SCORPION Recap: “Single Point of Failure”

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Last week’s premiere of CBS’s action-drama Scorpion was so fast-paced that it didn’t have time to breathe, thus depriving its supposedly advanced collective brain of oxygen.  Thankfully, the follow-up episode calmed down on the l33t speak and took a bit more time between action beats and epiphanies.  The result: a much more enjoyable hour of television that is moved closer to earning its self-described level of intelligence.  The wisest movie Scorpion makes in its second showing is backing off on the braininess a little bit, and allowing each of the characters to show a little heart.  Hit the jump for our Scorpion recap.

GOTHAM Recap: “Selina Kyle”

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In the Gotham series premiere, viewers were introduced to a world without Batman that nonetheless featured many of the other heroes and villains from the storied franchise.  While the characters seem comfortable in their small-screen iterations, some of the actors are still working out the kinks.  It’s early yet, but the frontrunner for “Best Scenery Chewer” so far is Jada Pinkett Smith in her turn as ambitious gangster Fish Mooney.  Detective James Gordon is obviously the show’s lead and the city’s lone straight arrow, but Ben McKenzie hasn’t yet figured out the balance of noble hero and noir tough guy; instead he winds up just scowling a lot.  In between, however, we have quite a bit of potential, specifically in the performances of youngsters David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova, and relative newcomer Robin Lord Taylor.  Thankfully the show’s second episode gives each of them a share of the spotlight.  Hit the jump for tonight’s Gotham recap.

New GOTHAM Trailer Reveals Victor Zsasz, Arkham City, Sal Maroni and More

by     Posted 15 hours ago


A few minutes ago, I had no clue who Victor Zsasz was, but thanks to this new Gotham trailer, now I do and I want to know more about him.  Admittedly, I missed out on the first episode of the new Fox drama, but Dave dubbed the premiere a solid start and it also scored a 3.2 rating with adults 18-49 and a strong boost from the DVR viewership, too.  Soon enough, we’ll find out if those numbers are the result of the initial hype or if Gotham’s got the legs to contend with some of the other successful superhero TV shows out there.

While we wait for the next ratings report to come in, why not check out what’s to come during the show’s first season?  Again, I’ve got some catching up to do, so all of the material in this season preview is a draw, but Anthony Carrigan’s Victor Zsasz is as unnervingly alluring as they come.  Hit the jump to catch him in action for yourself.  Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox at 8/7c.

David Fincher Will Direct Every Episode of UTOPIA’s First Season on HBO

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With a new David Fincher film set for release this Friday (the highly anticipated Gone Girl, obviously), talk has turned to what the filmmaker will do next.  There was a significant wait between The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl, as Fincher was developing his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake at Disney for some time before the project floundered.  More recently, Fincher flirted with possibly reteaming with Aaron Sorkin on Sony’s Steve Jobs biopic, but he walked when Sony was unwilling to give him the kind of creative control he was insisting upon (no doubt still sour from the contentious Dragon Tattoo production).  He also even took a meeting on Star Wars, but turned it down.

Fincher recently said that he will be focusing on his HBO series Utopia for all of 2015, and now we know why: the filmmaker has revealed that he intends to direct every episode of the show’s first season.  More after the jump.

Chris Pratt Proves Marvel Can’t Fail in SNL Parody Video

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There was a lot of talk about how big of a risk Guardians of the Galaxy was for Marvel Studios, and on some level it was.  But after the film’s massive box office success (it’s currently the highest grossing film of the year stateside), it became clear that the Marvel brand has now somewhat overshadowed the studio’s actual content—audiences trust that a Marvel movie will be fun, humorous, and entertaining, and so there’s a certain amount of built-in audience Marvel can expect for the properties that the studio chooses to develop.  When Chris Pratt hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, the variety series opted to poke some fun at this notion by putting together a trailer for some of Marvel’s other upcoming projects.  Personally, I would buy a ticket for Pam 2: The Winter Pam in a heartbeat.

Watch the Marvel SNL parody video after the jump, and prepare yourself for Fancy Ghosts.

Sunday TV Ratings: FAMILY GUY/SIMPSONS Crossover Tops the Night; ONCE and BROOKLYN NINE-NINE Return Up

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TV ratings for Sunday, September 28th are in, though CBS’ preliminary numbers are inflated due to NFL overrun and therefore useless for now.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • Fox’s season premiere of The Simpsons was up 34% from the previous season premiere with a 3.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and 8.5 million viewers, but it was the hourlong Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover that owned the night.  The episode—which acted as Family Guy’s season premeire—notched an impressive 4.5 rating in the demo and scored 8.39 million viewers.
  • Elsewhere on Fox, the season two premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (read Evan’s recap here) was up 100% from the season one finale’s 1.3 rating, hitting a 2.6 rating in the demo and scoring 5.45 million viewers.  Excellent news for an excellent show.
  • Over on ABC, the Frozen-infused fourth season of Once Upon a Time got off to a solid start with a 3.4 rating and 9.34 million viewers, up 31% from the season three premiere and 48% from the finale.
  • Also on ABC, the season two premiere of Resurrection was up 5% from the finale with a 2.2 rating and 7.57 million viewers, while the season four premiere of Revenge was even with its finale with a 1.4 rating and 5.26 million viewers.

MASTERS OF SEX Season 2 Finale Recap: “Untitled”

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Intriguingly, Showtime withheld the advance screener of Masters of Sex‘s finale, “Untitled,” until after it aired.  Ray Donovan, on the other hand, was posted almost a week early.  What was it about “Untitled” that was perceived as so Earth-shattering that the network was afraid of spoilers?  Even the twists at the end, which were genuinely interesting (especially as they incorporated, briefly, old characters), all played into a theme that has been running through the show since the beginning: Bill is in control, and anyone who gets in his way should prepared to be mowed down by his hubris.  There’s no surprise there.  Hit the jump, but only “if we put touching genitals back on the agenda.”


by     Posted 2 days ago


The past is coming alive on Boardwalk Empire, and not just through Nucky’s flashbacks.  As things begin to take a turn towards the end for the series, Nucky is confronted not only by how his experiences and choices as a young boy shaped his future, but how things like his relationship with Margaret also changed him.  The business of being a gangster is changing, too, with the new guard (led by Lucky Luciano) is looking to squeeze out the old, one way or another.  As Lucky tells Al Capone, his vision is to have the Italians unite and run things.  “Nucky Thompson ain’t Italian,” Capone opines regarding Atlantic City.  Lucky assures him: Nucky is being taken care of.  Hit the jump for what that means, and why “I haven’t blushed in 40 years.”

THE STRAIN Recap: “Last Rites”

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One of the problems with The Strain is that for every step forward, it then takes a leap back.  Last week’s “The Third Rail” was a great hour that worked on all fronts, particularly when it came to its monsters.  While “Last Rites” had some great creepy moments (including an always welcomed appearance by the Master), it floundered — as it often does — when it revolves around anything deeper.  But, it also teased the cloaked man/vamp again, as well as some other dark portends for the finale.  Hit the jump to answer the ad for antisocial anarchists.

RAY DONOVAN Season Two Finale Recap: “The Captain”

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What a strange, rushed, and very open-ended finale for Ray Donovan‘s second season, written by departing show runner (and series creator) Ann Biderman.  “The Captain” was an odd way to end things, and didn’t feel at all like a goodbye until next season.  Hit the jump for why hitting people who don’t deserve it, for money, is the story of Ray’s life.

BROOKLYN NINE NINE Recap: Season 2 Premiere “Undercover”

by     Posted 2 days ago


Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back and, aside from the fact that it’s now on Sunday nights, it hasn’t really missed a step.  The amazing cast of supporting players keep the show in the “must see” zone while Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta still drags things down a bit with his ham-handedness.  Don’t get me wrong, Samberg’s a big talent and is quite capable in the role, it’s just that his part is routinely written to be dumber and slightly less functional than his colleagues.  Granted, this is an imbalance that has improved vastly since the first few episodes of Season 1, but it still remains (albeit at a much more tenable level).

THE WALKING DEAD Spin-Off Character Descriptions Reveal Level-Headed Parents and Rebellious Teens

by     Posted 3 days ago


Since AMC’s The Walking Dead is currently the highest rated drama series on all of television in the coveted 18-49 demo, it was only a matter of time before AMC expanded the brand.  The network announced plans for a Walking Dead spin-off last year, and officially ordered a pilot for the potential series earlier this month.  With the wheels in motion to finally move forward on this new corner of the Walking Dead universe, character descriptions for the pilot episode have landed online that give us a few hints as to what we may expect from the Walking Dead companion series.  We previously heard that the new show might be a prequel of sorts, focusing on the early efforts to combat the zombie infection in its infancy, and these character descriptions appear to corroborate that information.

Hit the jump to read the Walking Dead spin-off character descriptions, which seem to have a heavy focus on family.

TOP 5: THE EQUALIZER, David Fincher Retrospective, First BLACKHAT Trailer, THE BOXTROLLS, New Trailer for THE BABADOOK

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Two weeks ago I promised a recap of my time at MondoCon for today’s opening paragraph. As it turns out, I ended up doing a standalone recap of the event earlier in the week which frees up space for a recommendation today. In spite of its lukewarm reception thus far, director Shawn Levy‘s family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You is absolutely worth checking out. Sure, it can be formulaic at times. Yeah, some of the characters’ trials are a touch melodramatic. Still yet, Leave You is an enjoyable pic with great performances across its ensemble cast (especially from Adam Driver and Rose Byrne). It’s the type of mildly grown-up fare that I’d love to see Levy revisit sooner rather than later. If you haven’t already, skip the reviews and check it out for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Moving on to the reason we’re all here, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and our review of Denzel Washington‘s The Equalizer, Matt’s retrospective look at the work of David Fincher, the first trailer for Michael Mann‘s crime drama Blackhat, our review and interviews for Laika’s The Boxtrolls, and a new trailer for writer/director Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook because I haven’t yet hyped that film enough. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

THE KNICK Recap: “Get The Rope”

by     Posted 4 days ago


In the last episode of The Knick, some of its narrative strands started coming together, bringing its characters together in ways they hadn’t bumped up against one another before (sometimes quite literally).  “Get the Rope” took that even further, tying up some of the The Knick‘s more disparate parts into the show’s most linear and contained episode yet.  And amid a great deal of violence, “Get the Rope” also managed to work in some humor, and even a little romance.  Hit the jump if you are like a comet in the sky.

SCANDAL Season 4 Premiere Recap: “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia”

by     Posted 4 days ago


Scandal is back, and full of drama from its first frame onward (one would not expect anything less).  Olivia is also back, one of OPA is gone, and “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia” found the rest of the Gladiators in very different places than where we left them.  Series creator Shonda Rhimes has promised that this season will not only focus back on the core cast, but also be a season where Abby Whelan will finally get a major arc all of her own.  Hit the jump, but only when it’s your turn. 

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