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Recap: 'The Newsroom' Blends The Sublime & The Ridiculous As It Tackles Casey Anthony & Anthony Weiner

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 13, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Not to get too Will McAvoy about it, but one of the things we lament about the level of discourse on the internet is the way in which people seem to be more and more allergic to the very idea of nuance. We seem to live in a world where things can only ever be awesome or sucky, rotten or fresh. Certainly the reactions to "The Newsroom" have fallen along these lines. The comments on these recaps to date have, for the most part, either told us that the show is the worst thing ever, and that we're crazy for praising it, or that it's the best thing on TV, and that we're biased and stupid for criticizing it.

Recap: 'Louie' Finds Its Funny Bone Again With Help From Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman & Marc Maron

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 10, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 3 Comments
We've talked about this before, but one of the things that makes "Louie" so unique is that it's a half-hour comedy (from a stand-up comedian, no less) that's quite happy to go an episode without making you laugh. Sometimes the stand-up inserts will add a few gags, but some of the most memorable episodes have been closer to drama than straight-up sitcom (a description which barely ever fits the show). And certainly, this season, from Louie's trip to Miami to his date with Parker Posey's character, Louis C.K. hasn't been shy of just letting his stories play out organically without forcing jokes in.

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.

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.

Recap: Walt Learns About Overhead In 'Breaking Bad' Episode 3 'Hazard Pay'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • July 30, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If the first two episodes of “Breaking Bad”’s thus far excellent fifth season were mostly concerned with tying up loose ends from last season while setting the stage for the next phase of the story, episode 3 titled “Hazard Pay,” begins moving forward in earnest. The breakneck pacing is likely a result of creator Vince Gilligan and co. realizing exactly how much story they have left and how few episodes they have to tell it. And while we, as an audience, know that the journey of these final episodes will probably involve Walt undergoing the final phases of his transformation from family man to drug kingpin before he (or those closest to him) suffer for his sins, the trajectory will still surprise. Just as Walt has grown accustomed to outsmarting his opponents by thinking several steps ahead of them, the writers too, play on our expectations, sometimes giving us what we think might be coming but never quite in the ways we expect.

Recap: 'Louie' Wanders The Night With Parker Posey In Strong Conclusion To A Two-Part Episode

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 27, 2012 10:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments
When you meet someone in a romantic capacity it's easy to build up a picture of what you'd like them to be, and simply convince yourself that that's all they are. It's only really possible to get a real relationship under way when you stop engaging with the fantasy version of a person and start coming to terms with the reality, with their flaws and all.

Recap: An Uneasy Alliance Forms In Typically Strong 'Breaking Bad' Episode 'Madrigal'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • July 23, 2012 10:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Instead of dispensing the final 16 episodes of “Breaking Bad" at once, Vince Gilligan and co. decided it would be better to split them up over 2 shorter mini-seasons to give the writers the best chance at finishing the story in a satisfying way. So far, that decision seems to be paying off as you can feel an urgency in the first two episodes of Season 5, as they race through the hanging story threads from last season so they can begin laying the groundwork for the story to come. Two episodes down and we’re already ¼ through the 2012 episodes. Thankfully they’re every bit as good as we’d hoped they would be.

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.

Review: 'Breaking Bad' Is Back With Potent Season 5 Opener 'Live Free Or Die'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • July 15, 2012 10:12 AM
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  • 13 Comments
In four years “Breaking Bad” has become one of the most acclaimed series not just on television today, but of all time. Throughout its 46 episodes we’ve seen Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a mild mannered chemistry teacher turned crystal meth dealer, begin his transformation “from Mr. Chips into Scarface” as creator Vince Gilligan has been quoted as saying. While the show and its star are roundly celebrated today, back in 2008 when the series began, the actor was originally much more of a question mark.

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