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The Playlist

Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Thrillingly Closes Out Season 2 With Songs Of Ice & Fire

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 4, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 9 Comments
While the series has kept the "Game Of Thrones" title from the first novel, George R. R. Martin's book series are collectively known as "A Song Of Ice & Fire," and while hints of the relevance of that have been contained throughout the show so far, that title has never been so front & center than in "Valar Morghulis," the superb season two finale, which managed to give satisfying climaxes to most of the ongoing stories that have run throughout the last nine episodes, including those that have been rather less developed.

Review: The 'Girls' Navigate Boyfriends, Threesomes & Art In Another Standout Episode

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 3, 2012 11:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The season isn't even finished yet and we're already seeing best friends Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Marnie (Alison Williams) swap places in the boyfriend department. During the last episode out at a wild party in Bushwick, Marnie was forced to come to terms that not only is her split with Charlie very, very real, he's moved on with a new girl, Audrey. As for Hannah, after a heated confrontation with Adam ("Do you want me to be your fucking boyfriend?") they've finally sorted out just where their relationship stands and when "Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too" opens, the pair have very comfortably settled into coupledom. With used Magnum condom packages strewn on the floor, and open jar of Cinammon Raisin Swirl peanut butter between them, Hannah and Adam lie in bed, watching his childhood home movies.

Review: Amusing 'Veep' Cheaply Sidesteps A Major Plot Development For Laughs

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 3, 2012 10:30 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Well, that was kind of cheap. After ending last week's episode on a potential game-changing plot development, it seems Armando Ianucci didn't have the balls to follow through with it, or least see where Selina Meyer's (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) pregnancy could take the story in "Veep." It's not even five minutes into "Full Disclosure" when we learn that she's had a miscarriage, and the crisis of the moment is flushed out to focus on a bland minor incident from a couple of episodes back, with the media reporting that the veep's office fired a Secret Service agent because he smiled.

Recap: 3 Weeks In, 'Veep' Gets More Focused & Funny While Taking A Bold Narrative Leap

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 2, 2012 4:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Listen, we know our "Veep" recaps dropped off for the past few weeks. A combination of the Cannes Film Festival and screeners that didn't arrive in time led to the gap in coverage, but when we finally sat down to catch up on what we missed, we were in for a very pleasant surprise: "Veep" has hit its stride in a major way. Unlike the overstuffed and strenously zany first three episodes of the season, a sharper focus on story and the stripping away of extraneous subplots has allowed the show's humor to come right to the fore, and the results speak for themselves. Laugh-out-loud funny in a way it hasn't been yet, and finally bringing greater dimension to the lead character Selina Meyer, "Veep" is now showing the teeth we've been wanting to see since the pilot and taking a bold story jump as well. Instead of doing full-blown recounts of what's gone down in over the last three episodes, we're going to summarize them briefly, each with a letter grade, before getting back in the swing of things tomorrow.

Review: 'Girls' Encounter Crack & Boyfriend Troubles At The Best Party Ever In Bushwick

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 27, 2012 11:00 PM
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  • 9 Comments
"It's like 'Waterworld' in there," Hannah notes before she, Marnie and Jessa enter what may possibly be the best party ever in Bushwick. Taking place inside a giant warehouse, it's very much a TV Show Party -- you'd never see anything like this in real life -- the kind of thing that has a band playing, DJs, a room full of lesbians dancing and crusty punks all hanging out together. But despite the trappings which threaten to pull this episode of "Girls" into the wacky territory it has gone into here and there throughout the otherwise stellar first season, Lena Dunham and her co-horts keep things on an even keel.

Review: You Can't Go Home Again In Maybe The Best Episode Yet Of 'Girls'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 21, 2012 4:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Over the last couple of episodes we've lamented that Lena Dunham's "Girls" has taken a turn towards the sitcom, with episodes that have favored wacky shenanigans over the humanity and heart -- and the humor that followed -- that opened the season on such a strong footing. Well, we're happy to report that "The Return" harkens back to those initial shows, and marks easily one of the best episodes this season so far. While we've been critical of the softball, superfluous subplots given to Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), it's a bit revealing that with the story centering strictly on Hannah (Dunham), it allows for some of the most focused and observant writing we've seen yet on the show.

Recap; 'Game Of Thrones' Episode 7 Tries To Redeem The Lannisters, But Drops The Ball With Some Sorcery

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 14, 2012 10:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If there's anything that unites the golden age of cable drama in the last decade or so, it's the way that their characters -- often the ones you're meant to be rooting for -- are responsible for some truly terrible, terrible things. On even the best network dramas -- "The Good Wife," to name probably the top of the tree right now -- the characters are fundamentally good people, who occasionally make mistakes. On cable, it tends to be a question of watching people we like slowly lose their souls via abominable acts, from Tony Soprano and Al Swearengen to Walter White and even Jimmy McNulty.

Review: Sexual Harassment & Heartbreak Dominate Another Uneven Episode Of 'Girls'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 13, 2012 11:00 PM
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  • 11 Comments
If last week saw "Girls" slip into sitcom territory, this latest episode again sees Lena Dunham and co. delivering another somewhat uneven offering, one that again finds Hannah (Dunham) and Marnie (Allison Wlliams) as the central focus, while Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) are relegated to some flimsy, and otherwise insubstantial b-plot. Say what you will about "Sex & The City," but the writers there at least built four pretty well realized, and equally balanced lives around the quartet of women, something that "Girls" is still managing to figure out.

Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Episodes 5 & 6 See Season Two Somehow Get Bloodier & Grimmer

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 8, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Due to popular demand, and the increasing addiction of the entire staff to the show, we're going to be covering HBO's fantasy epic "Game Of Thrones" episode-by-episode for the rest of the season. You can find our verdict on the first four episodes here, and below is our take on episode five, "The Ghost Of Harrenhal" and episode six, "The Old Gods And The New." Look for recaps of new episodes on Monday morning from now on. Oh, and we haven't read the books, so please, no spoilers in the comments, thanks.

Review: 'Girls' Unfortunately Stumbles Into Sitcom Territory

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 6, 2012 11:00 PM
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  • 17 Comments
As we mentioned in our review of the season premiere, "Girls" came out of the gate strong, exhibiting a fresh approach and confidence that many shows don't often have in their first season. Navigating the complexities of sex, relationships and friendships between women in Manhattan, Lena Dunham's effort seemed to sidestep the usual structure and expectations of the half hour format for something a bit more direct and honest. And while we figured "Girls" would stumble at some point, or perhaps deliver an episode below the standard set thus far, we didn't expect it to be so soon, or done so sloppily.

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