<p>Unreal</p>

Unreal

Credit: Lifetime

Lifetime renews the shockingly great 'UnREAL'

When it debuted earlier this summer, "UnREAL" was already a pleasant surprise, by virtue of being a compelling and nuanced drama airing on Lifetime, a channel that's had quality scripted shows before ("Any Day Now"), but not in a long time. In the weeks since, whatever surprise came from finding a show this good on this network has been replaced by the sheer pleasure the series — half-satire of "The Bachelor," half dark drama about the morally-compromised individuals who work at such a place — has offered. It's knotty and absorbing in the way we've come to expect from the better cable dramas of this era, and has two knockout performances at the center from Shiri Appleby (as a producer who hates how good she is at manipulating the contestants, even as she keeps on doing it) and Constance Zimmer (as Appleby's frightening but human boss).

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<p>Halt and Catch Fire</p>

Halt and Catch Fire

Credit: AMC

Reviewing the best 'Halt and Catch Fire' episode yet

Donna explodes, Gordon visits home, and Joe sees the future

Thoughts on last night's terrific "Halt and Catch Fire" coming up just as soon as I try to steal HBO to watch "Cat People"...

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<p>True Detective</p>

True Detective

Credit: HBO

Review: 'True Detective' - 'Maybe Tomorrow': Death becomes him

Is it time for Nic Pizzolatto to embrace his inner weirdness?

A review of tonight's "True Detective" coming up just as soon as I'm running a yogurt stand...

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<p>Strike Back</p>

Strike Back

Credit: Cinemax

Exclusive: 'Strike Back' heroes won't go quietly in final season trailer & poster

In this new Golden Age of TV drama, viewers don't lack for the most erudite, artful, philosophical dramas they can possibly find. But sometimes, we just want to watch stuff blow up real good, and in a way that doesn't insult our intelligences. That is where Cinemax's "Strike Back" has come in for the last few years, and the way the show will be going out when its final season debuts here on July 31. (The first few episodes have already aired in the UK.) It's an action show that's always been smarter, funnier and plain better than it needs to be, with great chemistry between leads Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton (both of whom will be headlining NBC dramas this fall), action sequences that put the best of network TV (including "Arrow") to shame and a winning mix of fun and genuine stakes.

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<p>Norma on Orange Is the New Black</p>

Norma on Orange Is the New Black

Credit: Netflix

Review: 'Orange Is the New Black' - 'Tongue-Tied/Fear, and Other Smells'

A new backstory for Norma, and a rehash for Alex

Continuing our weekly look at "Orange Is the New Black" season 3, two episodes at a time, I have a review of episodes 7 & 8 coming up just as soon as this blog is not a kinky sex fantasy set in space...

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Ask Alan, Episode 11: Which TV star is poised for a Chris Pratt-like movie breakout?

Ask Alan, Episode 11: Which TV star is poised for a Chris Pratt-like movie breakout?

What shows have the greatest gap between their best and worst episodes? How to rank 'Mad Men' seasons?

Happy Independence Day weekend, everybody! To celebrate (and also because it's been two weeks since the last one), it's time for another installment of Ask Alan, where I take your questions about this thing we call TV. 

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<p>Hannibal</p>

Hannibal

Credit: NBC

Is it time to start worrying about 'Hannibal' season 3?

Will and Chiyoh travel by train, Mason issues a reward,and Jack arrives in Florence

A review of tonight's "Hannibal" coming up just as soon as I'm charming the way a cat is charming...

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<p>Wet Hot American Summer</p>

Wet Hot American Summer

Credit: Netflix

The new 'Wet Hot American Summer' trailer is here, and be glad

Few shows debuting this summer have me more excited than Netflix's "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp," a prequel to David Wain and Michael Showalter's ridiculous 2001 tribute to the summer camp movies of their youth. It could ultimately turn out like another Netflix sequel to a beloved cult comedy in "Arrested Development" season 4, but the new trailer at least suggests we'll be getting much more interaction among the many famous returning castmembers, including Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo and Christopher Meloni. It's also amusing to see how the billing has changed, since back in the day, Banks and Cooper were unknowns (and Banks is barely in the original film), and now they're among the most prominent people featured in the trailer:

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<p>The Sopranos</p>

The Sopranos

Credit: HBO

'The Sopranos' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 5: 'College'

In one of TV's greatest episodes ever, Tony gets a chance for revenge, while Carmela spends a night with Father Phil

Welcome to the fifth installment of our summer trip through "The Sopranos" season 1. When I revisited early seasons of "The Wire," as well as the whole run of "Deadwood," I did separate versions of each review for newcomers and veterans, but over time realized that the newcomers weren't commenting much, if at all, and that it therefore made sense to simply do one review. Any significant spoilers for episodes beyond the one being reviewed will be contained in a separate section at the end of the review; so long as you avoid that, and the comments, you should be fine.

Thoughts on the fifth episode, "College," coming up just as soon as I find $50,000 in krugerrands and a .45 automatic while hunting for Easter eggs...

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<p>BoJack Horseman</p>

BoJack Horseman

Credit: Netflix

'BoJack Horseman' season 2 trailer achieves new excellence in blurbing

Netflix's "BoJack Horseman" was a show that snuck up on me last summer, eventually winding up as one of my favorite new shows of 2014. I'm excited to see if season 2 (which debuts July 17) can maintain the same surprising blend of absurdist comedy and genuine pathos that you get when your main character is a clinically depressed human/horse hybrid. The season 2 trailer is mainly a collection of gags, but its critical blurbs — particularly the one from The New York Times — do capture the specialness of the show in a very candid way.

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