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Caryn James

Ricky Gervais In Flames (Not The Kind He Promised): Golden Globes Television Review

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 15, 2012 11:26 PM
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  • 2 Comments
And just like that, the Golden Globes went back to being one more bloated, boring awards show. You could tell from the start when Ricky Gervais came out and began with a Kim Kardashian joke – really? so obvious? – and not even a funny one, counting off the ways she’s different from Kate Middleton. She’s louder, trashier, drunker ... sigh. He took swipes at NBC’s fourth place status among networks, which is so tired and so true it doesn’t qualify as edgy even though he was on NBC. And he did all this wearing a maroon tieless tux from somebody’s long-ago prom. OK, maybe that was ironic. Ugly but ironic.

Downton Abbey: Does Mary Get Matthew, And Will Patton Oswalt Tweet?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 5, 2012 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It took a costume drama about nose-in-the-air aristocrats to give PBS pop-culture traction. But just before New Year’s, there was Patton Oswalt catching up with season 1 and  practically swooning as he Tweeted with arch wit but no irony, “Oh DOWNTON ABBEY, how have I only just now seen your 1st episode? I'm as besotted as a vicar at a crumpet orgy!” And,  confessing his attachment to Lord Grantham’s feminist daughter, his unlikely sex symbol of a valet and the household’s proper but deeply humane butler, he admitted,  “I  now have a lust-crush on Lady Sybil, a man-crush on Bates and a scorching butler-crush on Mr. Carson.”  

Dominic West As A Serial Killer in "Appropriate Adult"

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 6, 2011 8:55 AM
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  • 0 Comments
No one wants to sympathize with a serial killer, yet real life has shown us how often they charm their victims. Dominic West eerily walks that line between seductive and repellent in Sundance Channel’s sharp psychological thriller Appropriate Adult (a film premiering Saturday at 10 PM ET). West plays the real-life Fred West (happily for him, no relation) who tortured and killed at least a dozen women over more than a decade, including one of his own daughters. Sometimes he had an accomplice – his wife.

TV Review: Gus Van Sant (!) Directs Kelsey Grammer in "Boss"

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 21, 2011 2:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It’s one thing to know where the bodies are buried and another to know how to use that information. The best dramas about political thugs - and they are a fascinating breed - show us the behind-the scenes payoffs, blackmail schemes and turns of the screw that a politico uses to wield his power. So far the new Starz series Boss, with Kelsey Grammer as Tom Kane, the corrupt mayor of Chicago (I guess Chicago is so used to charges of corruption, using its real name isn’t even an insult) comes through with those sinister, twisty plots.
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The Govt. Can’t Help You, And Other Lessons From "The Walking Dead"

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 16, 2011 12:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If you look closely into the herd of zombies stumbling through a school parking lot in next week’s episode of The Walking Dead, you’ll see one wearing a FEMA jacket – a mordant, apparently trivial detail that actually reveals one of the series’ major truths: The Government Can’t Help You.
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On Amy Poehler's "Parks and Rec": Gotcha Journalism and Birthers

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 6, 2011 3:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It’s a Sarah Palin paranoid-fantasy come true, just in time to ride the wave of her not-running-for-president announcement. On the next episode of Parks and Recreation, when Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) promotes her new book on the local Pawnee television show, she becomes the victim of gotcha journalism, complete with a giant “Gotcha!” logo behind the snarky host.
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Hugh Laurie Goes to Prison: "House" Season Premiere

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 3, 2011 12:34 PM
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  • 0 Comments
After crashing his car through Cuddy's window at the end of last season, House apparently landed in prison because that's where we find him at the start of tonight's season premiere. (Last season Thirteen was just out of prison, this year House; would you want a hospital where all the docs are ex-cons? Just asking.)
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Ryan Murphy's Stunning, Campier-Than-Glee "American Horror Story"

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 3, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Sex, ghosts, murder and old movies create a post-modern, post-Gothic swirl in FX’s stunning new series American Horror Story. Co-created by Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck ) and Brad Falchuk (Murphy's co-creator on Glee), the story of a damaged family and a haunted house is more macabre than Nip/Tuck and has a higher-than-Glee camp quotient. You can’t be seriously terrified of a show in which the housekeeper – Frances Conroy channeling Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca – finds yet another body in the basement and wearily deadpans to her cohorts, “You get the shovel, I’ll get the bleach.”
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Boardwalk Empire Returns, With Nucky and Margaret The New Tony and Carmela

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 25, 2011 2:45 AM
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Near the start of tonight’s season premiere of Boardwalk Empire, there is a guns-blazing Ku Klux Klan attack on the bootleg warehouse of Chalky White, Atlantic City boss Nucky Thompson’s ironically named black cohort. Nucky’s luck gets worse from there.
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The Jackie Kennedy Interviews: Snark Becomes Her

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 23, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Here is the great lesson of the newly unsealed Jacqueline Kennedy oral history tapes: Jackie said some snarky things. And her biting, often witty remarks have actually burnished and freshened up her image. Doesn’t it make her seem more real, likable, shrewd and contemporary to have called Indira Gandhi “a prune”?
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