Television

‘Louie’ Season 5 Episode 7 Recap: ‘The Road, Part 1′

The most surprising thing about last night’s Louie is that, with the show winding down its fifth season, C.K. went this long without doing an episode about being a “road comic.” His job has always been a part of the show, obviously, and has even been the focus (as far as Louie has a focus) of a few episodes, but most of the time, the show acts as though a New York stand-up could make his living just working in New York. And even at the monster level he’s at in real life, Louie couldn’t do that. Comics have to go out into the world. In “The Road: Part I,” he shows us a trip to do a one-nighter in Cincinnati—but, at the end of the day, it could be any trip to anywhere. They’re all the same; the name of the city changes, but it’s all The Road. … Read More

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In Praise of Narrative Ambiguity (or, Why You’ll Never “Solve” the ‘Mad Men’ Finale)

A strange thing happened on the Internet this morning: pretty much every news outlet, reputable and otherwise, that has any interest in Mad Men (so all of them, basically) reported that Matthew Weiner had explained the ending to the show’s last episode at a talk with novelist A.M. Homes last night. As an example of the perils of churnalism, it was pretty impressive, because if you watch the video of the event, Weiner does no such thing. Instead, he explains that the end of the show is as ambiguous as it appears: “People are like, ‘Which is it?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, why does it have to be one or the other?'” … Read More

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‘Black-ish’ Season 1 Effortlessly Balanced Universal Family Plots With Specifically Black Experiences

When Black-ish first premiered, the sitcom was notable because of its visible diversity, especially considering it closed out ABC’s very white Wednesday night comedy lineup (joining The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family). As it progressed, the show continued to tackle storylines specific to black culture — teaching children about the importance of black history, worrying about whether you’re “black enough,” homophobia in the black community, etc. — while also including more typical family sitcom tropes, such as a married couple switching chores or disliking their daughter’s boyfriend. It provided a good balance for a sitcom: enough universal plots to appeal to a wide variety of viewers, but also plenty of focus on an often-overlooked minority group, making it one of the year’s best new comedies. … Read More

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Think Frank Underwood and Selina Meyer Are Dysfunctional TV Presidents? Prepare for the Reign of Nick Nolte

Epix has made an epic (they love getting that, don’t they?) choice: one of their first scripted series will star… Read More

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From Cannes to Lifetime: A ‘Grace of Monaco’ Disaster Timeline

Dozing off on the couch Memorial Day evening with a belly full of improperly cooked-out burgers and cheap beer is a bit of a holiday tradition (in our house, anyway), but this year, there’s a particularly fascinating bit of television programming for you to nod off to: Grace of Monaco, in which Oscar winner Nicole Kidman plays iconic movie-star-turned-princess Grace Kelly. This was supposed to be a giant movie: opening the Cannes Film Festival, awards season push by the Weinstein Company, Oscar glory. Instead, it’s quietly making its stateside debut on Lifetime, a network better known for cringe-worthy original biopics and tales of women in jeopardy. So how did such a prestige project end up on a punchline network? Let’s roll the tape. … Read More

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Conan O’Brien Implores Viewers to Switch to ‘Letterman’ in a Touching Tribute

Last night, Conan O’Brien joined the chorus of David Letterman tributes during his own late night show Conan. Referring to Letterman… Read More

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No Collar Victory: David Letterman’s Goodbye to Late Night

The lead-in to David Letterman’s goodbye to television was a mercilessly long Survivor special that concluded a season of experimental class warfare. Pitched as a battle between “white collar,” “no collar,” and “blue collar” contestants, the show canceled itself out predictably in the middle. While watching dutifully, I couldn’t help but wonder if this new Survivor, with its “no collar” victory, was nothing but a pale simulation of David Letterman’s 33-year-long “no collar victory” — his everyman’s war of attrition against all competitors in late night television. … Read More

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The Best — and Worst — Trends of the 2014-15 TV Season

Last week, networks announced their 2015-16 television season pick-ups, cancellations, and official schedules. Just by looking at the big four networks, it’s easy to pick out the trends they’re betting on for next year: movie-to-television adaptations, reboots and remakes, childhood nostalgia like The Muppetsmore medical dramas, and more superhero shows. But before we look ahead, and now that the current TV season is finally winding down, it’s necessary to take a look back at what networks were gung-ho about last year — and to see whether or not any of those ideas worked. From multiple knockoffs of The Americans to romantic-comedy sitcoms to, of course, superheroes, here’s a look at 2014-15’s best trends and worst failures.  … Read More

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HBO Announces August Debut for David Simon’s All-Star Mini-Series, ‘Show Me a Hero’

The Wire creator David Simon has teamed up with Crash director Paul Haggis for an all-star six-part HBO mini-series adaptation of Lisa Belkin’s 1988… Read More

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