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<p>Scorpion, Forever and NCIS: New Orleans</p>

Scorpion, Forever and NCIS: New Orleans

Credit: CBS/ABC

Fall TV reviews: 'Scorpion,' 'Forever' & 'NCIS: New Orleans'

A dumb drama about smart people, a rehash about immortality and a third-generation spin-off

Last year, the network TV season began while I was still in a hospital bed recovering from a burst appendix and the complications that followed. Working at half-speed, I decided the only way to weather the deluge of new shows was to give all but a handful the capsule review treatment, offering up a paragraph or so on each, often with several shows in the same post, figuring I would revisit the ones that got more interesting down the road.

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<p>Katharine McPhee</p>

Katharine McPhee

Credit: AP

Interview: 'Scorpion' star Katharine McPhee on stunts, fictional motherhood and her 'Smash' Tony loss

'American Idol' veteran hopes her CBS drama doesn't let her sing

Going back to my failure to get on-board with the Soul Patrol, I'm accustomed to supporting Katharine McPhee in ill-fated circumstances.

It's no wonder, then, that we're simpatico when it comes to Karen Cartwright losing the Tony to Ivy Lynn.

"That's a great question," McPhee says when I inquire about her disappointment regarding this fictional theater award. "I wanted Karen to win!"

"[M]y heart kind of like broke for her," McPhee admits. "I'm like, 'Really? She ends up with this loser guy who goes to jail and she can't even win the Tony?' And she has to have this nasty catfight with a girl who she could have potentially had a great relationship with? And she can't win the Tony. At least she got to play Marilyn for a little bit."

McPhee's two-year run on "Smash" taught her many lessons, which we discussed in July when we sat down to talk about her new CBS drama "Scorpion," premiering on Monday (September 22) night. The buzzy NBC musical shaped her approach to subsequent acting roles and also impacted what she was looking for in pilots when she looked at scripts last spring.

In "Scorpion," McPhee plays Paige, who begins as a diner waitress trying her best to raise a wildly introverted young genius. Through an odd set of circumstances, she comes to meet Elyes Gabel's Walter O'Brien and his rag-tag team of socially maladjusted whiz-kids and this somehow leads to car chases and a massive stunt involving an airplane.

In our conversation, McPhee talks about what attracted her to Paige and the challenges of playing both a young mother and also playing the "normal" character in a show about prodigies. 

She explains how much, or how little, she got to do in those huge stunt scenes and admits that she has no clue what "Hit List" was actually about.

Oh and how long before her "Scorpion" character takes the gang out karaoke singing? Or at admits her life-long dream has been music? McPhee hopes it's a while.

Check out the full interview...

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Off the Carpet: Oscar's foreign film race takes flight with just a little controversy

Off the Carpet: Oscar's foreign film race takes flight with just a little controversy

Submissions are flying in from all corners of the globe, but what will Russia do?

Next Tuesday, Sept. 30 is the cut-off date for contenders in the Best Foreign Language Film category to be released in their home countries. Slowly but surely all corners of the globe have been declaring their participants, and as these things go, it's been a relatively drama-free build so far. OK, there have been a couple of eyebrow raisers.

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<p>Julianna Margulies in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Season premiere review: 'The Good Wife' - 'The Line'

Cary gets busted, while Eli wants Alicia to run for office

A quick review of "The Good Wife" season premiere coming up just as soon as we have a general conversation about my business holdings...

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<p>Caitlin FitzGerald as Libby Masters in Masters of Sex</p>

Caitlin FitzGerald as Libby Masters in Masters of Sex

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'One for the Money, Two for the Show'

Bill and Virginia get ready for their closeups, while Libby gets a lift from Robert

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as she's a man and I'm a woman...

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<p>Madam Secretary</p>

Madam Secretary

Credit: CBS

Series premiere talkback: 'Madam Secretary' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new CBS drama?

I published my review of "Madam Secretary" on Friday. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned into the new CBS drama, what did you think? Did the material live up to the fine cast that's been assembled? Did you like Téa Leoni in a mostly serious context? Do you also dream of a Secretary of State who doesn't know there's a box? Were you distracted and/or amused that the actors playing the imprisoned boys' parents (a real-life acting couple) were part of the classic "Frasier" episode "Roz & the Schnoz"? And will you watch again?

Have at it. This seems like one I'm going to set aside and try watching again post-football, assuming it lasts that long, to see if it turns into something better down the road.

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<p>Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'What Jesus Said'

Chalky takes some hostages, while Nucky tries to impress Joe Kennedy

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as my fortune wafts down from Episcopalian Heaven...

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'South Park' aired a Washington Redskins-skewering commercial during the Redskins game
Credit: Comedy Central

'South Park' aired a Washington Redskins-skewering commercial during the Redskins game

'The Daily Show' created a showdown between Native Americans and Redskins fans

“South Park” aired a Washington Redskins-skewering commercial during the Redskins game
“When I named my company Washington Redskins, it was out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” Cartman says in the one-minute ad for the new “South Park” season that will likely include a parody of the team’s name.


“The Daily Show” created a showdown between Native Americans and Redskins fans
Four diehard fans of the Washington Redskins agreed to be mocked by correspondent Jason Jones for a Sept. 13 taping. But they were surprised to be confronted by a larger group of Native American activists. “This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said one of the fans who agreed to “The Daily Show” appearance. “The Daily Show” has yet to air the segment.


Eric the Actor, a diehard “American Idol” fan who parlayed phoning the Howard Stern show into TV guest roles, is dead at 39
Eric Lynch, a wheelchair-bound little person with a short life expectancy who was also known by the offensive nickname “Eric the Midget,” first called the Stern show in 2002 to defend Kelly Clarkson when the shock jock described her as ugly. Lynch would go on to become a frequent caller, especially to defend all things “Idol,” who at one time hosted an “American Idol” wrap-up show for Stern’s Sirius channel. (Stern also introduced him to his "Idol" crush, Diana DeGarmo.) TV producers took notice and gave Eric the Actor cameos on “American Dreams,” plus “Fringe,” and “In Plain Sight.” He even stopped by Jimmy Kimmel, one of Eric the Actor’s biggest fans. PLUS: Andy Cohen, “God" and Jonah Hill pay tribute to Eric the Actor.


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Colin Farrell tells an Irish newspaper he's doing 'True Detective' Season 2
Credit: TNT

Colin Farrell tells an Irish newspaper he's doing 'True Detective' Season 2

Colin Farrell tells an Irish newspaper he's doing "True Detective" Season 2
HBO hasn't confirmed his casting, but Ireland's Sunday World quotes him as saying, “I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited. I know it will be eight episodes and take around four or five months to shoot.”

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<p>&quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

"Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Producer Ken Olin on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and getting Timothy Busfield naked

Director discusses the different templates that make 'Sleepy Hollow' unique

WILMINGTON, NC. Ken Olin's giant dog has the run of his office in the gloriously air-conditioned oasis that is the "Sleepy Hollow" production offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios.

This is a fact I had forgotten until I went back to the recording of my interview with Olin and discovered that the audio is a fine conversation with a steady background of occasionally deafening panting. 

While "Sleepy Hollow" production has the run of large chunks of Wilmington, plus a variety of outdoor environments, EUE/Screen Gems Studios is the home to several stages housing a variety of regular interiors, as well as frequently repurposed sets like the tunnels and caves and caverns and various subterranean chambers that our characters constantly seem to find themselves navigating. [You can check out some non-spoilery pictures from the various stages here, as well as the photo of a dog who is NOT Olin's dog.]

The production offices are largely Olin's domain.

TV viewers of a certain age will perhaps always think of Olin as Michael Steadman from "thirtysomething" or, for those with a love of the esoteric and quickly canceled, Cameron Quinn from "EZ Streets." However, he's been directing since "thirty something" and for around 15 years that's been his primary gig. He has been a director and a directing producer on "Alias," "Brothers & Sisters" and "The Mob Doctor."

He's now director and executive producer on "Sleepy Hollow," helming a trio of episodes -- "Bad Blood," "The Sin Eater" and "Blood Moon" -- last season and Monday's (September 22) Season 2 premiere. 

The premiere reunites Olin with "thirtysomething" veteran Timothy Busfield, who plays Benjamin Franklin in which is apparently a rather revealing turn. Olin immediately lights up talking about this latest collaboration with his longtime friend. [Like Olin, Busfield is also a steadily working director and producer, who happened to be local because of his work in those capacities on ABC's midseason drama "Secrets and Lies." Peter Horton has taken the same career path, with his own midseason drama as producer and director, making one wonder what, exactly, was in the water on "thirtysomething."]

During my day on the "Sleepy Hollow" set, I chatted with Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood and Matt Barr, but I relished the chance to talk to Olin, because I love the nuts-and-bolts perspective on the process. And also because of the air-conditioning.

In the conversation, Olin talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the early production start and the 18-episode order for this "Sleepy Hollow" season, as well as the unique challenges that "Sleepy Hollow" presents that he's never experienced before.

He also explains why getting Timothy Busfield naked was a career high point.

Check out the full interview...

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'Saturday Night Live' Season 40: 10 Burning Questions

'Saturday Night Live' Season 40: 10 Burning Questions

Big Questions loom for Cecily Strong, Michael Che and more

With the fortieth season of “Saturday Night Live” just around the corner, we have a few questions about the upcoming year. It’s a huge year for the show, and we have some big queries for it before the September 27 premiere.

Chris Pratt will host the September 27 premiere with Ariana Grande as musical guest. They'll be followed by Sarah Silverman and Maroon Five.

Bill Hader will return for the October 11 episode with Hozier as musical guest.

And that leads to our Burning Questions...

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Doctor Who - Time Heist
Credit: BBC

Recap: 'Doctor Who' - 'Time Heist' is an old-fashioned bank robbery with a twist

How do you break into the most impenetrable bank in the universe?

After last week’s episode, which was arguably one of the strongest entries into the Whovian lore in years, can the show maintain that momentum? “Time Heist” looks like a straight forward bank caper in the vein of the Rat Pack or the new Rat Pack Ocean’s Eleven. But things are rarely, if ever, straight forward when the Doctor is involved.

Away we go!

************

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