Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
A lot has happened since last we saw Don and Peggy, but it's still one of TV's best dramas
Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser, Jon Hamm, Robert Morse and Elisabeth Moss are all back in some form, at some time, for the new season of "Mad Men."
When AMC sent TV critics a review copy of the two-hour "Mad Men"
fifth season premiere (Sunday at 9 p.m.), they attached a note from series creator Matthew Weiner
, who is both more paranoid about spoilers, and has a broader definition of what constitutes a spoiler, than any showrunner I've ever encountered. So it wasn't a surprise that the letter included a list of details from the premiere that Weiner asked us to not reveal, like "What year is it?" and "What happened with Don and Megan?" and "Did Joan have the baby?" The list is thorough enough that I think the only premiere details I imagine Weiner would be entirely comfortable with me revealing are that Roger Sterling says several funny things, Pete Campbell pouts over a perceived slight, and Harry Crane acts obnoxious — and only because those things happen in every
episode of "Mad Men."
What did everybody think of NBC's new romantic comedy?
David Walton, Amanda Peet and Margo Harshman in "Bent."
I posted my review of NBC's "Bent" yesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody who watched think? Did you stay for both episodes? Did you like the chemistry between David Walton and Amanda Peet? Did you enjoy the crew? (I, personally, would listen to J.B. Smoove say "smitten" for quite a while.) Were you distracted to see Landry in scenes with a very different guy named Riggins? And does the weird scheduling — and what it suggests about NBC's faith in the show — make you more or less likely to watch future episodes?
Have at it. I enjoyed the show enough that I'll have posts (length TBD) the next two weeks for the remaining episodes.
Things that worked in the January pilot go horribly awry in the first regular episode
David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in "Touch."
When FOX aired the pilot of "Touch"
back in January — months ahead of the official season premiere tomorrow night at 9 — I wrote that
the episode succeeded at making a lot of tricky ideas work together, but that I feared future episodes might not work as well. The concept — a mute, insular boy has the ability to see patterns in the chaos of everyday life that his father can use to help strangers — seemed too elaborate a Rube Goldberg device to run smoothly every week, particularly since the man at the controls was Tim Kring, who got off to a good start on "Heroes" before losing his grip quickly. The "Touch" pilot worked even as there were all kinds of danger signs about why it shouldn't have, and I worried that it would be hard to get the pieces to align perfectly in future installments.
I've now seen both the episode premiering tomorrow and the one airing next week. Tomorrow's episode confirms all of my fears about the show — if anything, it's even worse than I thought things could get — while next week's maybe rises to mediocrity, and without any of the emotional impact that made me forgive a whole lot of contrivances in the pilot.
Cooper and Tang have a parting of the ways, while Lydia and Ben each make big decisions
Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) and Tang (Lucy Liu) in a shoot-out in the "Southland" season finale.
A review of the "Southland" fourth season finale coming up just as soon as I sing a little Nicki Minaj for you...
Actress to succeed Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill when the Ponds leave the TARDIS
New "Doctor Who" companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.
"Doctor Who" fans already knew that this season — the show's 50th anniversary season — would be the last one to feature Karen Gillan as the Doctor's trusted companion Amy Pond (and also Arthur Darvill as Amy's husband Rory). And now we know who will be tasked with replacing her: 25-year-old actress Jenna-Louise Coleman, who's previously been on UK shows like "Emmerdale."
The Magus crew finds new reason to stay on the Boiuna for adventures we may never see
Bruce Greenwood in "The River."
A quick review of "The River" season — and quite probably series — finale coming up just as soon as I get back to my sandwich...
The show presents its funniest episode yet thanks to... Dermot Mulroney?
Dermot Mulroney and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."
A review of tonight's "New Girl" — perhaps the best episode the show has done to date — coming up just as soon as I blame my period...
Quarles starts to lose control in one of the show's best hours ever
On "Justified," Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) have a chat.
A review of tonight's tremendous "Justified" coming up just as soon as I go Derek Jeter to Sammy Sosa...
Grayson gets a surprise, Ellie goes surfing and Travis stomps the yard
Briga Heelan and Josh Hopkins on "Cougar Town."
A review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I consider myself black-adjacent...
With 'Dangerously Delicious,' he's following the Louis C.K. model
Aziz Ansari from "Parks and Recreation" has just released a new stand-up comedy special on his website.
Back in December, when Louis C.K. self-released his stand-up special "Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater," I wondered which entertainer might be equipped to follow in his footsteps, cut out the middle man and take their product directly to the public.
Well, the next one to try is a familiar face around these parts: Aziz Ansari, aka Tom Haverford on "Parks and Recreation," who's self-releasing his new stand-up special "Dangerously Delicious" via his website, AzizAnsari.com, under much the same model C.K. used with "Live at the Beacon." He paid to have it produced, is charging $5 for it, etc.