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Knife Block: My Thoughts on Tonight's Season Premiere of Top Chef Masters

In watching tonight's season premiere of Top Chef Masters , the haute cuisine culinary competition series that spun out of Top Chef a few seasons back, it's easy to get a sense of what's been lost rather than what's been gained by the format changes. (The latter can be summed up in two words: Ruth Reichl.) Gone is Kelly Choi, she of the perfectly coiffed mane. Gone is the complicated but novel star-based ratings system. Gone are the early heats. What remains is rather like Top Chef . Or exactly like Top Chef , in fact, save for the experience of the master chefs competing here and the fact that their winnings go to the charities of their choice rather than into bankrolling a restaurant. Choi has been replaced by suddenly ubiquitous Aussie chef Curtis Stone, yanked onto the cable channel while still appearing on NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant . He's affable enough but his omnipresence--from here and the NBC show to commercials--is a bit off-putting

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones: 10 Secrets About HBO's Adaptation"

Fans of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire," adapted by HBO as Game of Thrones , already know the novels inside and out. I go behind the scenes to offer 10 secrets from the HBO drama, launching April 17. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature (which is for the die-hard fans of the novels as well as those looking for some behind-the-scenes details about the HBO production), entitled " Game of Thrones : 10 Secrets About HBO's Adaptation," in which I speak to George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Dothraki language developer David Peterson (and get an exclusive translation of a key phrase), weapons master Tommy Dunne, set designer Gemma Jackson, head animal trainer Jim Warren, HBO entertainment president Sue Naegle, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, set decorator Richard Roberts, and supervising prop maker Gavin Jones. Among the topics discussed: Martin's unseen cameo from the original pilot, the crystal blade that the White Walk

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones Comes to HBO"

HBO is about to unveil an ambitious adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel Game of Thrones , the first book in a seven-novel series entitled "A Song of Ice and Fire." Over at The Daily Beast, it's the first of two Game of Thrones -centric features today, this one a broad overview of the series and intended to be hugely accessible for newbies to the series who haven't read the books. (There are no real spoilers within, though I do explain why you need to be watching.) In my latest feature, entitled " Game of Thrones Comes to HBO," I speak to George R.R. Martin; the show's creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; and Sue Naegle, the entertainment president of HBO, about the ruthlessly addictive show. Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, April 17th at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Where Wolves Prey: An Advance Review of HBO's Unforgettable Game of Thrones

There are few new series as widely anticipated or as closely watched as that of HBO's gorgeous and gripping Game of Thrones , which premieres later this month amid a flurry of promotion, from food trucks and sneak peeks to skyscraper-sized billboards in major cities. Winter is coming, it seems, and just in the nick of time. Based on the novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones arrives with its brutality and vision very much intact. Adapted by executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, this is a staggering adaptation of a monumental literary achievement, a densely-plotted fusion of fantasy and potboiler political thriller with a deeply cinematic scope. For those unfamiliar with the underlying material, Game of Thrones revolves around the power games enacted by a group of lords and ladies in a feudal society that's vaguely reminiscent of our own Dark Ages. But in this world, where seven kingdoms are uneasily bound togethe

Butterfly Effect: The Series Premiere of The Killing

In my review of AMC's addictive new mystery drama The Killing , I compared the new series, which premiered last night with a two-hour episode, both to Twin Peaks in some of its underpinnings (save the presence of the supernatural) and to the work of mystery novelist Ruth Rendell. The comparison to Rendell--whose family, like Forbrydelsen , the series on which The Killing is based, hails from Denmark--is quite apt in certain respects. While some of Rendell's novels--particularly her Inspector Wexford installments--deal with crime investigation, the majority of them either delve into the pathology of the killer, exploring just what makes a person kill, or the way in which crime, particularly murder, affects everyone both before and after the perpetration of the crime. Of all crimes, murder is the one with the largest emotional fallout: not just to the victims but everyone the victim leaves behind; their secrets and those of the dead are forcibly brought out into the light. The

Watch the First 15 Minutes of HBO's Game of Thrones... Right Here

Missed last night's preview of Game of Thrones , premiering later this month on HBO? Fret not, as you can catch the first few minutes of the amazing pilot episode--written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss and directed by Tim Van Patten, below. I'm curious to know: What do you think of the footage shown? Does it match up to your expectations and your imagination of George R.R. Martin's epic novel series? Did it set the stage for the epic story to follow? And, most importantly, will you be tuning in on April 17th? Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, April 17 at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Tune-In Notice: Lifetime Rewinds Drop Dead Diva

Lifetime will offer fans of Drop Dead Diva the opportunity to catch the pilot episode of the series, as well as several other episodes from the first season, on Sunday, April 8th. The cable network will air four episodes--featuring guest stars Rosie O'Donnell, Sharon Lawrence, Sean Maher, Mark Moses, and David Berman--when it reairs the pilot, and episodes "The F Word," "Do Over" and "The Chinese Wall" on Sunday beginning at 8 pm ET/PT. Season Three, meanwhile, is set to begin in June. The full press release can be found below. LIFETIME TELEVISION'S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HIT SERIES DROP DEAD DIVA WILL REBROADCAST THE PILOT AND THREE ADDITIONAL EPISODES ON SUNDAY, APRIL 8 FROM 8:00PM ET/PT TO MIDNIGHT. SEE IT FROM THE BEGINNING! The Drop Dead Diva season one original pilot, will air on Sunday, April 8 starting at 8:00pm ET/PT.  Following the pilot episodes, Lifetime will broadcast three additional season one episodes back-to-back, including