Matt Roush


Weekend TV: Dream Builders, Resurrection, Girls Finale

Lena Dunham

In what initially comes off as a Habitat for Inhumanity — fueled by reality-competition juices that upstage the do-gooder impulse of neighborhood home renovation — NBC's derivative American Dream Builders takes its visual cues from Extreme Makeover Home Edition (airing in that show's old time period, Sundays at 8/7c), complete with an elaborate weekly reveal, although the only bus here is the one the contestants repeatedly throw each other under. Dream Builders' emotional dynamic is more attuned to Celebrity Apprentice in its nightmare blueprint of clashing egos getting in the way of a job well done.

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Wednesday TV: The 100, Doll & Em, Alec Baldwin on SVU

Eliza Taylor

Imagine the ultimate CW drama, set on an Earth inhabited solely by telegenic young-adult brats celebrating their complete lack of adult supervision. It's a Tribe Without a Cause! Toss in post-apocalyptic echoes of The Hunger Games, forbidden desires out of The Blue Lagoon and the jungle mysteries of Lost — with a toxic cloud of acid fog instead of a mystical Smoke Monster — and you've got the YA formula for The 100, a high-concept guilty pleasure that comes as a bit of a creative relief after a dreary season of derivative spin-offs, reboots and retreads (reaching a nadir in Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People).

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Monday TV: Lorre's Ladies (Mom & Molly), Dancing Returns

Anna Faris and Allison Janney

On this day most readily associated with the Wearing of the Green, consider a TV industry green with envy at the success of Chuck Lorre's comedy empire on CBS, which renewed all of his current series last week, led by the terrific and tremendously popular The Big Bang Theory (a powerhouse providing a clout that helps explain why the beyond-past-its-prime Two and a Half Men also made the cut). Lorre's two Monday comedies, anchored by strong female performances, are also back next season — and that's especially good news for fans (including me) of the underperforming, underrated Mom, with its sensational mother-daughter tag team of Allison Janney and Anna Faris as Bonnie and Christy, two generations of recovering addicts raising a family against powerful odds.

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Ask Matt: The Walking Dead, Idol, Glee, True Detective, Breaking Bad Spinoff

Norman Reedus and Emily Kinney

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

Question: I am so disappointed in The Walking Dead. I cannot believe that they have indicated that there is an interest on the part of Daryl towards Beth. That is just ick. She is 17 and while I don't know what his age is supposed to be, I've always assumed his character is at least mid 30s. Let me repeat, ick! And it's not as if she is a mature 17-year-old, her character comes across as a complete child to me with just as much growing needed as Carl. In fact, Carl seems more mature to me at times. Why would the writers go there? All I can think is how perverted it is for Daryl to express an interest in a 17-year-old girl, and a character that I once loved is now bordering along the lines of a pedophile. My sister is so upset she thinks she might fast-forward over any story lines that involve Daryl. I know this is a TV show, but all I could think of was people's horrified reaction when Miley Cyrus twerked on Robin Thicke. Where is that horror now? On the upside, I've been reading your column for years and have always greatly enjoyed your thoughts and opinions even when they have differed from my own. Thanks for allowing me to vent. — KC

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Weekend TV in Review: Good Wife, Zombie Mania, Crisis, ESPN's Big East Requiem

Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry

Just about the best news I heard all week: CBS's renewal of the splendid The Good Wife for a sixth season, among a ton of other pick-ups. If the month or more of special-Sunday distractions (Super Bowl, Olympics, Oscars) caused you to drift away, now's a great time for "Opting Back In." Which happens to be the name of a keynote speech Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is nervously preparing for the annual American Bar Association powwow in New York City — an occasion allowing for a terrific running gag involving new Mayor Bill De Blasio (Sunday, 9/8c).

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Tuesday TV in Review: From Dusk Till Dawn, a Trophy Wedding

Zane Holtz and D.J. Cotrona

With Cinemax's grungy cult hit Banshee preparing to close shop for its second season this Friday, fans of grindhouse pulp may want to go searching for the fledgling cable El Rey Network, where a 10-episode series version of the 1996 crime-horror hybrid From Dusk Till Dawn begins wreaking bloody mischief.

Robert Rodriguez, who founded El Rey, returns to his breakout genre roots, directing and writing the stylized pilot episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (Tuesday, 9/8c), which reintroduces the bank-robbing Gecko brothers: the suave Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and psycho loose-cannon Richie (Zane Holtz), who's beset by monstrous visions during a routine stop in a dusty roadside liquor store in Texas, setting off a chain of violent events that will eventually include a run-in with vampires.

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Ask Matt: Reboots and Finales, Binge-watching, Nashville, SVU, and More

Eric Close

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

Question: There have been quite a few resurrections from the TV graveyard as of late and I must say I love it, way more than Hollywood's obsession of making a sequel out of everything as well as making too-soon remakes. Firefly and Veronica Mars both have movie continuations, Dallas and Boy Meets World have spawned new series chronicling the next generation (I know you're not too big a fan of the new Dallas, but I have to say I welcome the return of Judith Light to the series), Netflix brought back Arrested Development for a fourth season, and Heroes is coming out with Heroes: Reborn next year. So I'm wondering what are your thoughts on this phenomenon, and are there any shows that you feel should be next in this craze.

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Monday TV in Review: Believe, Bones Moves Back

Johnny Sequoyah, Delroy Lindo

It's hard not to want to believe in talents like Alfonso Cuaron (of the amazing Gravity) and J.J. Abrams (no TV explanation necessary). These two very busy visionaries lend their names, and Cuaron his directing chops (in the pilot episode, anyway), for NBC's otherwise painfully derivative Believe (Monday, 10/9c), which plays like one of those middling Stephen King melodramas about supernaturally gifted children on the run for their lives.

Cuaron elevates the stock clichés with visual motifs of a butterfly providing mystical guidance and a dizzying flock of pigeons (my idea of a living nightmare) subduing a Big Bad Female Assassin in a loft. It's a handsome looking pilot, even at its most predictably familiar. And as Bo, the spunky little girl whose psychic and paranormal gifts seem to have no end — or, maddeningly, definition — Johnny Sequoyah is agreeable company, never too cute even when the script calls for Bo to be cloyingly precious. Because believe it or not, Believe feels it necessary to squelch the chase-thriller elements with schmaltzy subplots reminiscent of Fox's short-lived Touch. Bo knows goodness, and in between close calls as she eludes her well-funded potential kidnappers, she somehow finds time to inspire a young doctor to get past his crisis of confidence.

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Weekend TV Review: Bountiful, Resurrection, Cosmos

Cicely Tyson

Just try telling Carrie Watts that you can't go home again. This elderly Texan, determined to make her way back to a town that time and everyone but she has forgot, bristles with restless gumption, fueled by an indomitable spirit that erupts in hymns she can't stop humming — or singing, as in a memorable scene set in a deserted bus station after midnight.

On Broadway, where Cicely Tyson won a Tony Award last year for her luminous performance as Carrie in a revival of The Trip to Bountiful, audiences often joined in as she sang "Blessed Assurance" in the play's rapturous high point. And for a moment, in Lifetime's languid movie adaptation (Saturday, 8/7c), you might find your own living room transformed into a choir loft.

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Thursday Review: On USA, Sirens and the Return of Suits

Michael Mosley, Kevin Bigley, Kevin Daniels

Sound the alarm. Someone has a bad case of FX envy — and it isn't pretty. The smarmy and sophomoric Sirens, about three obnoxious Chicago paramedics, is USA Network's awkward attempt to branch out into the bawdy world of dark adult comedy (Thursday, 10/9). Confusing tastelessness and cheap profanity with actual humor, this misfire from executive producer Denis Leary feels like a series of limp outtakes from the more daring Rescue Me.

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