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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

The Monday Playlist: Divas at Home and Abroad, Voice Goes Live, Logo Gets Felt Up

Taylor Beckham

Cher loves her mom. No reason to think Rihanna doesn't, but for now, the career comes first. Two of pop's highest-profile divas take the spotlight in new docu-specials, with Lifetime's Dear Mom, Love Cher (Monday, 10/9c) going for the heart-strings as Cher pays tribute to her 86-year-old mom, Georgia Holt, who uprooted her family from Arkansas to Hollywood to pursue stardom that would take another generation to achieve. Cher performs a duet with Georgia and introduces recordings her mom taped more than 30 years ago that Cher is preparing to release commercially. Think of this as a helpful reminder if you haven't done your own Mother's Day shopping yet. Rihanna's love-fest in Fox's self-promotional vanity production Rihanna 777 (8/7c) is with the fans who follow her on a world concert tour, packing a 777 airliner along with journalists and a film crew capturing her every move.

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The Monday Playlist: An Uneasy Life After Death Row on Rectify, Plus Brain Games

Abigail Spencer

"It's not UN-weird," says the solemn and seriously disoriented Daniel Holden (a revelatory Aden Young), who's adjusting to life outside of prison after 19 years on death row, to which he was sentenced as a teen for a murder that new evidence suggests he may not have committed. Impeccably written and acted, quietly suspenseful, almost unbearably sad in its aching poignancy, Sundance Channel's six-hour drama series Rectify explores the impact of freedom on the overwhelmed Daniel, his grateful yet apprehensive family and the hostile Georgia small town that still condemns him. read more

HBO's Miniseries Parade's End Explores Romance Among the Ruins of World War I

Benedict Cumberbatch

As the sun streams into an upper-class English drawing room, Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) — flame-haired, corseted, regal — stands up from her morning tea and hurls a plate at her husband, Christopher (Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch). She misses. He doesn't even flinch.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Tietjens. The deliciously snobby (and terribly unfaithful) socialite and her unfailingly decent husband are two sides of the love triangle in Parade's End, HBO's five-part miniseries about longing and lies in World War I-era Britain. The third is angelic Valentine (Adelaide Clemens), an idealistic suffragette and Christopher's soul mate. She's everything Sylvia's not: sensitive, faithful — and a virgin. "Valentine is this kernel of truth and innocence," Cumberbatch says. "She's incredibly sharp and... read more

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