<p>Xander Berkeley of &quot;Nikita&quot;</p>
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Xander Berkeley of "Nikita"

Credit: The CW

Catching up with 'Nikita' Season 2 for 'London Calling'

How are Michael, Nikita, Alex and Percy doing this fall on The CW?
Although Friday is generally considered to be the place cult favorite TV shows go to die, the shift to Friday night may be the nicest thing The CW ever did to "Nikita."
 
"Nikita" hasn't *wildly* succeeded on Fridays, but it has delivered a reliable and steady number for The CW despite no lead-in and only a tiny available audience. No longer dealing with the pressure that comes from jettisoning a third (or more) of its "Vampire Diaries" lead-in, "Nikita" has combined with "Supernatural" to do the yeomen's work of keeping the lights on for The CW on Friday nights, generally getting a big DVR boost to boot.
 
On a purely selfish level, the shift to Fridays puts "Nikita" in a place where I can afford the DVR space to record every episode. Last season, my viewership was a catch-as-catch-can hodgepodge of screeners, repeats and fan convention sneaks that ultimately added up to my seeing maybe three-quarters of the episodes. This season? I've watched every episode, though it sometimes takes a week or two (or more) to get to them.
 
Normally on Friday nights, I'm finishing up my "Survivor" exit interviews and "Nikita" gets pushed way to the backburner, but due to Wednesday's lack of "Survivor" elimination, I thought this would be a good week to check in on "Nikita" in blog form, if only so that the Mikita cultists can get outraged at me for daring to suggest that Shane West's Michael is a growling bore.
 
[Ducking...]
 
I'm kidding.
 
[Ducking again...]
 
"Survivor" picked a good week not to give me a castoff to interview, since "London Calling" was a fairly meaty episode of "Nikita," culminating in the sort of emotional cliffhanger that's sure to be causing palpitations aplenty within the Mikita community.
 
[STOP THROWING THINGS AT ME... Shane West's perpetually furrowed brow is awesome! I swear!]
 
A few thoughts on Friday's episode, but mostly thoughts on the shape of the season as a whole, after the break... [Yes, that means spoilers if you haven't seen Friday's episode...]
 
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<p>Mickey Rourke of &quot;Immortals&quot;</p>
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Mickey Rourke of "Immortals"

Credit: Relativity

Movie Review: Tarsem Singh's 'Immortals'

HitFix
C+
Readers
C-
Tarsem Singh's vision and Henry Cavill's star power fight a hollow story
Tarsem Singh's "Immortals," which hits theaters on Friday, has as much to do with Greek mythology as Adam Sandler's "Jack & Jill" has to do with the unraveling of the structure of DNA.
 
Yes, the main character's name is Theseus. Yes, there are characters named Phaedra and Zeus and Athena, just like you might see if you pulled your tattered Edith Hamilton down from the shelf. But it isn't *that* Theseus. It isn't *that* Phaedra. And it's barely that Zeus or that Athena. The effect is similar to watching a slacker comedy about a pair of video store clerks whose names happen to be "James Bond" and "Dr. No." 
 
"Immortals" is also set in the perplexingly contemporary and specific 1228 B.C. but it has no connection to any factual history either. 
 
Scripted by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, "Immortals" in an amorphous blob a familiar pseudo-mythological and pseudo-historical elements possibly culled from a half-reading of Joseph Campbell and grafted together with a half-baked philosophy derived from what I'm fairly sure is a misreading of the Socrates quote that starts and ends the movie.
 
"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine," Socrates said, but when we're talking about mythological and narrative immortality, it seems to me like what the writers have done to the established story of Theseus and the Gods is basically the opposite of what we're supposed to believe about the durability and resiliency of legend. It's like saying, "Yes, this is how you become a legend. And then 3000-ish years later somebody will come along and ignore all of that stuff."
 
There's a point I'm trying to make here and I may not be making it well, so I'll just bottom line it: With its pretenses towards literary and cultural tradition, "Immortals" gives you a lot to think about, but it's probably better that you don't. This is not a smart movie, a thoughtful movie, nor a movie that gives you any reason to invest in character or plot.
 
What "Immortals" is, though, is a work of frequently breathtaking beauty. The trailers have been cut together to emphasize the involvement of some of the producers from "300" and to make viewers think that what they're getting is another tale of speed-ramping Spartans and CGI excess. But whereas "300" director Zack Snyder is, at best, an extremely gifted mimic -- I'm not going to be forgiving "Sucker Punch" any time soon -- Tarsem Singh is that rarest of cinematic creatures: He's a true visionary, though I'd restrict that mantle to calling him a visionary stylist, rather than a visionary storyteller. 
 
Because "Immortals" looks and feels like a Tarsem Singh film, rather than a "300" manque, it ends up far outstripping the merits of its script. I don't think "Immortals" ends up being a good movie, but like all of Singh's films, it's going to make a killer full-color, glossy coffee table book.
 
Click through for more...
 
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<p>Chris Rene performing on Wednesday night's &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Chris Rene performing on Wednesday night's "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Top 10

Who would be the season's second act sent home by America and the judges?

One of America's "X Factor" Bottom Two picks last week was a no-brainer and one was a tiny bit strange.

That means it's still too early to be entirely confident in predicting which acts America is going to shun and which performers viewers will embrace.

And that means that there could be some drama in Thursday (November 10) night's results show. 

Click through...

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<p>Whitney of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Whitney of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: South Pacific' - 'Cut Throat'

Everybody picks on Cochran and two castaways head to Redemption
Pre-credit sequence. We pick right up after Tribal Council on a mighty awkward walk back to Te Tuna, particularly for Cochran, who gets pulled aside by Ozzy. Cochran tries explaining that he just didn't want his fate determined by a stone, which Ozzy doesn't particularly buy. Ozzy seems pretty chill to me, but Saintly Brandon comes over to protect Cochran from the The Bad Man. "We're not gangsters over here, man," Ozzy tells Brandon, before turning to Cochran and reminding him that "I put my ass on the line for you, directly and personally." This isn't exactly true, but Ozzy's pretending to believe it's true. "You just stabbed me in the back so hard," Ozzy concludes, calling Cochran a "wiener." Jim much more blunt, telling Cochran that he is "A poor excuse for a man," advising him to never talk to him again. Whitney's also displeased, telling Cochran and she and Keith saved him three times. "You've got a lot to learn, buddy. You disgust me," Whitney says. Ouch. Cochran's new alliance welcomes him around the fire, but he's unsure of his position. And then we let Jimbo and Whitney swear a bit more about how much they hate Cochran. This is gonna be an obnoxious episode, isn't it?
 
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<p>Burrito Josh of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Burrito Josh of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - Top 11 Movies Night Live-Blog

The Guys, Girls, Groups and Over-30s sing songs from the movies

It's Movie Night on "The X Factor."

And no, that doesn't mean that the winner gets a free screening of "Jack & Jill."

Click through for a full recap of Wednesday's Top 11 performances...

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<p>&nbsp;Justin and Jennifer of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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 Justin and Jennifer of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Justin & Jennifer talk 'The Amazing Race'

Marathons, U-Turns, Roadblock clues and a warm-and-fuzzy 'Race' season
Fate on "The Amazing Race" is always a fickle thing. Just ask Justin and Jennifer Young.
 
One week after reaching the Pit Stop in first in one part of Malawi (they were penalized for not paying a driver and ended up in second), the bickering siblings were the last team to get to host Phil Keoghan in a different part of Malawi and were sent packing (not every week can be a Non-Elimination Leg).
 
Make that "formerly bickering siblings." 
 
Justin and Jennifer spent the first couple "Amazing Race" episodes constantly mid-argument (with Jennifer as the regular instigator), but then they started getting along and making geeky pop culture references and having fun. That made it all the more disappointing when a forgotten Roadblock clue left Jennifer standing around an African village waiting for further instruction as one team after another passed them by. 
 
Click through for Justin & Jennifer's full "Amazing Race" exit interview...
 
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<p>Laura Dern and Mike White of &quot;Enlightened&quot;</p>
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Laura Dern and Mike White of "Enlightened"

Credit: HBO

HitFix Interview: Mike White talks 'Enlightened' and more

'Freaks & Geeks,' 'Pasadena,' 'The Amazing Race' and the state of network TV also come up
There's a lot of Mike White that goes into HBO's "Enlightened."
 
The "School of Rock" and "Chuck & Buck" scribe co-created "Enlightened" with series star Laura Dern and he wrote all 10 first season episodes. White has also been a regular director on the series and he plays Tyler, one of the variably desperate Data Processing denizens who find themselves working with Dern's Amy Jellicoe following her breakdown and subsequent in-progress recovery. 
 
"Enlightened" hasn't been a hit for HBO, but it has attracted a passionate pocket of fans and critical supporters, though even its devotees have a wildly varied reactions to an ostensible comedy that seems to strike every viewer in a different way.
 
In a wide-ranging interview, White talks about making viewers uncomfortable, his working relationship with HBO, past TV projects like "Freaks & Geeks" and "Pasadena" and the two-time "Amazing Race" veteran also talks about why Non-Elimination Legs are better at the beginning of the Race than at the end. [Like I said, it's far-reaching.]
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Andy and Tommy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Andy and Tommy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Move Goat'

A Speed Bump, a Double U-Turn and a race for first
The producers of "The Amazing Race" definitely can't sue Zac & Laurence for being stupid, but they can certainly resent the Father/Son Adventurers for possibly screwing up the intended structure of the show's latest leg. 
 
Oh well. It wasn't a big deal. I don't think that Laurence & Zac's dumbness had any impact at all on the results of the leg, but they definitely contributed to an anti-climactic conclusion to what was otherwise a decent episode of television.
 
Click through for the breakdown...
 
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<p>Common of &quot;Hell on Wheels&quot;</p>
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Common of "Hell on Wheels"

Credit: AMC

TV Review: AMC's 'Hell on Wheels'

HitFix
C+
Readers
C+
New Western is the least successful of AMC's new drama originals
Look, nobody's going to question that Emily Thorne has cause to seek vengeance on ABC's "Revenge." Her father was pretty royally screwed over by what seems to have been a cabal of 40 or 50 members of the Hamptons' elite.
 
What I do question, however, is Emily's urgency. Yeah, for a week or two she was doing a pretty good job of giving her enemies indigestion, spoiling their marriages or bankrupting their hedge funds. But the for the past few weeks, Emily has barely been revenging at all. I can't blame her for deciding that prancing around the beach in a bikini, going to upper crust galas and getting mixed up in a love triangle are a good deal more fun than  revenging. 
 
This goes and proves my long-held theory that the best revenge is carried out in unpleasant places where distractions are minimal. Drop Emily Thorne in the Hamptons and it's gonna take her months to complete all of her required revenging. Drop her in Mississippi and she'd have slaughtered the entire conspiracy from A-to-Z before noon and then just moved on with her life as a sexy young billionaire. 
 
Perhaps that's why I'm feeling comfortable with Cullen Bohannon's ability to carry out his revenge with relative expediency.
 
Played by Anson Mount, Cullen is the hero of AMC's new drama "Hell on Wheels," a Wikipedia-infused "'Revenge' on Rails" masquerading as a history lesson on the construction of the Union Pacific. Cullen isn't belabored by blue collar crushes or finding the perfect bandage skirt to match his skin tone. He isn't wasting time decorating his green screen adjacent home or monitoring his stock portfolio. Heck, all indications are that Cullen isn't even getting distracted by necessities like bathing. In the traveling cesspool of sin and commerce known as Hell on Wheels, Cullen's monomaniacal. 
 
But clarity of purpose doesn't necessarily make for a great show and "Hell on Wheels" makes the mistake of premiering with a truly weak pilot episode at exactly the time some critics and many viewers are eager to take AMC to task for perceived hubris and artistic abandonment. Although there are signs of improvement in subsequent episodes, that pilot is going to be really difficult for even patient audiences to sit through. And even from there, I can't exactly tell you that "Hell on Wheels" gets good, just that it gets better.
 
More after the break...
 
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<p>&quot;Hell on Wheels&quot;</p>
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"Hell on Wheels"

Credit: AMC

HitFix Interview: 'Hell on Wheels' creators Joe and Tony Gayton discuss their AMC Western

'Deadwood' comparisons, history-bending, Native Americans and more...
"Hell on Wheels" creators Joe and Tony Gayton are tired of having to compare their new AMC Western to HBO's late, lamented "Deadwood," or at least tired of having to differentiate it. 
 
It's an association that I'll confess that Sepinwall and I made in our podcast last week and an association that's popped up in more than a few reviews I've read. 
 
In a wide-ranging interview, the Gaytons address the "Deadwood" issue, but they also go into depth on how they view their post-Civil War drama, touching on how the new series deals with historical accuracy, treatment of Native American characters and why they chose to tell the tale of the Union Pacific rather than the Central Pacific. It's more an interview about what "Hell on Wheels" is than what it isn't.
 
Premiering on Sunday (November 6) night, "Hell on Wheels" features Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon a Confederate veteran who finds himself working on the Union Pacific while looking to avenge his wife. In that quest, he meets original characters like the recently emancipated Elam (Common) and real figures like Thomas "Doc" Durant (Colm Meaney).
 
This interview contains some minor spoilers, but it may also answer some of the questions you're asking yourself after watching the "Hell on Wheels" pilot.
 
So either check out the full transcript now, or feel free to drop back in on Sunday night...
 
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