<p>Robert Durst of &quot;The Jinx&quot;</p>

Robert Durst of "The Jinx"

Credit: HBO

Review: HBO's 'The Jinx' is a top notch true-crime drama

HitFix
A-
Readers
n/a
Director Andrew Jarecki's second time telling Robert Durst's twisted story is the charm

Perhaps a good way into reviewing Andrew Jarecki's HBO docu-mystery "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" is through its title.

Unless there's a more direct articulation later on, the title comes from a quote in the second episode. 

New York real estate heir Robert Durst is musing on why he didn't want to have kids with his first wife Kathleen.

"Somehow I thought I might be a jinx," Durst tells Jarecki.

Durst has spent three decades linked to Kathleen's disappearance, as well as several other murders, including a colorful 2001 case in Galveston, Texas that begins "The Jinx."

A jinx, indeed.

This brings me to Serial, the podcast that's likely to be mentioned in every single review of "The Jinx."

In the final Serial episode -- Spoiler alert, but not really -- Sarah Koenig's colleague Dana Chivvis raises the specter that in order to accept the innocence of Adnan Sayid, you have to be willing to accept that Adnan has been the victim of an unimaginable string of bad luck. I'm not going to get into cell towers and The Nisha Call or any of the specifics, but Dana's point is that the best way to excuse these sticky pieces of anti-Adnan evidence is to just say that the universe was pretty much conspiring against the appearance of Adnan's innocence. 

When it comes to hypothetical innocence, the difference between being a jinx and having bad luck is at the center of the difference between Serial and "The Jinx," both tremendous pieces of ongoing true crime investigation.

Bad luck speaks to victimization. It speaks to wrong place/wrong time circumstance. It allows for pity and mercy and advocacy. Oh and Adnan Sayid has been in jail for 15 years.

Being a jinx? That's ominous. That's inviting the forces of darkness, even if you don't have the ability to steer them yourself, or at the very least acknowledging their inevitability. It may not be the active imparting of harm, but as Robert Durst presents it, it's at least the passive enabling of harm. Oh and Robert Durst is a free man.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Allegiance&quot;</p>

"Allegiance"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Solid 'Blacklist' start, but viewers don't pledge 'Allegiance'

'Big Bang Theory' leads CBS overall, while ABC wins the key demo

Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 5, 2015.

The Thursday premiere of "Blacklist" got off to an encouraging start for NBC, topping "Scandal" overall and giving NBC a big boost for the hour, but the same cannot be said of "Allegiance," which is an instant dud for the network.

NBC's new drama lineup had the effect of slightly hurting ABC -- all three dramas were down -- and probably permanently crushing "Backstrom," but it didn't change the Thursday pecking order. "The Big Bang Theory" still carried CBS to overall victory and ABC's three dramas still won in the key demographic.

Also notable on Thursday, "The Vampire Diaries" saw small week-to-week growth, but "Reign" slipped below a million viewers for the night. And while "Backstrom" was way down, "American Idol" actually rose week to week for FOX.

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

"American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - 'Hollywood Week #2' - Group Round

Hollywood Week continues with the occasionally entertaining group round

I'm not sure how often "American Idol" has done Hollywood Week, or how often Hollywood Week has reached its climax with group performances, but the reality is that group performances have almost always been anti-climatic and low-drama, but every once in a while somebody totally freaks and the drama is tremendous. 

Will Thursday (February 5) night's show feature a gripping Group Round? Or a fizzle in which one or two people forget lyrics, one or two people go to bed earlier and nobody really cares? 

Let's find out...

Read Full Post
<p>Baz Luhrmann</p>

Baz Luhrmann

Credit: Rick Rycroft/AP

Baz Luhrmann's 'The Get Down' earns a Netflix series order

Shawn Ryan is among the EPs on the '70s-set music-fueled drama

Netflix has given a 13-episode series order to "The Get Down," a new music-fueled drama from Oscar nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann.

Set against the backdrop of 1970s New York City, the Sony Pictures Television series will focus on the socio-economic conditions that led to the rise of punk, hip-hop and disco "told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world...forever."

Read Full Post
<p>James Spader of &quot;The Blacklist&quot;</p>

James Spader of "The Blacklist"

Credit: NBC

NBC renews 'Blacklist,' 'Grimm,' 'Chicago' duo - What's still On NBC's Bubble?

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' earns a 17th season as well

Just hours ahead of its move to Thursday, "The Blacklist" has been assured its performance in the new time period won't actually matter. 

The James Spader thriller was one of five dramas earning renewals from NBC on Thursday (February 5) morning.

Joining "Blacklist" on the renewal heap are "Grimm" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Last year, if you'll recall, the last jewel in Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" crown went down to the wire with negotiations, but fans of the drama won't have to sweat out that Season 17 news.

And speaking of Dick Wolf, just as news is beginning to burble about a "Chicago Medical" spinoff, both "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago PD" are going to be back for their fourth and third seasons respectively.

Read Full Post
<p>Taraji P. Henson of &quot;Empire&quot;</p>

Taraji P. Henson of "Empire"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Empire' phenomenon builds on Wednesday, ABC's 'Boat' floats OK

'American Idol' is also up week-to-week as FOX dominates

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 4, 2015.

It was another week of growing ratings for the phenomenon that is "Empire," as the FOX smash built once again and combined with a solid "American Idol" performance to help the network dominate Wednesday in all measures.

Among other things, "Empire" spent its second straight week ahead of "American Idol" in total viewers and it was Wednesday's top show in every demo my Wednesday ratings chart shows me. FOX is calling it the season's highest-rated drama airing -- Not including post-Super Bowl -- in the key demo. [Note: "Empire" only tied for first with "Modern Family" among men 25-54, so as you age up among men there's some competition. Among men 18-34, "Empire" topped "Modern Family" by 0.7.]

Wednesday's only debuting show was ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat," which aired two new episodes after "The Middle" and "Modern Family"installments, drawing consistent and more-than-respectable numbers in both slots, building off "The Middle" in many numbers.

The night also saw a small demo bump for "Arrow" and a rather large demo drop for "Stalker," which hit a series low and lost to "Chicago PD," continuing its crossover with "Chicago Fire," in all measures.

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;American&nbsp;Idol&quot; judges deliberate</p>

"American Idol" judges deliberate

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - 'Hollywood Week #1'

The auditions are over as the hopefuls face the judges in Hollywood

Sorry for the three "American Idol" recaps I missed the past two weeks. The combination of film responsibilities at the Sundance Film Festival and predictably atrocious wifi at the Sundance Film Festival had me casting aside some of my TV responsibilities. 

But I'm back and I'm all caught up after rushing through three "Idol" episodes in around 90 minutes over the weekend. There were some pretty good singers in New Orleans and San Francisco. I'd point to Maddy Hudson, Greyson Turner, Tyanna Jones, Rocky Peter and Hunter Larsen as just a few performers I'd be happy to see/hear again if the opportunity presents itself. Ditto with Carlos Santana's nephew and a few of the White Guys With Guitars who were better-than-generic, but not immediately nameable in my memory.

We're starting Hollywood Week on Wednesday (February 4), so follow along!

Read Full Post
Tig Notaro talks 'Tig,' falling in love on-screen and the joke she can't crack

Tig Notaro talks 'Tig,' falling in love on-screen and the joke she can't crack

Stephanie Allynne, Notaro's 'In a World' co-star and fiancee, joins our Sundance chat

PARK CITY. At the moment, it's good to be Tig Notaro. 

Up at Sundance for the debut of the documentary "Tig," as well as a stint as host of last weekend's Sundance Awards, Notaro is coming off a year characterized by some of the most rapturous write-ups for any stand-up comic this side of Louis C.K. 

Long beloved within the stand-up community, Notaro's success has spread into the mainstream and you'll be able to see a lot of her in 2015, including "Tig" (assuming it finds distribution) and her Showtime documentary "Knock, Knock, It's Tig Notaro."

Oh and she's also newly engaged to her "In a World" co-star Stephanie Allynne, who co-starred in the well-received Sundance comedy "People, Places, Things."

But "Tig" starts with darker times. Directed by Krista Goolsby and Ashley York, it chronicles Notaro's battle with C.diff, the death of her mother and her cancer diagnosis, a one-two-three punch that culminated in a confessional and soul-baring Largo performance that probably stands as the decade's most talked-about comedy routine. 

The documentary follows those struggles, but focuses more on Notaro's recovery, her developing relationship with Allynne and her outlook on the future. It starts bleak, but ends up inspirational and it's no wonder that Notaro was receiving standing ovations whenever she went to see "Tig" at Sundance.

As the Festival was nearing its end, I sat down with Notaro and Allynne to talk about "Tig," which parts were easy to watch and which parts were more difficult. We discussed her ideal comedy vehicles going forward, including her upcoming Showtime documentary, and how she views The Tig Notaro Brand after watching the documentary about herself. 

We also talked about the developing of jokes, a process depicted in "Tig" and Notaro shares the joke she still can't crack. But she's trying! 

Read Full Post
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'
Credit: NBC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'

Dan and Alan also discuss 'Fresh Off The Boat,' the 'Parenthood' finale and more

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

A number of people on Twitter asked if we were still doing the podcast, which I guess speaks to our consistency that a single week without Firewall & Iceberg content -- We had a video show the previous week! -- could produce a minor panic. 

Apologies! I was at Sundance and then we were delayed at the start of this week due to cold and flu symptoms on several of our parts. 

But we're back! And it's a good show. There's a lot of terrific stuff premiering this week. Between "Fresh Off The Boat," "Allegiance," "The Jinx" and "Better Call Saul," there are three high potential new shows that we're reviewing. 

And then we've got a little Super Bowl commercial coverage (not too much) and some chatter about the finale of "Parenthood." 

Busy, busy, busy.

Today's breakdown:
Super Bowl Commercials (00:02:00 - 00:11:45)
"Fresh Off The Boat" (00:11:45 - 00:24:20)
"Allegiance" (00:24:25 - 00:33:10)
"The Jinx" (00:33:10 - 00:49:15)
"Better Call Saul" (00:49:15 - 01:02:05)
"Parenthood" finale (01:02:05 - 01:32:45)

Read Full Post
<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;NCIS: New Orleans&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "NCIS: New Orleans"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'NCIS' leads CBS Tuesday as 'Flash,' 'Agent Carter' shed viewers

'Supernatural,' 'Chicago Fire' are up on Tuesday

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

New episodes of "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were Tuesday night's top shows in all measures and led CBS to victory both overall and in the key demographic. 

There were dipping numbers for a variety of Tuesday programs, including "NCIS," albeit with caveats. 

The CW's "The Flash," for example, was down a chunk overall, but there was no decline in any of the key young demos, so the network isn't worried. ABC's "Marvel's Agent Carter" was flat in the key demo and down in viewers despite an improved lead-in, while "Forever" dipped below The Mulaney Line. And airing as a solo episode (with a repeat) for the first time this season, "Parks and Recreation" was down, as NBC finished behind The CW for that hour (though oddly both "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" were up in the demo, as was "Chicago Fire").

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post