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.

AFI Announces Top Films and TV Shows of the Year; Includes NIGHTCRAWLER, SELMA, and SILICON VALLEY

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The American Film Institute has announced its official AFI Awards 2014 selections for the best films and TV programs of the year, and the results are a little surprising.  On the film side of things, AFI expanded its Top 10 to a Top 11, included some welcome additions like Nightcrawler and Foxcatcher alongside this year’s awards staples such as Boyhood and Birdman, but they also singled out Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which is frankly a not-so-great film (though AFI did name The Dark Knight Rises one of 2012’s finest, so their track record isn’t spotless).  And no love for Gone Girl, although they did recognize Into the Woods and Interstellar.  As for TV, the stellar The Americans and The Knick made the Top 10, as did Amazon’s critically hailed Transparent, HBO’s hilarious Silicon Valley, and ABC’s addictive How to Get Away with Murder.

Check out the full AFI Awards 2014 Top 11 Films and Top 10 TV Programs after the jump. 

New to Blu-ray: SNOWPIERCER, MAD MEN: The Final Season Part 1, LA DOLCE VITA Criterion, and More

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include the latest from filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, one of the best shows on television, a Federico Fellini classic, and more.  Briefly:

Watch Weird Al Yankovic Sing New Theme Songs for GAME OF THRONES, MAD MEN, SCANDAL, HOMELAND, and MODERN FAMILY at the Emmys

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With a traditional host like Seth Meyers at the helm, the 2014 Emmy Awards ceremony was steadily amusing but mostly unmemorable.  With that as the standard, it was a delightful treat when Weird Al Yankovic came out on stage to perform his version of the theme songs for Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Scandal, Homeland, and Modern Family.  Weird Al’s lyrics were appropriately silly and the jolt of musical energy was a breath of fresh air for the telecast.

Hit the jump to watch the Weird Al clip, plus Meyers’ introduction monologue, the “Billy on the Street” segment, and the audience questions bit.

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

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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.

The 2014 Emmys: Who Should Be Nominated?

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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).


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This week on The Collision, we’re joined by our TV Editor Allison Keene to talk about the most recent seasons of Mad Men, The Americans, Hannibal, and Silicon Valley.  We also talk about Fargo and Louie, which are still in the middle of their current seasons.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“Ant-Man and X-Men: Days of Future Past“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg and @AdamChitwood.

MAD MEN Mid-Season Finale Recap: “Waterloo”

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It’s not every episode of Mad Men that offers up a musical number, but when it does, you can be assured it’s to undercut the pleasantries and positive future that Don seemed suddenly destined for after this season.  There were few scenes more affecting than the end of “The Strategy,” which featured Pete, Don and Peggy as a makeshift family.  “Waterloo” was also full of makeshift families, from Roger with his grandson Ellery, ex-wife and son-in-law (daughter: in a commune), to the Francises and their guests, to the SC&P crew in the hotel room all watching the moon landing.  There are certain things that foster that sense of connection we’re hungry for, as Peggy puts it.  But then again, sometimes, the best things in life are free.  Hit the jump for why marriage is a racket.

MAD MEN Recap: “The Strategy”

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Mad Men is a tough show for me because at most I’ve respected it but never really enjoyed it.  Honestly, I would have bailed if we weren’t so close to the end, but I must say that this season has been quite good.  While season six was about how Don fell back into old habits (and the writer’s room looked like it had run out of ideas), the first part of season seven has done some really interesting things with its characters.  I lead with this disclaimer so you know where I’m coming from as I step in temporarily for Allison.

This week’s episode, “The Strategy” was another good step forward as Mad Men decided to show there’s really no going home again, no matter how much Burger Chef you order. Hit the jump for why “I’m just being realistic.”

John Slattery and Christina Hendricks Talk GOD’S POCKET, Working with Philip Seymour Hoffman, the End of MAD MEN, and LOST RIVER

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In the indie drama God’s Pocket, from first-time feature director John Slattery, Mickey Scarpato’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) crazy stepson, Leon (Caleb Landry Jones), is killed in a supposed construction accident.  But when a local columnist (Richard Jenkins) comes sniffing around for the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle with a wife (Christina Hendricks) he just can’t please.

While at the film’s press day, writer/director John Slattery and actress Christina Hendricks, who are both co-stars on the AMC drama series Mad Men, spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about finally getting this film to audiences, what it was like to both watch Philip Seymour Hoffman work and work with him, the collaborating filmmaking process, and going through post-production to assemble the film.  They also talked about what it’s like to be finishing up the last episodes of Mad Men and going through the experience together, and Christina Hendricks talked about working with another actor-turned-director, Ryan Gosling, on his directorial debut Lost River.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

MAD MEN Recap: “The Runaways”

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The counterculture is in full swing, can ya dig?  If you come away with nothing else from this hour of Mad Men, “The Runaways” at least was very clear that things are crazy, man, and the times they are a-changing (and that’s where I’ll stop, I promise).  There are those who are left behind, and those are flowing with the change, and the chasm between them is growing wider.  For Don, though, it’s an opportunity.  This seventh season has shown the miracle of change for Don — but is it just adaptation?  Hit the jump, you bunch of flag-burning snots!

MAD MEN Recap: “The Monolith”

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Change is in the air at SC&P, and Mad Men‘s “The Monolith” was all about subversion.  Don asks Lloyd, the supervising engineer from Lease Tech, about who’s in control: man or machine?  At SC&P, it’s the machine, which literally boots Creative out of their collaborative space, and causes a number of office upheavals that leave Don with a choice.  Naturally, he moves backwards.  But an unexpected helper comes to propel him forward, towards the new trajectory for his, and Mad Men‘s, story.  Hit the jump for why “Harry crane took a huge dump, and we got flushed down the toilet.”

MAD MEN Recap: “Field Trip”

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“Do you think I’m a good mother? Then why don’t they love me?”  In “Field Trip,” it’s Betty who utters those words.  But truthfully, with a little arranging and substitution, it could have been almost anybody.  Megan has tried to be a faithful wife to Don, but that hasn’t amounted to much.  Don isn’t exactly received with open arms back at the firm, and Peggy, who has tried just about everything to be liked as well as respected has ended up with neither.  In many ways, “Field Trip” was an episode that felt negative, but there are still tinges of hope.  It may not be quite like how we pictured it, but sometimes you’re just walking a cloud of no.  Hit the jump for why your self-pity is distasteful (are you aware?).

Jared Harris Talks THE QUIET ONES, Auditioning, Keeping Up with MAD MEN, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., POLTERGEIST, THE BOXTROLLS, and More

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Opening this weekend is director John Pogue’s supernatural horror film The Quiet Ones.  The period pic stars Jared Harris as an unorthodox professor who sets up a series of dangerous experiments in order to explore the dark energy manifested by the damaged psyche of a young girl.  Naturally, things don’t go well.  The film also stars Sam Claflin, and Olivia Cooke.  Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne.  For more on The Quiet Ones, check out some creepy motion postersthe trailer, and all our previous coverage.

At the Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Harris.  He talked about making the film, whether he still has to audition for a role, Mad Men and his thoughts on this current season, Guy Ritchie‘s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Poltergeist remake and what it was like working with Sam Rockwell, voicing a character on Laika’s The Boxtrolls, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

MAD MEN Recap: “A Day’s Work”

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After a subdued premiere, “A Day’s Work” was possibly one of the most positive and gratifying Mad Men episodes in a long while.  One of the major, ongoing frustrations with the show for many viewers is a lack of redemption, particularly regarding Don.  “A Day’s Work” starts out with things looking grim — Don looks at a bottle, after spending an afternoon eating Ritz crackers and watching TV, as a roach scurries across the floor.  He’s dressed up with nowhere to go, as Dawn drops off some files and some tidbits from the office.  But things are not as they seem.  Hit the jump for why I don’t want you going to funerals.

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