While last week's episode of "Silicon Valley" smacked of tired sitcom tropes and predictable outcomes, this week the show manages to put the TV writing 101 textbook away and let character dictate both the humor and the direction of the plot. Crazy, right? Most importantly, Gilfoyle and Dinesh are able to do something other than lob semi-funny co-worker jokes at one another. Note to the writers' room: Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr are two of your greatest assets. Use them wisely. This episode was a step in the right direction, if only a step.
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Lest you think I actually prefer to grumble about "The Amazing Race" and can't enjoy a simple, clear and well-constructed Leg?
I give you Sunday (May 11) night's installment, "Hei Ho Heidi Ho."
Was it perhaps just a bit too dependent on seemingly arbitrary and minor travel misadventures? Well, yes. Both first place and last place for the Leg were determined by very tiny errors of direction. And although there were skill-based elements to the Roadblock, the Detour and a Route Marker task, the advantages gained or time lost ended up being deceptively minor.
But the tasks were fun, regionally specific and they were all designed to showcase the personalities of the contestants and I found myself really liking a few teams for the first time in weeks. These are the things I like in an "Amazing Race" episode, so I have to make sure I underline them whenever they occur.
Also, for the first time in weeks on "The Amazing Race," the competing teams treated the Leg like they were in a race for a million dollars. Nobody helped anybody else. Nobody got into pointless snits about perceived slights that were actually just part of the game.
I enjoyed it.
More after the break...
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the lineup's second Palme d'Or-winning British stalwart: Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall."
Larry Wilmore: “My mouth hit the floor” when Jon Stewart offered me “The Minority Report”
The “T” will no longer be silent, like on “The Colbert Report," when Wilmore assumes hosting duties on "The Minority Report." Jon Stewart says he picked his “senior black correspondent” because of his work in front of and behind the camera (Wilmore was a producer on “The Office” and created “The Bernie Mac Show” for Fox). “I just think Larry is so ready,” says Stewart, who adds that “The Minority Report” won’t be limited to minority issues. “I love the idea that he’s going to put together something that doesn’t work the well-worn path in late night.” PLUS: Watch Wilmore’s funniest moments from “The Daily Show."
Fox expected to give “American Idol” fewer hours next season, with all the judges returning
“Idol” had been airing about 60 hours a season.
Report: Dan Harmon not interested in reviving “Community” elsewhere
According to Deadline, Harmon is ready to move on to other projects and concentrate on “Rick & Morty." PLUS: How Harmon learned of cancelation.
“SNL” posts 3 sketches cut from the Charlize Theron episode
Check out “Mornin’ Miami” with Bobby Moynihan and Kate McKinnon, “Cocktail Hour” and John Milhiser as “Viper."
PBS is creating a special on demand channel for its members
Member Video On Demand, or M.V.O.D., will allow subscirbers to watch old shows from the PBS archive.
Donald Sterling breaks his silence to Anderson Cooper: "I'm not a racist”
"I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt,” the L.A. Clippers owner tells Cooper.
“Parenthood’s” final season will involve the “cycle of life”
Exec producer Jason Katims sees a “Friday Night Lights”-style ending, but he won’t say if anybody will die.
Lea Michele tweets a photo of Cory Monteith on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday
"The biggest heart and most beautiful smile.. In all of our hearts.. We love you so. Happy Birthday,” she wrote.
Here’s a full list of all the network cancelations
ABC had 12, CBS had six, Fox had seven, NBC had 10 and CW had three.
PBS is creating a special on demand channel for its members
Member Video On Demand, or M.V.O.D., will allow subscribers to watch old shows from the PBS archive.
Try as I might, I can't feel like NBC's miniseries version of "Rosemary's Baby" is a disgrace.
I know that I should.
Roman Polanski's 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin's tightly-written suspense potboiler is a masterpiece on every level. It's disturbing and scary, which is why people remember it as a horror classic. But in certain places, it's also absolutely hilarious with a vein of dark humor that qualifies confidently as camp, but never jeopardizes the visceral tension. And that balance is perfectly captured through every performance, from Mia Farrow in the lead role, to John Cassavetes, Sidney Blackmer and the incomparable Ruth Gordon.
And every way in which Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" works, Agnieszka Holland's NBC adaptation falls short.
A review that says "NBC's 'Rosemary's Baby' is bad because Roman Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby' is good" accomplishes nothing, even if it's both true and a tremendously efficient piece of criticism.
Despite all of the failings of the new "Rosemary's Baby," it's possible that I just have stricter standards for what constitutes a disgrace.
A disgrace is something that lingers around you forever.
It'll be a long time before Jonathan Rhys Meyers can do anything without me mentioning his trust-busting bloodsucker. Because NBC's "Dracula" was a disgrace.
Disgraces don't necessarily hold you back, because you can own a disgrace. George Clooney owns "Batman & Robin." Ben Affleck owns a solid decade of his resume. The punchlines haven't vanished, but it's all OK.
And when it comes to NBC's "Rosemary's Baby," I don't think anybody has been permanently tarnished.
Zoe Saldana is neither good nor bad in "Rosemary's Baby," but five years from now nobody will even remember it was a thing that she did.
Agnieszka Holland's resume is a mixture of very good TV -- "Treme," "The Wire" -- and an mixed bag of features, but "Rosemary's Baby" will just go down as something that she tried, even if it didn't work.
Patrick J. Adams, Carole Bouquet and Jason Isaacs? They all acquit themselves decently in "Rosemary's Baby" and I associate them all so strongly with other things -- even if, in Adams' case, it's just a really random SAG Award nomination -- that I can accept that they wanted to work in Paris for a few months, which isn't a crime.
I'm not holding "Rosemary's Baby" against anybody, even if it took up three hours of viewing time and yielded little more than a pleasant reminder that Paris is a lovely city.
No, it doesn't add to the legacy of the story, but Ira Levin did much more damage to that legacy with 1997's profoundly silly "Son of Rosemary" than anything writers James Wong and Scott Abbott could think to do here.
In fact, that's where NBC's "Rosemary's Baby" falls flat: It doesn't really think to do much of anything to Levin's book and Polanski's film. It's a missed opportunity on every intellectual level, while not approaching the technical proficiency of the first movie. So it's just nothing. The writing, direction and performances aren't laughable in any way, they're just bland and directionless.
I think curiosity might get some viewers tuning in for the first part of "Rosemary's Baby" on Sunday (May 11) night, but it just so happens that the very worst part of the entire miniseries is its structuring and so little happens in those first two hours, the only reason to tune back in for the conclusion on Thursday is to validate those first two hours. As a critic, I often watch the second half of things that aren't good just so that I can have closure on the experience. Viewers don't work the same way.
More specifics after the break...
Eminem’s relationships with women have been, to say the least, complicated, in song, if not in reality. But no woman has borne the brunt of his ire more than his mom, Debbie Mathers. Check out songs like “Cleanin' Out My Closet.”
As you've already seen by now, NBC announced its 2014-15 schedule on Sunday morning.
The highlights include a lone hour of comedies on Thursday -- "Bad Judge" and "A to Z" -- two comedies on Tuesday after "The Voice" -- led by "Marry Me" -- and "Constantine" becoming the latest drama to try to hold onto the "Grimm" audience on Fridays at 10 p.m.
NBC also announced that "State of Affairs," featuring Katherine Heigl's return to primetime, will air after "The Voice" starting in November, with "The Blacklist" shifting to Thursdays after a post-Super Bowl airing in February.
You can read all about the schedule here.
But now, check out pictures from ABC's new fall shows (and one image from "Allegiance," airing in the spring).
Full gallery below:
“Parenthood” will end with a 13-episode final season
The NBC drama will return for a 6th season in its Thursday timeslot. PLUS: To cut costs, each cast member will appear in 11 episodes.
“Parks and Rec” will end after Season 7
NBC announced that next season will be the last for the Amy Poehler comedy.
NBC unveils its fall schedule: “The Blacklist” will air after the Super Bowl, then move to Thursdays, joining “The Biggest Loser"
“The Blacklist” will make its Thursday at 9 pm debut on Feb. 5. Meanwhile, that timeslot will be filled by “Bad Judge” and “A to Z." PLUS: “Parks and Rec” and Tina Fey’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” will air at midseason, "The Bible" sequel "A.D." will premiere on Easter Sunday, and NBC is killing off Thursday Must-See TV comedy block.
Watch NBC’s new show trailers
Check out Cristin Milioti in “A to Z” and Kate Walsh as “Bad Judge.”
A very strange thing happened to NBC this year: for the first time in a decade — a period during which it has mostly been a laughingstock — it will finish a season in first place among the adults 18-49 demographic that advertisers care about most. Ordinarily, a network that wins a season can play things conservatively for the next year, but NBC's success isn't entirely replicable. Yes, the network's buoyed by regular, season-long programming like "The Voice" and hit freshman drama "The Blacklist," but a lot of credit for that win comes from "Sunday Night Football," which always goes away in January (leaving the network's ratings on that night a shambles), and some from the Winter Olympics, which won't be back for another four years.
Kicking off the frenzied Network TV Upfronts week, NBC announced its 2014-15 schedule on Sunday (May 11) morning, or at least NBC announced the fall 2014 portion of its schedule, because NBC has left an awful lot of stuff on the shelf for midseason and most of those moves remain shrouded in mystery and potential.
NBC is coming off a season that saw the network rise to No.1 in the 18-49 demographic on the back of NFL football, the Olympics, "The Voice" and "The Blacklist." With the Olympics not available and with Sunday Night Football its own unique animal, it's not surprising that NBC's schedule is built very heavily around leveraging those latter two assets.
"Parks and Recreation" and "Parenthood" were both renewed by NBC, but next season will be the last for both series.