<p>Shonda Rhimes</p>

Shonda Rhimes

Credit: ABC

Shonda Rhimes knows when and how 'Scandal' ends. She's just not telling.

Some insight from TV's most powerful showrunner

Of all the TV creators I've met over the years, two have consistently stood out as the most challenging to interview: David Chase and Shonda Rhimes. There's never been any hostility, but they stand apart from their showrunner brethren in their insistence on answering only the questions they want to answer, and only if it's asked in a way they find acceptable. Many showrunners have learned the PR trick of responding to a question they don't like by answering a different question altogether, but Rhimes and Chase will simply announce their disagreement with the premise of the question, or their lack of interest in answering it. (Chase, for instance, hates to explain the meaning of any one "Sopranos" scene or episode too much, while Rhimes all but shuts down whenever she's asked about either upcoming storylines or her legacy as an African-American female producer.) You have to stay on your toes and be ready to radically change course at a moment's notice if they're not interested in where you're trying to take the conversation.

Read Full Post
<p>You&#39;re the Worst</p>

You're the Worst

Credit: FXX

Review: 'You're the Worst' - 'Born Dead': Not a party; it's an intimate get-together

Gretchen tries to reunite with her old friends, while Lindsay wants to make Paul jealous

A review of tonight's "You're the Worst" coming up just as soon as I'm in a war with an autistic kid from Sweden who keeps blocking me on Instagram...

Read Full Post


Credit: FOX

Cookie's back! What did everybody think of the 'Empire' season premiere?

Chris Rock as a cannibal gangster (maybe)? Marisa Tomei as a money woman? Cookie in a gorilla suit?

I wrote about the new season of "Empire" yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned into the season 2 premiere tonight, what did you think? A lot of you shared my concerns about the first season finale's rapid-fire, nonsensical plotting; did this feel like a good course correction, or more of the same gibberish? Too much music, or not enough? Too much Cookie, or not enough? How did you feel about Chris Rock's appearance, and did you notice any traces of the largely-excised cannibalism subplot about his character? And did a summer away break whatever spell "Empire" cast over you last winter, or were you just excited to have Cookie back insulting Boo Boo Kitty again?

Have at it. Not planning on weekly reviews, but I'll check in periodically as episodes warrant.

Read Full Post
<p>Morris Chestnut in Rosewood</p>

Morris Chestnut in Rosewood

Credit: FOX

What did everybody think of 'Rosewood'?

Did you know that Morris Chestnut's character is a private pathologist?

I had no time to review "Rosewood," though Fienberg and I discussed it on last week's podcast. For those of you who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Did you notice that Morris Chestnut's character was a private pathologist? Did you think Chestnut and Jaina Lee Ortiz had good chemistry together, or was their relationship just a tired rehash of "Castle," "Elementary," etc., etc., etc.? Do you feel the show got enough mileage out of Rosie being a private pathologist that they didn't just make him an independently wealthy maverick coroner for the city of Miami? Did the first case interest you? Were there not enough shots of Chestnut's torso, too many, or just the right amount? How do you feel about the phrase "private pathologist"? And will you watch again?

Have at it. Given how irritating I found Rosie, I don't expect to be watching additional episodes of this one, except maybe to see what they do with Lorraine Toussaint, who was shoe-horned into a pre-existing subplot from the original version of the pilot.

Read Full Post
<p>Jack Coleman in &quot;Heroes Reborn.&quot;</p>

Jack Coleman in "Heroes Reborn."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Heroes' stumbles back to life with 'Heroes Reborn' miniseries

HRG is back, along with the same mistakes that sank the original series

"Heroes Reborn" begins — as it all but certainly had to — with a philosophical monologue. Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman), aka HRG, aka the most popular "Heroes" character returning for a major role in this sequel miniseries, is considering all that's happened to the world since the original series ended, and the strained relationship he has with daughter Claire.

"When you look back at the things you've done, the decisions that you've made" Noah ponders, "the last thing you want to feel is regret. Am I right?"

Read Full Post


Credit: CBS

Bradley Cooper stopped by the 'Limitless' premiere, but was it fun to watch?

What did everybody else think of the new CBS drama?

Of the three "super powered geniuses solve crimes" dramas I reviewed last week, CBS' "Limitless" was simultaneously the most competent and least exciting. I don't expect much from the other two, but they're at least aspiring to more, whereas this is a mediocre rehash of "Intelligence," which was already a humorless rip off of "Chuck."

Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in tonight, what did you think? If you're a fan of the movie, how did you feel about this take on the wonder-drug and what someone like Brian might do with it? Was Bradley Cooper's cameo fun or needlessly expository? Did you prefer Jake McDorman's inner monologue here or on "Manhattan Love Story"? Could you tell that Jennifer Carpenter was extremely pregnant at the time they filmed this? And will you watch again?

Have at it.

Read Full Post
<p>Scream Queens</p>

Scream Queens

Credit: FOX

Let's talk about the 'Scream Queens' premiere

What did everybody think of Ryan Murphy's latest foray into the world of horror?

FOX made both hours of tonight's "Scream Queens" premiere available for critics to review. I made it through the first before deciding it was aggressively not for me. Slasher films (which this whole season is a riff on) are generally not my favorite, and on the whole leaned more towards the end of the Ryan Murphy spectrum that I have little patience for. (In particular, the sheer amount of hateful invective hurled by the Emma Roberts character — which co-creator Ian Brennan described at press tour as "my great joy of life" to write — was exhausting to sit through.) Though I enjoyed Jamie Lee Curtis and laughed at the gag involving Ariana Grande and texting, I knew I wasn't going to want to see more, and moved on.

But that's me. Based on the continued ratings for "American Horror Story," Murphy and company continue to have their fans, and I assume some of you are among them. So for those who watched tonight, what did you think? Was the sorority satire aspect of it funny or grating? Were you scared when the show wanted you to be? How did it feel to have Curtis be part of a comic riff on the genre that made her a star? And will you watch again?

Read Full Post
<p>Kermit the Frog</p>

Kermit the Frog

Credit: ABC

Did ABC's 'The Muppets' thrill you or ruin your childhood?

What did everybody think of the 'real' versions of Kermit and friends?

I published my review of ABC's "The Muppets" last week. Now it's your turn. For those of you who watched it tonight, what did you think? Did the mocukmentary format feel like a good way to use Kermit and friends? Did you feel what Bill Prady has described as the "real" versions of these characters were appreciably different from (and/or true to) what we know from the previous movies and shows? Are you pro or anti the Kermit/Piggy break-up? Were the human guest stars well-used? Did it feel too raunchy, or were those jokes properly concealed from younger viewers? And will you watch again?

Have at it. I'm going to watch for a while in hopes that Prady and Bob Kushell figure out the right balance (particularly with Kermit and Piggy).

Read Full Post
<p>Taraji P Henson as Cookie in Empire</p>

Taraji P Henson as Cookie in Empire

Credit: FOX

Review: Cookie and friends still delicious as 'Empire' begins season 2

FOX's smash hit hasn't fallen victim to the disease of more just yet

Instant success in television can be a wonderful thing. It creates stars, generates conversation, inspires imitators, and is just fun to see — particularly in an age like this one where almost nothing is a big hit right out of the gate, particularly on the broadcast networks. But instant success in any era can have unfortunate repercussions. Actors can fall prey to what former Lakers coach Pat Riley liked to call "the disease of more," and are suddenly insisting on more money, more screen time, even better coverage at a cast photo shoot. But even if the stars remain level-headed about where they are and how they got there, breakout hit shows can suffer from the disease of more in a different way, as they try to double down on everything the audience loved at the start — More plot twists! More guest stars! — even as it throws the whole enterprise out of balance and transforms it from phenomenon to forgettable. (Take, for instance, "Glee.")

Read Full Post


Credit: NBC

What did everybody think of NBC's naked tattooed amnesia lady show 'Blindspot'?

Time to talk about one of the new season's goofier premises

Last week, I published my review of "Blindspot." Now it's your turn. For those who watched tonight, what did you think? Does the mystery of how and why Jane Doe got her tattoos and lost her memory intrigue you, or does it seem like much more trouble than it's worth for both the people who did it and the people making the show? If you're a "Strike Back" fan, does this seem like a good use of Sullivan Stapleton? Did the Terror Threat of the Week interest you? Did any of the characters interest you at all? And will you watch again?

Have at it. I imagine I'm much more likely to watch a second episode of the other NBC show with a "Strike Back" alum, since "The Player" is also dumb, but in a fashion that calls attention to its dumbness a bit less often. But we can talk about that later in the week.

Read Full Post