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Sure, 'Fargo' is Off to a Solid Start. But How Do the Ratings Compare to the Film's Box Office?

12 hours ago

Despite cold temperatures up north, "Fargo" got off to a hot start in the ratings with last night's (mini)series premiere grabbing more than 4 million viewers in three airings, and 2.65 million viewers for the first screening at 10pm. FX is pleased with the total number and will await week two's ratings to see if the audience responds as favorably to the pilot as critics.  But was it the positive reviews, the star cast, or the existing property that drove people to give "Fargo" a glance Tuesday night? Certainly the reviews had to help quell any skepticism related to the project, and the presence of Billy Bob Thornton and fanboy favorite Martin Freeman (Watson! Bilbo!) couldn't have hurt either. Yet "Fargo" the miniseries wouldn't exist without "Fargo" the movie, and it's safe to say FX may not have moved forward with such enthusiasm had the show been lacking the existing property preceding it. »


- Ben Travers

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Yah, That's a Good One: 'Fargo' Premiere Lands More Than Four Million Viewers Updated

13 hours ago

Update: The premiere of "Fargo," FX's new take on the Coens' 1996 classic (the brothers are exec producing the series), landed good ratings on its April 15 debut, averaging 2.65 million viewers in its initial airing, with 4.15 million total tuning in throughout the first and repeat airings.Now that Toh! is caught up with the show's first episode, we can report that it was quite close in tone to the neo-noir original, an interesting example of introducing the characters, setting and mood from the Coens' film, and then expanding on them. Unclear whether they're going to give the Frances McDormand character (aka Marrrrge Gunderson) her due -- it's a tough act to follow, not to mention an Oscar-winning one. But Freeman and Thornton are definitely delivering the goods. Earlier: It's the type of thing that could easily be a botched operation. But while FX's "Fargo" has intimidatingly big shoes to fill -- in »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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Watch: 10 Minute Featurette Goes Behind Royal Wedding On 'Game Of Thrones' Plus Clips, Tribute & More

14 hours ago

Spoilers Ahead. Ding dong, the witch king is dead. Last Sunday's episode of "Game Of Thrones" (recap here) turned everything on its head by killing off Joffrey, one of the most shocking moments the show has seen since, well, The Red Wedding. It was so surprising in fact, that HBO waited until mid-week to drop their usual array of behind-the-scenes material for the episode. They don't disappoint. The one you'll want to start with is the 10-minute "Inside The Episode,"whose title should be self-explanatory. After that, the "Anatomy Of The Scene" goes behind-the-scenes of the wedding itself. And then there's even more, including author George R.R. Martin's take on Cersei's accusation that Tyrion poisoned Joffrey, a tribute to the late king, a clip and more. It's a lot of stuff, which get folks talking even more. Tune in this Sunday to see what happens next.

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- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Louis C.K. Jumps Off the Brooklyn Bridge in Teaser for Season Four of 'Louie'

15 hours ago

For all the boundary-breaking he does on his hit FX show "Louie," Louis C.K. sticks with tradition when it comes to one thing: jumping off bridges. In the new black and white teaser (posted below) for the fourth season of C.K.'s dark comedy, Louie dives right off the Brooklyn bridge into the East river, clutching a handful of roses on his way down. Don't worry. He's not dead. Just metaphorically determined to find love, even if it means taking an intimidating plunge. The simply-but-beautifully shot 30-second spot ends looking over lower Manhattan with the show's title written in the sky and a heart in place of the "o." Combine that with the roses and it doesn't take a genius to put together a theme for this season. It's spring, and love is in the air.  Take a look at the teaser below. "Louie" returns Monday, May 5th on FX. »


- Ben Travers

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The 10 Best Episodes Of 'Mad Men'

15 hours ago

It might not be the pop culture phenomenon that it once was (the grabbier, faster likes of “True Detective” and “Game Of Thrones” having surpassed it at the nation’s watercoolers), but last Sunday saw the return of “Mad Men,” and if the seventh season premiere was anything to go by, it’s as good as it ever was. Matthew Weiner’s show, about the lives of the employees of a Madison Avenue ad agency in the 1960s (and in particular, the alienated, self-reinventing golden boy Don Draper, played to star-making effect by Jon Hamm, and Elisabeth Moss’s secretary-turned-high-flyer Peggy Olsen) has been a critical favorite since it launched in 2007 and almost singlehandedly made AMC a serious home for prestige drama (paving the way for network-mates “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” in the process). To this writer’s mind, it’s as good a show as anything that »


- Oliver Lyttelton

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'The Americans' Gets Renewed for a Third Season by FX

16 hours ago

FX has ordered a 13-episode third season of the critical darling "The Americans" starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Noah Emmerich. Announced by Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, Presidents of Original Programming for FX, the series has become a key draw for the network, and that looks likely to continue for another year at least. The first season of the show won the Television Critics Association (TCA) Award for Outstanding New Program, and, unlike many shows, it's second season was even stronger.  Set in 1981 just after Ronald Reagan is elected president, the show deals with the complex marriage of two Kgb spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. The series was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg ("Falling Skies"), a former CIA agent who went on to become an accomplished author. Joel Fields and Graham Yost are also executive producers, along with Amblin Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. »


- Emerson Gordon

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Why 'The Hudsucker Proxy' or 'A Serious Man' Should Have Been the First Coen Brothers' TV Show

16 hours ago

On paper, it's not hard to understand why FX decided that Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 favorite "Fargo" would be the prime Coen-crafted candidate to expand into a TV series. For one thing, it's arguably the brothers' defining film both in terms of name recognition as well as the way it offers the purest distillation of their darkly comic worldview.  It also fits nicely into the particular niche the network has carved out for itself over the years; stretching all the way back to their first major original series "The Shield," FX has built much of its reputation on regional crime dramas, with a library that has grown to include the Deep South goings-on in "Justified," the Southwest slayings on "The Border" and the Beltway espionage that occurs week in and week out on "The Americans." "Fargo" allows them to plant their flag in the Midwest and use that chilly »


- Ethan Alter

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Watch: Louis C.K. Takes a Swan Dive in New 'Louie' Season 4 Teaser

16 hours ago

Everyone's favorite lovable curmudgeon Louis C.K. returns in the fourth season of his dark comedy "Louie," premiering May 5 on FX. To get you ramped up, check out this nifty little black-and-white teaser, in which Louie dives off the Brooklyn Bridge and into the East River. Until then, might we suggest you check out -- or revisit -- his side-splitting 2013 special "Oh My God"? It's streaming on HBO Go.

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- Ryan Lattanzio

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TV: The Maya Rudolph Show to Debut in May

17 hours ago

After a long-delayed debut, The Maya Rudolph Show finally has a premiere date: Monday, May 19 at 10 Pm.  Except here's the catch: it's yet unclear whether Rudolph's variety show will be a one-time special or an ongoing series. NBC will presumably base that decision on that first episode's ratings.  Here's what we do know: There will be a ton of guest stars. Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Craig Robinson, and Sean Hayes are scheduled to appear, as is musical guest Janelle Monae and bandleader Raphael Saadiq.  Rudolph was last seen guest-starring on Portlandia and will appear in P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice in December. [h/t Av Club]

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- Inkoo Kang

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TV Review: How Wgn's 'Salem' Alters History By Asking You To Believe In Witches

18 hours ago

When someone mentions the tiny town of Salem, Massachusetts, your mind probably goes to false accusations of witchcraft, the dangers of a mob mentality, and lessons in junior high English class on the power of allegory. As horrific as the fictional events were in Arthur Miller's Tony-award winning play "The Crucible," the genre of horror and all its caveats don't immediately spring to mind. Wgn America is looking to change that with "Salem," its first scripted series. The dramatic retelling of the 1692 Salem witch trials posits that witches being hunted weren't fallacies at all, but real Satanic beings manipulating the town folk into a state of paranoia and fear.  Created by Brannon Braga ("Cosmos," three of the "Star Trek" series) and Adam Simon ("The Haunting in Connecticut"), "Salem" deals with witchcraft in a literal manner. From the first scene forward, witches are portrayed as being very, very real. There's »


- Ben Travers

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Don Draper Comes Face to Face With Himself in a Breakdown of "Mad Men's" "Time Zones"

20 hours ago

Given that "Mad Men" is one of the most precisely written and shot shows on TV, it's not surprising there are many ways to look at Sunday's 7th-season premiere, "Time Zones." Some are more productive than others, but over the course of two viewings and several days thinking it over, I've come to think that one of the most fruitful is by focusing on the musical montages that don't quite bookend the episode. Not only do they lay out the episode's concerns without the encumbrance of dialogue, but I also think they provide solid clues about where the shoe is headed in its final season. It takes Don Draper six minutes to show up onscreen in "Time Zones," which was written by series creator Matther and directed by Scott Hornbacher, and he's not quite ready for his closeup. The first thing we see as the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm »


- Sam Adams

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Top Highlights from Aspen Shortsfest Screenwriting Panel Featuring Writers of 'Dallas Buyers Club,' 'Elementary' and 'M.A.S.H.'

20 hours ago

This year's Aspen Shortsfest, an Academy Award qualifying festival for short films, screened 70 shorts from April 8-13 and hosted a variety of panels with filmmakers, screenwriters and actors. A special presentation called "Writing for the Screen: How to Create Characters and Keep Your Friends" featured screenwriters and jury members Craig Borten ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Peter Blake ("House M.D." "Elementary," "Hemlock Grove"), and David Pollock ("M.A.S.H."). The panel was moderated by Denver Post film critic and fellow juror Lisa Kennedy and had the trio discussing their humble beginnings, their writing processes, and anecdotes about their projects. Here are ten highlights from the panel. Peter Blake got into the entertainment industry because of his love for "Pulp Fiction." "I went into it, no reviews had come out yet, and I came out and was just completely blown away by that movie. I came out thinking God what am I doing in law school? »


- Casey Cipriani

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'The Maya Rudolph Show' Is Coming To NBC w/ Craig Robinson, Janelle Monae, Raphael Saadiq Featuring

15 April 2014 3:45 PM, PDT

Starring the Emmy Award nominee and beloved Saturday Night Live veteran, NBC has scheduled The Maya Rudolph Show for Monday, May 19 (10 pm Et/Pt). Rudolph, David Javerbaum, Erin David and Dave Becky will produce, with Lorne Michaels serving as executive producer.  Revisiting the classic variety show format, The Maya Rudolph Show will feature guest stars Craig RobinsonAndy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, and Sean Hayes. Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monae will serve as the musical guest. R&b singer-producer Raphael Saadiq will be the bandleader. Rudolph was part of Saturday Night Live from 2000-11, performing in hundreds of sketches and earning an Emmy nomination in 2012 for guest actress in a comedy series. On the small screen, she recently appeared on NBC's Up All Night. It's worth noting that the Rudolph special will air a few days after the conclusion of the Rosemary’s Baby miniseries that stars. »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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Watch: More Michael Caine Impressions In 2 Clips From 'The Trip To Italy' With Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon

15 April 2014 12:52 PM, PDT

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's “The Trip” was a hard thing to pin down: it was a BBC TV series that was recut into a movie, and a travel documentary that didn't really document anything much, in which the two British comedians played some indeterminately exaggerated/scripted/improvised versions of themselves. But despite nobody quite knowing what it was, a lot of people liked its meandering, mild comedy style and the interactions of the two master comedians: hence the similarly imprecise sequel, “The Trip To Italy,” now playing on BBC and to be released by IFC Films (in a shorter movie format) in the U.S. sometime later in the year. Ahead of that premiere, the BBC has released a couple more clips, and like one we saw a few weeks ago, one of the new scenes also plays on the most successful (or at least most viral) moment »


- Ben Brock

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Vince Gilligan Reveals Abandoned, Bloodbath 'Wild Bunch'-Esque Finale To 'Breaking Bad'

15 April 2014 12:38 PM, PDT

Walter White may be dead, but it seems we can't stop talking about the finale to "Breaking Bad" even as we approach a year since it first aired. The meth dealer left for dead, it was a fitting ending to the character whose initial attempt to pay for cancer treatment turned into a new, illegal profession that turned him into a monster. And while we've known that the writers batted around many ideas when it came to how to close off the show, creator/writer/director Vince Gilligan reveals another version that would've seen a bigger body count. But he first lays out how tricky it was to put anything in place at all. "We had so many versions of the ending, and we really had boxed ourselves into a certain number of corners well in advance of the ending. Out of cockiness or stupidity, 16 episodes from the end, we »


- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Gruesome Trailer for Wgn America's 'Salem' Posits Witches are Real (and Violent)

15 April 2014 12:08 PM, PDT

Let me first say this: do not watch the two-minute trailer for "Salem" while trying to enjoy a meal. The full spot for Wgn America's first scripted series "Salem" is violent, dark, and more than a bit scary, painting a vivid picture for Sunday's premiere episode. Set in Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1600s, the premise of "Salem" rests on the belief that witches are, in fact, real. The infamous real-life trials so well depicted in most versions of the "The Crucible," including the 1996 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis, seem more than necessary rather than depressingly false when witches are jumping off ceilings and pulling teeth from their mouths.  "Salem" stars Janet Montgomery ("Human Target"), Shane West ("Nikita," "ER"), and Seth Gabel ("Fringe") and revolves around a romance somehow linked to the revelation that witches are real, just not who you think. The trailer starts out simple enough before heaping on the horror. »


- Ben Travers

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Guillermo del Toro's 'The Strain' World Premiere to Close Out the Atx Television Festival

15 April 2014 11:42 AM, PDT

Austin is quickly becoming the place to be for television premieres.  While most of us will have to wait until July to see Guillermo del Toro's new television series "The Strain," Austinites will be treated to the world premiere pilot episode at the Atx Television Festival's closing night presentation. Sponsored by FX Networks, the eighth episode of "Fargo" will also debut June 7th to help closeout the festival.  Directed and written by del Toro, the pilot of "The Strain" will set up a 13-episode first season of the drama series based on the trilogy of vampire novels written by Chuck Hogan and del Toro. Hogan and del Toro executive produced along with Carlton Cuse ("Lost," "Bates Motel"), who's also the series' showrunner and will be attending the premiere at Atx. Stars Sean Astin, Mia Maestro, and Kevin Durand will also be attendance. "Fargo" creator Noah Hawley will attend with »


- Ben Travers

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With Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, FX's "Fargo" Makes a Surprisingly Smooth Transition to the Small Screen

15 April 2014 11:07 AM, PDT

Opening with the same bogus "Based on a True Story" disclaimer as Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 movie, FX's "Fargo" sets alarm bells ringing from its opening frames. But what showrunner Noah Hawley has done is not to Xerox the Coens but copy them freehand, embellishing and reimagining the movie in a way that feels neither false to nor slavishly imitative of it. I'll have more to say on the pilot tomorrow, once I can safely spoil its conclusion, but for now, here's what critics are saying about its surprisingly successful and almost uniformly lauded transition to the small(ish) screen. The first episode (of 10) airs on FX tonight.Christopher Orr, the AtlanticThe idea of making Fargo into a TV show has been around almost since the movie itself hit theaters, and it’s always seemed to me a terrible one given the idiosyncratic nature of the source material. In 1997 a pilot was even shot, »


- Sam Adams

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Bob Newhart Breaks Down How to Transition from Standup Comic to Sitcom Star

15 April 2014 9:48 AM, PDT

When PBS's "Pioneers of Television" returns for its fourth round of retrospectives of various classic TV genres and the casts and creative teams behind some of the most famous and influential programs of all time, the first new installment -- airing tonight at 8pm -- will delve into the various stand-up comedians who successfully made the jump from telling jokes onstage into full-fledged sitcom stardom.  There's a long list of folks included in this particular category, but there's no question that Bob Newhart is one of the most successful, having had sitcom success in the '70s ("The Bob Newhart Show"), the '80s ("Newhart"), the '90s ("Bob and George & Leo") and, only last year, earning his first-ever Emmy Award for his guest appearance on "The Big Bang Theory." We caught up with Bob when he stopped by the Television Critics Association press tour in January in conjunction with »


- Will Harris

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Watch: Tribute To [Redacted] From 'Game Of Thrones'

15 April 2014 7:38 AM, PDT

Have you recovered from Sunday night’s episode of “Game Of Thrones” yet? If you still need help coming to terms with what happened in “The Lion and the Rose," perhaps our recap and a lovely tribute to one of Westeros’ finest citizens can ease your pain. And duh, Spoilers Ahead. Just kidding, that little twit King Joffrey got what he deserved and Vulture has put together a short greatest hits reel of Jack Gleeson’s performance as the King everyone loved to hate. And yes, all the well-deserved slaps are accounted for. In an interview with EW, Gleeson talked about his prior knowledge of Joffrey’s demise saying, “I knew from Day 1. When I got the part, I read the first book. And before that, I googled the character summaries.” Echoing our own recapper, the actor told the magazine that he imagines “there will be a delight that the »


- Cain Rodriguez

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