The Playlist

Recap: 'Girls' Season 3, Episode 8 Handles The 'Incidentals'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 23, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Girls
After last week's excursion to North Fork in "Beach House," a welcome one-off that focused on the "Girls" and not on pushing the plot around, the show returns with the slightly more conventional "Incidentals." But don't let the title of the episode fool you, or even the packaging it arrives in as a standard entry for "Girls." Riding underneath it all is something about the dreams and aspirations of these characters, both as they are fulfilled and disappointed.

Recap: 'True Detective' Visits 'Haunted Houses' In Season 1, Episode 6

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 23, 2014 10:00 PM
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  • 32 Comments
True Detective
Nic Pizzolatto has entertainingly, wickedly and delightfully done what "Lost" attempted but could pull off: referencing literary and ideological touchstones that have actual bearing on the narrative and characters of the show. But it does mean that any viewer will watch "True Detective" so closely that they may be seeing things that aren't there. So forgive me if I go down a rabbit hole (or two) tying together thematic threads that may not be there. With Robert W. Chambers' 1895 book "The King In Yellow" a clear reference point in "True Detective" (and now a surprise best seller), please indulge me for a moment as I chase down a couple other things that I couldn't shake after this week's "Haunted Houses."

DVD Review: Uneven 'Borgen' Season 3 Still Satisfies

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 20, 2014 5:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Borgen
While the novelty factor of "Borgen" is that it's a drama about the fictional female leader of Denmark, what has made the show must-watch TV across two seasons has been its sharp writing and terrific characters, populating a textured world of ethical choices and moral complexity in a constantly shifting political sphere. Which makes it all the more a shame that the third and final season doesn't quite hit the high bar that has been set. An increase of cheap melodrama comes at the expense of nuance, while domestic squabbles get as much play as media and political developments. But all that said, the show's peaks are still some of the best television around, as the second half the third season makes up for a bumpy start.

Recap: 'Girls' Go To The 'Beach House' In Season 3, Episode 7

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 16, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Girls
The midsection of the second season of "Girls" was marked by an adventurous spirit that saw Lena Dunham breaking away from the standard format of the show. "One Man's Trash," which is still a series highlight, spent an entire episode focused on Hannah's weekend affair with the well-off Joshua (Patrick Wilson). The following week, Adam (Adam Driver) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky) headed to Staten Island for the one-off "Boys," while after that, we were introduced to Jessa's estranged father in "Video Games," another episode that took a trip outside Manhattan. The results might have been mixed, but the experiments opened up the show in fascinating ways, giving new dimensions to the characters that threatened to be boxed in by their traits. And while "Beach House" isn't perfect, it's a refreshing shake-up for what has so far been a solid, if not particularly memorable, third season of "Girls."

Recap: 'True Detective' Season 1, Episode 5 Discovers 'The Secret Fate Of All Life'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 16, 2014 10:00 PM
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  • 32 Comments
True Detective
If the six-minute, single-shot finale of last week's "Who Goes There" set your pulse racing through sheer visceral force, this week, "True Detective" keeps up the pace while finding new ways thrill with "The Secret Fate Of All Life." Yes, there is another nail-biting setpiece that anchors the first half of the episode, but it's the developments in the case that really start to bear fruit, with the investigation into Reggie Ledoux moving away from merely procedural and pointing toward something more far-reaching and sinister.

Review: Danny Boyle's Police TV Show Pilot 'Babylon' Starring Brit Marling & James Nesbitt

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 10, 2014 11:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Babylon
With an Oscar, two Best Picture nominations (one of which won), national hero status thanks to the Olympics and an acclaimed stage play in his recent past, Danny Boyle can do pretty much whatever he wants these days (even with the critical and commercial failure of "Trance" coming last year—though the film's underrated, in this writer's opinion). So it's a measure of the draw and cachet of the medium that his latest endeavor comes on the small screen, helming the pilot for new U.K. comedy-drama "Babylon," which aired on Channel 4 last night ahead of a full series later in the year.

Recap: Hannah Goes For 'Free Snacks' In 'Girls' Season 3, Episode 6

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 9, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Girls
Compromise. It's something that, as you get older, you learn to navigate with the pragmatism of being an adult. But when you're younger, it can be difficult to understand and exercise. In "Free Snacks," it finds Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) all trading off grander aspirations for what they can realistically acquire at the moment, though it will be met with difficulty, pain or just cold indifference.

Recap: Explosive 'True Detective' Season 1, Episode 4 'Who Goes There'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 9, 2014 10:00 PM
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  • 33 Comments
Girls
Over the course of three episodes, "True Detective" has been a steadily ratcheting the tension as Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) track down a serial killer that is haunting the surreal South like a monster. Last week's "The Locked Room" concluded with a goosebump-raising closing shot of the wanted, parole-breaking ex-convict Reggie Ledoux as he prowled across some as yet discovered landscape, as the cops tried to find him. He's the man Martin and Rust think is good for a number of murders, and kicking off "Who Goes There," they're on the hunt.

Recap: Hannah Is An 'Only Child' In 'Girls' Season 3, Episode 5

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 1, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Girls
If the third season of "Girls" has thus far been dedicated to anything, it's underscoring Hannah's (Lena Dunham) selfishness. Until now, things have seemingly been on track for Hannah, with her relationship with Adam (Adam Driver) now solidified and her career as a writer starting to take shape. But her ambition has only been matched by a tunnel-vision that seems to keep the concerns of everyone else to the side. Her lack of empathy following the death of her editor David was the central focus on last week's "Dead Inside," and even her trip to pick up Jessa (Jemima Kirke) from rehab at the start of season doubled as an opportunity to hopefully get a story out of the road trip. But could Hannah's self-centeredness simply stem from the fact that she's an only child? Indeed, the title of tonight's episode puts that fact in central view.

Recap: 'Girls' Season 3, Episode 4 Feels 'Dead Inside'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 26, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Girls
It's hard to figure out what will most fuel the post-"Girls" talk this week: Hannah's inability to express any kind of emotion following the surprise death of her editor David (John Cameron Mitchell)? Or the digs at Gawker and Jezebel? We'll probably have to go with the latter.

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