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Is Jimmy Fallon's Game Show Version of Late Night Ruining Comedy?

13 hours ago

Read More: Review: 'Veep' Season 4 Episode 2, 'East Wing,' Starts a Guessing Game Last week, "Conan" writer Andres du Bouchet went on a moderate Twitter rant about the deplorable state of late night comedy. Though his tweets have since been removed, his boss, Conan O'Brien, has responded, and most people still don't know who du Bouchet is, let alone how to pronounce his name, the outcry started a debate among comedy fans. Were his complaints about the celebrity-driven, "Prom King Comedy" state of late night valid? In the seventh episode of Indiewire's Very Good TV Podcast, TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers tackled the issue to the best of their abilities (both have been slightly hampered by colds, and the recording atmosphere was less than welcoming this week). Talking points other than du Bouchet's comments included the fervor surrounding Jon Stewart's replacement on "The Daily Show, »


- Ben Travers

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L.A. Times' Mary McNamara Wins Pulitzer for Criticism

14 hours ago

The Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism today, after being nominated in both 2013 and 2014. Also recognized were the New York Times' Manohla Dargis (also nominated in 2013) and the Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek — the second year in a row, and only the second time since at least 1995, that all three finalists have been women, and the first time they've all been critics of visual media. McNamara, who has been writing for the Times for 17 years, is also the author of the Hollywood-themed mysteries "The Starlet" and "Oscar Season." The complete list of her Pulitzer-winning articles is here, but we've selected a few choice excerpts from her continually great and ever-expanding body of work: On "Orange Is the New Black" and the increase in women's stories on TV: Much has been made over the recent increase of female leads in television. Certainly, the great exodus from. »


- Sam Adams

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The 15 Best Lgbt Characters On Television: Ilana Wexler On 'Broad City'

15 hours ago

4/20 seemed like a fitting day to celebrate television's undisputed best bisexual marijuana enthusiast, Ilana Wexler.  Played by "Broad City" co-creator Ilana Glazer, the semi-autobiographical Wexler is half of the funniest duo on TV right now (the other being Abbi Jacobson's Abbi Abrams). Extraordinarily lazy and self-absorbed, Ilana is also somehow endlessly likeable -- in large part due to her consistent ability to not give a shit. Which definitely applies to her sexuality.  While she indeed has an ongoing and semi-official sexual relationship with Hannibal Buress's dentist Lincoln, the show's prominent running storyline is how much she's in love with Abbi. And not in some creepy "Notes on a Scandal" way. "Broad City" and Wexler are collectively too sexually liberated and free-spirited for that. And even though Abbi consistently turns her down, she doesn't seem to ultimately mind Ilana's affections either (and neither do we as audience...

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- Jamie Gates

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Neil Degrasse Tyson's New Late Night Talk Show, 'StarTalk,' Debuts Tonight. What Critics Are Saying + Watch Preview

15 hours ago

National Geographic Channel's first-ever late-night talk show, "StarTalk," with host, prominent astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, premieres Tonight, Monday, April 20, at 11 pm Et/10 pm Ct (with encores each Friday at 7 pm Et/6 pm Ct).  Ahead of its debut, last week, the network announced that it had ordered a second season for the talk-show, obviously implying great confidence that season 1 will be a ratings hit! Tonight's kick-off will tell us something about that... Based on Dr. Tyson’s prominent podcast of the same name, the weekly series will infuse pop culture with science, while bringing together comedians and celebrities to delve into a wide range of topics. Each week, in a private interview, Dr. Tyson explores all the ways that science and technology have influenced the life and livelihood of his guests, whatever their background. After his one-on-one interview, Dr. Tyson invites a comedian co-host and influencers in media, science and pop culture to. »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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"Mad Men" Probably Won't End the Way You Want It To. Get Used to It

17 hours ago

Mortality has never been far from "Mad Men's" mind, but with only four episodes to go — or "Three Episodes Left" until the finale, as AMC's panic-inducing ads put it — there might as well be a countdown clock in the corner of the screen. Longtime viewers have bristled in these last few weeks at time squandered on new characters like Mimi Rogers' pantsuit-wearing photographer and Diana the Waitress of Doom, resentful of every minute that's not squarely devoted to the show's core characters. As I suggest in my recap of "The Forecast," an episode explicitly concerned with the thorny question of what happens next, Matthew Weiner now appears to be actively messing with the audience's desire for closure. Every time a new character, particularly a love interest, steps into the frame, we start to wonder: "Is s/he the one?" Will Peggy end up with Brian Krakow? (Probably not. »


- Sam Adams

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HBO Gets Some 'High Maintenance' In Latest Win for Vimeo VOD Series

17 hours ago

Read More: Exclusive: 'High Maintenance' Behind-the-Scenes Action Includes Positive Vibes and Creative Brainstorming Theme HBO today announced that it will be producing six new episodes of "High Maintenance," the landmark indie comedy created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield.  Originally distributed for free via Vimeo, "High Maintenance" became Vimeo's first VOD series last fall. The show's ease in shifting from distribution platform to distribution platform is due in part to its high-quality production value and in part to the show's anthology-esque format — each episode focuses on a new customer of a pot dealer (Sinclair), who pedals around New York City delivering his product.  The simple premise and quality execution made it a breakout star in the web series world when it first premiered and has since attracted high level acting talent like Dan StevensYael Stone and Tracee Chimo.  "We are thrilled to...

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- Liz Shannon Miller

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Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show'

17 hours ago

“These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s Ok. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, ‘Ok, I’m on the back side of it now,’” Stewart told The Guardian in his most candid interview yet about why he's leaving "The Daily Show" for other pastures. As Hillary Clinton mounts her bid for presidential candidacy, Stewart also fessed up to feelings of disenchantment about covering the campaign trail. “I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one." And after 16 years helming one of America's most iconic satirical news programs, for Stewart, those feelings were inevitable. “It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Review: 'Mad Men' Season 7 Episode 10 'The Forecast' Gets Literal

19 April 2015 9:30 PM, PDT

Last Week's Review: 'Mad Men' Season 7 Episode 9 'New Business,' or 'Ghosts of Exes Past' Immediate Reaction:With everyone wondering what Matthew Weiner is going to do for the end of his iconic drama, it only seems natural he'd frame the question through his favorite thinking device: "Mad Men" itself. In the "The Forecast," Don was tasked with writing the last section of Roger's speech on the future of the company. Don being Don, he took it upon himself to explore much more than the facts and figures handed to him by Roger — seriously, Don, you had it right there in the folders — asking himself and then every person he stumbled across what was going to happen in the long run. Unsurprisingly, no one took to the idea quite like Don did. He's the only person in the "Mad Men" universe ready to take on the big questions, in »


- Ben Travers

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Review: 'Veep' Season 4 Episode 2, 'East Wing,' Starts a Guessing Game

19 April 2015 7:30 PM, PDT

Last Week's Review: 'Veep' Season 4 Episode 1 'Joint Session' Addresses the Nation Immediate Reaction: For the rest of this season, or as long as it takes to answer, "Veep" has now become almost exclusively about one question: "What happened on Labor Day?" When Selina and Gary went at it over the bag man's overspending and poor choice in decorating, the fierce emotional battle came to a quick close as soon as the idea of Labor Day was broached. "Can you find somebody else who did what I did?" That's all Gary said, keeping the promise he made to never mention the certainly-scandalous day ever again. What happens between this not-quite-platonic couple off camera has always been intriguing, but now it's put us on a need-to-know basis. I can't wait to find out, or at least get a few more teases toward the twist. Politically-Correct Reaction:"Veep" focused on the unwanted secrets »


- Ben Travers

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Recap: 'Game of Thrones' Season 5, Episode 2 Takes Us to 'The House of Black and White'

19 April 2015 7:00 PM, PDT

This week’s Throne Games, “The House of Black and White,” directed by Michael Slovis, continues the path of moving the pieces where they need to go in order to lay the groundwork for the action. You know you’re inured to “Game of Thrones” when an episode with a beheading, a dragon, a magical shape-shifter, and a tavern throwdown can be described as one of the more chill episodes, though there was at least one legitimately genuine surprise. The characters are slowly beginning to take their places for the season, and we’re continuing to see developments, particularly in the new generation of leaders (especially Jon Snow and Daenerys) who are stepping up to the plate, ready or not. Castle Black Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is dealing with the fallout from the Mance Raydar bonfire, and his decision to mercy kill the Wildling king. But those Baratheons are getting rather comfy at Castle Black, »


- Katie Walsh

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Review: 'Game of Thrones' Season 5 Episode 2, 'The House of Black and White': Dorne and Dragons!

19 April 2015 7:00 PM, PDT

Previously: Review: 'Game of Thrones' Season 5 Episode 1, 'The Wars to Come': Upheaval Reigns Post-"Game" Analysis After last week's "Catching up with Westeros" Season 5 premiere, Episode 2 had a bit more action, a bit more intrigue and even some smiles. Among the positive additions were the return of Arya and her hit list, the return of Bronn (whose clothing has gotten way more fancy!) and Varys stuck with Tyrion in a slightly larger box for a trip south on the road to Volantis so they can find their way to Mereen. The episode still suffered from a bit of set-up fatigue, but hopefully now that we're all clear on where everyone is, where their allegiances lie and who's aiming for what, the season will be free to take off into the story.  Wit of the Week Arya has finally made it to The House of Black and White, which floats ominously »


- Casey Cipriani

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