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<p>Joe Lo Truglio and Andy Samberg in &quot;Brooklyn Nine-Nine.&quot;</p>

Joe Lo Truglio and Andy Samberg in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

Credit: FOX

Season premiere review: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - 'Undercover'

Jake wraps up its undercover assignment, and Holt tests the squad

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is back with a new season, and on a new night. I have a review of the season premiere coming up just as soon as I arrest a perp named Joe Uterus...

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<p>&quot;Leviathan&quot;</p>

"Leviathan"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Shocker: 'Leviathan' will represent Russia in the foreign film Oscar race

Few expected the film, critical of local politics, to get the call

I think few who were paying attention to this year's foreign Oscar race expected Russia to choose "Leviathan" to represent the country. The film is essentially the Book of Job told against the backdrop of corrupt Russian politics, a movie director Andrey Zvyagintsev has even said he probably couldn't even get funded through the Russian Ministry of Culture today as he did two years ago. That's how much things have shifted as of late. And yet, today the selection was made. "Leviathan" will represent Russia in the race.

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;Marvel&#39;s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot; premiere</p>

Tuesday's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." premiere

Credit: ABC

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' premiere, 'New Girl' get Tuesday Live+3 Bumps

'Person of Interest' numbers look at bit less ugly now

The early Live+3 DVR numbers for Tuesday, September 23 are largely about ameliorating the Live+SD numbers for a couple shows that looked like minor disappointments and being reminded that when it comes to DVR numbers, the rich often get richer.

When it comes to the rich getting richer, the premiere of "NCIS" added nearly 3.3 million viewers and went from 18.23 million in Live+Same Day to 21.52 million in Live+3 Day, also picking up a full ratings point among adults 18-49 to end up with a 3.9 rating in the key demographic.

Also growing from an already high position was the series launch of "NCIS: New Orleans," which added 2.82 million viewers to reach 20.05 million in Live+3. The 18-49 DVR growth for "NCIS: New Orleans" was an unremarkable 28 percent, but that just meant it ended up with a 3.2 rating in the key demo, as well as a 4.7 rating in CBS' coveted 25-54 demo.

But we already knew "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were hits as of Tuesday's Live+SDs. Which Tuesday underperformers got Live+3 bumps? Click through for the details...

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Doctor Who - The Caretaker
Credit: BBC

Recap: 'Doctor Who' - 'The Caretaker' shouldn't quit his day job

Should saving the world mean purposefully endangering this many children?

Last week, Twelve and Clara went on an old-school high stakes bank robbery with a cybernetic human and a mutant human. As you do. The big takeaways were the Doctor hates himself — still — and he is actively competing with Danny for Clara’s affections. Not in a “the Doctor wants to shag Clara” way but in a “the Doctor needs to be the most important person, always and forever” kind of way.

This week’s episode is called “The Caretaker” and seems more character driven. Off we go!

********

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Chris Pratt and Kate McKinnon

Chris Pratt and Kate McKinnon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande

The "Guardians Of The Galaxy" star kicks off the show's fortieth season

Welcome back to another season of “Saturday Night Live,” everyone. It will be a momentous year for the show, as it seeks to shake off the hangover of last season’s uneven, sometimes turmoil-filled year. But in this, its fortieth season, there’s a lot about which to be optimistic. The cast is smaller, but its core cast is essentially intact, and those that “SNL” have added suggest a willingness on the show’s part to explore new comedic voices within its venerable institution.

Kicking things off will be recent box-office hero Chris Pratt, with the sister of “Big Brother 16” Frankie Grande serving as musical guest. (I just typed that in case Frankie has a Google search on his name. Sorry, Ariana.) I’m actually writing this from the road rather than my home, so I won’t have the usual luxury of pausing mid-show when needed. So things will be a bit faster and looser than normal.

For those that have followed along with my coverage for the past four seasons, nothing will really change this year. I’ll grade sketches one by one. These grades will threaten the very fabric of reality for some of you. The only big variation: I won’t be giving grades to the musical acts. It’s not my expertise, and talking about those segments of the show really doesn’t give a feel for how the episode’s comedy plays out on a weekly basis. I’ll discuss the music in the ending notes, but will omit as part of the ongoing liveblog.

We good? Good. On with the liveblog starting at 11:30 pm EST!

State Of The Union: Right off the bat, “SNL” takes on the NFL. Chris Pratt gets the plum role of Roger Goodell, a role that probably should have gone to a regular cast member. Seems like that will be a real-life person that will appear on a repeated basis, no? Ray Lewis (Kenan Thompson) and Shannon Sharpe (Jay Pharaoh) appear on “State Of The Union” to discuss the issue, only to further confuse the issue at hand due to their past actions and current verbal fumbles. (Pun intended.) The message is clear: It’s hard for many on-air personalities to discuss the current plights of players when they themselves have committed similarly illegal/suspect activities in the past. It’s more biting than the usual cold open, which is appreciated. Not a lot of real laughs, but some real meat on the bones. [Grade: B]

Monologue: First monologue of the year, and first song during the monologue of the year! Pratt is demonstrably nervous, but it’s endearing all the same. Pratt’s real-life wife Anna Farris is there to help support him, his nervous tics, and his verbal flubs. Oh boy. This premiere either be a shabby-but-happy party in which attitude rules comedic precision, or be an absolute mess. Time will tell. Hard to see much good here, but there was little truly bad, either. It mostly felt like it needed three more rehearsals. [Grade: C]

Cialis Turnt: It’s funny when white people dance to DJ Snake and Lil Jon, right? Wrong. [Grade: C-]

Alive Toys: Kyle Mooney is a child who wishes that his toys would come to life on his birthday. And lo, Pratt and Taran Killam turn into real-life versions of He-Man And Lion-O. Unfortunately, the two action figures don’t know anything about this world, so things like “cake” and “sister” confuse them. Sooner than you can say “hormones,” the pair are masturbating in the kitchen. Like ya do. This is a fine premise for the sketch, but Pratt’s timing is so off that the sketch more than occasionally dies. Not even Ariana Grande’s appearance as She-Ra saves the proceedings. The mess in the kitchen by the end of the sketch feels like a visual metaphor for the last twenty minutes. What works really works, but I can’t help but wonder what another two days would have done for this whole episode.  [Grade: B-]

Animal Hospital: Whoa, did NOT expect to see this one again. It’s a fairly cruel concept for a sketch, one that I thought would have revealed itself during its initial appearance last season. Unlike the last few segments, everything is crisply performed, but the idea of incompetent veterinarians gives me the heebies and jeebies. It just does, so this will never work for me. If it works for you, awesome. [Grade: D]

Marvel Can’t Fail: After “Guardians,” Marvel is super cocky. That’s why we are soon getting “Creatures Of The Cosmos,” “Bus People,” and “Pam,” all of which feature strange casts strolling through hallways to the sounds of “Hooked On A Feeling.” Maybe they have a point: I’d watch the hell out of “Pam 2: The Winter Pam.” What a silly, stupid concept for a sketch, but the sheer repetition here won me over. [Grade: B+]

Weekend Update: As a consolation prize for losing her anchor position, Cecily Strong returns as That Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party. She’s here to talk ebola, which she calls an “Obamanation” among other malapropisms. The last joke about her dad hating the selfie she took of them worked, but little else made Che stand out. Would "Update" neuter his personality and perspective? Luckily, almost immediately after that interview, Che lands solid joke after solid joke that sound like his stand-up/”Daily Show” brought to “Update.” Whew. Leslie Jones makes her second appearance on “Update” to discuss her singledom, which involves “Ghost Whisperer” reruns on ION. Whereas her last appearance was marked by audience confusion, but tonight she’s absolutely on fire, and the crowd is totally onboard. Finally, newbie Pete Davidson appears to discuss the monetary exchange needed for him to give a man oral sex. “I’m not gay. I’m a business man!” He keeps almost breaking, which immediately makes the audience love him. It helps that he’s immediately confident and has a perspective that feels fresh on the show. Some of his turns of phrase are just incredible. (“Once in the summer…so you have a GREAT summer!”) As for Jost: He was fine, but essentially forgettable. Amazingly, that’s an improvement over last year. And he and Che did team up for a "Cheer Up, President Obama" segment, suggesting ways in which the two can be a team instead of just two anchors occupying the same space. So good things all around! [Grade: A-]

Legends: Aidy Bryant’s character strikes up a flirtation with Pratt’s nerd, which is a meet-cute until it turns into a hip-hop verbal grindfest between the two. The pair have absolutely dynamite chemistry, and it’s never not funny hearing Bryant sing “Anaconda”. The sketch is high-concept, but simple in execution. There’s not a lot of there there, but it’s amusing all the same. [Grade: B]

Roommates: A similar Digital Short was cut last year during the Andrew Garfield episode, so God bless Mooney and Beck Bennett for trying again and succeeding this time. An incredible take on late-80’s/early-90’s TGIF-esque sitcoms, it takes the best of the Mooney/Bennett sensibility and marries it to some stellar editing and odd-as-hell touches. (That cut to the mystical castle made me laugh harder than anything else tonight.) As with all Digital Shorts by these two, this is an acquired taste. But damn did I love this. [Grade: A-]

NFL on CBS: A variation on the “Key & Peele” “East/West” sketch, this is all about the various crimes committed by the Ravens/Panthers players listed out one by one. A late appearance by Leslie Jones is funny, but the rest is “nice idea, mediocre execution.” I know Bismo Funyuns. I respect Bismo Funyuns. You, sketch, are no Bismo Funyuns. [Grade: C]

Video Game Testers: Vanessa Bayer (underused tonight) and Pratt are in-game characters that celebrate the completion of each level with excessive, amorous interactions. I could have watched about ten more minutes of those two melodramatically playing out their relationship, but apparently there’s not enough time. Oh well. I liked what was presented, but there wasn’t enough to take it to the next level that seemed incredibly within reach. [Grade: B]

Best Segment: “Weekend Update”. I have a special place in my heart for this part of the show, and it’s encouraging to see some life breathed into it. You could argue (and I wouldn’t disagree) that Strong should not have been the one to leave. But the Jost/Che combo is what we have, and it’s good to see “SNL” might be able to use this duo for more than simply sparing Jost’s feelings and not abandoning the show’s investment in him over the past few years.

Worst Segment: “Animal Hospital”. Just ugh.

How Was Ariana Grande? Great voice, but ultimately forgettable songs. I’m very curious where the current crop of female pop stars are eighteen months from now. Grande, Iggy Azalia, Charli XCX, and others are certainly having a moment now. But there’s (other than Grande’s headgear) to make them truly stand out at this point.

Overall Assessment: A sloppy start for most turned into a well-oiled machine by the end. Even if certain sketches didn’t work late in the episode, at least the show didn’t feel riddled with nerves and miscues. There were not many sketches involving lots of characters, which means we still don’t have a truly ensemble feel yet. But that might come soon enough. Plenty of time. I'm optimistic!

What did everyone else think of the premiere? Sound off below!

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Outlander_S1_E8
Credit: Starz

Recap: 'Outlander' - We return to 1945 to see 'Both Sides Now'

While Claire has been fighting for her life, Frank has been searching for her.

Well, here we are. At the end of the line. It’s hard to believe this is the last episode until April! What am I going do? The temptation to read the book to find out what’s going to happen will be strong, but I will overcome! 

Last week we left Claire in a state of internal tug-of-war between her new husband Jamie and her first husband Frank. After an amazing night of wine-muddled honeymoon sex, the harsh light of day crashed in to remind her — and  us — that she’s been sidetracked from her mission.   As we gear up for a SEVEN MONTH break (whyyyyyyyyyy?), we’re going to see “Both Sides Now.”

**********

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<p>Terry Crews in Sunday&#39;s &quot;Brooklyn Nine-Nine&quot; premiere</p>

Terry Crews in Sunday's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" premiere

Credit: FOX

Interview: Terry Crews on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' superpowers and working with Miss Piggy

And why doesn't Terry Crews spend his Sundays watching football?

I sat down with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Terry Crews three weeks ago on the opening Sunday of the NFL season and immediately felt guilty for taking the former NFL defensive end away from his TV.

Fortunately, it turns out that Crews is not one of those former jocks who spends his weekends glued to televised football, which will make it a lot easier for him to catch "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" in a new Sunday 8:30 slot that will have his FOX comedy going up against gridiron action on a different network.

Crews proved to be as excited to talk about *missing* NFL coverage as he is to talk about most things, because it will surprise absolutely nobody to learn that Terry Crews is a man of great enthusiasm. Whether discussing his recent TCA Awards hosting stint with Miss Piggy or his Golden Globe-winning FOX police sitcom, Crews is prone to shouting and arm-waving, though to my great regret, Crews didn't make any of his muscles dance during out chat.

It turns out that Crews' "Brooklyn" character, Sergeant Terry Jeffords, was originally conceived of as meek and quiet, before the writers made last minute rewrites to make their Terry more like real Terry. But real Terry insists that he also has a softer, more introspective side, even if he also relishes a player who became more superhuman as the season progressed.

In our chat, Crews admits that he didn't, in fact, lift a car in one of last season's funniest scenes, but he confesses a part of that sequence that actually was authentic.

Click through for the full Q&A with Terry Crews...

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<p>Ben McKenzie of &quot;Gotham&quot;</p>

Ben McKenzie of "Gotham"

Credit: FOX

'Gotham,' 'Blacklist,' 'Sleepy Hollow' are early Monday Live+3 winners

'The Big Bang Theory' gets the biggest DVR bump by volume

TV industry reporters are all still exhausted from the 2014-15 season's first week of Live+Same Day ratings, but just in time for the weekend, the Live+3 Day ratings are beginning to trickle in, starting with Monday, September 27.

Not surprisingly, the early Live+3 Day winners are the shows that were already winners, with slightly lower-rated shows posting bigger percentage gains and slightly higher rated shows gaining more volume, but lower percentages. Math is funny like that.

So while "The Big Bang Theory" may have "only" posted 37 percent gains in the 18-49 demo, no Monday show gained more ratings points than the 2.0 gains for both "BBT" episodes. That means that the two episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" went from a 5.4 rating among adults 18-49 in Live+SD numbers to a whopping 7.4 rating in the key demo with Live+3. "Big Bang Theory" also rose from 18.03 million viewers Live+SD to 22.55 million in Live+3, adding 4.52 million viewers, which is really great but only converts to a 25 percent bump.

But if "Big Bang Theory" is your volume leader, your percentage leaders are on FOX, where "Gotham" added a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 to go from a 3.2 in L+SD to a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49 in Live+3. That's a 56 percent bump and it moves "Gotham" ahead of "The Blacklist" for the night. 

Meanwhile, a lackluster 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 in Live+SD for "Sleepy Hollow" is a little mitigated by 50 percent Live+3 growth, bringing the drama to a 3.0 rating in the key demo. Even including DVR usage, that's still lower than the Live+SD ratings "Sleepy Hollow" was doing early last season, both in its pre-season premiere, but also in first couple airings against actual competition. FOX probably isn't concerned or even hugely disappointed with these "Sleepy Hollow" numbers, but somebody probably expected more. 

A few more L+3 DVR highlights after the break...

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The only 9 SNL cast members to receive Oscar nominations are...

The only 9 SNL cast members to receive Oscar nominations are...

Furthermore, who will be the first to actually win one?

"Saturday Night Live" is back tonight, so how about a bit of trivia? Sure, everyone from Tom Hanks to Ben Affleck has come to SNL for the big publicity burst that helps feed an Oscar campaign, but which cast members over the show's 40-year history have themselves been recognized by the Academy? It's actually a very exclusive club.

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<p>&quot;Shark Tank&quot;</p>

"Shark Tank"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank,' 'Blue Bloods' premieres lead Friday, but 'Amazing Race' craters

'Utopia' continues to limp along for FOX

Fast National ratings for Friday, September 26, 2014.

Amidst a sea of premieres, Friday quickly returned to business as usual: "Blue Bloods," returning on the low side led CBS to victory overall, while "Shark Tank" and ABC were easily Friday's best among young viewers.

The news wasn't all good for CBS, though. "The Amazing Race" cratered hard in its Friday debut and may require immediate assistance if CBS hopes to keep the long-running Emmy winner around. 

Let's get straight to the numbers...

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<p>Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;Inherent Vice&quot;</p>

Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in "Inherent Vice"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Paul Thomas Anderson talks the Zucker Bros-inspired lunacy of 'Inherent Vice'

Is the Thomas Pynchon adaptation a Frank Drebin mystery in disguise?

When listing influences for "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 detective novel, Paul Thomas Anderson drops genre staples that don't come as much of a surprise: "The Long Goodbye," "Kiss Me Deadly," "The Big Sleep" — on-screen mystery fiction done right. But his tonal reference points turn any conjured vision of the movie on its head. “‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Top Secret!’ are what I clued into,” Anderson told the New York Times in a recent profile. “We tried hard to imitate or rip off the Zucker brothers’ style of gags so the film can feel like the book feels: just packed with stuff. And fun.”

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Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' pits Affleck against Pike in a wicked satire of marriage
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' pits Affleck against Pike in a wicked satire of marriage

Fans of the book should rest easy

David Fincher has been frequently compared to Stanley Kubrick over the course of his career, and most of the time, the comparison is based on the most facile of things. Sure, there's a level of technical mastery to the films Fincher makes that is almost hard to believe, on the same level as that displayed by Kubrick, but I think there's another reason that the comparison is apt, one that goes deeper and that isn't just about how they approach their craft.

At his best, David Fincher makes films that feel like they were made by an alien who is visiting Earth, someone who is determined to understand the way these strange naked apes behave, and it's that same sort of cultural anthropologist voice that marked many of Kubrick's movies. There is a feeling watching Fincher's movies that he feels like we're all insane, and he doesn't trust any of us, and that misanthropic streak is on full display in his new film, "Gone Girl," based on the novel by Gillian Flynn.

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