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October 21, 2014

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TV's Smartest Detectives

by AOL TV Staff, posted Nov 28th 2011 10:00AM
Magnum P.I.Ready to sharpen your armchair detective skills?

TNT is kicking off a new Mystery Movie Night, starting with Scott Turow's 'Innocent' (premieres Tues., Nov. 29, 9PM ET), starring Bill Pullman as a man charged with murdering his wife, played by Marcia Gay Harden, and Alfred Molina as his defense attorney. In honor of this series of best-selling whodunit stories brought to the small screen, we rounded up the smartest detectives in TV history.

From an OCD gumshoe-for-hire to a no-nonsense Scotland Yard sleuth, a sassy high-school snoop and a P.I. with facial hair as famous as he was, check out our gallery of the top 20 smartest TV detectives of all time.

Do your keen powers of perception tell you we've missed someone? Add your own favorites in the comments.

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Whoops! Changing My Tune on Fall's 'Best' and 'Worst' New Shows

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 23rd 2011 10:00AM
Reviewing television isn't like reviewing any other form of entertainment: Every show on the air is a work in progress and can go from good to bad (and vice versa) in a matter of weeks.

Assessing debut episodes is especially tricky, given that they have so much to accomplish and not a lot of time for all that set-up. Still, earlier this year, I felt confident enough about what I'd seen to make lists of the season's most promising and least promising new shows.

Did those judgments hold up? Did those shows fall on their faces after promising debuts, or get a lot better after wobbly pilots? Both things happened, as you might have guessed.

Below, I take a second look 'Grimm,' 'Ringer' and 'Once Upon a Time,' in addition to several other new shows, and I pay special attention to the ABC comedy 'Suburgatory,' the most improved program of fall's freshman class.

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NBC Gives 'Grimm' a Full Season and a New Night

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 22nd 2011 7:45AM
Well, we were right: The ax-wielders over at NBC have decided to give fledgling drama 'Grimm' time to find its feet and develop an audience. 'Entertainment Weekly' reports that the network has placed a full series order, making 'Grimm' the only new NBC hour-long series to get a "back nine" episode order this fall.

NBC President, Robert Greenblatt, said "We are very pleased to be making a full-season commitment for 'Grimm.' This series is turning the traditional procedural drama on its head and is attracting a loyal following for us on Friday nights. We love where it's going creatively and we're excited to deliver more episodes to our audience."

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NBC Shutting Down 'Prime Suspect'

by Chris Harnick, posted Nov 15th 2011 4:51PM
Prime Suspect Shut DownTime to take off those fedoras in a show of respect, 'Prime Suspect' fans. According to Deadline, NBC will shut down production of the freshman drama.

The Maria Bello-fronted police series was left off NBC's midseason schedule and at the time the network made no mention of the show's fate. Deadline reports the cast and crew were notified of the shutdown as NBC made the schedule announcement on Nov. 14.

The show will shoot episodes 12 and 13 before ceasing production.

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NBC Has Good News for 'Grimm,' Bad News for 'Prime Suspect'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 15th 2011 8:00AM
The annual programming reshuffle known as the mideason schedule launch is in full swing at the major networks. Since NBC unveiled its new lineup yesterday there's been much speculation as to the fate of cult fave comedy 'Community,' struggling newbie drama 'Prime Suspect' and brand new fairytale drama 'Grimm.'

It seems as though the cast and crew at 'Grimm' can rest easy for now. Deadline reports that the fairytale-based procedural has received an order for additional scripts. That doesn't mean it's out of danger yet, but it should avoid the ax for now at least. However, 'Prime Suspect' is still most definitely on the dreaded bubble, with Deadline quoting one source as saying NBC execs are "considering our options." Gulp.

Meanwhile, 'Community' stars took to Twitter to vent their spleen about the benching of their show.

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Fall TV: A Mid-Season Report

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 1st 2011 11:47AM


It's always tempting at this time of year to look for patterns where perhaps none exist. With four confirmed cancellations ('Charlie's Angels,' 'The Playboy Club,' 'How to be a Gentleman' and 'Free Agents') and several on-the-bubble new shows ('Pan Am,' 'Prime Suspect,' 'Body of Proof'), the only real theme (besides being awful) is a tendency to take themselves too seriously. I do take some satisfaction from seeing all the nostalgia shows die an early death. Apparently the one thing 'The Playboy Club' team didn't look up about 'Mad Men' were the ratings -- a couple million viewers. It was also the only thing they were able to duplicate.

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Bubble Trouble: Why 'Pan Am,' 'Parks and Rec' and 12 Other Shows Could Go 'Pop!'

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 28th 2011 11:00AM
Bubble Shows 2011For producers of underperforming television shows, this is the scariest time of the year -- and it's got nothing to do with Halloween specials. By now, the glow of premiere season has long since worn off, and shows we couldn't wait to see just a few short months ago are in serious danger of getting the hook.

Truth be told, the majority of broadcast shows are floating precariously atop the cancellation bubble. A world without 'Fringe'? An NBC Thursday night without 'Community'? Folks, it could happen.

Take NBC: the struggling network is aggressively developing new shows, desperate for a hit. Can old standbys like 'Parks and Recreation' survive when big dogs Sarah Silverman and Dane Cook are all developing new shows at the Peacock network?

A few notches away on the dial, CBS's 'CSI' franchise is starting to fizzle and the network has its eye on new comedies. With three different 'CSI' shows, it's safe to say one will probably go.

Who will survive this season? Only time will tell, but any of these shows could be goners by May.

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EXCLUSIVE Video and Five Reasons You Should Be Watching 'Prime Suspect'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 27th 2011 9:00AM
The day the promising pilot for 'Prime Suspect' (10PM ET Thursday, NBC) aired, I said I was going to delay reviewing until I'd seen more of the cop drama. As we all know from bitter experience, sometimes "promising" shows turn labored and hackneyed by the time the third episode airs (if not before).

That's absolutely not the case with the excellent 'Prime Suspect,' which is one of the best new dramas of the fall. (Showtime's 'Homeland,' which was renewed for a second season Wednesday, is the best, but 'Prime Suspect' certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence.)

I'm writing now to urge you to watch the struggling NBC drama, and not just because ubiquitous guest star Mark Sheppard will be appearing in the show's ninth episode and I want 'Prime Suspect' to stay on the air until then (and beyond).

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NBC Really Wants You to Watch 'Prime Suspect'

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 17th 2011 4:30PM
Prime Suspect NBC's new programming strategy? 'Prime Suspect' on all the time!

The network previously placed 'Prime Suspect' in the Mondays at 10PM timeslot formerly held by 'The Playboy Club,' but now the show will air on Tuesday, Wednesday and in its regular Thursday at 10PM home.

Have no fear, 'Parenthood' and 'Law & Order: SVU' fans, it's just during the week of Oct. 24. According to Vulture, 'Parenthood' and 'SVU' were scheduled to have rerun episodes during that week.

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NBC Orders More 'Prime Suspect'

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 12th 2011 4:15PM
Prime SuspectBehold the power of the hat: NBC has ordered more 'Prime Suspect' scripts.

While not quite a full season, EW reports the network has ordered six new scripts. While not guaranteed to become produced episodes, the additional scripts are a sign of confidence in the fledgling drama series.

The Maria Bello series had a debut audience of 6.1 million viewers. The second episode fell slightly to 5.7 million viewers and its most recent showings have brought in 4.9 million viewers.

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'The X Factor' Bested by 'The Big Bang Theory' in Ratings

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 23rd 2011 12:30PM
The Big Bang Theory Beats The X FactorFox's 'The X Factor' dipped in its second night, but not by much.

The new singing competition was watched by 12.5 million viewers with a 4.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic on Thursday. Comparatively, the Sept. 21 premiere was watched by 12.5 million viewers for a 4.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

'The X Factor' was bested by CBS's 'The Big Bang Theory' premiere, which drew 14.4 million viewers for a 4.9 rating. The new entry on CBS's Thursday nights, 'Person of Interest,' was watched by 13.2 million with a 3.1 rating.

As for the other big debut of the night, ABC's 'Charlie's Angels' reboot was seen by 8.7 million viewers (a 2.1 18-49 rating). It's not a very big number, but better than 'My Generation' did last year. The two-hour premiere of 'Grey's Anatomy' had 10.3 million viewers with a 4.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

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Det. Timoney Takes a Beating on 'Prime Suspect' Premiere (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 23rd 2011 6:15AM
'Prime Suspect' series premiereThe latest U.K. remake hit the airwaves last night as Maria Bello took on 'Prime Suspect' (Thu., 10PM ET on NBC). The "woman in a man's world" aspect of the show feels a little outdated -- though maybe that's just wishful thinking -- considering the plethora of strong, capable female detectives on television, but Bello is very compelling as Det. Jane Timoney.

In this opening salvo, we saw just how committed and dedicated she is to being a detective, which makes us curious why the guys are so sure she slept her way to her current position. If she did, that would seem out of character, as she's more focused on doing the job right than any of them.

While the procedural elements were firmly in place, and every other character that isn't Timoney is completely two-dimensional, Bello still manages to present a beautifully crafted character that feels real, flawed and strong.

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Hats Off to TV's Most Stylish Topped-Off Stars

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 22nd 2011 5:30PM
Fall TV HatsThe hottest trend of the fall isn't period dramas, remakes, or fairy tales. It's hats.

Indeed, co-starring in NBC's 'Prime Suspect' alongside Maria Bello's Detective Jane Timoney is her character's black chapeau. It's ever-present in the first episode, and judging from stills for future episodes, it isn't going anywhere.

The trend isn't isolated to NBC. ABC's 'Pan Am' features stylish stewardesses in the airline's iconic 1960s vintage pillbox hats. The ladies of 'Charlie's Angels' use baseball caps to go undercover. Then there's 'Hell on Wheels' and its assortment of cowboy hats, 'The Walking Dead' and its zombie survival head toppers, 'The Playboy Club' and its bunny ears -- come on, those totally count -- and Dylan McDermott's 'American Horror Story' cap that looks shockingly similar to the one in 'Prime Suspect.'

In honor of the 'Prime Suspect' premiere (Thu., Sept. 22, 10PM ET on NBC) let's take a look at the hats of fall TV. Check them out below!

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A Few Thoughts on 'Prime Suspect' and 'Pan Am' (More to Come)

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 22nd 2011 5:00PM
We're getting toward the end of one of the most insane weeks in the television season, and I'd be lying if I didn't confess that my brain grows more fried and crispy by the hour.

But on the off chance that anyone was looking for me to review 'Prime Suspect' and 'Pan Am' this week, I want to offer one or two thoughts on each show, and explain why I'm waiting to review these high-profile dramas. ('Prime Suspect' premieres 10PM ET Thursday on NBC.)

The shows have a few things in common, actually, most notably compelling performances from their lead actresses (Maria Bello in 'Suspect' and Christina Ricci in 'Pan Am'). But what really unites these disparate dramas -- one follows the progress of a tough New York cop, the other is a retro look at the lives of stewardesses in the '60s -- is the fact that it's just too early to judge either one.

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Maria Bello Previews 'Prime Suspect' and Talks About Playing Detective Jane Timoney (VIDEO)

by Alex Moaba, posted Sep 22nd 2011 1:20PM
The American remake of 'Prime Suspect,' which stars Maria Bello as a hard-charging homicide detective, premieres Thursday night on NBC. Bello stopped by 'Today' (9AM ET on NBC) to talk about the new show and how she envisions audiences relating to her character.

"My character Jane Timoney is completely unapologetic, direct, impatient, honest to a fault, and people will find her funny or she'll make them crazy," Bello predicted. Helen Miren played Timoney in the British version of the show, so Bello has some big shoes to fill.

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