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Showing posts with the label Season Premieres

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision

BuzzFeed: "Orange Is the New Black Continues The Dickensian Tradition Of The Wire"

The second season of the Netflix prison drama is a gripping, beautiful, majestic thing. Warning: Spoilers for Season 2 ahead! At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " Orange Is the New Black Continues The Dickensian Tradition Of The Wire ," in which I review Season 2 of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black , which returns June 6 on the streaming platform. There are the television shows that you love to watch but that drift from powerful and provocative to comforting background noise, and then there are those that arrive with the momentous force of a revolution, issuing a clarion cry that is impossible to resist. Women’s prison drama Orange Is the New Black , which returns for its second season on June 6, is most definitely the latter, a groundbreaking and deeply layered series that explores crime and punishment, poor circumstance, and bad luck. (At its heart, it is about both the choices we make and those that are made for us.) It constructs a gripping narrativ

BuzzFeed: "A Girls Lover And Hater Debate The Season 3 Premiere"

The always buzzed about HBO comedy returned tonight and BuzzFeed’s Entertainment Editorial Director Jace Lacob, who’s looked forward to watching every episode of the series, and Deputy Entertainment Editor Jaimie Etkin, who’s begrudgingly watched every episode of the series, discussed the back-to-back episodes. They agreed on one thing. Maybe two. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "A Girls Lover And Hater Debate The Season 3 Premiere," in which Jaimie Etkin and I hotly debate the two-episode third season premiere of HBO's Girls . SPOILER ALERT if you have not yet seen the Season 3 premiere of Girls ! Jaimie: I am simultaneously excited and nervous about this. My Girls rage is about to become public knowledge. I mean, I don’t have negative feels about Lena Dunham as a human or woman, but her show just makes me really frustrated. HOWEVER, I must say it was eye-opening to see how people talk to her, as exhibited by the TCA debacle last week. Dunham hand

BuzzFeed: "Community Season 5 Feels Like An Old Friend Has Finally Come Home"

The long-awaited return of the NBC comedy — now back under the watchful eye of creator Dan Harmon — distances itself from its disappointing fourth season. Gas leak year, people. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest story, " Community Season 5 Feels Like An Old Friend Has Finally Come Home," in which I review the first few episodes of Season 5 of NBC's Community . (YES.) I’ll admit that I was somewhat wary when three episodes from Season 5 of NBC’s Community surfaced on my desk last week. After all, the fourth season of the Dan Harmon-created gonzo comedy — which was Dan Harmon-less, after all — left a lot to be desired. I choose to look at it as an alt-reality version of a show that I had cherished in its first three seasons: The characters vaguely resembled that Greendale study group with whom I had spent so many virtual hours, yet they didn’t feel quite right. Something was off — the plots felt too contrived, and the show wandered into a broadness of comedy that

BuzzFeed: "Why Danish Political Drama Borgen Is Everything"

The Scandinavian drama, from creator Adam Price, is a dazzling exploration of the intersection between politics and the media that everyone should be watching. The television masterpiece returns to American screens — on KCET and LinkTV — on Oct. 4 for its third (and likely final) season. Minor spoilers ahead. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "Why Danish Political Drama Borgen Is Everything," in which I review the third (and likely final) season of Danish political drama Borgen , which returns to the U.S. on October 4. (After writing about the Nordic Noir phenomenon last June, I named the show the best show of 2012 when I was at The Daily Beast and I stand by that metric. This is unlike anything on television.) I’ve been passionately shouting at the top of my lungs about Danish political drama Borgen for the last year and a half. The groundbreaking and riveting show — which returns for a third season next month in the U.S. on LinkTV (and in Los Angeles on f

BuzzFeed: "Why Season 5 Of Parenthood Is The Perfect Jumping On Point"

The season opener of NBC’s 300-hanky drama is everything you want it to be: joyful, uplifting, and emotional. But, for those of you who have missed out on television’s most underrated show, this episode offers the perfect opportunity to get hooked. Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "Why Season 5 Of Parenthood Is The Perfect Jumping On Point," in which I review the fifth season opener of NBC's Parenthood , which will satisfy longtime fans of this remarkable show while also providing the perfect access point for new viewers. It’s no surprise that the fifth season opener of Parenthood — which airs Thursday, September 26 on NBC — generates some tears. Parenthood, overseen by Jason Katims ( Friday Night Lights ) and revolving around the sprawling Braverman clan of Berkeley, California, is now virtually synonymous with emotional catharsis, after all. As I stand on the precipice of my own impending parenthood, it’s the show that compe

The Daily Beast: "Mad Men Season Premiere: Matthew Weiner on the ‘The Doorway,' and More"

Hawaii, hell, and heart attacks! Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner discusses Sunday’s sixth-season opener (‘The Doorway’), Don’s quest for paradise, Betty’s transformation, and more. Warning: spoilers abound! Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Mad Men Season Premiere: Matthew Weiner on the ‘The Doorway,' and More," in which I talk to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner about the sixth season opener ("The Doorway") and some of the themes, questions, and characters within. “Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” Mad Men ’s sixth season started with a bang, with the season opener (”The Doorway”) offering us a look into the psyche of Don Draper (Jon Hamm), flitting between a doorman’s near brush with death, the weight of mortality, and the bliss of paradise, in this case the hot, white light of Hawaii. Throughout the two-hour opener, a jumping-off point for issues of

The Daily Beast: "Mad Men Season 6 Review: Triumphant, Lyrical, and Way Existential"

Mad Men ’s Don Draper returns for his penultimate season on AMC Sunday—and he’s as down in the dumps as ever. I write about the dark mood hovering over the show’s brilliant sixth season. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Mad Men Season 6 Review: Triumphant, Lyrical, and Way Existential," in which I review the fantastic sixth season premiere of AMC's Mad Men , which returns on Sunday at 9 p.m. for its penultimate season: "Don isn’t so much a person as a reflection, a shadow, the wet ring left on a bar by a glass of Scotch." Spoilers are funny things. It’s tricky enough to write about a show without delving into the plot mechanics, and even more so when you can’t even touch upon certain aspects of the plot in even a cursory way. But that’s always been the case with AMC’s Mad Men , which returns for its sixth—and penultimate—season on Sunday at 9 p.m. Creator Matthew Weiner wants to ensure that even the most quotidian of details a

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: "Community: Season 4 of the NBC Comedy Ponders the End"

(Jordin Althaus/NBC/Sony Pictures) The absurdist comedy returns to NBC on Thursday after a lengthy delay and many behind-the-scenes changes, including the exit of creator Dan Harmon. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Community : Season 4 of the NBC Comedy Ponders the End," in which I review the fourth season of NBC's Community , which returns Thursday evening and after many behind-the-scenes changes. Does the show look and feel as it once did? Or does it feel as though not every came back from summer break? “What’s the deal, Jessica Biel?” Community, after an absence of what feels like five years and numerous timeslot and launch date changes, finally unveils its fourth season on Thursday. For the faithful, waiting this long to return to Greendale has been an arduous trial, particularly as curiosity is running high amid the many behind-the-scenes changes made since the show wrapped up its third season way back in May 2012. For one, seri

The Daily Beast: "Mad Men: Creator Matthew Weiner Shares 10 Facts About Season 6"

Mad Men returns on April 7! I talk with creator Matthew Weiner about what to expect from Season Six of the period drama, from a time jump to Don and Megan’s marriage. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Mad Men : Creator Matthew Weiner Shares 10 Facts About Season 6," in which I talk to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner about what lies ahead for Don Draper and the staffers of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in Season Six of AMC's Mad Men. Hold on to your period-appropriate hats: AMC’s Mad Men will return for its sixth season on Sunday, April 7 at 9 p.m. with a two-hour premiere, the network announced today. (The Emmy Award-winning drama will settle into its regular time at 10 p.m. ET/PT the following week, with an episode directed by series star Jon Hamm.) “To be able to continue exploring the stories of these characters for a sixth season is an amazing opportunity,” said series creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner in a statement. “We lo

The Daily Beast: "Review: Season 2 of Homeland and Season 4 of The Good Wife"

Set your DVRs! I review Season Two of Showtime’s Homeland and Season Four of CBS’s The Good Wife , finding common ground in their deft and subtle explorations of identity. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "TV's Kick-Ass Women Return," in which I review Season Two of Homeland and Season Four of The Good Wife , tracing the way that both shows explore their characters' shifting identities. In the season opener of Homeland, which airs on Sunday, Claire Danes’s Carrie Mathison smiles. If you’ve been watching Showtime’s Homeland, the newly crowned winner of the Emmy Award for Best Drama, this seems entirely contrary to her character, a bipolar and deeply disgraced CIA officer who underwent electroconvulsive therapy in the first season finale. Carrie isn’t prone to happiness: she has been misunderstood, mocked, and kicked out of the intelligence community. For all of that, Carrie was also right that Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Emmy Award winner Damia

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

Bleeding Stars and Fiery Hearts: Thoughts on the Second Season Premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones

"For the night is dark and full of terror..." Where does power reside? Is it contained within the knowledge of a wise man? The sword of a warrior? The magnanimity of a king? The coin purse of a wealthy man? The foresight of a manipulator? When a sharp knife is drawn against your throat, who is the one who actually holds the true power? These are but a few of many questions pondered in the sensational opening chapter of Season Two of Game of Thrones (“The North Remembers”), written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss and directed by Alan Taylor, which returns with all the roar of a lion, the beating wings of a dragon, the pride of a stag, and the cunning of a wolf. Finishing its first season on such a pitch-perfect note of dread and chaos, Game of Thrones returned with a stellar episode that picked up the multitude of story strands from last season and gave them a meaty tug. (You can read my spoiler-free advance review of Season Two of Game of Thrones over at The Daily Bea

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones' Glorious Return"

Season Two of the Emmy-nominated fantasy series Game of Thrones begins on Sunday night. And it’s fantastic. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones ' Glorious Return," a review of the first four episodes of Season Two of HBO's superlative drama, based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George R.R. Martin. "Season Two of Game of Thrones is fantastic, overflowing with majesty and mystery," I write. "The night, we’re told, is dark and full of terror, and so is this provocative and enthralling show." After the ratings and critical heights scaled by the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones , expectations are dangerously high for the launch of Season 2, which begins this Sunday. Based on the second volume ( A Clash of Kings ) in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones has a lot to prove to fans of both the books and of the award-winning HBO drama. Can it top the addict

Games People Play: Thoughts on the Fifth Season Premiere of Mad Men

"Nobody loves Dick Whitman." It's been seventeen long months since we last saw Mad Men and the breathless two-hour season premiere goes a long way towards curbing our addiction, quickly bringing us up to speed in the changes within the lives of Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), and the rest of the ad men at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. If Season Four began with a provocative question ("Who is Don Draper?"), the fifth season opener ("A Little Kiss"), written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger, begins with more than a few declarative statements, about both the characters and the era in which they live, and those four little words, uttered by Megan (Jessica Paré), speak volumes about the sort of relationship Don is enmeshed in when Season Five begins. For a man who cloaked himself with secrets as a woman might a mink coat, Don Draper is li

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

Quick Thoughts on Tonight's Parenthood Season Premiere

I had hoped to have a full review of tonight's fantastic Parenthood season opener ("I Don't Want to Do This Without You"), but unfortunately I'm being pulled in a thousand directions at the moment, so you'll have to settle for a glowing (if brief) recommendation to tune in tonight when this remarkable and emotionally powerful series returns for its third season. Five months have passed since we last saw the sprawling Braverman clan, and change is in the air for nearly all of the family members. Adam (Peter Krause) is still out of work and has been reduced to loafing around the house and going on interviews for jobs that he doesn't really want and is over qualified for, having lost his purpose and identity as the family's breadwinner; Kristina (Monica Potter), meanwhile, is quite pregnant and quite capable of bringing home the bacon, having gone back to work. It's interesting to see how the dynamic between the two of them has shifted so considera

Time Flies: Thoughts on the Season Premiere of HBO's True Blood

I don't know about you, but I'm kind of sick of faeries, and it's only the first episode of the season... In my advance review, I was extremely upfront about my feelings about the handling of the faerie court and the opening sequence of the first episode of Season Four of True Blood ("She's Not There"), written by Alexander Woo and directed by Michael Lehmann, which depicted just what happened to Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) after she disappeared into the light at the end of last season. What we encounter is a seemingly, well, fairy tale kingdom where human-faerie hybrids snack on light fruits and hang out interminably by a lush fountain courtyard. Alas, nothing is as it seems and all that glitters is not gold... the tranquility that the tableau presents is once more a false front, a shiny facade concealing the waste and desolation of the faerie realm, which looks rather like the dusty canyons near Calabasas. What follows is a B-movie chase as faeries