Alternate-Universe Space Thriller ‘Ascension’ Proves Syfy Is More Than Just ‘Sharknado’

It’s impossible to talk about Syfy’s miniseries Ascension without talking about the network’s current predicament. Syfy has been stuck in limbo, swerving constantly between two extremes as it tries to figure out what it wants to be. On one side, Syfy is struggling to be taken seriously with original (and sometimes underrated) science-fiction programs; on the other, Syfy knows that it will always be able to find viewers for its ridiculous made-for-television movies (see: Sharknado) and will thus keep putting those out until the end of time. Syfy is making an admirable attempt to find balance: a TV version of 12 Monkeys is in the works, as well as adaptations of The Magicians (!) and 3001: The Final Odyssey; meanwhile, Saturday will bring the premiere Christmas Icetastrophe, wherein an asteroid triggers a wave of deadly ice crystals. But if Ascension is any indication, Syfy’s original programming might actually become a force to be reckoned with. … Read More

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Take a Look at Catherine Opie’s ‘Portlandia’ Season 5 Promotional Art

Portlandia, more than perhaps any other show, provides a complex (albeit sketch-comedically exaggerated) blueprint of a community — a warm… Read More

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‘The Affair,’ Season 1, Episode 9: “9”

This week on The Affair: plot plot plot plot plot. Let’s get started.

Elisabeth’s Story: Christmastime! Time to take the LIRR to the city in order to see your married lover in Brooklyn! But hey, you can’t get a hotel room for anything lower than 1200. “I’m not going to fuck you in my wife’s… Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Series Finale Recap: “What Kind of Day Has It Been”

Last week’s “Oh Shenandoah” will likely be remembered as the real finale of The Newsroom, a perfect summary of the show’s issues with mansplanation and the 21st century before it goes off the air. There’s almost no point to “What Kind of Day Has It Been,” because at this point, there’s nothing this finale could do to change the reputation “Oh Shenandoah” sealed for the TV ages. At the very least, it’s a more likable sendoff to a show that’s not especially likable, centering on one of The Newsroom‘s most inoffensive characters: Charlie Skinner. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Martin Freeman

American audiences are familiar with Martin Freeman from his time in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, FX’s Fargo, Sherlock, and the British version of The Office. But he seemed like a bit of a strange choice for SNL host over someone like Sir Ian McKellen (since it’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies time and everything). This is SNL’s 40th season and the celebrations are supposed to be stupendous. Freeman also lost fans when he made that weird rape joke during press rounds for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He’s a gifted actor and comedian, but let’s see if he can be on his best behavior during tonight’s episode and still keep it funny. … Read More

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This Week’s Top 5 TV Moments: Smaug in the House

There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This round, Stephen Colbert talks conservatism with a dragon and Netflix goes to Mongolia. … Read More

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‘Marco Polo’ Is Netflix’s Half-Hearted Answer to ‘Game of Thrones’

If Netflix is to the 2010s what HBO was to the 2000s, Marco Polo is clearly intended to be the streaming service’s Game of Thrones. The series, which premieres its ten-episode first season today, is a genre epic with more mass-market appeal than prestige shows about women’s prisons. The problem is that where Game of Thrones managed to add action, scenery porn, and just-short-of-actual porn to the mix while retaining the intelligence and innovation we’d come to expect from HBO, Marco Polo has the typical weaknesses of a genre series along with the typical strengths. … Read More

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Your Weekly TV News Roundup: ‘Playing House’ Renewed, Kirsten Dunst Cast in ‘Fargo’

The television world moves so fast that by the time you learn of a show’s premiere, it could already be canceled. It’s hard to keep track of the constant stream of television news, so Flavorwire is here to provide a weekly roundup of the most exciting — and baffling — casting and development updates. This week: Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons head to Fargo, Syfy orders Krypton series, and Playing House gets a second season. … Read More

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