"Doctor Who" presented its annual Christmas special last night, and it finally occurred to someone in BBC corporate that if America didn't get to see it on the same day as the UK, then fans on this side of the (Amy) pond might just bootleg the thing. Hopefully, that arrangement will continue for the upcoming season, but in the meantime, I've got a relatively timely review coming up just as soon as I get accidentally engaged to marry a Monroe...
The Doctor tries to help Michael Gambon find the Christmas spirit in a touching holiday special
Is it a flaw that Jamie has survived two elimination challenges where she didn't serve a dish?
Awkward Christmas spirit and forced humor lead to the season's weakest episode
Raylan Givens returns in February
"Justified," the FX drama about a 21st century U.S. Marshal who carries himself like a 19th century gunfighter, will be ready to slap leather again when its second season debuts on Wednesday, February 9 at 10 p.m.
The series, based on a character from a number of Elmore Leonard books, stars Timothy Olyphant as Stetson-wearing, quick-drawing Raylan Givens, Walton Goggins as his sometime-adversary Boyd Crowder, Nick Searcy, Erica Tazel and Jacob Pitts as fellow Marshals and Natalie Zea and Joelle Carter as the women in Raylan's life.
Per the FX press release, in season two, after wiping out a local Kentucky crime syndicate in season one, Raylan "must now face off against the criminal organizations who are moving to fill the void, and he finds himself entangled once again with the mercurial Boyd Crowder."
I was a big fan of the show's first season, and even named it one of 2010's best new shows, and a few weeks back I posted an interview with creator Graham Yost about some of his ideas for season two.
Interesting that it winds up on Wednesdays. Tuesday at 10 is the night where FX tends to put its better-known dramas, and newbies are often consigned to Wednesdays if there's another show airing in the same period. (Because of their content, all FX series air after 10, which means the network can't pair two dramas on the same night.) The new boxing drama "Lights Out," which debuts Jan. 11, already has Tuesday sewn up for the first few months of the year, and I guess FX decided A)that "Justified" was successful enough in its first year to do just fine on Wednesdays, and B)that the idea of putting the lesser-known show on the lesser-known night didn't work out too well for "Terriers" this fall.
What did everybody think of the sitcom's sneak preview?
A quick thought or three on the sneak preview of "Perfect Couples" coming up just as soon as I sit here and rhyme things with "labia"...
A few cringe-inducing but real moments as the guys' reach exceeds their grasp
A great year for TV, both new and old, forces your humble critic to pick only 10 shows from it
It's a tradition that critics of all stripes end each calendar year with Top 10 lists. 10 is a nice round number, and a seemingly easy way to separate the best from the rest, but it's a number I've always struggled with. In all the years I've been writing about television, I almost always had to find a way to cheat the confines of 10, whether through ties (often but not always involving thematically-similar shows), more nebulous groupings (in 2001, my #2 entry was "Fact-based movies and miniseries," a particularly shameless canard that allowed me to squeeze "Band of Brothers," "Boycott," "61*" and a bunch of other strong movies and minis into a single entry), or multiple lists. In recent years, I've done separate lists for new and returning shows, and last December, when working on my Best of the '00s choices, I wound up coming up with a ridiculous 7 different lists encompassing more than 50 different shows.
The argument against my "Everybody gets a trophy" approach is that if you honor everything, than nothing seems special. My feeling has always been that there's so much good stuff on television - particularly over the last 10 or 11 years - that you can still make a clear demarcation between the truly special stuff and the rest even if you go past 10 and into 12 or 15 or even 20.
Still, the editors at HitFix wanted all of our critics to do lists of 10 and only 10 for our video lists, while leaving us free to go longer on our individual blogs, and I found the exercise really interesting. Forced to stick to 10 shows overall - particularly in a year that had featured so many great rookies, and so many veterans delivering series-best work - I had to make tough decisions. There's always a lot of apples-to-oranges comparisons going on, and I shuffled entries in and out of the back of the list a bunch of times before finally settling on my final 10, but when I did, I was happy with that 10, even as I was disappointed with some of the shows I left out.
Fortunately, I did have that freedom to do my usual new/returning split here on the blog, and all the shows that just missed the cut of the top 10 are represented somewhere in these two. So go watch the video list, then you can read my takes on the best new shows and the best returning ones, and then you can feel free to pelt me with your "No love for (show x)?" complaints in the comments for any or all of these posts.
FX, HBO and AMC helped reload the field of quality TV with some great newcomers
2010 was one of the best years I can remember for new TV shows, as it seemed like every other week I was welcoming some rookie that I knew (or in some cases hoped) would be in my viewing rotation for a very long time to come. After several years in the wilderness, HBO reloaded with a pair of dramas with links to the channel's golden period, plus its best miniseries in years. AMC followed up "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" with two potential-laden new series. FX added a bunch of impressive newcomers to its stable.
The freshman field overall was so deep that even though several shows on my Top 10 list won't be back in 2011, there's still an awful lot of good, young TV to enjoy.
AMC dramas, NBC comedies, a great documentary series and a whole lot more
Hot damn, but this was a great (if busy) year to be a TV critic. One of the best dramas on television had its best season yet, and its closest competitor may have also had its strongest year to date. There are some hilarious young comedies that will hopefully be with us for a long time, and the year was so good that a lot of usual suspects could only make the honorable mentions.
Revisiting stinkbombs like 'Gravity,' 'My Generation' and 'Past Life'
You get two Firewall & Iceberg Podcasts this week for the price of one, boys and girls! In a couple of days, Dan and I will go back and forth on our lists of the best shows of 2010, but today we decided to dwell on the negative, and look back over some of the shows that really made us cringe. Plus, a brief review of "Perfect Couples," which both of us agree is unlikely to wind up on the 2011 worst-of list. The run-down:
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
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