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Thompson on Hollywood

'Newsroom' Review and Recap 2.7: The Slap (SPOILERS)

When the season began, with talk of a lawsuit and of the need to immediately retract a huge story -- a claim that U.S. troops had committed a war crime by using sarin gas on civilians -- it appeared that institutional bias was indeed likely to be a culprit, the slant view of liberal journalists who see what they believe and assume the worst about the military. Now look what we actually got.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 25, 2013 10:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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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  • 0 Comments

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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'Breaking Bad' Premiere Review and Roundup: 'Blood Money' Kicks Off Fast-Paced Countdown to the End, Breaks Show Ratings Record

With eight episodes left, "Blood Money," the final season premiere of AMC's "Breaking Bad," moves faster than entire seasons of this brilliant series. Some huge developments unfold along the way, including a scene fans have been waiting for since the first episode.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • August 12, 2013 4:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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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  • 0 Comments

Best of the Week: Oscars Heating Up, TV Is the New Cinema, Paramount's Digital Future and More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • August 2, 2013 12:42 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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Is Emily the New Pauline?

The great TV critic Emily Nussbaum, in "The New Yorker," talks back to Brett Martin, author of the widely reviewed and excellent new book "Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad.'"
  • By David Chute
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  • July 25, 2013 2:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments

TV Is the New Cinema: But It's Still Waiting for Its Close-Up

A highly readable new book promises to anatomize the shifts in entertainment technology and in the culture in the cable era that gave rise to the 21st Century's most lionized form of "art television": the 12-episode, novelistically textured premium cable serial. Brett Martin's "Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From 'The Sopranos' and 'The Wire' to 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad'" (Penquin) provides a useful overview of the changes that enabled this alternative to the 30-to-22 episode anthology-of-short-stories format that for decades was the only game in town in Television City.
  • By David Chute
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  • July 16, 2013 4:30 PM
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  • 6 Comments

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