Latest Blog Posts

<p>The New England Patriots held on for victory on Sunday</p>

The New England Patriots held on for victory on Sunday

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Patriots-Falcons action leads NBC Sunday, while 'Betrayal' tanks for ABC

ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' and 'Revenge' are up from spring numbers
Fast National ratings for Sunday, September 29, 2013.
 
NBC's Sunday Night Football game between New England and Atlanta easily drew the highest ratings on a Premiere Week Sunday driven by delays and preemptions.
 
As will frequently be the case throughout the fall, in addition to NBC's ratings being subject to change due to football, CBS' ratings are also inflated by 15 minutes of NFL overrun, pushing "60 Minutes" and the rest of the schedule for much of the country. And even with that boost, CBS' "Amazing Race," "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" came in on the low side. FOX's ratings also were inflated by long-running football.
 
Ultimately, in fact, the only network with numbers unimpacted by football was ABC, which got OK -- better than spring numbers, but worse than last fall's premieres -- returns for "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge," though "Betrayal" launched to much smaller returns than such recent Sunday luminaries as "Pan Am" and "666 Park Avenue."
 
[Ratings for the "Breaking Bad" finale and also for the "Homeland" and "Masters of Sex" premieres will be out this afternoon and we'll report on them when they're available.]
 
On to the numbers...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Walter White</p>

Walter White

Credit: AMC

Vince Gilligan explains 'Breaking Bad's' final scene and reveals the rejected alternatives


Vince Gilligan explains "Breaking Bad's" final scene and reveals the rejected alternatives

Our gut told us it was right. As the writers and I worked through all these different possibilities, it felt right, but I don’t think it was a necessity for us. There was a version we kicked around where Walt is the only one who survives, and he’s standing among the wreckage and his whole family is destroyed. That would be a very powerful ending but very much a kick-in-the-teeth kind of ending for the viewers. We talked about a version where Jesse kills Walt. We talked about a version where Walt more or less gets away with it.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul discuss shooting their series finale scene
Walter White is reckless: So why did everything wrap up so neatly for him?
"Felina" might've been more satisfying if it was less satisfying
"Team Walt" wins: Writers protected Walt from worst possible death, letting him die on his own terms
The look on his face says it all: Walter White was victorious
Walt did not win: The look on his face as he touched Baby Holly shows him as a loser
The series finale was brilliant in exposing the truth of Walter White -- as an American, not a monster
"Felina" wasn't an endorsement of Walter, it was a reflection of him
Cranston watched the series finale for the 1st time while recording DVD commentary
Walter White was like a ghost, a modern version of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning
What made the finale perfect was the "I did it for me" speech
The finale brimmed with love, proving that "Breaking Bad" ultimately was a show about love
It was about closure, not just for the characters but for fans
Not enough Jesse!: Why did Aaron Paul get the same amount of screentime as Lydia, Todd or Jack?
Some of the best storylines didn't get a satisfying ending -- Marie, Walt Jr.
Vince Gilligan deserved to end it all on his own terms
Gilligan crafted a perfect ending that will set a high bar for future shows
It's surprising that Gilligan would go for the "happy ending"
It looked like there would be a "The Shield" ending, but Gilligan chose to be tidy
—"Talking Bad" a disappointment: AMC's fan show could've been more analytical
Damon Lindelof retweets "Lost" finale haters comparing his ending to "Breaking Bad's"
Albuquerque will miss "Breaking Bad's" economic impact
Listen to Aaron Paul's cemetery event, featuring host Jimmy Kimmel and Bryan Cranston

Read Full Post

'SNL's' season premiere slightly down from last year


"SNL's" season premiere slightly down from last year
Tina Fey's premiere matched Ben Affleck's season finale. PLUS: Did "SNL" make too big a deal about the new cast members?


CNN Films cancels Hillary Clinton documentary, citing pressure from Clinton aides
The project's director says he's been under pressure not just from Clinton aides and supporters, but from the Republican National Committee.


Michael Rapaport joins "Justified"
He'll play the patriarch of the Crowe family, Dale Crowe, Jr.


Arcade Fire's post-"SNL" NBC concert was kind of bizarre
The concert airing after "Saturday Night Live" featured cameos from Bono, Ben Stiller and Zach Galifianakis.


"The Bachelor's" Courtney Robertson lands book deal
The Season 16 winner is penning a book titled, "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain."


Lindsay Lohan's parents banned from her OWN reality show
Producers ultimately decided not to focus on Lindsay's family.


"Doctor Who" boss has an explanation for Peter Capaldi's previous "Who" appearances
Says Steven Moffat: "We are aware that Peter Capaldi's played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact."


Lena Dunham watched "SNL's" spoof of "Girls" at Mindy Kaling's house
Check out the "Girls" star in Kaling's living room.


"The Good Wife" was robbed!
The Season 5 premiere shows why the CBS drama deserved an Emmy.


Rainn Wilson to produce a "Defeating Depression" special for MTV
The one-hour special will air on Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day.


Watch the trailer for Rihanna's reality show
She'll star in "Styled to Rock," a reality design competition.


"The Mentalist" season premiere, explained
The CBS drama's creator talks about the "final showdown."


"Top Model" winner Lisa D'Amato welcomes a baby boy

The "ANTM" winner shared a photo of her new child on Instagram.


"Glee's" Naya Rivera goes crazy after her brother's Oakland Raiders touchdown

Her brother Mychal Rivera is a rookie tight end for the Raiders.

Read Full Post
<p>Nicole Kidman in &quot;Grace of Monaco.&quot;</p>

Nicole Kidman in "Grace of Monaco."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Weinstein on 'the most competitive season I've ever seen'

Also: The state of animation, and the movies behind 'Breaking Bad'

Oscar talk is not something you'd expect to surface much at the Zurich Film Festival, but when Harvey Weinstein is giving a masterclass there, it inevitably comes up. Wendy Mitchell reports from the event, where the master awards campaigner declared this year's Oscar race "the most competitive season I've ever seen," explained the delayed release of "Grace of Monaco" -- it's not ready, he wants it to play festivals and it could be "bigger than 'My Week With Marilyn'" -- and revisited the 15-year-old controversy of "Shakespeare in Love"'s five Oscar-awarded producers. He also gave a shout-out to his favorite non-Weinstein films of the season so far: "12 Years a Slave," obviously, but also "Prisoners." [Screen Daily]

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

 "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of New Jersey' season finale recap: Is this goodbye?

With prison a possibility, it seems as if this could be the end

After all the tears, hugging, horseshoe cleaning and Zennis the ladies of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" endured this season, I was fully prepared for them to come completely unhinged in the season finale. Sure, they'd gamely tackled all the New Age ridiculousness Bravo could throw at them, but I never believed they'd actually, you know, buy into all that nutty-twiggy crap. In Jersey, you make good meatballs, you wear lots of mascara, and you FIGHT. Simple. 

But, even though we get the fighting, it's misdirected. When Penny explains that, duh, Teresa is the one behind all of her friends' nasty comments on Twitter, Teresa squawks, eyes wide, like a parrot who's seen too much. "You're full of bleep! You're full of bleep! Squawk! Cracker?"

Read Full Post
<p>Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac perform songs from &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis.&quot;</p>

Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac perform songs from "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Marcus Mumford, Carey Mulligan and more perform at 'Inside Llewyn Davis' concert

Plus: Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and best actor contender Oscar Isaac

NEW YORK (AP) — When Justin Timberlake couldn't attend Sunday's concert celebrating the music of the new Coen Brothers movie, "Inside Llewyn Davis," master of ceremonies John Goodman told the crowd Timberlake's understudy would perform instead.

Read Full Post
<p>Bryan Cranston as Walter White in the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Bryan Cranston as Walter White in the "Breaking Bad" series finale.

Credit: AMC

Series finale review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Felina'

Walt returns to Albquerque to settle all family business

"Breaking Bad" has come to an end. A review of the series finale coming up just as soon as I compare pizza to Thai food...

Read Full Post
<p>Lizzy Caplan and Caitlin FitzGerald in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Lizzy Caplan and Caitlin FitzGerald in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

Series premiere talkback: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new Showtime drama series?

I published my initial review of "Masters of Sex" on Thursday (and an interview with Lizzy Caplan the day before that). Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in tonight (or who watched the streaming version Showtime made available over the last few weeks), what did you think? Did you buy Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as people from the 1950s? How do you feel that the show handled all the sex and nudity in the pilot: with a snicker or with just enough restraint? Are you interested in the Masters/Johnson relationship (be it professional, personal, or both) as set up here? If you've been seeing lots of ads for "The Millers," was it strange to have both Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale in the pilot? And will you watch again? 

The plan, depending on how my health improves over the next few weeks, is to work this into a Sunday rotation with "Boardwalk Empire," "Homeland" and (eventually) "The Walking Dead." How much I write about any given Sunday drama will depend on time, emergy and how much I have to say about a given episode. But this show is very good and I want to keep the conversation going somehow over the course of this first season.

For tonight, though, have at it.

Read Full Post
<p>The start of the &quot;Amazing Race&quot; season</p>

The start of the "Amazing Race" season

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Season 23 Premiere - 'We're Not In Oklahoma No More'

The 11 teams head to Chile for paragliding and rowing
Well, at least we know what the lesson of Sunday (September 27) night's "The Amazing Race" premiere was: 
 
Get your sorry butt off of Twitter, or else people will post "Breaking Bad" spoilers and you'll have no one to blame with yourself. 
 
What? That wasn't your takeaway? 
 
I'm sure you got something much simpler, but no less correct:
 
Just read the freaking clues.
 
Sometimes you can go on "The Amazing Race" without knowing how to drive stick and you'll squeak through for a while. Sometimes your fear of heights or inability to swim can be properly managed. But everybody has to read clues and as we were reminded on Sunday's season-opener, failure to read clues can mean the difference between first place and a major game advantage and second place, or between 10th place and still being in the Race and 11th.
 
More on Sunday's premiere, plus quick handicapping of the 11 teams, after the break. 
 
Read Full Post
"Revenge"

 "Revenge"

Credit: ABC

'Revenge' season premiere recap: Big changes in the Hamptons

It's a fast forward reboot, but does it work?

We all knew "Revenge" was due for a reboot. After fans grumbled about the more ludicrous story lines that had developed (Ninja warrior training? Really?) and creator Mike Kelley was shown the door, there was definitely talk of the show narrowing focus and getting back to basics -- Emma's plot to destroy the Graysons. It's a 99 percenter fantasy! While that's clearly back on the table, there were quite a few other stories in play. Did they all work? That, of course, remains to be seen. 

We kick things off with Emily (Emily VanCamp) wearing a wedding dress and getting shot repeatedly, which gives us a rather lovely shot of her falling in slow motion off of a boat (God forbid she slump to the floor in a wad of white tulle). So many possible shooters! But no time to explore that, as we're soon jumping back in time to see what's been going on in the Hamptons. 

To start, Charlotte isn't pregnant anymore, so that happened. We've flashed forward six months, and apparently losing both Declan and the baby have made her a kind of grumpy that even a long trip to Paris can't fix. It's pretty clear that the show's writers just wanted to pretend Declan never happened, which honestly isn't the worst idea ever. 

One thing we find out about (as does Charlotte) is that the hunky guy Victoria has been stroking out in the country is actually her son. This would be reassuring if Victoria's version of motherly love didn't look so much like it was heading to hot sex. Anyway, Patrick seems nice, moral and far too good to be a Grayson, which either means he's going to disappear forever, change, or he's just a great liar (since it's out on the great Interwebs that Patrick Harper is a recurring character this season, I'll go with options two and three). 

Someone who is actually and truly gone is Ashley. Her brief flirtation with blackmail that leads to her hasty exit is pretty disappointing, and even though Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) has Tweeted she's done with the show, I can't believe that's a forever thing. She had become a bit of a plot device, but a plot device with a great pout and an English accent, and that's never a bad thing.

At the very end of the show we discover that Aiden is back, but I'm not sure what he's up to. If he's truly turned on Emily (which I don't believe), I can't believe he's going to make inroads with Victoria. As far as Emily sidekicks, I'm not sure she needs anyone other than Nolan. Even if he's reluctant to play computer sleuth this season, I'm okay with him parachuting into scenes and generally being Nolan. Given that too many of the characters on this show are far too serious about crazy, sudsy story lines, we can never have too much comic relief.

Alas, the big moment we've all been waiting for -- Jack kissing Emily -- was a bitter disappointment, as he claims he felt nothing, he hates her guts, and even though he understands her desire for revenge, he's giving her a time limit before he outs her true identity. Wha? I doubt he really didn't feel anything anymore, but I'd prefer straight mad Jack over "I get you but I hate you" Jack, as this strange middle ground screams "creating a ticking clock for the plot!" as opposed to logical emotion. Emily, it seems, isn't happy either way, and I'm already missing the sad, mopey scenes of desire derailed we had back in season one.

But the good news is that, as in that first, heady season, we're no longer worrying about the Initiative or Takeda or any of the other stuff that never made much sense. No, we're now getting straight-up revenge (the fake Huntington's diagnosis was TOTALLY illogical, but hey, this is still "Revenge," after all) and lots of backstabbing and frontstabbing and just... stabbing. That's good enough for me.

What did you think of the premiere? Who do you think shot Emily? Were you disappointed in Jack and Emily's kiss? 

Read Full Post
<p>On &quot;Boardwalk Empire,&quot;&nbsp;Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg)&nbsp;enjoys a card game.</p>

On "Boardwalk Empire," Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) enjoys a card game.

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'All In'

Rothstein loses big at the card tables, Van Alden works with the Capones and Dunn takes a trip to Harlem

A quick review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" — which HBO renewed earlier this week — coming up just as soon as I don't like pie...

Read Full Post
<p>Saul (Mandy Patinkin)&nbsp;testifies before Congress in the &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season premiere.</p>

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) testifies before Congress in the "Homeland" season premiere.

Credit: Showtime

Season premiere review: 'Homeland' - 'Tin Man is Down'

Carrie and the CIA are put on trial in the wake of Nazir's bombing

"Homeland" is back for a third season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I have immunity for overdue parking tickets...

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME