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Published: 2010-08-12T20:49:30-05:00

 



'Sons of Anarchy' star Charlie Hunnam on Jax's rough ride

2010-08-12T20:49:30-05:00

On my May visit to the "Sons of Anarchy" set in Los Angeles, I spoke with creator Kurt Sutter and four cast members. For Sutter's thoughts on where the Sons are heading in Season 3, look here and here. My interview with Ron Perlman, who plays the motorcycle club's president, Clay Morrow, is here. Below is an interview with Charlie Hunnam, who plays Jax Teller, and after that Q&A, there are short chats with Mark Boone Jr., who plays Bobby Munson, and Tommy Flanagan, who plays Chibs Telford. Be aware that all of these stories assume that you have seen...



Laura Linney brings grit and warmth to uneven 'cancer comedy'

2010-08-12T16:27:20-05:00

"The Big C" (9:30 p.m. Central Monday, Showtime: two and a half stars) might as well be called "The Big L." Laura Linney is the star of this "cancer comedy," and she provides most of the reason to watch it and to put up with the excesses of the first few episodes. (The entire first episode of "The Big C" is below.) Linney's characters, in film or TV, tend to have a number of the same traits: They're a bit tightly wound and neurotic but also grounded and kind and thus innately winning. Linney glows with an inner light yet...



Texas forever: 'Friday Night Lights' to end after Season 5

2010-08-12T12:30:17-05:00

Full hearts, teary eyes: DirecTV announced Thursday that the fifth season of "Friday Night Lights" will be the acclaimed show's last. The fifth and final season will air starting Oct. 27 on DirecTV; that season will then air at some point in 2011 on NBC. It had been widely expected that Season 5, which wrapped a couple of weeks ago in Austin, Texas, would be the show's last, but now the news is official. "Going into Season 5, knowing it would likely be the final season, everyone involved with the show turned our focus to trying to make the best...



'Pushing Daisies' scribe pens otherworldly script

2010-08-12T10:05:33-05:00

It always makes me happy to hear that super-fancy creative types are dipping their toes into the science-fiction and fantasy TV realm. And few are fancier than Bryan Fuller, the creator of "Pushing Daisies" and "Dead Like Me." Syfy announced Thursday that Fuller is writing a pilot for the network based on the book "The Lotus Caves." The novel is about "colonists who rebel against the rigidity of their lunar colony by exploring beyond its proscribed boundaries and discovering a series of caves ruled by a super-intelligent, alien species," according to the network. I know what you're thinking -- this...



AMC snaps up Scandinavian murder mystery drama

2010-08-11T15:42:49-05:00

AMC, home of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," is ramping up its drama slate quite a bit. Its newest drama series, the moody "Rubicon," debuted Aug. 1 and Frank Darabont's upcoming adaptation of "The Walking Dead" arrives in October. Now the network has announced that it is picking up a fifth series, an untitled project based on a Danish TV miniseries about a young girl's murder. Mireille Enos from "Big Love" stars as the detective investigating the case, but for my money, the best news about this announcement is that it also stars Michelle Forbes, one of the best actresses...



Ron Perlman talks Jax, Clay and Season 3 of 'Sons of Anarchy'

2010-08-11T12:46:16-05:00

One of the high points of the fall season will be the return of "Sons of Anarchy" on Sept. 7 on FX. Based on a screening of the Season 3 premiere, the third year of the biker drama promises to be one hell of a ride. On a visit to the "Sons of Anarchy" set in May, I got to sit down with Ron Perlman, who plays Sons leader Clay Morrow. As viewers of the show will recall, Jax Teller, the son of Sons co-founder John Teller, and Clay have been locked in a battle of wills for some time,...



Kiernan Shipka on Sally Draper's difficult 'Mad Men' journey

2010-08-10T14:02:39-05:00

"Mad Men" is deliciously complex, but you could almost sum up the AMC drama by calling it a prelude to Sally Draper's inevitable years of therapy. Sally has witnessed the painful dissolution of her parents' marriage and the exposure of Don and Betty Draper's "perfect" suburban life as a carefully manufactured lie. Her parents' self-absorption and frequent emotional neglect has left Sally a lost and lonely child, who, in the fourth season of the AMC drama, has turned to a creepy young neighbor, Glen, for advice. You may yearn for Sally to get a break, but the actress who plays...



'Torchwood' attracts 'Buffy,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'House' writers

2010-08-06T10:34:23-05:00

Russell T Davies has firmed up the writing staff for the fourth season of "Torchwood," which debuts in the summer of 2011 on Starz. Davies, who created the "Doctor Who" spinoff, will of course write several episodes of the 10-part series, but other writers for Season 4 include John Shiban ("Breaking Bad," "Supernatural," "The X-Files"), Doris Egan ("House," "Tru Calling," "Dark Angel'), Jane Espenson ("Game of Thrones," "Battlestar Galactica," "Buffy") and John Fay (a U.K. "Torchwood" writer). The writers are currently hard at work on the new season of the show, which tells an international story and feature the kind...



Former 'American Idol' producer returns to the fold

2010-08-05T06:57:30-05:00

To the surprise of no one following the soap opera known as "As 'American Idol' Turns," former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is returning to the Fox talent contest. The news had been widely expected for some time (though the deal apparently wasn't done in time for the Monday Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour). It's mildly interesting (and also not that surprising) to note that Lythgoe's role will be as an executive producer, not a judge (he is a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance.") Other "Idol" announcements are likely to come in...



'Mike & Molly' just regular people

2010-08-04T11:53:22-05:00

Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy in "Mike & Molly." When Melissa McCarthy heard about "Mike & Molly," she wanted no part of it."Before I read it, just the thought of it upset me," said the 39-year-old actress and Plainfield native said in a recent interview. "Mike & Molly" is a new CBS comedy for fall, and it follows the relationship of the title characters, who get to know each other at Overeaters Anonymous meetings. McCarthy, who played chef Sookie St. James for seven seasons on "Gilmore Girls" and has appeared in films such as "The Nines" and "The Back-up Plan,"...



Two podcasts: Talking 'Mad Men,' 'The Office,' 'Rubicon' and more

2010-08-03T13:49:46-05:00

Via the poll on this "Mad Men" post, the people have spoken, and they've said they want two podcasts per week. I can't promise that Ryan McGee and I will do two every week (next week I might take a day or two off, so they might be late), but generally speaking, we'll try to do one "Mad Men" podcast and one general TV podcast every week. Don't forget that you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. So, without any further ado, here is this week's "Mad Men" podcast, in which Ryan and I discuss "Christmas Comes But Once...



Shades of gray in the 'noir' new season of 'Supernatural'

2010-08-02T16:59:46-05:00

In a recent interview with "Supernatural" executive producer and showrunner Sera Gamble, two words stood out: "family" and "noir." "There are a lot of shades of gray that we're playing with this season," Gamble said. I spoke to Gamble Wednesday at the CBS/CW/Showtime party at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, and toward the end of our brief chat, she referenced film noir fare such as "L.A. Confidential." "It lends a different kind of gritty darkness because the heroes in those stories are not pure white hats," she noted. Sam and Dean Winchester defeated Lucifer last season, but now...



Bits and pieces from the TCA summer press tour

2010-08-02T16:36:56-05:00

For the print Tribune, my editors asked me to provide a roundup of interesting or notable things that happened this year at the annual TCA summer press tour. That list is below, and be aware that you may have seen some of these observations if you've been following my Twitter feed. Dozens of things -- some ephemeral, some newsworthy -- happen every day at the annual Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles, which is where the networks start publicizing their fall shows in earnest. Here are just a few notable moments from the annual TV confab, which...



Who'll judge 'American Idol'? Fox won't say

2010-08-02T15:24:49-05:00

Welcome to Fox's new show, "So You Think You Can Tapdance." At Fox's executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, chairman Peter Rice and entertainment chief Kevin Reilly soft-shoed and sidestepped around the only topic that the media horde cared about: the future of "American Idol." Reilly and Rice offered a whole lot of nothing, no comment and "we're not going to get into that." As for the rumors that have run rampant in recent days about celebrities and musicians who may be joining the show, "I can tell you that much of the information that...



Let's talk 'Mad Men': Yule be sorry

2010-08-01T23:14:05-05:00

Let's talk below about "Christmas Comes But Once a Year," Sunday's episode of "Mad Men." "You're old fashioned, you know that?" --Peggy Olson We've seen Don Draper do terrible things. He scornfully fired our beloved Sal. He's ripped into Peggy on a regular basis. He called the mother of his children a whore. He cut his brother out of his life, which led to the man's suicide. But I have to say, watching him wound his secretary, Allison, in Sunday's episode was painful to watch. It was a truly epic train wreck. The encounter was almost more awful than those...



Who should replace Carell on 'The Office'? And other NBC press tour notes

2010-07-30T18:28:26-05:00

This week, much of the TV industry is speculating on who will judge the next season of "American Idol." That's certainly a story, but I prefer to ignore the speculation about alleged judge candidates until Monday, when Fox will make its presentation to the media at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles. Until Fox itself names names, it's hard to believe any of the rumors flying around. Today was NBC's day in front of the critics, and not surprisingly, Peacock executives seemed relieved that there weren't any recent train wrecks to defend. Still, the network has...



'Rubicon' provides a brooding spy tale for conspiracy fans

2010-07-30T03:43:43-05:00

--Posted by Maureen Ryan There's something almost romantic about the retro feel of "Rubicon" (7 p.m. Central Sunday, AMC; two and a half stars). This brooding, meandering thriller about an analyst who stumbles upon dangerous secrets recalls an earlier, freer time, when nobody was yoked to a Blackberry or iPhone and storytellers could spin yarns without the audience wondering why the characters didn't just text or email each other, rather than actually converse in person. Maybe this drama is offering an indictment on technology, which hasn't made many of us feel appreciably safer, no matter how many times we saw...



Ellen DeGeneres exits 'American Idol'

2010-07-29T19:25:39-05:00

As far as tryouts go, Ellen DeGeneres' audition wasn't a rousing success. And now the talk-show host has told the producers of "American Idol" that she is leaving the show after one season as a judge. UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that Jennifer Lopez will be joining the judges' panel. "It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for," DeGeneres said in a statement from Fox." I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their...



Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' lord is Dance

2010-07-29T16:35:10-05:00

Charles Dance has been cast as nobleman Tywin Lannister in HBO's upcoming epic "Game of Thrones." A wealthy lord and head of one of the most powerful clans in the realm, Tywin is one of the most memorable characters in the series of George R.R. Martin novels that begins with "Game of Thrones." Tywin is father of the despised Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and the calculating twins Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey). "Thrones," which arrives in 2011, is one of the most hotly anticipated shows on HBO's roster; its cast includes Headey, Sean Bean, Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Dinklage, Jason...



What's to come on 'How I Met Your Mother' and what went awry in Season 5

2010-07-29T02:34:10-05:00

--Posted by Maureen Ryan "I hope no one will throw the word 'sitcommy' at us after Season 6." Those are the words of Craig Thomas, executive producer and co-creator of "How I Met Your Mother." He and Carter Bays, his fellow executive producer and co-creator, gave a group interview to several TV writers and critics Wednesday evening at the Television Critics Association press tour. They talked about beginning the show's overall endgame and what's to come in Season 6 (and much of that information is at the end of this post). And for almost an hour, Thomas and Bays talked...