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Modern Crime Families, Networks TV's New Challenges, Mad Men's Peggy Olson

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 6, 2010 at 5:30AM

- The LA Times thinks the family that slays together stays together. Pop culture's healthy appetite for criminals (nothing new) has been fed with low-key gems Animal Kingdom and Winter's Bone, and while they are no Godfather trilogies in scale, they deliver the same family-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-law drama that we love. And those of use who have had a void in our lives since The Sopranos ended will find hope in HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire. We are easily charmed by anyone that breaks the law, it's fun to be vicariously bad through our favorite TV characters (Dexter, anyone?), and there's something about the blood-bound clans that really get our attention - always has been. But our affection for (or identification with) contemporary crime families signals an evolution, suggests the LAT:
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Thompson on Hollywood


- The LA Times thinks the family that slays together stays together. Pop culture's healthy appetite for criminals (nothing new) has been fed with low-key gems Animal Kingdom and Winter's Bone, and while they are no Godfather trilogies in scale, they deliver the same family-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-law drama that we love. And those of use who have had a void in our lives since The Sopranos ended will find hope in HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire. We are easily charmed by anyone that breaks the law, it's fun to be vicariously bad through our favorite TV characters (Dexter, anyone?), and there's something about the blood-bound clans that really get our attention - always has been. But our affection for (or identification with) contemporary crime families signals an evolution, suggests the LAT:

"Today's inbred tribes of hoods and petty desperados are less likely to be depicted as lethally dysfunctional exceptions to the rule of the happy nuclear family. Instead they've become emblems, stand-ins for all modern families struggling to survive in a morally bankrupt, economically topsy-turvy world where relying on one's nearest and dearest, for better or worse, may be the best available option."

- With the 2010/2011 TV season looming, Ad Age lays out the new challenges facing the networks. The Nielson ratings, for example, aren't showing the full range of who's watching what anymore, so networks like the CW are offering combination advertising packages (TV and online). Ad Age's question is whether or not CW's strategy will carry over to other networks. As for social media's contribution to TV, Ad Age finds "TV appears to be doing more for Twitter, Facebook and other social-media venues than they are doing for TV programs, all hype about social buzz generating higher ratings for TV shows aside."

As for the bastard child that is Friday night TV programming, things may be looking up: "These days, many of us feel lucky if we can afford a flat-screen TV and a cable hookup. And we're staying home to watch those things on which we spent so much money." CBS will have Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods (a cop drama) and NBC has Jimmy Smits in Outlaw (a law drama). As for ABC, it would appear "everything is up for grabs" since their Entertainment chief, Stephen McPherson, was just replaced in July (weeks after the schedule was sold to advertisers). As for NBC's future in the hands of Comcast, Ad Age suggests we'll get a clearer vision in 2011.

- Now for one of TV's most interesting darlings; Peggy Olson (Emmy nominee Elisabeth Moss). Vulture takes a stroll through her evolution and finds she's become a bit of a heroine. "How'd that happen?" they ask. Isn't it obvious?

Thompson on Hollywood

This article is related to: Genres, Daily Read, TV, Thriller, Drama, HBO


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.