Matt Roush


Ask Matt: 24, Game of Thrones, Louie, Summer "Burn-Offs," TV Pirates

Keifer Sutherland, William Devane

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

Question: Let's talk 24: Live Another Day. What are your thoughts on the season so far? I have to say, I'm loving it! The two-hour opener wasn't the best, and I'm not thrilled about the Chloe with the dragon tattoo, but it's been getting progressively better each week, and it's starting to feel like the 24 that I used to love (i.e., up to Season 5.) By the end of the original series, they had lost what made it great: the intriguing peripheral characters, politics and side-stories, and completely focused on indestructible Jack and his band of disposable supporting players. But this season he's found a worthy sidekick in Kate, we have all the drama around Heller and his team, the Russians lurking in the background, and I'm really digging where they're going with the hipster CIA tech. (Could we have a new Chloe on our hands?) read more

Monday TV Review: Fighting for Their Rights

The Case Against 8

Watching history repeat itself can be thrilling. In a neat juxtaposition, two stirring documentaries about historic civil-rights campaigns — one fresh in memory, the other marking a 50th-anniversary milestone — are airing on consecutive nights this week, a galvanizing reminder of the personal stakes in the ongoing struggle for individual freedoms.

HBO's The Case Against 8 (Monday, 9/8c), a film-festival favorite, is an intimate, exhaustive account of last year's legal battle to overturn California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. Freedom Summer, from PBS's acclaimed American Experience series (Tuesday at 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings), recalls the selfless efforts of hundreds of college students from across the country who descended on Mississippi in the sweltering summer of 1964, facing violent resistance in their determination to challenge the segregationist establishment and register African Americans to vote.

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Critic's Notebook: Summer TV Comings and Goings

Tatiana Maslany

Forget the old Rodgers & Hammerstein song about June. TV is busting out all over, and what a remarkable week it has been. Starting with HBO's Game of Thrones wrapping another astounding season last Sunday — this run of episodes blessed by being able to dramatize so many, though not all, of the climactic events of book 3, A Storm of Swords, the best in George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice & Fire" series — ending with a... read more

Ask Matt: Fargo, Glades Rage (and Other Cancellations), Case Histories

Billy Bob Thornton

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

Question: I am shocked how some of your readers think Fargo should have been just a follow-up to the movie with let's see how Marge is doing since everyone else involved in the movie was either dead or in prison. I agree that the show is terrific. The episode last week was one of the most amazing episodes of TV I have ever seen.

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Weekend TV: Silicon Valley finale, Halt and Catch Fire Premiere

Silicon Valley

Computer geeks rule this Sunday, as HBO's hilarious Silicon Valley wraps its first season on a triumphant high, while in the very same time period (10/9c), AMC launches the intriguing new drama Halt and Catch Fire, flashing back 30 years to the early days of the 1980s PC revolution. The best bet, as it has been throughout its eight-episode freshman run, is Silicon Valley, introducing an ensemble of such endearing quirkiness that even a decidedly low-tech soul such as myself hangs on every word as timid visionary Richard (Thomas Middleditch, a marvel of quaking anxiety) prepares to unleash the fruits of his "compression algorithm" through an upstart company named Pied Piper.

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Wednesday TV: Don Rickles Tribute, NBC's Snowden Scoop

Robert De Niro, Don Rickles

Insults never sounded sweeter than when Don Rickles was hurling hilarious barbs at his targets, whether innocent ringside onlookers or the rich and famous on a celebrity roast dais. At 88, though stooped and using a cane, he still gives as good as he gets, a fact brought home with delightful wit and genuine lump-in-the-throat sentiment in Spike TV's One Night Only: An All-Star Tribute to Don Rickles (Wednesday, 9/8c).

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Ask Matt: Finales (Castle, Mentalist), Penny Dreadful, Cancellation Fallout

Simon Baker, Robin Tunney

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

Question: Last week, you wrote about how producers "often — too often, to be honest — try to end their seasons with a bang ... in hopes of stimulating interest for when they return several months later." I understand the reasoning, and it definitely worked for me with Person of Interest — it was game-changing and left me very curious to see how it goes, but satisfying. However I had the opposite reaction to Castle, which looked to be heading for a good place to pause with a minor game-changer (Mr. & Mrs. Castle), even got some nice wedding emotion going, and then threw in a ridiculous "dun-dun-dun" moment which had zero emotional impact as no one believes Castle could be dead. Most of these cliffhangers now seem to me like cheap tricks, a shyster trying to "buy" your viewing next fall, while moving the story to a new level seems a legitimate way of keeping interest and far more likely to have a good payoff in terms of the story next year. Anyway, it led me to wonder are there any "cliffhangers" of the past that you remember with pleasure and/or satisfaction, or is it only the game-changers that stand out in your mind? As always, thanks for an interesting column. — Elle

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Weekend Review: HBO's The Normal Heart

Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch

The heart breaks while tempers violently flare in HBO's The Normal Heart (Sunday, 9/8c), Ryan Murphy's emotionally and politically explosive film version of Larry Kramer's provocative stage drama about the early response, within and outside the gay community, to the '80s AIDS crisis.

Teeming with anger, sorrow, passion and purpose, this powerful and harrowing movie is part tragic love story in plague times, part agitprop manifesto and tribute to tireless activism. "We're not yelling loud enough!" bellows Ned Weeks (an engagingly abrasive Mark Ruffalo), the story's pushy moral conscience, a belligerent scold who refuses to play nice when so many lives are at stake.

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Ask Matt: Cancellations, Louie, Finales (Person of Interest, Castle, Blacklist, More)

Louis C. K. and Sarah Baker

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

Question: I am sure many people were disappointed by the cancellation announcements this year. I was especially sad to see Trophy Wife taken too soon. But it left me wondering why ABC didn't try a different time slot, and then I realized overall it seemed as though none of the networks moved shows around the schedule like they have done in the past. Do you think this strategy helps or hurts shows struggling to find an audience? — Rob

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Weekend TV Review: Good Wife Finale, Lifetime's Zero

Michael J. Fox, Matt Czuchry and Julianna Margulies

The gloves come off in a sensational finale to an incredible season of CBS's The Good Wife (Sunday, 9/8c), one of the best and hands down the most purely entertaining drama series anywhere on TV. The intrigue is riveting as rival law firms (Florrick/Agos, Lockhart/Gardner) go for broke, using any means necessary — including possibly illegal electronic eavesdropping — to get the advantage on the other in what now seems a fight to the death. Partners battle partners between and within both teams, and when Christine Baranski (the embattled Diane) faces off with Michael J. Fox (ruthless interloper Louis Canning) for control of the firm she built with the late Will Gardner, the fireworks are as awesome as the surprising fallout.

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