Lone Star, The Event
Forget surviving Premiere Week. Just making it through Monday is going to take nearly superhuman endurance this season. So many diverse and worthy choices, I almost won't miss The Big Bang Theory being shuffled off to Thursdays.
Let's start with the new, and in each case, I'll reprint my Fall Preview blurb with some additional comments. And then on to the handful of returning favorites I've been able to screen in advance.
Want more Matt Roush? Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!
From the top, my favorite new drama: Fox's Lone Star (9/8c). "This fall's best and most original drama taps a gusher of intrigue and twisty romance, with star-is-born James Wolk the most irresistible con man since Lost's Sawyer. Where is this story going? Can't wait to find out."
To elaborate: Newcomer James Wolk...
In this era of nonstop TV, where the seasons blur together with nary a break, finales cluttered this week's TV landscape while we count the days for the official fall TV season to begin. So as our lead topic, some fond and not-so-fond farewells.
Want more Matt Roush? Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!
Starting with TNT's Emmy-winning The Closer, a humdinger of a showdown between Brenda and a sarin gas-bomb-toting psychopath (Matthew Glave, well played), taking revenge on the police and fire squads who'd rejected him. His manifesto ...
Have the Roaring '20s ever roared with such vibrant, violent, extravagantly entertaining life as in HBO's Boardwalk Empire? This instantly captivating period piece feels thrillingly modern as it captures with remarkable detail a chaotic time of invention and re-invention, of social progress and prosperity upstaged by the gaudy corruption and jazzy debauchery of the Prohibition era.
Want more TV News and Reviews? Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!
Boardwalk brilliantly marries Martin Scorsese's virtuosic cinematic eye to Terence Winter's (The Sopranos) panoramic mastery of rich character and eventful story. They romanticize Atlantic City as the Rome of a bootleg empire, where gangsters converge from Chicago and New York to traffic in illegal hooch (among other vices)...
Real Time with Bill Maher (Friday, 10/9c, HBO)
HBO's provocative salon of current-affairs satirical comedy returns for a new round of episodes. What are the odds this outspoken comic will have an opinion about the ongoing hubbub over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque?" No topic is too sensitive or volatile for Maher and his weekly roundtable of celebrity guests and commentators. Stay to the end to watch Maher skewer the culture's most pompous, hypocritical and otherwise ridiculous targets with his "New Rules" segment...
Anna Paquin and Dennis O'Hare
"When am I not in trouble?" Sookie quips to TV's hottest werewolf, Alcide, when he arrives back on the scene after a long absence. She's not kidding. This damsel is in perpetual distress. But the real trouble in Sunday's season finale of True Blood wasn't just that there was too little Alcide, but that there was so much more that was lacking.
Want more TV news and reviews? Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!
The Closer (Monday, 9/8c, TNT)
Surprise Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick wraps this summer's season of the hit crime drama, as Brenda's unit and the FBI investigate the murder of two paramedics, a case with terrorist implications. This forces Brenda to work alongside the head of the counter-terrorism unit, who is also up for the Chief of Police job. (If you missed any of the current season, the episodes will be replayed in a daylong marathon starting at noon/11c.)...
Send questions to email@example.com and follow me on Twitter!
Question: I'm starting to think Elisabeth Moss is going to have a major problem to deal with next summer: deciding which Mad Men episode to submit for Emmy consideration! Peggy has always been one of Mad Men's most complex and intriguing characters, but this season it just feels like Moss and the writers providing her material have been stepping it up more and more in each episode. I can't decide which Peggy moment has been my favorite so far this season: her dabblings in '60s counterculture, her moving reaction to the news of Trudy Campbell's pregnancy, her clever takedown of the horrid new art director, or any of her scenes with Don in the heartbreaking "The Suitcase" episode. What really is blowing my mind is that we're only about halfway through this season of Mad Men. If it's this good already, I can't even imagine how great the climactic episodes are going to be! I just wanted to check in and see if you have been enjoying Peggy lately as much as I have been...
Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm
As summer TV begins to hand off to the fall season, some thoughts and observations on a few of the shows and headlines that stood out.
Instant Classic TV: I haven't been able to stop thinking about Sunday's episode of Mad Men, regarded by many as the high point of the season to date and a series peak as well, a blistering tour de force for Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, who now have dynamite entries for their Emmy reel next year. (This season has been particularly strong for Moss, as Peggy Olson comes into her own: partying with bohemians, doffing her clothes to unnerve the chauvinistic new art director, and now standing up to Don.) "The Suitcase," so masterfully penned by Matthew Weiner that it wouldn't be a surprise to see him at the Emmy podium yet again next year, felt like watching a three-act play — or maybe a three-ring circus veering from drama to comedy back to drama, or perhaps an emotional heavyweight bout that went on much longer — and with more actual ferocity — than the legendary Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston rematch knockdown of May 1965.
Nikita, Vampire Diaries
Who knew the little CW network could become such a player in Thursday's overcrowded TV battleground? All it took were a couple of hot vampires. (Something not lost on HBO these days, either.) Tonight's major TV event: the return of the addictively twisty The Vampire Diaries for its second season of "Bite me, Twilight" supernatural-romance angst. As a bonus, the newest version of the Nikita franchise immediately follows, and it's well worth your time, too. (I'll miss Supernatural on Thursdays, but it will help fill the void on Fridays now that Syfy is turning to wrestling) ...