<p>Happy Valley</p>

Happy Valley

Credit: Netflix

Review: Netflix's 'Happy Valley' a swift, brutal crime story

HitFix
A-
Readers
B+
BBC cop drama tells story well in a short amount of time

I have watched a lot of great television this year, yet few scenes in 2014 had the kind of physical effect on me like the closing minutes of the fourth episode of "Happy Valley," the BBC crime drama that Netflix added to its library back in August.  As the scene went along, I stopped recording my usual notes and just stared at the television. I had to remind myself to take a breath a few times. I'm pretty sure I left my thumbprint permanently impressed to the underside of my desk from gripping it too hard at one point. It's a cliffhanger ending, and the Netflix interface meant that resolution was only a simple click away, yet I had to put the show on hold for a few hours just to get that moment out of my system. At that moment, I was in no condition to jump straight to the next episode and potentially see that things had gone poorly for the characters in danger. No way.

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<p>The Affair</p>

The Affair

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'The Affair' - 'Episode 4'

The show ditches its multiple POV device for a week, and suffers without it

Thoughts on tonight's "The Affair" — and the early part of the season so far — coming up just as soon as I'm not much of a cuddler...

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<p>The Walking Dead</p>

The Walking Dead

Credit: AMC

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Slabtown'

Beth wakes up in a hospital filled with scary survivors

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I offer you a suck on my lollipop...

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<p>Brooklyn Nine-Nine</p>

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Credit: FOX

Review: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - 'The Mole'

Holt and Peralta pull an all-nighter, Terry and Diaz go undercover, and Boyle and Gina are found out

A quick review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as I make some promises involving lollipops(*) I do not intend to keep...

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<p>Parenthood</p>

Parenthood

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parenthood' - 'Too Big to Fail'

Adam, Crosby and Amber grapple with money troubles, while Dylan bonds with Kristina

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as the Sorting Hat assigns me to Gryffindor...

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<p>Hitch, Greatest American Hero and Big</p>

Hitch, Greatest American Hero and Big

From 'Big' to 'Marley & Me': We weigh in on TV's remake fad

Does anyone want 'In Good Company: The Series'?

I generally pay as much attention to the broadcast network development season as I do to the baseball draft. Though the shows that actually survive development are much closer to airing chronologically than most baseball draftees are to the majors, the winnowing process is just as brutal in both cases. On average, a given network will hear 3-400 pitches a year, order scripts for 60-70 of them, make 8-12 pilots and put roughly between a half dozen and a dozen of them on the air. So I’ve usually found development not worth worrying about until shows are actually ordered to series and scheduled.

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<p>Olive Kitteridge</p>

Olive Kitteridge

Credit: HBO

Review: The long and short of HBO's 'Olive Kitteridge'

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Great performances, but perhaps the wrong length for adapting Elizabeth Strout's book

The last time HBO turned a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in Maine into a miniseries, it was 2005's "Empire Falls," which boasted a star-studded cast but was exactly the wrong length at four hours: too short to properly tell all of the books' stories and give the audience the necessary feeling of living among these characters, and much too long for the thin slice the filmmakers were able to carve out of the book.

HBO's new miniseries "Olive Kitteridge" (it debuts Sunday night at 9) is also adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in Maine, and also clocks in at four hours. And though I haven't read the Elizabeth Strout book on which it's based, it certainly feels like the same mistake has been made about its length.

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<p>Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird in &quot;Marvel&#39;s Agents of SHIELD.&quot;</p>

Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird in "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Marvel's Agents of SHIELD' - 'A Fractured House'

Mockingbird fights (with) Hunter, and Ward's brother comes into play

A review of tonight's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" coming up just as soon as I accuse you of peacocking...

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<p>The Flash</p>

The Flash

Credit: CW

Review: 'The Flash' - 'Going Rogue'

Barry reunites with Felicity from 'Arrow' and meets Captain Cold

A review of tonight's "The Flash" coming up just as soon as I'm overdressed for trivia night...

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<p>Eliza Coupe in Benched, and The McCarthys</p>

Eliza Coupe in Benched, and The McCarthys

Credit: USA/CBS

Fall TV reviews: 'Benched' & 'The McCarthys'

A legal sitcom on USA with a 'Happy Endings' alum, and a family comedy on CBS

We finally had our first network cancellation of the fall season last week, when ABC dropped the ax on "Manhattan Love Story." Had the Alphabet waited one more week, we'd have made it through the first season in a while where all the new fall shows got to debut before one was canceled. But that was not to be, and instead we have our final new network fall show (with plenty more on the bench for midseason, or whatever the broadcast nets are willing to call it these days) coming up this week, along with a new cable comedy. Both, oddly, feature Jack McGee in a supporting role (the result of cable and network shows often filming on different schedules), and that — along with the fact that I don't feel strongly about either one at this stage — is enough excuse to put them together in the same post for a few quick thoughts on both CBS' "The McCarthys" and USA's "Benched."

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