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Thompson on Hollywood

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

'The Newsroom' 2.1 Review: "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers" (TRAILER)

The second season of Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama series "The Newsroom" promises to be every bit as entertaining as its first -- if not more so, due to a unifying structural choice that takes fuller advantage of novelistic narrative freedom of post-"Sopranos" cable drama.
  • By David Chute
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  • July 9, 2013 7:53 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Ray Donovan': The Next Big Thing? Debuts to Record Ratings

The terrific new series "Ray Donovan" is premiering on Showtime Sunday night -- and you should be watching it rather than reading this. If the show fulfills the promise of its pilot episode it could turn out to be one of the great ones, an ideal anecdote for those of us who expect to be suffering from "Breaking Bad" withdrawal in a few months.
  • By David Chute
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  • July 1, 2013 4:44 PM
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  • 6 Comments

'Game of Thrones' 3.10 Recap and Review - 'Mhysa'

No more shrieking reaction videos on YouTube until at least 2014, as "Game of Thrones" ends season three on a forward-looking note.
  • By David Chute
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  • June 10, 2013 2:18 PM
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  • 1 Comment

'Game of Thrones' 3.9: 'The Rains of Castamere' - No Recap = No Spoilers

No spoilers of any kind in this small contribution on the single most significant "Game of Thrones" episode to date. Recap write-ups from the East Coast were posted hours ago, and HBO has been sending out screener discs not in advance but days or even weeks after episodes are shown, which makes it tough for Westies to compete. We're operating on the premise that a good review is worth waiting for.
  • By David Chute
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  • June 3, 2013 12:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Netflix's Revived Cult Favorite 'Arrested Development' Brings Baggage

"Arrested Development" is not a sitcom that suits TV-love-at-first-sight. Like many of the better television shows, it's based on layers. Any series that rewards serious, devoted, eagle-eyed fans would bring an onslaught of criticism upon its return. Is the wrath that has met Netflix's revival of the canceled series simply a product of viewer investment in the initial iteration of the series? Or does it hold merit as a valid criticism of this installment?
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • June 1, 2013 4:29 PM
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  • 9 Comments

Critics’ Choice Television Award Nominations Led by HBO with 21, Surprising Omissions

Nominations are in for the third annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards, which will be held the evening of Monday, June 10, 2013 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) nominates and votes for the awards. For the first time the show, hosted by "Parks and Recreation" star Retta, will be webcast live on UStream.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 22, 2013 1:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Obituary for 'The Big C,' Starring Luminous Laura Linney

Cathy Jamison was a brave bitch. Through four seasons of Showtime's "The Big C," which ended its run Monday, she suffered the indignities of metastatic melanoma, chemotherapy, brain tumors, hospice, and bad insurance, yet remained steadfast in her belief that "surviving" and "living" do not necessarily amount to the same thing. She will be missed.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 22, 2013 12:18 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Three Weddings Before a Bunch of Funerals: 'Game of Thrones' 3.8: 'Second Sons'

Appreciative fans welcomed the return this week of "Peter Drunklage," a reference to a character created to universal acclaim by "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage during a recent Saturday Night Live appearance.
  • By David Chute
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  • May 20, 2013 5:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Game of Thrones' 3.7 Recap and Review: 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair'

Game of Thrones: Brienne and the Bruin
So just getting his hand cut off is not the worst thing that can happen to a guy in George R.R. Martinland, better known as Westeros and its continual neighbors, the backdrop for the still increasingly-great "Game of Thrones."
  • By David Chute
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  • May 13, 2013 6:10 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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