Watch Out, Tonight Show:You're not the only one moving to NYC! America's Got Talent — which used to be in Los Angeles, then moved to New Jersey for judge Howard Stern — is moving yet again, this time to the Big Apple. The reality series, which premieres Tuesday, June 4, will film its live shows at Radio City Music Hall for Season 8. Also, following Sharon Osbourne's departure, Heidi Klum and Mel B will be joining Stern and Howie Mandel, as they together judge the juggernaut of America's talent. [Hollywood Reporter]
Never Knew How Much We Missed You?: Tia Mowry, forever known as 1 of the 2 stars of the '90s sitcom Sister, Sister, is back — but this time, she's a mom. And it's kind of confusing. Mowry will star as a party girl turned mom (she marries a rich older dude with step-kids), for a comedy pilot Instant Mom on Nick at Nite. The interesting part is that the series will run its episodes on NickMom — making it the first scripted series for the primetime TV block. The show will then air repeats on Nick at Nite. [Deadline]
The Walking Dead Gets New Regulars: A couple of cast members from the series are movin' on up to the regular side — and we don't mean going from undead to alive (no one's discovered that cure yet). Chad Coleman (Tyreese), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) and Emily Kinney (Beth Greene) will be joining the also-recently-upped David Morrissey (The Governor) in full-time status for the upcoming fourth season. Melissa Ponzio (Karen) is also set to recur as a guest star. Sorry, Carol (portrayed by Melissa McBride), looks like this ain't your year to join the big leagues (again). [Deadline]
Super-Sizing American Idol: Starting with this week’s results episode on Thursday, American Idol will keep the cameras rolling on its eliminated contestants after the episode ends. The new feature is called “Still Rolling,” and will give fans access to what really happens after the final votes are announced. Viewers will see promos running on Thursday’s Idol, then get a behind-the-scenes peek during special airings of New Girl and The Mindy Project. The first piece will air at 9:14 PM ET and the second piece five minutes later. The other two will air around 9:44 PM ET and 9:52 PM ET. [THR]
Season 5 of Misfits Will Be Its Last: The British hit-drama Misfits will end its series after five action-packed seasons. The fifth and final season, which will consist of eight hour-long episodes, is set to premiere Fall 2013 in the UK. American fans can tune in to the superhero show on Hulu and Hulu Plus. [HuffPost TV]
Follow Shaunna On Twitter @HWShaunna
[Photo Credit: Skip Bolen/NBC]
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In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look... backwards. That's why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist. This week, we're bringing back genuine terror: via the characters who assaulted our childhood innocence way back when. Rational or not — here's looking at you, Michael Arbeiter — behold a round-up of the most terrifying offenders.
Shaunna Murphy: Hi, kids — it's me, Face! — an absolutely terrifying, bodiless talking head on acid. I change colors every few seconds, and my only purpose on this earth is to inject terror into the hearts of millions by introducing their favorite TV shows. The truth is that I'm actually an ethereal terrorist from the future sent from the past to collect brainwaves from the innocent minds of children, until their hearty imaginations build a time machine that will send my ruined people back in time to establish a reign of terror on planet Earth! Hee Hee! I mean, enjoy Blue's Clues!
Kelsea Stahler: This little bear was supposed to make you want to wash your blankets and roll around in them, soaking up the freshness. Instead, this terrifying little spokesbear turned a comforting activity into a terrifying one.
Matt Patches: I wasn't allowed to watch MTV growing up — a move to protect me from the heinous, perverted, mind-destroying material flooding the channel at the time, of course — but the pop culture impact of Beavis and Butthead was too strong. I found it... and it scared the crap out of me. I blame it on the lack of laugh track and incessant low-pitch giggling on the part of the idiotic duo. Their voices sounded like evil gremlins. And what the heck was AC/DC?!
Michael Arbeiter: There was nothing inherently scary to me about Grover when I first encountered him on Sesame Street. But the popular puppet earned certain… dark connotations when he began to slip into my nighttime delusions. I was about three or four, struggling to get to sleep, when I began hearing voices coming from my wall. Not coming from behind my wall, but from the wall itself — it spoke to me, and in the highly recognizable voice of Grover. But the voice didn’t bring along with it his chipper, kindly demeanor. I was terrified, and would forever be so whenever I heard Grover speak.
Abbey Stone: The 1985 TV movie Alice Through the Looking Glass was already a few years old by the time I stumbled upon it as a kid, but it was still enough to make me afraid to fall asleep for years. As terrifying as the monstrous Jabberwocky was, he was only the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if the psychedelic imagery scared me more, or the abandonment and helplessness tropes the movie played up.
Christian Blauvelt: (The trolls from David the Gnome) It’s one thing for cannibalistic, shag-haired, pupil-less trolls to menace cute little forest gnomes. It’s another thing when they’re menacing a cute little forest gnome voiced by Tom Bosley. Here's a clip where the trolls come in at the 15:30 mark. They actually want to eat a fox! A fox!
Samantha Xu: I'm pretty sure that NASA has disproven the theory of swinging over the bar on a swing set, but after watching this Nickelodeon claymation short as a child, my paranoia of turning into a walking peepshow severely hampered my swinging mojo. I mean, who wants to be inside out? Wouldn't you be really cold all time?
Anna Brand: Pinky was always goofy with his buck teeth and crossed eyes so he seemed harmless. Brain, on the the other hand, was always grumpy and evil-looking, and when he played with his squiggly tail I had to close my eyes. Also, his ears were so enormous I always thought he was hiding creatures in them.
Alicia Lutes: "What is it about Howie Mandel that's so terrifying?" people often ask me. To which I respond: Are you kidding? Is that even a question? Everything about Howie Mandel is terrifying. Howie Mandel is what I imagine all clowns look like on their days off — right down to that weird voice he did in Bobby's World and his general germaphobia. Though I believe my fear may have a bit of a bias, considering I once had a vivid dream as a child where Howie Mandel and my younger brother chased me around the entire state of Connecticut before finding me in my cousin's basement and murdering me. My childhood imagination was very strange.
Aly Semigran: Soundgarten's video for "Black Hole Sun" creeped me out so much that not only would I have to change that channel whenever that terrifying, big-eyed nightmare started on MTV, but still cannot listen to that song without getting a chill down my spine.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Snuggle]
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Well, it's over. One of the universal truths of human existence has finally come to pass on Briarcliff: everything ends. And it's time to seal the doors up once and for all on Briarcliff Manor. Tonight's American Horror Story: Asylum saw the end of suffering for all our lost and lonely patients — some, with a bang.
If you haven't noticed already, your regular AHS guardsman, Brian Moylan, is off with the snowbunnies (and showbunnies) at Sundance, so I (Alicia Lutes) am here to fill in the gap left by his numerically-laced recaps. And since numbers are possibly my least-favorite thing in the universe (after Howie Mandel), things will be slightly different tonight. But considering how different this finale was, a new approach seems fitting. Let's get started!
This season was no doubt a tragic one — dotted by the occasional comedic moment, for sure, but overall: incredibly bleak. There is something truly horrific about the state of mental healthcare in this country (especially following the events of Newtown), and though Briarcliff and its tales are an extreme case, its core still rings true. But sometimes out of tragedy comes success and a life where ambition can be put to good use. We're talking, of course, about Ms. Lana Banana herself: she's a real Barbara Walters type, using her unique insight into the male psyche to get famous, disgraced men the world over to open up to her in her interviews. She went from the days of fudging the truth (the good of the story!) to being a real whistleblower on the lies and deceit that get so many in trouble and ruin lives. Her interview for an upcoming Kennedy Center Honors will celebrate her life of achievements, a neatly-wrapped end to all the dark shadows of lives' past is presented. A crusader for change.
Only the Lana that was introduced to America and made her as beloved as she is, well, she was a lie. The exposé that made her famous (Briarcliff: Uncovered!) was not done by a sense of moral imperative, but rather ambition. One of the myriad of human emotions that creator Ryan Murphy dissects throughout this season as potentially deadly when taken to the extreme. Lana's ambition, at first, causes her to toss those most important to her to the wayside. It's Kit ambition — used for good. Always for good — to right the wrongs of the past that end up saving the day.
Kit is the only one who can bring Lana back to earth. When he saw the ambition taking over Lana, he takes it upon himself to get Sister Jude aka Betty Drake out of Briarcliff. Kit has always been the moral center of this show — the guiding light for every single person in Briarcliff, and his compassion and care for everyone around him is perfectly encapsulated in his relationship with Jude. "After all the indignity she made you suffer," Lana muses. Forgiveness, Kit explains, is what helps him move forward and become the father his two maybe-alien but totally-exceptional children need. The tenderness Kit and his children show Jude is beautiful, elevated by this episode's incredible director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. The words of Tim Minear drift dreamily and woozily off the page with Gomez-Rejon's artistic shooting style. Unexpected angles, a vantage point that unsettles. Everything works and plays together so well. It's no wonder they're bringing him on to Executive Produce in addition to direct for season three.
It's interesting to see that in a show centered around a Catholic-run mental hospital, the biggest savior of all was Kit, the one constantly railed-against and scapegoated within the institution. To call this a coincidence would probably be misguided, but it also feels like a refreshing change: a nice reminder that morality and religious belief are not mutually exclusive. In AHS, the mythical unknown is certainly a savior — but it is aliens, not the notorious G.O.D. that bring people back to life, take Kit away from his cancer suffering, and (likely) saved the mind of Sister Jude. In a show that often felt impulsive, cluttered, and sadistic, there was a tenderness to the way Murphy ended these characters and the show. It was this sort of respect for humanity, for the good and evil that defines much of our own lives, that was able to turn a tyrannical, alcoholic hypocrite to the ultimate avenged angel. Murphy and company showed sides of depth to everyone — not one was perfect, and that made them all truly human. It's an impressive feat when you think about all the (at times outlandish and camperific) blood, gore, and general chaos that these characters were born into. You had to juggle a myriad of feelings about each character during every scene, but that's what is subtly great about a show that felt at times all-too-erratic for its own good.
That's not to say the finale was perfect: Kit and the aliens. The black sheep of storylines. Kit is taken back to the aliens while on the cusp of death. Disappeared, according to everyone. But his children insisted there was no reason to mourn. Hoping to see the little green men in all their glory? Wishing the most underdeveloped storyline would finally get played out in full? Wish all you want, my friends, because resolution is not what you're going to get. But I have a theory.
Kit's children knew he had been abducted again — but why? Murphy never gives us an answer, and seemingly does so on purpose. Our dear AHS overlord has noted that this storyline caused much confusion for viewers (myself included at first), but upon a second and third viewing, I can't help but note the connection between aliens and religion. Is Murphy suggesting that worshipping deities is misguided? We all know how Grace's preoccupation with the aliens held the fervency of a religious obsessive: could there be a connection there? Should we, as a people, be more committed to the good we can learn from the future (and the unknowns throughout the universe) rather than the ancient text of a supposed god? Or would the truth drive us all to insanity (a la Alma)? To me, the alien storyline is about looking forward rather than looking back. Kit was always the ultimate Good on this show: his tolerance, acceptance, love, and vigilance to be that Good above all feels almost holy. Maybe it's actually Kit who is a savior — literally and metaphorically. And maybe he and his children will change the world. The future has yet to be performed, after all.
The finale opens where it began — the two lovers. The only story that Lana couldn't tell, even though she birthed it. We see the method to Johnny's madness, and in the climax of the episode, the two face each other head-on. Lana knows her time with Johnny is limited, but it's her ambition and will to live that keep her on top: she knows broken, f**ked up men better than anyone — and she clearly knows how this particular nutjob operates. The way she manipulates him into giving up the gun — and then coldly turning it on her son — shows that this ambition is what both hurt and saved her life. It's the only ending that could've happened: even watching Sarah Paulson deliver the words, you can see it within her: she knows he has to die. Paulson's performance is especially deft — in every word she spoke, you could see the volume of emotions unexpressed behind her eyes. If Studio 60 didn't put you on Team Paulson, this season certainly did. No surprise Murphy's nabbed her for next season already: homegirl nailed Lana Winters this season. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing this part.
An ending needn't be happy in order to be right, especially in a horror series. Yet even with all the death, the unknowns, and the tragedy, there's a finiteness to this ending that feels both appropriate and uplifting. Briarcliff is gone, for good. No more death. Until next season, at least.
What did you think about the finale of American Horror Story: Asylum? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: FX]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Former cellmates Michael (Russell) and Murphy (Costner) are leaders of a posse that plans to pull off the heist of a lifetime: robbing the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during International Elvis Week. This means of course adopting full-on spangled jumpsuits sunglasses and "thank yuh thank yuh vurry much"-es. But when Murphy turns against the crew to keep all the loot for himself Michael escapes with it instead and heads for the border to launder it. He's sidelined along the way by a dalliance with a grifter (Courteney Cox) and her young son. Meanwhile Murphy's hot on his trail.
Costner turned down the chance to play Russell's part to take on the villain instead - and he looks like he's having the time of his life. Less filled out but more amoral than his baddie in the underrated "A Perfect World " Costner bats well as a foil to Russell who shows a barely visible vulnerability under the necessary roughness. Cox to her credit does a complete 180 from her uptight role on "Friends" as the sexually aggressive con-chick Cybil. Christian Slater David Arquette and Bokeem Woodbine make small appearances as part of the Elvis crew Howie Long and Ice-T kick some tail and Kevin Pollak and the long-absent Thomas Haden Church ("Wings") provide comic relief as bumbling lawmen.
"3000 Miles to Graceland" may seem like a caper reminiscent of last month's "Snatch " except there's a lot of bloodshed particularly during the casino robbery where machine gun blasts fling people across the room to land on cha-ching!-ing slot machines. Novice director Demian Lichtenstein's music video background is evident in his Guy Ritchie-esque cuts zooms and a way-bizarre computerized scorpion fight that kicks off the movie (what was that about?). His style and the Vegas ambience give the film a kitschy edge that disappears once the guys shed their Elvis garb. Stay for the credits - you'll see a costumed Russell lip-synching in his own music video as Costner Cox and crew dance about.
Once respected NYPD detective Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is now pretty much on his last legs literally and figuratively. He drinks is relegated to a desk job and walks with a limp. One morning after a long shift he’s corralled into transporting a petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to the courthouse 16 blocks away so he can testify by 10:00 a.m. What Jack doesn’t know is that Eddie is one of the key witnesses in a case against crooked cops--that is until the two start getting shot at. Then it becomes crystal clear. The main bad guy Jack’s former partner Frank (David Morse) basically lets Jack know Eddie will never testify to just go ahead and hand him over but Frank underestimates Jack’s desire to finally do something good. So Jack and Eddie fight their way to the courthouse block by gut-wrenching block. Oh no there’s nothing formulaic about 16 Blocks not at all. In a film as predictable as this the only thing that’ll make it stand out is the performances. 16 Blocks nearly succeeds--but not quite. It would seem Willis is playing a character he’s played a hundred times before--the misunderstood and slightly unorthodox cop with a heart of gold. But as Jack the actor does a nice job trying out some new things namely playing fat bald and grizzled. You can almost smell how bad Jack’s breath has to be. Rapper/actor Mos Def who usually brightens any film he’s in also tries his hand at something different but his choices aren’t as smart. As the talkative and affable Eddie Mos comes up with one of the more annoying nasally accents ever recorded. After about five minutes of screen time you desperately want him to stop and say “Just kidding! I don’t really talk like this.” But he doesn’t. It’s too bad something like an accent can ruin an otherwise decent performance. Old-school director Richard Donner best known for his Lethal Weapons is a consummate professional when it comes to making these kind of movies. In other words he pretty much paints by numbers. We watch Jack and Eddie get out of one tight situation after another as the gaggle of bad cops try to gun them down. I mean 16 blocks doesn’t seem that far to go so they better throw in as many highly implausible obstacles as they can. Chinese laundries alleyways rooftops subways. And yes even a city bus which the pair--who have by now bonded big time--has to hijack. Donner also employs a popular but nonetheless annoying technique of zooming in when the action heats up so you can’t really see what’s going on. Even if you’re addicted to action movies--a Bruce Willis action movie no less--16 Blocks just doesn’t deliver the goods.