10 items from 2015
Streaming video is a godsend if you want to catch up with recent seasons of TV series. But what's a TV fan to do who wants to stream older shows? Netflix has very little from before the millennium, and Amazon Prime has very little from before 1990.
That's not a knock; the big streaming services know their market. Still, it's worth remembering that Amazon's initial appeal as a bookseller was it's long-tail catalog, the notion that comprehensiveness was worthwhile because somebody somewhere would want that obscure or ancient title, that the markets for all those titles were collectively significant and worth catering to, and that the Internet had at last made it easier to connect those customers with what they wanted.
But until the big streaming services step into the long-tail breach, Shout Factory TV (at shoutfactorytv.com) is ready to make a home there. The boutique streaming service, which is free and requires no subscription, »
- Gary Susman
Take a look at the supertrailer below, and get a feel for not only the harsh look at reality shows you’ll be getting, but also several of the guest stars who will be appearing on the show.
It’s not that this general idea hasn’t come our way before, including in the form of shows like Burning Love, but I don’t think we’ve had quite as blunt an effort that specifically took on the “We’re just famous,” sub-genre.
Potentially, this one could be hilarious, and I’ll let you know a little closer to the air date, but let me know what you think about the idea.
In “ Barely Famous,” Erin and Sara portray »
- Marc Eastman
"We had nothing! They wouldn't sell us food, remember? We had money! American money," Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk says, reminiscing about strolling Greenwich Village at 3 a.m. decades ago with his friend and then-fellow struggling comedian Jon Stewart. The Mr. Show alum visited The Daily Show Thursday night to talk about old times and his plunge into a leading role on a major drama in the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul.
"I don't know what happened. I was on a show called Breaking Bad and that was crazy good. »
Maybe if "Wild" hadn't done such a solid and visually rich job of portraying one woman's determination to restart her life by hiking 2000 miles, the banal platitudes and strange visual monotony of two older guys' determination to restart their lives by hiking 2000 miles in "A Walk in the Woods" wouldn't seem so subpar. Maybe if Robert Redford hadn't done such harrowing, committed and honest work as a man battling nature in "All Is Lost," Robert Redford's lax, barely engaged work as a man meandering through nature in "A Walk in the Woods" wouldn't seem so subpar. Maybe if "A Walk in the Woods" weren't having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, a venue that doesn't always demand artistic or narrative experimentation but certainly rewards the work of risk-taking, it's bland and peculiar artistic and narrative flatness wouldn't seem so subpar. But here we are in Park City, »
- Daniel Fienberg
The hourlong crime drama, which was ordered to series in September and began production Wednesday in Los Angeles, has added Allison Scagliotti (Syfy’s “Warehouse 13″), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Syfy’s “Eureka,” “I Am Legend”) and Ritesh Rajan (“The Last Airbender”) to the main cast, rounded out by Emma Ishta (“Manhattan Love Story”) and Kyle Harris (“The Carrie Diaries”), who were in the original pilot.
“Stitchers” follows Kirsten (Ishta), a young woman who is recruited into a secret government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and help solve mysteries before they go to the grave.
Working alongside Kirsten is passionate neuroscientist Cameron (Harris); socially immature bioelectrical engineer and communications technician Linus (Rajan); Maggie (Richardson-Whitfield), who heads the covert program; and Kirsten’s roommate, »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
As the NBC sitcom starts its final season tonight, Gwilym Mumford looks back on the unloved sitcom that launched the careers of some of Us comedy’s top stars
Your guide to the hottest January TV shows and premieres
Peel off your Knope We Can bumper stickers, and put your bottle of Tommy Fresh back in the sock drawer. Parks And Recreation will soon be no more. Yet, as well as sadness at its passing, the show’s final season (which begins tonight on NBC, 8pm Est) provides an opportunity to celebrate its longevity. Parks And Recreation is TV’s great survivor, the series they couldn’t cancel. At the end of its current run the sitcom about a can-do governmental department in the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee will reach 125 episodes, surpassing not only the golden 100 number for syndication but also established comedy greats like Taxi, The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development. »
- Gwilym Mumford
Congratulations to Jeffrey Tambor for his well-earned Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Series (Musical or Comedy).
Tambor got his start on 70s shows including Kojak, Starsky & Hutch and Taxi, and went on to land recurring roles in several hit series in the 80s, including Hill Street Blues and Max Headroom. Most people today know Tambor for his memorable role as Hank Kingsley on the 90s cult hit The Larry Sanders Show and as the family patriarch George Bluth Sr. on Arrested Development.
Over the course of his career, he racked up multiple Emmy nominations and a big following. But his breakthrough role as a transgender parent coming out to his kids in Transparent earned him his first Golden Globe nomination and win.
"This is much bigger than me," Tambor noted as he accepted the award. Dedicating his performance to the transgender community, he thanked them for their "courage, »
For most of the four decades of his career as an actor, Jeremy Piven played That Guy. As in, “Oh look, it’s That Guy who played the cousin with anger issues on the 1990s sitcom Ellen!” Or, “Oh look! It’s That Guy who played the awful check-out clerk in the film Singles!” Or, most of all, “Oh look, it’s That Guy who always plays John Cusack’s obnoxious friend” (Piven has appeared alongside his childhood friend Cusack in Say Anything, The Grifters and Grosse Pointe Blank).
It’s not easy to be That Guy, to stand out when relegated to a bit part and surrounded by other, starrier players, as Piven seemed doomed to be. »
- Hadley Freeman
Last month, Vulture broke the news that George Clooney had teamed up with writer Peter Tolan (The Larry Sanders Show) and director Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) for a dark comedy series project set in the early 1990s film industry. “The only question now is where it will land and what sort of financial commitment it will generate,” we wrote. Here’s the answer: Showtime has won the rights to the hourlong Sony Pictures TV–produced show (tentatively called The Studio) and has ordered a script from Tolan, with a financial penalty attached if a pilot isn’t filmed. Multiple networks (cable and streaming) took meetings on the projects, and we hear multiple networks made offers. Clooney will produce via Smokehouse Pictures, the production company he runs with partner Grant Heslov. We’ve heard there’s a chance he might even appear on-camera in the show, though it’s far too early »
- Josef Adalian
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
10 items from 2015
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