Oh, "American Horror Story: Coven," how you do love to surprise me. This week, pretty much everything we knew has been proven, if not wrong, at least somehow different than we thought it was. How so? Let's start with Hank. The show does, after all, and what we learn about him puts an interesting new twist on the world of witches as we know it -- at least it does for the time being.
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Evangeline Lilly should have been huge coming out of "Lost." I'm still trying to wrap my head around how Hollywood dropped the ball with this one. From the start of the show to the bitter end, Lilly was one of the people whose work kept me coming back week after week.
Her character is sure to be polarizing among Tolkien fanatics. Tauriel seems to me to fit well into the world that Peter Jackson has spent five movies now building onscreen, and I like that she represents a wilder, darker sort of elf than we've seen in the films so far. We discussed that and the physicality of the role she's playing, and what became evident is that she is having the time of her life.
And why not? She's playing a strong character who ends up front and center for a big chunk of this film. What I'm curious to see is how fans react to a character who was invented completely by the filmmakers. This something that hasn't really happened before with these films. On "Lord Of The Rings," Jackson had to make hard decisions about what material did or didn't make it into the final films, and he had to cut whole characters and plot lines. Even so, he ended up with something like a ten hour final film when all is said and done. This time around, he's gone the opposite way, expanding instead of condensing, and there's quite a bit of time and attention paid to the way Tauriel fits uneasily into her place in things as part of the kingdom of the Wood-elves.
It's our penultimate "X Factor" Wednesday, kids! We're down to just four acts, but because "X Factor" doesn't have enough juice to boost another show were it to slim down to an hour or 90 minutes, we're getting a full two hours tonight. Will the remaining acts performance twice apiece? Thrice?
Click through and follow along for the full two hours of fun.
8:07 p.m. Apparently our first song was chosen by America. I'm having East Coast feed problems, so we'll see how much of this I actually get to watch. We'll also see how much of this I actually want to get to watch.
People sometimes assume that the only way we can sit down to do interviews with people is if we publish glowing praise of them, but that's ridiculous. Some of the best conversations are when there's some push and pull going on.
I had already published my review of "Saving Mr. Banks" before I attended the press day, and I wrote in that piece about my questions about some of the choices made in the way the film portrayed the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers. When I went into each of the interviews, I wanted to discuss that with the cast, since they're playing real people and they've had access to materials that we haven't.
For example, in the closing moments of "Saving Mr. Banks," as the credits play, you'll hear actual excerpts of the recordings that were made of all of the story meetings that were held with Travers during her time in Los Angeles, and speaking just as a writer who has been through my fair share of brutal notes sessions, just that excerpt made me break into a sweat.
If you've been watching "Scandal," you know we're leading up to one heck of a midseason finale (Thurs. at 10:00 p.m. on ABC). Olivia's mom (who is alive, hello) isn't who we thought she was, Sally dealt with her husband's infidelity in a pretty definitive way, and Huck (Guillermo Diaz) did bad, bad things to Baby Huck (Quinn, played by Katie Lowes). I got the chance to speak to both Diaz and Lowes on the phone, and while they were cagey about what's to come (as expected), they had some insight into how last week's naked, duct-taped torture fest has probably impacted their friendship, which was already shaky at best. But hey, you never know what to expect from gladiators, do you?
"Tyrant," a drama that's had a more newsworthy-than-usual development process, has been ordered to series by FX.
A "Trailer Park" reality franchise?: TLC's "Welcome to Myrtle Manor" adds "Trailer Park" to its name
TLC and The Weinstein Company that "Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor" will spawn more "Trailer Parks" spinoffs.
Julie Chen: "The View" has lost its way -- it doesn't know what to do with Jenny McCarthy's talent
"('The View') has lost its way is my feeling," "The Talk" star tells "Extra," "because they don't really talk about politics anymore and when they do, no one is really trying to hear what Jenny is saying… That's how I feel. I don't think she's suited for what they used to do." Chen adds that McCarthy is better suited for a show like "The Talk."
"Sons of Anarchy's" Season 6 finale was its 3rd-most-watched episode ever
With 5.2 million viewers, it was also the highest-rated season finale in the show's history.
Jimmy Kimmel reveals an alternate ending to his viral twerking girl on fire prank
The unaired ending is now on YouTube. PLUS: Tom Hanks & Wiz Khalifa create a Christmas card for one Kimmel audience member.
Fox shows are now available on Xbox One
Xbox One users can watch shows like "New Girl" and "Almost Human" if their cable company allows it.
"Parks and Rec" invites Jean-Ralphio back for Episode 100
The Saperstein family will be reunited. PLUS: Rent-A-Swag really does exist.
"Today" apologizes for "offensive" joke about Nelson Mandela memorial sign language interpreter
During the 9 o'clock hour, a producer popped up to give his own fake sign language.
Create your own "Game of Thrones"-inspired paper snowflakes
Each based on the sigils of the major houses.
Ellen DeGeneres uses her talk show to deny marriage problems with Portia de Rossi
In an unusual move, Ellen addressed a magazine report claiming their marriage "crumbles."
Is "The Mindy Project" just rehashing "When Harry Met Sally"?
A new video shows just how much influence the classic Billy Crystal-Meg Ryan movie has had on Mindy Kaling's Fox comedy.
"The Bridge" promotes Emily Rios and Matthew Lillard
They'll become series regulars in Season 2.
Why "Taystee" from "Orange is the New Black" is the breakout star of 2013
Danielle Brooks has proven to be one of Hollywood's "precious gems."
How does "Downton Abbey" tea taste?
The "Downton" tea truck hit NYC streets today.
Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa makes a comeback -- in Britain
Mustafa is back to his Old Spice ways in a new UK ad campaign.
"I Love Lucy" is coming to Blu-ray
Season 1 in Blu-ray will be available March 18.
See "SYTYCD" stars tWitch & Allison's wedding photo
The couple got married Tuesday at Nigel Lythgoe's villa.
NBC tonight presents "Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale"
Tonight's special features Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire and Ken Jeong.
Everyone had a keen eye on this morning's Screen Actors Guild nominations because, as ever, the group's Best Ensemble category can be highly indicative of where the Best Picture Oscar race might be heading. But i's also a unique opportunity for actors to spotlight their own through recognition of a movie's cast, something critics often do on the precursor circuit but the Academy hasn't taken to yet.
Unfortunately, more often than not, that merely translates to a slew of SAG notices for big, sprawling casts full of movie stars. That's doubly unfortunate in a year such as 2013, which has been an exemplary study in brilliant ensemble work, from studio productions to indie players and all points in between. So it seemed our own spotlight was in order.
One thing's for sure: if they ever make another adaptation of "Starship Troopers," there is no way they can make excuses for not using the jump suits that Robert Heinlein wrote about in that book.
Doug Liman's trippy new film "Edge Of Tomorrow" looks like "Groundhog Day" with a body count, and one thing I will always love about Tom Cruise is that he does not sneer at genre. He has built a career out of working with giant directors on giant mainstream films, and if he wanted, he could easily avoid ever having to deal CGI aliens or greenscreen stunts or any of that. He could do Oscar-bait drama every year forever and make the studios perfectly happy.
Cruise loves this stuff, though. He loves the physicality of this kind of storytelling, where action is as important as anything else, and he seems to genuinely enjoy world-building. If "Edge Of Tomorrow" works, it will work because we buy into the stakes and because there is a compelling sense of urgency as Cruise finds himself repeating the same day over and over, each time learning something new, putting all of these journeys together until he can find a way to defeat the alien menace that threatens the Earth.
The "Grey's Anatomy" winter finale airs this Thursday (Dec. 12 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC), and a wedding is on the books (isn't that the best time for a wedding, after all?). Dr. April Kepner (played by Sarah Drew) is set to walk down the aisle with paramedic Matthew (Justin Bruening), but more than a few people are rooting for a last minute save from Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Of course, actually getting hitched is just one of April's problems, according to Drew. I talked to the actress briefly about the midseason finale, whether April turns into a bridezilla, and why the last five minutes of the show's script made Ellen Pompeo stop the table read.
The Screen Actors Guild announced the nominees for the 2014 SAG Awards and the big winners were "12 Years A Slave," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler."
HitFix's Daniel Fienberg and I took some time to chat about the nominations and whether they can really have an impact on this year's Oscar race. You can watch our conversation in the video embedded at the top of this post.