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<p>Elizabeth Henstridge gets her chance to shine on this week's dramatic episode of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'</p>

Elizabeth Henstridge gets her chance to shine on this week's dramatic episode of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

The 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' confront death in the most dramatic episode yet

Can the show get away with happy endings every week?

Death must be a part of this show, even more than any of the other Whedonverse shows. If you are willing to work in this world, and if you are willing to put yourself on the line, then we must see that death can happen, and that's just part of it. For that to work, though, there can't be a cheat code that will always save every cast member. If you're not willing to destroy the status quo, then none of it matters.

Having said that, tonight's episode of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." is the first time I've felt any emotional connection to the show, and it seems like it establishes some key things about these characters in a more direct way than we've seen so far.

For example, I was getting tired of the "Fitz carrying a torch for Skye" thing after just a few weeks of it. It feels like very familiar ground, and I don't just want to see earlier Whedon characters renamed and plugged into this show. Xander's crush on Buffy was fine for a while, but that show learned quickly that he couldn't just pine away for her forever. It's a dead end for a character.

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<p>On &quot;New Girl,&quot;&nbsp;the guys celebrate the return of Damon Wayans Jr. as Coach.</p>

On "New Girl," the guys celebrate the return of Damon Wayans Jr. as Coach.

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Coach'

Damon Wayans Jr. returns, but fellow guest star Taye Diggs provides the biggest laughs

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I throw pizza at seagulls...

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"The Originals"

 "The Originals"

Credit: The CW

'The Originals' recap: Will Hayley lose her baby?

The clock is ticking after a powerful witch hatches an evil plan

Spin-offs of hit television shows are rarely good things. Too often the lightning in the bottle that made the first show worthy of a second property can't be captured; ideas are diluted and repeated. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Some shows not only thrive once characters leave the mothership, the new show explores fresh emotional terrain, digging more deeply into ideas that had only been skimmed in the original property. When they really get it right, spin-offs leave their old shows better than they used to be, giving the characters left behind room to stretch. 

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<p>Tom Hardy and Elton John at this morning's &quot;Rocketman&quot; buyers' event.</p>

Tom Hardy and Elton John at this morning's "Rocketman" buyers' event.

Credit: DDA PR

Tom Hardy and Elton John buddy up to present 'Rocketman' biopic

Could the year's least expected casting news turn to 2015 Oscar gold?

Ye gods, what is this: am I seeing double? Were they separated at birth? Is it an optical illusion, with one of them looking in a mirror? How else to explain the uncanny resemblance betw--okay, okay, I'll stop now. Suffice to say this shot of Tom Hardy and Elton John from this morning doesn't exactly highlight the physical likeness between the hulking actor and the legendarily flamboyant pop star, which is why the thought of the former playing the latter in an upcoming film remains so deliciously, intriguingly weird.

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The top 5 reasons Eminem still matters
Credit: Interscope

The top 5 reasons Eminem still matters

Here's why "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" will open huge

Eminem’s new album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” comes out today. In addition to receiving primarily strong reviews, the album is expected to be one of the year’s top sellers, with opening week sales projections to be as high as 750,000, according to Billboard.

That will give “MMLP2” the second-highest sales week of the year, behind Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” which sold 968,000 copies. Eminem’s first week numbers should easily eclipse the current second-place  holder, Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same,” which sold 658,000 in its opening frame.

It’s been 14 years since Eminem’s major label debut, “The Slim Shady LP,” arrived (that will be his only studio album not to reach No. 1, by the way) and he’s captivated and repulsed listeners ever since, but he’s never bored us. Many  superstar rappers such as Kayne West, Kendrick Lamar and Drake have come after him, but he's still at the top of his game.

Here are the top 5 reasons why Eminem still matters:

1. His delivery: Just listen to any number of Eminem’s songs, including the tongue-in-cheek “Rap God” on the new album. It’s dizzying to hear how quickly, cleanly and smoothly he raps. He has a dexterity and flow that many other rappers don’t (though Kendrick Lamar gives him a good run for his money on “Love Game.”). Even if you don’t like what he’s saying, it’s often astonishing to hear how well he says it.

2. He’s not afraid to show his vulnerability: Many rappers are more concerned with showing their swagger and their invincibility, whereas Eminem really puts it out there just how severely screwed up he is...and people respond to that. Yes, his homophobic and misogynistic comments can get tiresome (even if you buy, as he insists, that he’s merely playing a persona), but the one thing that is very clear: he saves his greatest amount of vitriol and loathing for himself.

3. He is a great rap lyricist:
While some folks would say Nas or Jay Z are rap’s best lyricists (and Tupac was its No. 1 poet), Eminem definitely comes out at the very top. Yes, plenty of what he says is puerile, but his mind works in a fascinating pattern. As he says in “Legacy,” it’s as if he’s linking crossword puzzles.

4. He can write both beats and melodies:
This, of course, is not a trait that a number of other rappers don’t share, but Eminem just seems to have a better sense of melody than others. And while he’s not the strongest singer, he also is among the elite group of rappers who can sing as well as rap.

5. He lets his music do the talking: Part of Eminem’s appeal is that he doesn’t care about being a celebrity. If anything, he wants to be left alone. Some of that may have been because of his substance issues, but if we hear something about his personal life (yes, we're talking to you, Kanye), it’s certainly not because he’s let it out. In this age of oversharing, it’s a relief.

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'Scandal' casts Khandi Alexander as Olivia Pope's mom


"Scandal" casts Khandi Alexander as Olivia Pope's mom

The "Treme" star will play Maya Lewis, the mother of Pope, who will make her debut in Thursday's episode.


NBC is still No. 1 in the demo that matters
Six weeks into the fall season, the Peacocks is topping all networks in the 18-49 demographic.


"Trophy Wife" books Rob Corddry
It'll be a "Children's Hospital" reunion when Corddry joins Malin Akerman as "Sensei Rick," a martial arts instructor.


See Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard's "Game of Thrones"-inspired Halloween costume
They went as Khal Drogo and the Khaleesi.

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'X Factor' Season 3 Interviews: The Girls - Rion Paige, Ellona Santiago and Khaya Cohen

'X Factor' Season 3 Interviews: The Girls - Rion Paige, Ellona Santiago and Khaya Cohen

Why do Rion, Ellona and Khaya think you should vote for them?
The Top 12 acts from the current season of "The X Factor" hit the red carpet at Beverly Hills' The Bazaar on Monday (November 4) night.
 
I already posted my interview with series creator/mentor/judge Simon Cowell, who discusses his category, the Groups. 
 
HitFix also caught up with all 12 acts, to discuss their journey so far and to ask them what the American people don't know about them that will make viewers want to vote for them. [In case you're curious, the answer to that standard question was, "Because I'm just an ordinary guy/girl" in the vast majority of cases.]
 
I'll be posting my interviews with the Finalists by category, starting with  the Girls, who are mentored by Demi Lovato.
 
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<p>Ben Affleck returns to awards season, whether he likes it or not, with &quot;Live By Night&quot; on Christmas Day 2015.</p>

Ben Affleck returns to awards season, whether he likes it or not, with "Live By Night" on Christmas Day 2015.

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Bait: Clint Eastwood's 'Jersey Boys' and Ben Affleck's 'Live By Night' get dates

Could either impact future awards seasons?

It's never too early to look at future awards season players. Today, Warner Bros. slotted two potential players with new release dates.

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<p>Cobie Smulders seems more than ready to sign up for as many Marvel movies as possible.</p>

Cobie Smulders seems more than ready to sign up for as many Marvel movies as possible.

Credit: HitFix

Cobie Smulders says you always say yes when superheroes come calling

Maria Hill will be back in several new Marvel movies, and Smulders seems thrilled

I'm curious to see how filmmakers cast Cobie Smulders in the future. She's had an interesting decade with "How I Met Your Mother" launching her to prominence. A mere ten years ago, she was one of the young stars of ABC's flash-in-a-pan series "Veritas: The Quest," but once she was part of the break-out ensemble comedy that's wrapping things up with a controversial final season right now, it seems like she would suddenly start getting bigger roles.

Oddly, that's not how it has played out. I like "The Slammin' Salmon," and I think she's funny in it, but that's the biggest film role she played before "The Avengers," where she made her first appearance as Maria Hill. "Delivery Man" is still a smaller supporting role, but it's a step in the right direction. Next year, she's starring in a David Wain comedy along with some folks like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Shannon, Ed Helms, and Christopher Meloni. In addition, she's the voice of Wonder Woman for "The LEGO Movie," and she'll be back as Hill for the S.H.I.E.L.D.-centric "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

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Cheyenne Jackson joins Ryan Murphy's HBO human sexuality drama


Cheyenne Jackson joins Ryan Murphy's HBO human sexuality drama
The "Glee" vet will play a "handsome meth addict" on "Open."


FX announces premiere dates for "Justified" and "Archer"
Raylan Givens returns for Season 5, while "Archer" will be paired with gay white rapper comedy "Chozen" starting Jan. 13.


What was Cee Lo Green smoking on last night's "The Voice"?
Green was captured on camera with smoke coming out of his mouth, but NBC has edited the smoking out of the online version.


Damon Wayans Jr.: "New Girl" set has changed since I left
Wayans, who returns tonight as Coach, says: "There weren’t as many rooms when they shot the pilot. It was weird not knowing where stuff was." Meanwhile, "New Girl" creator Liz Meriwether recounts casting Wayans and losing him, and having to create the character of Winston. PLUS: How Coach will change the group, and Hannah Simone answers questions on Reddit.


Jason Ritter: No, I won't star in a "Three's Company" spinoff
Suzanne Somers proposed the idea, with Jason Ritter playing the son of Jack Tripper and Chrissy Snow.


Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night" head writer will assume the same role on "The Tonight Show"
A.D. Miles has been Fallon's head writer during the entirety of Jimmy's "Late Night" run.


Conan O'Brien joins Chris Rock tonight on BET's "Real Husbands of Hollywood"

Says Conan: "I'm gonna hit that network like a ton of plain yogurt."


David Arquette is having a baby with his "ET" girlfriend

Arquette's girlfriend, Christina McLarty, is four months pregnant. Arquette already has a 9-year-old daughter with Courteney Cox.


Jimi Hendrix tonight gets the "American Masters" treatment, but is it too polite?
"Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'" tends to smooth out the rough edges of his life, even the circumstances of his death.

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<p>Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens on &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens on "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified,' 'Archer,' 'Chozen' part of FX winter schedule

'Archer' moves to Monday, and 'The Americans' premiere date is TBD

FX has announced a winter schedule that again has "Justified" on Tuesdays starting in January, "Archer" moving to Mondays around the same time, and "The Americans" debuting a bit later. And "Chozen," which was set to be the first brand-new series to debut on spin-off channel FXX, will instead be paired with "Archer" on the mothership, while repackaged episodes of "Da Ali G Show" will wind up on FXX with "Legit."

Let's go one at a time:

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History channel is remaking 'Roots'


History channel is remaking "Roots"

The 12-hour classic high-rated 1977 miniseries is being remade as an eight-hour miniseries that, according to Deadline, "will draw both on the book and the original mini from a contemporary perspective." A History exec adds: "We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience."

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