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Summer 2012 TV Preview: 14 TV Shows Worth Watching This Summer

Summer has arrived and you might be tempted to think that, with the departure of spring, anything decent to watch on television has evaporated in the warmth and sunshine. Not so. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Summer 2012 TV Preview: 14 TV Shows Worth Watching This Summer," in which I offer 14 new or noteworthy television shows to hold your interest during the sweltering months ahead. With the imminent conclusions of the current seasons of AMC’s Mad Men and HBO’s Game of Thrones , it might look as though we’re heading into a television no man’s land this summer. Not so: while the broadcaster networks are airing their usual fare of reality competitions— So You Think You Can Dance, The Bachelorette, Hell’s Kitchen , and America’s Got Talent are all on the schedule—and second-rate fare (NBC’s Saving Hope , to name one), there is still a ton of original programming to be seen. AMC’s Breaking Bad returns for the first half of its final season

The Chain: The Other Women on Mad Men

"At last, something beautiful you can truly own." At what price are we willing to sell our selves, our souls, our bodies? Is there a price or, for some, can we walk away knowing that we weren't able to be bought, no matter how much money was thrown into our faces? Or, for women in the 1960s, was there always someone who owned you outright, a pretty jaguar to be possessed whether you were wife or mistress? This week's installment brought these issues to the forefront, rendering an episode that was largely about the heartbreakingly quotidian objectification of women in the 1960s, as Joan (Christina Hendricks) prostitutes herself for a shot at a named partnership at SDCP, Megan (Jessica Paré) is reduced to a piece of meat at an audition, and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) manages to leave Don after he literally throws money in her face. These three stories are threaded around the pitch for Jaguar, which itself deals in issues of objectification, ownership, and an easy misogy

The Daily Beast: "Revenge: The 10 Most Memorable Twists in the Wicked First Season"

In its first season, ABC’s Revenge offered numerous twists and turns. With the first season ending tonight, I look at the show’s most memorable moments so far. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Revenge : The 10 Most Memorable Twists in the Wicked First Season," in which I offer up the most surprising, exciting, or upsetting moments in the wicked drama to date. The first season of ABC’s Revenge wraps up tonight, likely leading to a major cliffhanger that will propel the Mike Kelley-created drama into its second year of betrayals, bait-and-switches, and vengeance plots, as Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) continues her campaign of destruction against the mercenary and venal Grayson clan. Revenge itself can be looked at in several ways: a revenge fantasy for the 99 percent against the wealthy ruling class embodied by the morally corrupt Graysons, an ensemble drama set in the heightened reality of green-screen backdrops where the high cost of privile

Misdirection: The Prince of Winterfell on Game of Thrones

I wasn't all that crazy about this week's episode of Game of Thrones ("The Prince of Winterfell"), written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by Alan Taylor, which felt more like set-up for the final two episodes of the second season, than it did a fully fledged episode of its own. Which isn't to say that there weren't any fantastic moments, because there were (the Theon/Yara scene and Tyrion/Varys exchanges being two standouts), but this week's installments was overflowing with comings and goings... and a hell of a lot of waiting around to see what would happen next. On the one hand, this is a natural function of the narrative here as preparation are being made by Stannis (Stephen Dillane) and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) as they prepare to lay siege to King's Landing with their formidable fleet of ships... while Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and the small council attempt to fortify the royal city and strategize. In other words: waiting for th

Enterprise: Dancing Around the Issue on Mad Men

"You used to love your work." One of the thematic ribbons running through Mad Men has been the notion of how one either balances their work and home lives, attempts to merge them, or jeopardizes one through the pursuit of the other. Work is, well, work. It's something that might define us--especially several of the characters on Mad Men --but is also a means to an end ("That's what the money is for!") in terms of both financial stability, security, and glory. The modern hero's quest, one could argue, is a capitalist one: the accumulation of wealth and fame the end goal, things like family and relationships the necessary sacrifices along the way. On this week's episode of Mad Men ("Christmas Waltz"), written by Victor Levin and Matthew Weiner and directed By: Michael Uppendahl, the entire episode largely revolved around the notion of enterprise, both in a literal and figurative sense, with several characters engaged in risky, speculat

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: "Game of Thrones' Wild Card: Esmé Bianco"

At the heart of the ‘Game of Thrones’ sexposition controversy is Esmé Bianco’s Ros. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones ' Wild Card: Esmé Bianco," in which I sit down with Game of Thrones 's Bianco to talk about Ros, a character not in George R.R. Martin's novels, sexposition, nudity, THAT scene, and more. Fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones who have read the voluminous novels in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series upon which the show is based often have an edge over non-readers, given that they’re only too aware of what’s to come. But, in adapting Game of Thrones from Martin’s work, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss at times shift away from the texts to explore off-camera sequences, insert new twists and turns, and create new scenarios for the characters to face. In Season 1, Benioff and Weiss went so far to create an original character just for the show: prostitute Ros, who quickly fell into bed with se