Credit: Lifetime

Review: Lifetime's 'UnREAL' gets even darker, and better, in season 2

Drama set backstage at a 'Bachelor'-style dating show returns

Late in the second season premiere of the outstanding Lifetime drama UnREAL, Rachel (Shiri Appleby), a top producer on Everlasting, the Bachelor-esque show-within-the-show, bullies naive young subordinate Madison (Genevieve Buechner) into behaving despicably with one of the Everlasting contestants, all for the sake of a sound byte they can put into a promo. As a tearful Madison struggles with her terrible assigned task, Rachel begins playing Cyrano into her earpiece, controlling one woman in order to manipulate another.

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<p>Game of Thrones</p>

Game of Thrones

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' brings back a long-absent character, and welcomes some new ones

Who is 'The Broken Man,' and what lesson does he have to learn?

A review of tonight's Game of Thrones coming up just as soon as I wonder if you're the worst person I've ever met...

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Credit: HBO

Review: 'Veep' just did one of the all-time great TV kissing scenes

Selina brings her A-game to 'Congressional Ball'

A review of tonight's Veep coming up just as soon as I quote the late Lionel Richie...

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<p>Silicon Valley</p>

Silicon Valley

Credit: HBO

Review: What happens if everything goes right for once on 'Silicon Valley'?

Pied Piper tries 'To Build a Better Beta' in a surprisingly emotional episode

A review of tonight's Silicon Valley coming up just as soon as I pretend I share a room with Harriet Tubman...

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Credit: AMC

Review: 'Preacher' keeps piling on the crazy with 'See'

It doesn't all make sense right now, but boy is it fun to look at

A review of tonight's Preacher coming up just as soon as I'm a right-handed Sagitarius who's never seen the Pacific and thinks The Big Lebowski is overrated...

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<p>Feed the Beast</p>

Feed the Beast

Credit: AMC

Review: David Schwimmer rises above the overcooked 'Feed the Beast'

Another AMC series that feels like an Imitation Quality Drama

On AMC's new drama Feed the Beast, best friends Tommy (David Schwimmer) and Dion (Jim Sturgess) try opening a fancy restaurant in the Bronx so that Tommy can get over the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident, while Dion can pay off a massive debt he owes to a local mob boss. Along the way, they acquire an inexperienced restaurant manager, Pilar (Lorenza Izzo), who takes the job because she has a crush on Tommy, but who's really there as a device for the show to let Tommy and Dion explain the finer points of the business to the audience. At one point, for instance, she objects to Dion spending so much money on skillets. He responds by offering her a dish made in one of his pans and the same one made in the big box store model Tommy has in his own kitchen; the former is so much better that she instantly caves. In another episode, she tries convincing Tommy — allegedly the best sommelier in New York — that they can get away serving cheap wine that resembles the expensive stuff he wants to buy. He not only demonstrates the superiority of the latter, but warns her that the kind of clientele they hope to attract will instantly know the difference.

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Credit: ABC

Ask Alan: Better unresolved plot: 'Lost' outrigger or 'Sopranos' Russian?

Whatever happened to DVD commentaries and anthology dramas?

Happy Friday, everybody! Ask Alan's been on a hiatus for about a month due to some personnel changes on our video team (plus our entire LA staff moving into a new office), but we are back, and hopefully on a weekly schedule again for the forseeable future.

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<p>ER, Seinfeld, and NYPD Blue</p>

ER, Seinfeld, and NYPD Blue

Credit: NBC/ABC

From Must-See TV to Peak TV: 20 Years of covering television

A look back at what TV used to be like when your critic came onto the beat

If you were a TV critic from 1956 to 1976, you would have witnessed some big changes in the business: the rise and fall of the Western as the dominant primetime genre, or the color TV boom, or CBS' shift from silly rural comedies to socially conscious ones like All in the Family and M*A*S*H. If you covered the beat from 1976 to 1996, you would have written about Hill Street Blues and its many imitators, the classic years of SNL, and the early days of original cable programming. Almost any 20-year span would give you a front row seat to enormous artistic and technological change.

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<p>The Americans</p>

The Americans

Credit: FX

Review: On 'The Americans,' are Paige, William, and Oleg near breaking points?

And what happened at 'A Roy Rogers in Franconia'?

A review of tonight's The Americans coming up just as soon as I show you how to hook the computer up to the TV...

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<p>Fargo, Before the Fall, and Legion</p>

Fargo, Before the Fall, and Legion

Credit: FX/Grand Central

Why FX's 'X-Men' spin-off 'Legion' won't be tied to the movies

'Legion' will be a 'fable' untethered to the movies

Yesterday was a big day for Noah Hawley. Before the Fall, his fifth book — and his first since becoming the award-winning creator and showrunner of FX's Fargo — debuted to rave reviews(*) and a spot at the top of Amazon's bestseller list. And FX chose Hawley's publication date to officially order Legion — an X-Men spin-off of sorts (in the comics, the character is Professor X's son, but the show won't be connected to the films at all) starring Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart, and Rachel Keller — to series. 

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