THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “Cairo”

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In an interview earlier this summerTom Perrotta, who wrote The Leftovers novel and is an executive producer on the show, said that there was a definite creative tension between himself and executive producer/showrunner Damon Lindelof over the question of whether the supernatural exists in the show.  This first season is, supposedly, a battleground in which either option could be true.  But by “Cairo,” that seems less and less likely.  Hit the jump for a look at why things in Mapleton need to expand beyond the gloomy suffering of its inhabitants, and what it means if they don’t.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Occultation”

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It has been as much of a surprise to me as anybody that The Strain has gotten consistently better week by week.  Now the show’s story is at a point where the monsters can speak for themselves (or at least, their forked python-esque tongues can), because we certainly don’t need much of that dialogue spoken by anyone else (save for Abraham).  “Occultation” showed that everyone is starting to have a vampire problem, and watching that spread is good, terrifying fun.  Hit the jump for what lies beneath.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Blackbird”

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Things have been moving very fast on Masters of Sex, but there’s very little sense of where they are headed (in the short term).  Halfway through the season, there have already been many truths revealed, and their consequences already made clear.  “Blackbird” was an intimate and emotionally difficult hour that mostly showed everything going wrong.  The positive progress the show has been making in fits and starts has once again stalled out.  “It feels like dying.  Let’s see if you have the strength to be reborn.”  Hit the jump to find out.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Viagra”

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Ray Donovan is rarely cryptic with its episode titles, and “Viagra” was no exception.  It was an hour devoted to sex, and about the complications of sex, for everyone.  As Ray and Abby continue to struggle through their relationship, Terry and Bunchy take drastic steps to move forward with their respective ladies.  Sex is used in a number of ways to help Ray try and ensnare Cochran, and even Mickey and his friend get a moment with a prostitute (sort of).  Hit the jump for why Ray is determined to send someone to the Maldives.

TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Love Is To Die”

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Bill and Sookie’s story in this final season of True Blood has, in many ways, mirrored that of the show and its fans.  It started out sweet and fun, and a little sexy, but then became a mess of Billith proportions.  “I have almost killed her and almost raped her … yet she still keeps running back for more,” Bill confides in Eric about the reasons behind his big decision.  Doesn’t that sound familiar, Trubies?  The show has done unspeakable things to its characters and its narrative, but every summer we just keep coming back for more, hoping it will be different.  Well finally, it is.  Hit the jump for why “if your crying ruins my jacket, you’re paying for it.”

THE KNICK Recap: “Mr. Paris Shoes”

by     Posted 5 days ago


Nothing exemplified The Knick‘s tangled web more than the scene early in the hour that showed each of the main characters arriving at the hospital.  In Steven Soderbergh‘s long tracking shot, the timing and fluidity were perfect, like the methods by which each was shown (Nurse Elkins on a bicycle, Thackery and Cornelia in coaches, Algernon on foot, and the young doctors Everett and Bertram finishing up a smoke before heading inside).  One of The Knick‘s most distinctive parts is its distinctive look: the blood is all the more stark against such a sterile, antique background.  Hit the jump for why “I have a lead on a failing heart at Blackwell Island. With any luck, he won’t survive the week.”

LEGENDS Review: Sean Bean Is Finally a Master of Survival in New TNT Drama

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TNT’s marketing strategy for its new drama Legends, based on a spy novel by Robert Littell, was promoting the Twitter hashtag #DontKillSeanBean.  Sean Bean is of course known to certain fans for his exits from TV shows and movies, which has happened often enough to become a running joke that TNT did well to capitalize on. In Legends, Bean plays an FBI undercover officer named Martin Odum, whose main objective is to change his identity, and not get killed (seems to fit). The series comes from Howard Gordon (Homeland), who has had his irons in many TV fires of late (including the mediocre Tyrant).  Hit the jump to see if this one has caught flame.

AMC Premieres Short BETTER CALL SAUL Teaser; February Premiere Date Confirmed

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As rumors (and facts) about AMC’s Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul continue to swirl, the network has released a (very short) teaser.  In it, a younger (at least, his hair is back to the color it would have been in 2002) Saul (Bob Odenkirk) speaks to an unknown character, explaining the benefits of having a lawyer.  The teaser also pegs the premiere date as being in February.  Hit the jump for the Better Call Saul teaser, and more on the series.

THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “Solace for Tired Feet”

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After The Leftovers‘ surprisingly beautiful and meditative (and grounded) “Guest,” “Solace for Tired Feet” amped up its supernatural elements.  Watching The Leftovers can be like watching several different shows at once; there are so many things about it that don’t connect, and each episode can almost feel like an entirely different genre.  Fairly major characters are ignored for several episodes before appearing later, or everyone is left out of an hour when just one character is explored.  It makes for very disjointed viewing, essentially acting as a sampler platter.  If you don’t like the direction the show is going, just wait another week — it may be completely different.  Hit the jump if you’re feeling crazy.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Runaways”

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“Runaways” was The Strain‘s best episode yet, because it finally raised the stakes (no pun intended) and set the stage for what is to come (in fact, you could argue it’s already definitely here).  The show has had some trouble believably stretching out its early exposition, but at the very least it’s had monsters and frights to tide viewers over while the plot figured itself out.  In “Runaways,” though, it double-downed on the monsters, and finally brought them into the light (in a manner of speaking).  Hit the jump for why “if you are infected, I will not hesitate to release you.”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Giants”

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In “Giants,” Masters of Sex continued to explore the terms of relationships, first through the lens of Ginny and Bill’s working (and extracurricular) arrangement, and then among others.  There’s a central thread about choosing the easy way, or the path of least resistance.  But as Betty succinctly observes, nothing is free.  What each of these characters give up in order to create a sense of normalcy, however much a delusion, was the main part of the episode’s exploration.  Hit the jump for why it’s ok, as long as you’re taking notes.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Irish Spring”

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If there was one thing Ray Donovan really needed to upgrade in its second season, it was humor.  What keeps a dark and violent show from getting too dark are things like a well-placed look, or turn of phrase, or anything that lightens things just enough to make viewers want to keep exploring the world.  In the past, it was Mickey who shouldered most of this burden, thanks to Jon Voight‘s wack-a-doodle portrayal (which has continued, and even been augmented, this year).  But this season, it has run through each episode, and is better incorporated with the family drama.  Hit the jump if it really bothers you to not be in control.

OUTLANDER Review: Ronald D. Moore Brings Historical Novel Series To Life On Starz

by     Posted 12 days ago


Based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows a married WWII nurse, Claire Randall (Cairtriona Balfe), as she is mystically transported from 1945 to 1743.  The Starz series, adapted by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) combines history, romance, sci-fi, and even a little realpolitik as Claire ventures from a sleepy “second honeymoon” in Inverness, Scotland, to being part of a dangerous and confusing time in a place she knows almost nothing about.  Hit the jump for why, “so far I had been kidnapped, assaulted and nearly raped, and somehow I knew my journey had only just begun.”

THE KNICK Review: Clive Owen Leads Steven Soderbergh’s Gruesome But Immersive Hospital History

by     Posted 13 days ago


The new Cinemax series The Knick, from creators/executive producers Jack Amiel and Michael Belger and director/executive producer Steven Soderbergh, takes a very old idea and gives it a new spin.  The irony is, it does so by going to the past.  The show focuses on New York City’s Knickerbocker Hospital starting in 1900, a popular time period on television at the moment (Boardwalk EmpireCopperDownton Abbey), as well as a popular subject for a series (that being a medical procedural).  But the pairing of the two makes The Knick‘s story something unique, and its singular artistic vision, under the direction of Soderbergh, illuminates the world beautifully.  Hit the jump for more.

TRUE BLOOD Recap: “May Be the Last Time”

by     Posted 17 days ago


No recent episode has felt like old times like “May Be The Last Time,” which featured such True Blood classics as Sookie running through the night in a white dress to Bill, and Jason horndoggin’ on women he shouldn’t be checking out.  There was also the continued parade of old characters from the show, appearing in hallucinations, or being conjured.  And of course, there were a lot of things that just didn’t make a lick of sense, but then again, would it really be True Blood without that?  Hit the jump for why “my word is oak.”

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