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Falling Skies: Let’s Take a Look Behind "Door Number Three"

Falling Skies: Let’s Take a Look Behind "Door Number Three"

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Manhattan Series Premiere Review: Bombs Away!

Manhattan Series Premiere Review: Bombs Away!

Manhattan S01E01: “You Always Hurt the One You Love”WGN America’s second original series probably should have been its first. While its first original series, the supernatural witch drama Salem, offered a fun and campy (though often 100 percent confusing) ride, it’s the World War II-set Manhattan, so named for the Manhattan Project, that stands poised to put a mostly unknown network on the map. Stylish and thought-provoking, the drama might just be WGN’s own Mad Men, posing difficult questions of morality while probing the depths of the juncture where science and humanity meet. While it’s too early to christen the series the next Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or [insert your favorite critically acclaimed drama here], I don’t think it’s wrong to say that Manhattan is exactly the type of show that AMC probably wishes it had right now.The world presented in Manhattan—which films on location in New Mexico, with its ever-present layer of sand and dust—is built on a foundation of secrets and lies. The scientists who spend their days theorizing and strategizing on how best to build the first weapon of mass destruction can’t tell their wives and families what they do all day, which leads to stress and fractured relationships at home.However, the scientists and their families, are only one of several factions who call Los Alamos home. The United States Army is tasked with keeping order by eliminating potential spies from the super top-secret city (which even the vice president doesn’t know about). But they have little to no information about what they’re actually protecting, adding another layer to the power struggles at the heart of the series.As Lord Acton once surmised regarding absolute power and its ability to corrupt, great men are almost always bad men. Does that mean the characters of Manhattan—who will ultimately have a hand in the deaths of thousands of people, but also in ending World War II—are bad men? That’s the question on the minds of the series’ protagonists as they leave for work in the morning and return home at night, and of course, the answer is far from simple. As viewers, we have the advantage of knowing how this story ends, but the citizens of Los Alamos will face plenty of uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead.“You Always Hurt the Ones You Love” opened in July of 1943, some 700 days before the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the war in the Pacific and changing the world forever. John Benjamin Hickey’s Frank Winter is a no-bullshit scientist whose most famous contribution to the field remains just a theory; nevertheless, he’s respected by his peers, and seemingly worshipped by some members of the younger generation. But he’s not in it for the fame or glory, but because he has the desire to Do the Right Thing (or as right a thing as can be, given the circumstances).Together with Daniel Stern’s Glen Babbit—who sports the wizardiest beard a man can sport without actually being a wizard—Frank leads a ragtag team of young, ambitious scientists played by Harry Lloyd, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham, Eddie Shin, and Katja Herbers. Every day that Winter and his group don’t or can’t produce results is another day in which young soldiers lose their lives, something Winter never lets his colleagues (or Manhattan’s viewers) forget as he works tirelessly to come up with a viable design. And it’s Winter’s genuine goal to end the pain and suffering of his fellow men, paired with Hickey’s strong brow and enigmatic onscreen presence, that makes him a compelling lead character that you can’t help but root for.But Winter and his team are not only racing against Germany to develop the first atomic bomb—they’re also competing against a larger, better equipped, better funded, and better stocked (with bourbon, duh) American group led by David Harbour’s smug Reed Akley. Akley has the kind of face that’s just begging to be punched, you know? And one of his new recruits appears to be quite a force: The young, impressionable, and extremely bright scientist Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) was asked to join Akley’s team under the guise that he’d be working in a radar lab. But it wasn’t long after his arrival in Los Alamos with his wife, Abby (Rachel Brosnahan), that he recognized the horrific implications of what he’d be working on, and his struggles with with he believes to be morally right—one of Manhattan’s recurring themes—began.Today, we’re well aware of the effects of the bomb—not just the death toll, the burn radius, or the lasting consequences of radiation, but also the subsequent Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The latter still exists, which allows Manhattan’s story to feel timely and relevant even though it takes place during an era that most of us have only ever read about. In the early 1940s, many of the people who called Los Alamos home had no knowledge of the far-reaching repercussions of the bomb; many of them only realized its true nature after Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped in August of 1945. But the most interesting element of Manhattan isn’t necessarily its theme of morality, its depiction of scientific breakthroughs, or the history lesson at its center, but the fact that its female characters are just as important to the story as its male ones.The lone woman on Winter’s team, Helen Prins (Herbers) is just one example of how Manhattan challenges the stereotypical gender roles of the era. In a way, the ladies of Los Alamos are pioneers, making a life the best way they know how despite less-than-comfortable accommodations and never fully understanding why they’re calling this secluded town home. They’re liberated and they exist outside the social norm because their lives demand it.At a time when when most women wouldn’t dream of wearing pants or taking on any responsibilities beyond those of a dutiful wife and mother, Winter’s wife Liza (Olivia Williams) has a PhD in botany and doesn’t hide her intelligence. She might have put her career on hold so her husband to chase his dream, but she wears trousers—literally and metaphorically—as she refuses to stand idly by and accept the secrets her husband is keeping. She actively challenges him to open up to her just as fiercely as she investigates why the flowers planted behind her home aren’t the color they’re supposed to be, or why residents of Los Alamos are forbidden from growing food despite New Mexico’s supposedly potassium-rich soil. Williams brings life and strength to a character who would fit right into today’s world, making Manhattan feel less like a boys club than it actually is.Meanwhile, Manhattan’s setting is as much of a character as any of the men and women who call Los Alamos home, which is a totally cliché to say, I know, but it’s true. The series benefits greatly from shooting on location in New Mexico and not on a sound stage in Los Angeles, and even though it takes place in a desert, Manhattan is both sleek and stylish. Its backdrop of blue skies and sand recalls the rich landscapes that often made Breaking Bad such a visual delight, and its costumes, vintage cars, and other period details make it feel wholly authentic.Created by Sam Shaw (a former writer for Masters of Sex) and directed by Thomas Schlamme (who helmed many episodes of The West Wing and invented the “walk and talk” style), the world of Manhattan might be small in size—Los Alamos doesn’t even register as a city, and not just because it technically doesn’t exist—but its reach, as we now know, spans the globe. The story being told is a familiar one, but the characters are new and their troubles are relatable. With intelligent protagonists and a story that still holds resonance today, Manhattan is absolutely worthy of our attention.What’d you think of Manhattan’s series premiere? Will you be back for Episode 2?

The Strain "Gone Smooth" Review: Goodbye, Junk

The Strain "Gone Smooth" Review: Goodbye, Junk

HeadingkerplopTitleThe Strain “Gone Smooth” Review: Goodbye, JunkBy Tim Surettestaff50 minutes ago3 Comments1

0The Strain S01E03: “Gone Smooth”Welcome back, dear reader! And welcome back, The Strain. After taking last week off to focus on house renovations and custody battles, the series returned to the fun it promised in its pilot, with more vampires and a penis falling into a toilet. See, The Strain, is it that hard? Drop a dong in the crapper and all your sins and ridiculous aspirations of being a character drama will be forgiven.”Gone Smooth,” GREAT TITLE BTW, improved on its immediate predecessor in just about every way imaginable (although that wasn’t too hard, considering how stinky “The Box” was). The episode did a much better job of following the outbreak—paying worthwhile visits to the quartet of survivors and offering a freakier look at their transformations—while also uncovering truths about the vast vampire conspiracy that were previously absent.But really, most viewers are watching The Strain to see worms crawling beneath people’s skin and monsters shooting veiny tongues out of their faces, and “Gone Smooth” delivered. I’ve been pretty transparent about this, but all I ask from the show is that it embrace its genre and its campiness. If a horror show that doubles as a great drama comes out of that, then yippy skippy—but after seeing a pilot that upended my expectations in a good way and a second episode that was hugely disappointing, my standards for The Strain lie somewhere between Cabin Fever and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.I’m going to choose to forget the mixed messages we received from last week’s visit with the four survivors (Lawyer Lady subtly bled a little bit into her Prosecco, while Rocker Guy viciously tried to eat one of his sex partners) and pretend that “Gone Smooth” was our first encounter with them post-plane disaster, because watching the disease spread this week was way more fun than it was last week. The Geek’s face was literally falling apart, and he drank the blood out of an idling refrigerator steak while his wife looked on in horror because that is gross and who has a single steak just sitting in some CorningWare inside the fridge besides people in horror movies? Seeing the family side of things intensified the urgency of the disease, and since the Pilot is a lonely old bachelor, Rocker Guy don’t have time for longterm relationships, and Lawyer Lady’s heart is full of ice, it’s up to the Geek to illustrate how the virus affects more than just those who are infected.Rocker Guy, whose taste for flesh has apparently subsided (see what I mean about mixed messages?), arguably had the worst day of all. The look on the doctor’s face when Rocker Guy opened his robe would’ve been more than enough to make our imaginations run wild, but then The Strain spared our imaginations the exercise by revealing one of the weirdest things I’ve seen on television in a long time. This, a thousand times, this:What in the what!? Why was his wiener so quick to fall off and nothing else? Was that black mass that fell in the toilet, to quote There’s Something About Mary, the frank or the beans? How does he pee now? Do vampires pee? Do vampires poo? Why didn’t Rocker Guy freak out? Is this what Robert Pattinson looks like naked? I have so many questions! With penises falling like leaves in the fall, what started out as an annoying cold is now serious business. (P.S. What happens to female vampires down there? Just wondering.) I’m hoping we do get these kinds of answers, though, and from what I’ve heard about the Strain trilogy of novels, they take a very scientific approach to vampirism. Also, a little birdie told me that we might get another hint regarding the genital shriveling in next week’s episode, so the fact that the show didn’t shrink Rocker Guy’s junk just for giggles is a positive sign that The Strain isn’t shocking us just for shock’s sake.Elsewhere, the Pilot made the biggest jump to toothy bloodsucker after escaping his quarantine bubble and slurping down blood bags in the hospital basement. But his experience as a monster was short-lived as Eph smashed his head in with a fire extinguisher after dodging his projectile proboscis. It was the first time we’ve seen a fight with a vampire (and by the way, I’m calling them vampires for lack of a better term) rather than a one-sided slaughter, and now I’m itching to see Setrakian throw down with that cane-sword of his. “The Master” might be a badass, but the low-level infected can be killed, even by a trio of nerdy scientists (no thanks to Jim). Again, this bodes well for the future of the series if you’re into awesome things.No contemporary sci-fi show is complete without some sort of shadowy conspiracy group pulling strings behind the scenes, and guess what!? The vampires have their dirty fingernails stuck in all kinds of business, including experimental cancer trials at Stanford. I always knew those preppy Stanford nerds were bloodsucking no-gooders (go Cal!). The vampires are using their influence to rope in Jim, who so far is The Strain’s weakest character and might only be filling the role of mole. We don’t know why Jim was so indebted to them in the pilot, but now Thomas (the vampire who was putting on his face in the episode’s opening scene) is using his connections to get Jim’s wife the cancer treatment she needs.Ahhh, the ol’ “my wife has cancer” conundrum! It’s too bad this type of storytelling device smacks of convenience. It’s obvious that the only reason Jim has a cancer-stricken wife is to give him an excuse to be in league with the vampires. What if Jim had a wife who didn’t have cancer? What if she was perfectly healthy—then what? “Jim, if you work with us, I can get you that great parking space at the CDC you’ve always wanted.” And since Jim hasn’t been established as a very likable fellow, he sucks out the energy of the show. Ugh, sorry, I know I said The Strain isn’t about characters, but Jim is a real bummer so far, and a waste of Sean Astin the Goonies guy.But other than that, “Gone Smooth” was a solid, entertaining episode that totally fixed most of what bothered me about last week’s “The Box.” Our Strain craze may continue. See you next week!NOTES– Yep, I had to see that image one more time.– Where are the 200+ walking corpses that woke up in the morgue? I know New York City is crowded and full of haggardly looking people, but surely someone would notice a huge mob of undead, some with their guts hanging out?– The Pilot’s nose hair was all up in my face!– This episode offered a much better introduction to Vasiliy the Rat Exterminator than “The Box” did. Come to think of it, what was the point of that first introduction at all? He busted a restaurant and… ?– I totally thought the Geek was going to eat his wounded dog. Maybe next week?– Setrakian. S-e-T-R-A-k-I-a-N. THINK ABOUT IT.– How long will this dance between Setrakian and the CDC continue? Hopefully not too long.– Screw you, Zach, for not asking for joint custody between your mom and dad! But come to think of it, the kid probably made the right choice. I mean, Eph is an absentee dad and workaholic, right?– Ummm… hackers don’t work for PS4s. They work for cash. That girl probably already has like 10 PS4s.– Notice how no one on the show watches anything on TV? It’s all laptops, iPads, or computers?

Nickelodeon Yanks Korra from TV; the Rest of Book 3 Will Only Air Online (UPDATED)

Nickelodeon Yanks Korra from TV; the Rest of Book 3 Will Only Air Online (UPDATED)

Headingwhat’s going on?TitleNickelodeon Yanks Korra from TV; the Rest of Book 3 Will Only Air Online (UPDATED)By Noel Kirkpatrickstaff3 days ago56 Comments2

8[source]So it’s late on Wednesday, which means we’re already closing in Friday, the weekend, and two brand-new episodes of The Legend of Korra.Alas, it turns out only two of those last three things are true.Only one new episode of Korra will air on Nickelodeon this Friday, according to Nick and More. And it will be the last episode of Book 3 to grace your television screen (provided you still use a teleivision to watch television). What’s going on? Well, details are scarce at the moment, but here’s Korra’s co-creator Bryan Konietzko to fill in the gap:[source]Yes, that’s correct. For some (currently) unknown reason, Nick has pulled Episodes 9 through 13 from its schedule, and from the looks of Konietzko’s Tumblr (which is where the image above came from; Korra co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino posted it as well), it appears those episodes will air exclusively on the web.This is just the latest weird development in Book 3’s checkered existence. After several episodes were accidentally leaked online, Nickelodeon rushed it onto the air with zero fanfare, and has been airing two episodes each week. Obviously answers will be forthcoming at Korra’s Comic-Con panel this Friday, but in the meantime, this is everything we know.I’ll still have a review of Episode 8, “The Terror Within” for you on Friday (it’s good, as is Episode 9, “The Stakeout,” but we may have to discuss that one later, I guess), and after that, who the heck knows.UPDATE #1: TV.com reached out to Nickelodeon for comment, and while the network declined to elaborate, a rep confirmed that we’ll have more news on Friday.UPDATE #2: According to TVLine, the show is not cancelled (even though Konietzko already told us that), and production on Book 4 has already commenced, including the animation by Studio Mir. Regarding what’s left of Book 3, episodes will be rolled out weekly beginning Friday, August 1, through various digital platforms, including Nick.com (which hasn’t hosted any new episodes all season), Amazon (which has been releasing them on a week’s delay), and places like Google Play and presumably iTunes.

True Blood: How Did "Karma" Treat You?

True Blood: How Did "Karma" Treat You?

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Arrow Officially Reveals Season 3’s Big Villain (VIDEO)

Arrow Officially Reveals Season 3’s Big Villain (VIDEO)

Headingthe big leagueTitleArrow Officially Reveals Season 3’s Big Villain (VIDEO)By NatalieAbramsstaffAn hour ago3 Comments1

0Though it may not be a big surprise to keen Arrow fans, Season 3’s big villain was officially unveiled at Comic-Con on Saturday night.In an extended trailer shown at a Warner Bros. fan event, the DC Comics villain Ra’s al Ghul was revealed via repurposed dialogue from the Season 1 episode “Dead to Rights,” in which Malcolm Merlyn discussed his time in Nanda Parbat. Hit play below to see (and hear) for yourself:The leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul was a looming presence throughout Arrow’s first two seasons, with Malcolm being revealed as the only person who Ra’s had ever allowed to leave the League. Of course, Ra’s came to regret that decision after Malcolm’s role in the Undertaking, and now Ra’s wants to kill Malcolm.Meanwhile, in Season 2, Oliver learned that not only did Sara become a member of the League after getting off the island, she also started dating Ra’s’s (worst possessive ever?) daughter, Nyssa al Ghul. When last we saw Sara, she was leaving Starling City with Nyssa in the Season 2 finale.”We wanted to present Oliver with a new challenge with a villain that would speak to what Oliver was going through emotionally,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg explained to TV.com. “This season, Oliver is wrestling with, ‘Is there a life for me beyond being the Arrow?’ What the Season 3 villain comes to Oliver and says is, ‘The reason you’re not fully successful as the Arrow is because you’re holding onto Oliver Queen. I have let go of my identity and embraced my cause and you should do the same.’ It’s a whole new thing where the enemy actually, in some ways, admires the Arrow and what he’s doing. He just thinks that the Arrow is thinking too small.”Interestingly enough, the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul in Season 3 might actually force Oliver to work with the Dark Archer, who took his sister Thea out of Starling City at the end of Season 2. “We’ve already established that the Season 3 villain has a strong animosity toward Malcolm,” Kreisberg said. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend. It’s going to be a lot of asking, ‘Who hates who more?'”However, it’s not yet clear what the arrival of Ra’s will mean for Sara and Nyssa. “Alliances and loyalty are another big theme of the season,” Kreisberg said. “There’s another war coming and whose side people are going to be on is going to be the thing that drives the season.”Casting for the role is currently underway.Are you excited to see Ra’s al Ghul on Arrow? Who do you think should play him?Previously Aired EpisodegoAmazonBuyiTunesBuyVUDUBuyAIRED ON 5/14/2014UnthinkableSeason 2 : Episode 23

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Skol! Watch the First Trailer for Vikings Season 3 (VIDEO)

Skol! Watch the First Trailer for Vikings Season 3 (VIDEO)

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Here’s the First Footage from the Simpsons-Family Guy Crossover… What Do You Think of It? (VIDEO)

Here’s the First Footage from the Simpsons-Family Guy Crossover… What Do You Think of It? (VIDEO)

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Person of Interest: Get a Glimpse of the Team’s New Identities in the First Trailer for Season 4 (VIDEO)

Person of Interest: Get a Glimpse of the Team’s New Identities in the First Trailer for Season 4 (VIDEO)

HeadingYou are being watchedTitlePerson of Interest: Get a Glimpse of the Team’s New Identities in the First Trailer for Season 4 (VIDEO)By Tim Surettestaff45 minutes ago0 Comments0

0Person of Interest, we’re turning things around: YOU are being watched, specifically in this awesome trailer for the upcoming fourth season. First screened at the show’s Comic-Con panel on Saturday, the five-minute video combines old and new footage and reveals what we can expect to see in Season 4 based on what happened at the end of Season 3—namely, that the team needs new identities now that Samaritan is online and on their trail.Call me crazy, but this almost seems like what this show was always meant to be. Take a look:Reese appears to be a lawman, and Shaw and Root are makeup girls at the mall? There’s a lot of story potential here; maybe they’ll change jobs each episode? Oh man… and Bear is getting a good amount of screen time! No other show adapts like Person of Interest, and this seems like a natural next step for the series. What do you think?Person of Interest Season 4 premieres Tuesday, September 23 at 10pm on CBS.Previously Aired EpisodegoAmazonBuyiTunesBuyVUDUBuyAIRED ON 5/13/2014Deus ex MachinaSeason 3 : Episode 23

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Comic-Con 2014: The Complete List of Sunday’s TV Panels, Including Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural, and More

Comic-Con 2014: The Complete List of Sunday’s TV Panels, Including Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural, and More

Headingare you still alive?TitleComic-Con 2014: The Complete List of Sunday’s TV Panels, Including Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural, and MoreBy Kaitlin ThomasstaffAn hour ago1 Comment0

0Only one day to go! Are you still alive? How are you holding up? Whether you’re attending Comic-Con in the flesh or just following our Comic-Con feed to stay abreast of the news and highlights emerging from the San Diego Convention Center, we can only assume that you must be exhausted. But never fear! Day 4 should be a cinch compared to the craziness of the previous few—here’s a complete overview of what’s happening, TV-wise.10-11am:Supernatural, Hall HPanelists: Series stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, and Mark Sheppard, alongside executive producer Jeremy Carver.What’s on the agenda: A sure-to-be-hilarious Q&A session discussing the last nine years and the upcoming tenth season. Plus, look for a preview of the special features from the Season 9 DVD.11:15-12:15pm:The Following, Hall HPanelists: Cast members Kevin Bacon, Shawn Ashmore, Sam Underwood, and Jessica Stroup, plus creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson and executive producers Marcos Siega and Jennifer Johnson.What’s on the agenda: A video presentation followed by a Q&A session.11:45-12:45pm:Teen Titans Go!, Room 6BCFPanelists: Producers Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath, plus several members of the cast and Puffy AmiYumi, the Japanese pop duo who created the theme song from the original Teen Titans.What’s on the agenda: A Q&A session.12:30-1:30pm,Sons of Anarchy, Hall HPanelists: Creator Kurt Sutter, executive producer/director Paris Barclay, and the full cast of Season 7: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Jimmy Smits, David Labrava, Niko Nicotera, and Drea de Matteo.What’s on the agenda: A look at the seventh and final season, followed by a Q&A session.1:45-3:45pm:The Strain, Hall HPanelists: Creator/author Guillermo del Toro, executive producer and showrunner Carlton Cuse, executive producer/writer Chuck Hogan and the entire cast: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Miguel Gomez, Ben Hyland and Jack Kesey.What’s on the agenda: A first-look screening of the third episode of the season, followed by a Q&A.

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