<p>&nbsp;Heather Morris of FOX's &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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 Heather Morris of FOX's "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Asian F'

Everything good and bad about the show, in one handy episode

If ratings are any indication, then “Glee” has burned up a lot of good will with its initial audience. Ratings are still healthy, but there’s little doubt that the show’s second season wore a lot of its audience down. Those that saw last year as less of television program and more as an incoherent iTunes delivery system haven’t come back this year, even though last week’s installment “I Am Unicorn” seemed to be a flare gun designed to bring the herds back to the fold. If those that abandoned the show heard that cry and came back this week for “Asian F,” they weren’t in for an episode on par with “Unicorn.” Instead, they got an hour-long example of everything good and bad with the show.

You have to hand it to “Glee”. After all, “Asian F” represents a Rosetta stone for the series. If you ever wanted to demonstrate the highs and lows of the show as succinctly as possible, you could do no better than show someone this episode. Last week, I postulated that perhaps the influx of new writers behind the scenes might focus the show in a positive way. But it’s hard to focus the show when it’s still in the throes of a perpetual identity crisis. “Asian F” is far from the best “Glee” episode ever, but it’s certainly the best at showing the sum total of what “Glee” is. Its highs, lows, and WTFs were on full display in this scattershot hour. In fact, let’s just call this episode what it should have been named, and break down things from there.

That title? “The Good, The Bad, and The Ginger.”

 

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<p>Jason O'Mara of &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
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Jason O'Mara of "Terra Nova"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'Instinct'

As the Shannons attempt to settle in, a new species of dinosaur poses problems for the camp

Back in college, I took every course I could on literary theory. Not only did I want more techniques to employ when reading various texts, but I also liked the idea that there was more than one way to approach a particular problem. That desire pretty much sums up anyone who majors in the humanities, since it eschews a “right” answer in favor of precise, singular solutions. Some of these literary theories seemed too antiquated for proper deployment (Aristotle’s “Poetics”), and some of these theories were too esoteric for anyone not on a series dose of happy pills (hello, Derrida and your cursed deconstruction). Weirdly enough, the one I rejected most at the time is one I return to when dealing with shows such as “Terra Nova”: New Criticism.

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<p>Melissa McCarthy</p>
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Melissa McCarthy

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Melissa McCarthy and Lady Antebellum

Recent Emmy winner and Grammy favorites oversee the season's second episode

Melissa McCarthy is having quite the year. A breakout performance in the film “Bridesmaids,” an Emmy for her performance on “Mike and Molly,” and now this, her inaugural hosting appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Will tonight just be a series of sketches involving her and Kristin Wiig? Will fellow “Bridesmaids” star/former “SNL” alum Mya Rudolph drop by? Will musical guest Lady Antebellum do me a favor and NOT play “Need You Now”? Because I only got that ear worm out of my head last week, and I’d prefer to have it stay that way. 

Only one way to find out. Onto tonight’s recap!  

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<p>Anna Torv of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>
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Anna Torv of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'One Night in October'

A case Over There may have huge ramifications for both worlds

Can you pinpoint the moment your life changed? Can you narrow it down to a single day, after which things that could have gone one way went inextricably the other? It’s something many of us think about in retrospective. Me? I think about how not traveling from Boston to New York City back in 2003 meant I probably wouldn’t have ever met the person to whom I am now married. There’s no way to predict what would have happened had I not taken the Greyhound bus that night, but it’s still fascinating to think about the road not taken all the same. “One Night in October,” tonight’s often stunning episode of “Fringe,” shows what happens when the road not taken intertwines with the one you’re on. And what follows is the show at its empathetic best. 

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<p>Kristin Cavallari of &quot;America's Next Top Model&quot;</p>
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Kristin Cavallari of "America's Next Top Model"

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model: All-Stars' - 'Kristin Cavallari'

Noted journalist Mario Lopez educates the girls on interview skills
Sheena has prowled back to parts unknown, taking her Kimora Lee dreams with her. What does this all mean, yo? As we open this next episode of the campiest "ANTM" cycle ever, we receive an interpretation from Lisa: It means -- cue digital drum roll -- no one is safe.
 
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<p>Idina Menzel and Lea Michele of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Idina Menzel and Lea Michele of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'I Am Unicorn'

A familiar face returns to Lima, and shakes things up for several members of New Directions

“I Am Unicorn” is a statement about “Glee” itself as much as the characters involved in tonight’s central plots. The hour concerns identity, and how people often view themselves in terms of how they are viewed by others. That’s not a radical way to structure an episode of television, but know what? “Glee” excels when it keeps things simple. At the same time, the multifaceted ways in which that theme played out amongst Kurt, Brittany, Quinn, and others also represents the multifaceted show that is “Glee.” Sometimes, that combination is an ugly mess, slapping disparate elements together to form a horrific Frankenstein of a television program. But as character after character rediscovered things about themselves tonight, perhaps the show rediscovered a few things about itself as well.

The strongest elements of this rediscovery centered around the show actually remembering its own history. “Glee” has this horrible way of rewriting motivations and situations in order to fit whatever they want to accomplish in a particular scene , never mind a particular episode. Reintroducing Shelby Corcoran (guest star Idina Menzel) seemed like a stunt at first, akin perhaps to bringing back Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holly Holiday. But each scene with her reignited a long-dormant storyline, ones that I forgot because the show had forgotten them as well. Whether bringing Shelby back at this point was intentional or accidentally is besides the point, because either was it is pretty much a masterstroke. Why? Because it forces a multitude of characters to re-evaluate themselves at a critical point in their lives. She functions like Gus Fring from “Breaking Bad”, but with a pitch pipe in lieu of a box cutter.

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<p>Jason O'Mara of &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
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Jason O'Mara of "Terra Nova"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Terra Nova' Premiere - 'Genesis'

Was the two-hour premiere dino-mite? HitFix weighs in...

Few shows debuting this Fall have gotten more ink than “Terra Nova.” Its production problems? Legendary. Its proposed scale? Immense. The impulse towards schadenfreude? Even greater. But now, the time for analysis shifts away from everything behind the scenes towards what’s actually onscreen. And what’s there is…well, it’s more simplistic than many would like, yet offers some glimmers of potential promise underneath the Spielbergian gloss.

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<p>Alec Baldwin and Radiohead of &quot;Saturday Night Live,&quot; along with castmember Fred Armisen.</p>
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Alec Baldwin and Radiohead of "Saturday Night Live," along with castmember Fred Armisen.

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Alec Baldwin and Radiohead

A favorite host (and some guests) help 'SNL' launch its 37th season

“Saturday Night Live” is back, ladies and gentleman. And so am I, for my second year of “SNL” coverage here at HitFix. On tap for tonight’s premiere: one of the show’s favorite hosts and one of my favorite bands: Alec Baldwin and Radiohead, together at last. It is Baldwin’s 16th time hosting, which breaks Steve Martin’s all-time record. Look for Martin to show up in tonight’s broadcast, and look for a slew of “SNL” alums and big-named stars to drop by as well. No new faces in the cast this year, and no one was fired. Meet the new cast. Same as the old cast. This year, maybe they’ll remember Jay Pharaoh is actually IN said cast.

Let’s keep that continuity going here on Monkeys as Critics as well. I’ll assign relatively arbitrary grades to each sketch, you will get arbitrarily mad at those grades, and then we do it all again next week. Sound good? Good. Onto the 37th season of “SNL”!

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<p>&nbsp;Seth Gabel of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>
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 Seth Gabel of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' Premiere - 'Neither Here Nor There'

Tension remains between both worlds, even with Peter still missing

When last we met, “Fringe” fans, a lot of you were unhappy with me. Whereas the Season 3 worked like gangbusters for most of you, to me it felt hollow, cheap, and too clever by half. Staging a future that will no longer exist thanks to Peter’s intervention and a time-travel twist stolen from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” simply didn’t do it for me. (“Doomsday Device…remember a Doomsday Device!” I can hear Walter Bishop, Esquire, saying.) Did that undo all of my good feelings towards the show? Of course not! It’s a stellar show that got away from its strengths in the final hour. Having the show back on my television now makes me happy. But I’m still wary.

Here’s the problem: it’s not as if the show ever planned on keeping Peter off the show for good. It didn’t make a bold, fundamental change to the show’s structure when it erased Peter from existence. In a way, I’m glad, since the interplay between Olivia and The Bishop Boys sits at the heart of what makes this show work. On the other hand, we now have in the show’s present the same problem we had in its potential future: the people that we’ve followed for three seasons are gone, replaced by variants that possess the same DNA but slightly different personalities, behaviors, demeanors, and histories.

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<p>Somebody found Ashlee Simpson!</p>
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Somebody found Ashlee Simpson!

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model: All-Stars' - 'Ashlee Simpson'

The models get makeovers and somebody unearthed Ashlee Simpson

Now that what’s-her-name has been sent home (goodbye, young lady, we literally hardly knew ye), it’s time for Angelea to celebrate. Her soul feeds on the misery of other skinny girls, and that’s according to real live scientists. Martin Lindstrom, a “brand strategist,” and his client, Tyra, arrive at the house to tell the girls how to sell themselves. (To the modeling industry, silly!)

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