The Playlist

Recap: The Gang Returns In 'Girls' As Dreams & Disorder Take Center Stage

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 4, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
After three episodes of detours, following the travails of Hannah (Lena Dunham), Ray (Alex Karpovsky) and Adam (Adam Driver), and the for-the-moment departed Jessa (Jemima Kirke), "Girls" gets the gang back together for yet another strong episode in which some of our favorite supporting players get to shine. For those feeling a bit let down by the recent experimental plays on form from Dunham, last night's episode returns to season one familiarity, with results just as winning as anything the show has done.

Recap: 'Parade's End' Brings Dense Miniseries To A Quiet Close In Finale

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 1, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 5 Comments
As my colleagues have written in their recaps of the first four episodes of "Parade's End," there is much to admire in the five-part miniseries. From the dense, multi-threaded and layered script from Tom Stoppard, to the sumptuous direction from Susanna White and a cluster of great performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Stephen Graham and Rupert Everett. And at the middle of it all, perhaps one of the most buttoned up leading men we've seen in quite some time on the small screen, Christopher Tietjens. It would almost be laughable at how much his life has taken a downward turn since we met him at the start of the first episode, if it weren't so tragic. As an era fades, so too does a particular way of English, gentlemanly life, and Tietjens will hold on to it until it nearly destroys him. But after seeing nearly every facet of his life crumble and corrupted, you yearn for Christopher -- as his wife Sylvia long has -- to finally submit to some kind of emotion. To break free and reclaim his life. And while he doesn't quite do that in the finale, his victory such as it is, is satisfying in the way the character deserves.

Recap: 'Parade's End' Goes To War With One Outstanding Episode, And One Middling One

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 28, 2013 9:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When we left off with part two of "Parade's End," war had arrived, with Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the trenches, and his wife Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) seemingly finding religion. Part three of the show stayed mostly away from the front, picking up with Christopher waking in a military hospital, concussed by a shell, and seemingly unable to remember even his name.

Recap: Benedict Cumberbatch & Rebecca Hall Shine In First 2 Parts Of Period Miniseries 'Parade's End'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • February 27, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The specter of "Downton Abbey" has been present in the run up to the broadcast of BBC and HBO's new period drama "Parade's End." Both are lavish period tales set before, during and after World War I. But in fact, the comparisons are a little overblown. 'Downton' and "Parade's End" (an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's cycle of novels, often labelled as among the finest literary achievements of the 20th century, written for the screen by the great Sir Tom Stoppard, and directed by Susanna White, who was also behind "Bleak House" and "Generation Kill") might share a loose genre, but on the strength of the first episode, they couldn't be more different. 'Downton' is a soap, for better or worse, while "Parade's End" is a fearsomely intelligent, deceptively funny epic that, if it can keep up this level of quality, will likely be one of the best things on television all year.

Recap: 'Girls' Goes To The Country With Jessa & Hannah

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 25, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After the solo Hannah episode two weeks back and last Sunday's focus on Ray and Adam, once again "Girls" is allowing its focus to flesh out a particular character, with Jessa (Jemima Kirke) getting the spotlight. The episode kicks off with her and Hannah (Lena Dunham) at the Manitou train station, about an hour outside of New York City, where they're awaiting Jessa's father and a weekend out in the country, in an episode that seems to ultimately serve as a goodbye to the character for a while.

Recap: Staten Island Is Really Getting Ray & Adam Down In 'Girls'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 17, 2013 9:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If last week's episode of "Girls" is still being talked about as an outstanding outlier in the series thus far, an almost self-contained, Euro-flavored short film, this week the show returns to more familiar territor but still retains a melancholic air. Once again pitching focus, as the title suggests, we spend much more time with the guys as Adam (Adam Driver) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky) take center stage, while we also visit Marnie (Allison Williams), who continues her relationship with Booth Jonathan (Jorma Taccone). But before we get there, we kick things off with Hannah (Lena Dunham).

Berlin Review: Jane Campion's 'Top Of The Lake' A Satisfying & Cinematic Crime "Novel" In The Shape Of A TV Show

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 12, 2013 11:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Taking the concept of binge-watching to a whole new theatrical level, we were lucky enough to spend most of our Sunday at the Berlin Film Festival in a large auditorium consuming Jane Campion’s six-hour “Top of the Lake” TV series, which will air in seven episodes on The Sundance Channel starting March 18th. It was a great experience, and not just because of the quality storytelling and filmmaking on display, but because of the sense of community and buzz you get at this type of event. We saw the show divided into three two-hour chunks, and during the brief intermissions, the audience buzzed with speculation: who was the father of the unborn child? Was X dead or alive? What was the significance of Y?

Recap: Hannah Tastes The Good Life In Melancholy, Boundary-Pushing 'Girls'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 11, 2013 10:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments
After rolling out of the gate for season two with solid, but not especially top-tier episodes, last week "Girls" finally stepped up and delivered the best effort of the season thus far. Incorporating the entire cast equally, it was both funny and moving, an emotionally real installment that pushed forward a handful of storylines into some interesting directions. But if that episode was Lena Dunham at the height of her powers, delivering the kind of material we've come to expect, "One Man's Trash" is an eye-opening preview of where this talent can go. Unlike anything we've seen in the series so far, last night's episode shifted in unexpected, near profound ways, opening up a new dimension for the series we hope to see more of.

Recap: 'Girls' Delivers Best Episode Of Season 2 Yet With The Touching "It's A Shame About Ray"

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 4, 2013 10:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
With the second season of "Girls" arriving less than a year after the first season wrapped, and with the third season slated to start production in March, we've been wondering if the quick turnaround has had a detrimental effect on the show. So far season two has been good, just not great. The first three episodes have hopscotched around a bit, setting up the characters again in the premiere, quickly dealing with an interracial relationship by the end of the second episode and last week, the show dipped toward novelty with cocaine-fueled hijinks. However, last night Dunham delivered an episode that harkens back to the heart and humor that made the first season so winning, in what is easily this season's best instalment so far.

Review: David Fincher's 'House Of Cards' Is A Beautiful, Bedazzling Political Thriller (At Least In Its First Two Episodes)

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 1, 2013 12:27 PM
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  • 4 Comments
When Netflix announced that they would get into the scripted programming game, with three high profile projects all lined up for the first half of 2013 (including the Eli Roth literary-based Gothic horror project "Hemlock Grove" and the hopefully rapturous return of oddball comedy classic "Arrested Development"), it seemed that the possibilities, in theory, were endless. Netflix would be unburdened by the restraints, in both content and form, of the tired old ad revenue-dependent television model (premium cable, while remaining fuzzier, still depends on subscribers), free to provocatively reshape our formalized notion of "television" and "shows." Except, that didn't happen. At least not yet. It's first big, splashy original production, a David Fincher, Kevin Spacey and Eric Roth produced remake of the British miniseries "House Of Cards," doesn't take any bold structural or stylistic detours. But it is totally fucking brilliant just the same.

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