TV’s Top 10 Sexiest Crime-Fighting Duos

Crockett and Tubbs had style. David and Maddie were explosive. And it was all about subtext when it came to Mulder and Scully. TV has seen a number of crime-fighting duos in its years, and the ones we remember most always had that certain “It” factor. On-screen chemistry — and we’re not speaking strictly in the romantic sense — is hard to come by, and lucky for us, there’s no shortage of it at the moment in the buddy cop/taking down evil rich people and terrorists field. In anticipation of Sunday’s Revenge and Homeland season premieres, we’ve decided to rank our favorite crime-fighting duos on TV, from “hotter than Bon Temps on a mild summer day” to “sexier than Inigo Montoya.” Is there a special couple we missed? Let us know! … Read More

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In Defense of 10 Divisive TV Characters We Love

When people hate on a TV character we love, it’s hard not to take it personally. At the same time, we’ve been swayed from the haters’ side on many occasions. For instance, we wrote off New Girl after the mere sight of the “adorkable” tagline, until a sworn fan urged us to give it a shot. We tuned in and were delighted to learn that the show — and Deschanel’s Jess Day — were nothing like what we expected. With Season 2 premiering tonight, we couldn’t help but think how it was just last year that we were rolling our eyes without even giving the girl a shot. So we’ve gathered a few thoughts in defense of Jess, as well as a few other TV characters who tend to receive a lot of flack, but who we believe to be pretty great. … Read More

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10 Amazing Books on Food History from Jeffrey Pilcher

As you know, we love talking about the intersection of food and culture, in all its wonderful (and sometimes bizarre) forms. Last week we looked at some of the greatest food still lifes in art history, and earlier this month, we were aglow in anticipation of Lawrence Norfolk’s first novel in 12 years, John Saturnall’s Feast, a 17th century upstairs-downstairs love story inspired by food’s more seductive powers. Now we’re taking a turn into the academic, yet equally enthralling (not to mention mouth-watering) genre of food history with the help of Jeffrey Pilcher, author of next month’s Planet Taco.

As you probably guessed, Pilcher’s latest book focuses on the history of the taco, but being the equal food opportunist that he is, Pilcher kindly shared a list of personal reading recommendations sure to interest anyone who enjoys history and/or eating in general. The following books, he told us, “will reveal the amazing history of food over five thousand years.” Click through for Pilcher’s list, which take us all the way from ancient Mesopotamia to the so-called “Golden Age of Food Processing,” and then, onward, to the future (yes, that would be the Jetson’s meal-in-a-pill, future). And if south-of-the-border is your fancy, we recommend his book, which will forever change the way you look at Mexico’s national cuisine, not to mention give you some great anecdotes next time you make a Chipotle run with your pals. … Read More

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10 Bizarre Fan Theories on TV’s Most Popular Shows

In the year ahead we’re expecting to get answers from some of television’s most mystery-ridden shows, from How I Met Your Mother and Homeland to The Office, and even, one day, Breaking Bad (it’s hard to believe now, but that day will come). And so, while we still sit in the space between questions and answers, we decided to round up the most popular and/or bizarre fan theories we’ve seen (some spoilers may be ahead). Have some to elaborate on or share? Let us know! … Read More

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Your 2012 Emmy Crash Course

With only three days left until the Emmys, we have some serious cramming to do. In order to prepare, we’ve mapped out the most important episodes to watch, based on nomination submissions, buzz, numbers, and a personal favorite or two. We realize ten episodes is a lot, but if you dedicate yourself to pajamas and Seamless (that wasn’t a plug), we believe you can get through these by Sunday (when the ceremony airs on ABC, 8pm ET). Have a favorite episode that you think should have been submitted or included on this list? Any predictions you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments! … Read More

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Exclusive Supercut: 80 Amazing Shots from ‘Boardwalk Empire’

We’re feeling especially excited about cinematography on TV these days, thanks to some gorgeous Breaking Bad video essays that have been making the rounds. And since Boardwalk Empire, another show with incredible visual storytelling appeal, is returning for a new season (this Sunday, at 9pm on HBO), we’ve prepared by retracing the images we loved most from Seasons 1 and 2. Below you’ll find 80 shots in roughly two minutes, which we hope capture the aspects we love most: geometric motifs (in the form of ovals and rectangles), the slightly surreal color palette, and Boardwalk Empire‘s range of beautifully constructed tracking and long shots (or in-your-face, nearly fourth wall-breaking close-ups) — all of course made possible by wonderful choreography, costumes, set design, and effects. Also, men in 1920s swimwear, doing a human pyramid. … Read More

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TV Sitcoms’ Most Boundary-Breaking Families

Despite a shaky start, we have high hopes for The New Normal, which officially debuted last night on NBC (tonight, the series’ second episode will air in its regular Tuesday time slot). As discussed in our fall preview, we felt the pilot a touch too didactic and the characterization teetering on offensive, but we’re hoping these things even out because the show’s talented cast, inclusive premise, and promise for sitcom-defying weirdness promise to far outweigh the bad. If you’ve followed TV news the past month, then you’ve probably heard about the backlash from One Million Moms, and then of course the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate’s decision not to air the show, behavior not entirely unusual in the scheme of TV sitcom history.

When networks have introduced “new normals” in decades past, the initial response wasn’t always warm — nor was the execution always perfect. But bit by bit, the sitcom has evolved, eroding the notion that a family can only look one way, and we hope the pattern continues. Click through for an abridged looked at some of these most boundary-breaking families, from the Ricardos on through the Lear era, and to the “anti-family” shows of the late ’80s that cleverly left us fumbling for a firm handle on what it means to be “normal” anyways. … Read More

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20 of the Best Closing Scenes in Television

After recently taking a look at some of our favorite TV pilot opening scenes, we decided it would only be fitting to look at some of our favorite closers across history. Some are wholly satisfying for their sense of closure after a long ride with characters we came to know and love, while others are equally poignant for their ambiguity, often thanks to early cancellation. Although these are just the final moments, revisiting these scenes has been enough to make us laugh, cry, and get thoroughly freaked out all over again, and we hope that perhaps they can provide you some healthy catharsis, too. Have a favorite we missed? Let us know in the comments — and beware that this post is, for obvious reasons, full of spoilers. … Read More

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Exclusive Peek: See ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Re-Imagined in ’80s Brooklyn

If Romeo and Juliet were a mix-tape, what would the story on the B-side be? That’s the context for Ronald Wimberly’s forthcoming graphic novel Prince of Cats, which focuses on Juliet’s bad-boy cousin and Romeo’s ultimate foe, Tybalt. Set on the streets of ’80s Brooklyn (yet written in iambic pentameter, verily), the story begins with Tybalt’s return from private school and his almost immediate plunge into ongoing Capulet and Montague hostilities, Samarai style.

“Tybalt interested me because he embodied mindless youthful violence as a means to etch out identity,” Wimberly told us. Violent indeed — if you’re looking for some sad-sack tale about two angsty teenagers who kill themselves in the name of love, this version is not for you. But if you dig the brawls, or were always curious about Romeo’s first love Rosaline (who goes by Rosalyn here), then this may be the version of R&J you’ve been looking for. For an exclusive sneak peek, we invite you to click through some of our favorite panels from the book, which publishes September 11th. And now to Brooklyn Babel, Where we lay our scene… … Read More

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Exclusive Supercut: TV’s First Days of School

We have never been shy of extolling the virtues of a good teen drama, and since a new school year is approaching, we decided to round up some of our favorite first days of school in TV history. Which 90210 character got a nose job? Did Kevin Arnold really get beat up by a girl? And what is the difference between “punk” and “new wave”? All these questions and more are answered below. And to all those gearing up for a new semester, have a great first day — or at least a better one than poor Will from The Inbetweeners did. … Read More

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