Matt Roush


Critic's Notebook: CBS at TCA

Dean Winters, Josh Duhamel

When at first you do succeed: do it again. Imitation, not innovation, was the prevailing takeaway when CBS presented its fall prospects (and one notable midseason contender) at the TCA press tour on Thursday.

Not that the network's entertainment chairman Nina Tassler had any apologies for doubling down on what works — not when a franchise like NCIS (launching its second spinoff in September) can achieve what she called the "creative holy grail" with its global dominance, or when syndication and/or streaming deals with outlets like Hulu, Amazon and WGN add to the bottom line for shows including the acclaimed The Good Wife and Elementary and the sci-fi hits of the last two summers. "These [new] platforms aren't replacing each other. They're complementing one another and enhancing the value of the content as it moves from window to window."

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Review: USA's Rush and Satisfaction; FX's Un-RomComs

Matt Passmore

It started with the swearing, a not-so-subtle indication that USA Network's "blue skies" credo was welcoming some adult turbulence into its programming. Its shows of recent vintage, including the sleek, sexy and casually profane Suits and the gritty undercover drama Graceland, have started to move USA into edgier, bolder territory. Two new Thursday dramas, Rush (9/8c) and Satisfaction (10/9c), are furthering that evolution, threatening to go over the top with their shock-value content in what looks like a bad case of FX/AMC envy. The results are decidedly mixed.

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Critic's Notebook: ABC at TCA

John Cho, Karen Gillan

The verdict is still out regarding ABC's middling batch of new shows for the fall — as often happens, many of the network's more tantalizing projects are being held until midseason — but as ABC stepped into the TCA press-tour spotlight on Tuesday, the vibe was unusually positive because of one overarching hot-button issue: diversity. (For more ABC news, go here.)

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Ask Matt: Emmy Snubs, Sweden, 24, Dome and Extant, and More

Juliana Margulies, Tatiana Maslany

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

Question: Once again, this year's Emmy nominations are predictably boring. What was the bigger snub: No Good Wife nomination for Best Drama (especially with a weak Downton Abbey season in its place) or no nomination for Tatiana Maslany for her web of roles on Orphan Black? (I already know the answer: Both snubs were egregious.) — Erin

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Critic's Notebook: NBC at TCA

NBC Logo

NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt did everything but launch into a chorus of "I've Gotta Crow" — a song from Peter Pan, the next live musical on the network's slate (on Dec. 4) — as he bullishly opened the network portion of the TCA summer press tour on Sunday. (One of his buzzier announcements involved naming Christopher Walken as that show's Captain Hook.) read more

Weekend TV: FX's Creepy Strain, Return of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex

Mia Maestro

"It's not for everyone," growls the grizzled, sword-wielding Armenian pawnshop owner (Game of Thrones' David Bradley), whose unromantic notion of vampire slaying includes mass decapitations and body burnings. Likewise, FX's deliciously freaky and gruesomely graphic The Strain (Sunday, 10/9c) won't be for all tastes. But the network is betting, probably correctly, that a midsummer popcorn feast of classic monster-movie horror, served without apology and blessedly free of irony, will resonate with fright fans eager to jump out of their seats, which turns out to be a Strain specialty. This could, and deserves to be, FX's Walking Dead-sized blockbuster.

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Critic's Notebook: The Emmy Nominations

Lena Headey

No one expects the Emmy nominations to please everybody — there's simply too much TV these days, including on unconventional platforms like Netflix, and there are always going to be shows and performers that won't make the cut, however deserving. But even when the Emmy voters get something right, like adding HBO's freshman hoot Silicon Valley to the best-comedy contenders, we still find ourselves griping over where they stumbled, nowhere more glaringly than in the drama-series race. (For a list of nominees in the major categories, go here.)

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Review: Extant and New NBC Summer Comedies

Greg Poehler

In space, no one can see you conceive. That appears to be the weird but intriguing premise of CBS's high-profile summer fantasy drama Extant, a show put into play after last year's successful summer run of the network's increasingly absurd Under the Dome. While Wednesday's pilot episode (9/8c) of Extant (all that was available for review) lacks the sort of unforgettable "wow" moment provided by the severed cow in Dome's opener, the new series also seems less likely to lapse irrevocably into silly hysteria.

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Ask Matt: Orange and the Emmys, Leftovers, Last Ship, View Shake-Up, and More

Christopher Eccleston, Justin Theroux

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

Question: With Emmy nominations coming up, I had a few questions about Orange Is the New Black. What effect if any do you think Season 2 airing just around the time of Emmy voting will have on the show? Thankfully, Season 2 seems to have lived up to its predecessor in the eyes of the critics (I thought the season overall might have even been better than the first), and performances by cast members like Uzo Aduba (Suzanne "Crazy Eyes") and Samira Wiley (Poussey) blew me out of the water, but if the season didn't live up to expectations, could it have possibly hurt the show in the nominations process this year as well as next? And do you think the fantastic performances by Aduba and Wiley this season could potentially help them as they try to get nominated for their work on the first season? — Kevin

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Weekend TV Review: Leftovers, Reckless, a Derek Jacobi Double Bill

Christopher Eccleston and Justin Theroux

"Everybody's ready to feel better," says the mayor of a suburban Anytown that acts as a microcosm of a shattered world in HBO's existentially bleak The Leftovers (Sunday, 10/9c). And chances are you'll require your own pick-me-up after sampling the darkest and most problematic of a new wave of end-times summer series that includes TNT's gung-ho hit The Last Ship and FX's upcoming vampire-virus horror-show The Strain (July 13). With Leftovers, it's a morose case of... read more

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