Todd Lowe on 'True Blood'

Todd Lowe's Terry is at the center of one of the worst storylines on "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: 'Hopeless' is exactly how this show feels now

Season five hits the halfway point with too many characters, too little heart

We're halfway through "True Blood" season five, and we get the first episode written by series creator Alan Ball. It's an action-packed hour with a shocking cliffhanger, and yet it's also emblematic of everything wrong with the show right now.

There's so much happening, and almost zero emotional weight to any of it. Storylines have no room to breathe and even when one of the actors has a moment worth appreciating (as Ryan Kwanten, Deborah Ann Woll, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Denis O'Hare and Alfre Woodard all did tonight) there's no time to appreciate it.

I suppose it could be argued that this ADD approach ensures the show is never "boring," but it's so wildly disjointed I can't imagine how anyone feels connected to these characters. Unless you're watching purely to see stuff happen, how is this satisfying?

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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: The first two players land on the block

The coaches compete, but HOH Willie gets the final word

It's the first "real" episode of "Big Brother" tonight, and by real, I mean it's the first episode to get down and dirty in the essence of the game -- strategy, backstabbing and the creation of fledgling alliances. A lot hangs on Willie, but I'm not too worried. He seems to by bypassing his brother Russell's more evil characteristics on "Survivor" but has taken away an understanding of game play. So let's see if the ragin' Cajun (hey, it's on his T-shirt) lives up to his potential!

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<p>&nbsp;Frank of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

 Frank of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: The season begins -- and so do the twists

Former housemates return as coaches as the hamsters are split into teams

It’s summer again, and that means “Big Brother.” Do you remember a time before “Big Brother”? It has to have been a long time ago, because Mike “Boogie” from season #2 looks like he’s retirement age. When he comes into the house, I expect him to be dragging his walker with him. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we introduce the old (really old) but new twist, it’s time to meet the new hamsters!

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Nelsan Ellis in 'True Blood'

Nelsan Ellis is a lonely Lafayette on "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: Death comes calling in 'Let's Boot and Rally'

A long-awaited return and a dramatic exit?

Is it wrong to feel a little bit excited we may have lost one member of the absurdly large "True Blood" ensemble tonight? Probably. But only because with the amount of fake outs and close calls on this show it's less likely someone was killed than just seriously injured.

Whoever did or didn't die this week, it was a typically busy, busy, busy episode with lots of movement on all story fronts, but little in the way of standout moments. Let's break it down...

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Joe Manganiello on 'True Blood'
Between "Magic Mike" and finally hooking up with Sookie, it was a big weekend for Joe Manganiello
Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: Sookie hooks up in 'We'll Meet Again'

Also, Jason and Andy visit fairy land and Pam and Eric reunite

After last week's commendably focused episode, "True Blood" returned to its usual scattershot ways this week in an all-over-the-place installment. It was a hour heavy on vampire blood ties (the ways in which vampires consider themselves "family" were stressed throughout) but low on real thrills or surprises.

If it wasn't for Kristin Bauer van Straten's continued excellence as a suddenly dramatically dominant Pam, this week would've been a total wash. But let's break it down:

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Valentina Cervi as Salome on 'True Blood'

We got to know Valentina Cervi's Salome a little better this week. But not as good as Bill and Eric.

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: Pam rules in 'Whatever I Am, You Made Me

Also, Salome gets busy and Jason gets schooled in a solid episode

Well that was another solid episode of "True Blood." And the best of the season so far in terms of balancing the large cast of characters and giving a variety of actors room to shine. There's not a whole lot of momentum building after three episodes, but we still saw advances in several major storylines and got a better understanding of both a new addition and an old favorite.

Let's break it down...

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<p>Amber Riley and Lea Michele of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>

Amber Riley and Lea Michele of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' Finale - 'Goodbye'

A surprising (and surprisingly strong) end to an uneven season suggests interesting possibilities next season
Having an ensemble can be an asset for a television program. Ostensibly, the more onscreen talent you have, the more diverse a set of stories you can tell. On “Glee,” perhaps less would have been more as a general rule. The show hasn’t narrowed its scope of storytelling over the years, but rather expanded it to the point where everything has become diffuse. It’s hard to focus on any one particular aspect of the show when it keeps shining flashlights into the corner of your peripheral vision. “Goodbye” was probably one of the best episodes of this uneven third season because it turned “Glee” into what it’s always truly been: the story of Rachel Berry. One can argue the relative merits of that focus. But having that focus tonight really did make a difference.
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<p>Mick Jagger and some musical friends on &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Mick Jagger and some musical friends on "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Mick Jagger

Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters and other guests close the 'SNL' season
Here we are at the end of another season of “Saturday Night Live,” aka “the latest season that just proved for most people the show isn’t what it used to be, even though that particular version of the show only lives in selective, imperfect memory in the first place.” Pulling double duty tonight is host/musical guest Mick Jagger. Accompanying Jagger musically will be Jeff Beck, The Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire. That’s like “The Avengers” of guitar-based rock. And yes, I just saw “The Avengers” tonight for the second time, so I might accuse a lot of sketches tonight of lacking conviction. Just thought I’d preface that up front.
Once more unto the recapping breach!
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<p>&nbsp;Jenna Ushkowitz of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>

 Jenna Ushkowitz of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Props'/ 'Nationals'

Tina bumps her head, and then the show bumps into an inevitable result at Nationals
There’s a shot halfway through the second hour of tonight’s two-episode “Glee” gauntlet in which the camera zooms in tight around Finn Hudson’s face. He and the rest of New Directions have just finished their set at Nationals, ending in a lengthy performance of Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. His face is triumphant, but more importantly, his brow is sweaty. For the first time I can remember in the show, performing seemed like actual hard work. It’s an easy thing to forget in “Glee,” a program in which flawless numbers seem to fall out of the sky only to disappear into the ether.
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<p>Usher and Will Ferrell of &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Usher and Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Will Ferrell and Usher

Which old friends would join the 'SNL' veteran?
We’re here near the end of another season of “Saturday Night Live.” Can you feel the warm breeze, hear the sounds of birds, and fear the prospects of months of reruns? Me too! Tonight’s host is no stranger to the show. Will Ferrell will probably go down as one of the show’s all-time best players, and seeing him back in Studio 8H should make for some fun sketch comedy. While a lot of his characters were famous as part of a pair, he also had plenty of solo characters that will undoubtedly make an appearance tonight. (Also probably making appearances? Some of those old cast mates with whom he created so many memorable moments.) Along for the ride is musical guest Usher. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! OK! (Sorry, he probably won’t perform that tonight.)
My hopes are high for this one. Let’s get to it!
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