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TV Over Movies: from Mildred Pierce and Nurse Jackie to Shameless and Justified

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 1, 2011 at 6:29AM

Reading the papers Friday morning, I realized that I'm more interested in Camelot, The Kennedys, The Borgias, Mildred Pierce and the American version of Scandinavian hit The Killing than the new movie reviews. It turns out that I can skip Camelot and The Kennedys, which earned lousy notices. And I'm already watching Todd Haynes' gorgeously-mounted HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce, which is well-acted by Kate Winslet, Melissa Leo, Guy Pearce and Mare Winningham, but judging from the draggy first two episodes, didn't need to be stretched to five installments. And David Ulin's review made me want to go back to my fave James Cain paperbacks, which I read in my 20s. Time to make a pitch to my book group.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Reading the papers Friday morning, I realized that I'm more interested in Camelot, The Kennedys, The Borgias, Mildred Pierce and the American version of Scandinavian hit The Killing than the new movie reviews. It turns out that I can skip Camelot and The Kennedys, which earned lousy notices. And I'm already watching Todd Haynes' gorgeously-mounted HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce, which is well-acted by Kate Winslet, Melissa Leo, Guy Pearce and Mare Winningham, but judging from the draggy first two episodes, didn't need to be stretched to five installments. And David Ulin's review made me want to go back to my fave James Cain paperbacks, which I read in my 20s. Time to make a pitch to my book group.

I'm having way more fun watching (via crisp HD TiVo) Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, Glee, American Idol, Top Chef, Shameless and Justified (which won a Peabody), than most of the screeners piling up on my coffee table. It's true. I can't wait for the return of Entourage, Project Runway and someday, Mad Men.

And HBO just sent me Game of Thrones, the next season of Treme and Cinema Verite, the story of the first reality series, An American Family, starring Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as the Louds. I'm working on a story about producer Jerry Weintraub's hugely entertaining doc His Way, which HBO launched with the best premiere party I've been to in a long time, far better than what most Hollywood studios can muster nowadays. The likes of Scott Rudin, Christine Vachon, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Neil Jordan and many others have long figured out that cable television is where the smart people go.

How long before the studios drive away discerning audiences from going to the movies altogether?

This article is related to: TV, Headliners, AMC, Treme, Entourage, Mad Men, 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.