<p>Nick Nolte in HBO's &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

Nick Nolte in HBO's "Luck."

Credit: HBO

Review: Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte head to the track in HBO's 'Luck'

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David Milch/Michael Mann drama brings the world of horseracing to life
One of the great things about art, if you're good at what you do — and few in TV history have been better at it than David Milch and Michael Mann, the chief writer and director, respectively, behind HBO's horseracing drama "Luck" — is that you can use your art to take something you care deeply about and make other people care deeply too, even if they never expected to.
 
I have no sentimental attachment to horseracing and could only vaguely follow many of the show's early storylines about Pick Six line-ups and claiming races. Yet I became caught up in the world of the track, and the passions of the people who gravitate towards it, thanks to the artistry of Milch ("Deadwood," "NYPD Blue"), Mann ("Miami Vice," "Crime Story") and their many gifted collaborators, including a cast headed by Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.
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<p>Ben (Benjamin McKenzie)&nbsp;and Sammy (Shawn Hatosy)&nbsp;enjoy some down time on &quot;Southland.&quot;</p>

Ben (Benjamin McKenzie) and Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) enjoy some down time on "Southland."

Credit: TNT

'Southland' - 'Underwater': The naked and the wet

Sherman has a bad day, Adams takes a dive and the precinct gets a new captain

A quick review of last night's "Southland" coming up just as soon as I shoot an old lady with a bean bag... 

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<p>Zachary Levi went toe-to-toe with Superman himself, Brandon Routh, in &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;season 3.</p>

Zachary Levi went toe-to-toe with Superman himself, Brandon Routh, in "Chuck" season 3.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 3

Chuck gets a nemesis, Sarah and Chuck get other love interests, and the series gets two different finales
"Chuck" comes to the end of its run on Friday night at 8 on NBC, and we're continuing our five-part retrospective interview with creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz by discussing the unlikely Subway sandwich fan campaign (the brainchild of Wendy Farrington) that helped the show get a renewal for the third season, and then the various ups and downs of season three itself.
 
(And it occurs to me in looking over this transcript that, while Fedak and Schwartz talked in an earlier part about how Chuck might have gotten the Chuck-fu powers at the end of season 1, I never specifically asked them about that decision and the ways it changed the show in the third season. Fortunately, Fedak and I talked about that at length after the season 2 finale, and that interview is still up on the old blog.) 
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<p>Neal McDonough on &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Neal McDonough on "Justified."

Credit: FX

Interview: 'Justified' showrunner Graham Yost on villains, arcs and life without Mags

'It takes two big men to fill Margo's shoes,' he says
On the last day of press tour, I sat down with "Justified" showrunner Graham Yost to talk about the show's third season. Given that the season was going to premiere two days later, I knew I wasn't going to have the time to transcribe the interview then, so I geared it to go after tonight's episode (you can read my review of that here), which introduced Mykelti Williamson as the second of our two major new villains, Ellstin Limehouse, and guest-starred Carla Gugino as a U.S. Marshal who very closely resembled the one Gugino played on "Karen Sisco."
 
Yost and I talked about villains new and old — including the gaping hole that Margo Martindale left as Mags — about the show's evolution to be serialized even in episodes that might once upon a time have been standalone, and about Elmore Leonard's new book "Raylan," which is partly Leonard's adaptation of "Justified" season 2, and partly contains stories that Yost in turn adapted for season 3.
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<p>Timothy Olyphant and Carla Gugino in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Timothy Olyphant and Carla Gugino in "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'Cut Ties': Karen Sisco, I presume?

Carla Gugino and Mykelti Williamson stop by a packed episode

"Justified" just aired its second episode of the season. I interviewed Graham Yost about where we are at this point with our heroes and villains, and I have a review of this episode coming up just as soon as I need a spot...

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<p>David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in &quot;Touch.&quot;</p>

David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in "Touch."

Credit: FOX

Review: Kiefer Sutherland and son look for patterns in FOX's 'Touch'

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Drama gets off to good start, but can 'Heroes' creator Tim Kring make it work long-term?

In the new FOX drama "Touch," Kiefer Sutherland plays a single dad whose son Jake — diagnosed for much of his life as severely autistic — is revealed to have a special, near-superhuman ability to identify and manipulate the patterns in the universe that appear to most of us to be a series of isolated, random events.

And if I were to look at the premiere episode of "Touch" the way everyone other than Jake views the world — and the way that FOX is treating it, by airing it after "American Idol" tomorrow night at 9, separated by almost two months from when the rest of the series will air on Mondays at 9 starting March 19 — then it's an interesting, emotionally manipulative but still effective hour of television.
 
But my job asks me to look at TV shows the way Jake looks at everything. There are almost always patterns and connections to spot, whether how some piece of a pilot episode may be tough to duplicate week after week, or how one writer may repeat the same tricks over and over from show to show.
 
And in that case, knowing what I know about "Touch" creator Tim Kring — and seeing the many commonalities between this show and his work on NBC's "Heroes" — makes me much less optimistic about the new series' future than I might be if I couldn't recognize the order lurking within the chaos.
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<p>Morgan introduces the most famous Jeffster!&nbsp;performance of all time in the &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;season 2 finale.</p>

Morgan introduces the most famous Jeffster! performance of all time in the "Chuck" season 2 finale.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 2

With money, time and inspiration, the series delivers its strongest season
The "Chuck" series finale — for real this time — airs Friday night at 8 on NBC, and we're spending this week preparing for the end with a 5-part interview I did with the show's creators, Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz. Yesterday, we talked about the show's origins and the truncated first season. Today, it's time to discuss what everyone considers to be the show's creative peak: season two, when they had a full-season order practically from the start (though even that caused problems), when they had their full budget and full cast, and when they started to hit the jackpot with guest stars.
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<p>William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

'Shameless' - 'I'll Light A Candle For You Every Day': Finders keepers?

Did Frank and Fiona both go too far last night?

A quick review of last night's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I misspell my name on a loan application...

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<p>Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 1

Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz talk about the show's origins and that truncated first season
"Chuck" ends its improbable 5-season run with back-to-back episodes this Friday at 8 & 9 p.m. on NBC. This will be, by my count, at least the sixth different time that creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have had to conclude the series, but where all the previous finales were followed by unexpected renewals or extensions, this one's the absolute, no doubt about it finish.
 
When I was in California earlier this month for press tour, I went over to the Warner Bros. lot to interview Fedak and Schwartz (and then just Fedak after a certain point, since Schwartz has responsibilities to a bunch of shows at the moment) and look back over the life of one of my favorite series. It's a very long interview — the transcript is about 16,000 words — so I'm breaking it up into five parts, roughly covering one season each day. (Though as you'll see, we bounce back and forth in time a lot.) Today, we're covering the show's origins through the abrupt end of the first season when the writers strike shut down production.
 
So buckle up, and let's head back to those very early days when Schwartz was still running "The O.C.," Yvonne Strahovski's last name was still spelled Strzechowski, and the fan community believed Adam Baldwin would always be the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne. (Some still believe this, by the way, and that's okay.)
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<p>Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)&nbsp;gets loose on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) gets loose on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Bullet Train': Eternal sunshine of the Sarah mind

Sarah suffers Intersect side effects, while Jeffster have to show their heroic sides

A review of tonight's "Chuck" — the last episode before next week's two-hour finale — coming up just as soon as I think better when I'm blowing up avocados...

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