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The "Scandal" Finale: Depraved Characters or a Depraved Series?

49 minutes ago

Although "Scandal" spent several episodes building to an explosion that could have killed the president, the bomb Shonda Rhimes dropped on her twist-hungry audience was of a different kind: The abrupt, utterly un-foreseen murder of the president's son, which turned out to have been engineered by Olivia Pope's father. It's the kind "twisty, crazy Omg moment" the show lives by, or as Time's Laura Stampler put it, "a culmination of the sociopathy and moral depravity we have come to expect from the cast of characters." Rhimes has called the show's characters "monsters walking around in human skin," and the third season finale, "The Price of Free and Fair Elections," pushed Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope closer to realizing she is one of them. In "No Sun on the Horizon," which ended with the death of the superlatively amoral Cyrus Bean's husband, Olivia was gripped by manic laughter as she realized »


- Sam Adams

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Guest Post: Write What You Don't See

1 hour ago

I started screenwriting five years ago because I was angry.Every time I watched a movie or TV show geared towards women, it had female friends fighting over a man or being catty to each other, brimming with lip gloss and hair extensions.However, in my real life, I was surrounded by smart, confident, badass lady friends who supported each other instead of tearing each other down. Unfortunately, five years later, I still don't see a TV show that represents the strong female friendships that I have in my life.When Girls came out, I was so excited. Here's the show I've been waiting for: four friends trying to make it in NYC and one of them is a writer! I opened my arms wide, ready to bear hug that show, but was left with a nagging void. I totally respect how Girls is pushing so many boundaries, but it »

- Shannon Bowen

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Why 'Silicon Valley' Could Be HBO's First Comedy With Mass Appeal In Years

1 hour ago

For all of the cheering for the quality and creative ambition of HBO's programming -- rah-rahs that are all truly deserved -- it's too often glossed over that that the network hasn't had a lot of comedy success recently.  Before you lose yourself in a Ari Gold-style meltdown over that statement, allow some clarification.  Yes, there has been an abundance of critical and awards success when it comes to HBO's current slate of comedies, a testament to the network's admiral commitment to quality and adventurous content above all other programming factors. But while Julia Louis-Dreyfus is dutifully and rightfully winning acting awards for motherfucking epic comedic work on "Veep" (cursing just feels right when talking about that show) and Lena Dunham's "Girls" routinely lights the zeitgeist on fire as if the cast moonlight as cultural flamethrowers, the fact of the matter is that HBO hasn't had a mass-appeal hit in years. »


- Kevin Patrick

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A Classic is Born...on Masterpiece Contemporary

7 hours ago

guest review by Darwyn Carson With a solid reputation for superior dramas, PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre has undoubtedly been a hard act to follow. Now its close cousin, Masterpiece Contemporary raises the bar tonight with the tightly woven political thriller, Page Eight. Writer-director David Hare (the playwright perhaps best known in the States for his screenplays The Hours and The Reader) has culled together a terrific cast of players led by Bill Nighy that includes Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis, Felicity Jones, and Rachel Weisz. A traditional spy drama, taut with suspense, Page Eight almost feels sophisticated in its darkness, with undercurrents of danger lurking in the shadows and veiled threats being made from unexpected quarters, wholly reminiscent of— —Noir when it was king. Long-time military intelligence analyst Johnny Worricker (Nighy) is a passionate man, about his art collection, jazz records and the many women he has wooed—some of whom he’s. »


- Darwyn Carson

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Acorn TV Expands Streaming Service

8 hours ago

Guest review by Darwyn Carson - Good news all! Acorn Media Group, the first company to provide live streaming of the best in classic and contemporary British television, recently expanded the service, which launched in July of 2011 with a roster of six series and 40 hours of programming online at any given time. Now viewers have complete episodes of 10 series and 60 hours of programming accessible. There’s so much material—a lot of it never seen before in the States. Two new shows are rotated in weekly (as the oldest shows are rotated out) and remain in the schedule for five weeks, allowing ample time to watch your favorites or never-seens. First episodes are gratis, so if you’re a BBC America or PBS Masterpiece buff, or simply have a passion for excellent drama, check it out at acornonline.com/TV.  I did just that and found a gem: Above Suspicion, »


- Darwyn Carson

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Al Jazeera America, Kartemquin Films To Produce Doc Series ‘Hard Earned’ On Realities Of Low-Income Living

14 hours ago

The Al Jazeera America cable news network and the Chicago-based documentary film company Kartemquin Films (responsible for such acclaimed documentaries as Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and the soon-to-be released documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, among many others), announced today that they are currently jointly producing a documentary series for the network, about the hard realities of low income living in America.To begin airing in early 2015, the six part series, which is currently in production and will be called Hard Earned, will explore the lives of five American families in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and two in the Chicago area, all striving to keep food on the table and their dignity intact ,despite the reality of high living expenses and low wages.According to Shannon High-Bassalik, who is the senior V.P. of documentaries and programs at Al Jazeera, »


- Sergio

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TV Review: SundanceTV's Charming Season Premiere of 'The Writers' Room' Shares Secrets of 'Scandal'

19 hours ago

Jim Rash can do no wrong. From his impeccable five-year performance as the Dean on "Community" to his Angelina Jolie-inspired, perfectly-timed pose at the 2013 Academy Awards, to an astute parody of "True Detective" with buddy Joel McHale, the Oscar-winning screenwriter is charming to the nth degree on and off camera. As the host of SundanceTV's "The Writers' Room," he effortlessly pushes for insights from some of the most in-demand writers out there -- and often gets them. While the mood is light during the Q&A session, the entertainment value is high thanks to well-chosen guests, intuitive features, and, of course, its amiable host.  The second season kicks off Friday, April 18th with the creator, lead actress, and writers of ABC's hit late night soap opera, "Scandal" (a well-timed episode considering the show's season finale airs Thursday night). Creator Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, and writers Mark Wilding, Jenna Bans, »


- Ben Travers

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New Original Feature-Length Doc - 'Kobe Bryant's Muse' - Will Paint Never-Before-Seen Portrait Of The Athlete

20 hours ago

As Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant prepares for his return to the NBA next season, Showtime is set to air the original documentary film Kobe Bryant's Muse, which is described as an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of professional sports most visible figures. The feature-length documentary is directed by Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, Espn's upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master). The film is currently in production in Los Angeles and will air this fall on the network. "Kobe Bryant's Muse will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Showtime Sports. "We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a challenging period of time in the life of one of the NBA's greatest. »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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TV Casting News: Leonard Roberts Returns For 'Drumline 2' + 'Mary Jane' & 'Glee' For Gary Dourdan

22 hours ago

Two casting items you should know about... First, Leonard Roberts has been cast VH1‘s Drumline 2: A New Beat, the sequel to the 2002 feature film that starred Nick Cannon, although he won't be starring in the sequel. The upcoming film will tell the tale of a Brooklynite named Dani Bolton, who comes from an upper class background, and who decides to attend the fictional New Orleans university that's the backdrop for the story, where she hopes to join, and shake-up, their once prominent drumline. Getting in her way are, upperclassmen, a new romance with a band-mate, her chief rival, and the school's crosstown rivals. Roberts has been cast to play the role he played in the first film - Sean Taylor, the percussion leader, who begins to grow weary of Devon's (Cannon's) cocky attitude. The first Drumline (a fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer from Harlem who enrolls »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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TV: Trailer Watch: Orange is the New Black Season 2

23 hours ago

At last, at last.  Netflix has released a trailer for the second season of Orange is the New Black, and it seems the red-envelope suits have gotten the memo: this isn't just Piper's show.  We quickly catch up with our de facto protagonist: it's clear that prison is just as much in her now as she is in prison. "It's starting to feel like home in here," she says of her cell. I didn't catch a glimpse of Pennsatucky in the video, so that leaves a very important question hanging.  But then it's back to our favorites, like Taystee, Nicky, and Sophia. There appear to be two new arrivals, bullying Vee (Lorraine Toussant) and a younger Asian-American inmate (didn't catch her character name) who's an even bigger naif than Piper. "This is not how I imagined prison to be at all!" she exclaims. (Is this Jenji Kohan's response to claims that the show, »


- Inkoo Kang

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Stop Trying to Solve "Mad Men." Just Stop.

17 April 2014 9:10 AM, PDT

At Slate, Julia Turner interviews Geoffrey Gray, an expert on D.B. Cooper, about the fan theory that "Mad Men's" Don Draper will eventually be revealed to be the mysterious 1970s skyjacker. "The idea that Don might turn out to be Cooper," Turner writes, "makes a certain amount of sense."Allow me to make a counterargument: No, it doesn't, unless by "a certain amount," you mean zero. This theory, like the one that Don's wife, Megan, might end up being murdered by the Manson Family, is, to use the precise term, crapola. But it's a popular, or at least, persistent brand of crapola, and one with troubling, or at least depressing, implications.In a canny sendup of the subgenre, Ali Arikan at RogerEbert.com claims to have discovered proof positive that "Mad Men" will end with Don helping Richard Nixon fake the moon landing.Don’s ad firm Sterling Cooper Pryce »


- Sam Adams

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'American Hustle' Producer Megan Ellison Developing TV Series on Greta Garbo & Marlene Dietrich

17 April 2014 8:23 AM, PDT

After making a big splash in the independent film community by personally financing, expertly producing, or generally saving art house driven films like "Killing Them Softly," "The Master," "American Hustle," and the just announced Cannes-inclusion "Foxcatcher," Megan Ellison is taking her first stab at television. Her company, Annapurna Pictures, is developing a TV series based around the lives of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, two iconic Old Hollywood actresses whose lives intersected not only with each other but also many important figures of the 1930s and '40s. Angela Robinson ("True Blood") and Alex Kondracke ("The L Word"), both of whom worked on HBO's "Hung," are writing the series with Ellison as executive producer and Annapurna's Stephen Feder overseeing production as well as day-to-day operations.  "We're so excited this project found a home at Annapurna," Robinson and Kondracke told Variety. "We couldn't imagine a better partner than Megan Ellison and the folks at. »


- Ben Travers

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Film Adaptation Of 'A Day Late And A Dollar Short' Premieres This Saturday. Trailer + Early Reactions

17 April 2014 8:01 AM, PDT

Whoopi Goldberg and Ving Rhames headline the Lifetime Original Movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short, which the network has set an official premiere date for: this Saturday, April 19, at 8pm Et/Pt.  Based on The New York Times bestseller by Terry McMillan, A Day Late and A Dollar Short tells the uplifting story of a mother who tries to help her dysfunctional family through life's ups and downs. The film also stars Mekhi Phifer, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose and Tichina Arnold. In A Day Late and a Dollar Short, when irascible matriarch Viola Price (Goldberg) learns that her next asthma attack will likely kill her, she is determined to fix her fractured family before she leaves this world, from her relationship with her husband to the lives of her four children and grandchildren. While on this quest, she must contend with sibling rivalry, teen pregnancy and drug »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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Watch: Trailer for 'Orange Is the New Black' Season 2 Gets Next Level Crazy

17 April 2014 7:37 AM, PDT

Move over, "House of Cards" -- the real best original series on Netflix is coming back. Netflix just dropped the trailer for the second season of "Orange Is the New Black," and it shows things in prison getting rougher and wilder. Piper (Taylor Schilling) looks like she's ready to become a model citizen following the events of season one, but a new batch of inmates, including an old rival of prison master chef and mother hen Red (Kate Mulgrew), have come to stir things up, and it looks like some old tensions haven't been buried completely. It's a terrific trailer, one that smartly emphasizes the killer ensemble the show built up over the last season, with Uzo Aduba's Crazy Eyes getting arguably the best moment. "This is not how I imagined prison to be at all," remarks one new inmate, a thought that Piper might have voiced a few times in season one. »


- Max O'Connell

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Lock Up Your Screwdrivers & Hide The Pie! Trailer For 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 2 Arrives

17 April 2014 7:34 AM, PDT

The new official trailer for the upcoming second season of the Netflix hit original series Orange Is The New Black, has arrived! The new season premieres with all 13 episodes on Friday, June 6, 2014 exclusively on Netflix in all territories where Netflix is available. That will be a binge-watching weekend for many of you, I'm sure. The highly-anticipated second season goes back behind bars for another sentence with the fearless, funny and unforgettable inmates of Litchfield prison. The series' ensemble includes Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs, Laura Prepon, Kate Mugrew, Danielle Brooks, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Laverne Cox, Michael Harney, Samira Wiley, Yael Stone and more. Lorraine Toussaint joins the cast in season two as Yvonne "Vee" Parker. Can't wait until June 6 for your Litchfield fix? All 13 episodes of the series' acclaimed first season are available for streaming now on Netflix at http://netflix.com/orangeisthenewblack,...

»


- Tambay A. Obenson

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'Game of Thrones' Power Rankings: Who's Next to Die after 'The Lion and the Rose'?

17 April 2014 7:34 AM, PDT

In a series with as much bloodlust as "Game of Thrones," no one is safe. From the shocking season one beheading of Ned Stark to the not-so-fairy-tale endings of the Red and Purple Weddings, beloved and despised characters alike have met their end at the tip of George R.R. Martin's pen. Characters aren't so much expendable as they are fair game, with the program's borderline revolutionary surprise slayings becoming at the very least a trademark of modern television's innovations. So who's next? Indiewire will rank the characters most likely to be killed off every week -- with the person most at risk at the top -- based on circumstance, evidence, and plain 'ol gut feelings. Obviously, readers of the books already know what's coming, so please don't spoil it for those of us too busy, lazy, or simply disinclined to pick up the hefty novels. Without further ado, the »


- Ben Travers

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Behind the Counter at "Bob's Burgers": 5 Reasons Why This Show Is So Tasty

17 April 2014 6:00 AM, PDT

When there's a "Bob's Burgers" table read, it's an open secret. They aren’t advertised to the industry or the public, but a bright yellow sign ("Bob's Burgers Table Read") at the entrance to Bento Box's Burbank offices is visible from the street.Created by Loren Bouchard, best known for co-creating “Home Movies” on Adult Swim, “Bob’s Burgers”  is equal parts heartfelt and cheeky, a show that tests the limits of an ordinary premise with a cast of exceedingly eccentric characters. However, “Bob’s Burgers” has a secret sauce.  So how do they do it? Here is our unofficial five-step recipe for “Bob’s Burgers,” that we came up with after hanging out at a table read and chatting behind the scenes:Step 1: Bring together producers and writers that have worked together in the past. It doesn’t hurt if the show that they worked on happened to be massively successful. »


- Shipra Gupta

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

16 April 2014 2:29 PM, PDT

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

16 April 2014 1:52 PM, PDT

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

16 April 2014 12:19 PM, PDT

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 should get folks talking even more. Tune in this Sunday to see what happens next. »


- Kevin Jagernauth

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