Latest Blog Posts

"True Blood"

 "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: 'You're No Good'

Bill learns he isn't as all-powerful as he thinks

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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<p>Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber in &quot;Ray Donovan.&quot;</p>

Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber in "Ray Donovan."

Credit: Showtime

Series premiere: 'Ray Donovan' - 'The Bag or the Bat'

What did everybody think of the new Showtime drama?

I posted my review of Showtime's "Ray Donovanearlier 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.

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<p>Dexter (Michael C. Hall)&nbsp;and Harrison (Jadon Wells)&nbsp;have a strange night out together in the &quot;Dexter&quot;&nbsp;season premiere.</p>

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Harrison (Jadon Wells) have a strange night out together in the "Dexter" season premiere.

Credit: Showtime

Season premiere review: 'Dexter' - 'A Beautiful Day'

The final season begins with Deb and Dexter at odds

A quick review of the final season premiere of "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I get the bowling team back together...

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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: The first unlucky hamsters face eviction

The Have Nots get what may be the worst room ever

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.

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<p>Dannis and Bobby Hackney seem thrilled with some long-overdue attention in the powerful new documentary 'A Band Called Death'</p>

Dannis and Bobby Hackney seem thrilled with some long-overdue attention in the powerful new documentary 'A Band Called Death'

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: 'A Band Called Death' tells a moving documentary story that also rocks

Why aren't the Hackneys a household name?

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.

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<p>Maggie Gyllenhaal</p>

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

'White House Down' star Maggie Gyllenhaal discusses the indie/blockbuster divide

What would the 'Secretary' star prefer to shooting a rocket launcher in a sequel?
WASHINGTON, DC - Despite a resume that includes "World Trade Center" and "Mona Lisa Smile" and "Monster House" and a little sleeper called "The Dark Knight," ones instinct is to associate Maggie Gyllenhaal more with smaller films like "Sherrybaby" or "Secretary."
I sat down with Gyllenhaal at the Beltway junket for her new studio offering "White House Down" and asked if the indie/blockbuster binary is one that journalists harp on, or if it stays in her mind as well.
Gyllenhaal tells me why this was a logical project for her to choose, but when I suggested she may want to fire a rocket launcher in a hypothetical sequel, she suggested something very different she'd rather do instead.
I've already posted the TV-centric portion of my Gyllenhaal sit-down in which she strongly hinted she might be interested in a small screen project, just days before Sundance Channel officially announced her miniseries "The Honourable Woman."
"White House Down" in now in theaters. You can also check out my chats with director Roland Emmerich and stars Jamie Foxx & Channing Tatum.
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<p>Justin Bieber in concert in Vegas</p>

Justin Bieber in concert in Vegas

Credit: AP

Music Power Rankings: Lady Gaga and Kanye West battle for the top spot

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber make this week's list too

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.

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'Glee' promotes 5 to series regulars

"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.

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<p>&quot;Pacific Rim:&nbsp;Tales from Year Zero&quot;&nbsp;cover art by Alex Ross</p>

"Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero" cover art by Alex Ross

Credit: Legendary Entertainment

How the comic book format allowed Travis Beacham to expand on the 'Pacific Rim' universe

'Tales from Year Zero' afforded the chance to be additive rather than adaptive

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.

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<p>Among the highlights of the final &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;season:&nbsp;Liz (Tina Fey)&nbsp;got to dress like a princess at her wedding to Criss (James Marsden).</p>

Among the highlights of the final "30 Rock" season: Liz (Tina Fey) got to dress like a princess at her wedding to Criss (James Marsden).

Credit: NBC

If I Had An Emmy Ballot 2013: Outstanding Comedy Series

Celebrating 'Parks and Recreation,' '30 Rock,' 'Louie' and more

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.

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"The Bachelorette"

 "The Bachelorette"

Credit: ABC

Reality TV Roundup: 'Big Brother,' 'Bachelorette,' 'SYTYCD' and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

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. 

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Will Kanye West's 'Yeezus' make it two week's atop the Billboard 200?
Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Will Kanye West's 'Yeezus' make it two week's atop the Billboard 200?

Not if Wale has his way

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.

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