<p>Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Season premiere review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Blood Money'

Hank puts the pieces together, Jesse tries to give some money away, and Walt visits the old homestead

"Breaking Bad" is back for its final eight episodes, and I have a review of tonight's premiere coming up just as soon as Scotty beams the pies into space...

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<p>Claire Danes as Carrie in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Claire Danes as Carrie in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' season 3 trailer catches up with Carrie, Brody and Saul

Who has a new haircut? Who is sorry, and why?

Last week, I wrote about the "Homeland" panel at press tour, and about producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon's thoughts looking back on season 2 and ahead to season 3. Today, Showtime released a trailer for the new season (it's the same one critics were shown before that panel), scored to The Cinematic Orchestra's "To Build A House." 

It gives you glimpses of what Carrie, Saul, Brody, Dana and others will look like this season, if not the exact context of where they are and what they're doing. If you don't want to know anything, obviously don't watch. The season premiere is on September 29 — aka TV Drama-geddon, a night that will also feature the "Breaking Bad' series finale, the "Masters of Sex" debut, "The Good Wife" premiere, a new "Boardwalk Empire," and more — at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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<p>Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in &quot;Strike Back.&quot;</p>

Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in "Strike Back."

Credit: Cinemax

Review: Cinemax's 'Strike Back' returns, still ready for action

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
One of TV's most reliable pleasures is back with plenty of guns, ammo and angst

Some TV shows are rapidly evolving organisms. You come back for a new season to find new characters, a new workplace, maybe even a wildly different tone. That can be exciting — though if done wrong, it can strip away what the audience liked in the first place.

Some TV shows offer you roughly the same thing week after week, season after season. There's a danger in that, too, as stagnation can lead to boredom. But there are certain shows that do what they do so well that evolution seems to be beside the point. One of those is Cinemax's "Strike Back," which begins a new season tonight at 10, doing the same things it usually does(*), but with such a high level of execution and glee that I care not a whit about the formulaic nature of it all. A show that kicks this much ass doesn't especially need to stretch.

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<p>On &quot;Deadwood,&quot;&nbsp;Adams (Titus Welliver)&nbsp;gets a scolding from Al Swearengen (Ian McShane).</p>

On "Deadwood," Adams (Titus Welliver) gets a scolding from Al Swearengen (Ian McShane).

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 3, episode 10: 'A Constant Throb'

Al protects Alma, and in the process stretches Hearst's patience to its limit

For the third summer in a row, we're revisiting David Milch's classic revisionist HBO Western "Deadwood," this time discussing the third season.

While I once upon a time posted two separate reviews so people who hadn't watched the whole series would have a safe place to comment, almost no one bothered commenting on the newbie reviews last year, and they've been ditched. If you haven't finished the series, just avoid the comments of this review and you'll be fine.

Thoughts on episode 10, "A Constant Throb," coming up just as soon as I'm in command of the all-whore detachment...

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<p>Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in &quot;Low Winter Sun.&quot;</p>

Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in "Low Winter Sun."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'Low Winter Sun' a dark cop drama, but is it a deep one?

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Great performances from Mark Strong and Lennie James, but what's it all about?

The wave of quality cable dramas of the last decade has turned into a flood. Everyone's looking for their own "Sopranos," their own "Shield," their own "Mad Men." When you start factoring in streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu (which are both making their own programming and importing terrific shows from overseas), it's inarguable that there are more good dramas than at any point in the history of the medium.

But what's also become obvious of late is just how hard it is to make these shows work. Too many shows have been made under the mistaken belief that all you need to achieve greatness is to follow a familiar recipe. Take imposing character actors as leading men, add anti-heroes in a world full of moral ambiguity, a cinematic look, some colorful dialogue, and preferably some graphic violence, and your would-be "The Wire" will be baked in 35-40 minutes, right?

These shows have the appearance and texture of the greats of past and present, but there's something empty and unsatisfying about them. They tend to lack the ingredients you can't just buy at the store: a distinctive voice and a spark of mad genius. Sometimes, they succeed anyway (Showtime has already renewed "Ray Donovan" for a second season), and sometimes they fail (Starz just canceled "Magic City"), but their separation from the genuine article becomes unmistakable in time. They're the I Can't Believe It's Not Better dramas, and AMC may have another on its hands with "Low Winter Sun."

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<p>Kate Hudson, Larry David and Jon Hamm in &quot;Clear History.&quot;</p>

Kate Hudson, Larry David and Jon Hamm in "Clear History."

Credit: HBO

Review: Larry David in HBO's 'Clear History'

HitFix
B
Readers
B+
Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson and friends come along for what's really an all-star edition of 'Curb'

When each season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ends, executives at HBO, and fans of the show, wait in earnest for Larry David to decide when or if he wants to make another one. My belief is that the gig is too much fun for David to entirely walk away from, but for 2013 he passed on doing more "Curb" in favor of writing and starring in "Clear History," an HBO film that debuts Saturday night at 9.

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<p>Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'The Beast'

Calaca pays Linder a visit, and Sonya gets the killer on the phone

A review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I get the Saran wrap...

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<p>Mireille Enos in &quot;The Killing.&quot;</p>

Mireille Enos in "The Killing."

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'The Killing'

Another case ends in disappointing fashion, though the journey was more interesting this time

A quick, belated review of "The Killing" season finale coming up just as soon as you interrupt my family bowling night...

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<p>David Tennant and Olivia Colman in &quot;Broadchurch.&quot;</p>

David Tennant and Olivia Colman in "Broadchurch."

Credit: BBC America

Review: BBC America's 'Broadchurch' a simple, devastating mystery

HitFix
A-
Readers
A-
David Tennant and Olivia Colman investigate mystery in a small seaside town

"You don't understand," Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller insists as she stares at a murdered child on the beach of the sleepy town she calls home. "I know that boy!"

Miller is one of the two heroes of "Broadchurch," a British crime series making its BBC America debut tonight at 10 p.m. Played by Olivia Colman, she's a Broadchurch lifer. She knows everyone in town, and assumes she knows everything around them; it's not possible that any of her friends or neighbors could be a killer. And yet as her partner and boss, new transplant Alec Hardy (David Tennant) keeps reminding her, anyone can become a killer, and the sandy corpse of young Danny Latimer is proof of that.

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<p>The &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's &quot;The Writers' Room.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

The "Breaking Bad" team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's "The Writers' Room." 

Credit: Sundance

'Breaking Bad': Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan look back

How often have the star and creator disagreed about Walt? And how do they feel about the ending?
Eight hours to go. Eight more hours until we find out exactly what fate “Breaking Bad” has in store for Walter White. Eight more hours until we find out if creator Vince Gilligan can stick the landing on one of the most daring, breathtaking, awe-inspiring feats of dramatic gymnastics in television history. Eight more hours of watching Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and company make us laugh, make us cry, and make us curl up into a terrified little ball. Eight hours doesn’t feel like nearly enough for this great show, does it?
 
I’ve seen the AMC drama’s final season premiere, which airs Sunday night at 9. It’s fantastic, as you might expect, but the ways in which it’s fantastic are better left discovered as you’re watching. (I’ll have, as usual, an episode review posted as soon as it’s done airing on the East Coast.) But before this last batch of episodes begins, I sat down with Gilligan and Emmy-winning star Bryan Cranston to discuss the rare instances when they disagreed about what was going on with Walt, about what kind of actor Walt himself has become in the series’ final days, and about how each of them feels about walking away from the best work either of them is likely ever going to do.
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