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The Playlist

Review: Season 1 Of 'Doll & Em' A Low Key, Charming Look At Friendship And Celebrity

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 4, 2014 10:04 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Doll & Em
The word "famous" probably isn't one that you would use to describe Emily Mortimer. Respected and talented, her impressive range of work includes movies with folks like Martin Scorsese, David Mamet, Woody Allen, Kenneth Branagh, Nicole Holofcener and more, and though you would probably recognize her on the street, her name might not ring many bells with the average filmgoer. Which is what makes the premise of "Doll & Em" all the more clever, with Mortimer playing a fictionalized version of herself, that uses the backdrop of Hollywood to tell a story not about the business necessarily, but about how the dynamics of friendship can be strained when one of them is living out her dreams and the other....well, isn't.

Recap: 'Girls' Finale Season 3, Episode 12 Takes 'Two Plane Rides' As Boundaries Are Crossed

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 24, 2014 9:18 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Girls
If there has been an overarching theme to the third season of "Girls," it has been about boundaries. Whether it's trying to find success within them (Shoshanna's carefully plotted life plan), falling outside of them to disastrous effect (Jessa's addiction, Marnie's streak of bad decisions) or vacillating between the two (Hannah who can't help but step over lines of appropriateness any time her life is thrown into minor turmoil), the titular quartet have been both defining and stretching the limits of their young adult lives, and in the third season finale "Two Plane Rides," each of the girls are pushed into new territory as the framework that defined them is stripped away.

Exploring The Season Finale Of 'True Detective' & What We’d Like To See Carry Over To Season 2

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • March 10, 2014 4:16 PM
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  • 10 Comments
True Detective, Feature header
This morning, a dull, gray dawn broke on a dull, gray “True Detective”-less world. The show that has had us gripped for the last eight weeks (or the last weekend for compulsive binge watchers—hi there!) came to an end in either a blaze of HBOGO-crashing glory, or a fizzle of HBOGO-crashing disappointment, depending on your point of view. We’re much more in the former camp than the latter, so much so that we found our usual Good vs. Bad approach wanting this time around, purely because after a couple of niggles we were really reaching for anything particularly bad to say about it.

Recap: 'True Detective' Finale Season 1, Episode 8 'Form And Void'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 10, 2014 2:50 AM
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  • 24 Comments
True Detective, season finale
For over fifteen years a conspiracy and myth has haunted Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson), one involving a yellow king, a man with scars and the mysterious destination of Carcosa. An evil had spread its branches across Louisiana, something pervasive, powerful and for the longest time untouchable. The name of God was used as a cover for unspeakable crimes and killings, and Rust, Martin and anyone else who touched that darkness, found it touching them right back. "All my life I wanted to be nearer to God. The only nearness? Silence," Joel Theriot (Shea Whigham) said in episode six, "Haunted Houses." But in "Form And Void," that silence has answers.

Recap: Hannah Tries 'Role-Play' In Season 3, Episode 10

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 9, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Girls
"I don't want you to spend your whole life socializing him like he's a stray dog, making the world a friendlier place for him," Hannah's (Lena Dunham) mother warned her in last week's "Flo." At the time it seemed like a cruel remark, but in "Role-Play," the observation has turned out to be prescient. Adam (Adam Driver) has changed considerably since we first met him in season one as a sexually depraved, alcoholic weirdo with anger issues. It was hard to imagine then that Hannah and Adam would not only stay together, but would become domestic.

Recap: 'Girls' Goes With The 'Flo' In Season 3, Episode 9

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 2, 2014 10:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Girls
We've already seen how Hannah handles death with the mid-season episodes "Dead Inside" and "Only Child"—with what can best be described as cool detachment with a spoonful of selfishness tossed into the mix. It's a reaction that could perhaps be chalked up to her age, where death is distant reality, or seen in this week's "Flo," a learned behaviour from a dysfunctional family that bickers over the fate of heirlooms as a grandmother lays on her death bed.

Recap: 'True Detective' Season 1, Episode 7 Investigates 'After You've Gone'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 2, 2014 10:00 PM
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  • 30 Comments
True Detective
"I don't dwell in the past," Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) tells his former partner Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) in their first conversation in a decade, but neither can escape it. For Martin, the past is a series of mistakes and choices he's continually trying to correct, to varying degrees of success. When he meets Rust, he tells him he's trying (again) to stay away from the bottle, revealing he hasn't had a drop in a few weeks (suggesting he's forever relapsing into bad habits). As for Rust, the past continues to consume him in the shape of Reggie Ledoux, with the unanswered questions and knowledge that his death was just one loose thread in a larger tangle of horror still lingering. But where has Rust been?

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.

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