Dust off your fancypants, Downton Abbey fans. The British series' fifth season has a Stateside premiere date...
Michael J. Fox, Matt Czuchry and Julianna Margulies
The gloves come off in a sensational finale to an incredible season of CBS's The Good Wife (Sunday, 9/8c), one of the best and hands down the most purely entertaining drama series anywhere on TV. The intrigue is riveting as rival law firms (Florrick/Agos, Lockhart/Gardner) go for broke, using any means necessary — including possibly illegal electronic eavesdropping — to get the advantage on the other in what now seems a fight to the death. Partners battle partners between and within both teams, and when Christine Baranski (the embattled Diane) faces off with Michael J. Fox (ruthless interloper Louis Canning) for control of the firm she built with the late Will Gardner, the fireworks are as awesome as the surprising fallout.
Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming
In a sudden, shocking (and heaven be praised, unspoiled) twist, this tremendous fifth season of CBS's The Good Wife has shifted from the dueling-firms spectacle of Alicia-vs-Will to the gut-wrenching reality of Alicia — and everyone else in her universe — grieving Will. Her former lover and boss-turned-rival (a succulent role for Josh Charles, who will be terribly missed) was the victim of a courtroom shooting, which in a savage irony was perpetrated by the vulnerable young client (Hunter Parrish) Will was busily defending. Will died doing what he loved best, you might say with his boots on — although one of his shoes was blown off in the violent melee — and now it's time to mourn.
Emily Van Camp, Josh Bowman
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Question: I just read that Mike Kelley, the creator of Revenge, is leaving the show after this season. I will admit that this season isn't as good as the first, but it's OK. There are reports that Mike Kelley wanted shorter seasons, like on cable, with 13 episodes instead of the regular 22 moving forward. Since that wasn't going to happen, he left. What do you think? Do you think the show would work better with a shorter episode order? Also, if Kelley knew the show wouldn't work with longer seasons, why didn't he speak up the first season? Do you think someone else stepping in will freshen the show a bit? I will admit the time I started to take a step back and realize the writers were going too far was when they revealed Victoria had yet another child. Really?! Did you think the writers went overboard with that storyline in particular too? I also don't agree with the assertion that Scandal has replaced Revenge.
Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith
After Doctor Who's last Cold War adventure, the Doctor and his companion are traveling back a decade.
On Saturday's episode, "Hide" (airing 8/7c on BBC America), the time-hopping duo go back to the 1970s to visit a haunted house. Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays companion Clara, tells TVGuide.com, "It's very eerie and haunted, and I think the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara arrive kind of wanting to play a bit. But actually in Doctor Who-style, it's more than what we think."
You'd think Easter weekend might be a quiet time for TV. You'd be wrong. Easter Sunday turns out to be one of the most overstuffed nights since February's sweeps-stakes, capped by a face-off between the season finale of cable's hottest horror show and the premiere of pay cable's most deluxe epic fantasy.
AMC did not make the third-season finish of The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c) available for preview, but we're already fearing the worst as the climactic showdown approaches between the Governor's troops and TV's most heroic prison gang, while failed peacekeeper Andrea swelters in the torture dungeon back in Woodbury. It's nothing new to wonder who'll live or die in this bleak post-apocalypse. But until this riveting and wrenching season, we were mostly worried about the zombie "walkers," who've taken a back seat lately to the human monsters battling for power and revenge.
Question: What can I say except: "Awesome!" Fringe could not have ended any other way. I was fully prepared to be sad and upset, but the ending left me feeling fulfilled and satisfied. I applaud anyone who had anything to do with this amazing show. Walter, Olivia, Peter and the gang have become family to me and I am happy knowing that they have a future. So thank you universe, whichever one you choose, for this wonderful show. And thank you, Matt, for always championing Fringe and giving it space and time in your column. — Rachel
Claire Danes, Damian Lewis
In selecting a top-10 list for this year in TV, I found myself focusing on shows that made noise. Not every show on this list is a niche critic's darling, although a few certainly are. Some have a more populist appeal, not that there's anything wrong with that. This may also help explain why there's no new representation from the dismal fall season we just endured. (I like Elementary, Nashville and The New Normal, and will miss Last Resort, but none jumped out as being particularly significant.)
If I had a second 10, I might have included...
Is there a more perfect Lifetime movie property than Steel Magnolias? This tragicomic celebration of female bonding through gossipy good times and bad, all while getting their hair done at Truvy's Beauty Spot in suburban Louisiana, has been a crowd-pleaser since its first incarnation as an off-Broadway stage play (my preferred version, where the men are kept entirely offstage). The epitome of a leave-'em-laughing-while-weeping heart-warmer, Magnolias reached its pop-cultural apex in the all-star 1989 film version, but its can't-miss universality is underscored in Lifetime's oddly genteel but ultimately affecting new TV-movie (Sunday, 9/8c), whose big twist is in the casting of an all African-American ensemble.
Let's hope you didn't have much else planned for this weekend, because there's so much excellent TV on tap it's hard to know where to begin.
Let's start with the winners' circle. You couldn't ask for better timing, or a more satisfying result, than Homeland's sweep of the top drama Emmy prizes last Sunday — exactly one week before Showtime's launch of what's shaping up to be a remarkably taut second season (Sunday, 10/9c). Expectations couldn't be higher. (If you missed any or all of the first season, with the deservedly Emmy-winning lead performances by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, Showtime is replaying all 12 episodes in a Saturday marathon starting at noon/11c.)