The Playlist

Recap: 'The Newsroom' Break Bin Laden's Death In Irritating, Manipulative Low For The Series

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 6, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 25 Comments
Later on today, the first trailer for "Zero Dark Thirty," the film by "The Hurt Locker" helmer Kathryn Bigelow that focuses on the hunt for, and successful assassination of, Osama Bin Laden, and which stars Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Edgar Ramirez and Mark Duplass, among many others. It's presumably nothing but a coincidence that last night saw Aaron Sorkin tackle the same subject on "The Newsroom," with Will McAvoy and the rest of the "News Night" team receiving early reports that Navy Seals had gone into Pakistan and taken out the Al Qaeda leader, and battling to find confirmation. But one can only hope that Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have a somewhat stronger handle on their own material than this uneven, misjudged and generally botched "Newsroom" episode.

Second Seasons Of 'Girls' & 'Enlightened' Slated For January 2013 Premiere On HBO

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 1, 2012 5:35 PM
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  • 9 Comments
When you're hot, you're hot and there has been no other new show on television so far this year that has earned quite the same amount of attention as Lena Dunham's "Girls." With the first three episodes premiering at SXSW to a huge response, "Girls" hit HBO in full force in April, averaging 3.8 million viewers over that first batch of shows, leading to a quick renewal by the network. And Dunham didn't waste a single moment, going in front of cameras this summer to shoot the second season, and in less than a year, we'll have ten new episodes to enjoy.

New Images Of Sienna Miller & Toby Jones As Tippi Hedren & Alfred Hitchcock In 'The Girl'; Hits HBO Oct. 20th

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 31, 2012 6:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment
While it seems like we've been getting various peeks at "The Girl" for a while now, it appears that the movie about the movies is even closer than we thought, and of course to fan those flames, two more stills have dropped in advance of the enticing picture.

Recap: 'The Newsroom' Continues Its Uptick By Letting Its Characters Fail

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 30, 2012 10:58 AM
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  • 6 Comments
At the close of our recap of last week's "The Newsroom" episode, we wrote of protagonist Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), that we thought "he'd actually be more sympathetic if he actually made a mistake and had to deal with the consequences. In fact, the show would be helped enormously if they made some serious fuck up too, rather than being right every single week." Of course, episode six, "Bullies," had been written and made long ago, but clearly someone on the creative team had the same thought, because it was this exact conceit -- our heroes being wrong, and being less than saintly -- that formed the theme of this week's episode, and the result was a continued upswing for the show, and further proof that "The Newsroom" can be saved after a very rough start.

Larry David's Greg Mottola-Helmed Improv Comedy With Jon Hamm & Michael Keaton Heads To HBO

  • By Simon Dang
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  • July 27, 2012 9:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While early word said the upcoming Greg Mottola-helmed Larry David-starring improv comedy was set up over at Fox Searchlight, it looks like the project may be headed to another, more familiar home for David and Mottola: cable channel HBO.

'Ruby Sparks' Directors Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris Talk Lighting A Scene With An iPad, Digital Vs. Film & A Brewing HBO Pilot

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 25, 2012 10:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Six years in a long time. Back in 2006 when Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' "Little Miss Sunshine" got huge buzz out of Sundance before hitting theaters, Steve Carell was just entering the third season of "The Office." Paul Dano was probably still best known as that guy from "The Girl Next Door." And when the little indie movie that could made its way into the Best Picture race, it was facing off against "The Departed," "The Queen," "Babel" and "Letters From Iwo Jima." It seems a lifetime ago. And while the directors had various projects brewing that never quite came together since then, their sophomore effort "Ruby Sparks" has been worth the wait. Penned by Zoe Kazan, and starring the actress alongside her boyfriend Paul Dano, it's a film that finds the directors once again flexing their comedic muscles, while also finding new notes and textures we haven't seen from them before, all in a hugely enjoyable and entertaining film.

HBO Picks Up Stephen Merchant Comedy 'Hello Ladies'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 24, 2012 9:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Is it just us, or does HBO seem to be becoming a lot more auteur-driven as of late? Their three big commissions for 2012 were Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” Armando Iannucci’s “Veep,” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” and then they co-produced Ricky Gervais’ “Life’s Too Short” with the BBC. All of those shows very definitely bear the mark of their creator and said creators are all very hands on in all of those cases. That trend looks set to continue with HBO picking up the pilot for a new comedy called “Hello Ladies.”

Recap: 'The Newsroom' Halts Its Death Plunge With Its Least Terrible Episode Since The Pilot

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 23, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 24 Comments
So far "The Newsroom" has had two major problems, sitting on top of a whole bunch of minor ones. Firstly, Aaron Sorkin's often-questionable approach to female characters has reached something of a zenith here. His shows have often featured strong powerful women undone by their love lives, but the leads of "The Newsroom" feel particularly and offensively bird-brained, and unlike CJ in "The West Wing," Sorkin's finest creation to date, haven't been shown to be particularly competent at their jobs either, mainly out of Sorkin's desire to show Will McAvoy to be right about everything. And some of them have been shown to be actively devilish, like Hope Davis' gossip columnist last week.

Review: Tabloid Journalism, Media Tricks & A Coldplay Montage...Yes, It's 'The Newsroom'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 15, 2012 11:00 PM
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  • 3 Comments
There is perhaps no better encapsulation of the many flaws and tremendous promise that Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" contains than "I'll Try To Fix You." The last of the first batch of episodes sent to press, as the credits roll, it's easy to see why advance reviews were all over the map, because the show itself is an unwieldy mess of liberal politics, sitcom comedy, media commentary and genuinely affecting drama. And all of those thing swirl together in what is perhaps the most representative episode of the show so far.

Get To Know The 14 New Additions To The Cast Of Season Three Of 'Game Of Thrones'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 15, 2012 11:16 AM
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  • 3 Comments
"Game Of Thrones" already has one of the most expansive and impressive casts in the history of television. Essentially picking up the slack that "Harry Potter" left in terms of propping up the British acting industry, the show hasn't just made stars (with names like Richard Madden, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke coming to serious Hollywood attention), but also given great showcases to veteran character actors -- people like Donald Sumpter, Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham have given show-stealing turns over the last two seasons.

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