Matt Roush


Review: A Slice of Oscar History

Ellen DeGeneres

Good to know I'm not the only one who needs pizza to make it through a long night at the Oscars.

With Ellen DeGeneres serving up laughs along with slices, disarming the starry crowd with stunts like a pizza delivery for the starving captive audience and a Superstar Selfie that temporarily broke Twitter (and during the taking of which Meryl Streep delightfully blurted, "I've never tweeted before!"), even the Oscars' inevitable dull patches felt less painful than usual.

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Weekend Review: Hannibal, Binging (Or Not to Binge) on Cards, Oscars

Laurence Fishburne, Mads Mikkelsen

"I never feel guilty eating anything," purrs Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) as he serves up another portion of some erotically charged exotic delicacy. NBC's Hannibal (Friday, 10/9c), in its second season, is a feast of macabre freakishness, going beyond the realm of guilty pleasure in a sustained nightmare of horrific yet elegantly hypnotic design.

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Thursday TV: The Red Road, Vikings, Portlandia Join TV's Busiest Night

Julianne Nicholson and Martin Henderson

The road of great expectations invariably contains its share of potholes. So it is with SundanceTV's The Red Road (Thursday, 9/8c), a lugubrious six-episode drama that's as overwrought as it is underwhelming, representing a rare misfire for the channel that brought us such outstanding originals as Top of the Lake and Rectify last year.

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Tuesday TV Review: Mind Games, Frontline at the Vatican, Glee's New Night

Steve Zahn, Christian Slater, Jaime Ray Newman

Even in a season distinguished by insta-duds like Lucky 7 and Betrayal, ABC hits a new low with Mind Games (Tuesday, 10/9c), an inexplicably and ridiculously convoluted drama which achieves the rare trick of making Christian Slater look like a master of understated acting. He plays an ex-con who teams with his frenetic, bipolar brother (Steve Zahn in an eye-poppingly cartoonish performance), an expert in all human behaviors but his own, to start a firm that specializes in elaborate psychological manipulations to achieve their clients' aims.

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Monday TV: The Post-Olympics Rush Begins

James Spader, Megan Boone

After the Games, the deluge. Now that Sochi's Closing Ceremony is but a glittery, shimmering memory, time for TV to get back to normal — which means everything new is finally new again. And for NBC, it signifies another big week, as it tries to keep the momentum going, using a new season of The Voice (8/7c) and its irresistible Blind Auditions to fuel ratings on Mondays and Tuesdays, with a visceral assist from The Blacklist (10/9c). Red's latest target: a woman from his shadowy past played by Jennifer Ehle, who'll always be my favorite Elizabeth Bennet (from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice).

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Ask Matt: Justified, CSI, Person of Interest, Resurrection and More!

Timothy Olyphant

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

Question: Justified is the very best cable has to offer. It is well written and the actors seem to have been born to play those characters. I cannot believe how you can love and hate a person at the same time, but with Boyd (Walton Goggins), that is the way it is. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is the good/bad guy that women want to love and men want to kill or the very least knock out! Please tell me that Art (Nick Searcy) and Raylan are going to end as friends. Raylan and Art were more than friends by the second season and I would hate to think Art would distance himself from Raylan because he did not intervene when Nicky Augustine got his just desserts! — Ann

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Weekend Review: About a Boy, Fisher Sneak Peeks, Downton Finale

Minnie Driver, David Walton, Banjamin Stockham

This week's gold-medal question: Can NBC reverse its spotty track record when it comes to using the ratings boost of the Olympics to launch new programs? (Remember the Summer 2012 debacle when the network interrupted the flow of London's Closing Ceremony to inflict Animal Practice on an unwilling captive audience?)

The news is better this weekend, during the closing nights of the Games. The comedies getting a sneak peek are considerably more entertaining than Animal Practice — what wouldn't be? — and they won't air until after that night's Olympics packages are finished.

First up is NBC's best new comedy of the season (including the star-driven disappointments that flopped on Thursdays this fall): About a Boy, airing Saturday night at approximately 11/10c before moving to its regular time period next Tuesday at 9/8c. This charmingly offbeat ... read more

Ask Matt: True Detective, Olympics, Ralph Waite, Teen Wolf, Justified

Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson

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

Question: True Detective is by far my new favorite show! The acting, storyline, intensity (especially last week's episode on Feb. 9) is incredible! 
I've heard that this is just a miniseries. However, with the good ratings and reviews as it is getting, any word on a possible renewal of a second season? - Mike

Matt Roush: Though it hasn't been officially renewed yet, that seems to be just a formality at this point, especially since HBO has signed the show's creator Nic Pizzolatto to a two-year deal. Which means more True Detective, although whatever happens, it will be a very different True Detective in seasons to come. Because this is one of those franchises that occupies the territory somewhere between miniseries and anthology, not unlike American Horror Story but potentially with less of a repertory ensemble feel. If/when True Detective returns, it will be with new stars, new characters, a new locale and new focus, so don't get too attached to Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, although I understand why you would be.

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Critic's Notebook: Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show Debut

Jimmy Fallon

Some things you just can't do from Beautiful Downtown Burbank. On the first night of a reinvented, relocated Tonight Show now starring Jimmy Fallon from the heart of New York City, U2 took to the Top of the Rock — 30 Rock, that is — to perform "Invisible" with the glittery Manhattan skyline gloriously visible behind them.

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Weekend TV Review: Give These Shows a Medal!

Benedict Cumberbatch

While the Olympians continue to dominate the TV spotlight in Sochi, another gathering of championship talent takes a bow in the weekend's other gold-medal event: PBS's Great Performances presentation of National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (Friday, 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings).

Laurence Olivier led the National Theatre upon its founding in 1963, and he and other luminaries are seen in vintage clips from past productions, interspersed throughout a dazzling evening of live re-enactments and tantalizing excerpts from landmark plays, including Angels in America, Stuff Happens, The History Boys and War Horse. Fans of Downton Abbey will delight to see the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith in her 1964 prime, vamping in ... read more

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