‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: “An Innocent Man”

Of the many things that make Scandal addictive, one that’s rarely discussed is its uniquely combustible blend of fantasy and reality. At one extreme, it’s a political drama that isn’t afraid to go deep into the nasty expediencies and ruthless optics-doctoring that most of us assume are essential to our federal government’s daily operations; at the other, it’s a utopian hallucination of a Republican administration that cares about issues like equal pay and gun control, where an ethnically diverse, largely female group of fixers can go head-to-head with not only POTUS but also the shadowy, top-secret assassin agency charged with protecting the nation’s security at any cost. The show is at its best when it brings its optimism and pessimism into direct conflict through individual relationships, as it did on last night’s “An Innocent Man.” … Read More

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Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves” Will Be Adapted as an ABC Series

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, the short story collection by Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur Genius… Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 5 Recap: “The Key”

Scandal thrives on interweaving political intrigue with personal relationships and struggles, though for the first few episodes of Season 4, its attempts to unite the two came across as awkward and forced. But, among other encouraging developments, last week’s final moments contained a political bombshell with the power to bring closure to the show’s most persistent interpersonal storyline: the Fitz-Olivia-Jake love triangle. … Read More

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‘Nashville’ Is Pushing Its Gay Cowboy Out of the Closet, and It’s About Time

Note: This article contains spoilers for last night’s episode of Nashville.

A few weeks back, ABC’s Nashville — now in its third season — nearly evaded a conversation that seems unavoidable when a young, single character gets pregnant unexpectedly in the year 2014. The country music soap delicately danced around the topic of abortion. Superstar Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) would have the baby and give it up for adoption, and she would hide the pregnancy while filming a Patsy Cline biopic and touring the country, practicality be damned. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: “Like Father, Like Daughter”

TV recaps tend to get a bad rap among high-minded critic types — something I’ve never thought was entirely fair. Certainly, I have practical reasons to be biased in favor of the format, but it’s also difficult for me to understand what’s so terrible about coming together to discuss individual episodes of television, which is after all one of the few shared experiences left in American culture now that we all bowl alone and have invented enough apps that we never need to leave home. … Read More

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Nielsen Admits to False Network Ratings Since March Due to “Technical Error”

Do television ratings ever seem bewilderingly arbitrary to you? Do you find yourself cursing the heavens when that smart, not-that-esoteric… Read More

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ABC’s ‘Cristela’ Uses Classic Sitcom Tropes to Tell a Refreshing New Story

Cristela is one of the rare sitcoms that works because of how purely sitcom-y it is. There are some premature strikes against the show: it’s multi-camera and shot in front of a studio audience, it’s yet another sitcom created by a comedian with a weak-ish premise, and it’s on ABC, which is known for popular but fairly mediocre comedies. Cristela overcomes all of this by being aware of the challenges it faces and fully, unabashedly, embracing its sitcom roots. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 3 Recap: “Inside the Bubble”

For fuck’s sake, Scandal. After a decent premiere that, at the time, felt refreshingly restrained, I was willing to accept last week’s even lower-drama episode as a necessary bit of scene-setting. Three episodes in, though, and I’m becoming distraught. Where are the stakes? Where is the intrigue? Where is the pathos? Hell, it’s even been tough to find a really good Olivia Pope black-and-white outfit this season! … Read More

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Happy ‘Twin Peaks’ Is Back? Thank Millennials

I didn’t grow up with Twin Peaks. Neither did most fans of the show who I know, really — not the friend who dressed up as James, complete with leather jacket and guyliner, for Halloween; not the 20-something barista who slapped a “damn fine coffee” sticker on my local coffee shop’s tip jar. Like me, these friends and acquaintances found Agent Cooper through their laptops, not their televisions, and burned through the series in two weeks, not two years. In other words, we’re the new face of the Twin Peaks fan, and we’re a major reason why the show’s coming back in… Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “The State of the Union”

Has Scandal lost its mojo? As unfair as it would be to make that call only two episodes into the show’s fourth season, last night’s episode worried me. After a refreshingly restrained premiere that reset the story without entirely rebooting it, “The State of the Union” found the White House preparing for Fitz’s big speech — and writer Heather Mitchell struggling to inject any sort of suspense or interpersonal drama into a show that made its reputation by going batshit crazy with those things. … Read More

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