<p>Ricky Gervais and David Bowie</p>

Ricky Gervais and David Bowie

Credit: HBO

Why movies and TV could never resist a David Bowie song on the soundtrack

If you couldn't find a Bowie song to make a scene better, you weren't trying

On a cross-country flight yesterday evening, I watched "Sleeping with Other People," a really sharp romantic comedy starring Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis. In one scene, Brie, high on Molly while attending a birthday party, leads a group of kids in a dance to David Bowie's "Modern Love." Across the aisle at the time, another of the passengers was watching "The Martian," and had just gotten up to the montage scored to Bowie's "Starman." I took note of the coincidence, but only long enough to note that Bowie's music had appeared on a whole lot of movie and TV soundtracks over the decades, as you might expect from an artist with a career as long, brilliant, and varied as Bowie's.

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<p>The Muppets</p>

The Muppets

Credit: ABC

How the new 'Muppets' showrunner plans to save Kermit, Miss Piggy, and friends

ABC backs off its original 'not your grandmother's Muppets' approach

Last spring, ABC boss Paul Lee boasted of one of his new comedies, "This is not your grandmother's 'Muppets.'" At press tour this weekend, Lee admitted "The Muppets" needed some creative tweaking, because, "We didn’t quite feel it had the joy, the laughter, and the heart we were looking for."

In other words, they now want something very much like your grandmother's "Muppets," which is as it should be.

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<p>Preacher</p>

Preacher

Credit: Vertigo

Seth Rogen's 'Preacher' will be different from the comics, and that's okay

Seth Rogen and company have no choice but to make changes to the Vertigo classic

Thursday night, AMC screened the first episode of "Preacher," based on the iconic '90s Vertigo comic — a thrilling, disgusting mash-up of action, horror, spirituality, and the films of John Ford — which will debut in late spring. Reviews are embargoed til closer to the premiere, but I can say the following things:

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<p>Deadwood</p>

Deadwood

Credit: HBO

The 'Deadwood' movies are finally happening (maybe)

Can David Milch and HBO make it work after all these years?

The "Deadwood" movie is finally happening!

Unless it doesn't.

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<p>Game of Thrones</p>

Game of Thrones

Credit: HBO

Winter is coming (in spring): 'Game of Thrones' gets season 6 premiere date

George R.R. Martin's latest book has been delayed indefinitely, but the new season of "Game of Thrones" now has a premiere date.

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<p>NYPD Blue</p>

NYPD Blue

Credit: ABC

Ask Alan: The TV shows that made me cry

What order should you watch the two 'Fargo' seasons? What shows went from half hour to an hour?

Happy Thursday, and happy New Year, everybody. Our first Ask Alan of 2016 comes a day earlier than usual because I'm otherwise busy heading to LA for the winter TCA press tour. (For those who don't know what that's about, here's my press tour explainer.)

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<p>American Crime</p>

American Crime

Credit: ABC
B

Hey 'American Crime,' why so serious?

John Ridley's ABC drama remains thoughtful and pretty to look at, but ultra-grim

When "American Crime" debuted a year ago, I was as impressed by creator John Ridley's ambition in what he was trying to accomplish with the anthology miniseries' first season as I was skeptical about his ability to execute certain aspects of his vision. Still, there was enough there to admire — committed performances (by Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Regina King, W. Earl Brown, and more), gorgeous direction and cinematography, a willingness to incorporate difficult social issues into a network drama — that I expected to see it through to the end.

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<p>Brooklyn Nine-Nine</p>

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Credit: FOX

Review: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - 'Hostage Situation': Every sperm is sacred

Kathryn Hahn guest stars as Boyle's awful ex-wife

A quick review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as I lie about free strudel...

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<p>New Girl</p>

New Girl

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' kicks off a new season, Bollywood-style, with 'Big Mama P'

The first of a handful of episodes filmed before Zooey Deschanel's maternity leave

A few thoughts on the "New Girl" premiere coming up just as soon as I have 99 problems, but, unlike Jay-Z, zero caveats...

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<p>Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue</p>

Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue

Credit: NBC
B-

Review: Jennifer Lopez's 'Shades of Blue' has shades of much better cable dramas

J-Lo stars in a watered-down version of 'The Shield'

Broadcast network dramas have it tough these days. It's not just that current cable and streaming shows can tell stories in bolder, more complicated, and more specific ways than all but a handful of network dramas are allowed to even shoot for, but that the best dramas ever made are now readily-available on one streaming service or another. Who's going to watch a watered-down network version of "The Shield," for instance, if the genuine article is only a Hulu click away?

Yet NBC's trying exactly that with "Shades of Blue," which was ordered what feels like a decade ago (technically, it was early 2014), but held until now due to the busy schedule of star and producer Jennifer Lopez.

J-Lo plays Harlee Santos, veteran Brooklyn cop who, along with her boss Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) and the rest of their crew (including "Sopranos" alum Drea de Matteo), supplements her NYPD salary with kickbacks, protection money, and other small-to-middling crimes. All's going well until an FBI agent (Warren Cole) arrests her for soliciting a bribe and pressures her into becoming a mole gathering evidence against Wozniak and the other detectives.

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