Latest Blog Posts

<p>Nicholas D'Agosto and Lizzy Caplan in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Nicholas D'Agosto and Lizzy Caplan in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Catherine'

Libby's pregnancy has a complication and Virginia's son rebels against her

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" — which Showtime recently renewed for a second season — coming up just as soon as I send you a dozen yellow roses...

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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(62, 62, 62); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; ">If this season doesn't end with Kenny Powers and his dancing robot embarking on a road trip together, I am going to be bitterly disappointed.</span></p>

If this season doesn't end with Kenny Powers and his dancing robot embarking on a road trip together, I am going to be bitterly disappointed.

Credit: HBO/Fred Norris

Kenny Powers makes terrible choices and monkeys around on 'Eastbound & Down'

Is Kenny heading for a major fall?

"Water. Mother Nature's piss. It's what brings us here today."

Kenny Powers has learned absolutely nothing, and it terrifies me.

On the one hand, Kenny and April speak to each other in a way that they never could in previous seasons, and the scene where they're in bed at the beginning of the episode and Kenny's making it rain is both vintage Kenny but also tender in the only way he seems capable of being tender. He's kidding, of course, and he makes a few crazy ladyboy jokes, but underneath that, there's a different level of communication. When you look back at that first season, April is right to treat Kenny like he's garbage, because he pretty much is garbage. Maybe that's why I'm so invested in seeing Kenny pull things together this season. He's come so far, and if he ruins things this time, I don't see where he gets another chance at things down the road.

He's already defied the odds repeatedly, and it feels like he's unaware of just how lucky he's been.
Ken Marino's Guy Young is the wall that Kenny's racing towards at 150 MPH, and I'm not sure Kenny even knows where the brakes are. It's like Kenny has no radar whatsoever for when he's starting to seriously antagonize people, and he expects that when things in his life start going well, then everyone else has to feel the same way he feels. He wants to see April enjoying their new success the same way he's enjoying it, and he wants his brother (John Hawkes, who always grounds the show in a different sort of reality when he shows up) to forgive him for past offenses simply because he's flush, and he behaves like he's rich when the truth is that he's employed, and nothing more. Kenny strikes me as one of the most quintessential modern American characters on film or TV because of how firmly he seems to be able to simply shrug off reality when he doesn't like it.

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"Once Upon A Time"

 "Once Upon A Time"

Credit: ABC

'Once Upon A Time' recap: Do Hook and Emma finally hook up?

How Hook came to be a pirate is explored

At the start of the season, I couldn't wait to explore more of Hook's backstory on "Once Upon A Time." Now that we're in the dreary monotony of Neverland, it seems even more important to dig into his -- or, really, anyone's -- story just to get us out of the jungle. While what we learn about Hook isn't all that twisty or particularly insightful (there's still a lot of Hook to unravel, I'm sure), it's a reminder of what worked in the first season and what has been largely missing in this one. 

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<p>Julianna Margulies and Jess Weixler in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Julianna Margulies and Jess Weixler in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'The Good Wife' - 'Hitting the Fan'

Will and Alicia go to war with each other after news of the new firm gets out

Earlier this week, I wrote about how terrific this season of "The Good Wife" has been, and tonight's episode was a cut above even what's come before. A few specific thoughts coming up just as soon as I put my pants on so we can have a quorum...

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<p>Melissa McBridge as Carol in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Melissa McBridge as Carol in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Isolation'

The plague brings anger from Tyreese, regret from Carol and sacrifice from Hershel

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I don't plan on much typing the next few days...

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<p>Saul (Mandy Patinkin)&nbsp;goes hunting on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) goes hunting on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Homeland' - 'The Yoga Play'

Carrie risks her cover to help Dana, and Saul goes hunting for geese

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I'd be worried if I was a duck...

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<p>On &quot;Boardwalk Empire,&quot;&nbsp;Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams)&nbsp;makes a very public display against Dr. Narcisse.</p>

On "Boardwalk Empire," Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) makes a very public display against Dr. Narcisse.

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'The Old Ship of Zion'

Chalky fights back against Narcisse, Sally comes to town and Eli gets some news

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I mix myself a rum swizzle...

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<p>Lou Reed</p>

Lou Reed

Credit: AP Photo/Ric Francis

Remembering Lou Reed: My scariest interview

Revisiting my time with the icon

The most scared I’ve ever been before an interview was when I talked to Lou Reed in 1996. I was talent editor at Billboard and Reed, who died today,  was about to release “Set The Twilight Reeling,” an album composed entirely on the computer. It’s not that noteworthy a feat now, but it was then.

Reed’s acerbic, thorny reputation was well known, as was his love of esoteric theater, literature and music. I was raised on pop music and while I had grown to love the Velvet Underground and some of his solo material as my musical education expanded, to say I had any kind of vast knowledge about his past would be an overstatement. Add in that I was in awe of his use of language in his lyrics and in other interviews I'd read. I felt like I was being thrown into the deep end of the pool after only one swimming lesson.

I did a Music of Lou Reed crash course and it helped that I had truly loved his previous 1992 album, “Magic & Loss,” a meditation on death that touched me deeply, and understood how, in many ways, “Set the Twilight Reeling” was a pendulum-swinging reaction to that set.

Mainly, I just didn’t want to say something stupid—so the plan was to say very little—and I didn’t want him to be mean to me, as I knew he could be since so many of my colleagues proudly had their battle scars from tussles in the ring with the icon.

I went to his office/studio in Soho. It was a cold, crisp, beautifully clear January morning in New York, but I remember sweating in the taxi ride down from Billboard’s Times Square office because I was so nervous. So now I was worried about making a fool of myself and about sweating on a cranky legend.

Reed’s assistant buzzed me up to his office and there he was. It was a beautiful loft with lots of sunlight and not much furniture. Maybe I had been expecting some dark, wood-lined cave. Reed shook my hand, we sat on the couch, and, guess what? He was a pussy cat. I don’t just mean he didn’t eat me alive and I got out of there without crying (not that I would EVER do that in an interview). I mean he was downright sweet and—here's a word you don't hear said about him much—warm. I remember at one point we were laughing over something he said and I almost had an out-of-body experience. Maybe he appreciated that I wanted to talk about the new album (and had listened to it and prepared exhaustively) instead of pick his brain about the past. Maybe I just caught him on a good day.

My favorite part of the interview was when he revealed that he was an excellent typist as we discussed his computer skills. "When I was in high school, my parents made me take typing so I would have a job to fall back on," Reed said. "So Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground knows how to type."

He also expressed joy that he was still around to make music. "I'm happy I'm even walking on two legs,” he says. “Making rock records is kind of too good."

That was my only interview with Reed. In 2011, Reed screened a sweet movie about his 100-year old cousin, “Red Shirley,” at Sundance Film Festival and then performed before a very intimate audience at the Kimball Art Center. I remember sitting one row behind Reed at the screening and wanted to grab a few minutes with Reed and his manager, who had told me earlier that he would try to make that happen, waved me off. At his concert later on during the festival, his legendary crankiness returned during the 9-song set, while he just seemed rather uninterested in being there.

I’m glad I got him on a good day.

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<p>Ylvis' &quot;The Fox&quot;</p>

Ylvis' "The Fox"

Music Power Rankings: Michael Jackson, Kanye West and The Fox top the list

Pearl Jam and TLC also make this week's tally

1. Michael Jackson: He tops Forbes’ annual Top-Earning Dead Celebrities list with $160 million. That’s $40 million more than Madonna, the top-earning celebrity who is still above ground.

2. Pearl Jam: The group’s 10th studio album, “Lightning Bolt,” bows atop the Billboard 200 with sales of 166,000, the highest tally for a rock band this year.

3. TLC: The trio’s VH1 original movie, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” was VH1’s highest rated telecast in five years, drawing more than 4.5 million total viewers. Nothing unpretty about that....

4. Kanye West: Have you heard? The press-shy rapper got engaged to Kim Kardashian. No, I’ve never heard of her either. She must like to stay out of the limelight.

5. The Who: Pete Townshend declares the Who’s final tour will be in 2015. Haven’t we heard that before? We won’t get fooled again.

6. YouTube: Because corrupting our eyeballs isn’t enough, YouTube now plans to launch a paid subscription music service because Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, parent company Google’s Play Music All Access, and the forthcoming Beats Music aren’t enough.

7. Sean Combs: He’s a music mogul, a fashion mogul, a liquor mogul, and now, a television mogul as he launches the new music cable channel, Revolt.

8. Elton John:
Sir Elton’s biopic, “Rocketman” soars forward with the casting of Tom Hardy as the legendary singer. Wouldn’t it be funny if he played Elton as “The Dark Knight Rise’s” Bane?

9. The Fox: Not only is “What Does The Fox Say” turning into the “Gangnam Style” of the fall, it turns out that the video for Ylvis’s hit is THE hot costume for Halloween this year.

10. Las Vegas: Because there just isn’t enough entertainment in Sin City already, the town decides to add another festival to this planet:  the Life Is Beautiful festival takes place this weekend with Beck and Vampire Weekend

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Edward Norton and Bobby Monyihan prepare for "Saturday Night Live"

Edward Norton and Bobby Monyihan prepare for "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Edward Norton and Janelle Monáe

The first rule about Ed Norton hosting the show: Let's talk about Ed Norton hosting the show
Edward Norton isn’t exactly known for his comedic talents, relying mostly on intense turns in such films as “Fight Club” and “American History X” for his rise to fame. But he’s had plenty of intentionally funny roles as well, such as in “Keeping The Faith,” “Death To Smoochy,” and his recent foray into the world of Wes Anderson films. For those with even a hint of interest in the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood, Norton is also known as an opinionated talent who often provides creative input into his many endeavors, even when said input isn’t sought. But when it comes to “Saturday Night Live,” collaboration is the name of the game, and it should be interesting to see just how much Norton is willing to puncture his own persona tonight. Along for the ride will be musical guest Janelle Monáe. If you’ve never seen Monáe perform, you’re in for a treat.
 
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<p>Hunky Nostradamus</p>

Hunky Nostradamus

Credit: The CW

Ratings analysis: 'Dracula,' 'Reign' and 'Carrie Diaries' offer tasty tidbits

Which show drew a 0.0 among young male viewers?
"Reign" is my new favorite show on TV.
 
No, I didn't love the pilot in either of the versions I saw.
 
And no, I haven't watched the second episode yet. 
 
But I'm really loving the week-to-week numbers comparisons with "The Vampire Diaries." It's not that I want to criticize The CW for attempting to expand its audience reach, to do things that don't feel like our conventional idea of what counts as a CW show, but it's still sad/funny to look at the core audience's rejection of that attempt to try new things. 
 
"Reign" drew a semi-respectable 1.83 million viewers for its second airing, so I hope The CW will stick with it, so that I can keep looking at the numbers each week. 
 
In addition to eyeballing "Reign," this installment of ratings analysis also takes an early look at the results for NBC's "Dracula" and "Grimm," as well as the premiere of The CW's "The Carrie Diaries." The Friday analysis is based on Fast National figures, rather than Nationals, because Friday Nationals tend not to show up in my in-box til Monday, so take them with a grain of salt.
 
On to the data...
 
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"American Blackout"

 "American Blackout"

Credit: Nat Geo

Review: 'American Blackout' will scare you silly, then make you think

The NatGeo movie captures what could happen after a cyber attack

I'll say it right up front. Nat Geo's new movie, "American Blackout" (Sun. Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m.) is the scariest movie I've seen all year. All. Damn. Year.

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