To me, the mark of a good episode of "True Blood" (or really, any television show) is when you moan in frustration at the end of the episode instead of somewhere in the middle. With the former, you're disappointed that the episode is coming to an end, you're eager to find out what happens next (and none too happy about waiting a week to find out), and you've gotten so caught up in what's happening you haven't checked your watch. The latter hasn't happened, at least for me, in the first two episodes we've seen thus far this season. There have been too many scenes that seemed forced, too much exposition, too many moments that didn't ring true. While this episode wasn't without its flaws, it felt as if the show just might be getting back on track.
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I posted my review of Showtime's "Ray Donovan" earlier in the week. Now it's your turn. For those of you who watched the pilot tonight (or viewed it online previously), what did you think? Do you buy Liev Schreiber as the most intimidating fixer in LA? Did the Hollywood satire seem funny or hacky? Was Jon Voight intimidating enough for you? How did you feel about the Marilyn Monroe moment? And will you watch again?
I didn't love the pilot, but it was by far the most successful of the five episodes I've seen, and each ensuing episode expanded the problems I had with the show. Definitely not one I'll be reviewing regularly, but maybe I'll check in after the fifth has aired to see if those of you who liked the pilot now share my concerns, or if you're still enjoying.
Have at it.
A quick review of the final season premiere of "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I get the bowling team back together...
Showmances start to blossom tonight! Julie Chen said so, so you know it's the truth. I'm pretty sure one of the showmances has to involve David, as he isn't about to let his extremely poofy hair go to waste.
Sidebar: McCrae looks better dripping wet after being splattered with paint than he does dry and fluffy, honestly. That hair really isn't working for him, Secret Tech Giant or whatever the hell he is. I really can't imagine he's simply a pizza guy.
One of the things that we lose when we lose physical media is the thrill of discovery.
Yes, you can browse a streaming media site, and yes, you can still see things that are new to you, and there are ways to encounter things you're not already familiar with in our new media age, but anytime you're relying on something that makes licensing deals for content, you're going to be browsing a much smaller overall pool of possibility than you could in the old days, when record stores would stock things from labels both major and microscopic. There was something amazing about that feeling when you'd spend an afternoon going through bins, only to stumble across some album cover that looked like it had been hand-made, a recording of some band you'd never heard of, on a label you'd never seen before. The feeling of taking something like that home and throwing it on and suddenly having the top of your head cracked open by the sound of the genuinely new… that's something we're losing today, and I think we're poorer for it.
1. Lady Gaga: She’s ranked the top music figure on Forbes’ Celebrity 100, coming in at No. 2 on the overall list behind the great and glorious Oprah Winfrey, and ahead of Beyonce and Madonna.
2. Kanye West: He barely beats J. Cole to the top spot on the Billboard 200, but he does, because, as he’s let us know, he’s God.
3. Mariah Carey: She indefinitely pushes back the release of her much-delayed new album, the ironically titled “The Art Of Letting Go.”
4. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The duo’s same-sex marriage anthem, “Same Love,” zooms into the top ten on iTunes following the SCOTUS decision to overturn DOMA (see our story here).
5. Justin Bieber: A paparazzo sues Biebs for alleged assault. Next time, Bieber will make sure to have his monkey do the dirty work.
6. Tupac Shakur: A musical inspired by his tunes is potentially headed to the Great White Way: “All Eyez on Broadway.”
7. Neil Diamond: He records a charity song for Boston with proceeds going to the Boston One Fund and Wounded Warriors Project. Good times never felt so good, good, good, good.
8. Will.i.Am: He sues Pharrell over trademark infringement. He’s just jealous that Pharell is the first artist to have the No. 1 and No. 2 song on the Billboard 200 at the same times since the Black Eyed Peas did it.
9. Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland: One of the creators of the modern-soul sound, joins his fellow music pioneer Sam Cooke in the sky.
10. Alan Myers: The Devo drummer is whipping it good in heaven now.
"Glee" promotes 5 to series regulars
Melissa Benoist, Jacob Artist, Becca Tobin and "The Glee Project's" Blake Jenner and Alex Newell will be regulars next season.
Fox is interested in NBC's rejected pilot from Lorne Michaels and "SNL" writer John Mulaney
Fox has ordered a script from Mulaney, and he and Martin Short would be ready to go if Fox is interested. But it's unclear what will happen to other cast members like "SNL's" Nasim Pedrad and Elliot Gould.
"Glee's" Jayma Mays signs on to play Will Arnett's sister
Mays is joining "The Millers."
Craig Robinson's rejected NBC pilot could still survive
The network has extended contract options for the entire cast. The sitcom, from "The Office's" Greg Daniels, has Robinson play a music teacher.
Why does Alec Baldwin always avoid consequences for his repeated bad behavior?
Is there a double standard because of his liberal politics?
Amazon yanks Paula Deen's No. 1 cookbook after its cancelation
The Amazon page for “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" has disappeared following Friday's announcement.
When Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" crashes into theaters on July 12, you'll only be getting part of the story. The universe of the film was too big for one movie, you see. It inevitably spilled over the edges and left an excess of material without a home, but with so much to say.
Our journey through the Emmy ballot concludes with our second series category: Outstanding Comedy Series. As always, Fienberg will attempt to rank the contenders from most likely to least likely to be nominated, throwing in a bunch of preferential wild cards along the way. And, as always, I will pretend that I am an actual Academy member who has a ballot and therefore has to narrow his choices down to six people.
Same rules apply: we are working off of the actual Emmy ballot, so we can't nominate shows that weren't submitted (like "Bunheads," or most of the primetime animated comedies), nor can we reassign a show to what seems a more appropriate category (say, nudging "Enlightened" from comedy to drama). I'm also steering clear of shows (even ones I historically like) where I didn't see enough of the eligible season to feel confident in picking it (I'm overdue for summer marathons of several FX sitcoms, for instance, and the rest of this season of "Veep," and I haven't seen any of the Hulu episodes of "The Thick of It").
Dan's exhaustive analysis is here, and embedded below (click Launch Gallery to see it), and my picks are coming right up.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
Rapper Wale will have the No. 1 album on next week’s Billboard 200 as “Gifted” will make his first foray to the top, selling up to 150,000 copies. With Kanye West sitting atop the chart this week, that makes it two weeks in a row for rap music at the pinnacle.