TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Karma”

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In “Karma,” True Blood has kept its final season ship afloat — after it took on so much water to start things off — by keeping a balance between the supernatural and the homespun.  Scores are settled by the Yakuza and the Hep V vamps, while back in Bon Temps, a family has to explain to their kids why they aren’t allowed to have sex with each other, even if they aren’t related by blood.  So, you know, the best of both worlds.  Hit the jump, after you go and buy some anti-glamour contacts from Walgreens, of course.

THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “Gladys”

by     Posted 3 days ago

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In “Gladys,” The Leftovers shifted its focus to the Guilty Remnant (or “the GR,” as Kevin refers to them).  And yet, there’s not much more known about them now than there was before.  They’re into wearing white, aggressively smoking, and buying up real estate, but there hasn’t been a reason given for their methodology or beliefs.  Still, aside from a lot of wheel spinning, “Gladys” also showed, because of where its brutal opening scene ultimately led, there’s a lot going on in that wide world beyond Mapleton that might play into the overall mystery.  Hit the jump for why “we want them to remember something they want to forget.”

THE STRAIN Recap: “Gone Smooth”

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Despite its title, The Strain‘s “Gone Smooth” was sadly not a reference to Ephraim losing his hair (thereby releasing the beautiful baldness that is Corey Stoll‘s dome).  However, quite a few others began losing theirs, and thus begins the transformation (and, soon, infiltration) from human to zombie vampire worm-infested killing beast.  While The Strain‘s dialogue and character development haven’t been particularly good (and in some cases, it’s specifically bad), what the show excels in are monsters.  And if you keep the focus on that, then there’s no strain in viewing it.  Hit the jump for “soon!”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Fight”

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Prior to “Fight,” the most promising moment of this season of Masters of Sex – the moment when many of us sat up, adjusted our glasses and thought, “here we go!” — was when Ginny and Bill had the heart-breaking conversation in the hotel where they tried (and failed) to define the intricacies of their relationship.  In “Fight,” the topic was brought up again, and explored with the depth it deserves, and with a strangeness and emotional honesty that made Masters of Sex feel, for the first time truly, like Mad Men.  Hit the jump for why “a hole is easier than a pole.”

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Gem & Loan”

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In “Gem & Loan,” Ray Donovan explored partnerships and alliances.  It also created a partnership, for this hour at least, between two of its more disparate parts: the family drama and Ray as a fixer.  Ray Donovan is at its best when Ray’s job intersects with his family or other storylines that viewers are already invested in.  It also was a rare episode where everyone, by the end of it, was more or less content.  Hit the jump for why “you’re a real pisser.”

THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “B.J and the A.C.”

by     Posted 9 days ago

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After an interesting diversion last week with Matt’s linear and focused story, The Leftovers returned to its scattered, dour ways in “The B.J. and the A.C.”  Christmas is a difficult time of year for many, often bringing up complicated emotions related to family, faith and brokenness.  It’s a time that is prescribed to be merry, leaving those who aren’t all the more alienated.  Of course, in the world of The Leftovers, there’s not even a pretense of merriment, and no one could possibly be more alienated, so the show’s Christmas-focused episode was naturally a cold one.  Hit the jump if you want something to drink — water?  Coffee?  Drano?

TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Lost Cause”

by     Posted 10 days ago

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“Lost Cause” finally gave True Blood fans what we’ve been wanting for years from this show, but most particularly, were hoping to get from this season.  After the promise of a return to the calmer side of things, True Blood did almost anything but that in its first few episodes back.  And even in those few moments when it did slow down, it went all wrong: extended time spent with characters we didn’t know was dull, while favorites were killed off unceremoniously and without much comment.  “Lost Cause” did a lot to right that, making it one of the best episodes the show has had in a very long time.

THE STRAIN Recap: “The Box”

by     Posted 10 days ago

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In its second episode, The Strain focused more on the idea of transformation, including its own (potentially).  “The Box” spent more time on the vampire side of things, and also set the stage for the upcoming season in terms of focus.  It also allowed for a little more discovery into this vampiric contagion, and the many forms it takes.  Hit the jump for why “a good story always trumps the truth.”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Kyrie Eleison”

by     Posted 10 days ago

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After an emotional premiere, Masters of Sex slowed things way down in “Kyrie Eleison” (meaning “Lord Have Mercy”).  But, it maintained its focus on place (as in, position).  Each of its characters is adrift, longing for something they have lost or cannot achieve.  “Kyrie Eleison” also separated Bill and Ginny again, but as with all things Masters, the study must go on, and their connection to it drives them back together.  It also is the only place the two feel at home.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Uber Ray”

by     Posted 10 days ago

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In “Uber Ray,” Ran Donovan has set up its major conflicts for the upcoming season, and so far, it’s looking good.  The show is a slow burn, and one that didn’t get as much attention as its counterpart Masters of Sex, but deserved to.  It’s at least a steadily engaging show, if not completely tonally consistent, and its character drama is always interesting to watch unfold.  “Uber Ray” didn’t bother with a fixer plot this week, which was the right choice, focusing instead on Mickey’s return, and what that means for the Donovans.  Hit the jump for why “that’s why you were born, Ray, to be my fucking judge.  That’s always been your job.”

MARRIED and YOU’RE THE WORST Reviews: FX’s New Comedies Explore Difficult Relationships

by     Posted 13 days ago

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For its summer schedule, FX has rolled out two comedies (in name, if not exactly in execution) about couples desperate to break from the conventional.  In Married, Lina (Judy Greer) and Russ Bowman (Nat Faxon) find life to be dull and stressful, as they raise three girls and struggle to pay bills and keep an invigorated intimate life.  The Bowman’s situation is the worst nightmare for Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash), the stars of You’re the Worst, who claim to have allergic reactions to the idea of relationships at all.  Hit the jump to find out when the comedy kicks in, and if it does.

TYRANT Recap: “Sins Of The Father”

by     Posted 15 days ago

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Throughout its short run so far, Tyrant has shown glimpses of being an interesting series that explores a difficult issue with some complexity.  But most of the time, it’s chosen plot over characterization, and broad strokes over nuance.  The first part could almost be forgivable if the series was one that featured fast-paced action or political intrigue, but it has neither.  Tyrantseems to be playing a long game, when what it really needs to focus on is there here and now.  Hit the jump for why “like father, like son.”

THE STRAIN Series Premiere Recap: “Night Zero”

by     Posted 17 days ago

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With the Twilight movie series over, and HBO’s True Blood coming to a close, perhaps audiences are ready to set aside pretty, sparkly vampires, and instead embrace a different kind of bloodsucker.  It began in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, where vampires were either horrible shrieking harpies, or disgusting ancient muck-beasts.  The Strain, FX’s new series based onGuillermo del Toro‘s novel trilogy (Del Toro also co-wrote and directed “Night Zero,” and co-produced the series with Lost’Carlton Cuse) also realigns the idea of vampires, and vampirism, into something horribly evil and total grotesque.  BRING IT.  Hit the jump if you fear Corey Stoll‘s wig (it’s full of secrets!)

TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Death Is Not The End”

by     Posted 17 days ago

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True Blood‘s long goodbye continued in “Dead Is Not The End,” this time allowing an extended look back at the origins of Fangtasia.  That reverie, unlike some of the others the show has had this year, actually had some bearing on the rest of the episode (at least, the part about the Underground Railroad).  But it also was a nice reward for fans who have been around since the beginning, because it showed how Pam and Eric ended up running the club in the first place, where so much of True Blood originally happened.  Hit the jump for why “almost every I’ve ever known or loved is dead. I don’t give a fuck about you or your problems.”

THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “Two Boats and a Helicopter”

by     Posted 17 days ago

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In its third episodes this season, “Two Boats and a Helicopter,” The Leftovers did something very different.  It stepped back from the format of its first two episodes, which focused on the Garvey family and their reaction to The Sudden Departure, and gave over the entire hour to a character we didn’t yet know much about: Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccelston).  Matt’s life seems to be going from bad to work in the years after the Departure, and “Two Boats and a Helicopter” gave us a chance to explore his particular experience.  Hit the jump for why this is all a test.

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