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Thompson on Hollywood

Welcome Back: 'Foyle's War'

September 15, on Masterpiece Mystery, former Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle will begin a new war. If a television series can win the lottery, “Foyle’s War,” the British series about a policeman solving crimes against the backdrop of the Second World War, has won not once but twice.
  • By Aljean Harmetz
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  • September 8, 2013 6:34 AM
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  • 2 Comments

TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: Losing Faith in 'True Blood'

Having just completed its 6th season, "True Blood" seems to be taking a cue from "The Walking Dead," working out a dismal strategy for the near future. You can understand why they might be tempted. AMC's zombie apocalypse melodrama got a huge ratings spike over the past two seasons by dropping a lot of the slow-paced interpersonal drama and reframing itself a relatively straightforward horror/action series, delivering an exploding head or a crowbar to the eye every few minutes.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 21, 2013 7:45 PM
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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: Next Time, Larry David Should Play the Cop

The new Larry David comedy "Clear History," a feature-length one-off that he wrote and stars in, settles into an amiable groove early on and is consistently enjoyable. Which is not to say that it breaks any new ground. It's firmly in the reliable comic sub-genre of the know-it-all who is his own worst enemy, a format perfected by David over many episodes of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." That we can clearly see the moving parts clicking into place is actually part of the fun.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 13, 2013 3:13 PM
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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: Crime Pays (VIDEO)

Look at almost anybody's list of TV's best and most durable recent dramas and, a large percentage of them, from "The Wire" to "Breaking Bad, are likely to be crime dramas. That means different things on different shows: "The Killing" plays by the rules of a procedural whodunit, while "Breaking Bad" follows the trajectory of classic noir as defined, if memory serves, by novelist Megan Abbott: "Starts bad, gets worse."
  • By David Chute
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  • August 6, 2013 4:14 PM
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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: The Mikkelsen Brothers and the New Global Face(s) of Television

American TV has imported so many storylines and so many performers in recent years that the trend has become almost a running gag among observers of the medium -- and for observers of movies, too, now that both Superman and Batman are both Brits. An explanation occasionally offered is that manly men in the classic heroic mold are few and far between among recessive American thespians. When an impressively forceful and confident leading man you've never heard of turns up on a show, such as Robert Taylor on A&E's solid contemporary Western procedural "Longmire," it's a matter of course now that he will turn out to be from somewhere else.
  • By David Chute
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  • July 31, 2013 7:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments

TV Mavens, Check Out 'The Writers' Room,' Hosted by Jim Rash (VIDEO PREVIEW)

This is my idea of a good time: a smart TV series about my fave TV shows and the writers who write them. So far I've seen three half-hour episodes (presented by The Sundance Channel and Entertainment Weekly). Each show features Oscar-winning screenwriter Jim Rash ("The Descendants")-- who also acts on "Community" and wrote, directed and stars in summer hit "The Way, Way Back"-- gently interviewing the showrunner and various writers and usually one star of a hit show. They talk shop, and luckily Rash--who is sharp, funny and curious--has a good sense of how to get entertaining intel out of these gifted people.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 29, 2013 9:35 PM
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Cam and Mitch May Finally Wed on 'Modern Family' after Supreme Court Ruling (UPDATE)

Americans love Cam and Mitch, from Barack and Michelle Obama to Anne and Mitt Romney. The two men aren't just the funniest duo on ABC's hit sitcom "Modern Family," they're easily the most visible fictional gay couple in the U.S--and perhaps the nation's most visible gay couple, period. Along with their adoptive daughter, Cam and Mitch are funny, engaging and relatable: the perfect manifestation of the show's title.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 27, 2013 8:16 PM
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Five Striking Similarities Between Elisabeth Moss' Roles on 'Mad Men' and 'Top of the Lake'

A joy of the current TV season is that one of the medium’s finest actresses, Elisabeth Moss, has key roles in two of the finest series in recent memory -- “Mad Men,” now in its sixth season, and Jane Campion’s “Top of the Lake.” While the athletic, hardened Kiwi detective Robin Griffin and sharp-as-a-tack ‘60s Mad Woman Peggy Olson are worlds, eras and professions away from one another, I’ve noticed some striking similarities between the two characters.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • April 8, 2013 3:44 PM
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  • 5 Comments

'Game of Thrones' 3.2 Review and Recap: 'Dark Wings, Dark Words'

If the opening episode of Season Three of Game of Thrones was mostly talking, Episode Two is mostly walking, though it sets a brisk pace and there's a lot to see along the way.
  • By David Chute
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  • April 8, 2013 3:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments

'Game of Thrones' Writer Vanessa Taylor Talks Streep Drama 'Hope Springs'

Vanessa Taylor is enough of a TV whiz--her writing credits include "Alias," "Everwood" and "Tell Me You Love Me"--to land a co-executive producer spot on Seasons Two and Three of "Game of Thrones." But that was after she went off on her own, trying to combat writer's block, to write an original spec screenplay, "Hope Springs."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 8, 2012 12:14 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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