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post #95071 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 09:22 AM
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 19, 2014

2014 WORLD CUP
ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET

Of the three games to be played today, all televised by ESPN and prefaced by 30-minute pre-game shows, the most pivotal is the one beginning at 3 p.m. ET, when England faces Uruguay. Both of these Group D teams dropped their initial games, and only the winner of this game has a realistic chance to advance past the group stage. Also played today, at 6 p.m. ET, is another game with similar stakes, this time from Group C: Japan vs. Greece, who lost their first games as well. But starting the day, at noon ET, is a contest pitting the two in Group C that won their first time out: Colombia and the Ivory Coast.

THE SIXTIES: "THE WAR IN VIETNAM"
CNN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Part 4. Ken Burns is working on a Vietnam documentary slated for a few TV seasons from now, and the PBS Vietnam: A Television History series did an excellent job on the same topic way, way back in 1983. But in between the past and the future of TV Vietnam documentaries, CNN’s The Sixties gives us this present: a new installment called The War in Vietnam, which looks at how America, and Americans, responded to being increasingly embroiled in a war that seemed both unwinnable and, in some ways, unacceptable. Sound familiar?

RECTIFY
Sundance, 9:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
Season 1 of Rectify ended with Daniel (Aden Young), the death row inmate freed after 19 years in prison because of overturned evidence, being beaten what looked like to death by vengeful citizens of his home town. Had Rectify not been renewed, that’s probably how Daniel’s story would have ended. But with the miniseries renewed, Rectify returns – with the character in a coma, and the narrative alternating between flashbacks from Daniel’s prison days, significant dreams, and ways in which Daniel’s family, friends and enemies react to his brutal beating and comatose condition. It’s a rough road, but instantly and thoroughly compelling, just like last year’s story.

DOMINION
SyFy, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE: This is a warning, not a recommendation.
This new Syfy series is an inept, inexplicable continuation of the little-seen movie Legion, which dramatized an earthbound battle between angels, involving humans as pawns or prey or precious beings to be protected. The movie was nothing special, but this TV continuation, set 25 years later mostly in a reconfigured Las Vegas called Vega, is a lot worse than that. So skip it. Every time a viewer tunes in to Dominion, an angel loses his wings.

FOURTH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE TELEVISION AWARDS
The CW, 8:00 p.m. ET

There’s some irony, I suppose, that this new awards show celebrating TV’s best is televised by CW, which doesn’t have a single dog in the hunt in any category. That says something about the voting body of critics, of which I am a member – but good taste doesn’t necessarily make for good TV, so we’ll have to see, as this awards show is broadcast live. Cedric the Entertainer hosts.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV Review
Still Unforgiven: ‘Rectify’'s Freed Felon Returns for Season Two
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 19, 2014

When the terms “literary” or “novel-like” are used for a television series, that usually means it’s a drama where nothing explodes and no one is shot. That wasn’t strictly true for the debut season of Sundance Channel’s Rectify last year – one shot was fired – but most of the story was embedded inside one tight family, indeed, inside their house. And instead of a fiery blast, lead character Daniel Holden (Aden Young) was beaten within an inch of his life in the season finale, and we find him in a medically induced coma to start season two.

Sundance, part of the AMC network family along with IFC, has hit the mark in 2013 with the miniseries Top of the Lake and the wonderful oddball horror import, The Returned. (This year’s series about an unwilling rogue cop, The Red Road, was less impressive). With Rectify, Sundance has enjoyed a winner with a somewhat Southern Gothic tale, in the style of William Faulkner or Carson McCullers, that follows the aftershock in a small Georgia town when Holden returns after being released from prison, after 19 years, for the murder of his then-girlfriend. New DNA evidence has vacated his conviction, and some of the back-story last season revealed that two high school buddies of Holden’s were there, with one of them committing suicide after his release. It’s still unclear, however, whether Holden is completely innocent, since he originally confessed – although his motivation for that is still unclear, too.

The upside of Rectify has been lead actor Young, who in the first season has ably embodied a character essentially erased by incarceration, who has returned to a world where everything – technology, culture, his family – has changed in his absence. He was literally a walking blank slate last season, surprised by everything. This year, within his dream state of his coma and in episodes to come, we see a more definitive side, perhaps the until-now unseen aggressive Daniel who may have been capable of murder. The new season of Rectify begins tonight (Thursday) at 9 ET on Sundance.

In addition, writer and creator Ray McKinnon (Reverend H.W. Smith in Deadwood) has fashioned the claustrophobic and treacherous fictional town of Paulie, Georgia, where he can morally excavate Holden’s possible innocence and its effect on the locals who may or may not believe in him, and why.

The downside this year, in the first three episodes sent for review, is that Rectify -- zeroed in as it is on Holden’s small, blended family (his father died shortly after he went to prison and he has a new step-father, a step-brother and a half-brother whom he has never known) -- is so tightly wound, it sometimes feels like it has nowhere to go. The B-story of Holden’s scheming red-necky step-brother Ted (Clayne Crawford) and Ted’s angelic wife (Adelaide Clemens), who’s expressed affection for Daniel, grows tedious.

So does spiteful sister Amantha who is Daniel’s most ardent defender to the indifferent, or disbelieving town folk. (Spencer has appeared in Mad Men, Season 3, as Susanne Farrell, one of Sally Draper’s school teachers, and one of Don Draper’s conquests. She’s gotten wide acclaim for her work on Rectify, and should soon go on to bigger roles.)

Rectify’s first season was six episodes, and followed the first week of Daniel’s release. The pace contributed to the series’ novel-like sensibility as it tracked Daniel’s re-entry into society day by day. This season, the timeline stretches out and we get more of the backstory of the murder and who was behind the assault on Daniel that almost took his life. Most interesting is when hangdog Sheriff Carl Daggett (JD Evermore) has to investigate the attack on Daniel, and he can’t get cooperation from witnesses, or even his own officers.

We also get sobering flashbacks to Daniel's time on death row where the most basic need is human contact, even if all it can be is talking to a cellmate on the other side of a painted concrete block wall.

McKinnon and the writers can be forgiven for having to navigate the usual problems of a sophomore year while trying to fill the time. Rectify gets more of it right than wrong, including cinematography that celebrates the quirky quietude of a small town and its conflicted characters.

Consider it a summer literary escape to a small town away from the usual cops and robbers.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=7610
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post #95072 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 09:24 AM
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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post #95073 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 09:29 AM
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Season high for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’
Fox reality competition posts a 1.7 among 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 19, 2014

A season high for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” helped the network to a first place finish among viewers 18-49.

“Dance” averaged a 1.7 rating among 18-49s from 8-10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, its highest rating this summer and up 31 percent from a 1.3 last week.

The reality dance competition was also up 20 percent week-to-week among total viewers, from 4.4 million to 5.3 million, and it grew 36 percent among 18-34s as well.

Powered by “Dance,” Fox easily led the night among 18-49s with a 1.7 average overnight rating and a 6 share. Univision was second at 1.1/4, ABC third at 1.0/4, CBS and NBC tied for fourth at 1.0/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/2 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. Fox led with a 1.6 for “So You Think You Can Dance,” followed by NBC with a 1.1 for a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

ABC and Univision tied for third at 0.9, ABC for reruns of “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” and Univision for “De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero,” CBS was fifth with a 0.8 for a repeat of “Hawaii Five-0,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “La Impostora” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for an “Arrow” rerun.

Fox held onto the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.7 for more “Dance,” while Univision moved to second with a 1.4 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo.”

ABC and NBC tied for third at 1.2, ABC for repeats of “Modern Family” and “Goldbergs” and NBC for another “SVU” rerun, CBS was fifth with a 1.0 for a repeat of “Criminal Minds,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “The 100.”

At 10 p.m. ABC, CBS, Univision and Telemundo all tied for first at 1.0, ABC for “Motive,” CBS for a “CSI” repeat, Univision for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos” and Telemundo for “El Señor de los Cielos.”

NBC was fifth with a 0.8 for a rerun of “Chicago P.D.”

CBS was first for the night among households with a 3.7 average overnight rating and a 7 share. Fox was second at 3.3/6, ABC third at 2.7/5, NBC fourth at 2.6/5, Univision fifth at 1.5/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/2 and CW seventh at 0.7/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/sea...ink-can-dance/

* * * *

TV Notes
Canada’s finest: ‘Rookie Blue’ returns
The import, a police drama, is back for a fifth season on ABC
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 19, 2014

As imports go, ABC’s “Rookie Blue” has been a good one.

The drama, which returns at 9 p.m. tonight for its fifth season with a special two-hour premiere, is one of the network’s most consistent summer shows and one of the few long-lived scripted summer programs on broadcast.

“Blue” follows the goings-on at 15 Division. It is filmed up North and airs first in that country. Season five debuted in May up there, and so producers have been concerned about spoilers leaking into the U.S., since last season ended on a big cliffhanger.

Det. Sam Swarek was shot, and riding in the ambulance with him at the end of the fourth-season finale, his ex confessed that she still had feelings for him.

Canadian imports have done well for U.S. broadcasters in the summer. A few years ago CBS aired “Flashpoint,” which also originated in Canada, to such good summer ratings that the network transitioned it to the regular season.

“Blue’s” ratings have never been quite that good, but it does okay for summer. The show averaged a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating for last season’s finale, finishing in a tie for first in its timeslot.

With fairly weak competition on Thursday nights in the summer, it should draw similar numbers tonight.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/can...-blue-returns/
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post #95074 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 09:32 AM
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TV Notes
Chelsea Handler Gets Netflix Talk Show
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jun. 19, 2014

Chelsea Handler has lined up her next TV gig and it is the one she’d wanted all along — a talk show on Netflix. After months of negotiations and speculation, the streaming service has announced a deal with the comedian that includes a talk show, to launch in early 2016, as well as standup special and four docu-comedy specials.

Like her E! late-night show, which will end its seven-tear run on August 26, the Netflix talker will feature Handler’s unfiltered opinions on topics of the day as well as guest interviews. It has not been determined yet what frequency the show will be released with — daily, weekly or in-between — with Netflix only noting that it will debut simultaneously in all Netflix territories.

“The Internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television and together with Chelsea Handler, Netflix is looking forward to reimagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late night part….” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. That means that Netflix’s model of delivering content on demand and not tied to a time period has rendered the late-night label for Handler’s talk show obsolete.

In Handler’s now infamous Howard Stern Show radio interview in March, in which she called E! “a sad, sad place to live” and “a failure,” Handler suggested that after she leaves the cable network she would be interested in going to an outlet like Netflix. It was the first time Handler addressed her plans for the future as her E! contract was coming up, and several months and a ton of speculation later, she landed at Netflix, giving the streaming service its first talk show. “If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested,” Handler said. “I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move. I’m more excited than I’ve been in awhile, and the team at Netflix is the most forward thinking, alert group I’ve sat down with in ages. No offense to the Shahs Of Sunset.”

Handler’s very public parting of the ways with E! and as public job search were orchestrated by well known music manager Irving Azoff, who joined her team, including CAA, in October. Her pursuit of a new gig got entangled in the late-night changeover at CBS, prompting the broadcast network to publicly deny that Handler is being considered for a slot.

Before she starts her new talk show, Handler will tape an one-hour stand-up special during the June 20 stop of her tour “Uganda Be Kidding Me” Live in Chicago. It will premiere on Netflix on Oct. 10. And next year, Handler will create four new docu-comedy specials for Netflix featuring her efforts to gain a better understanding on a variety of subjects ranging from NASCAR to politics and from Silicon Valley to the NBA draft. The talk show, stand-up special and docu-comedy specials will be produced by Handler and her partners in Borderline Amazing, Tom Brunelle and Brad Wollack.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/chel...lix-talk-show/
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post #95075 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 10:09 AM
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post #95076 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 10:16 AM
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TV Notes
Binge Viewing is Forcing Showrunners to Evolve
By Bob Verini, Variety.com - Jun. 19, 2014

Binge-viewing is one of the most profound changes to hit the smallscreen business in memory, a revolution in the way TV is distributed and consumed.

By Advanced Television’s estimate, 70% of U.S. viewers self-identify as “binge-ers,” and Netflix’s decision to put out full seasons of “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” day and date practically begs a marathon.

But is binging changing the way TV is written? Scribes on today’s most avidly devoured series reflexively deny it, but when pressed, they admit they’re having to evolve with the times.

“I just write the show,” reports Julian Fellowes when asked about catering to a marathon of PBS’ “Downton Abbey.” D.B. Weiss, partnered with David Benioff on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” says: “From the outset, the goal with ‘Game’ was to tell a single, coherent, 70-plus-hour story, with a beginning, middle and end.”

“House of Cards” writer Beau Willimon says: “No one would ask the author of a novel, ‘Do you write it thinking that someone is going to read it in one sitting, or a chapter here, a chapter there?’ I think it’s analogous to what’s happening in TV.”

Really? Charles Dickens, who doled out most of his novels in monthly installments, wrote to a friend: “Notice how patiently and expressly the thing has to be planned for presentation in fragments, and yet for afterwards fusing together as an uninterrupted whole.”

Dickens preened that he felt he’d become “rather cunning in this regard,” and if you press them, showrunners reveal similar cunning. Even Willimon, who says: “You’re on a slippery slope if you’re trying to write to a binge-watching experience,” acknowledges viewers “might watch it all in two days, or over two months,” so “it has to be able to work both ways.”

“Exposition is the writer’s enemy,” says Simon Blackwell, co-exec-prod of HBO’s “Veep,” which posts all old episodes on HBO Go. “It would be wonderful if we could guarantee everyone would binge-watch it, because you have to keep bringing back a plot point for episode 6, which, if people were watching in a three- or four-hour swoop, they would remember from episode 4.”

“Veep” seeks to satisfy sipper and big gulper alike. “We have a story arc for the entire season, but we also try to make each episode make sense in itself and its story to wrap up, yet still pull you into the next episode.”

“Game of Thrones,” with its multiple story arcs, raises transition concerns. “Discontinuities between episodes that used to be minor issues stand out a lot more when you’re rolling right from one episode into another,” Weiss says. “The knowledge that many people will be watching them back to back informs those choices.”

In another sense, reports Benioff, “one obvious repercussion of binge viewing is the lack of a season break, which means characters can age rather dramatically between episodes. One day Brandon Stark is a little boy; the next he’s sporting a mustache and a Barry White voice.”

Fellowes advises getting the details right. “In the old days in a soap, someone would have a plot one year that they were barren, and then three years later they’d give birth to twins, and nobody would ever explain, did they take this miracle cure in Argentina? … But you can’t really do that now.”

In the end, Blackwell’s bullishness on binging — “I think it could possibly be a richer experience” — is applicable to all these series. “You’d be attuned to the characters more acutely than if you were watching on a weekly basis,” he says. “You’d be immersed in the world more. Like a bath of ‘Veep,’ instead of a series of showers.”

http://variety.com/2014/tv/awards/bi...ve-1201221668/
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post #95077 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 10:21 AM
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Technology Notes
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Isn’t for Everybody
By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times' Personal Tech 'Gadgetwise' Column - Jun. 19, 2014

FOR the better part of a month, I’ve been trying to replace the laptop that I use for my daily work, an Apple MacBook Pro, with Microsoft’s new tablet computer, the Surface Pro 3. I say “trying” because that’s what it has felt like; this is a machine that I’ve had to put a lot of work into adjusting to, in the hope that, at some point, I’d get used to it and see some kind of payoff.

In the end, I didn’t see that payoff. My time with Microsoft’s new tablet computer began with a feeling of minor annoyance and eventually leveled off into a sense of settling for something less than ideal. I never felt fully at ease with the Surface Pro 3, and I’m typing this review on the MacBook.

But don’t let my experience put you off from trying the Surface Pro 3. In fact, I encourage you to think of this review as something like a George Costanza breakup: Dear Surface Pro 3 — we’re not right for each other, but it’s not you, it’s me.

There is probably an audience out there that will love the light, stylish and surprisingly powerful Surface Pro 3. I suspect it isn’t a huge audience, but it may not be a tiny one.

Like previous incarnations of Microsoft’s Surface line, the device is an intriguing cross between a tablet and a laptop. Like an iPad, it’s a thin slab of glass that you navigate by touch. But the Pro 3 also has a very skinny cover that doubles as a keyboard and trackpad; with its built-in kickstand, which has been improved in this version of the device, you can fashion the machine into something that feels like a laptop.

If you’ve yearned for a single device that’s as portable as an iPad but can also run programs that are usually found on a Windows laptop, the new Surface Pro might be for you. Because it comes with a stylus, it might also be especially useful for artists or others who are fond of pen-based computing.

But the Surface Pro 3 is not for me, for one very specific reason that might resonate with you, too. Its keyboard and trackpad just aren’t as good as those found in many laptops, and certainly not in high-end laptops like the MacBook Air, the Apple machine that Microsoft has held up as its main competition for the new tablet.

At a minimum, the Surface Pro’s input devices require a period of adjustment. That’s why I spent several weeks with the Surface before writing this. I kept waiting for something to click, for my brain and my fingers to get used to the keys and the trackpad.

But nothing clicked. The Surface Pro’s trackpad is finicky; it’s not great at detecting multiple-finger inputs (like two-finger scroll) and because it’s substantially shorter than a laptop’s trackpad, you’ll find yourself hitting keys instead of the pad. (Microsoft says new software that’s on its way will fix the two-finger scroll problem.)

I did find the new Surface’s keyboard to be sturdier than the one in previous versions of the device. Also, because the new kickstand allows the Surface’s screen to be set up at a variety of viewing angles, the machine can be positioned on your lap or another uneven surface, just like a laptop.

But still, the whole keyboard-kickstand balancing act felt unsteady compared with a laptop’s rigid frame. There was a slight, annoying bounce of the keyboard case when I typed, and in tight places — airplane and train seats — the machine was an ergonomic catastrophe of moving parts.

To me, these flaws were damning. Over the last couple of years, I’ve offloaded most of my more passive computing tasks — like idly browsing the web or scanning email and Twitter — to my phone. That means when I reach for my laptop or desktop, I’m usually looking to do intensive work, which requires excellent input devices. If your laptop requirements resemble mine — if you write a lot, manage many windows, or work with large, scrolling documents like spreadsheets — the Surface Pro 3 isn’t your best bet.

On the other hand, if you’re mainly looking for a tablet that can sometimes be used as a computer, you may be O.K. with the Surface’s keyboard and trackpad. I’d suggest at least going to a Microsoft Store to check it out.

But be warned: The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, plus $130 for Type Cover. An iPad Air costs $499; a third-party iPad keyboard can be had for around $100. So the only reason to choose the Surface Pro over an iPad Air is if you truly can’t do without Windows programs.

As I said, there are probably a few people for whom that’s true. Don’t worry, Surface Pro 3. You’ll find someone who loves you. Just not me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/te...echnology&_r=0
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post #95078 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 11:20 AM
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I would compare an Android tablet to the iPad Air. Not a Surface pro. If I got a surface Pro it would be to replace one of my laptops and also to replace some features of my android tablets.

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post #95079 of 96280 Old 06-19-2014, 07:43 PM
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Technology Notes
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Isn’t for Everybody
By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times' Personal Tech 'Gadgetwise' Column - Jun. 19, 2014

The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, plus $130 for Type Cover. An iPad Air costs $499; a third-party iPad keyboard can be had for around $100. So the only reason to choose the Surface Pro over an iPad Air is if you truly can’t do without Windows programs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/te...echnology&_r=0
I laughed when I first read that on their site. Laughed again this time too. iPad vs a full desktop OS. Too funny. Even my little Bay Trail has a full OS.
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post #95080 of 96280 Old 06-20-2014, 03:36 AM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Shark Tank
(R - Jan. 24)
9PM - What Would You Do?
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Scripps National Spelling Bee champions; rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson; Jenny Slate; OneRepublic performs)
(R - Jun. 5)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Undercover Boss: Menchie's
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Mar. 7)
10PM - Blue Bloods
(R - Nov. 22)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Dave Chappelle; Laura Prepon; The Orwells perform)
(R - Jun. 10)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Maria Bello; animal expert Bradley Trevor Greive)

NBC:
8PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
9PM - Crossbones
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Dave Chappelle; Body Count performs)
(R - Jun. 13)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Jennifer Lawrence; Alan Cumming; Little Daylight performs)
(R - May 21)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Neil deGrasse Tyson, LP, Chris Burkard)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - 24: Live Another Day
(R - Jun. 16)
9PM - Gang Related
(R - Jun. 19)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week with Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose: The Week
9PM - Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America
10PM - American Masters - Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun (90 min.)

UNIVISION:
8PM - De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero
9PM - Lo Que la Vida Me Robó
10PM - Qué Pobres Tan Ricos

THE CW:
8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Aug. 13)
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Aug. 20)
9PM - Hart of Dixie
(R - Oct. 28)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - La Impostora
9PM - En Otra Piel
10PM - El Señor de los Cielos

HBO:
10PM - Real Time with Bill Maher (LIVE; Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates; musician Mike Shinoda; journalist Glenn Greenwald; veterans' affairs advocate Paul Rieckhoff; journalist Kristen Soltis Anderson)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Rob Riggle)
(R - Jun. 12)

SYNDICATION:
Check Local Listings - Arsenio (Cedric The Entertainer; Nikki Glaser; Sara Schaefer; Kat Graham)
(R)
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post #95081 of 96280 Old 06-20-2014, 03:43 AM
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TV Notes
AMC offers peek at 'Saul' and confirms second season
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Jun. 19, 2014

Breaking Bad fans will be getting more Saul. AMC today confirmed a second season of Bad prequel Better Call Saul and released a photo from the set in Albuquerque, N.M., where first-season production began this month.

Saul, which follows Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) before he became the lawyer for Bad's Walter White (Bryan Cranston), is set for a 10-episode first season that will premiere in early 2015, rather than in November, as had been announced earlier. A second season consisting of 13 episodes will open in early 2016.

The photo features Odenkirk, along with Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who is directing the premiere, and Peter Gould, who created the Saul character. Gilligan and Gould are running the new drama.

"Production on Better Call Saul is under way and we could not be more proud of nor more excited about the work to date. We join the fans in eager anticipation for this series and today we happily confirm that our initial Saul order is for two seasons and a total of 23 episodes," AMC President Charlie Collier said in a statement.

His statement continued, apparently addressing the change in premiere date. "When introducing any series, especially one with the DNA of Breaking Bad, there are countless factors to consider in making sure the show gets the launch it deserves. We have a strong history with Vince, Peter, Bob, the studio and so many involved with this production; we are enjoying the process on Saul and all share a focus on making it a true television event. No half measures."

Jonathan Banks is set to reprise his role as Mike Ehrmantraut, and Michael McKean has signed on for the series.

Gilligan and Gould are joined on the new project by Bad writers Thomas Schnauz and Gennifer Hutchison, along with Gordon Smith, who was a writers' assistant on the Emmy-winning series. Bad finished its run last year.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...saul/10994805/
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Critic's Notes
Will Chelsea Handler’s New ‘Late-Night’ Talk Show Be Netflix’s First Big Misstep?
By Jesse David Fox, Vulture.com - Jun. 19, 2014

When Chelsea Handler announced that, after eight years on E!, she intended to leave the network following the expiration of her contract at the end of the year, I expected something big. This morning, my expectations were confirmed, with the announcement that Handler had signed a massive deal with Netflix to host a talk show for the streaming site that would air in 2016. (The deal also includes a stand-up special, Uganda Be Kidding Me, which will premiere in October, and four "docu-comedy" specials in 2015, in which Handler tries to learn about a variety of subjects like NASCAR and Silicon Valley.) In a press release, Handler said, "I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move." And she's right: This is a really cool move. It also might be Netflix's first major misstep.

I'm not talking show-wise — one could argue that Lillyhammer, Hemlock Grove, and Derek fall anywhere from decent to subpar on the quality scale. No, I mean in terms of its ambitions. It's clear that Netflix is trying to expand its demographic reach and subscriber base with this play. About the deal, Mr. Netflix, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, said, "The Internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television and together with Chelsea Handler, Netflix is looking forward to reimagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late night part." The problem is the "late night part" is the part that matters. Well, not the "late," but the implication that the "night" means that night. It's the reason for the medium to exist. Take it away, and what have you got? You can't be topical on demand.

When Jimmy Fallon asked Jay Leno about fitting his Late Night sensibility to The Tonight Show's, Leno told him to make his monologue longer. Immediately that sounds like horrible advice. The monologue is easily the most consistently disappointing part of the late-night format, and there was Leno suggesting more time be spent on it and less time on the fun segments that we associate Fallon with. Leno explained that that's where a lot of people get their news from. It's a fact The Daily Show has confirmed for over a decade. Late-night hosts provide a service, promising to keep their audience informed and to have a take consistent with their point of view. This is not funny two weeks later, let alone two months or two years later. It's barely funny two days later. If Joe Biden or Kanye West does something silly on Monday, you can get comedy from just pointing it out Monday night. By Thursday, they might've done something else sillier, and no one will give any shits about what happened Monday. Even weekly shows are at least somewhat timely, but it can be argued that they suffer. SNL's "Weekend Update," for example, sometimes struggles because it's often the last punch line after everyone else has used up the setup. (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has skirted this problem by excelling at covering topical stories that no one else is. Based on what we've seen so far, Handler's topical range is somewhat more limited.) Similarly, the late-night interview doesn't necessarily hold up over time. People go on shows to promote certain things. That's why they agree to come on. How exactly will that work here?

Add in the fact that, Netflix being Netflix, they'll likely pre-tape a ton of episodes and dump them all at once, thus allowing viewers to watch them whenever they want. Which sounds good on paper, but not in practice. Sure, most late-night shows will pre-tape, especially episodes that air on Friday, but to pre-tape a large chunk is a different story. Beyond losing the timeliness of jokes, you lose the excitement of the format — that however the host is that day, it's the show. Fans of any given late-night show see their hosts at their best and worst. If they are feeling tired that day, it's in the show. If they are feeling flirty, it's in the show. That might come through at times in Handler's future show, but it won't feel as of-the-moment.

Netflix might argue that I'm being narrow-minded, that I'm too stuck in the past of the format and can't see the future. To that, I tell it to watch The Pete Holmes Show, before it goes off the air soon. Pete Holmes is easily one of my favorite comedians. I love The Pete Holmes Show whenever I watch it. And that's the problem, because that "whenever" ends up not being very often. It's because Holmes aspired to do more with the late-night format by taping it all ahead of time. His sketches were on video and thoroughly written; his monologues were truly enjoyable stand-up; his interviews, conducted with people he actually knew and enjoyed interacting with, were funny. For me, The Pete Holmes Show was the best the late-night talk show format could do. But, again, I never watched. Because why would I? He never talked about things that were happening currently, so it didn't matter if I missed it, as I could always catch up some other time. The problem is I never caught up. There's plenty I need to catch up on, whether it's Archer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Scandal, Orange Is the New Black, or any number of movies that are conveniently available on Netflix Instant. With Handler, Netflix is forcing the potential audience to do that for every single episode. It's too much for a format as boring as the late-night talk show to sustain.

Netflix has had quite a run with House of Cards, Arrested Development, and Orange Is the New Black, not to mention what it's done with non-original, licensed content, but I fear it has reached the outer limit of its model. I applaud it for trying to update the late-night talk show, but some things are just too antiquated to try to modernize.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/chels...dea-or-no.html
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TV Review
Germs Warfare
By Nancy DeWolf Smith, Wall Street Journal - Jun. 19, 2014

Two ripping yarns this week—set almost 400 years apart—prove that it's still possible for almost anyone to have television fun without a lot of graphic sax or violins. One is "The Musketeers," a 1630s romp with reimagined stories that begins Sunday on "BBC America" at 9 p.m.

But the most pleasant surprise in the thrills category is "The Last Ship." TNT's drama is about a U.S. Navy destroyer at sea and observing radio silence when a 100% lethal infectious disease wipes out most of the earth's population. The job of the more than 200 men and women on board it is to stay alive until someone finds a cure.

Every episode brings a new challenge, in the search for food and fuel, in the race for a vaccine, and in the fight to stay ahead of enemies. Locations change constantly, from the North Pole to the coast of France to Guantanamo Bay and beyond. It gives nothing away to say that the epidemic is not always the biggest threat, because there are other people still alive and some of them are desperate, determined and heavily armed. Since the series was filmed partly aboard U.S. Navy vessels, aircraft and with other working equipment, when the big guns go off it looks and sounds satisfyingly earthshaking.

Inevitably, some things are formulaic. The commander of the destroyer, Tom Chandler, is played by Eric Dane (aka "McSteamy" in another TV incarnation), and when the handsome (natch) commander first clashes with the feisty (natch) paleomicrobiologist on board, Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra), you assume it's just a matter of time before some other sparks fly. Love has already touched two officers, and he will almost botch a mission trying to protect her. The destroyer's crew is mainly young, attractive and diverse in a hip way, like a modern-day version of the B-52 bomber crew from "Dr. Strangelove."

In the end, though, that is just window dressing, because what makes "The Last Ship" go around, what makes it truly exciting at times, is a combination of speed, suspense and action. There are tense chases, firefights and escapes, or not, from death. On the Arctic ice when helicopter gunships from an unidentifiable enemy roar overhead spitting bullets. At sea in the eastern Atlantic when radar tracks a nuclear missile moving overhead at thousands of miles-per-hour, followed by a flash and the obliteration, basically, of a major European country. Battling escaped jihadists with rocket launchers at a former U.S. military facility (talk about bad karma).

There are moments of quiet dread, for instance aboard an ocean liner adrift with a cargo of hundreds of dead bodies, all displaying the unmistakable signs of the plague: blood pouring from the eyes and other orifices.. But most of the time the crew is either actively engaged in surviving or trying to solve unusual problems: How do you restore power to a modern warship when an electromagnetic pulse has blown its grid? If your ship is boxed into a harbor by a Kirov-class battlecruiser, is there a way to sneak off at night while leaving behind something that looks like your ship on the Kirov's radar?

A traitor aboard the U.S. destroyer, power-mad Russians and al Qaeda are among the obstacles the U.S. crew encounters in the early episodes. Some scenes are made scarier because the Navy men and women take the ship's mascot, a German shepherd called Admiral Halsey, with them on some missions, but so far this does not seem a show that would kill off a dog. Despite the modernistic themes, this is fairly old fashioned in a good vs. evil kind of way.

There are some nice contemporary touches: The crew learns that after the plague began, a rumor swept the world that the U.S. had a cure but was hoarding it. There also is at least one touch that sounded accurate at the time the show was being filmed, when Cpt. Chandler says that, despite the pestilence, "[T]here's one thing from the old world that still applies today—something that will never change: We don't negotiate with terrorists."

THE LAST SHIP
Sundays at 9 p.m. on TNT


http://online.wsj.com/articles/tv-re...hip-1403232025
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TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 20, 2013

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Crossbones” 10 p.m.
Blackbeard and Lowe team up to rescue Kate, who’s been captured while on a trading voyage.

Best bet on cable: TBS, “Funniest Wins” 10 p.m. Series premiere. New reality stand-up comedy competition, hosted by Marlon Wayans.

Top sporting event: ESPN, “College Baseball,” 8 p.m. College World Series semifinal between Virginia and the winner of TCU-Ole Miss.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: Univision, “Sabado Gigante,” 8 p.m.
Weekly variety show could see a ratings bump thanks to World Cup buzz on the network.

Best bet on cable: BBC America, “Orphan Black,” 9 p.m. Season finale. Rachel sets her latest plan into motion, forcing Sarah to give in.

Top sporting event: Fox, “Major League Baseball,” 6 p.m. Matchups include Tigers-Indians, Braves-Nationals and Pirates-Cubs.

SUNDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: ABC, “Rising Star,” 9 p.m. Series premiere.
Yet another singing competition, only this one allows viewers to vote in real time using an app.

Best bet on cable: HBO, “True Blood,” 9 p.m. Season premiere. The vampire drama kicks off its seventh and final season.

Top sporting event: ESPN, Univision, “Soccer,” 5:30 p.m. The U.S. takes on Portugal in the two teams’ second group game of the World Cup.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bes...ts-weekend-38/

* * * *

Nielsen Notes
Cable overnights: ‘Duck’ gets clipped again
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Jun. 20, 2013

The hit A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty” keeps losing pluck.

The second episode of season five fell 17 percent from last week’s debut among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen overnights, averaging a 1.5 rating, down from a 1.8 last week.

It was still the day’s No. 1 show on cable in the demo and among total viewers, where it averaged 3.919 million, off 9 percent from last week and a far cry from the 8.5 million who tuned into January’s season four debut.

ESPN’s World Cup coverage continued to post strong ratings. The network had two games in the top three on cable for the day in both total viewers and the demo, as it continues to pace well ahead of ratings for 2010’s tournament.

Top 10 Cable Programs
Ranked on Total Viewers
June 18

# Program Net (000)
1 DUCK DYNASTY-06/18/2014 AEN 3919
2 WORLD CUP SOCCER L-06/18/2014 ESPN 3191
3 WORLD CUP SOCCER L-06/18/2014 ESPN 3036
4 FAMILY GUY-06/18/2014 ADSM 2786
5 SUITS-06/18/2014 USA 2651
6 FAMILY GUY-06/18/2014 ADSM 2630
7 THE OREILLY FACTOR-06/18/2014 FOXNC 2537
8 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-06/18/2014 TBSC 2501
9 KELLY FILE, THE-06/18/2014 FOXNC 2378
10 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-06/18/2014 TBSC 2349
Source: Nielsen


Top 10 Cable Programs
Ranked on Adults 18-49
June 18

# Program Net (000)
1 DUCK DYNASTY-06/18/2014 AEN 1880
2 WORLD CUP SOCCER L-06/18/2014 ESPN 1703
3 WORLD CUP SOCCER L-06/18/2014 ESPN 1614
4 FAMILY GUY-06/18/2014 ADSM 1533
5 FAMILY GUY-06/18/2014 ADSM 1487
6 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-06/18/2014 TBSC 1253
7 CATFISH: THE TV SHOW SSN3-06/18/2014 MTV 1242
8 AMERICAN DAD-06/18/2014 ADSM 1225
9 WORLD CUP SOCCER L-06/18/2014 ESPN 1194
10 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-06/18/2014 TBSC 1142
Source: Nielsen

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/cab...-gets-clipped/
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post
IF the Amazon Fire phone had come out three years ago, in 2011, then it would have been a good phone. But in 2014, with a 4.7 inch screen and only 720P? I know that would be going backwards for me. I would never even consider using a phone like that now. It would be like me going back several years and getting the first Kindle Fire with it's lower specs. It was fine when it came out, but in 2014 it wouldn't cut it.
Not to mention that they are charging a premium price ($200 locked into 2-year AT&T contract, or $650 unlocked) for a phone that is also locked into Amazon's ecosystem with no access to Google Play apps. Instead you get older versions of (some) Android apps in the Amazon store.

Seriously, other than the 3D and Firefly gimmicks I don't know what they were thinking other than targeting the Amazon diehards. If the price was a lot cheaper than sure it might be worth a look, but there's nothing compelling about this phone that makes it any better than a $350 unlocked Nexus 5.
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TV Notes
New Jersey Turns 350! Come Celebrate, As I Show Old NJ Films and TV Shows… But Not THAT Old
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 20, 2014

It was 350 years ago, on June 24, 1664, that New Jersey, long before it became a state, became named and acknowledged as a territory. That deserves a celebration – and it’s getting one…

In Trenton and across the state, New Jersey is celebrating its 350th, with celebrations so voluminous they have their own website, OfficialNJ350.com. The New Jersey State Archives released to me the above photo, which is described as the “Release of James, Duke of York, to John, Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret, original proprietors of the Colony of New Jersey, June 24, 1664.”

It’s a story that involves intrigue and betrayal, and, eventually, a very New Jersey-sounding act of cold-blooded revenge: the digging up of the body of Oliver Cromwell, former Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, just so his body could be beheaded, and his severed head displayed on a pike in the public square at Westminster Hall – for 24 years.

Sadly, the New Jersey 350 committee did not think of producing Oliver Cromwell bobbleheads as a party favor. But there’s a party nonetheless.

This weekend and beyond, there’s a roster of events taking place simultaneously – including, on Sunday, July 22, a one-hour lecture I’m giving, with loads and loads of vintage movie and TV clips, about the history of film and television as it relates to the Garden State.

As part of the anniversary, I was asked by the New Jersey Historical Commission to put together a panel of experts to assemble a list of significant film and TV productions produced or set in New Jersey, or prominently featuring New Jersey natives. That list appears as part of the NJ350 website, and I had invaluable help compiling it from veteran Philadelphia Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey, tri-state native and Cleveland Plain Dealer TV critic Mark Dawidziak, and filmmaker and Rowan University film professor Jonathan Mason. The film list includes that Internet-anticipating 30-second classic from the Edison studios, 1894’s Boxing Cats, and concludes with a trailer for a film opening this weekend: Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys.

As for TV, it covers everything from Trenton native Ernie Kovacs and his groundbreaking television experimentation of the 1950s and early 1960s, up to and including HBO’s The Sopranos and, unfortunately but unavoidably, MTV’s Jersey Shore and Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, June 22, in the auditorium at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton (205 W. State Street, zip code 08625), I’ll be showing clips from all of them, and more, as my contribution to the 350th birthday of the Garden State. And yes, a clip from Zach Braff’s 2004 movie Garden State is in the mix, too. I’ve also written a blog for the NJ350 website, which includes the list in its entirety.

If you’re in the area, come by and say hi. And stay for the mutton cheesesteaks.

That’s a joke. But I wish it weren’t…
http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=7617
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TV Notes
Lifetime Sets ‘Unauthorized Saved By The Bell’ For Labor Day Premiere
By The Deadline.com - Jun. 19, 2014

The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story looks at what happened behind the scenes of the ’90s TV show, focusing on the six then-unknown actors who were launched into the Hollywood spotlight. Filming is underway in Vancouver on the Lifetime movie set to premiere at 9 PM Monday, September 1. According to Lifetime, Unauthorized Saved By The Bell exposes the actors’ challenges of growing up under public scrutiny while trying to maintain the squeaky-clean image of their popular characters both on and off-screen.

The original series’ casting director, Robin Lippin (Lizzie McGuire), also cast the Lifetime movie. Dylan Everett (Degrassi: The Next Generation) stars as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Sam Kindseth (Shameless) as Dustin Diamond, Julian Works (Paranormal Activity, Modern Family) as Mario Lopez, Alyssa Lynch (The High Jumping Witch) as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tiera Skovbye (Supernatural, Girl In Progress) as Elizabeth Berkley and Taylor Russell McKenzie (Blink) as Lark Voorhies. Front Street Pictures and Ringaling Prods are producing. Harvey Kahn (Flowers In The Attic) and Stephen Bulka (Dear Mom, Love Cher) exec produce. Jason Lepeyre (Restless Virgins) directs from a script by Ron McGee (The Nine Lives Of Chloe King).

http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/life...-day-premiere/
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Critic's Notes
Vulture TV Awards: The Year’s Best Male Drama Performer Is Matthew Rhys
By Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jun. 18, 2014

All this week, we’re presenting our Vulture TV Awards, honoring the best in television from the past year. Yesterday, we showered Amy Schumer, H. Jon Benjamin, and others with love, and we’re eager to keep the kudos train rolling along. Up first on day two: Best Male Dramatic Performer, as selected by Vulture television critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

The nominees are:

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Aden Young, Rectify

And the winner is ...

WINNER: Matthew Rhys of The Americans


FX’s Cold War drama had one of the best second seasons I can recall — powered by a relentless narrative engine, one always devoted to the exploration of character, not to shocking us for the sake of shocking us. And it showcased the year’s best lead male performance. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson of True Detective and Mads Mikkelsen of Hannibal have inspired whole Tumblrs and GIF galleries and deserve credit for plugging into the Zeitgest, but attention must be paid to Matthew Rhys’s work as Soviet spy Philip Jennings throughout season two of The Americans. It’s one of the most exquisitely modulated performances I’ve seen anyone give in anything.

What happens to the character this season is a deep realization that he is powerless to control his fate — that he and his wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell, equally strong in a somewhat less expressive role) are cogs in a vast Russian espionage machine whose purpose is to produce more spies, and more generations of spies, and which doesn’t care who gets ground up in the process. That’s how Elizabeth rationalizes the manipulation, cruelty, and bloodshed she and her husband commit on the mother country’s behalf. But Philip can’t compartmentalize the way she does. She just keeps killing people whose deaths cannot be rationalized away ideologically, philosophically, or in any other way. But some of the victims are, in fact, Russian, and as the second season starts to unfold, the collateral damage starts to weigh on him.

You can see the psychic damage he’s suffering as he comes to terms with who he is. His eyes seem to slowly die and become glassy. At times he suggests a terminally ill man who has decided not to tell anyone how sick he is because he’s afraid it would only make his life more miserable. You can chart Philip’s devolution in Rhys’ face, his gestures, his vocal tremors. There are many moments when Rhys’s work is genuinely hard to watch because it’s so painfully honest. Over time, his performance becomes a mirror in which the viewer’s own moral failings are reflected.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/vultu...thew-rhys.html

* * * *

TV Notes
Vulture TV Awards: The Year’s Best Female Drama Performer Is Julianna Margulies

Up next: the award for Best Female Drama Performer, as selected by Vulture television critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

The nominees are:

Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Abigail Spencer, Rectify
Alison Tolman, Fargo

And the winner is ...

WINNER: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife


The TV year to date has given us so many complex characters, inhabited by so many disciplined and charismatic performers, that it’s tough to make a case for, say, Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black over Alison Tolman of Fargo, or of Abigail Spencer of Rectify over Eva Green of Penny Dreadful. (How do the Emmy and Golden Globes voters do it, anyway?)

But I keep returning to Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife for two simple reasons. First, over the years, her character has gone through as many life changes as almost any lead female character on TV. In five seasons she’s evolved from a philandering politician’s mortified wife struggling to begin again in the work force to first lady of Illinois and founding partner in a law firm. And yet the seismic internal shifts she’s experienced, and that we’ve been made privy to, are often expressed in subtle ways. She has to be crafty, feeling whatever she’s feeling without letting anybody else know, because she’s both an authority figure and a celebrity. That’s not easy. In fact, it takes an emotional toll. Day after day, it changes a person, like water on a rock.

Second, and related, is the way Margulies balances the requirement that she be subtle against the need for Alicia to be an iconic character — the sort that an old movie star would have played were The Good Wife a series of, say, 1940s or ’50s MGM films rather than an ongoing TV show. We like watching Alicia looking poised and beautiful and well-dressed, because those are the old-movie values, maybe the only old-movie values, that have traveled from the early 20th century to the early 21st without much alteration; they’re tradition. But we also like watching Margulies be vulnerable, conflicted, recognizably human. The most exciting moments in nearly any Good Wife episode are the moments when Alicia is confronted with a new and potentially upsetting piece of information — learning that her husband Dan Peter has perhaps been unfaithful again, or that a pivotal witness in a case has been disallowed by a judge.

We know everything she's feeling though she plausibly hides it from other characters and the public. We see the lies and the truth at once. We also see her choosing to exercise her authority, however much she has in a given scene, by the length of her pauses, and the way she looks at people. As my friend Elisa puts it, “There's power in the way she uses silence.” I’d rather watch Alicia Florrick think before responding to a question than watch the typical CGI cityscape being destroyed. The expressions that flicker across her face without quite coalescing and giving the game away hint at alternate universes in which Alicia made the wrong choice, or the right one. Margulies’s performance is proof that “small” acting can be as thrilling as the other kind. Maybe more so.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/vultu...w-fosters.html
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Kitchen’ cooks up a Thursday win for Fox
Gordon Ramsay reality show averages a 1.8 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 20, 2014

Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” is cooking with gas.

The Gordon Ramsay reality program was the top original show on broadcast Thursday night among adults 18-49, averaging a 1.8 rating, according to Nielsen overnights.

That was up 13 percent over last week and tied a repeat of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” as the No. 1 program overall for the day.

It also led Fox to a Thursday night victory.

Elsewhere last night, ABC’s two-hour season premiere of “Rookie Blue” averaged a 1.0 from 9 to 11 p.m., down 17 percent from its fourth-season bow last summer.

That was even to its fourth-season finale rating in September, though.

NBC’s 10 p.m. reality show “Last Comic Standing” jumped 17 percent from last week, to a 1.4, against lesser competition; last week ABC was airing the NBA finals on Thursday night.

The network’s comedy “Undateable” was equal to last week with a 0.9 for back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m.

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 1.3 average overnight rating and a 5 share. CBS, NBC and Univision all tied for second at 1.1/4, ABC was fifth at 0.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/2, and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-nine percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

Fox started the night in the lead with a 1.8 at 8 p.m. for “Kitchen,” followed by CBS with a 1.5 for reruns of “Bang” and “Mom.” NBC and Univision tied for third at 0.9, NBC for a repeat of “Hollywood Game Night” and Univision for “De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero.” ABC was fifth with a 0.7 for “Black Box,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “La Impostora” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for the “Critics Choice Television Awards.”

Univision took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.3 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo,” while CBS remained second with a 1.2 for reruns of “Two and a Half Men” and “The Millers.” ABC was third with a 1.0 for the first hour of “Blue.” NBC and Fox tied for fourth at 0.9, NBC for “Undateable” and Fox for “Gang Related,” Telemundo was sixth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for its awards show.

NBC moved to first at 10 p.m. with a 1.4 for “Comic,” with Univision second with a 1.2 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos.” ABC was third with a 1.0 for more “Rookie Blue,” Telemundo fourth with a 0.9 for “El Señor de los Cielos” and CBS fifth with a 0.7 for a rerun of “Elementary.”

ABC and CBS tied for first for the night among households, each with a 3.4 average overnight rating and a 6 share. Fox was third at 2.3/4, NBC fourth at 2.2/4, Univision fifth at 1.5/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/2 and CW seventh at 0.7/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/kit...rsday-win-fox/
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post #95090 of 96280 Old 06-20-2014, 09:44 AM
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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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TV Review
'Almost Royal': Silly slice of BBC America nobility
By Dave Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle - Jun. 20, 2014

One of the differences between the United States and Great Britain is that the British seem absolutely shameless about being absolutely silly. Americans can be silly, too, but it's often a kind of tentative silliness, whereas the Brits dive headfirst into silly at every given opportunity and splash around in it with complete abandon.

"Almost Royal," premiering with back-to-back episodes Saturday, is a show only BBC America could create. The channel's first original scripted comedy is about a pair of lesser British nobles who are on a tour of the United States because their late father, who died of an "accidental" self-inflicted shotgun blast to the face, was terribly fond of the States.

Poppy and Georgie Carlton (Amy Hoggart and Ed Gamble) are classic British upper-class twits, dumb as a box of kippers, and have never worked a day in their lives. They have little to no awareness of the outside world in their own country, much less in the United States. In addition to bringing Daddy's ashes along for the journey, Georgie is hoping the visits to Los Angeles, Boston, Texas, New York and other points of interest will teach him more about the world and help him to become more manly. Similarly, Poppy has hopes that she will find a career as an actress, or perhaps an author, lifestyle guru or cookery presenter - something that befits her station in life without necessitating actual work.

First stop: Los Angeles, of course, where the adorable idiots abroad visit a plastic surgeon and try to get him to tell them the names of famous faces he's worked on, and they make a set visit to "The Bold and the Beautiful" where Poppy does a line reading for the casting director and displays her utter lack of talent. They also wander into a market where Fabio is doing a demonstration of some holistic product and they try to set him up with their widowed mum, who is rather in need of action since Daddy died.

From there, it's on to Boston, where they learn about the Revolutionary War from a college professor. When he gets to the part about Paul Revere, Georgie questions why a "snitch" would be considered a national hero. Later, they participate in a baseball game during which Georgie learns to spit and trash-talk and Poppy gets a base hit.

Down the Massachusetts Turnpike a ways, they wind up in Worcester at a local chapter meeting of the Tea Party, where Georgie delivers a hilariously inane speech leaving the attendant archconservatives dumbfounded. The siblings are rather confused when it's all over, since no tea was actually served.

Georgie and Poppy are, of course, having a laugh, as the British would say, and their parts are semi-scripted. But no one else is in on the joke. The Tea Partyers are left uncharacteristically speechless by their presence, the guys on the baseball team are both bemused and confused about how they are supposed to react to "almost royals" (Poppy and Georgie are said to be eighty-something in line for the throne, which, barring some kind of pandemic wiping out the rest of the family, means the Sceptered Isle will be sparred being ruled by idiots).

In addition to being absurdly funny and addictive, "Almost Royal" smartly satirizes both Americans, for their seemingly endless fascination with British royalty, and the titled British upper class as well, for their pixilated detachment from the real world.

"Almost Royal" has enough silliness for both American and British tastes.


ALMOST ROYAL
Back-to-back episodes 10 p.m. Saturday on BBC America.


http://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/Alm...ca-5554350.php
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

FOX:
8PM - 24: Live Another Day (R - Jun. 16)
9PM - Gang Related (R - Jun. 19)

Hmm...most sources list:


8PM - Masterchef (June 16)
9PM - 24: Live Another Day (June 16)
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Bet On Your Baby
9PM - The Assets
10PM - Nightline Prime

CBS:
8PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Apr. 12)
9PM - 48 Hours
10PM - 48 Hours

NBC:
8PM - Crisis
9PM - Crisis
10PM - The Blacklist
(R - Jan. 27)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Seth Rogen; Ed Sheeran performs, 93 min.)
(R - Apr. 12)

FOX:
7PM - MLB Baseball: Regional Coverage (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def (60 min.)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits (Raphael Saadiq; Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears) (R - Oct. 8, 2011)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Sábado Gigante (Three Hours)

TELEMUNDO:
6PM - Movie: Air Force One (1997)
8:30PM - Movie: Safe House (2012)
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TV Review
'Terry the Tomboy'
Nickelodeon tries to help online hit Lia Marie Johnson grow into big-screen star, with help from Charlie DePew and Noland Ammon
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jun. 21, 2014

Like many other Internet shows that make the jump to traditional TV, “Terry the Tomboy” may not be ready for a full-length movie quite yet.

But she’s got one, and that’s not a bad thing for all those fans who appreciate Lia Marie Johnson’s endearing buoyancy and animated drawl.

In the tradition of TV movies that showcase characters who are already popular on the network, Nick pairs Johnson’s endearing Terry character with her fellow “AwesomenessTV” star, Noland Ammon, who plays her best friend Duncanty.

Duncanty yearns for Terry to become his girlfriend, which in their town means riding the Ferris wheel with him at the county fair. Terry, for her part, sees him as a likable and useful good friend.

That dilemma, which is not laid out subtly, heats up when Terry spots new kid Brett (Charlie DePew).

For like the first time ever, she gets these little tingles that she recognizes to her horror are girlish.

As her name suggests, that’s not good news for a girl whose personal goal at the county fair is to win the pie-eating contest.

If you’re making a wild guess that all these threads at some point could weave together, hey, no fair peeking. And let’s not forget Brittanica, Terry’s one-time best friend who has morphed into something of a rival.
“Terry the Tomboy” works hard to keep the elements that make Johnson’s social media productions so appealing: the casual attitude, the goofy cut-ins.

Some of it doesn’t work as well here, in this marginally more polished production world.

But perhaps most important, the story works. Age-old as that transition may feel to those who only remember it, it’s fresh to each new generation.

'TERRY THE TOMBOY'
Network/Air Date: Nickelodeon, Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.1837844
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TV Notes
Study: Latinos Mostly Ignored Or Stereotyped In English-Language Films & TV
By Dave Robb, Deadline.com - Jun. 20, 2014

A new study says Latinos were better represented in front of and behind the cameras in the 1950s than they are today. The same report asserts that stereotyping of Latinos in English-language movies and TV shows is worse than it was 20 years ago.

The 44-page report from Columbia University, called “The Latino Media Gap: A Report on the State of Latinos in U.S. Media” (read it here), was a collaboration of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race’s Media and Idea Lab at Columbia University, the Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. It found that while the more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S. make up 17% of the population, there were no leading roles for Latino actors among the top 10 movies and scripted network TV shows in all of 2013. By contrast, Latinos on average made up only 2.8% of the U.S. population in the 1950s but accounted for 3.9% of lead actor roles and 1.5% of all leading roles.

“With few exceptions,” the report found, “Latino participation in mainstream English-language media is stunningly low. A review of the top movies and television programs reveals that there is a narrower range of stories and roles, and fewer Latino lead actors in the entertainment industry today than there were 70 years ago. Likewise, whereas the Latino population grew more than 43% from 2000 to 2010, the rate of media participation behind and in front of the camera, and across all genres and formats, stayed stagnant or grew only slightly, at times proportionally declining.”

And despite decades of promises from the networks to increase minority representation behind the cameras, the report found that “the main strategy employed by most media companies over the last decades – the creation of diversity executive positions and departments – has been relatively ineffective in increasing diversity in both creative and leadership pools.”

The report found that from 2010-2013, Latinos comprised none of the top 10 TV show creators, 1.1% of producers, 2% of writers, and 4.1% of directors. Among top 10 movies, Latinos accounted for 2.3% of directors, 2.2% of producers, and 6% of writers. Even more dramatic, no Latinos currently serve as studio heads, network presidents, CEOs, or owners. The report also found that there was only one Latina among the top 53 executives at the studios and in all of English-language broadcasting.

The report does not include the representation of Latinos working in front of and behind the cameras at Spanish-language broadcasters such as Univision and Telemundo, where the number of non-Hispanic writers, directors, producers, actors and executives is as low as the number of their Latino counterparts working in English-language media – a new twist on the old phrase “separate but equal.” Univision isn’t even mentioned in the report, and Telemundo is only cited in a footnote.

The report’s conclusions on the subject of stereotyping of Latinos in English-language movies and TV shows is equally damning.

“On television and movies, Latinos continue to be represented primarily as criminals, law enforcers, and cheap labor,” according to the report. “From 2012 to 2013, 17.7% of Latino film characters and 24.2% of TV characters were linked to crime, a considerable increase from 1994, when it was only 6% on television … Equally important, 69% of iconic media maids in film and television since 1996 are Latina.”

Latino men, meanwhile, “have disappeared as leading actors,” the report claims, though the percentage of Latinas and Afro-Latino actors is rising.

The report further found that “news is worse than fiction.” “Stories about Latinos constitute less than 1% of news media coverage,” according to the report, “and the majority of these stories feature Latinos as lawbreakers. Moreover, Latino participation in front and behind the camera is extraordinarily low: as of 2013, there were no Latino anchors or executive producers in any of the nation’s top news programs.”

The report concluded: “Latinos are a powerful force in American society. Topping 53 million, Latinos constitute one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, comprising 17% of the population and over 20% of the key 18-34 marketing demographic. Relative to the general population, Latinos also attend more movies and listen to radio more frequently than do any other U.S. racial or ethnic group. In addition, their purchasing power is steadily increasing. By 2015, Hispanic buying power is expected to reach $1.6 trillion. To put this figure in perspective, if U.S. Latinos were to found a nation, that economy would be the 14th largest in the world. Moreover, they are watchful of their image: When programs or films are perceived to have anti-Latino content, advocacy groups and consumers target studios and networks with increasingly effective campaigns. Simultaneously, programs and movies featuring compelling Latino talent and storylines are rewarded with high ratings and revenue.”

http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/lati...meadia-report/

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TV Notes
Netflix-Marvel's ‘Daredevil’ Casts Rosario Dawson in ‘Critical’ Role
By Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Jun. 20, 2014

Rosario Dawson has joined the cast of Netflix-Marvel's upcoming “Daredevil” series in a “critical” role, said Jeph Loeb, Marvel's head of television on Friday.

She will play a woman with a quest to heal the wounds of Hell's Kitchen. Her work forces Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, unexpectedly crashing into her life, while her own journey forever alters the course of his battle against the injustices in the city.

“Rosario Dawson is one the most charismatic, talented and powerful actresses in Hollywood, so she was always at the top of our list for ‘Marvel's Daredevil,'” said Loeb on the Marvel website. “Her role in the series is absolutely critical to Matt Murdock's journey to become the hero we know as Daredevil.”

A rare jump to television for the actress, Dawson's movie credits include the “Sin City” film franchise, “Seven Pounds,” and “Clerks II,” among many others.

In addition to Cox, Dawson joins Vincent D'Onofrio, who will play Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin, on the cast. ”Spartacus” creator Steven S. DeKnight has signed on as the series’ showrunner, replacing Drew Goddard.

The new series will kick off next year, with Marvel Television producing in association with ABC Television Studios.

CAA and Untitled represent Dawson.

http://www.thewrap.com/daredevil-cas...critical-role/
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post #95097 of 96280 Old 06-21-2014, 12:54 AM
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Business/Legal Notes
Viacom Can't Escape Cablevision's Antitrust Lawsuit
By Eriq Gardner, Deadline.com - Jun. 20, 2014

A New York federal judge has denied Viacom's motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by Cablevision that alleges that the owner of "must-have [core] networks" like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV had threatened to impose a "10-figure penalty" if Cablevision didn't license smaller suite networks like Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic.

Viacom disputed that it had illegal made a tying arrangement by bundling its networks, and argued that the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate marketplace foreclosure and hadn't identified the relevant product markets for a viable antitrust claim.

But in an opinion on Friday, U.S. district judge Laura Taylor Swain says that Cablevision has "pleaded facts sufficient to support plausibly an inference of anticompetitive effects. For example, Cablevision alleges that if it were not forced to carry the Suite Networks, it 'would carry other networks on the numerous channel slots that Viacom’s Suite Networks currently occupy.' Cablevision also alleges that Cablevision would buy other 'general programming networks' from Viacom’s competitors absent the tying arrangement. Viacom’s motion is therefore denied to the extent it seeks dismissal of Cablevision's per se tying claim for failure to allege anticompetitive effects."

Here's the full ruling.

The lawsuit was filed in February, 2013, just three months after the programmer and distributor reached its last carriage deal. The timing of the lawsuit, so soon after the dealmaking, raised Viacom's ire, as the defendant told the judge that what Cablevision really wanted to do was to "reform the contract to its liking so as to keep only the rates and terms it would like to have."

The litigation has also been used as an exhibit in the seemingly perpetual push by some consumer advocates and lawmakers for an a la carte pricing system in the TV world.

Cablevision's procedural victory was hardly a given, considering that past courts have said that a tying arrangement in and of itself isn't an antitrust violation. Viacom has also said publicly that that the “10-figure penalty” that Viacom has cited is simply the difference between the standard rates and the significant "discount" Cablevision negotiated.

Although Cablevision was able to fend off a motion to dismiss, the judge declined to address the cable operator's demand to void its deal licensing Viacom's networks at such an early stage in the litigation.

The case now moves on. No trial date has yet been set. Summary judgment motions would likely come first.
In reaction to the ruling, Cablevision issued the following statement: "We are gratified the Court has ruled that Cablevision has stated a valid antitrust claim against Viacom for illegal channel tying. We continue to believe that Viacom’s tying of its popular networks to carriage of its lesser-watched ancillary networks is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong. We look forward to further pressing our case at the next stage of the proceeding."

Viacom responds: "Viacom’s programming licensing arrangements are flexible, competitive and the result of good-faith negotiations with distributors. Cablevision’s action in this case is simply part of an ongoing effort to renege on a long-term business agreement, using arguments directly contrary to positions it has taken in other cases and to its own business practices. Although we are disappointed that the court did not dismiss these claims at the outset, we are confident that Cablevision will fail to prove the facts required to prevail in their case."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr...titrust-713791

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Critic's Notes
Vulture TV Awards: The Year’s Best-Directed Scene Is From True Detective
By Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jun. 18, 2014

All this week, we’re presenting the Vulture TV Awards, honoring the best in television from the past year. Yesterday, we showered Amy Schumer, H. Jon Benjamin, and others with love, and today we singled out Matthew Rhys and Julianna Margulies for their stellar performances. Up next: Best-Directed Scene, as selected by Vulture television critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

And the nominees are:

The Americans — The professor describes ARPANET to Philip in “ARPANET.” Director: Kevin Dowling.
Fargo — Lorne Malvo’s mob strike in “Who Shaves the Barber?” Director: Scott Winant.
Louie — Louie gets dumped in “Elevator Part 6.” Director: Louis C.K.
True Detective — housing project shootout in “Who Goes There.” Director: Cary Fukunaga.
True Detective — “Are You Alright” montage in “Who Goes There.” Director: Cary Fukunaga.

And the winner is ...

Winner: True Detective — “Are You Alright” montage.


The fourth episode of Nic Pizzolatto’s neo-noir series True Detective ends the most showily directed (some said overdirected) sequence of the TV year to date: a six-minute, single take through a housing project. That’s admittedly a whopper of a Steadicam shot; kudos to season-one director Cary Fukunaga for pulling it off and pushing discussion of film aesthetics out of film blogs and into mainstream entertainment coverage. Similarly impressive, though more cruelly exact and mysterious, was the massacre in episode seven of Fargo, which showed Billy Bob Thornton’s assassin entering a mob stronghold and killing several goons inside, their deaths indicated only through offscreen dialogue, sound effects, and the occasional muzzle flash. Just as daring, though admittedly quieter, was the breakup scene in the Louie episode “Elevator Part 6,” which, like so many scenes in that show’s fourth season, was done in a single take; the only motion was a very subtle pull-out, as if the show couldn’t bear to be so close to such an uncomfortable moment. In season two, The Americans again distinguished itself as a series that’s wizardly about explaining complex concepts or plotlines without making viewers choke on verbal exposition; my favorite example is the scene in episode seven wherein a college professor explains a progenitor of the internet to troubled hero Philip Jennings, and the camera illustrates the idea that electronic communication makes geography moot by seeming to rise through the ceiling to reveal the internet router, which may or may not actually be above the professor’s office.

But for my money, the best-directed sequence of the half-year is a much quieter sequence in the same True Detective episode that showcased that amazing housing-project sequence. It shows Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) committing to their cockamamie scheme to flush out an accused serial killer by having Rust infiltrate a biker gang. It’s a perfect example of how to design a montage that gets across salient plot points while simultaneously giving the audience an eerily beautiful something extra.

On the surface, it’s just a simple expository sequence showing Rust stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker and replacing it with a package containing flour. It runs about two minutes and has 21 shots (not many, in this age of overedited storytelling). And yet the images of Rust finding himself by losing himself (reviving his dormant undercover identity in simple physical actions such as weighing flour, doing pull-ups, and staring into a tiny circular mirror) have a mesmerizing power. They illuminate his loopy Spartan mindset (and Marty’s fascination with it). The sequence gives McConaughey something akin to a movie-star-style trailer for himself, but because every gesture is related to Rust’s “mission,” the effect is hypnotic instead of laughable. These two are so obsessed with catching bad guys and doing justice for murdered women that they’re going to destroy their careers and drive away the women they care about. The show worships at the altar of maverick heroes and critiques their toxic masculinity at the same time; the aesthetic intelligence at work in this sequence and others suggests that the show is aware of this eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too conundrum and is sincerely wrestling with it. The crowning touch is the song: Lucinda Williams’s “Are You Alright.” The female vocal track and warm, faintly maternal lyrics (“Are you all right?/Is there anything I can do?”) make the scene play less like a celebration of prowess than a lament for one man’s delusions, and perhaps a whole gender’s.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/vultu...detective.html

* * * *

TV Notes
Vulture TV Awards: The Best Episode of the Year Is the Hannibal Season 2 Finale

Up next: a look back at five of the best episodes from the past year of television, as selected by Vulture television critic Matt Zoller Seitz, including an upstart at the top spot.

1. Hannibal, “Mizumono”: Written by Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller, Directed by David Slade
This show demonstrates so much formal daring each week that even the most audacious innovations and flourishes in other live-action series seem tame in comparison. The season-two finale is one of the greatest hours of TV it has ever been my pleasure, or horror, to sit through. If you have never watched Hannibal, you’ll think it absurd that I briefly considered making this a list of five Hannibal episodes. If you have seen the show, you get it (and if this were a list of five Hannibal episodes, the other four would be “Shiizakana,” “Naka-Choko,” "Tome-wan," and "Sakizuke”). I won’t describe the finale or the show in detail for the many TV viewers who have yet to sample Hannibal (if you don’t mind spoilers, you can read my appreciation of the show’s second season here), but I would urge anyone who hasn’t done so yet to commit to a full two-season binge immediately.

2. Mad Men, “The Strategy”: Written by Semi Chellas, Directed by Phil Abraham
A nearly perfect hour of television (well, 42 minutes, minus ads), this Mad Men episode showcased one of the great Don-and-Peggy moments, a rapprochement-as-slow-dance to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” and it boasted all manner of emotional and visual grace-notes, not the least of which was that slow pull-back from the makeshift nuclear family of Peggy, Don, and Pete eating in that Burger Chef window. But it was also a marvel on a level of basic storytelling craft. Every scene and line was pitched just right and ended when it should have. And as I wrote in my recap, it “does a remarkable job of unifying itself around a particular idea — the gap between reality and socially constructed fantasy — without making itself seem too obviously organized.”

3. The Good Wife, “A Few Words”: Written by Rosemary Rodriguez, Directed by Leonard Dick
This episode was about Alicia Florrick learning to use the power she’d accumulated over The Good Wife’s four-and-a-half seasons — to control her destiny, as she put it, and to figure out the extent to which her feelings for Will were holding back her development, and what, if anything, to do about it. “I want a happy life,” she said, “And I want to control my own fate.’ The long road was remembered through deft flashback storytelling, which cut between Alicia’s preparation to deliver a speech about being an “opt-out mom” at an American Bar Association Conference and her experience in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s scandal, when she did and said whatever she needed to do and say in order to recover and rebuild. On top of all that, the episode was genuinely funny (e.g., the anti-Semitic bear; Clarke’s irritation at the taxicab video) and wise about awkwardness between exes (Alicia and Will’s coffee-shop encounter where they’re not quite facing each other). A pantheon episode.

4. Louie, “Elevator, Part 6”: Written and directed by Louis C.K.
Louie’s breakup with his girlfriend Amia (Eszter Balint) was the heart and soul of this episode, and its excellence was bound up in its minimalist direction; but it also contained that amazing sequence showing Louie’s (maybe unnecessary) rescue of his ex-wife and daughter during a hurricane, which sets up the combination of male entitlement and deep romantic depression that leads into the attempted rape in the next episode, the controversial “Pamela Part 1.” Very few half-hour shows manage to seem so epic and intimate, so serious and painfully funny, in the same time slot.

5. Mad Men, “Time Zones”: Written by Jonathan Igla and Matthew Weiner, Directed by Scott Hornbacher.
A study in malaise, this Mad Men episode was arguably the most deceptive in the first half of the show’s final season. It was possible to watch “Time Zones” the first time and think it uneventful and perhaps uninteresting, then revisit it and realize that it was just operating on a very subtle wavelength, setting up rhyming situations, gestures, and lines of dialogue that didn’t form into a pattern until you’d had a few hours (or days) to really live with it. Which isn’t to say it stinted on Big Moments: From the opening shot of Freddy Rumsen delivering the Acutron copy straight into the camera to Don and Megan’s Wong Kar-wai slow-motion meetup at the Los Angeles airport to the final shot of a miserable Don shivering on the balcony of his New York apartment, this was an hour filled with moments so potent that they seemed to capture the essence of the show, or some prismatic shard of it, anyway.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/vultu...al-finale.html

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TV Review
‘Almost Royal,’ almost amusing
BBC America mockumentary largely pulls its punches
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

Mockumentaries can be divided into two categories: There are those like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “The Office,” in which actors interact with other actors, and there are those like Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” and “Da Ali G Show,” in which the actors interact with unsuspecting civilians. The second kind can be uncomfortable to watch: It’s one thing to see professionals making fools of themselves; it’s another to see them making fools of others.

BBC America’s new series “Almost Royal” is the second type of mockumentary, but the comedy never attains Baron Cohen levels of outrageousness. Although the regular folks with whom the actors interact get off relatively easy, the mild satire provides steady smiles, if few outright laughs.

Premiering this Saturday at 10 p.m., the series follows Georgie Carlton (Ed Gamble) and his sister, Poppy (Amy Hoggart), two young English aristocrats who are touring America in accordance with the dying wish of their father, who was killed when a bullet that he fired richocheted off a gun-safety sign.

“It really was a terrible waste of a life,” says Georgie. “And a sign.”

The main point of the series is the vapidity and uselessness of the British upper class. When an American asks Georgie if he’s familiar with hard work, he replies, “I’m familiar with the concept.” He can barely drive a car and, in the second episode, can’t change a tire, making a predictable error when using the verb “to jack.”

In the premiere episode, the siblings explore Los Angeles, visiting a plastic surgeon, meeting the casting director of a soap opera and taking a bike tour of celebrity sites. The most notable celebrity they actually meet is Fabio, who is making an appearance in a grocery store to promote some kind of whey product.

The situations are the sort that Baron Cohen or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog could exploit to devastating effect, but the Americans come off largely unscathed. The siblings generally make themselves look stupid. They keep asking Fabio, a good sport, to do simple arithmetic and are unduly impressed when he can.

The plastic surgeon fares worst. After he agrees that he doesn’t look 60 and brags that he has a 37-year-old girlfriend, Poppy asks, “Does she look 7?” Later she tells Georgie that the surgeon “looked like a frozen cat.”

In the second episode, they attend a Tea Party meeting in Boston. Although some of the Americans in attendance appear to be cranks, the siblings fail to draw them out in revealing or embarrassing ways. Georgie delivers a long speech about a cricket match, with cuts to the bored attendees.

Later, Georgie and Poppy express their confusion as to why no tea was served at the tea party.

They then participate in a reenactment of a Revolutionary War battle near Philadelphia. Although the reenactors would seem to be prime targets for lampooning, the Brits are again the focus of the comedy.

Playing a member of a Highland regiment, Georgie puts on a kilt. His privates are tiled out when a camera follows him uphill as he makes a solo charge. He then mimes shooting an automatic rifle and throwing a hand grenade.

Although the low-key joshing requires some adjustment on the part of viewers accustomed to today’s sarcastic comedy, Georgie and Poppy are attractive and fun to be around. Sensitive viewers may feel relieved that the bystanders, innocent and otherwise, aren’t being made to look ridiculous.

It’s possible, of course, that the creators intended to roast the Americans mercilessly but the actors didn’t have the necessary ad-libbing skills or the killer instinct.

“Almost Royal” consistently makes us almost laugh. That’s more than almost good enough.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/alm...lmost-amusing/
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 21, 2014

2014 WORLD CUP
ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET

Today’s three games include all four teams in Group F, and half of Group G. The first Group F game, beginning at noon ET on ESPN, is between Argentina and Iran. To this point, Argentina is the only Group F team with a win, and Iran is one of two teams to have emerged with a draw. The second Group F game, at 6 p.m. ET, is Nigeria vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Nigeria, too, earned a draw, while the remaining team has shown up only in the loss column, and needs a win desperately to stave off elimination. And in between, at 3 p.m. ET, is a Group G game between Germany and Ghana, who respectively won and lost their initial games. Tomorrow comes the other Group G game, which here at home is awaited with much anticipation – the United States vs. Portugal.

THE WOLVERINE
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 2013 movie continued to expand the Marvel Comics movie franchise, giving Hugh Jackman’s title character a chance to go off on his own again, after already successfully anchoring his own origin-story film in 2009. Here, he travels to Japan and gets caught up dealing with a whole new roster of villains, including one named Viper, played by Svetlana Khodchenkova. That last name wasn’t easy to spell – but I can’t tell you how happy I am that I didn’t have to try to pronounce it on the radio.

ORPHAN BLACK
BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE:
It’s the end of Season 2 for Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and all her clones – and perhaps the end of Sarah, too, as she officially surrenders to those hunting her in this season finale episode. But she has a good reason, and even though her daughter Kira is in the hands of evil Rachel (another of many roles played by Maslany), don’t count Sarah out. Having to watch from behind a one-way mirror as Rachel talks to, and gets closer to, Kira is more than enough motivation for Sarah to come up with a Plan B.

ALMOST ROYAL
BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
This new BBC America series is like an Anglophile’s answer to Borat. It takes two quick-witted British actors impersonating young British royalty, sends them across the United States with a film crew, and captures them interacting with everyday Americans, acting posh and clueless in equal measure. Ed Gamble plays Georgie, and Amy Hoggart steals the spotlight as Poppy. As fake descendants of the Royal family, you might say they’re putting on heirs – but they’re very, very funny, as are our country’s reactions to their often outrageous comments and observations. The series premieres tonight with two back-to-back episodes.

BLOW-UP
TCM, 12:00 a.m. ET

Tonight’s TCM schedule is a salute to the swinging Sixties, and begins with two very appropriately upbeat character comedies. In the first, shown at 8 p.m. ET, Peter Sellers stars in 1968’s I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, playing an uptight businessman who loosens up after sampling sex, drugs and rock & roll. Then, at 10 p.m. ET, it’s Lynn Redgrave in 1966’s Georgy Girl, playing a sort of Bridget Jones type who effortlessly personifies the decade she’s in. But stay up until midnight ET, for the much darker, much more influential 1966 Michelangelo Antonio film Blow-Up, starring David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who accidentally films proof of a murder. It’s a very stylish movie, in more ways than one. Vanessa Redgrave co-stars, along with a model named Verushka, who plays herself – and fills out her role nicely.


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