There's a lot of catching up to do as the third season of TNT's alien-invasion sci-fi action series Falling Skies gets underway Sunday, with a two-hour opener (9/8c) understandably if regrettably heavy on exposition in between the elaborate battle scenes. As reported in TV Guide Magazine's current Sci-Fi Preview issue, and emphasized for what seems at least a dozen times during the premiere, seven months have passed since last season's surprise ending, when a new alien force introduced itself to the human ...
In the Flesh
Zombies are hot. But leave it to the British to make them cool. And smart. And a shade more human than many of those they left behind. Turns out that being dead, or undead, is the ultimate wake-up call. While watching BBC America's fascinating and unexpectedly moving three-part miniseries In the Flesh (Thursday through Saturday, 10/9c), I was reminded less of AMC's blockbuster thriller The Walking Dead than of Sundance Channel's recent triumph, the artful Rectify, another searing drama of an outsider adjusting ...
Jordan Gavaris and Tatiana Maslany
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Question: After finishing Saturday's season finale of Orphan Black, many thoughts come to mind, but the most obvious is that if Tatiana Maslany doesn't walk away with the Emmy for best actress — or is it five nominations in the best supporting actress category? — then the people who vote just aren't watching TV. Every character she plays has such varied distinction from hair, voice, even walks, and other minor mannerisms and played them all with a determination like it was her only character. It might have been easy to phone one or two in and at times you could forget it all one person. Matt, I know you enjoy the show, but I was curious: Did you ever at any time find yourself picking a favorite? I think mine came to be Alison, because while they all have a dark side, the one who seemed to be the most sunshine and light was probably the darkest of all with a heavy dose of comedy thrown in. Can the show sustain excellence in Season 2? — Jeffrey
Rochelle Aytes and Alyssa Milano
"Here's the story
Of two lovely ladies ..."
Doesn't take long before ABC Family's The Fosters dispels one of its two moms' worries that if they keep adding kids to their already crowded household, "It's going to be like The Brady Bunch around here." Well, maybe if Carol had married Alice and Alice was an African-American private-school vice principal and Carol was a cop and the kids were a blended multi-racial rainbow of diversity. Earnest but rarely saccharine, this promising new family drama (Monday, 9/8c) — to be paired in future weeks with the channel's best series, Switched at Birth — establishes its edgier tone by introducing its main character, the abused but prideful Callie (Maia Mitchell), as she gets roughed up on her way out of juvy and into the welcoming custody of Lena (Sherri Saum), who hasn't yet told her partner-the-cop Stef (Teri Polo) about the new addition.
In the killing fields of the ubiquitous TV crime drama, there are shows that attempt to expand the formula with depth of character and a hauntingly fatalistic tone, while many others cling to the comfort zone of wrapping each case within a tidy hour, just another routine day on the job. AMC's The Killing, back for a third season of dark brooding after narrowly escaping cancellation, is ambitious to a fault. And its fault lines showed throughout the first two erratic and indulgent though often absorbing seasons, with an overextended inquiry into a single murder case that frustrated and annoyed viewers with its obvious red herrings and stubborn lack of resolution until long past interest had waned.
Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman
"Maybe a movie" would have been a better option after all for continuing the gloriously twisted saga of the beloved cult comedy classic Arrested Development. Those famous last words, spoken by executive producer/narrator Ron Howard in a cameo in the 2006 series finale on Fox, continue to haunt the show's sprawling and rarely satisfying 15-episode reboot on Netflix.
No one saves face in director Steven Soderbergh's ghoulishly entertaining, opulently produced Behind the Candelabra (Sunday, 9/8c), HBO's grandest, gaudiest and most fascinating movie in quite a long while — probably since last year's Game Change, in which Julianne Moore's uncanny impersonation of Sarah Palin swept the awards the way Michael Douglas is likely to repeat with his equally astonishing transformation into the flamboyant but closeted "Mr. Showmanship" Liberace.
It's going to be a long off-season, especially where network TV is concerned, if the offerings don't soon improve from the dregs on display on this inauspicious opening night. Think of it as an excuse to catch up on repeats — or to dive into your DVR and/or On Demand archive to see what's new to you.
The only advice I have after enduring the pilot episode of NBC's woeful comedy Save Me is: Save yourself. This shrill parable of redemption, being burned off in back-to-back episodes (Thursday, 8/7c), is like a spiritual Enlightened for the tone deaf. Anne Heche, at her most manic (and that's saying something), stars as Beth Harper, a heroine possessed with an unbearable lightness of being — or you could just stop at unbearable — when she is suddenly transformed from an "angry drunken bitch" (her words) into a cockeyed optimist seemingly filled with a holy spirit after nearly choking to death on a sandwich.
Charlie McDermott, Patricia Heaton
On this final night of the official broadcast season, let's focus on the good times, shall we? Two of TV's finest comedies, ABC's underappreciated The Middle and the much-honored Modern Family, go out with a flourish, and perhaps a sniffle or two, as the Heck and Dunphy/Pritchett clans experience life-changing and/or affirming ceremonies likely to strike home for many viewers.
So You Think You Can Dance
In what may be a first, a freestyle routine on Monday's final performance round of ABC's Dancing With the Stars — the passionate, intimate contemporary routine performed by Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough — was so terrific it would fit right in on TV's best dancing showcase, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance. As Stars ends its run, with a two-hour finale (Tuesday, 9/8c) welcoming back the season's entire cast — including Wynonna Judd, who'll perform "I Want to Know What Love Is" — the mirrorball ceremony overlaps with a two-hour audition episode of So You Think You Can Dance (8/7c), which is what you should watch if you want to know what dance is in all of its variety.