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Why Can’t These TV Characters Get Good Story Lines?

No show can give 100 percent attention to 100 percent of its characters 100 percent of the time. It doesn't work like that — not narratively, not structurally, and not budget-wise, when some performers aren't in every episode. But there's a limit to how absent a character can be before things start to seem out of whack. So far this season, a lot of characters — including some main characters — seem to be getting the short shrift, through lack of screentime or through crappy, dead-end non-stories, and sometimes both. Who's getting the worst treatment right now? Oh, lots of people.

Once upon a time, Saul was one of the best, most interesting characters on television; a knot of personal conflict with a beard. Now, less so. »

North West Is an Adorable Skunk for Halloween

Future superstar and Illuminati princess North West is right now dressed as a skunk for Halloween. Her mother, Kim Kardashian, is busy posting Instagrams of her "little stinker" running around the house in costume. This is the most adorable thing you'll likely see all day, so you can shut your computer off now and go eat some candy.

  • Posted 10/31/14 at 12:45 PM
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True Detective’s New Female Characters Are Not Very Surprising

Will True Detective ever cast a female character who's not a long-suffering wife, a prostitute, or a victim of unspeakable sexual horror? Maybe, but not this week: Deadline reports that four new recurring characters are close to joining the cast, including Mad Men's Abigail Spencer as "Alicia, the survivor of a sexual attack," and The Hunger Games' Leven Rambin as "Sophia, a beauty with a history of drug problems." More encouraging is the addition of Sherlock's Kelly Reilly, playing a character only described as "self-possessed." We'll take it!

Parenthood Recap: Let’s Do the Time Warp

Parenthood borrowed a page from Parks and Recreation this week — well, kind of  — by suddenly, unexpectedly flashing its narrative forward. Instead of skipping ahead a couple of years, though, Parenthood time-hopped three months into the future, only to find that, hey, guess what, everything’s pretty much the same as it was roughly 90 days prior.

Ruby: Still a moody little pill with a vague resemblance to Avril Lavigne. »

  • Posted 10/31/14 at 10:15 AM
  • Endings

The Colbert Report Sets Last Show; We All Cry Forever

We get it. We're in denial, too. Yyou're aware The Colbert Report is ending soon, but knowing the date makes it that much more real and tragic (not unlike setting a wedding date). Still, we have to face the facts. Don’t worry; you're not in this alone. We're here. We promise. Okay, ready? Last night, while promoting the paperback release of his book America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't, he announced that the final episode will air on— it will air on— on— on— okay, give us a second ... [sniff] — on December 18. That gives you enough time to buy an American flag for you to fly at half mast.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: When BBT Met BBT

There comes a time when all groups of friends need some new blood to freshen up their routines. For the Big Bang gang, that meant a surprise guest-appearance by Billy Bob Thornton, and it resulted in an instant classic episode of the series.

BBT played Oliver Lorvis, “doctor to the stars’ urinary tracts,” and he carries James Cameron’s kidney stone in a tiny glass vial on his key chain to prove it. Dr. Lorvis shows up at Penny’s door with a bouquet of roses and an “unnecessarily graphic” note, hoping to woo his pharmaceutical sales rep after she winked at him and touched his arm for “two Mississippis” (“one Mississippi, two Mississippi”).

Dr. Lorvis bonds with Sheldon on his walk up the stairs to Penny’s pad. »

The Vampire Diaries Recap: My Brother Came Back

The title of this episode is a riff off a Hap Palmer song I deeply wish I did not know. It’s about a mommy who always returns to her kid. Some choice lyrics include: “Sometimes my mommy takes me over to another friend’s house to play”'; “Sometimes I worry when she leaves me”; and “She never would forget me.” You’re welcome for polluting your brain.

Why am I telling you this? Because Damon is that mommy. He is never leaving Stefan, not ever.

From the very first beats of the very first episode, we knew that the heart of this series would lie with Stefan and Damon — the love they have for each other, their complicated past, and their intrinsically linked futures. Last night, in what will probably go down as one of my favorite scenes in TVD history, Damon came back. Not to Elena. Not to some romantic chords of an Enya song. To Stefan. To his brother. The person who needs him the most.

Let’s recap.

Stefan in a tank top is how we should open every episode. »

Scandal Recap: Truth Is Like the Sun

This episode started with an O-face-filled nightmare and ended with Liv telling her father that her vagina was a secret weapon; even with a full arsenal of sexual innuendo, the most entertaining person was a pot-smoking, widowed, former First Lady.

Raise your hand if you want Bitsy to take Cyrus’s job. »

Gracepoint Recap: Nolte or Nice

Whew. That’s the sound of a held breath let out slow, and it’s the sound I made at the end of this week’s Gracepoint. Now, madams and sirs, we are cooking with gas. I’ve been waiting for the (awesome) casting of Nick Nolte as Jack Reinhold to pay dividends, and now it finally has. This is the episode that not only explains his presence but reminds us just how dynamite an actor Nolte is, even when shuffling like he’s dragging an albatross around, not by his neck, but by the ankle, with chains.

Reinhold’s interrogation is the best scene of the series so far. »

As Kids, the Gyllenhaals Had a Family That Was Really Into Halloween

What's fun about Jake Gyllenhaal on late-night shows is whenever he tells stories about his childhood, he's also telling stories about Maggie Gyllenhaal's childhood. You know, because they're siblings. And, as siblings, they were both raised by their dad, Stephen Gyllenhaal, a film and TV director and apparent Halloween enthusiast. Last night, Jake was on Conan talking about how overzealous their dad was with making them costumes. He mocks his dad for his enthusiasm, but look whose children wear costumes for a living, Jake.

How to Get Away With Murder Recap: It’s All About the Wallpaper

“Your husband’s Mr. Darcy.”

That’s what Wes said to Annalise Keating — right before he told her that she disgusted him with all her secrets and lies. It’s kind of thrilling to see Annalise taken down by someone — and Wes with a bit of backbone for a change. But let’s see how long he can actually hold onto this little taste of power he’s scored. Because as smart as he may think he is, he’s no match for Annalise Keating.

The case of the week is a doozy: race and redevelopment and father-son drama. »

Straight People Are Like This, and Gay People Are Like This in CBS’s New Sitcom The McCarthys

If this were 1994, The McCarthys would be a groundbreaking sitcom. Set in Boston — or Baaaaah-stun — it's about a sports-obsessed Irish-American family. The patriarch, high-school basketball coach Arthur McCarthy (Jack McGee), hires his gay son Ronny (Tyler Ritter) to be his assistant coach after the previous occupant of the job unexpectedly dies. (Well, maybe not unexpectedly; the recently deceased's name was "Fatty" McFadden, and he was quite fat, you see. This is the source of much mirth.) Complications ensue.

The McCarthys carries itself like a genial sitcom that just wants to have a good time. »

The Weirdest, Sexiest Costumes on American Horror Story: Freak Show

American Horror Story's costume designer, Lou Eyrich, has worked with its creator, Ryan Murphy, since 1999 — and has been an integral part of creating the show's distinctly creepy feel on all of its seasons, from Asylum to super-fashion-conscious Coven to this season’s Freak Show.

“We’ve developed quite a shorthand," she says. "He'll just say something like, I want it like Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger. And I'll know exactly what he means. In my head, I'll know what he needs.” So when Murphy told her he wanted the mood for American Horror Story: Freak Show to be "old, faded Hollywood glamour," Eyrich knew just how to create the show's dreary, rundown costumes. “The overall inspiration was carnivals and circuses from the late-'40s into the early '50s,” she told the Cut by phone. “We did a ton of research on freaks, and watched tons of movies from the early '50s, like The Greatest Show on Earth  — we referenced that a lot, because we loved that Technicolor look.”

I couldn’t just run to the mall and purchase an outfit, you know? I had to really design for each freak." »

  • Posted 10/30/14 at 3:05 PM
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Here’s What the Cast’s New Deal Means for the Future of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is HBO's biggest hit, and now its stars are getting a raise to match. As The Hollywood Reporter reports, the show's cast has signed a new deal with the network that will make them some of the highest-paid actors on cable. Just like a Lannister, HBO always pays its debts. This deal is exciting news not just for the casts' friends and family (who can safely ask them to pick up a few more tickets to Glastonbury next year), but also for fans, who can peer deep into the flames of the announcement to glean hints about an uncertain future. Here are some predictions; like Melisandre, we will take zero responsibility if they turn out to be wrong.

Mild-ish book spoilers below! »

Soon There’ll Be a Reason to Revisit Arrested Development Season 4

Man, remember Arrested Development season four? It feels like it was a million years ago. Well, it appears Mitch Hurwitz is about to give fans a reason to revisit it. In an interview with Pretentious Film Majors, he talked about how he thinks of the show as a series of challenges. "With the fourth season, a lot of the battles were creative — I mean, internal, I should say, and scheduling, and things like that," he explained, before revealing, “Right now, I’m cutting a version of season four that tells it chronologically.” He didn't add, "I've made a huge mistake," but it was implied.

  • Posted 10/30/14 at 10:30 AM
  • Video

Peter Pan Live!’s First Promo Is Full of Magic and Fake Wind

NBC'S Peter Pan Live! is so close (December 4), we can already taste the viewing-party snacks we're preparing to serve, and we can already feel the impending tweet-storm brewing. It's so close, we already hear the orchestra warming up, see the wind in Allison Williams's — er, Peter Pan's — hair. Or is that just the promo below, which features glimpses of the "magic" behind what will ultimately be the live viewing event of the year. Of the month, at least!

  • Posted 10/30/14 at 10:00 AM
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This Is What Hodor Looks Like in a Christmas Sweater

Since he's got next season off, Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn has more time to indulge his favorite hobbies. In between stops on his DJ tour, Nairn stopped by British Big and Tall store High and Mighty, where he bought this Bran-d new reindeer sweater. It's starkly ridiculous.

Read More  »

Nashville Recap: Drama Queens

Help me out here, guys. How do you think the writers of Nashville came up with Scarlett’s “awesome” story line this season? Do you think they all sat in a room with a sign on the door that read: “Scarlett’s Awesome Story Line Meeting in Progress. Do Not Disturb.” And do you think they worked through the night, with lots of crumpled up balls of paper that said things like, “adopts a scraggly dog” and “gets really into yoga” and “buys a good hairbrush” until a eureka look passed over one writer’s face and he broke into a huge, self-congratulatory grin and said, “I’ve got it! Scarlett befriends a kindly black homeless man who sings like an angel and has a tragic past!” And they were all, “OMG, nailed it!” “Genius!” “Heh, heh, no wonder they pay you the big bucks, Bob!” And there was much rejoicing and cigar-smoking and high-fiving all around.

Maybe I’m overthinking this? »

American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap: Clowning Around

I have a sneaking suspicion that thousands of American Horror Story fans are going to run out this morning and go to Jo-Ann Fabric, Michael’s Craft Store, and whatever shoe store is next to them in the mini-mall so that they can buy some lace, hot-glue-gun it to a mask, and then shine their knee-high boots. It’s an instant Elsa Mars costume that is far more flattering than her Life on Mars ensemble we’ve grown accustomed to.

This is the episode where it finally got good. »

Jim Carrey Tested David Letterman for Ebola

Ebola has landed in the U.S., and even our nation’s most beloved celebrities are (theoretically) at risk. Tonight on The Late Show, Jim Carrey did his due diligence by popping a thermometer in David Letterman’s mouth and asking him the standard Ebola screening questions, including “Have you ever kissed a monkey or licked an airport toilet seat?” and “Are you now or have you ever planned to be a member of ISIS?” We’re relieved to see that Letterman appears to be just fine, mainly because Taylor Swift was his guest yesterday, and we do not want Meredith and Olivia to have to go into quarantine.