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Outlander Recap: We Are Left Thirsty for a Mere Glimpse of Jamie’s Bare Torso

Welcome to our weekly recap of Outlander. Like Game of Thrones, this Starz drama is based on a series of best-selling novels that many viewers have yet to read. We therefore ask that book fans refrain from posting comments that might spoil upcoming plotlines for anyone sampling this show without having checked out Diana Gabaldon’s books yet — and to be civil toward them as well. Thank you for understanding. And now, on to the recap.

This one’s a real boar. »

Doctor Who Recap: Familiar Voyage

After 50 years of Dalek stories, it cannot be easy coming up with something that hasn’t been done before — something that can also be realized on the TV screen. Having exhausted our view of the Daleks from the outside, the show takes viewers inside of one, in an episode that is less about Daleks and more about soldiers and what the cost is for being one; pretty weighty fare by Doctor Who standards, to be sure, though the episode never takes it quite as far as it could’ve.


Taylor Swift Joins The Voice As an Adviser

Taylor Swift will appear on the seventh season of The Voice as an adviser (and to remind everyone that she has an album out). NBC is undoubtedly hoping to use her star power as a way to boost the show's flagging ratings: Viewership of the singing competition's last finale was down 25 percent from the prior cycle. Like Coldplay's Chris Martin on the last cycle, Swift will be doling out advice to all of the performers. She'll join judge-specific guest advisers including Stevie Nicks for Adam Levine, Alicia Keys for Pharrell, Little Big Town for Blake Shelton, and Gavin Rossdale, who will be helping out his wife Gwen Stefani. This isn't the first time T. Swizzle has appeared on the show; she made a surprise appearance for Usher's singer Michelle Chamuel when she was rehearsing Swift's song "Trouble." Chairs will spin on September 22.

Watch the Titillating Trailer for Season 5 of Downton Abbey

ITV ran the trailer for season five of Downton Abbey before the premiere of X-Factor (which brought back Simon Cowell), and it's a much longer glimpse than the teaser we got a couple of months back. The trailer confirms a lot of what we already knew, like the entrance of guest stars Richard Grant and Anna Chancellor, but also piques our curiosity about a whole lot else. We'll let the trailer speak for itself, but we will tell you that there is much more Dame Maggie Smith this go-around. For Brits, the series returns Sunday, September 21, whereas us Americans will have to either patiently wait until its PBS premiere January 4, 2015, or get our search engines ready to go.

Syfy Cancels the The Wil Wheaton Project

Champion of nerds Wil Wheaton announced on his blog yesterday that his Syfy talk show, The Wil Wheaton Project, has been canceled. He got the call while he was hanging out on the beach with his wife, and says that he immediately knew it was bad news. He writes that the New York executives never seemed "to really understand what kind of show we were doing, who I was and why I was hosting it, and how to engage with and promote to the audience who would like it," which led to the show's demise. Generally, though, he's pretty zen about it, and also writes an post-script asking to let the cancellation be what it is.

Don't try to save the show. »

Fargo’s Allison Tolman Will Guest-Star on The Mindy Project

Snubbed for an Emmy for her work on Fargo, Allison Tolman will guest-star on The Mindy Project for two episodes as romance novelist Abby Berman. She'll be going on a blind date with manic man-child gynecologist Peter Prentice (Happy Endings alum Adam Pally), who promises to be a terrible companion. In addition to Tolman, the third season's packed guest list includes Shonda Rhimes (as herself, naturally) and Cheers' Rhea Perlman as Danny Castellano's mom. The season premieres on Tuesday, September 16.

And the Winner of Our Wonder Years Haiku Contest Is ...

On Wednesday, we asked our readers to craft haikus about The Wonder Years for a chance to win a tricked-out DVD set of the 1988-93 TV show, due to be released in October. We received nearly 100 submissions, both in the comments section and on Facebook, many of which played off the hoary, Josh Saviano–denying rumor that the actor who played Paul went on to become Marilyn Manson. Others involved turns of phrase like “sweet Winnie smooches” and “boner,” while a few entries were used to scoff at the very notion of DVDs in this day and age. (Does your newfangled illegal torrent download itself into a metal locker and come with a replica yearbook and Wonder Years magnets, smart guy?) But there could be only one winner.

But first, the runners-up. »

What’s New on Netflix Streaming: September 2014

At the beginning of (and throughout) every month, Netflix Streaming adds new movies and TV shows to its library. Here is a list of some that you might be interested in. Some of these may have been added halfway through or near the end of August, but we're going to include them in this roundup anyway since you might have missed them. Some of these may also have previously been on Netflix, only to have been removed and then added back. Feel free to note anything we've left out in the comments below.

It's Robert Redford versus Mother Earth. »

Broad City Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: The Poop Shoe

If someone poops in a shoe during a hurricane, does it make a sound?

Aside from an Inception-style dream sequence at the beginning (Jeremy dreaming of Abbi dreaming of Ilana dreaming it all, at work, at 5 p.m.), this is our bottle episode, taking place entirely in Abbi’s apartment during a Category 4 hurricane. The whole gang is there, and while the central conflict is, in fact, a double-arc about feces, there’s a world of relationship struggles happening in the tiny space.

Now that Bevers has invited his sister Marla into the space, Ilana finally asks the question we’ve all been wondering from the beginning: Where is his girlfriend? »

Dominic West on The Affair and Idris Elba’s ‘Mike Wire’

It’s been six long years since we’ve seen Dominic West’s cocksure cop McNulty patrolling the mean streets of Baltimore. The British actor returns Stateside in Showtime’s The Affair, an intimate relationship drama told from his-and-hers perspectives. West talked to us about his new show’s connection to The Wire and how he got into disco.

"[M]y family got sick of me and said, 'Please go. Please go and bring back money.'" »

This Party Down Season 2 Blooper Reel Will Give You the Feels

Are we having fun yet? Absolutely, because we just watched our favorite cater-waiters engage in some off-script shenanigans in this blooper reel from season two of Party Down, released today to coincide with the Hulu arrival of the funniest comedy series of all time involving characters wearing pink bow-ties. As you prepare to get excited for another excuse to binge all 20 episodes again, ponder this: Soup R’ Crackers still doesn’t exist in the real world. How is that possible?

People Played Parks and Rec’s Cones of Dunshire in Real Life

A couple of weeks ago, Mayfair Games made good on its promise to Vulture to bring a playable version of Cones of Dunshire, the fictional Parks and Recreation board game created by Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), to the annual Indianapolis gaming conference GenCon. Only 33 tickets were sold for the charity game — it sold out in six hours — which was played on an oversize carpet version of the board for maximum spectating.

It's unclear how exactly the two wizards, maverick, arbiter, two warriors, corporal, and ledgerman were all incorporated into real game-play, but it sounds like it sort of worked (you can see some photos of the game here). As Mayfair's Alex Yeager said in an interview: "We’ve tried to walk a line between something playable, and something still rooted in the crazed imagination of an unemployed geek."


The Brittany Murphy Story Looks God-Awful

Lifetime's severely low-end Brittany Murphy biopic, The Brittany Murphy Story, airs September 6, and these clips from it do not look encouraging. In fact, they look horrendous. There are amateur pornos made at a higher quality. There are Chihuahuas wearing better, more believable wigs. Simply holding a paper cutout of Brittany Murphy's face on a Popsicle stick up to one's face would be more lifelike. The Saved by the Bell movie certainly looks terrible, but these clips are a new high/low in true awfulness. Pity the actresses who did not get the role of Alicia Silverstone; forever will they live with the shame that this was deemed out of their grasp.

FXX Basically to Become The Simpsons Channel

FXX's 12-day "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon has been very popular for the newish network. The marathon has been gaining viewership through each of the first six days and has led FXX to rank as one of the top five basic-cable networks each night. Well, it appears the fun won't stop once the marathon does. Today FXX announced its post-marathon Simpsons schedule, and it doesn't look as different as you might think. The Simpsons will air: Mondays from 6 p.m.-midnight, Tuesdays from 8 p.m.-midnight, Thursdays from 8 p.m.-midnight, Fridays from 6 p.m.-midnight; and Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m. This is an incredible 24 hours of Simpsons a week. Praise Jebus.

Amazon’s Drama Pilots: Ron Perlman, Mena Suvari, and 2 Crummy Shows

Amazon's new pilots today include two dramas, neither of which is very good, unfortunately. These are just pilots, and these are simply preliminary reactions, but … devote your energies to the comedies instead. Unless you really, really love Ron Perlman's manic moping.

Rape really is hardest on the victim's father-in-law. »

Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe on Feminism, Fans, and Love Triangles

As the cast of Outlander was shooting the last block of the show's first season in Scotland, they got the good news: Starz had picked up the show for a second season. To celebrate, actor Graham McTavish broke out the whisky "for a kind of tasting," as lead actress Caitriona Balfe puts it during a call the following day, by way of explaining that she might be a little out of sorts. "Sorry, the whisky is stopping me from finding words!" she laughed. "The whisky's kicking in!" It has been a whirlwind year for Balfe, who was cast in the part of the time-traveling protagonist Claire Randall and immediately whisked off to the Scottish Highlands to start filming the series, with nary a break since. Balfe chatted with Vulture about good omens, oral sex, time-period feminism, and her Twilight-related worry.

“We want to show that Claire owns her own sexuality.” »

Amazon’s Comedy Pilots: The Cosmopolitans Shines

Amazon posted its five new pilots today: Two dramas and three comedies. How are the new shows? Well, the comedies are a mixed bunch! One is terrific right out of the gate, one is polished but uninteresting, and one just needs to decide to be a better show.

Liberté, égalité, Sevigny. »

Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert Were Hilarious Together Even 20 Years Ago

Before they were famous, before they were famous to only people in the know, and before they were even "those guys," Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert performed at Chicago's Second City. (The slightly younger Colbert was Carell's understudy.) Here is a clip of the two them with Paul Dinello (current Colbert Report writer and Strangers With Candy co-creator) and David Razowsky singing "The Obvious Song." The clip, which comes from the Second City show Take Me Out to the Balkans, was unearthed by Splitsider, as part of its weekly Second City Archives feature. It's wonderful. If only they were also nauseated by food.

  • Posted 8/28/14 at 10:00 AM
  • Amazon

You Can Watch 5 New Amazon Pilots Right Now

This morning, Amazon launched its third pilot season, posting five original "TV" shows. There is a bunch of notable talent involved. The Cosmopolitans was written and directed by Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco) and stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny in a romantic comedy about American expatriates in modern-day Paris. Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, World War Z) directed Hand of God, a drama starring Ron Perlman as a antihero judge who uses "visions" he believes are sent by God to hunt down a rapist who tore his family apart. Mena Suvari stars in Hysteria as a neurologist who returns to her hometown to investigate a mysterious illness that is spreading through the community via technology. Written, directed, and starring Jay Chandrasekhar (Broken Lizard), Really is a comedy about four married couples in the Chicago area, with Sarah Chalke, Selma Blair, and Rob Delaney also part of the cast. Lastly, directed by David Gordon Green and executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, Red Oaks is a comedy set in a country club in 1985 New Jersey. You can watch them all at or on the Amazon Instant Video app. As always, Amazons takes customer feedback into account when deciding what to pick up, so enjoy feeling like a big Hollywood executive for a day. We'll hold your calls.

Jimmy Kimmel Staged a Friends Reunion, Made Everyone Read Fan-Fic

There have been various Friends mini-reunions over the years, but none as elaborate as the one Jimmy Kimmel pulled off on Wednesday night. After luring guest Jennifer Aniston into acting out a script he wrote (has she really never heard of fan-fic?!), Kimmel welcomes Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow to the set, which was a near-perfect re-creation of Monica's kitchen. Kimmel stands in for Ross, and Joey and Chandler never show up because (spoiler alert!) they had a tragic run-in with Marcel the monkey. Yeah, in Jimmy's head, the show took a pretty dark turn.