Caryn James

Ratings Update: Shameless, Episodes Have Big Premieres

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2011 11:28 AM
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Shameless, Showtimes lively dark comedy with William H. Macy as a falling-down-drunk father of six, was the network's biggest drama premiere in seven years. Matt LeBlanc's meta-comedy Episodes also had a big debut. As The Hollywood Reporter story notes, those numbers only included subscribers, not viewers of the network's free weekend, so Macy and LeBlanc can settle in.

Films in Progress: The Loving Story

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2011 6:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Now and then I’ll give you a peek at a film in progress – something that doesn’t come with major hype – and keep you posted when it turns up on screen. Here’s a look at The Loving Story, a beautifully made, nearly finished documentary about Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple who were arrested and forced to leave Virginia in the 1950’s, and whose Supreme Court case finally struck down anti-miscegenation laws.

TV Review. Off the Map, Where Grey's Anatomy Collides With Lost

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The promos for Off the Map, the new ABC drama about doctors in a run-down clinic in a remote South American village, look like Grey’s Anatomy meets Lost, but I never imagined this disappointing clunker would really be that mashup. The series is executive produced by Grey's Shonda Rhimes and created by one of its producers, Jenna Bans, and like that much more engaging medical soap opera, Off the Map features attractive young doctors among an experienced hospital staff. Love affairs! Jockeying for the bloodiest cases!
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Watch Jim Carrey Do Black Swan

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 9, 2011 5:40 AM
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The best way to watch SNL is always to record and zap through most of it, but last night's was worth stopping a couple of times. Bill Hader already has his John Boehner impression down, a bawling baby who crumbles at the mention of a flag or a kitten, at everything except people without health care. And host Jim Carrey took on Black Swan. Carrey never does pointed satire, so the sketch is tailored to his outsized physical schtick, but it's funny, and worth waiting for him in full swan makeup at the end.

Best on TV: So Much to Watch, So Few Hours In One Sunday

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 7, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There are no good, major films turning up this weekend, but Sunday is crammed with great television.
More: Best on TV

Catching Up on The Great Oprah Filibuster of 2011

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 7, 2011 4:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Twice a year, the Television Critics’ Association has what I consider a dinosaur of a gathering, commonly known as TCA Press Tour, in which networks trot out their new shows and talent. I’m always happy not to be there, especially yesterday when I could sit back and read the very funny tweets from critics trapped in the room during the presentation for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The headline: in answer to a single question which no one can quite remember, Oprah went on for – someone clocked it – 18 minutes and 15 seconds. This was supposed to be a press conference, not a dramatic monologue, but it ended up inspiring the hashtag #oprahfilibuster.

TV Review: Shameless, Now With U.S. Welfare Fraud

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 7, 2011 3:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Can a falling-down drunk, single father of six, who pays his $700 a month bar tab – when he pays it at all – with his fraudulently-gotten disability checks be the hero of a series? Well, sure. It’s not easy. The original British Shameless, about an irresponsible father and his children, all of them resourcefully skirting the law, was about a family with accents that were sometimes hard to decipher, living in Manchester council housing. They were original, surprising, and they were Britain’s problem. The American remake follows the original almost to the letter, but the distance vanishes when the family lives in Chicago and is cheating the U.S. government.
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Michel Gondry Sells You His Stuff

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 6, 2011 6:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments
TV Gondry Episode One from Michel Gondry on Vimeo.
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TV Review, Downton Abbey: Such Elegant Social Upheaval

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 6, 2011 2:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
In 1912, the aristocrats and servants at Downton Abbey live in a world where bad news comes by telegram – like the one informing Lord Grantham that his cousin and heir has been lost with the Titanic. By the end of this sumptuous, endlessly entertaining miniseries, it is 1914, a new-fangled telephone has been installed, and we can see far better than the characters can that World War I is about to explode their stable world.
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TV Review, Showtime’s Episodes: Matt LeBlanc Outsmarts Joey

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 5, 2011 4:12 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Infotainment and the internet have created a country of show-biz insiders, shrewd about every Hollywood ploy. What dark corners are left after you’ve heard Mel Gibson rant? That makes satire harder to pull off than ever, and it doesn’t take much to see where Showtime’s new Matt LeBlanc series will go.
More: TV Reviews

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