After weeks of watching, re-watching, live-tweeting, recapping, analyzing, and debating, the fourth season of Game of Thrones has finally come to an end, leaving a void in both our hearts and our Twitter feeds. Once the fanfare and discussions about the shocking deaths and the major changes from the books finally die down, we will be faced with an unbearable winter without Westeros. How will we carry on without Dany and her dragons? How can we stay calm when we don’t know what’s happening with Tyrion? How will we survive the long months before we get new episodes?
Well, by watching TV of course. Game of Thrones may have ended, but there are plenty more shows with all of the fantasy, politics, blood and nudity that we have come to rely on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for, and we don’t even have to wait until next year to enjoy them. We've run down all of the shows airing in 2014 that will help fill the Westeros-sized hole in your heart, and how long you have to wait to get your fix. And if that doesn't work, there's still several thousand pages of George R.R. Martin's writing available for you to read. That should help pass the time.
True Blood How Long We Have To Wait: One week until June 22. What It’s About: The seventh and final season of the Southern vampire drama picks up with most of the characters dead or seemingly dead, an outbreak of Hep-V terrorizing the vampire population and everyone gaining and losing characters quicker than alliances shift on Game of Thrones. How It Will Fill the Void: True Blood and Game of Thrones have two key elements in common: blood and nudity. Expect plenty of both in the upcoming season.Airs: Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.
Tyrant How Long We Have To Wait: A week until June 24.What It’s About: The second son of a dictator leader of a foreign country returns from a self-imposed exile in Los Angeles, and must deal with the conflicts that arise between the culture of his homeland and the US and his oppressive father. How It Will Fill the Void: If you’re looking for political intrigue, culture clashes, a struggle for power and a father/son dynamic reminiscent of Tywin and Tyrion Lannister, this is the show for you.Airs: Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX.
The Leftovers How Long We Have to Wait: Two weeks until June 29.What It’s About: Set two years after 2 percent of the population disappears in the rapture, the series follows the rest of the world as they struggle to understand what happened to their loved ones, and attempt to move forward with their lives. How It Will Fill the Void: Like the White Walkers, the Children, and everything Melisandre is doing with the Lord of the Light, The Leftovers centers on a strange, unexplained supernatural phenomenon, and explores the personal drama that results.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on HBO.
The Strain How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: Created by Guillermo del Toro, The Strain is about a viral strain that turns people into horrifying, bloodsucking monsters that are terrorizing the population. It’s also based on a trilogy of books by Chuck Hogan, in case you’re all caught up on A Song of Ice and Fire. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s got horror, terror, suspense, excitement, supernatural elements and – we’re assuming – plenty of gore. Plus, it has Walder Frey himself, David Bradley, presumably on a mission to traumatize as many viewers as humanly possible.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on FX.
Masters of Sex How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: The pioneering work on human sexuality done by William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the 1950s. The second season will see Masters and Johnson grow closer, and the challenges it presents their personal and professional relationships. How It Will Fill the Void: All of the nudity and explicit sexual situations, but presented in a way that not only serves a narrative purpose and raises important questions about society and the human body, but also isn’t degrading towards women. What a novel concept!Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on Showtime.
Outlander How Long We Have to Wait: Two months until August 9.What It’s About: Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, the series follows Claire, a World War II nurse who is mysteriously sent back in time to the 1700s. There she is forced to marry Jaime Fraiser, a romantic and chivalrous Scottish soldier, and she is torn between two very different lives. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s a sweeping period epic that incorporates sci-fi, adventure, war, and romance that should help you move on from the tragic ending of Jon and Ygritte’s relationship.Airs: Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz.
Sleepy Hollow How Long We Have to Wait: Four months until September 22.What It’s About: The surprise hit of last year centers on Ichabod Crane, who is sent forward in time to 2014, where he solves supernatural crimes with Det. Abbie Mills, and the two of them attempt to stop the apocalypse. How It Will Fill the Void: Witty banter, well-matched partners, a supernatural threat, colorful characters, a spooky witch you should probably be wary of and some truly gruesome crimes – throw in a giant and it’s practically Game of Thrones’ fourth season.Airs: Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.
Gotham How Long We Have to Wait: Indeterminate, although it’s likely to premiere in September or October.What It’s About: Before Bruce Wayne grew up to be Batman, it was Det. Jim Gordon who cleaned up the crime and corruption on the streets of Gotham, even if that meant taking on some super villains of his own. How It Will Fill the Void: Like Ned Stark in King’s Landing, Jim Gordon is a noble man trying to bring justice to the murder, manipulation and scheming that runs amok in the city. Let’s hope he fares a bit better.Airs: Mondays at 8 PM on Fox.
Better Call Saul How Long We Have to Wait: Six months until November. What It’s About: A spinoff of Breaking Bad that focuses on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman, a lawyer who will do anything to keep his operations running smoothly. How It Will Fill the Void: You’ll probably become addicted to it, just as you were to Breaking Bad, which will help pass the time until Game of Thrones returns. Airs: On AMC, although a night and time hasn’t been revealed yet.
Initially, we were excited to see a live-action Gotham show that plunged into the backstory of a young Jim Gordon the way so many classic Batman storylines have done in the comics. One that profiled the once great city before it descended into a horrific cavalcade of carnival freaks and madmen, where regular police work wasn't enough to keep the new breed of super-criminals at bay. Really, a Gotham series works on paper as an intriguing police procedural with just a smidgen of comic book camp... but actually seeing the show in action gives us pause. While there's a lot to love in the first trailer for Gotham — the city itself looks great, like a mix of modern buildings and rusted-out architecture that's seen better days — there's also a lot that has us skeptical. Namely, the focus on all of the kid villains.
It makes sense for Gotham to tell a long-form origin story of Jim Gordon, a career policeman at the very start of his duties at the detective desk, but do we need to see child versions of all of Batman's foes. It seems like the show just couldn't resist crowbarring in Batman and his rogue's gallery where they really don't belong, as if the audience wouldn't be interested in the show otherwise. Here, we're getting, ridiculous looking versions of The Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy, not to mention Bruce Wayne himself. Frankly, it just looks silly.
Gotham's version of Selina Kyle looks to be about 13, and she's already traipsing between buildings, a budding master thief. Did she just come back from a heist called "The Great Juice-Box Caper?" Of course the one shot of Poison Ivy in the trailer shows a disheveled girl watering plants... and obviously we have to show the future Penguin touting an umbrella. It all seems so contrived, so painfully on the nose, like the show just can't stop winking at us to see if you got all the hints. What's next? Is the Joker going to show up as a unhinged 10-year-old who devotedly follows the Insane Clown Posse?
Obviously, a two-minute trailer is a very poor indication of how Gotham will eventually take form this fall, but it looks like the show might be trying too hard to inter-connect all of these child versions of the villains in a way that might seriously strain our ability to suspend disbelief. We're not saying Gotham shouldn't feature popular characters from the comics, to weave its own history out of our favorite characters, but ridiculous, grade school versions of the characters isn't the way to do it.
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As Mad Men's long-awaited Season 7 premiere inches ever closer, it's time to start planning that last minute Sunday night viewing soiree. Gather your ultra-fabulous vintage wear (the two Mrs. Drapers offer great inspiration), your je-ne-sais-quoi-infused cigarettes, and perhaps most importantly of all? Some really delicious cocktails – no Mad Men party is really quite complete without some classy alcohol, is it? (Though, be wary not to overindulge Don Draper style – you don't want to wake up in the local drunk tank).
And speaking of Don, we all know he's an old fashioned man, in more ways than one (har-har). Here's a recipe for an old fashioned of which Don would whole-heartedly approve:
Don’s Old Fashioned
*Created by Bobby “G” Gleason, Beam’s Master Mixologist
Ingredients:-2 parts Jim Beam Bourbon-2 dashes of aromatic bitters-1 cherry stem-1 half moon orange slice-1 - 3 sugar cubes
Preparation: In an old-fashioned glass, place sugar and 2 dashes bitters dissolved in water. Fill with ice. Pour 1-1/2 parts Jim Beam® Bourbon; add cherry, orange slice and lemon wedge.
What about the rest of Sterling Cooper & Partners? Well the mad men of Manhattan would surely be unable to resist the charms of this cocktail:
The Mad Man Manhattan
*Created by Bobby “G” Gleason, Beam’s Master Mixologist
Ingredients:-1-1/2 parts Jim Beam Devil’s Cut™-Dash of bitters-3/4 part dry vermouth-1 cherry stem-Ice
Preparation: Combine and stir Jim Beam Devil’s Cut™, dry vermouth, bitters and ice. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
And how about our silver fox friend, Roger Sterling? When he's not drinking vodka and milk (the milk helps his ulcer, okay?), his drink of choice is a good ol' smooth and sour. Here are the (delectable) ingredients for a drink that even Roger would be unable to scoff at:
Sterling’s Smooth & Sour
*Created by Bobby “G” Gleason, Beam’s Master Mixologist
Ingredients-2 parts Jim Beam Black Bourbon-1 part amaretto liqueur-1 part triple sec-2 parts sour mix-2 parts lemon-lime soda
Preparation: Serve shaken in a tall glass with cracked ice. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon.
Whether shaken or stirred, you've got the makings for a Mad Men celebration that would do party planning mastermind Megan Draper proud. So grab your drink of choice, pull up a chair, and buckle your metaphorical seatbelts for the premiere of Mad Men's seventh season.
S4E12: After a midseason break, The Big Bang Theory returned this week. And, unfortunately for us viewers, decided they would return to the problems -- and keep in mind, these problems were fixed heading into the break -- that plagued the beginning of the season. The jokes were unoriginal. The characters did typical things. And the writing was boring. Should I be surprised by this? Eh, no, not really. The season seemed to be heading down this path, despite its few glimmers of hope. But, even though I saw it coming, I am saddened by the fall of one of my favorite shows.
"That's a Hanukkah present you're regretting, huh?"
In the same way the rest of the episode sucked, the cold open this week was pretty lame. Howard's talking with his overprotective mother again? Oh, okay! Cool! We haven't seen that before! Oh wait, yes we have. We see that at least once a week. So, I apologize if this seems a bit harsh, but I think the cold open was a very telling factor of why this season of TBBT has been such a drag. It's simply unoriginal.
I'm not asking or expecting tremendous new ideas from this show. But, what I do expect is that the writers push the characters they've created. Sure, a running gag throughout the series between Howard and his mother is funny sometimes, but that's only if it's not mentioned every single episode. Personally, I've never been a huge fan of Howard's character, but at times, he's bearable. And sometimes, just sometimes, he gives me a laugh with some one-off perverted comment or with an absurd outfit he's wearing. But now it's to the point where any time he's on screen, that's all gone. I consistently feel myself saying, "Welp, how long before they make a crack about the relationship with his mother?" And usually, before I can even finish that thought, they go ahead and sneak one in. This week, it was during the cold open. And after a couple week hiatus from TBBT, this was definitely not how I wanted to be brought back into the world of my favorite nerds. But, alas. It happened. Let's move on.
"The stars at night are bring and bright deep in the heart of Texas!"
"Let's see you come up with an explanation as to why this woman hangs out with us all the time."
This week's plot wasn't anything groundbreaking, but I liked the premise -- especially for a show about nerds. Leonard came up with the idea for a smart phone app that, when you took a picture of a math equation, told you what said math equation was (they worded it in a more complicated way on the show, but that's basically what it was). Sheldon loved the idea, and that's where the quote above comes into play. In the gang's excitement, Leonard talked about the project in front of an "outsider" (Penny) and Sheldon didn't want him to give it away, so he kept interrupting him, specifically by singing about Texas.
This all worked fairly well. Sheldon is always at his best when he's doing absurd things, so seeing him channel all of his home state pride just to keep distract Penny was pretty funny. (Also, fun fact of the day, Jim Parsons is actually from Texas.) Plus, the idea that Penny is hanging around the nerds so she can get rich is an interesting concept as well, and actually is something I've never thought of before. Maybe this is something the writers could pursue in future episodes? Anyway, in a dull episode, this was probably one of the funnier moments.
"They are pants one wears over one's regular pants when one sits on bus seats that other people have previously sat on."
As you can imagine, Sheldon got a little over-bearing for the rest of the group as they tried to create this app. So, he got fired. Of course, this pissed him off and put a strain on his relationship with Leonard. And since Leonard is his ride to work, it led to the above quote, which was really, the funniest part of the episode.
"A disappointing drink for a disappointing day."
Like I stated earlier, Sheldon is at his best when he's doing ridiculous things and making ridiculous assumptions. The fact that he thinks he needs to wear pants over his normal pants just because other people sat on the bus before him -- that's funny! And that's the type of humor that works with Sheldon. But, what doesn't work is when the writers think it's a good idea to turn him into a dick. Because honestly, I don't think Sheldon is inherently a mean person. He just doesn't understand people and how they work. And everyone knows that! Hell, that's one of the very first things we learned during TBBT's first season: Sheldon doesn't understand human emotions, but because he's this weird, almost alien creature, it's funny. But it's only comical if he's not a mean person.
For example, the first stab he took at Penny for failing as an actress was funny. And mainly, it was funny because he was referencing the gang. Penny failed as an actress and is now hanging out with nerds to get rich? Yeah, that's funny. But then later in the episode, when he made another comment about her failure as an actress, it wasn't funny. It was just dickish because he was attacking her.
"You've taken the most important step on the road to success: learning what not to do. Now, let's start fresh. Howard, we'll need some tea."
This may seem odd, but Sheldon needs to be self-centered. In order to be funny, he needs to think about how the world affects him, and then reveal that to the rest of us through his crazy antics and ideas. When he takes the focus off of himself and applies it to others, he doesn't think of them as good people. Instead, he just sees how flawed they are in his eyes, and proceeds to belittle them for it. There's nothing funny or lovable about that.
So that's why, even at the end of the episode when he rejoins the team and says the above quote, it's just not that funny. The characters circled back to where they were in the beginning of the episode. Sheldon's a dick. The guys are mad at him. Penny is mad at him. It's just one big clusterfuck of pissed off-ness. And seriously, who wants to watch that? These characters work best as an ensemble that pokes fun at each other, but deep down, we know they love one another. But this episode lacked those redeeming qualities. And because of that, sadly, this episode just wasn't all that funny.
Macaulay Culkin pleads not guilty to drug charges
Former child star Macaulay Culkin pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally possessing marijuana and prescription medicine at an Oklahoma City court Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. With his attorney present, the Home Alone star made a brief court appearance to enter pleas on two misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance. The actor remains free on $4,000 bond posted at the time of his arrest. Culkin, 24, was arrested Sept. 17 while driving through Oklahoma City en route to California from New York. Oklahoma police stopped the vehicle for speeding and improper lane changing, but found 17.3 grams of marijuana and prescription drugs during a search. Police charge Culkin obtained the anti-anxiety medication Xanax without a prescription. Although Culkin could face up to one year in prison if convicted, officials said the actor was not likely to face any prison time. The AP reports Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking drug treatment as part of a plea agreement that will not include prison time. Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking a plea agreement that would include drug treatment rather than prison time. An appearance in the case has been set for Dec. 2.
Nicky Hilton seeks marriage annulment
Socialite Nicky Hilton, meanwhile, is seeking to annul her 2-month-old marriage to money manager Todd Meister, Reuters reports. Hilton, the 21-year-old heiress to the Hilton hotel fortune with elder sister Paris, and Meister, 33, wed at a Las Vegas wedding ceremony on Aug. 15. But Us Weekly magazine reported Wednesday that Hilton was seen at a political fund-raiser and a nightclub earlier this month without her wedding band and that the couple actually split several weeks ago. "They're working on an annulment," Us quoted an unnamed source as saying. "Nicky and Todd remain the best of friends, but she is 21, and it's just not the right time in her life for her to be married. He lives in New York; she's in L.A."
Fox's Bill O'Reilly in lawsuit mess
Conservative Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday against one of his associate producers and her lawyer, alleging they threatened him with a high profile sexual harassment case unless he and the network shelled out $60 million in "hush money." O'Reilly said his reputation was damaged and he suffered "great mental strain, anguish and severe emotional distress." He is seeking unspecified damages. But Benedict Morelli, the lawyer named as a defendant in O'Reilly's case, turned around and filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News and O'Reilly on behalf of the associate producer Andrea Mackris. Her complaint states O'Reilly's behavior included talk of vibrators and phone sex, references to a ménage-a-trois and stories of his sexual experiences.
Eric Clapton's driver's license revoked
Police in France suspended Eric Clapton's driver's license Thursday after they clocked the rock star speeding down a highway at 134 mph--53 mph above the speed limit, the AP reports. French officials said police stopped Clapton's Porsche 911 Turbo near the town of Dijon, about 190 miles east of Paris and confiscated the singer's British driver's license, automatically suspending his right to drive in France. But Clapton, 59, reportedly took the news well and even agreed to a photo session with gendarmes. The 16-time Grammy Award winner paid a $922 fine and then rolled away in the Porsche's passenger seat--with his secretary behind the wheel. Police said Clapton can still drive in Britain but will have to recover his license through a court hearing.
Judge refuses to lower bail for Zeta-Jones' stalker
A judge Wednesday refused to reduce the $1 million bail for a woman accused of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. Superior Court Judge David Mintz cited Dawnette Knight's "threatening conduct" and the severity of her charges for declining a defense request to lower her bail or release her, the AP reports. Knight, 33, is charged with one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats for sending threatening and violent letters to Zeta-Jones' husband, actor Michael Douglas. She was arrested June 3 at her Beverly Hills, Calif., home. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Mintz also scheduled a pretrial hearing Oct. 27 and set a Nov. 15 trial date in the case.
Jim Carrey becomes a U.S. citizen
Canadian-born comedian Jim Carrey has become a U.S. citizen, Reuters reports. Carrey, 42, said in statement his decision to pursue dual citizenship was based on his love for the country that helped him achieve his dream. "This country has helped define me and make my dreams come true," the Bruce Almighty star said. But the actor professed his pride at being born a Canadian. "I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me," said Carrey. "My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian." Carrey, who got his start on the early 1990s television series In Living Color, became an official U.S. citizen on Oct. 7.