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<p>It was hard for &quot;Friday Night Lights&quot; showrunner to say goodbye to characters like Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Jason Street (Scott Porter), but the story dictated it.</p>

It was hard for "Friday Night Lights" showrunner to say goodbye to characters like Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Jason Street (Scott Porter), but the story dictated it.

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

Interview: 'Friday Night Lights' showrunner Jason Katims post-mortems the series finale

On saying goodbye to a town, a team and a whole lot of great actors
(NOTE: This interview was originally posted when the "FNL" finale aired on DirecTV in February.)
Jason Katims has had a lot longer to say goodbye to "Friday Night Lights" than the rest of us. The series' longtime showrunner already wrote or co-wrote two previous episodes - season 1's "State" and season 3's "Tomorrow Blues" - that might have had to serve as series finales if not for 11th-hour renewals from NBC and/or DirecTV, and he wrote the series finale, "Always," which wrapped production back in the summer and just finished airing on DirecTV's The 101 Network. (You can read my "Always" review here.)
The day before the finale aired, I spoke with Katims about letting go of these characters he's shepherded for five years, about opportunities missed, about the controversial season 2 murder plot, and about the many things that made "Friday Night Lights" so damn great.
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<p>Coach (Kyle Chandler)&nbsp;and Mrs. Coach (Connie Britton)&nbsp;share a tender moment in the &quot;Friday Night Lights&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Coach (Kyle Chandler) and Mrs. Coach (Connie Britton) share a tender moment in the "Friday Night Lights" series finale.

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

'Friday Night Lights' - 'Always': Texas forever?

Say goodbye to Dillon in the beautiful series finale

Well, damn it. "Friday Night Lights" is over. Earlier today I posted my breakdown of my favorite moments of the series, and you can also read my interview with showrunner Jason Katims about the ups and downs of the series, and Fienberg and I also recorded a podcast looking back over the whole series. And my review of the series finale coming up just as soon as I make it clear that it's not incest...  

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<p>TNT has canceled &quot;Men of a Certain Age.&quot;</p>

TNT has canceled "Men of a Certain Age."

Credit: TNT

TNT cancels 'Men of a Certain Age'

Emmy nominated drama is done after two seasons

TNT has canceled "Men of a Certain Age," the low-rated critical darling starring Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula as the three titular men.

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<p>Kelly Clarkson</p>

Kelly Clarkson

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Kelly Clarkson shows her 'Dark Side' in another leaked track

Will you still love her tomorrow?

Kelly Clarkson’s fifth studio album isn’t out for awhile, but as another song leaks, it sure sounds like a winner.

“Dark Side,” a mid-tempo thumper (girl likes her mid-tempo songs, doesn’t she?) opens with a few wispy, Katy Perry-like “oh,ohs” and a jewelry box-sounding tinker before she gets to the point: can her partner love her “even with her dark side.” 

She sounds sweet and vulnerable before the chorus bursts into an explosion that matches the cacophony going on in her own head.
 â€¨Clarkson’s voice sounds great here. There are times when she’s really belting--and she’s a strong belter-- that the pitch doesn’t match the power. Here, both are perfect.

Between “Dark Side” and “Let Me Down,”  which leaked two weeks ago, sounds like Clarkson’s love life has been less than satisfactory lately. But that’s okay. We’ve had enough of silly little love songs.

Clarkson has been downright lowkey about the leaks, taking them in stride. As she posted on her website on Monday, "Well .....I get back in the states from a vacation and somehow like 50 of my songs are leaked on the Internet?! No point in getting angry because there's nothing I can do so I hope y'all like the music. I can't wait for everybody to hear my actual finished 5th album! On a side note, Tahiti is one of the greatest places I've ever been. It's so beautiful! I had an amazing vacation and and got to hang with some awesome people! There's nothing better than dancing, laughing, having a couple drinks, then more dancing, games, and then more laughing :)"

Clarkson will play at the IHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas, which takes place Sept. 23-24.

Listen to “Dark Side” via Idolator.

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<p>Leona Lewis</p>

Leona Lewis

Listen: Leona Lewis 'Collides' with new dance-pop single

Is this song a ripoff?

There's already a fight over who Leona Lewis' "Collide" belongs to, but I'm not sure why it's worth the fuss.

In what is one of the more boring vocal lines to be headed to a top 40 radio station near you, "Collide" features Lewis' best vanilla voice on vanilla lines like “I’ll pick you up when you’re down / Be there when no one’s around." The only way this ear-ingested sleeping pill succeeds is in bucking the cookie-cutter pop recipe of quiet-loud-quiet-loud-bridge-breakdown-loud. She busts out at the end, but I don't feel moved: instead I feel like she shouting that it's the part where I'm supposed to be moved. There's a difference.

For one -- as Idolator also points out -- it's stupid-similar to Alexis Jordan's "Happiness" (probably because it was written by the same person: Autumn Rowe). And Ministry of Sound is claiming that it's also spot-on for Avicii's "Penguin." These are all below. And they are all a testament to larger industry and creative problems. 

Tired now? Me too.

Lewis' third album will drop this November.


Leona Lewis - Collide (BBC Radio 1 Premiere) by josepvinaixa

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<p>Evan Sneider is the star of the unsettling and unusual 'Girlfriend'</p>

Evan Sneider is the star of the unsettling and unusual 'Girlfriend'

Credit: Wayne/Lauren Film Company

Review: 'Girlfriend' tells uneasy story of love and kindness with unlikely star

Justin Lerner's debut feature hinges on a very special lead performance

It's not often that I can honestly say that a movie strikes me as completely original, but that is true of Justin Lerner's new film "Girlfriend," opening today in New York.  It's the sort of film I have trouble even assigning a genre as I watch it, and I strongly encourage you to get out and support this tiny indie right now while you can, and maybe we'll see this one get a wider release, which it absolutely deserves.

I'm curious what the order of events was for this one.  The lead in the movie, Evan Sneider, is a young man with Down's Syndrome, and I'm curious if the role was written for them or if they went out and found Evan after writing the script.  It's one of those cases where the film wouldn't exist without Evan, and I'm not sure this is the sort of thing you could even put together if you didn't know you had the exact right person to play the part.  Sneider's work in the film is accomplished and moving and, again, original.  I'm so used to the ingrained idea that any time you see someone with Down's in a key role in a film, they'll be portrayed a certain way, that when you see something like this that throws rules out the window, it's enough to make the experience deeply unsetting.

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Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf took a trip back to World War II on tonight's "Leverage."
Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf took a trip back to World War II on tonight's "Leverage."
Credit: TNT

'Leverage' travels back to WWII for 'The Van Gogh Job'

A fun flashback episode and showcase for Aldis Hodge

I write about a lot of TV shows, but there are many more that I watch but don't write about, either due to lack of time, bulk viewing (I tended to marathon "The Good Wife" a lot in season 1, for instance) or simply because there's just not enough meat there to justify episode-by-episode analysis. ("Burn Notice" is a show that I think has slipped into that territory, even though I still enjoy it.)

One of those often-watched, rarely-reviewed shows is "Leverage," and for once I'm a bit ahead of the game, having seen a screener of Sunday night's episode, titled "The Van Gogh Job." It's a notable episode for a few reasons.

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<p>Lenny Kravitz </p>

Lenny Kravitz

Watch: Lenny Kravitz as you've never seen him in new video for 'Stand'

He lets his freak flag fly in '70s game show spoof

We’ve already declared our love for Lenny Kravitz’s new single, the crunchy, infectious pop delight, “Stand.” And now he’s made a Foo Fighters-worthy video to go along with it. And that is high praise indeed.

The song has a ‘70s vibe to it, so it makes perfect sense that the Paul Hunter-directed clip sets the Wayback Machine to a spoof of “Let’s Make A Deal”--the original with Monty Hall, not the current lame version with Wayne Brady.

Kravitz plays obnoxious host Bart Billingsworth as well as bad, hair-flipping Prince clone, Desmond Richie.  As deal after deal goes south for the contestants, drummer Bubba Washington, also played by Kravitz, pulls back the curtain (literally) on the corruption.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lots of scary chemical barrels abound on the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;Super Lab set.</p>

Lots of scary chemical barrels abound on the "Breaking Bad" Super Lab set.

'Breaking Bad': Picture perfect

Your humble writer turns photographer on the AMC drama's set

"Breaking Bad" preview week is almost at an end. As mentioned ad nauseum already, I went to the show's set in Albuquerque a few months ago to conduct some interviews, and also got an opportunity to tour the show's set and snap some pictures along the way. We have a whole gallery of them up, so go look and enjoy, and I can't wait to talk about the premiere with y'all on Sunday night.

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Listen: Blink-182's first single in six years, 'Up All Night'

Is there trouble in Blinkville?

Our boys are growing up. A dozen years ago, a  Blink-182 song called “Up At Night” would have undoubtedly been about sneaking out and staying awake until dawn’s early light by partying and carrying on.

The trio’s first single in six years will have you asking, “what’s their age again?,” because Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker are definitely living in the adult world on “Up All Night.”

Instead of regaling in frat-boy hijinks of yore, which, quite frankly, just seem pathetic after 25, what’s keeping our boys up all night are the pains and struggles of every day life. “All these demons, they keep me up all night,” the band sings in the crunchy, new tune, which debuted this morning on Los Angeles’ rock outlet KROQ.

The song is instantly identifiable as Blink, though it has a kind of cool, heavy Rush vibe that wasn’t always so apparent in their earlier hits. The cascading, dense, ominous intro lets us know that we’re not in for another party anthem. Leave that to LMFAO.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Evans straps on some red, white, and blue in 'Captain America:&nbsp;The First Avenger'</p>

Chris Evans straps on some red, white, and blue in 'Captain America: The First Avenger'

Credit: Paramount/Marvel Studios

Exclusive new 'Captain America' poster, plus how to win passes to see it early

Paramount's ready to wrap up 2011's summer of superheroes

I'm seeing it this weekend, and here's how you know I'm genuinely excited:  I hate traffic in Los Angeles worse than I hate anything, and I am driving into Carmageddon not once, but TWICE this weekend in order to both see the film and talk to the cast and the director.  There are not many movies coming out this summer that could get me to do that.

If you're going to be in San Diego for Comic-Con and you want to see "Captain America: The First Avenger" on Thursday, there's a 10:00 AM screening at the Horton Plaza Theater, and it's going to be complete with special guests and special surprises.  It is worth making the effort for this one.  We've got 30 pairs of tickets to give away, and I wish you luck.  I'll just say this... the people who saw it tonight who I talked to sounded happy about what they saw.  I'm avoiding any more footage or scenes or spoilers at this point because I just want to see the movie and see it all put together.

And if it weren't enough for us to hand out 30 pairs of tickets for you, we have something else as well, a brand-new poster for the film that brings together almost all of the film's major characters, with an imposing and decidedly evil Red Skull looking down at everything.

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<p>&quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;star Bryan Cranston.</p>

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston.

Interview: 'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston

How much monster is there inside Walter White?

Here's the second of my video interviews from when I visited the "Breaking Badset a few months ago, this time with star Bryan Cranston. (Previously, I posted my Aaron Paul interview and my review of the new season, which is fantastic.) 

Cranston and I had a nice little chat about the ins and outs of Walter White, starting off with me bouncing my interpretation of the character off him and Cranston politely disagreeing. It's a good conversation, but as I said with the Paul interview, my cinematography left something to be desired. (I tried to hire Michael Slovis, but he was outside my budget.) So if the shaky-cam bothers you, by all means just listen while opening a second browser window to look at pictures of dogs using computers.

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