The Playlist

Review: 'Doctor Who: Day Of The Doctor' Is A Fitting & Hugely Enjoyable 50th Anniversary Tribute

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 24, 2013 1:23 PM
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  • 10 Comments
Writing for a pop culture institution like long-running British sci-fi series "Doctor Who," you're bound to feel a certain degree of pressure. Generations of children (of any age) have grown up on the series, it's now bigger than ever, with a growing audience in the U.S, and capable of making headlines at home and abroad. But to write a special episode to mark the 50th anniversary of the series (making it by far the longest running science fiction show in the world)—one that would be broadcast simultaneously around the globe (including special 3D screenings in movie theaters), one that would satisfy fans both new and old, casual and hardcore, and one that would justify the acres of hype that have led up to the screening last night—requires even more delicacy.

Preview: HBO's Medical Comedy 'Getting On' Delivers A Healthy Dose Of Humor & Heart

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 22, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The patience, sanity, selflessness and complete lack of vanity required to be a nurse is something that can't be stressed enough. And while medical dramas have shown medical staff to be (personally and emotionally complicated) life saving heroes, the medical sitcom is surprisingly still fairly fresh creative territory (the last one of note was "Scrubs," the Zach Braff starring show that usually placed wackiness and hijinks in the foreground). Perhaps it's because getting the recipe right of blending the life and death reality of the job with comedic elements is a balance that's difficult to achieve, but congratulations to the folks behind "Getting On" because in the first half of the six-episode season sent to press, they've accomplished the feat.

Recap: Things Slow Down A Bit For 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 7, 'The Dead'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 21, 2013 1:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Over the past few weeks, "American Horror Story: Coven" has piled on the craziness, to the point that the show occasionally felt overwhelming, like a giant toppling tower of racist, flesh-eating zombies that are also possessed and on fire. Mercifully, this week's episode, "The Dead," written by co-creator Brad Falchuk, gave us time to pause and catch our breath a little bit before the next round of blood-drenched mayhem.

Review: 'Hello Ladies' Season 1, Starring Stephen Merchant

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 18, 2013 12:07 PM
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  • 18 Comments
While the fate of Stephen Merchant's "Hello Ladies" remains in the hands of HBO who have yet to renew the show, it's easy to see why they got in business the with comedian/actor/writer/director in the first place. He's a longtime collaborator with Ricky Gervais, and the pair already have had two underrated shows hit the network — "Life's Too Short" and the animated "Ricky Gervais Show" — and given their track records ("The Office," "Extras") it doesn't seem to be too much of a risk to see what Merchant can cook up on his own. And on the face of it, a comedy about a single Englishman living in Los Angeles trying to find love is ripe with possibility. But as I wrote in my preview of the series in September after watching the first two episodes sent to press, the result was "cartoonish and empty" and little has changed with the season one wrapping up last night. (Obviously, spoilers ahead).

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire,' Season 4, Episode 11, ‘Havre De Grace’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 17, 2013 10:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4
Out of the gloomy, dark fog, voices and the faint outlines of faces appear. Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) and Daughter Maitland (Margot Robbie) are once again in the backseat of a car. But this time, instead of driving to their would-be demise (as they almost did at the climax of last week’s episode, a harrowing conclusion that saw the injured Chalky escape death by a hair’s breadth), they’re being taken to safety. Though you might not know it from the icy demeanor of their chauffeurs.

Recap: Danny Huston's Axeman Visits 'American Horror Story: Coven,' As More Secrets Are Revealed

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 14, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If last week's episode of "American Horror Story: Coven" proved one thing, it's that the tensions between the coven of New Orleans witches and the more soulful practitioners of voodoo are reaching the proverbial boiling point, you know, like in a cauldron. Vengeance was taken for the acid attack on Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and a small army of zombies (a platoon?) was unleashed on Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies courtesie of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), an act that resulted in much "Evil Dead" referencing and the potential reveal of our next Supreme, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga). This week's episode, "The Axeman Cometh," deals with the fallout from those events and, in "American Horror Story" terms at least, was altogether quieter. It also showed that the male characters could be just as slippery and evil as the witches.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire,' Season 4, Episode 10, ‘White Horse Pike’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 10, 2013 10:41 PM
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  • 9 Comments
White Horse Pike, Boardwalk Empire
Entertainment Weekly added “Boardwalk Empire” to the lesser half of its “Fall TV Winners & Losers” section in the magazine this week, The Hollywood Reporter griped about the show at the beginning of the season, and, to be totally transparent, this writer did the same. But what’s become incredibly apparent with the 4th season of HBO’s engrossing Atlantic City-based mobsters and bootleggers drama is that, sure, while the show is typically slow to get moving, once the momentum begins to build, the carefully crafted narrative begins to tighten and all the pieces fall into place. Once this occurs, you can get as hooked as Gillian Darmody was to smack. Those without the patience to absorb the full breadth of what has revealed itself to be a terrifically played-out season are poorer for it. So full mea culpas all around.

Recap: Things Get Hot In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 5, "Burn, Witch. Burn!"

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 7, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the greatest, gore-soaked magic tricks of "American Horror Story" is the way that creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have so many balls in the air, that even when some mysteries or scenarios are put to bed, ten more spring up. It's like the nighttime soap opera horror equivalent of a hydra; cut one head off and three appear. This was certainly the case with the fifth fiery episode of "American Horror Story: Coven," "Burn, Witch. Burn!," in which mysteries were seemingly laid to rest while others gleefully popped up in their place. To quote the great American poet Nelly: it's getting hot in here.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4, Episode 9 ‘Marriage and Hunting’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 3, 2013 9:45 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Boardwalk Empire, Hunting and Marriage, Season 4
In the blink of an eye, fortunes change. One week you’re up, the next week you’re down. It’s strange to see a seemingly unassailable man like Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) down on his luck, but that’s exactly where we find the Manhattan gangster in this episode. It’s perhaps a shock just to hear through dialogue that Rothstein’s empire is crumbling, but the writing has been on the wall for a few months now, especially as revealed in “All In,” the episode where the gambler lost his shirt in one of Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi’s) Atlantic City clubs.

Recap: Witches Get Suspicious In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Halloween Episode 'Fearful Pranks Ensue'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 31, 2013 4:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment
There are some television shows (among them "Roseanne," "The Simpsons" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") that make a very big deal out of their Halloween episode. Just as the holiday celebrates slipping out of your skin and into someone else's, these episodes often break from the formula of the rest of the series, offering a wildly divergent path into some very strange waters. With "American Horror Story," since the entire series plays a post-trick-or-treating fever dream, the Halloween episodes are an even more heightened homage to the things that go bump in the night, where the entire country takes on the show's eerie glow. They are also widely considered to be some of the series' very best episodes. The third season's Halloween offering is no different.

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