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April 23, 2014

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Thoughts on 'Homeland's' Stellar Sunday Episode and Terrific Debut Season

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 14th 2011 12:00PM
My colleague Mike Hogan wrote about last night's 'Homeland' here and I recommend his weekly review, but I couldn't resist adding a few comments about the Showtime drama's outstanding Sunday episode.

If you're not watching 'Homeland,' you really need to catch up on this gripping drama (which I reviewed here). I already thought 'Homeland' was the best new show of the year, but Sunday's hour was in a different league from what came before it.

As I said in last week's Talking TV podcast, I was a little alarmed by a development in last week's episode -- I thought what happened between CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and former prisoner of war Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) might have been the kind of mistake that would force this promising show down cliched or unsatisfying paths.

I couldn't have been more wrong, and Sunday's episode proved that 'Homeland' knows exactly what it's doing. Within the context of a complex tale about the challenges of combating terrorism, 'Homeland' has proven it knows how to tell a rich, emotionally nuanced tale about the dangers of connection and the price of loneliness.

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Showtime Renews 'Homeland' For Season 2

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 26th 2011 12:30PM
Showtime Renews HomelandFictional terrorists beware! Claire Danes will remain on your tail for another season. Showtime has renewed the political thriller for a second season.

'Homeland'
stars Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin and is executive produced by '24' guru Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. Danes plays Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer who becomes convinced rescued POW Nicholas Brody (Lewis) has been turned by Al Qaeda.

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Review: 'Homeland' Puts Stellar Performances at the Heart of a Compelling Espionage Tale

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 29th 2011 11:00AM
Sometimes an actor takes an average role and, through skill, technique and pure presence, transforms it into something much better. Once in a great while, an actor takes a very good role and produces something extraordinary.

That's what occurs in 'Homeland' (10PM ET Sunday, Showtime), which would be worth watching if all it had going for it were the tremendous work being done by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. But 'Homeland' also manages to be both an addictive espionage thriller and a compelling character study, as well as a well-constructed exploration of the difficulties and ambiguities of fighting terrorism a decade after Sept. 11. Without a doubt, it is one of the finest new shows of the year.

Danes and Lewis both portray guarded, damaged characters who have trouble knowing whom to trust, and the parallels and contrasts between them are fascinating. Lewis plays Nicholas Brody, a Marine who returns home after eight years as the captive of Islamic radicals, and his wariness may be the result of understandable re-entry difficulties -- or it may indicate something more sinister.

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'V' Star Morena Baccarin Joins Cast of 'Homeland'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jun 1st 2011 4:15AM
Morena BaccarinMorena Baccarin wasn't out of work for long. Just a short while after ABC canceled 'V,' she's been cast as a series regular in Showtime's hot new drama, 'Homeland.'

Baccarin joins Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis in the political thriller, which tells the story of Scott Brody (Lewis), an American POW who is rescued from the Middle East.

Meanwhile, a suspicious CIA operative (Danes) thinks he may have been turned into a terrorist and released intentionally.

According to Deadline.com Baccarin will take on the role of Jessica Brody, Scott's smart, strong wife. She replaces British actress Laura Fraser, who played the role in the pilot.

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'Homeland' Trailer: Showtime Ups the Political Intrigue (VIDEO)

by Chris Harnick, posted May 23rd 2011 10:45AM
Homeland, Claire DanesShowtime's kicking it up a notch with its new series, 'Homeland.' The political thriller starring Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis tells the story of an American POW who is rescued from the Middle East ... but was he released intentionally?

In this new trailer, Danes' character, Carrie Anderson works diligently to put her suspicions at ease. Was Scott Brody (Lewis) released for a reason? Has he been turned against the U.S.?

'Homeland' comes from '24' executive producer Howard Gordon and is based on the Israeli TV series 'Prisoners of War.'

This marks Danes' return to series TV, her first since 'My So-Called Life.' The actress recently picked up a slew of awards, including an Emmy, for her work in HBO's 'Temple Grandin.'

Check out the full trailer below and a 3-minute scene here.

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Showtime Orders Two New Series Starring Kristen Bell, Claire Danes, Don Cheadle and Damian Lewis

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 7th 2011 3:20PM
House of Lies'Veronica Mars' fans, Kristen Bell is returning to TV.

On Thursday, Showtime ordered 12 episodes of 'House of Lies,' a half-hour comedy starring Don Cheadle as a "self-loathing," cutthroat management consultant and Bell as one of Cheadle's razor-sharp employees.

The network also ordered the hour-long psychological thriller 'Homeland,' which stars Claire Daines as a CIA officer "battling her own demons" and Damian Lewis as a soldier who may be connected to an Al Qaeda plot. The show comes from Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Gideon Raff. Gansa and Gordon both used to work on '24,' and the show is based on Raff's Israeli drama, 'Prisoners of War.'

Both shows begin production this summer.

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CW Boss Dawn Ostroff to Step Down, 'Young Justice' Gets Premiere Date and More

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 22nd 2010 2:40PM
Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president of The CW, will step down at the end of the season.

Ostroff, the former head of UPN, has been with The CW since its inception and is the longest-running sitting broadcast president.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Ostroff will remain active with the network as her contract winds down in June. She'll oversee the midseason launch and order pilots for the fall 2011 season.

In other TV news ...

Damian Lewis has joined the cast of Showtime's 'Homeland.' The 'Life' veteran will play the male lead, Marine Sergeant Scott Brody, who returns home after spending eight years as a prisoner of war in Baghdad. Claire Danes also stars as Carrie Anderson, a CIA agent who suspects Brody may be plotting an attack on America. [Deadline Hollywood]

Cartoon Network's 'Young Justice' will premiere on Jan. 7. The show about DC Comics sidekicks launched with a movie event in November. Look for new episodes to air Fridays at 7PM. [Kryptonsite]

Disney was denied its appeal of a $319 million 'Millionaire' verdict. A federal judge ruled that Disney/ABC and Buena Vista cheated producer Celador International out of millions of dollars by cutting sweetheart deals to bring 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' to America. [Hollywood Reporter]

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All Kona wants for Festivus

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 11th 2009 1:01PM
sue sylvesterI finally, and with great difficulty got the tree up, I've somehow gotten roped into holding a cookie exchange at my house this weekend, and I have glitter in places where glitter should not be. What's that smell? It smells like Festivus to me. While the main thing I want this year is to just lie very, very still in a dark room for a week or so, this is a TV blog, so let's talk about what TV could do to make me happy!

  • Stop with the long hiatuses already! I don't get to see a new episode of V until March, and I'm being forced into leading a Glee-less existence until April. Give it up already! If you have 3 months between new episodes, it's a new season, why not call it that? You know what I have been doing for the past 11 weeks? Watching the first 11 episodes of Dexter. This week, I will be watching episode 12, and then the season will be over. It's efficient and satisfying. The networks need to get on board.

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NBC confirms: Life is dead

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 4th 2009 4:40PM
life nbc

While they haven't yet made an announcement about other on-the-bubble shows, including Medium, Law & Order, and of course, Chuck, NBC's Ben Silverman has confirmed that Life has indeed been canceled. Life is just the latest victim of the Writers' Strike curse: ABC's Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money are among some of the other series that had their freshman seasons interrupted by the strike that began in November of 07, and won't live to see a third season.

Other second season shows, including the aforementioned Chuck, along with ABC's Samantha Who? and FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are currently on the bubble. The CW's Gossip Girl is one of the few shows that premiered during the 07-08 season that is definitely going to make it to the 09-10 one.

The strike spooked the networks and advertisers, and we're obviously feeling the effects now, over a year after it ended. What it boils down to is a lot of great shows are suffering-- and Ben Silverman is a dick.

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On the 9th day of Festivus, TV gave to me... - VIDEOS

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 15th 2008 5:13PM
hugh laurie...Nine foreign Americans

With all of the starry-eyed, out-of-work Midwesterners who litter Sunset Blvd., one would assume that our television landscape would be similarly populated with corn-fed blonds. You would, however, be wrong. In fact, there are a ton of non-Americans who have come to Hollywood to take all of our primetime show-starring jobs.

What's fun for me is watching the shows to see who does a good version of an American accent, and who needs to spend a little more time with their dialect coaches. Below are nine stars who've jumped the pond to come to the good ol' U. S. of A.

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Life: Find Your Happy Place (season premiere)

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 30th 2008 9:01AM

Crews and Reese are back again for season two of 'Life'.

(S02E01) Ten months. That's how long its been since we've seen a fresh episode of Life. After the last episode aired in November there was nary a word about the show, save for reports of its renewal and a bit about casting changes. This left fans of the show in a bit of a tizzy. For Life wasn't just a dime-a-dozen criminal procedural, but a show with an underlying story about conspiracy and the search for justice. By the time the show ended its very short first season we were cheering Detective Charlie Crews as he was able to get a semblance of his freedom back.

Now we enter season two. And, as usual, the following question comes to mind: did it carry on the spirit of season one? Well yes, and possibly no. Click ahead to find out.

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Free HD episodes on iTunes

by Brett Love, posted Sep 11th 2008 12:04PM

Eureka in iTunesIf you were wondering just what that extra dollar buys you when you upgrade to HD in the iTunes store, you can get a free look. Our pals over at TUAW made note of a number of shows that have free episodes available, in HD. The files are large, with the HD versions clocking in at right around 1.5GB, so it will take a bit to download. Something that isn't helped by the fact that iTunes downloads the SD version as well.

I've been taking a look at them and I grabbed screenshots from Heroes, Life, and Battlestar Galactica to give you an idea of the difference in the picture. It's fairly dramatic. Those captures, and the full list of free episodes, with the iTunes links, are after the jump.

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NBC wrap-up: Slater's split personality, and Selma Blair's a wise-ass - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:28PM
Kath & Kim panel
Today was the very last day of the press tour here in Beverly Hills. It was "TCA Day," with members of the association (including me) going to the Warner Brothers lot to visit the sets of ER, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck, where we spoke to cast members and producers (Oh, we went to the set of America's Best Dance Crew, but let's just forget I mentioned that one). Then we bused it over to the Fox lot, where Joss Whedon showed us around the set of Dollhouse, and the entire cast of King of the Hill gave a table read of their 250th episode. All this fun will be in upcoming posts later this summer.

Despite some of the griping you may have seen from me, it's been lots of fun. It's just a very tiring experience. Case in point: On Monday, NBC decided to close out the press conference portion of the tour by having us sit through ten panels, five of them after lunch. Here's a wrap-up post that goes over some of what went on yesterday that I haven't already covered.

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NBC gives full seasons to Life and Chuck

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Nov 27th 2007 7:32AM
LifeGeeks and fruit lovers rejoice, NBC just announced that it is ordering an extra nine episodes of two of its new series: Chuck and Life. What that means is that both series will have a complete first season of 22 episodes each!

About 8 million viewers tune in weekly to watch geek-turned-secret-agent Chuck Bartowski solve crimes with his two handlers and to witness Detective Crews solve cases after sering time in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

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Life: Powerless

by Richard Keller, posted Nov 1st 2007 10:10AM

Charlie reviews his Conspiracy Wall for this week's episode of Life

(S01E06) Well, this was an interesting episode of Life. Rather than having the focus on Charlie and many of his day-to-day activities, we were treated to the life of Detective Dani Reese. I was a bit concerned about this when I saw the previews because this show is really still in its infancy and a shift in focus for just one episode can throw viewers off. However, as the episode progressed I felt more and more comfortable about the whole setup.

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