Television

Mad Men

It is a great and terrible irony that a show about ad executives has such awful tag lines. AMC just dropped a thirty-second tease of the upcoming last-ish season of Mad Men, a tease that’s mysterious, tantalizing, and also riddled with really, really un-Mad Men-like puns. In bright, saturated colors and hypnotic slow-mo, all the major Sterling Cooper & Partners players stand around an airport and do various things reminiscent of air travel. Pete buys his ticket. Betty stands by a small army’s worth of luggage and huffs impatiently. Roger ogles a passing woman (as is required at all times by John Slattery‘s contract). And as Don Draper gazes out at this new world around him, wherever that world may be, a brief piece of text appears on screen: “It’s All Up in the Air.” You know. Like an airplane. And as the audience reels from such furious punnage, the teaser winds up and delivers the knockout blow:

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9 to 5 tomlin and fonda

If you read the headline above and didn’t immediately ask out loud, “What about Dolly Parton?” then congratulations to you, because it must be so wonderful to be so young. Except for the part where you’re unfamiliar with one of the most delightful movies ever made, that is. 34 years ago, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Parton were brought together for a cartoonish feminism comedy called 9 to 5, about three women who take revenge on their sleazy chauvinist boss, played by the amazing Dabney Coleman. I’m certain that it was this movie that steered me on the right path as a man, both in terms of respecting the opposite sex and in my appreciation of catchy ’80s country music. If you’ve never seen it, go drop three bucks and stream it right now on Amazon. Then return to this post and get excited with me. Aside from their appearing together again in some comedy specials long ago, a newly announced Netflix series will be the first time Tomlin and Fonda are together since that kitschy classic, which was the top-grossing movie of 1980 after The Empire Strikes Back. They’ll co-star as the title characters of Grace and Frankie, two more women brought together after each has been done wrong by a man. Here it’s their respective husbands, who leave them for each other. Before the gay pairing of their spouses, Grace and Frankie are actually enemies. It’s like The First Wives Club but it’s really just “The Wives Club” […]

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Game of Thrones: dragon

It’s being billed as the “final” Game of Thrones trailer before season four sets off into a night that’s dark and full of terrors, and boy does this one have some game. Featuring the song “Devil Inside” by London Grammar, this new trailer shows us a bit more of what we can expect in the coming frame. There is plenty of talk about the payment of debts, further clearing up the fact that season four has revenge to offer. From the season’s tagline “All Men Must Die” to just about every trailer talking about some form of revenge, it’s easy to see that season four is about to deliver some much needed payback in Westeros. Or it’s all a ruse and George R.R. Martin’s creation will continue killing everyone you love. It could still go either way.

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TV Collage 2014

The agreement we make with a TV show is that we’ll spend time with it as long as its interesting, as long as we want to hang out with its characters. Beyond the one-shot that movies demand, TV shows require a thirty minute testing period or eleven hours if you like it. More if you get in deep. And who knows if your favorite show will last 10 seasons. We get devoted. But even a favorite show has the potential to lose its luster (or jump right over the shark), and we know when it happens — when to give up. Or we end up straggling along anyway, because we get devoted. So what would it take for you to give up on a favorite? What would a TV show have to do to get you to quit?

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Hannah Horvath

Hannah Horvath, the ostensibly central character of Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls, has never been a model of social grace, and her inability to behave not only well, but even somewhat appropriately in most situations and relationships has drawn serious criticism from fans and foes of the show alike. Dunham, who seems to be both very charming and very smart in person, has obviously quite purposely saddled herself with a character that continually touts the scope of her maturation without actually maturing. At all. Ever. As the series approaches its third season finale – next week’s episode, intriguingly titled “Two Plane Rides,” will close out the series until 2015 – now seems to be the perfect time for Hannah to actually grow, change, and move forward. But she’s not doing any of those things (in fact, she’s getting markedly worse), and her behavior in last week’s episode highlights how far Hannah is from not just social grace, but basic social abilities. Let’s put it this way – Hannah has pulled some serious crap over three seasons, and as eye-popping as her behavior may have been to people capable of successful relationships and reactions in “I Saw You,” it’s just one in a long string of terrible moves by one Ms. Hannah Horvath.

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Girls I Saw You

In most cases, when one half of a seemingly happy couple moves out while still claiming to be dedicated to the relationship, it’s not a good sign – but “most cases” don’t appear to apply to the romance of Girls’ Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The duo have been through more ups and downs than your local Six Flags rollercoaster, and although our own Rob Hunter and myself have spent most of the show’s third season prepping for their inevitable demise, it sure is taking longer than we expected. Not that Hannah is helping – amid cries from Adam for her to “relax!” and assuring her that his moving in with Ray (Alex Karpovsky, finally back) is just to get his head right for his Broadway debut, she’s still being overemotional and untrusting. Hey, girl, we get it, but that doesn’t account for the rest of her behavior in this week’s episode, “I Saw You,” which soon spirals out to see Hannah setting fire to every aspect of her life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Beardy McSingsalot (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) hit their first open mic night, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) does something with her hair and her face that’s great, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets a job. No, really. Patti LuPone also returns to drop some knowledge, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) reacts spectacularly. Also, Ray and Adam hang out together in a bathroom.

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American-Horror-Story-Logo

FX’s American Horror Story looks to be dead-set on continuing to explore the creepiest creepy creep shows that America has to offer – and for their next season, the ostensible miniseries is hightailing it to a literal creep show. Over at /Film, they’ve got wind of a report that the fourth season of the series will move its setting (as they move setting and plot every incarnation) to a carnival. Send in the freaks (and the clowns, too, why not)! The outlet reports that writer and co-executive producer Douglas Petrie recently appeared on the Nerdist Writers Panel podcast, and despite first sticking to a tight-lipped stance, saying ”I can’t say anything” to questions about the show’s next season, he was waylaid when another guest mentioned that she had “heard” that the next season would take place at a carnival, to which Petrie replied, “Yes — that was the, it — it does not have a title.” Got you, Petrie!

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Van and Mike Key and Peele

Comedy Central has a ratings goldmine in comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of the sketch comedy show Key & Peele, and they’re looking to further capitalize on this with development of an animated series based on two of the team’s popular characters. In October, it was announced that Season 4 of the highly popular show was ordered to the tune of 22 episodes, the largest since the first season in 2012, and that’s expected to hit the airwaves at some point during the third or fourth quarter of this year. The comedians and Comedy Central will apparently be spending their time before then developing their animated offering with the help of executive producer Rodney Barnes (The Boondocks, Everybody Hates Chris), Key & Peele collaborator Joel Zadak, Allen Fischer (Wonderland), and Brian Dobbins.

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Game of Thrones in Vanity Fair, by Annie Leibovitz

Not by us, but by someone. And we mean someone beyond the people living inside the mind of A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. In a sprawling feature in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, both Martin and the Game of Thrones executive producer team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss talk at length about one of the most prevalent threads that plagues all of Westeros: endings. Usually the “endings” of note are those of characters we love, meeting their untimely deaths in service of honor or the quest for power. This time around, the creative team behind the books and the beloved show are talking about where and when the story itself may come to an end. The simple answer: seven or eight seasons. The how and why of it are a bit more complicated.

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Girls Role Play

This week’s installment of “Kate Erbland and Rob Hunter talk  about Girls and mostly agree, except when they really, really don’t” comes to you on a slight delay, as our own Rob Hunter is busy navigating the wilds of the SXSW Film Festival (where, yes, Girls star and creator Lena Dunham got her start and also contributed a keynote speech to this year’s fest, so it kind of works out perfectly). That’s not to say that we were not pumped to talk about “Role-Play,” because we were, but sometimes other movies and breakfast tacos get in the way. With two episodes left in the HBO series’ third season, it seems that some of our predictions are on their way to coming true — Hannah (Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) are bound for some troubles, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is forced to grapple with her problems, and Marnie (Allison Williams) just can’t shake her attempts at a music career — with some new twists along the way. In “Role-Play,” Hannah tries to spice up the couple’s sex life with some, well, role play, which ends in a most unexpected way — with Adam moving out (temporarily?) to focus on his Broadway debut. Elsewhere, Shosh (Zosia Mamet) stages an intervention for Jessa, and Marnie continues to croon jams at a guy who apparently has a girlfriend named “Clementine.”

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True Detective 1

Your theories were wrong. Well, probably. HBO’s latest opus of small screen cinema, the Nic Pizzolatto-created, Cary Fukunaga-directed, and Matthew McConaughey- and Woody-Harrelson-starring True Detective, ended its first season last night (unless you were trying to watch the season finale on HBO GO, in which case you might still be watching the flat circle of time known as the loading screen endlessly unspool) and after eight weeks of obsessive viewing, the first season finale is already the subject of intense hyperbole. The final episode, “Form and Void,” is less than a day old, and it’s already fiercely divisive – it was either the best possible ending or a tremendous letdown. The truth is, of course, somewhere in the middle – though that doesn’t mean that True Detective is not, on a whole, great entertainment. And although True Detective is the kind of often dense programming that benefits from closer reading and a few outside sources (“The Yellow King” post over at io9 remains essential), it’s also the kind that has suffered at the hand of relentless fan theorizing – because it’s those people who are most let down by its final conclusions.

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Robert Rodriguez making Sin City 2

In 2005 director Robert Rodriguez brought life to Frank Miller‘s Sin City in an unimaginable way. Literally adapting the style of that highly stylized series was a risky choice. Broad audiences hadn’t experienced a movie with such a heightened aesthetic to that degree yet, but it worked for both audiences and critics. A sequel was announced and then…it took longer to get made than it should have. But that long-awaited sequel finally comes out this summer in 3D with most of the original cast in place and a few welcomed additions. Another Rodriguez project returning is From Dusk Till Dawn. The proud Texas filmmaker now has his own network, El Rey, which kicks off with a serialization of his 1996 vampire film. The pilot is basically the film’s first 10 minutes stretched out to 40 minutes with a few tweaks. Rodriguez directed the first episode and he will continue to have a strong hand in the series, as well as anything else that shows on El Rey. Rodriguez discussed with us cinematic quality of today’s television, in addition to the recreating the world of Sin City for the upcoming sequel.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson in Cosmos

Who knew that all it would take to get America back into science was a little push from the guy behind Family Guy? Yes, the voice of Stewie, Seth MacFarlane. In the Q&A following the premiere of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey at the SXSW Film Festival this week, both writer Ann Dryan, the widow and longtime collaborator of Carl Sagan, and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the new face of Cosmos, were both effusive in their praise of MacFarlane and his ability to sell a long-dead show about time and space and the scientific method to the overlords at Fox. Yes, we’re still talking about that Seth MacFarlane and we are talking about that Fox. It’s an impressive feat that this thing even exists. More impressive is the bold and massive scale of what Carl Sagan’s vision has become. CLICK HERE to read more at Nonfics

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death row stories cnn

Yesterday, Landon wrote about how serial television, particularly miniseries and ongoing shows working with closed season-long narratives and involving the prestigious talent of great film directors, are providing us with the best “movies” of today. The focus, once again, is on the current new “golden age” of TV, which for the most part has been limited to fiction programming. But what about nonfiction? Unfortunately, that other side of the small screen has remained for the most part in the rut of lowbrow and cookie cutter reality shows with few traditional exceptions here and there. This year could see nonfiction television joining its counterpart, though, as some are pointing out that 2014 is already filling up with highly anticipated new documentary series from prominent filmmakers and other major personalities. It’s in some of these shows that you’ll find the true true detectives in the new era of quality television. This Sunday night brings the premieres of two of these docu-series: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, on Fox, and Death Row Stories, on CNN. The former is a 13-part sequel to the popular 1980 PBS miniseries Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which starred Carl Sagan and provided a sort of layman’s guide to everything then known about the universe. Sagan, who was the celebrity astrophysicist of the time and who passed away in 1996, has been replaced with host Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is now the celebrity astrophysicist of our time. The goal is for something even more mainstream in its presentation of scientific concepts, and the prominent filmmaker […]

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oprah the butler

That sound you just heard was a million The Wire obsessives, all emerging from their subterranean lairs at the same time (as most Wire fans burrow underground, subsisting on nothing but Wire marathons, YouTube clips and constant assurances that “you come at the king, you best not miss”). This natural phenomenon happens very rarely, but when it occurs, it can mean only one thing: David Simon has announced some new TV project. And, indeed, he has. As Deadline reports, the head writer/creator/showrunner of The Wire (and Supreme God-King amongst those strange, mole-like TV bingewatchers) is now working on a Martin Luther King Jr. miniseries for HBO. The series is based off of Taylor Branch‘s “America in the King Years,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the civil rights movement. Simon will be writing at least the first episode and the series bible (essentially, an encyclopedia of all necessary characters, settings and major details), then he and Eric Overmyer (producer on The Wire and co-creator of their later series, Treme) will be “seeing the entire mini through completion.” Simon might not be showrunner (at least not yet), but his name’s still attached, and that’s more than enough to slake the thirst of desperate Wire fans worldwide.

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patricia arquette medium promo

The CSI franchise is spawning yet another series, this time set in the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division in Quantico, Virginia. While there’s no official name yet for the new CBS show, there is a lead, as Medium and True Romance star Patricia Arquette is set to be front and center of a team tasked with solving crimes that “start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world.” Arquette’s Medium, a supernatural procedural drama, aired on NBC from January 2005 to January 2011 and coincidentally ran directly against CBS’s CSI: Miami and, in later seasons, CSI: NY. Arquette won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her fictionalized portrayal of real-life medium Allison DuBois in its first season on air.

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david mazouz and camren bicondova

Young Master Wayne and Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, have been chosen for Fox’s Batman prequel, Gotham. David Mazouz will play the tragedy-stricken Bruce, shortly after the murder of his parents and now under the care of Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Mazouz is best known for his role in Fox’s short-lived, ASCAP Award-winning sci-fi series Touch alongside Keifer Sutherland and Danny Glover. That show managed two seasons before being cancelled. Portraying pre-Catwoman Selina will be Camren Bicondova, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, whose major claim to fame is being a runner-up on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with her group, 8 Flavahs. She has also appeared in small roles in the horror flick Girlhouse and Cinedigm’s dance drama Battlefield America. Bicondova’s role as Selina will be as another orphaned teenager, well on her way to master thief as an expert pickpocket living on the streets of Gotham.

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Girls Flo Episode

Fans of Oscar nominee June Squibb had a hell of a double feature last night, as the Nebraska star hit up the Academy Awards and co-starred on this season’s tenth episode of Lena Dunham‘s Girls, appearing as Hannah’s (Dunham) reportedly-near-death grandmother, Flo. Although some of the best episodes of the HBO series’ third season have benefitted from throwing the show’s entire cast together in one place, “Flo” mixed things up to its own stirring effect — removing Hannah from New York City and forcing her upstate to mingle with her mother (Becky Ann Baker), her crazy cousin (Sarah Steele), and her bickering aunts (Deirdre Lovejoy and Amy Morton). Sure, Adam (Adam Driver) made a quick visit, but this episode was all about the interpersonal relationships of the women in Hannah’s family, and man, are they messed up. With just one more episode to go, Rob Hunter and I turn our critical charms to this season’s latest episode of Girls.

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Game of Thrones season 4 art

Valar morghulis. All men must die. If you haven’t learned this much about Game of Thrones by now, then you haven’t been paying attention. If the third season of the runaway hit HBO series has taught its audience anything, it’s that no one character is safe from the death’s cold hands. This is something that readers of the A Song of Fire and Ice book series have known for a long time. George R.R. Martin likes to kill people in the most heinous (and thankfully literary) ways. With the fourth season set to begin in just over a month, the folks at HBO want us to remember that death comes for all men, women, children, babies, direwolves, giants, and whatever the hell those White Walkers are. In addition to the season four trailer and the epic 15-minute season four preview, HBO has now released 21 new posters for the upcoming season. One main poster featuring a three-eyed raven and some pointy iconography as well as 20 character posters featuring faces new and old, all of which simply state “Valar morghulis.” Because if it wasn’t clear enough yet, this show is about death.

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Game of Thrones season 4 - Tyrion

HBO gave us 15-minutes of preview featurette and one big season four trailer, but they still haven’t given us anything to preview the upcoming season of Game of Thrones quite like what you’re about to watch. Seemingly unimpressed with the current marketing plan for the show, YouTube user LadyDogTrailers took all the existing season four footage and made this wonderfully thrilling trailer. Set to Lorde’s cover of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” this trailer exhibits one thing that all previous attempts have not: that the stakes are even higher for everyone in season four.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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