Allison’s Top 12 Returning TV Series of 2014

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(Huge Understatement Warning): There’s a lot of great TV on right now.  And as yesterday’s list of the Best New Shows illustrated, there are always more being added to the pack.  To keep up with every year’s newest crop is a struggle, yet the shows listed here manage to do so with aplomb.  Many of these great returning series are old timers, bucking the trend of shows waning in their later years.  Others, though, are still relatively new, but have been able to avoid a sophomore slump by even improving upon their noteworthy first seasons.  It’s rare, and it’s also a wonderful thing for loyal fans.  Hit the jump for some unrestrained gushing.

2015 Golden Globe Nominations Announced; BIRDMAN Leads the Film Categories with Seven; FARGO Scores Five TV Nods

by     Posted 8 days ago

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It looks as though Alejandro González Iñárritu and Birdman could have quite the awards season.  Not only did the film earn the most SAG and Independent Spirit Award nominations, but now it’s got the most Golden Globe Nominations as well.  Birdman came in with a total of seven nods followed by Boyhood and The Imitation Game, both of which got five.  Fargo led the television series or program categories with five nominations while True Detective came in right behind with four.

I’m glad to see Reese Witherspoon getting recognition for her work in Wild, but I hope the film itself gets some attention down the line.  It’s also unfortunate that Channing Tatum’s work in Foxcatcher isn’t being honored.  And sadly Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany didn’t make this list, but I’ve got no problem rooting for Girls Lena Dunham or Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling instead.  Hit the jump for the full list of 2015 Golden Globe nominees.

First Look at George Clooney in the Upcoming DOWNTON ABBEY Short Film

by     Posted 17 days ago

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It’s rare for a British period soap opera to become a cultural phenomenon, and it’s even rarer for it to net an A-list movie star.  Downton Abbey, arguably the silliest drama on television, is set to premiere a short film on their British network ITV over the holiday season to promote the network’s “Text Santa” charity initiative.  George Clooney will pitch in by making a guest appearance, although there are currently no details about his character or the size of his role.

A brief clip from the special has been released online, and it provides no further information other than Cora looking like she’s mistaken his character for Lord Gratham.  Or perhaps she’s just calling him “Dearest” because, let’s face it, George Clooney is everyone’s dearest.  Hit the jump to check out the Downton Abbey short film clip.  The movie will premiere on ITV on December 18th.  The show’s fifth season has already aired in the U.K., and will premiere in the U.S. on January 5th on PBS.

DOWNTON ABBEY Season 5 Trailer: Change Is Coming to the Fanciest Soap on Television

by     Posted 110 days ago

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Ready your formal wear and prepare your manners accordingly: the Downton Abbey Season 5 trailer is here.  Fresh off the unveiling of some new images from the upcoming season of the ensemble drama, ITV has released the first footage from the batch of new episodes.  As you’ll see in the trailer, the theme of Season 5 appears to be change in its many forms.  Times are changing, relationships are changing, and by golly Carson is not having any of it.  I enjoy Downton Abbey quite a bit.  Sure it’s essentially a big, sweeping soap opera in a serious drama’s clothing, but it’s fun and engaging and wholly engrossing; the world building of the show is tremendous.  As such, I’m looking forward to seeing what twists and turns are in store for Season 5.

Watch the first Downton Abbey Season 5 trailer after the jump.  The series returns to ITV in the UK on September 21st and will premiere on PBS here in the States on January 4, 2015.

First DOWNTON ABBEY Season 5 Images Released

by     Posted 127 days ago

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Apparently, season four of Downton Abbey was a letdown according to EW, although I’m with our TV editor Allison Keene in thinking it was quite good.  Then again, all of Downton Abbey blurs together for me, and the first Downton Abbey season 5 images could easily be from previous seasons with the exception of Sybbie and George going from babies to young children.  So while there will be another time jump, I’m sure everything will be as prim and proper as ever, and I will continue to watch Downton Abbey as if it were a trashy reality TV series (“He did NOT just think he could keep the estate’s affairs in order while refusing to modernize!”) and enjoying every one of Carson’s harrumphs.

Hit the jump to check out the Downton Abbey season 5 images.  Season five will premiere in the U.K. this fall, and premiere in the U.S. on January 4, 2015 on PBS.

2014 Emmy Nominations Announced; TRUE DETECTIVE, FARGO, THE NORMAL HEART, and More Score Multiple Nods

by     Posted 162 days ago

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The 2014 Emmy Nominations were announced this morning, and they were about as surprising/disappointing as I expected.  We’re in the Golden Age of Television™, but no one seems to tell the Emmys.  Yes, True Detective and Fargo got some love, but so did the awful awards-bait The Normal Heart, which picked up four out of six nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.  Then there are the usual suspects: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, etc.  Among tge acting nominations, I would say I’m pleasantly surprised about Andre Braugher getting attention for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and shocked that Kate Mara picked up an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination when really her CGI stunt double deserves all the credit.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of the major Emmy nominations.  The Emmy Awards will air live on NBC, Monday, August 25th at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

DOWNTON ABBEY Season 4 Finale Recap

by     Posted 299 days ago

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Romance!  Intrigue!  Murder!  Americans!  Downton Abbey‘s Season Four finale was as jam-packed as ever, accomplishing much but still leaving plenty for its newly commissioned fifth season.  What PBS calls the finale is actually the Christmas Special that aired several months after the fourth season finale in the U.K., and like the ones before it, it put its characters in the most splendid of surroundings, pulling out all the stops for a festive episode.  Though compared to the last two years, this finale was a lot less taxing on the emotions.  Hit  the jump for why “I don’t mind lying!”

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season Four, Episode Seven”

by     Posted 306 days ago

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It was simultaneously a sincere and ridiculous time on Downton Abbey this week, but the show can never be accused of being boring.  Downton is always entertaining, and even when plots falter or fizzle out, the show crams enough in that something ends up being worthwhile.  Downton juggled everything this week, and set up plenty for the season finale.  Hit the jump for why a group noun for suitors is known, to some, as a “desire.”

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season 4, Episode 6″

by     Posted 313 days ago

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Downton Abbey was a house of secrets this week, but of course, it’s also a house where secrets don’t stay secret for long.  As we wind down to the end of the season, the stakes hinted at earlier this year are starting to payoff, and they didn’t even have to kill anyone off to achieve it (there’s still time!)  Revelations of many kinds defined this hour, and have set up some intense drama for the rest of the season.  Hit the jump for why “we expect to get what we pay for.”

Sunday TV Ratings: SUPER BOWL Broadcast Is Most Watched Ever with 111.5 Million Viewers; NEW GIRL Soars in Post-Game Slot

by     Posted 319 days ago

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Sunday evening’s Super Bowl ratings are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • Per final numbers, Fox’s telecast of Super Bowl XLVIII scored a 34.4 rating in the 18-49 demo and was seen by 111.5 million viewers, which tops last year’s 108.4 million viewers to become the most watched Super Bowl–and broadcast–ever.  This is much higher than what the preliminary numbers had suggested.
  • The post-game broadcast of Fox’s comedy New Girl performed extremely well, notching a series high 11.1 rating and 25.8 million viewers.  That’s a rise of 42% ratings-wise from last year’s post-game Elementary episode and up 23% in total viewers.  It now stands as the highest rated scripted entertainment telecast on broadcast TV in 3 years, since the post-Super Bowl Glee episode.
  • The post-post-game showing of the very funny Brooklyn Nine-Nine earned decent if not spectacular ratings, hitting a series high 6.7 rating and scored 14.8 million viewers.
  • Directly opposite the Super Bowl, PBS’ Downton Abbey (read Allison’s recap here) did just fine with 6.8 million viewers, up from last year’s Super Bowl night episode’s 6.6 million viewers.

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season 4, Episode 5″

by     Posted 320 days ago

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In it’s fifth episode this season, Downton Abbey tried some new things, while not shaking things up enough to give Carson a heart attack.  The world is rapidly changing, and even Robert is powerless against it.  Though for once he’s not fighting it — Edith, strangely, is.  But in an episode all about pride and prejudice, both upstairs and downstairs proved capable of a few surprises even while relying heavily on conventions of the past.  Hit the jump for why “we must speculate to accumulate.”

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season 4, Episode 4″

by     Posted 327 days ago

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Downton Abbey narrowed its narrative scope in this hour of drama, while teasing quite a few plot-lines for upcoming episodes.  The Anna and Bates saga, which needed some kind of emotional finality, finally got it (though with somewhat of an open ending), and Downton taking time to focus on this was completely necessary.  But things stayed very busy elsewhere in the house, with more than a few question marks left unanswered about doctor visits, torn aprons, and revitalized socialism.  Hit the jump for more.

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season 4, Episode 3″

by     Posted 334 days ago

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This week on Downton Abbey, the women ran the show (as they so often do).  Sex, in its many considerations, was also a star, though mostly in a negative light.  Things are changing, but as Aunt Rosamund reminds us, some things will always stay the same.  This season’s third episode was nicely paced, and featured a number of long-range arcs, as well as some satisfying episodic resolutions.  Too vague?  Then hit the jump for why “it’s better to have a broken heart than a broken neck.”

DOWNTON ABBEY Recap: “Season 4, Episode 2″

by     Posted 341 days ago

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Once again, few shows pack as much into once topsy-turvy hour as Downton Abbey, and this season’s second episode was no exception.  Also, it handled its many, many characters very well, involving almost everyone in the episode’s plots.  A party at the Abbey was a nice way to bring everyone together, and set the stage for plenty of drama.  Hit the jump for why, “if I was searching for logic, I wouldn’t forage for it among the English upper classes.”

Sunday TV Ratings: DOWNTON ABBEY Scores Record 10.2 Million Viewers in Season Four Premiere

by     Posted 347 days ago

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Sunday evening’s TV ratings are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • The two-hour season four premiere of the very fancy Downton Abbey scored a whopping 10.2 million viewers, marking a 22% rise from last year’s season three premiere (7.9 million viewers) and easily netting PBS’ highest ratings ever.  If you missed it, read Allison’s recap of the two-part premiere episode right here.
  • Over on CBS, The Good Wife returned to a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 9.24 million viewers, which is down 13% from its last original episode’s 1.6 rating.  The Mentalist, meanwhile, dropped 17% to a 1.5 rating and 9.93 million viewers.
  • ABC’s Revenge garnered a 1.8 rating and 6.69 million viewers, rising 20%, while Betrayal returned to a 0.8 rating and 3.38 million viewers.
  • Fox’s animation lineup started on a delay due to the 49ers/Packers NFL game, so preliminary ratings are inflated and therefore incorrect.
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