Cheers to Khandi Alexander for her tour de hurricane force on Treme.
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As her character, bar owner LaDonna Batiste Williams, raged at the rapist who attacked her — and the legal system that temporarily freed him due to a clerical error — Alexander powerfully embodied the citywide anger at the lawlessness in post-Katrina New Orleans. The actress, who was unjustly denied an Emmy nomination for her fiercely nuanced turn as a recovering drug-addict mother in Treme creator David Simon's 2000 miniseries, The Corner, deserves long-overdue recognition for this role.
Rizzoli & Isles
Sexier than Cagney and Lacey, brainier than Laverne and Shirley and way better at tracking down serial killers than the women of The View, Rizzoli and Isles are TV's favorite gal pals of the moment. The show's ratings are through the roof. Bloggers obsess over the characters' "secret" love lives. Big-name guest stars are on the horizon. Still, for Angie Harmon, the show's chisel-cheeked costar, the true sign of success was getting a shout-out from Liz Lemon. Last spring, when Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock heard that her boss Jack was buying a cable network, Liz practically started hyperventilating: "Is it TNT? Are Rizzoli and Isles friends in real life?"
"I know it was a joke, but I kinda went, 'Hey, we made it!'" says Harmon. She's taking a break between scenes on the Rizzoli & Isles set in Los Angeles and talking about the 101 unexpected side effects of having the hottest new cable show of the past year. In its debut run last summer, Rizzoli & Isles drew nearly 9 million viewers a week, making the one-hour drama about a duo of mismatched crime investigators the highest-rated commercial-supported cable series of all time. And it's not just Tina Fey: "Old guys from Boston, young girls who tell me we inspire them, moms on the street," Harmon says. "I'm in awe of all the fans of this show."
All season long...
Malik Yoba, Azita Ghanizada, David Strathairn
The networks are still holding out for a superhero. While comic-book films Thor, X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern all hit No. 1 at the box office recently (with mixed staying power), TV has been slower to cultivate a new generation of caped crusaders.
But have no fear, citizens of TV land: Help is on the way. Super-heroes play a role in...
Hung's Thomas Jane has long maintained a "no gay sex" mandate for his male prostitute character, Ray Drecker, and "that maxim still stands," he says. But when a rival anything-goes gigolo (The Vampire Diaries' Stephen Amell) hones in on Ray's territory in Hung's third season (premiering on HBO in October), Ray inches closer to the forbidden LGBT zone. Mid-season, he'll bed down with a pre-op transgender receptionist named Kyla before contemplating a full same-sex encounter. Kyla is played by transgender actress Jamie Clayton, whose only previous TV experience was cohosting VH1's TRANSform Me.
When Thomas first got wind of Ray's new adventures...
With a mischievous smile, Laura Linney is gleefully ruining a take. During a tense scene between her character, Cathy Jamison, who has Stage 4 melanoma, and her bipolar brother, Sean, played by John Benjamin Hickey, she makes her costar break down in giggles.
Whoever says cancer is no laughing matter hasn't seen The Big C, Showtime's irreverent comedy about a Minneapolis teacher, wife and mom who's trying not only to beat death but to live as fully as possible in whatever time she has left. The smartly written, beautifully cast show has earned a devoted fan base and critical plaudits, and three-time Emmy winner Linney has already snared a Golden Globe for her deft portrayal of the strong-willed Cathy....
Lauren Cohan has a nasty habit of getting killed off popular sci-fi shows just as her star is on the rise. As Supernatural's Bela, she was devoured by Hell hounds and as The Vampire Diaries' Rose, she was killed by a werewolf bite (she was spared on Chuck after trying to kill Sarah).
But if her new Walking Dead gig follows the trajectory of the graphic novels from which the AMC series is based, Lauren may have found a job with stability — her Maggie Greene is among Farmer Hershel's fortunate few children who survive the zombie plague.<
Richard T. Jones
Since Jean Smart's Gov. Pat Jameson was gunned down after being exposed as a traitor in bed with Wo-Fat in Hawaii Five-0's stunning game-changing season finale, there's been an opening to fill in the Honolulu governor's mansion. Not anymore. Stepping in to the office will be Jameson's as-yet-unseen Lt. Governor, to be played by...
Hunter Tylo, Colleen Bell and Ronn Moss
The Bold and the Beautiful has finally been forced to call in the police — the fashion police! The 24-year-old CBS sudser, set against the world of haute couture, just won its third best soap Emmy in a row but, let's face it, the show has never been a mover and shaker when it comes to style. In fact, it's always seemed a bit behind the times. That's all changing thanks to Colleen Bell. The L.A. style maven and philanthropist — wed to B&B exec producer Brad Bell — holds the title of Director of Special Projects and is now in charge of giving the soap a major makeover.