience learned the answers to some of t

The Other Shoe Drops: Charlie Sheen Fired from Two and a Half Men

Looks like even tiger blood couldn't keep Sheen on his sitcom after his latest batch of outspoken and erratic behavior. Warner Bros. Television has today announced that it has fired Charlie Sheen from his CBS sitcom, Two and a Half Men . The studio issued the news via a tersely worded statement that read, "After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on Two and a Half Men effective immediately." No mention was given to the ultimate fate of the WBTV-produced comedy, which could continue on next season without Charlie Sheen's participation or could be canceled altogether. What is your take on the news? Was WBTV right to get rid of Sheen? Would you watch Two and a Half Men without him? And are you hoping that the media's obsession with Sheen soon abates as a result of his firing? UPDATE: Sheen has fired back at WBTV, offering yet another bizarre comment to TMZ : "This is very good news. They continue to b

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?