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The Daily Beast: "Downton Abbey: My Tea with Mrs. Patmore"

Sipping a cup of Earl Grey, Downton Abbey ’s feisty cook spills on the upcoming third season, a potential romance for her character, posing for German Vogue , and more. " Downton Abbey : My Tea with Mrs. Patmore," in which I sit down for tea with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol to discuss Season 3—which returns to PBS’ Masterpiece Classic on January 6—and a potential romance for Mrs. Patmore, posing for Bruce Weber, and the Mrs. Patmore doll. No, Mrs. Patmore cannot cook. It’s a question that is frequently asked of Lesley Nicol, the 59-year-old actress who plays the uppity cook on PBS’s sumptuous costume drama Downton Abbey . “There’s a thing in the U.K. called Celebrity MasterChef ,” Nicol says, sipping a cup of Earl Grey tea at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. “I’ve been asked several times to go on that. I keep saying, ‘No, you have to be at a certain level before you even think about that, and I’m not there at all. When you look really hard, I’m doing a bit o

The Daily Beast: "The 10 Best TV Shows of 2012: Borgen, Girls, Parenthood, Mad Men, and More"

From Borgen to Downton Abbey to Girls , Jace Lacob and Maria Elena Fernandez pick the 10 best TV shows of the year. Warning : may contain spoilers if you are not entirely caught up on the shows discussed here. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The 10 Best TV Shows of 2012," in which Maria Elena Fernandez and I offer up our individual Top 10 TV Shows lists for 2012. My list, not surprisingly, contains shows like Borgen, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Louie, Parks and Recreation, Shameless , and others. What was on your list this year? Now is the winter of our (TV) discontent. After a fall season that largely failed to deliver on the promise of new shows—and, in some cases, returning programs as well—it’s time to take a look back at the year in television as a whole, as we try to remove such canceled shows as Partners, The Mob Doctor, and Made in Jersey from our collective memory. But rather than dwell on the very worst of the year (ABC’s Work It!),

The Daily Beast: "Is This The Real Carrie Mathison?"

Who is the real Carrie Mathison? I explore the thematic overlaps between two female spies now stealing our collective attention: Claire Danes’s character on Homeland and Jessica Chastain’s Maya in Zero Dark Thirty . WARNING: the following contains plot details from the latest episode of Homeland . If you are not up to date, read at your own peril. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Is This The Real Carrie Mathison?," in which I compare the similarities and thematic overlaps between Homeland 's Carrie (Claire Danes) and Jessica Chastain's pseudonymous CIA agent "Maya" in Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming Osama bin Laden manhunt film Zero Dark Thirty , out December 19th in New York and Los Angeles. “We fight with what we have.” On the most recent episode of Showtime’s byzantine terrorism thriller Homeland, Carrie Mathison, the damaged, disgraced, bipolar CIA analyst played by Emmy-winner Claire Danes, finally came face-to-face with

The Daily Beast: "Ben Whishaw, The Hour's British Invader"

Q in Skyfall goes back in time to the 1950s newsroom in Season Two of The Hour , beginning tonight. I explore the range and appeal of talented British actor Ben Whishaw. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " The Hour 's British Invader," in which I write about the astonishing range of 32-year-old British actor Ben Whishaw, who held his own against Bond as Q in Skyfall and returns to television tonight with Season Two of BBC America's The Hour . You know Ben Whishaw. Or rather, you should know precisely who the British actor is, even if he isn’t yet a household name. You may have seen him as doomed poet John Keats in 2009’s Bright Star or as doomed playboy Sebastian Flyte in the remake of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. In this autumn’s Cloud Atlas, he plays five distinct roles, from a classical composer and a record-store clerk to a cabin boy and even a woman. And you definitely saw him in the most recent James Bond flick, Skyfall, i

The Daily Beast: "Dallas Loses Its Schemer: Larry Hagman Dies at 81"

Larry Hagman, best known as the dastardly J.R. Ewing, died Friday at age 81. I explore the indelible mark Hagman left on television and popular culture. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Dallas Loses Its Schemer," in which I offer an obituary and appreciation for the late Dallas actor Larry Hagman, who passed away on Friday at the age of 81. Actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as Dallas’s Machiavellian oil baron J.R. Ewing, died Friday at age 81, after complications from cancer. Hagman’s career spanned over 60 years, and included not only Dallas and its revival series, which launched earlier this year on TNT, but also the seminal 1960s comedy series I Dream of Jeannie, where he played Major Anthony “Tony” Nelson opposite Barbara Eden’s titular character. Hagman had, according to The Hollywood Reporter, filmed six of the new Dallas’s 15 episodes at the time of his death, with the second season scheduled to start on January 28. How the show

The Daily Beast: "Borgen, The Thick of It, Bond: What to Watch During the Thanksgiving Weekend"

Clear the table, do the dishes, hit the couch—TV is ready for you, with a slew of marathons, miniseries and specials, from Borgen to Bond, from Sherlock to Louie . I offer my take on what to watch on TV and online this weekend. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Borgen, The Thick of It , Bond: What to Watch During the Thanksgiving Weekend," in which I round up some notable television marathons ( Borgen ! Bond!) as well as selections from Hulu, Netflix, and on linear television, to keep you occupied (or offer you an escape) this holiday weekend. Thanksgiving isn’t just about gorging yourself on turkey and pumpkin pie--it’s also about getting prostrate on the couch after stuffing yourself … or getting away from your family for a few hours in front of the television. Fortunately, the television networks have realized that everyone during the long Thanksgiving weekend is in search of escape of some kind, and have gone out of their way to offer a

The Daily Beast: "Denmark's Leading Export: Sofie Gråbøl, Star of Forbrydelsen"

Sofie Gråbøl may not be a household name in the U.S., but around the globe she’s now legendary for her performance as Sarah Lund in the Danish television drama Forbrydelsen . At The Daily Beast, I explore Lund’s appeal and the sensational third season of the original The Killing , which premieres on BBC Four in the U.K. on Saturday. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Denmark's Leading Export: Sofie Gråbøl, Star of Forbrydelsen, " in which I explore both Sofie Gråbøl and Sarah Lund’s appeal and the gripping tension of Forbrydelsen III . It is tragic that American viewers have been denied the chance to become obsessed with Forbrydelsen and with the show’s magnetic star, Sofie Gråbøl. The Danish detective drama exemplifies the power of the provocative and globally significant Nordic noir genre, and the show's lead delivers one of television's most haunting performances of the past decade. Gråbøl, 44, has achieved cult status in Britain and