Latest Blog Posts

'Boardwalk Empire’s' Charlie Cox will play 'Daredevil' on Netflix

“Boardwalk Empire’s” Charlie Cox will play "Daredevil” on Netflix
Cox will play Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer-turned-crime-fighter in the drama from Marvel.

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<p>Aiden&#39;s phone is his primary weapon in &#39;Watch Dogs&#39;</p>

Aiden's phone is his primary weapon in 'Watch Dogs'

Credit: Ubisoft

Launch day impressions of the XBox One version of Ubisoft's highly-anticipated 'Watch Dogs'

We're nowhere near ready to review this one yet, but it's an interesting start

It's safe to say that there are few entertainment events that I am more eager for this year than the release of the new Ubisoft game, "Watch Dogs." The first time they showed a video from this, I was fascinated. And now that I've had a chance to play it for about ten hours all told, I'm still excited to really get into it. I feel like I've grazed the mere surface of the game at this point, and even though there's a million things happening for me in June, "Watch Dogs" is going to be a big part of that month as well. At this point? Inevitable.

The first observation I'll make is that the game has a pervasive sadness in the opening stretches that I didn't fully expect. When I saw that first gameplay video two years ago, what got me was the idea of hacking the city around me to use as part of the gameplay. I've enjoyed watching the city itself come into focus as they've released more and more materials, and the conversations about how they might be incorporating multiplayer were also exciting. But I've gone out of my way not to learn much of anything about the story because I hate having that element of a game ruined for me before I can experience it for myself.

My review of the game won't run for at least a week, because I don't think I could give any sort of genuine response until I've had a chance to live with it a bit and see what gets its hooks into me and what doesn't. All I can offer today is my impression of that beginning and the actual game play and how quickly I started to feel comfortable with it.

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Quentin Tarantino reportedly sets November start date for his 'Hateful Eight' western
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino reportedly sets November start date for his 'Hateful Eight' western

If he's going to use the cast he did at the live reading, we're in for a treat

If you didn't read our coverage of the special live read event for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" screenplay, check it out.

It was fairly clear during that event that Tarantino still has every intention of making the movie, and that the reading was a way of him not only testing some of the biggest moments in front of a crowd but also a way of taking control of the conversation about the script. After all, the first time most people heard of it was when the script got leaked and there was a rush from various sites to summarize it and offer up plot details.

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"Deadliest Catch"
Credit: Discovery

Exclusive clip: The lights go out on 'Deadliest Catch'

Things get scary when the Northwestern gets into trouble

There's dark, and then there's middle-of-the-ocean dark. That's what the crab fisherman working on the Northwestern in tonight's episode of "Deadliest Catch" (Tues. May 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET on Discovery) must face in this exclusive clip.

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“The Normal Heart” is HBO's 5th most-watched film

“The Normal Heart” is HBO's 5th most-watched film
About 1.4 million watched the Ryan Murphy adaptation of Larry Kramer’s HIV-AIDs crisis play.

HBO developing ‘60s NYC gay rights drama “Open City” from Adam Shankman
“Open City” will examine the unlikely alliance between the Mafia and New York City’s gay community in the ‘60s.

“True Blood” unveils its final season poster
It’s “True to the End.”

“Petals On The Wind” scores 3.4 million for Lifetime
The V.C. Andrews sequel was down sharply from “Flowers in the Attic,” which brought in 6.1 million viewers.

“Sleepy Hollow” hires a new sheriff, from “House of Cards”
Sakina Jaffrey will take on the role of "smart, forceful, highly trained and commanding” new sheriff. PLUS: “One Tree Hill” vet Matt Barr tapped to play a bounty hunter.

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Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj's 'Pills N Potions' lyric video

First of two lyric videos highlights the pills more than the potions

Nicki Minaj has released the first of two lyric videos for her strong new single, “Pills N Potions.”

The lyrics pop up over stills of liquor bottles, cigarette smoke, pills, and other shots of club exteriors, apartment interiors, the New York skyline, and cocktail glasses.  No telling if these shots hint at the story line of the full video coming or if these images stand alone.

The song, which we reviewed here, is the first single from Minaj’s third full-length album, “The Pink Print,” which is coming later this year.


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"The Night Shift"

"The Night Shift"

Credit: NBC

Meet 'Night Shift''s new tortured but hot ER doc Eoin Macken

You won't know whether to root for romance or not

If it's another network medical drama, that must mean we get a new hot-but-messed-up doctor, right? Bingo! NBC's "The Night Shift" (premieres Tues. May 27 at 10:00 p.m.) gives us Dr. T.C. Callahan, who brings a dose of amped-up crazy to the role of E.R. savior. He's good looking, he's reckless, and, oh, he may have PTSD following a stint in Afghanistan. It may not be a particularly sexy twist (you won't know whether to root for him getting back together with his co-worker ex Jordan or pray she runs for the hills), but it was an angle that appealed to star Eoin Macken ("Merlin"). 

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America Ferrera and Jay Baruchel on how they beat Quidditch in 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'
Credit: HitFix

America Ferrera and Jay Baruchel on how they beat Quidditch in 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

Plus we find out how they pulled off one of the film's most charming moments

The first film I saw at this year's Cannes Film Festival was also the one that was least like the others, the animated sequel, "How To Train Your Dragon 2." And while this was the least interview-oriented festival I've had in a while, when asked to sit down with the talent involved with this film, I was happy to do so.

Both Astrid (America Ferrera) and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) have grown five years older between the first film and this one, and considering the age of the characters, those are five big years, marking a major shift in maturity. It's subtle stuff to play, and both Ferrera and Baruchel seem to really love these movies and these characters.

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Mariah Carey

Album Review: Mariah Carey: 'Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse'

Was the over-stuffed album worth the five-year wait?

It’s been a long wait filled with fits and starts for Mariah Carey’s new album, first titled “The Art Of Letting Go,” and now, awkwardly called “Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse.” Yes, I know the background behind the title and she could have gone with “Me,” or “I Am Mariah” or “The Elusive Chanteuse,” but all three is a bit of overkill.  And so it is with the album. At 14 tracks on the standard edition, Carey is determined to show us all of her tricks, between her multiple-octave range  and her “I’m still really street, R&B” side (not to mention that she can still rock a crocheted bathing suit).

The album succeeds in many levels, but on some songs—“Cry,” “Camouflage,” “It’s A Wrap” (a duet with Mary J. Blige on the Deluxe version), the lyrics read like journal entries that don’t scan well with the melodies and seem crammed in to fit. Carey could have used a good editor.

To her credit, working with lots of producers —there are at least 12 here— doesn’t dilute the album’s cohesiveness, since that unifying factor is Carey’s vocals. The bigger issue here is the consistent need to throw in every bit of studio gimmickry into almost very track. There is precious little space on these tracks. Carey’s voice is such a force of nature, there’s no need to surround it with so many overlapping bells and whistles that often serve to distract rather than enhance.

Carey has crafted an album, her first since 2009’s “Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel,” that doesn’t feel progressive or groundbreaking in any way (despite Carey’s almost seemingly pathological need to remain current with hip-hop trends), but also is so much better than all the delays would have led us to believe.  Was it worth the wait? Yes, if you're a Carey fan. And it’s a reminder that Mimi remains a powerful force.

Here's a track-by-track review:

“Cry”:  The album opener is an organ-drenched gospel inflected tune that builds nicely as Carey details a heart break that leaves both parties tender and bruised.  The lyrics get unwieldy, but for the most part the ballad is a reminder that Carey has a voice that remains unmatched in pop. It’s one of the few tracks that isn’t over saturated by needless production elements. GRADE: B+

“Faded”: Just as their love has faded, so has Carey’s memory as she looks at photos of a lost love in this chugging mid-tempo ballad, co-produced by Mike Will Made-It, with a relatively light touch. Should be a fall single. GRADE: B

“Dedicated,” featuring Nas: The two titans look back at the summer of 1988, which Nas calls “My most nostalgic moment of hip-hop music ever,” in the intro before the two turn back time to 26 (!!!) years ago in a sweet duet that the label should have released for summer. The lilting track rambles along without a particularly catchy hook but feels made to be blaring out of car speakers.  Nas, no stranger to controversy, throws it down by rapping:  “We don’t wish today’s game was old again, we just wish it wasn’t filled with draconian, babylonian phony-men.” It’s not the album’s strongest track, but it has an effortless charm —and fun Wu-Tang samples— that propel it over some of the other tracks that sound so labored.  GRADE: B+

“#Beautiful,” featuring Miguel: This swaying, toe-tapping former single deserved to be a bigger hit than it was (it peaked at No. 15) as Carey and Miguel sexily coo and flirt over a retro-sounding track about how looks matter. She also likes that her bad boy runs red lights when she’s on the back of his bike. And he like her ass. True. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but their talents raise the song. GRADE: B+

“Thirsty”: Rapper Rich Homie Quan comes in at the beginning and in the middle, but the star is Carey’s delivery. Her vocals glide over a very busy synth track, airy as a butterfly, but her words are lethal. The stuttering background track that runs under  the whole tune, often like an irritating mosquito buzz, is part of Hit-Boy’s signature production, but this put down of a man who used to be a considerate lover but is now all about celebrity deserves more of the spotlight. GRADE: B

“Make It Look Good”: Carey goes old school on this dreamy mid-tempo track that will charm long time fans. With a doo-wap feel and Stevie Wonder on harmonica, “Make It Look Good” is a throw back to an earlier time and an earlier Carey, Care-free and swaying. Top 40 radio wouldn’t touch it now, which is a shame. This would have been a smash in the mid-90s.  GRADE: B+

“You’re Mine (Eternal)”: The mid-tempo tune, co-written and co-produced with Rodney Jerkins, is a breathless, throbbing quiet storm of a song that relies more on its hypnotic charm than Carey's vocal pyrotechnics. GRADE: B-

“You Don’t Know What To Do,” featuring Wale: The song starts off classic Mariah as she sassily wails about dumping her man because he doesn’t know what to do when it comes to romancing his lady. Wale then comes in with the male’s perspective rapping about how he wants another chance. Carey comes back as the song shifts into an uptempo R&B pop track making clear that he is way too late since she used to love him, but she feels brand new now that she’s set loose her man.  Playful and  fun. GRADE: B+

“Supernatural”: A love letter to her now three-year old twins, who giggle and coo throughout the song, “Supernatural” also works as a romantic love letter as Carey sings, over a tinkling synth, about a love that makes everything else pale in comparison. The track will strike you as indulgent or delightfully sweet depending upon where you fall on the “kids as props” spectrum. GRADE: B-

“Meteorite”: With the insistent disco beat and other flourishes, “Meteorite” sounds like a Donna Summer outtake —and that’s high praise. The mid-tempo disco track features Carey with a straight-ahead, non-stratospheric vocal. All the elements are there for the song to achieve maximum lift-off, but it doesn’t… maybe a high energy remix would help. Tremendous unrealized potential on this track, co-produced by Carey and Q-Tip. GRADE: B-

“Camouflage”: Carey holds nothing back vocally here on this ballad about keeping her pain hidden as a love affair falls apart. From the calling-all-dogs high notes to the sustained notes, it’s all here.  And it’s all a bit much when you wade through a choir, layers of singing, and echo-y effects. It starts off lovely and spare, but as each element is added in, it begins to sag. Would have been better if it had stayed simpler. GRADE: B-

“Money ($*/…),” featuring Fabolous: Carey is reduced to guest on her own tune here as Fabolous and a squonking horn steal the show here as he exhorts, “C’mon Mariah, let’s get higher.”  Love trumps money, at the end of the day in this repetitive Hit-Boy track (or does it, as Fabolous raps about coming home “to your money.”  GRADE: C

“One More Try”: Carey likes to throw in the occasional cover of a power ballad from the past: Journey’s “Open Arms” way back in 1996 or Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” on “Memoirs.” Here she tackles George Michael’s 1988 hit, “One More Try.” She stays pretty faithful to the original, but the track has a cheesy roller-skating back beat and backing vocals that distract from her solid vocal performance and take away from the underlying weight and slight creepiness of Michael’s version.  GRADE:  C

“Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can’t Give Up Now)”: The standard version of the album wraps with this gospel track that includes a full choir and samples from the late Rev. James Cleveland and addresses fortitude in the face of struggles. Like many of the tracks, it starts out fine, but then it builds to a busy mess (turntable scratching, really? ) that overshadows the positive, uplifting message.  GRADE: B-

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Syfy announces 'Sharknado Week'

Syfy announces “Sharknado Week”
Inspired by Discovery’s Shark Week, Syfy will celebrate the "greatest moments in shark film history” in the run-up to the airing of “Sharknado 2.” Sharknado Week kicks off July 26.

“Mad Men’s” Robert Morse: “It was an absolute love letter” and “Facebook has been going crazy"
Morse said he worked with a choreographer for four to five days in secrecry for Sunday’s midseason finale. "Nobody knew beforehand,” says Morse. We sang the song three or four times with a 30-piece orchestra, Matt was there. I rehearsed with the dancers and a few days later, Matt came in to see what we had done and said, 'It’s going to work.’”PLUS: Matthew Weiner got the song while listening to "old-time radio."

Watch the trailer for Lifetime’s “Deliverance Creek” from Nicholas Sparks
“The Notebook” author’s backdoor pilot, airing Sept. 13, follows a widowed mother who tries to protect her family and land during the Civil War.

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'True Detective’s' 3 new leads: 2 males, 1 female?

“True Detective’s” 3 new leads: 2 males, 1 female?
Season 2 of the HBO series will feature a 40-something male detective, a 30-something female detective and a 20-something male cop, according to Deadline. Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale and Josh Brolin are prototypes for the 40-something male detective, while Jessica Chastain is a “potential prototype” for the female detective character.

“Breaking Bad," "The Good Wife" and “True Detective” among the top TCA Award nominees
Unlike the Emmys, “True Detective” will compete in the "Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials” category at this year's Television Critics Association Awards.

“Mad Men’s” midseason finale nabs just 1.9 million viewers
That’s down from the 2.7 million who watched the Season 6 finale on the same day, but this was the first time “Mad Men” had a finale during Memorial Day Weekend.

Showtime to re-air all seasons of “Queer as Folk” and “The L Word”
To celebrate Gay Pride Month, both LGBT shows will be back next month, airing every episode through November.

BBC nearly axed “Doctor Who” after David Tennant’s exit
Steven Moffat reveals that BBC bosses didn’t think Tennant was replaceable in The Doctor role. "David owned that role in a spectacular way, gave it an all-new cheeky sexy performance and became a national treasure,” he says. "So the idea that Doctor Who could go on at all in the absence of David was a huge question.”

“The World Wars” watched by 3.4 million
The three-day History channel miniseries went up against traditional Memorial Day programming.

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<p>Scott McNairy in &quot;Halt and Catch Fire.&quot;</p>

Scott McNairy in "Halt and Catch Fire."

Credit: AMC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 232: 'Hannibal' & 'Mad Men' finales and more

Dan and Alan also discuss new series 'Undateable,' 'Crossbones' and 'Halt and Catch Fire'


Time for a trans-Atlantic installment of the Firewall & Iceberg podcast, as Dan and I tried to navigate the challenges of him being in London (and in a hotel with questionable wifi). For the most part, it's workable, and at a certain point we decided we wanted to get it done because it would be our best and only real chance to discuss the "Hannibal" and "Mad Men" finales in a timely fashion, though we were more ambivalent on the three new shows being reviewed.

The rundown: 

"Undateable" (00:01:20 - 00:10:30)
"Crossbones" (00:10:30 - 00:17:20)
"Halt and Catch Fire" (00:17:30 - 00:25:20)
"Hannibal" finale (00:25:40 - 00:43:30)
"Mad Men" midseason finale - (00:43:35 - 01:05:30)
As always, send questions to You can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.

There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.

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