BOARDWALK EMPIRE Recap: “Friendless Child”

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In many ways, Boardwalk Empire‘s penultimate episode, “Friendless Child,” was a capsule of the most essential elements of Nucky’s full story over the course of the series.  The waning hours of Nucky’s gangland battle with Lucky and Meyer mirror the show’s twilight as well.  The gangsters are tired.  Many of them are dead.  There’s a new world order, and all Nucky wants now is to make amends as best he can.  The flashbacks in “Friendless Child” also tied together his relationship with Gillian, and how she may be his only hope for some kind of redemption.  Hit the jump for why “all I have — all I’ve ever had — is Atlantic City.”

THE AFFAIR Recap: “2″

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After a lot of critical fanfare for its pilot (and despite some awful trailers on Showtime), The Affair needed to prove that it had staying power.  Until this week, (and somewhat unusually), only that first episode had been available in advance for review, so the glowing remarks were all based on that powerhouse.  “2″ wasn’t quite as mesmerizing as “1,” (a.k.a. “Pilot,”) but it did fill out some more details of the world Noah and Alison are living in, and how each of them uniquely experiences it.  Hit the jump for “I was never fun. You got more fun, which is the problem.”

THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “Strangers”

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Now that the group of survivors has been reunited after the chaos at Terminus, what are they to do?  The Walking Dead has spent plenty of time in past seasons bottled up in one location or another (the farm and the prison, notably) but it looked like they were getting ready to hit the dusty trails for good this season.  Not so fast.  In the fifth season’s second episode, we get a momentary glimpse of life on the road for this unwieldy group before a new arrival (and an old foe) turn a possible sanctuary into a probable death trap.

Hit the jump for The Walking Dead recap. 

HOMELAND Recap: “Iron in the Fire”

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In “Iron in the Fire,” Homeland expanded on the conspiracy surrounding Sandy Bachman’s death, and brought it all back to Homeland‘s central theme of trust.  As Carrie builds her team in Islamabad, she also wrestles with the CIA operatives already in place there; though as she quickly discovers, she needs their help, too. (Although it isn’t, of course, that simple).  Homeland also snuffed out some of its own fire by revealing the identity of the confidential informant, but did so in a way that shows that arc is far from over.  Hit the jump, because “what I need is your help, not your goddamn foot on the break.”

TOP 5: FURY, Superhero Movie Release Dates, HBO to Offer Stand-Alone Streaming Service, A Horrifying Education, New York Comic-Con Coverage

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Writer/director Ti West made a permanent name for himself in the horror community with 2009′s excellent The House of the Devil. While I think quite highly of that film, I hold his slightly less revered 2011 follow-up, The Innkeepers, in even higher regard. Starring Sara Paxton and Pat Healy (who reunited earlier this year in the disgustingly entertaining Cheap Thrills) as slacker hotel employees who are determined to prove their Yankee Pedlar Inn is haunted during its final weekend of operation, the film is a near pitch perfect modern haunted house tale. Relying on tension and timing rather than gore, West slowly builds The Innkeepers to an effective final act that is both scary as hell and quietly tragic. Because it so expertly relies on atmosphere/mood and quality of scares over quantity, this is one that I always recommend to my non-horror loving friends seeking a scary movie for this time of year that will play well without scarring them for life.

This week’s recommendation in hand, today’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of the Brad Pitt war drama Fury, a metric ton of superhero movie release dates and news compiled in one place, word that HBO will launch its own stand-alone streaming service in 2015, the first in a four-entry series dedicated to schooling Matt on some horror favorites, and all of our New York Comic-Con coverage. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

THE KNICK Season One Finale Recap: “Crutchfield”

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The Knick‘s excellent first season ended in a way befitting the series as a whole.  There wasn’t much about “Crutchfield” that was narratively shocking, but The Knick‘s story has never been about that — it’s the way the show tells its story that makes it special.  The events in “Crutchfield” made for a natural culmination of the various plots we’ve been following this season, and had the series ended here, in fact, it would have been satisfying in a lot of ways.  But there’s still plenty for The Knick to explore (and as it was renewed for a second season before it even started its first, we will thankfully get that opportunity).  Hit the jump if you believe “nothing breaks a man like a good cock punch.”

New AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Clip Featuring Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse

by     Posted 3 days ago

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We’ve known that Adrianne Palicki would appear on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, since August, but now it’s finally time to see her in action.  Her episode, “A Hen in the Wolf House,” doesn’t air until Tuesday night, but a clip featuring the Security Chief of Hydra storming into Agent Simmons’ (Elizabeth Henstridge) office determined to ID a mole just surfaced.

Hit the jump to catch Palicki in this new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. clip.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episode 5 airs on Tuesday, October 21st at 9pm EST.  The show also stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Nick Blood.

MARLEY & ME TV Series in the Works for NBC

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Do you want to watch David Frankel’s big screen adaptation of the John Grogan book Marley & Me?  Not in my apartment.  I read the book before catching the film so knew what was coming the whole time, but even then, the way Frankel depicts the book’s big finish is so gratuitous that I refuse to let anyone else watch it while in my presence.

Now in addition to avoiding Frankel’s film, it looks as though I’ll have to avoid a TV series as well because it’s being reported that NBC just scored a single-camera comedy sequel in a “competitive situation.”  Hit the jump for more on the Marley & Me TV series.

Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst Developing Ebola TV Series at Fox

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As though Ebola isn’t in the headlines enough, now Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst are giving the disease its own TV show.  It’s being reported that the pair is developing a limited TV series for Fox TV Studios based on the 1994 Richard Preston book, The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus.

Apparently the duo has had the rights to the book for two decades, but never let them lapse.  About a year ago, they quietly went to work on the project, hiring I, Robot scribe Jeff Vintar to pen the adaptation.  Hit the jump for more on Scott and Obst’s Ebola TV series.

HBO Turned Down THE WIRE Spin-Off Focusing on Tommy Carcetti; David Simon also Says They Considered a Season Featuring Immigration

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Last night, PaleyFest held a panel for the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Wire, a show you’re not allowed to dislike in any way or else you’ll be considered a heretic and a heathen (read my review of every season!).  The panel included creator and showrunner David Simon, executive producer Nina Noble, and cast members Wendell Pierce, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn, Seth Gilliam, Jim True-Frost, John Doman, Tristan Wilds, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., and Jamie Hector.

The group shared a bunch of stories, but among the most intriguing was Simon’s reveal that they wanted to spin off Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillen) into his own series following season three.  Hit the jump for more

Thursday TV Ratings: GRACEPOINT, SCANDAL, and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER Dip; VAMPIRE DIARIES Rises

by     Posted 3 days ago

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TV ratings for Thursday, October 16th are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy was even with last week’s 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 8.45 million viewers, while the network’s other two dramas were both down.  Scandal (read Allison’s recap here) dipped 3% to a 2.9 rating and scored 9.84 million viewers, while a terrific episode of How to Get Away With Murder dropped 13% from last week to a 2.7 rating and 9.67 million viewers.
  • On Fox, Bones matched last week’s 1.6 rating and scored 6.41 million viewers, while Gracepoint (read Allison’s recap here) continues to falter, dropping 11% to a 0.8 rating and 3.82 million viewers.
  • NBC’s Bad Judge dipped a tenth from last week to a 1.2 rating and 4.69 million viewers, A to Z matched last week’s 1.0 rating and scored 3.36 million viewers, and Parenthood was even with last week’s 1.3 rating and scored 4.14 million viewers.
  • Over at The CW, The Vampire Diaries was up 13% to a 0.8 rating and scored 1.96 million viewers, while Reign rose 25% to a 0.5 rating and 1.36 million viewers.

SCANDAL Recap: “Like Father, Like Daughter”

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Important question for Scandal watchers: is there anyone who still wants Fitz and Olivia together, besides Fitz?  We know it’s all he has left, as he has failed “as a father, as a husband, and as a man” (in his words — but don’t forget “as a President,” too).  But is Fitz still defensible, or even likable, in any way?  When the two of them were alone together for the first time this season in the Oval Office, and “The Light” started to play, was anyone desperate for a rekindling?  Or instead, were we desperate to get to any other part of “Like Father, Like Daughter”?  Hit the jump if “we can do this later, I’m really wasted.”

GRACEPOINT Recap: “Episode Three”

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Though the way Gracepoint is set up to tell its murder mystery (through the course of one season instead of a new crime each week) is a refreshingly different turn for network dramas, there’s something about it that just doesn’t feel like essential viewing.  For one, the town of Gracepoint, for all of its supposed charm, is actually more like how Emmett sees it (which is … not good).  The portrayal of the town doesn’t commit fully to being a sinister place (like say, Twin Peaks), nor is it quirky enough to draw in our interest to it as something unique (like Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls).  That disappointing lack of development is tempered by Beth (thanks to the excellent Virginia Kull), who keeps Gracepoint compelling, even when the show starts to slip.  Hit the jump if you’re really pretty on the outside, but a wreck on the inside.

GAME OF THRONES: Season 5 to Contain First-Ever Flashbacks

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Last month, we learned Bran and Hodor won’t be in Game of Thrones season 5, but now we know something that will be in the new season: flashbacks.  For four seasons, the show has steered clear of the storytelling device, but they will finally be used in the upcoming fifth season.  During a Q&A with film students in Span where the show is currently shooting some of its scenes, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss explained, “By making the first season, we set a rule: No prophecies, dreams or flashbacks. We failed the first two and this season the third. So yes, this season will finally have flashbacks.”

EW also reports that the fifth season will begin with a flashback, although that could change in the editing process.  I’m sure fans of the books have plenty of theories of what kind of flashback we’ll see, but since I only watch the show, I’m at a loss.  Feel free to sound off in the comments section with speculation.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW Recap: “Massacres and Matinees”

by     Posted 5 days ago

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The premiere of American Horror Story: Freak Show had the benefit of the shock and awe that comes with introducing viewers to a new vibrant location and fresh crop of curious characters, but now that the initial thrill is long gone, the question is, can Freak Show hold up?  Thanks to the highly intriguing character layers and fascinatingly bizarre scenarios introduced in the season’s second episode, “Massacres and Matinees,” the answer is a resounding yes.  Hit the jump for more on the wealth of mind-blowing oddities in my American Horror Story: Freak Show recap.

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