Paul Rhys

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Thursday TV Review: Community Returns, ABC's Assets

Paul Rhys

Happy New TV Year! With the Winter Olympics only a little more than a month away, the networks are wasting no time premiering new and returning shows through January, making this almost as busy a month for programming as the heights of September. Let the winter midseason begin.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Some underdogs adopt a never-say-die mentality. In the fringe world of wackiness known as NBC's Community, it's more like never say graduate, as the cult comedy returns for an against-the-odds fifth season with back-to-back episodes (Thursday, 8/7c) once again under the warped tutelage of mercurial series creator Dan Harmon. (For more on his and the show's comeback, go here.)

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Vlad the Impaler Stakes Out Da Vinci's Demons

Da Vinci's Demons

Let's hope he's packing some garlic. Friday's episode of Starz's historical-fantasy series Da Vinci's Demons will feature a face-off between Leonardo Da Vinci (Tom Riley) and Vlad the Impaler (Paul Rhys), the notorious inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's not that crazy a notion: Da Vinci and Vlad were Renaissance contemporaries and close enough neighbors. And Vlad, despite his lust for horrific torture, was hailed as a savior by the Catholic church because he kept the Ottoman Empire from conquering the Italian states.

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