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JAN
22
2 DAYS

'Backstrom': TV Review

'Backstrom': TV Review

I almost didn't review Backtstrom because it felt so calculatedly jaded that my negative reaction to it might somehow be expected and thus become some kind of proof to a fictional character that his incessantly jaded view of the world was somehow correct.

But I decided to post something short just in case I'm right about this thing right here: Backstrom could run for five-plus seasons.

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JAN
21
4 DAYS

'Better Call Saul': TV Review

'Better Call Saul': TV Review

One of the exciting things about Better Call Saul is looking at it as a television experiment. It might blow up in everybody's face or we might be hailing it years from now as a great second act in Vince Gilligan's brilliant and strange foray into New Mexico.

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JAN
20
5 DAYS

TCA Journal No. 8: Drowning in Television

TCA Journal No. 8: Drowning in Television

I was at dinner recently with executives at FX and in the course of talking about All Things Television, which is what we do, they told me that for their upcoming TCA appearance they had been busy exhaustively compiling some stats to illustrate just how competitive the landscape was.

They weren't kidding.

In a packet containing some really intriguing, thoroughly ambitious research, two numbers really leapt out:

There are 1,715 series (not movies) in primetime. Primetime only goes from 8 to 11 p.m.

Please pause to soak that in.

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JAN
19
5 DAYS

'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore': First Impressions

'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore': First Impressions

Larry Wilmore kicked off his hosting duties for The Nightly Show on Comedy Central Monday with a predictably strong first effort (he's a proven funny guy, what did you expect?) but — reality alert — a definite first effort.

As I've said many times before, I have no problem writing about late-night talk shows making their debut, but it's obviously unfair to "review" them, so this will not be that.

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JAN
16
1 week

TCA Journal No. 7: The Amazon Pilots And the Truth About Crowd Sourcing In TV

TCA Journal No. 7: The Amazon Pilots And the Truth About Crowd Sourcing In TV

I haven't had a chance to review the latest batch of Amazon pilots -- a time-crunch issue being here at the TCA winter press tour where TV that's happening right now takes precedent. It's the first time I haven't been able to dive into their pilots but, given recent trends at Amazon Studios, does it really matter?

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JAN
14
2 WKS

TCA Journal No. 6: Enjoy Yourself Because You're Already Fired

TCA Journal No. 6: Enjoy Yourself Because You're Already Fired

I caught a huge break as a newbie TV critic by breaking in when Leslie Moonves was entertainment president of then-struggling CBS, andWarren Littlefield was entertainment president of NBC, which was at the tail end of one of the great runs in broadcast television as No. 1.

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JAN
13
2 WKS

TCA Journal No. 5: Woody Allen, Game-Changer

TCA Journal No. 5: Woody Allen, Game-Changer

On the day that two more online content providers -- Yahoo and Crackle -- tried to get some notice at the Television Critics Association press tour, Amazon Studios decided to announce a game-changer.

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JAN
12
2 WKS

'Man Seeking Woman': TV Review

'Man Seeking Woman': TV Review

There's a notion that if you get a chance to make a comedy somewhere with a high-quality reputation, such as, say, FX, you need to kick at the boundaries and dent up the recognizable elements of the genre to produce something that's — terrible, but apt, word alert — edgy.

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JAN
9
2 WKS

TCA Journal No. 4: Lost In the Cable Supermarket

TCA Journal No. 4: Lost In the Cable Supermarket

At the end of January, a series that's starting to generate buzz — which is likely to get a lot louder, with pounding drums — will make its premiere.

On Pivot.

That might be problematic in the sense that, "What's Pivot?" is the normal response to that. And once told Pivot is an actual, functioning cable channel, the next response is, "Do I get that?" followed by "How can I find it" and "Any chance the show will end up on HBO?"

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JAN
8
2 WKS

TCA Journal No. 3: We Don't Clap

TCA Journal No. 3: We Don't Clap

It happens every press tour, often multiple times. It's always revealing. Sometimes it's funny.

Stars of network and cable series and movies, famous documentary subjects, politicians, sports stars, directors, writers, etc. -- invariably one of them, upon being introduced on stage, can't believe their ears.

There's silence. Hundreds of people in a ballroom, sitting on the other side of very bright lights, with little apples visible on their laptops, sit and wait patiently. And say nothing.

We don't clap.

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JAN
8
2 WKS

'Babylon': TV Review

'Babylon': TV Review

It's hard to imagine the strategy session that took place prior to SundanceTV's picking up the British series Babylon.

The show, created by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting), is being loudly touted as "a dark new comedy series," when it's clearly dark but less clearly funny.

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JAN
8
2 WKS

'Togetherness': TV Review

'Togetherness': TV Review

One of the benefits of an outlet like HBO, Showtime, Netflix or Amazon — any of the more high-minded places that produce television content, but especially those where ratings are not the end-all — is that series creators can make grown-up television about the human condition.

A specificity of the commonplace, day-to-day existence is a big feature of such shows — shows like Girls and Looking on HBO and Transparent on Amazon, are fine examples of the form.

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JAN
7
3 WKS

TCA Journal No. 2: Netflix, Weird Outsider

TCA Journal No. 2: Netflix, Weird Outsider

THR's chief television critic Tim Goodman will be doing a number of these journals from the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena. He'll also be tweeting nonstop. And writing reviews.

Last night I noted, looking at the schedule for Day 1 of TCA, that Netflix was going to kick things off by walking into the cable portion of the press tour. Like a boss.

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JAN
6
3 WKS

TCA Journal No. 1: Why Are We In Pasadena?

TCA Journal No. 1: Why Are We In Pasadena?

THR's Chief Television Critic Tim Goodman will be writing a number of these journals while TCA rolls on forever. He'll also be tweeting non-stop and writing reviews.

Other than Pie 'N Burger, why the hell is everybody going to be in Pasadena for the next few weeks? 

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