‘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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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Premiere Recap: “Randy, Red, Superfreak, and Julia”

It may have taken you a minute, last night, to realize you were watching the Scandal Season 4 premiere and not an ad for an all-inclusive resort vacation. White sand, clear blue-green water, a happy couple in bathing suits, a copy of Gone Girl… As much as shippers may have longed for a full hour of Olivia Pope — sorry, Julia Baker! — and Jake Ballard making out on an island “a hundred miles off the coast of Zanzibar,” it surely came as a surprise to no one when a mysterious envelope delivered alongside their weekly boatload of wine catalyzed their return to civilization. I mean, this isn’t Lost (thank god). … Read More

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Ranking ABC’s Wednesday Night Family Comedies

Wednesday nights on ABC are now devoted entirely to family comedies: The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family, and Black-ish. It’s the most thematically consistent comedy block since the network’s old-school TGIF lineup, with ABC apparently hoping that sweetly funny sitcoms about misunderstandings and hugs are going to be big. But not all family comedies are created equal — and certainly not these four — so here’s a ranking of last night’s premiere episodes from worst to best.  … Read More

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WTF Is Happening on ‘Scandal’ Right Now? A Season 4 Premiere Cheat Sheet

Gladiators! Can you believe it’s been over five months since we last heard from our white coat-wearing, white hat metaphor-loving heroine? Well, tonight Olivia Pope returns to primetime — and quite likely, let’s face it, to Washington — in Scandal‘s Season 4 premiere. But since it’s been so long, and since every Scandal episode packs more twists than a whole season of your average TV drama, you could be forgiven for having forgotten where this twisty, turn-y plot left off. So we’ve compiled a handy cheat sheet. Refresh your memory below, and come back tomorrow for our first recap of the new season. … Read More

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