Saturday Night Live is bringing back some familiar faces throughout the month of December.
Paul Rudd will host the show for the third time on Dec. 7, two weeks before Anchorman 2's release. He'll be joined by musical guest One Direction, coming back for their second stint as musical guest.
There's another serious new player in the ever-expanding universe of online original-content providers (see: Netflix and Hulu) — and happily, Amazon's entry into this suddenly cluttered marketplace is not just seriously funny, but it's as bracingly timely as the latest exasperating political headline.
Alpha House (three episodes bow Friday on amazon.com, with future episodes available to Amazon Prime subscribers) is satire at its most blistering and biting, delivered by a master of the trade: Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, whose contempt for political cynicism, venality and hypocrisy doesn't keep the jaded protagonists of this bawdy, brazen comedy from being great company. The setting is a Washington, D.C., row house, home away from home for four Republican senators, led by the fearlessly outrageous John Goodman as a good-old-boy/former football star who's outraged to discover he won't be able to coast through his next election. (His new opponent: a legendary Duke coach. As someone observes: "You're like a retired god. He's active.")
Amazon has announced premiere dates for its first two original series, Alpha House and Betas.
Alpha House will premiere on Nov. 15, while Betas will bow a week later on Nov. 22. The first three episodes of each show will be available immediately to all Amazon customers for free. After the first episodes premiere, Amazon will release one episode weekly via its Prime Instant Video service, for Amazon Prime subscribers.
Is "I've Got You Under My Skin" the most appropriate sweet nothing to croon in the skin-crawling world of AMC's The Walking Dead? No matter, because there's not much of a lull in Sunday's powerful episode (9/8c), ominously titled "Infected." Which suggests the virus that felled Nerd Boy last week creates a bloody panic in the cell block, reminding us how illusory any notion of safety can be. "I haven't seen anybody be lucky in a long time," former Army medic Bob Stookey (new regular Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) observes as a full gamut of courage, terror and anguish is displayed during and after the latest crisis. Earning special bonus stripes this week: Melissa McBride as the awesome Carol, who takes a few distraught girls under her wing, but not to coddle them: "You want to live, you have to become strong" is her mantra. Meanwhile, the walkers keep pressing up against the prison gates and the audience can't get enough of the riveting mayhem, as evidenced by the record numbers who turned out for last Sunday's premiere.
Lecy Goranson, who played the original Becky on Roseanne, never kept up with the show after she left for good in its penultimate season — and, as a result, she didn't even know that her on-screen father, Dan (John Goodman), died in the series finale.