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Showrunners Documentary Chronicles the Rise of TV's Top Creators

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show

For TV fans, showrunners like Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof, Kurt Sutter and J.J. Abrams are just as famous as the stars on their shows. A new documentary, available Friday on iTunes and Video On Demand (and in select theaters), takes an inside look at their jobs and what it takes to make a hit series.

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show is the brainchild of Irish filmmaker Des Doyle, who spent more than four years shooting the documentary. "It was borne out of the fact that I'm a huge, über TV fan," Doyle says.... read more

Weekend Review: HBO's Olive Kitteridge, Revisiting The Affair

Frances McDormand

To know Olive Kitteridge is not easy. Many would likely argue it's not worth the risk of being exposed to her harsh, judgmental New Englander's scorn. Suffer fools gladly? Not this curmudgeonly math teacher who, when her husband insists she's not depressed, snaps back, "Yes, I am. Happy to have it. Comes with being smart." Prompting her long-suffering son to wonder, "Is that why you're so mean all the time?"

And yet, in HBO's oddly moving and melancholy-shrouded two-night adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer-winning novel Olive Kitteridge (Sunday-Monday, 9/8c), a remarkable Frances McDormand makes Olive a fascinating, tragicomic study in human stubbornness, contrariness and contradiction.... read more

First Look: Plastique Blasts Onto The Flash

Grant Gustin and Kelly Frye

Things are about to get explosive on The Flash.

The Nov. 11 episode of The CW superhero series introduces the DC Comics villainess Plastique, aka Bette Sans Souci (played by Kelly Frye). Like Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Bette, a former bomb disposal expert in Iraq, gained a super power as a result of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator disaster. In her case it's the ability to turn any object she touches into an explosive device... read more

Video: Soap Vet Marie Wilson Joins Days of Our Lives

Marie Wilson

Is Hell coming to Salem on Halloween? Former As the World Turns star Marie Wilson hits NBC's Days of Our Lives on Friday, Oct. 31 as Bree, who not only has a past with Hope (Kristian Alfonso) but also one with Aiden (Daniel Cosgrove), the man of Hope's dreams. Does Bree have intel that could destroy this romance before it even gets started?

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Video: A Downton Abbey-palooza on Disney's Doc McStuffins

Doc McStuffins

It's the British invasion! Five popular players from the powerhouse PBS serial Downton Abbey will lend their voices to the Disney Channel animated hit Doc McStuffins — ever so politely, of course.

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Review: CBS's New Thursday: Mom, McCarthys, Elementary Returns

Allison Janney, Anna Faris

The Thursday Night Football experiment is over for now, with games now exclusively on the NFL Network while CBS resumes its regular programming, with a few new tweaks. Most notable is the move from Mondays of the underrated Mom, nestled at 8:30/7:30c between producer Chuck Lorre's higher-profile hits, the dominant The Big Bang Theory at 8/7c and the fading Two and a Half Men, finally entering its final season, at 9/8c.

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Special Report: The Dangerous Side of Survival TV

Cody Lundin

On the wall of a tiny wood cabin outside Prescott, Arizona, hangs a large poster of Cody Lundin staring intensely with a thin half-smile. Below him is a quote: "Learn survival skills from an expert." Lundin was one of the stars of the Discovery Channel series Dual Survival for three and a half of the show's first four seasons, until he departed abruptly late last year. He has been a survival instructor, running his Aboriginal Living Skills School, since the early '90s. This cabin is ostensibly the school's store, though there's little for sale beyond... read more

The Biz: Norman Lear Shares His Life Lessons

Norman Lear

Every innovative producer benefiting from the creative surge in TV should offer a tip of the pork pie hat to Norman Lear. At 92, the trailblazing producer (All In the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude and many others), entrepreneur and activist looks back on his life and career in the new memoir Even This I Get to Experience (Penguin Press). We had the experience of recently chatting with the TV industry legend... read more

To Russia With Love Revisits Sochi Olympics Controversy

To Russia with Love

The controversy over Russia's anti-gay laws, which dominated headlines leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, essentially disappeared from the public eye once the Games began in February. Now, eight months later, the documentary To Russia With Love revisits the story through the eyes of athletes and local activists.

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Ask Matt: In Praise of Walking Dead's Carol, Scandal's Mellie, Face Off, ABC's Wed Comedies, Gotham

Melissa McBride

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

Question: I thought this might be the year when The Walking Dead would finally be represented among the Emmy nominations, at the very least for Melissa McBride as supporting actress for last season's devastating "The Grove" episode. But the noms came and went with nary a Dead mention. I thought this show was among the most-watched basic cable shows, often posting numbers to rival some of the highest-rated broadcast programs every week. I know that its genre is already one strike against it, but is this show also a victim of its own success regarding recognition, where the more popular a show is, the more it provokes attitudes from voters that "normal" people might see as snobbish or anti-populist? While it's true that the dispersal of everybody into smaller groups during the second half of last season was seen as less than successful, and the quality this season appears to have roared back with a vengeance, I'm still thinking there will probably be no difference next year, recognition-wise.

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