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

by     Posted 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 9 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 11 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 13 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 13 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 13 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.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Parallax”

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Masters of Sex returned for its second season without missing a beat from its first.  There was no lull to get viewers reoriented slowly — things picked up essentially where they left off, except “Parallax” made the decision to exam some of the events that took place after last season’s finale from different viewpoints.  Per usual for the show, how things played out circumvented the expected, and allowed an intimate look into both Ginny (Lizzy Caplan) and Bill’s (Michael Sheen) obsessions and dedications.  Hit the jump for why “that study was worse than the Mummy’s Curse.”

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Yo Soy Capitan”

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Last year, when Ray Donovan premiered, it was set up as a fast-paced action-oriented series about the life of a fixer, who helped his celebrity clients out of ridiculous situations of their own making.  And for the first few episodes, it almost stuck to that (here and there, anyway).  But what Ray Donovan turned into, much to the disappointment of some and the delight of others, was a slow and nuanced family drama.  On top of that, it also ended up being a portrait of the long-term psychological effects of molestation (of all the unexpected things).

That made it break out of its “poor-man’s Sopranos” dismissals and become something different, though it never fully committed to either, leaving a muddled impression.  “Yo Soy Capitan” also straddles the line between the show’s disparate parts, but unsurprisingly, it was the family drama that shined.  Hit the jump for why I’m not a sailor, I’m a captain.

The 2014 Emmy Nominations: 5 Surprises, 5 Snubs, and How the Voters Choose

by     Posted 16 days ago

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As predicted in who should be nominated for the Emmys the actual 2014 Emmy nominations provoked irritation and boredom by essentially copying and pasting the same names and series as the last several years.  There were a few adjustments: True Detective rightfully knocked Homeland out of the Best Drama list, but did Downton Abbey and House of Cards really deserve slots over The Good Wife‘s best season yet, not to mention an outstanding year for The Americans?  Hit the jump to learn the method behind this madness, as well as the picks for five surprises and five snubs from some of the non-major categories.

The 2014 Emmys: Who Should Be Nominated?

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Before Thursday, when the real 2014 Emmy nominations will become known (and spark, probably, both outrage and boredom), there’s a chance to suggest who should be nominated in each major category.  This isn’t about winners and losers, but about recognizing some of the best talent on TV this past year (or the Emmy year: from June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014).  There are sure to be some omissions and snubs even within my own list, so hit the jump to check out my choices (and occasional Emmy-rules-bending inclusions).

TYRANT Recap: “My Brother’s Keeper”

by     Posted 18 days ago

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Tyrant‘s third episode, “My Brother’s Keeper,” suggested that the series wants to soar to great heights, but it doesn’t quite know how to get there.  The hour was full of political intrigue and interest, yet it also dragged.  The extreme complications in the relationship between Jamal and Bassam were worked out almost instantly thanks to a late night steam bath (not like that … this isn’t Game of Thrones!)  There was a public hanging and actual fireworks, yet things felt hollow.  Hit the jump for why you may be walking away from an excellent college essay experience.

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