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Recap: 'Louie' Goes 'Looking For Liz' With Chloë Sevigny In A Mixed Bag Of An Episode

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 24, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
To say that the third season of "Louie" has taken a more serialized approach would be an exaggeration, but both thematically and narratively, Louis C.K's used a little more continuity than usual across the episodes. Indeed, last week's season high -- with a more stand-alone approach -- was almost the exception the rule, with the series so far including a number of recurring characters, callbacks to previous seasons, and even the first two-part episode.

Recap: 'The Newsroom' Holds A Mock Debate, Hits New Lows

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 20, 2012 11:01 AM
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  • 17 Comments
On TV at least, it feels like one of the major problems with Aaron Sorkin's writing, both on "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" and "The Newsroom," is that it seems like he'd still rather be writing "The West Wing." It's understandable. For one, he was unceremoniously fired from that show at the end of the fourth season, and presumably feels there's an itch still to be scratched. For another, it was pretty much the best network TV drama of the last 15 years. We'd certainly rather be watching "The West Wing." But while it's not as inorganic as it was on 'Studio 60,' there's a sense that Sorkin is returning to the same kind of issue-based plotlines he tackled before, but in a setting that makes it feels somewhat forced.

Recap: Everybody Wins In 'Buyout,' Another Terrific 'Breaking Bad' Episode

  • By Cory Everett
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  • August 20, 2012 10:00 AM
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  • 5 Comments
This week’s episode of "Breaking Bad" begins with a funereal tone, and with good reason. After pulling off their methylamine heist successfully last week, the crew’s victory was immediately marred by the murder of a witness who just happened to be a young boy. In a haunting wordless opening Walt, Mike and Todd clean up the mess they made last week, dispensing of the dirtbike and the boy that once rode it. The buzzing score tells us that this is not business as usual for the crew and for a moment even the recently unshakable Walt appears to wince at the gravity of what they’ve done. Outside Todd tries to make small talk with Jesse, writing the incident off as, “Shit happens, huh?” before Jesse decks him. Welcome to “Breaking Bad.”

Recap: 'Louie' Flees His Daddy Issues In Strangest Episode Of The Season So Far

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 17, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 4 Comments
If there's been a theme of the third season of "Louie" so far (although it's been less present in the last couple of episodes), it's "manning up." Louie's girlfriend accused of him of not having the courage to break up with her, he was eviscerated by Melissa Leo for refusing to go down on her, he had a curious, semi-romantic encounter with a man in Miami, he failed to satisfy Maria Bamford in bed, and was emasculated and dared into all kinds of things by Parker Posey. Masculinity, and what it takes to prove it, appears to have been on Louis C.K.'s mind of late, and none more so than in this week's episode, tellingly titled, "Dad."

Recap: 'Breaking Bad' Episode 5 'Dead Freight' Will Leave You Speechless

  • By Cory Everett
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  • August 13, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 17 Comments
The opening teaser on “Breaking Bad” has proved to be one of the most elastic and effective storytelling devices used on the show. First utilized in the pilot, the opening plunged viewers into what appeared to be Walter White’s desperate final moments before spending the rest of the episode going backward to find out exactly how we got there. During the second season, the show used the opening minutes to tease out a season long mystery and most recently, the Season 5 premiere introduced "Walt 52," perhaps the most intriguing glimpse into the future thus far. But there is something special about this week’s enigmatic opening, seemingly unconnected to anything else on the show, where you keep waiting for something to happen and it never does.

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.

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