Matt Roush


Weekend TV: Orphan Black, Salem, Lifetime Making Whoopi

Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris

"You are a bloody wrecking ball. You are an exploding cigar," laments a confidante of the clones under siege in BBC America's thrillingly entertaining Orphan Black. She's also a bloody marvel, as Tatiana Maslany plays these diverse doppelgangers with astonishing range and surprising nuance. Scrappy street waif? Check. High-strung soccer mom? Check. Lesbian scientist-in-training? Check. Deranged Russian assassin? Why not. Beyond a provocative premise and blistering pace, Orphan Black is a terrific showcase for one of TV's great performances. Even when it threatens to look like a stunt, with one clone at another's throat in a smackdown or layering the subterfuge when one clone pretends to be another, this bonded-by-genetics sister act never feels forced or phony.

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Tuesday TV: You Betcha, Fargo's Terrific

Allison Tolman, Bob Odenkirk

There's no place quite like the twisted heartland of FX's Fargo (Tuesday, 10/9c), a marvelous 10-episode variation on themes established in the quirky 1996 Oscar winning film. Once again, warm and neighborly small-town decency gives way to a bitter chill that has less to do with the snowy Minnesota plains than with the dark crevasses of human depravity.

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Monday TV: Mom's the Word, and Warehouse 13 Opens One Last Time

Allison Janney, Anna Faris

All season long, I've been likening CBS's freshman sleeper Mom to gritty sitcom foremothers like Roseanne and Grace Under Fire (shows on which executive producer Chuck Lorre famously spent time before his current CBS heyday). That comparison rings especially true in the first-season finale (Monday, 9:30/8:30c), as third-generation mom-too-soon Violet (Sadie Calvano) gives birth while her own imperfect mother, Christy (Anna Faris), and caustic grandma Bonnie (Allison Janney) look on with emotional empathy. read more

Ask Matt: S.H.I.E.L.D., Helix, Justified, Hannibal and More

Brett Dalton, Bill Paxton

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: What do you think of the "Uprising" arc in the second half of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season? I think it is miles better than the first half of this season, which was pretty so-so at times. [Spoilers ahead] The tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Garrett being revealed as the Clairvoyant working for Hydra, were very good plot twists, along with Agent Ward being a turncoat to work for Agent Garrett and Hydra — or could Ward be going undercover for Agent Coulson to help S.H.I.E.L.D. bring down Hydra? I really hope this show gets renewed for a second season by ABC, so that it will continue to improve and be a better show that everyone can enjoy to watch! - Chris

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Weekend TV: Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Bletchley Return

Elisabeth Moss

And so the unnecessarily long goodbye begins for AMC's breakout, breakthrough signature series Mad Men, its final 14 hours being unconscionably broken into two halves over two years, starting Sunday at 10/9c. (Yes, it worked for Breaking Bad, but this isn't that kind of show.) While prolonging the inevitable, and potentially blunting whatever narrative momentum still exists in a most inelegant and desperate-seeming way, it's no wonder the often dazzling opening episode — titled "Time Zones," in a nod to the firm's now-bicoastal focus — is so preoccupied with time.

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Ready For My Close-Up: TCM's 20th Anniversary

Robert Osborne and Matt Roush

True fact: One of the first things I most loved about TV was the movies. Specifically old movies, the classics that once upon a technologically simpler time were only accessible to most of us via TV. No VCRs, DVRs, DVDs or streaming in those days. They would often air at odd times in the late afternoon (pre-Oprah era) or late at night. Which is also why one of my earliest memories of my long relationship with TV Guide Magazine involves scouring the local listings for the movies the stations in my market (Cincinnati) would be showing any given week, back when they used to do such things.

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Ask Matt: Mother Finale, More Good Wife Reaction, Americans, NCIS

Josh Radnor, Cristin Milioti

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: I imagine you must be getting flooded with questions and/or ranting about the finale of How I Met Your Mother. I was among those who left the finale feeling incredibly sad, not what I expect from a show that's kept me laughing (and sometimes crying) for the last nine years, even when others were saying that the quality had declined. The thing is, when looked at objectively, I don't even have a major problem (Major Problem!) with the content of the finale. Yes, people get divorced and people die. People get remarried after both, and I've known several people in my own life who have reconnected with an old girlfriend or high-school sweetheart after the death of a spouse. It doesn't invalidate the marriage or even lessen the feelings of loss. The finale itself had great moments: the high-infinity, Marshall's "positive talk" about his corporate job, Judge Fudge, the mother's Gore/Lieberman costume, robots versus wrestlers, etc. Seeing Barney with a child was wonderful, although I did think he had grown more than immediately going back to his old ways after his divorce. And the scene on the platform was near perfection as they wove in how their almost-shared history was influencing their connection, making the whole nine-year story relevant to how he'd actually met the mother. (By the way, one more TM would be the name we've known Tracy by: The Mother.)

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Weekend TV: Silicon Valley, Thrones and Veep on HBO; AMCs' Turn

Thomas Middleditch, Josh Brener

In what amounts to a "eureka" moment for the dweeby hero of HBO's Silicon Valley (Sunday, 10/9c), Mike Judge's stingingly funny send-up of the tech-boom culture, accidental entrepreneur Richard (Thomas Middleditch) acknowledges midway through the fourth episode, "That's what I don't have: game!"

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Mindy, Amy and (on DVD) Laura Petrie: TV's Funny Girls

Chris Messina, Mindy Kaling

Having recently been renewed for a third season, disproving TV's usual out-of-sight/out-of-mind policy, Fox's The Mindy Project emerges from a three-month hiatus with back-to-back episodes (Tuesday, 9/8c) demonstrating Mindy Kaling's devotion to screwball comedy. A concept which Amy Schumer would probably find a way to make sound really, hilariously dirty. (Her uproarious Comedy Central sketch-com Inside Amy Schumer returns at 10:30/9:30c, making this an especially happy April Fools Day.)

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Monday TV: Mother Ends, Friends Begins

James Van Der Beek, Kevin Connolly, Majandra Delfino

"Love doesn't make sense," hopeless romantic Ted told almost-runaway bride Robin last week in the penultimate episode of CBS's long-running romcom How I Met Your Mother. That episode ended, as we knew it would, with Robin and Barney tying the knot, because as Ted concluded in his Speech That Sums The Series Up: "Love is the best thing we do." True words, but even truer were these words: "I won't lie, that was a long weekend."

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