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I Spent 4 Seasons Waiting for The Killing to Be Great. It Didn’t Happen.

The Killing returned for a fourth and final season on Netflix today with its greatest asset, its creepy-beautiful atmosphere, intact. Adapted from the superior Danish original by Veena Sud, this onetime AMC drama might feel like a classic if you projected it without sound on a large wall on the back room of a nightclub, where the show's voluptuously beautiful shots of misty mountains, rain-slicked streets, and characters traversing endless hallways could merge in the mind with a synthesized backbeat and whatever cocktails the place serves (probably something rain-themed). As is, The Killing has the same problems as always: a gravely solemn, we-are-reinventing-the-genre swagger that doesn't sync up with the stereotype-driven, sub-Special Victims Unit procedural you're actually watching; a fondness for red herrings and mistaken assumptions that make the two lead cops, Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), look like total dipsticks; pacing and emphasis problems that kill any momentum the show can muster.  

Holder is a great character, albeit one who should occasionally be subtitled. »

We Need More TV Shows About Scientists

WGN's Manhattan debuted last week, joining Masters of Sex in the "TV shows about science" club. It's a good club. But it has far too few members. There should be so many more science shows! Shows about scientists, about their work, their home lives, the weird experiments they do — there's no end to the stories that could be told. Here are a few humble suggestions.

Where is the Cinemax series about Galileo? »

Orange Is the New Black’s Barbara Rosenblat on Playing Miss Rosa and Being ‘the Meryl Streep of Audiobooks’

This interview contains spoilers up through the second season of Orange Is the New Black, so come back after you’ve caught up. Hurry!

Barbara Rosenblat is something of a celebrity in the audiobook community. »

Chris Pratt Got in Trouble by Flashing His Dong at Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation

Chris Pratt learned the meaning of the word admonished on Late Night With Seth Meyers, when he told Seth the story of how he got in serious trouble on the set of Parks and Recreation for literally going balls-out during a "flashing" scene. (He was supposed to wear a flesh suit.) They sent him a letter asking him not to joke about his infraction, but did they know it would make some great late-night show banter? They clearly did not.

Spike Jonze Will Guest Star on Girls

The Wrap reports that Her director Spike Jonze will have a guest spot on the new season of Girls, playing a character called Marcos. We don't know much about the part, but Dunham did Instagram a collage of her and Jonze on set wearing 'Marnie & Desi' pins, so that's a clue. Maybe he plays one of Desi's relatives? We can kind of see the resemblance.

The Honorable Woman Requires Much Patience — and That’s a Good Thing

The miniseries The Honorable Woman, about an Israeli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who runs her father's weapons company and deals with the headaches and dangers that go with it, would stand out in any TV year, for its detail, its atmosphere, and the way it toys with the audience's sympathies. But what makes it really unusual is the patience that it requires of viewers. This is 20th century storytelling, easygoing and deliberate, packed with detail, and not afraid to go silent and just observe people doing things, with the understanding that eventually you'll figure out what they're up to and what it all means.

This miniseries is an espionage yarn of sorts. »

Where to Stream TV Shows About British Women Getting It Done

Some people like lawyer shows. Some people like teen dramas. Some like sci-fi series. And some of us have a particular soft spot for a genre I'm going to call British Women Getting It Done. Luckily, many of these shows are available to stream!

To qualify for the BWGID classification, a show must primarily be about a woman or group of women; those women must be British; and they must get something done. There are many shows that did not make this list that still include BWGID, but said women are not the show's primary focus, and thus these shows do not qualify. Shows with British actresses playing non-British characters did not meet the criteria, nor did shows about non-British characters living in England. I also omitted "classics" like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, because people know what those are about. The number of episodes mentioned is the number of episodes available to stream, which is occasionally less than the number of extant episodes of a show. Without further ado, then, your guide to streaming shows about British Women Getting It Done, by subgenre:

Solving crimes, cracking codes ... »

Sharknado 2 Ratings Jump 3.9 Million Shark Fans

Syfy’s Sharknado sequel scored great (white) ratings on Wednesday, with 3.9 million viewers catching the premiere showing of the implausible comedy-action movie. The audience for Sharknado 2: The Second One (yes, that really was the title) was 183 percent bigger than the original, which drew a gazillion tweets but a relatively modest 1.4 million viewers in its initial telecast last July. Part deux did particularly well among the demographically desirable group of viewers under 50, scoring a 1.3 rating — tripling the meager 0.4 rating for the first movie. That demo rating was higher than the tune-in for last night’s episode of CBS’ Halle Berry drama Extant or Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Not surprising, Sharknado 2 was huge on Twitter: Syfy estimates the movie generated 1 billion impressions on the social-media network (although it didn’t say how it will make any money off of said impressions).

Jump the shark, indeed. »

2014 TV Premiere Dates: A Handy Guide to What’s on This August and Beyond

So much has already happened this year on television — Broad City! True Detective! Orange Is the New Black! Sharknado 2: The Second One! — that it can be hard to fathom that a whole bunch of other amazing stuff is still on the horizon. More old shows return! More ongoing shows resume! More news about events requiring exclamation points to convey properly! It’s a TV bonanza, as you’ll see with this handy calendar Vulture has put together and will continually update that gives you intel on significant upcoming premieres, season finales, and other tube-ular events. As always, television is fickle and these dates could change, but for now, this is what the 2014 TV calendar looks like this August and beyond.

Never go outside again. »

  • Posted 7/31/14 at 11:00 AM

What’s New on Netflix Streaming: August 2014

At the beginning of (and throughout) every month, Netflix Streaming adds new movies and TV shows to its library. Here is a quick list of several that you might be interested in. Some of these were added halfway through or near the end of July, but we're going to include them in this roundup anyway since you may 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.

Netflix's decision to pick up the final season of The Killing was a head-scratcher. »

Warren G Finally Reads President Warren G. Harding’s Sexy, Sexy Love Letters

A couple weeks ago on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver read a few of the recently released sex notes that President Warren G. Harding wrote to his mistress. If that wasn't hot enough, last night, Jimmy Kimmel Live got Warren G to read them. The video is funny and sexy as hell, and it makes you picture President Warren G. Harding chilling in the sky with Nate Dogg, smoking all of Heaven's best weed.

Here Is the Absolute Stupidest Moment in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Sharknado 2: The Second One is a masterpiece of stupidity, set in a world so illogical that the most logical thing about it is a nearly unrecognizable Billy Ray Cyrus playing a doctor. But even with all the befuddling D-list celebrity cameos, airborne sharks, and bomb-dispatched ’nados, one moment rises from the chum bucket to claim the award for superlative brainlessness: the scene in which Tara Reid’s April Wexler signs a copy of her book, How to Survive a Sharknado. There probably are a million reasons why it’s the dumbest four seconds in the history of made-for-TV movies, or at least Sharknado 2: The Second One, but after the GIF, let’s get into the six we care about the most.

For one thing, that’s not actually a book. »

James Franco Tried to Get Stephen Colbert to Break Character; It Didn’t Work

It can be argued that James Franco is never more likable than he is on The Colbert Report. Last night was no exception. The best part came at the end of his interview, when Franco asked Colbert about his upcoming move to The Late Show. However, Colbert the character isn't the one moving. Colbert's response is just another example of why we'll miss Colbert the character so much.

Jenny Slate to Guest Star on Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Entertainment Weekly reports that Jenny Slate, Andy Samberg's former SNL colleague and star of summer indie hit Obvious Child, will appear on the season premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine airing September 28. She'll play Bianca, a "street-smart mob mistress" who could be the clue to solving Jake's undercover case. Lest we forget, the last time Slate had a guest spot on a show co-created by Michael Schur (Parks and Rec) she introduced the world to Mona Lisa Saperstein, so we're pretty excited to see what sort of mayhem she brings with her this time. And, okay, a little nervous. Nervous and excited, we guess?

Brian Williams Reports His Daughter Allison’s Casting in Peter Pan

Brian Williams generally seems to be a pretty cool dad — he raps! He watches his daughter's sex scenes "with unmitigated joy!" — but even cool dads can be pretty embarrassing sometimes. On tonight's NBC Nightly News broadcast, Williams shared the news that his daughter, Allison Williams, had been cast as Peter Pan in NBC's forthcoming Peter Pan Live!, saying, "Family members confirm that she's been rehearsing for this role since the age of three and they look forward to seeing her fly," and putting up a photo of a young Allison in a Peter Pan costume. We'd imagine by now that the woman who plays Marnie Michaels is pretty immune to embarrassment (and she did sign on for a live-action Peter Pan telecast, after all) but still. Stop it, daaaaad.

After Its Expository Premiere, WGN America’s Manhattan Gets Smarter and Funkier

If you needed further proof that the expository requirements of TV pilots are almost always the enemy of good drama, watch Manhattan, which debuted Sunday and repeats tonight on WGN at 10 p.m. (and that Vulture’s Margaret Lyons weighed in on last week). Then watch the second episode, which airs this coming Sunday, and appreciate another handsomely produced and reasonably intelligent period series, which, in the Mad Men vein, is about moral relativity as well as psychology.

A great cast of supporting actors. »

What Would It Look Like If the Entire Cast of Girls Were in Disney’s Peter Pan?

With the news that Allison Williams will be playing the iconic role of Peter Pan in NBC's Peter Pan Live! this winter, we couldn't help but imagine what it might be like if the rest of the Girls cast joined in. (And yes, we realize that Disney's Peter Pan and the Peter Pan musical that NBC is staging are of slightly different species.) Enjoy:

Should Atheists Watch The Leftovers? Your TV Questions, Answered

Welcome back to Stay Tuned, Vulture's TV advice column. Each Wednesday, Margaret Lyons will answer your questions about what to watch, when to watch it, whom to watch it with, and how to feel about the whole thing. To submit your own questions, you can email staytuned@nymag.com, leave a comment, or tweet @margeincharge with the hashtag #staytuned.

How do I convince my staunchly atheist boyfriend to watch The Leftovers? I've tried talking up its pedigree — it's HBO, the initial Peter Berg association, the numerous positive reviews — and trying to explain it's NOT Left Behind, but none of it seems to work. I feel like there are a lot of interesting themes and stories that go beyond the religious idea of the Rapture — it's just interesting television. Please help! (For the record, I'm not terribly religious myself, but the idea of faith is interesting, and he watches things like Breaking Bad, Fargo, and Mad Men). —Shelley

What's as good as Battlestar Galactica? »

The Real Housewives of New York City Reunion Part 1 Recap: This Is an Adult Program

Finding out a reunion special is going to be three parts is sort of like finding out that it’s going to take three weeks to get rid of a sliver buried in the underside of your foot — you just pull it and pull it, until a plank so long it could serve as a seat at a picnic table is drawn out of the squishy part between the ball and the heel.

Hosted, of course, by Andy "Mr. Potato Head plastic-grin" Cohen. »

Why Syfy Wins No Matter How Sharknado 2 Does in the Ratings

A year ago, Syfy’s Sharknado came out of nowhere to become one of the surprise pop-culture success stories of summer 2013. While not many people actually watched the movie when it first aired (and if that applies to you, everything you need to know can be found here), the tsunami of Twitter activity around it (and the subsequent saturation of media coverage of said tweets) caused several of the movie’s five repeat airings to outperform the original telecast substantially in the ratings. All told, Syfy estimates just over 14 million shark-and-or-tornado–curious Americans ended up catching at least a few minutes of the gloriously awful “film.”

Swim or sink, Syfy had nothing to lose by signing on for a sequel. »