Inside TV and Pop Culture with Liane Bonin Starr
It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
COMPETITION REALITY SHOWS
Rob James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville and Joanne Froggatt hint at what's next
In the United States, fans of "Downton Abbey" must comfort themselves with, say, proper afternoon tea and the knowledge that season three of the show will begin airing Jan. 6. The bad news? Lucky Brits are already well into the season, and spoilers are already trickling onto the web to taunt us. But on Friday, "Downton" stars Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Smith) and Leslie Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) were joined by the show's executive producer Gareth Neame and "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton for a excerpt screening and Q&A for fans and journalists in Los Angeles. As restrained as the show can sometimes be, the stars were as modern -- and often funny -- as their characters are not.
The Oscar winner admits this season is 'darker than anyone anticipated'
Jessica Lange in "American Horror Story"
As the tortured (and sometimes torturous) Sister Jude on "American Horror Story," Jessica Lange has had to grapple with a Nazi, a serial killer and the devil herself this season. But as tough as it's been, it looks like things are only going to get worse -- and not better. Lange talked to journalists in a conference call about what's up for her character, whether or not she'll be back for season three, and why she never knows what's next for her character -- and that's just fine.
The show about a family who makes duck calls scores big with a season finale
" was a ratings juggernaut Wednesday night, when the show's one-hour season finale became the network’s most-watched telecast of all time among all key demos, including total viewers, adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. Whoever said a series about a family who makes duck calls and has some very unsexy menfolk rocking ZZ Top facial hair couldn't be a hit?
It's an eco challenge, but some designs really stink up the joint
"Project Runway All Stars"
It's the eco challenge this week, and while I find this to be an admirable effort, I don't have high expectations. Too often green is considered synonymous (at least to designers) with earthy, nutty granola looks that make me hope someone plopped some Birkenstocks on the accessories wall. There's no reason for it, except that sometimes the designers want to make it abundantly clear that their dress is GREEN, and how will you know unless it's ugly?
Delena is in full effect, but what is Professor Shane up to?
Credit: The CW
It's time for Delena! After so, so many episodes of futile yearning and goopy, lusty eyes between Damon and Elena, they're finally free to pursue their wanton desire for one another. But I get the sense this love connection is not to last. First hint? The sire bond possibility floated last week by Caroline and Stefan. The second hint would be entirely about editing. Yeah, editing.
A gross elimination challenge results in a no-win situation
Another day, another challenge awaiting our chefs, and poor Stefan is worried. It's his birthday, and during his season there was a birthday curse -- chefs seemed to go home on their birthdays or immediately thereafter. Happy birthday, losers! I want to tell Stefan he shouldn't be so negative. He makes great food! He has his own restaurant! There's no way that could happen, right? Sorry, didn't mean to laugh right then. Something in my eye. Or throat. Whatever. Really, this season the chefs seem to be performing at a particularly high level (if the judges can be believed), and maybe Stefan should prepare to pack his bags. Anything could happen, curse or no curse.
'Deadwood''s Ian McShane appears as a very bad Santa
Entertainment has a long and storied history of nasty Christmas tales. There's "Bad Santa," piles of slasher movies devoted to the season (I stopped counting at ten), and I personally think the Little Matchstick Girl is all kinds of twisted. Now "American Horror Story" is adding its two cents to this dispiriting niche, and after watching this Very Special Christmas Episode I'm about ready to lock myself inside my home until we're safely into February.
Juliette, Gunnar and Teddy all show much-needed nuance
When I saw the pilot for "Nashville" months ago, I was as excited as a teenage girl at a Taylor Swift concert. The show had impressive credentials (it had me at "Thelma & Louise" scribe Callie Khouri, to say nothing of a cast including Connie Britton and Powers Boothe), a relatively fresh setting (the world of country music) and a far-reaching scope (we don't often get a politics-music mash-up). It was more than a simple soap, but a few suds just made it all that much more appealing.
Their Zen vacation ends up in a drunken arm wrestling contest
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"
There are times when I just enjoy the hell out of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Sure, these women are silly and vapid, but gosh darn it, after a few glasses of pinot grigio they can be an awful lot of fun. Then there are times like last night, when I think I'd have no qualms about personally water boarding a few of them past the point of drowning. Not all of them. But some of them? Definitely.