Lima, New York, Los Angeles. Season 4 will be Glee-king all over the country. At the Comic-Con panel for the show, we learned many things, but what was most noticeable is how the show is going to shift gears: half the cast will be living outside the lines of Lima, Ohio. And while everyone knew it was bound to happen, seeing it in action will most likely be a different story.
But don't expect things to be too scattered, as Ian Brennan, executive producer, explained it as such: "Because we do episodes that have a thematic throughline, it's just a matter of making sure the stories talk to each other in an interesting way." For example? Britney Spears, who really is the tie that bands most people's lives. "we've been able to take a Britney-themed episode and take it from the choir room to how it's affecting Rachel in New York," said Brennan. Look out for a lot more of Brittany S. Pierce's fierce dance moves! It's no secret that some (critics and fans alike) took issue with the seemingly-jumbled storytelling and PSA-y nature of the show's last season. But it seems as though with a slightly pared-down cast running the New Directions in Ohio, there may be a chance for more intimate character development. Executive producer Brad Falchuk explained "It's a much smaller group in there, which is exciting for us because each story can be a little more intimate and a little more focused in a way because you don't have 12 people to service." Don't think that means new characters are out of the picture, though: the group DOES need 12 to compete in nationals. "We're definitely looking to repopulate the choir room and casting some new people to bring in there, the idea is to keep that part of the show vibrant," says Falchuk. The panel also divulged that we'll see another dimension of the Puckerman family: Puck's brother will be introduced, adding a much-needed dimensional element to round out Mark Salling's resident badboy-with-a-heart-of-gold. And while The Glee Project-winner Damien McGinty is out, Samuel Larsen and Alex Newell will still be there in some capacity next season, which means--of course--a return to their roots: "They're underdogs again; that room is half empty and they're desperately trying to get 12 kids for Sectionals," said Brennan. And guest stars? They're already staking 'em up, even though no one's seen the new scripts yet! There is another famous face adding herself to the roster of the impressive Glee lineup: Kate Hudson! "It's a difference between the Will version of teaching and one that's based on negative reinforcement," Falchuk explained. "The challenge for Rachel coming out of being the biggest star in her high school choir and having the quarterback boyfriend and now starting fresh and the challenges of New York and being there alone is going to be interesting for her." "Now she's in a school with 1,800 other Rachel Berrys," added Michele. The hard-as-nails teachings of Hudson's character coupled with the cutthroat nature of New Yorkian Rachel Berrys? Sounds like a welcome challenge to Glee's arguably most un-challenged star. Looks like we'll see if Lea Michele's character has the chops to make it against some serious competition! Though not all is well and good going into season four: namely with Finn."He went off on this adventure and nobody knows what's happened," said Falchuk. Oh yeah, and then there's that whole 'army' storyline (seriously: could you ever see Finn in the army?!). So we'll see how that (possibly ridiculous?) development plays out. And of course our poor Chris Colfer, his dreams of New York dashed--or were they? "[Rachel and Kurt are] best friends and it will be hard to keep them apart," Falchuk hinted. There's always NYU or even a CUNY, Kurt: just get thee to New York and make your own dreams come true! But what about Klaine (though I've always preferred the nickname "Blurt" for these two. Just me?) Darren Criss seems to be in favor of a rocky road for the pair: "We all want to see them be together as long as possible but it's good to have things shake up a little bit. The inevitable of a long-distance relationship produces a lot of interesting conflict." Falchuk noted that modern technology will help tie story lines together. "We've been using that as a way to bind it." I smell "don't have Skype-sex" PSA-laden episode (please don't do that, Glee, no matter how much you'd LOVE to have the kids sing *NSYNC's "Digital Getdown." please.just.resist.) potential with that one. Sexting is so 2011 anyway. Other things to expect? Will Emma and Schue finally get it on? They'll be "living together and doing dirty things" said Falchuk. Saucy! Also Sue finally has her celebrity baby, Puck and Mercedes are in LA, Mike is in Chicago, and Quinn is in New Haven, CT at Yale. Chord Overstreet will also be back full-time. Hooray for troutymouth! Like we said, they're Gleeking out everywhere! What do you think about the new shake-ups and additions to the show? Any storylines you're dying to see play out? Do you think it'll be more ridiculous or an improvement on last season? Sound off in the comments, below!
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter] Glee's fourth season premieres Thursday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. on FOX. Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes Glee More: Why I'm Going to Start Watching Glee Again Glee Graduates Are Set to Return, But How's That Going to Work? Glee Stars Lea Michele and Cory Monteith Are 'Hooking Up'
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
There's no holiday Gleekier than Christmas, which is why the new Glee Christmas album, Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2, will make a perfect gift for any of your friends or family members who are particularly fascinated with the misadventures of the McKinley High student body. This year's Glee Christmas album will have a couple of special bonuses. The first will be the presence of The Glee Project contestants Damian McGinty, Samuel Larson, Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell on the CD, singing in such songs as "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
The second, and even more exciting, surprise is the inclusion of two original songs as sung by the cast of Glee. The songs will be entitled "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" and "Christmas Eve With You."
Below is a full track listing, along with the names of the actors (and characters) who will be performing the songs. The album will be available Nov. 15.
1. 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Featuring Amber Riley (Mercedes)
2. 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas' Featuring Darren Criss (Blaine) and Lea Michele (Rachel)
3. 'Santa Baby' Featuring Naya Rivera (Santana)
4. 'Christmas Eve With You' Featuring Jayma Mays (Emma) and Matthew Morrison (Will)
5. 'Little Drummer Boy' Featuring Kevin McHale (Artie)
6. 'River' Featuring Lea Michele (Rachel)
7. 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' Featuring Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell ('Glee Project')
8. 'Let It Snow' Featuring Darren Criss (Blaine) and Chris Colfer (Kurt)
9. 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' Featuring Mark Sailing (Puck), Cory Monteith (Finn) and Samuel Larsen ('Glee Project')
10. 'Christmas Wrapping' Featuring Heather Morris (Brittany)
11. 'Blue Christmas' Featuring Damian McGinty (Rory)
12. 'Do They Know It's Christmas' Featuring Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Lea Michele (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Heather Morris (Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Naya Rivera (Santana)
S1E7: So, when does too much become too much? The Killing's latest installment -- entitled "Vengeance" -- is raising that question. Last night's introduction to the radical Muslim subplot seems, well, questionable at best. In the series' short life, which right now sits at seven episodes (and seven days in the show's time), the cops have come across pretty much every single type of cliche "bad guy." Seriously, we've got the Polish Mob, the drug-addicted skate punk, the teacher, the politician, and now this week: radical Muslim extremists. (Oh, and the silly political crap that comes with that. Emergency council meeting? Um, okay?) It's not that I'm specifically opposed to investigating as many suspects as possible, it just seems a little ridiculous that they're introducing a whole new angle nearly every week, especially since the show is operating in "real-time." I will credit them to sticking to one major suspect over a few episodes, but honestly, in a season that only will be 12 episodes long (well, technically 13 but the first week ran two episodes together), shouldn't the second half of the season start to narrow the scope of the plot, not widen it? Or if it widens it, not nearly to this absurd of a level? Add in some boring character conflicts and The Killing is just sprawling out of control.
"You owe me 50 million dollars." -Jack
And, hey, whaddaya know, Linden missed her flight again. I don't know, maybe this is just me being insensitive, but I don't feel too invested in Linden's "commitment issues," as Holder puts it. I don't know why. Maybe it's because we never really got to know her husband-to-be, or we are yet to know what happened before the Larsen murder investigation that almost cost her custody of Jack, but regardless, it just seems kind of… blah. Maybe it's because I know there's no real chance she's going to abandon the case (because, uh, that's the whole basis of the show), so when we have to go through this whole "should I stay or should I go" act, it's just annoying. Perhaps once her past is illuminated more, I'll find myself actually caring when she runs through the airport, but until then, I'm just going to stick with being annoying.
"There's this room where he took Rosie -- in the basement." -Belko
Anyway, so at the end of last week's terrific episode, we ended with Mr. Polish Mob-past, Stan Larsen, driving Bennett through the rainy (surprise!) night to his assumed death. But "Vengeance" began and immediately abandoned the idea that Stan would take, er, vengeance. After talking for a moment, it becomes clear that a.) Bennett is probably innocent and b.) Stan doesn't want to kill anyone because he's changed his life around since he worked for the Polish Mob. So, he brings the understandably spooked Bennett home. However, Mitch is curious about Stan. She asks him about it and Stan says that when he married her, he made a commitment to become a better man. But there's something going on with Mitch (and by the way, I must say that one of The Killing's strongest points is Michelle Forbes' wonderful ability to play a grieving mother). She eventually demands that Belko say who told him at the school that Bennett did it. Belko reveals a nonspecific source, who we know is wrong, but Mitch (I think) believes him and the episode ends with her watching Bennett's house from a car on the street. Apparently, Mitch might want to do what her husband decided not to.
Oh, and by the way, let me just say right now that, um, isn't it fairly obvious that Belko is the real killer? He's just been hanging around the Larsen house, piping in his opinions here and there, making claims that we know are wrong. He's been in enough scenes so we know who he is, but not enough to think of him immediately when we think of the killer. Plus, he's kind of a creepy dude.
"Have you heard about this case?" -Man at the mosque
When Linden was investigating Bennett's wife, Amber, at the beginning of the episode, another suspect was revealed: Bennett's teacher of the Koran, a man named Muhammad. Linden does some sneaky detective work while interviewing Amber, peaking at the address inside of the Koran, and she and Holder head there after their boss revokes their warrant because of a lack of evidence. When they arrive, they meet a man who doesn't introduce himself, but for some reason, I'm kind of assuming is Muhammad. After this man-I'm-assuming-is-Muhammad dismisses them (and tells them that they're also looking for a missing girl, but the cops aren't helping because, assumedly, this missing girl is not white), Linden finds a piece of paper inside of her shoe with an address scribbled on it. They head there and break into the back, and just before we can see what Linden is staring at (with some horror in her face, by the way), the FBI busts in behind her, slamming both Holder and Linden to the floor.
"He's trying to screw you and he's using every dick in the council." -Jamie
On the other end of all of this, there's the politics. This episode featured more bitching between Richmond and his colleagues, who argue that Richmond should ask for Bennett's resignation. Richmond doesn't want to, because the program that he and Bennett have created is working very well in the community, and Bennett is innocent and not even arrested yet, but the opposition is running ad-campaigns that criticize Richmond's decision-making so, understandably, they want to do something about that. Beyond that, though, Darren gets a parole notification in the mail and we learn that it was a drunk driver who killed his previous wife. He goes to deal with that part of his life, and while he's away, the council calls an impromptu "emergency" meeting regarding the Bennett situation and when Darren returns, he's confronted with it -- and it goes very poorly, as the council votes to suspect the program. It's unfortunate for Richmond and his campaign, and it's looking more and more unlikely that they'll be able to dig themselves out of the hole that the murder put them in, but regardless, the whole thing seems slightly ridiculous to me. The council really votes to shut down this program simply because this guy is a suspect? Maybe The Killing is trying to comment on the current political climate -- and just how delicate Muslim-related issues are -- but, c'mon. Really? This just seems absurd. Then again, perhaps I'm just naive and politics actually occur in this manner and if that is the case, well, again, I just say: really?
S1E6: For the first time in the show's young life, the multiple plot lines in last night's The Killing felt connected. Each story developed with similar tones at the same time, each queuing up events for the others, and followed them to their results. It was nice, because, well, the show hasn't really done that yet. Don't get me wrong, The Killing has been terrific, interesting, and at times extremely gripping; but the only connecting device between each seemed to be Rosie's death, which after awhile gets a little bit old (see last week's episode, which wallowed in repetitiveness). So, seeing "What You Have Left" breathe some new life into the season by giving us a few tangible connections between each (like Bennet's involvement with Richmond's neighborhood "All-Stars" initiative) felt, simply, refreshing.
"You almost lost him, Sarah." -Regi
Linden still hasn't left Seattle and, let's be honest here, probably never will. I find it slightly humorous that each episode sets up some type of departure for her -- like this week's red-eye flight -- only for her to obviously not depart (also, her argument against her son's request to leave just a day later was comical). It's redundant, yes. It's inevitable, sure. But at the same time, I would argue it's a necessary reminder of the urgency of the case and just how invested in it Linden is. She's putting off her new life to solve this crime; but at the same time, it raises other questions like: what's she afraid of in her new life? What can't she face? Will she even get married? Will she stay in Seattle? Regardless, having a conflicted lead character is compelling because Linden doesn't stand out like an innocent, white knight of justice. She has her own troubles, and it's quickly becoming apparent how her job is potentially controlling her life. We don't really get a context to what Regi meant by, "You almost lost him," but we can imagine that it has something to do with her inability to separate the job from her life. In a way, she reminds me of McNulty from The Wire -- unable to escape from the job, just without the booze.
"Do you wish she was a boy?" -Amber, Bennet's wife
Meanwhile, we have suspect number one in Bennet, who seems to just be screwing himself more and more each time he opens his mouth to the cops. First, he doesn't tell them about the letters he wrote to Rosie. Then, he forgets to mention that she "dropped off a book," after Linden and Holder talked to neighbors who saw Larsen stop by his house on the night of her murder. But despite all of this, we learned that it's probably not Bennet who murdered Larsen. Right now, it seems like all fingers are pointing to Amber, his wife, (especially because of the shot of her crouching, holding a hammer) and Bennet is mixing up his stories to try and cover for her. Maybe he and Rosie had a secret relationship, his wife found out, took care of it when she showed up at her door, and now Bennet is trying to clean it all up? Perhaps? But probably not. C'mon, that's a little too easy of an assumption -- which brings me to the next point: if Rosie's murder was so simple (by a teacher's wife who's just trying to cover it up), why are we taking the time to develop political figures as characters within the show?
"Who you are is five words: dead girl in a trunk." -Jamie
With that, things are uneasy in the Richmond camp. Jamie's back, which Gwen doesn't seem too thrilled about. She's also upset that Darren didn't trust her and had her email account checked. But the worst possible thing? Richmond's new television spot's final image features Richmond with his arm around suspect number one: Bennet. One of Richmond's talking points is bringing down the crime in neighborhoods, and he's actually done that, except he seems to have done it with the worst possible person in the world to do it with. During the debate, against his advisors' wishes, he brings up that fact and immediately, immediately, Mayor Adams flips it, revealing to the audience that Bennet as the suspect in the Larsen murder. Until that point, Richmond had actually looked like he might have an actual chance at winning the debate -- but unfortunately, the murder mistake was just too much. One major question was raised for me, though: The Killing operates in "real-time," as in, each episode is a day, so now we're only six days after the murder. Would politicians really talk so publicly about something so controversial and risk hurting the case? I'm not so sure.
"Dead men don't press charges." -Holder's Friend
Now, the final connection made this week: Rosie's father Stan used to be muscle for the mob. He's had his own investigation happening, and at the funeral, his source tells him that Bennet is the murderer. So, he presses into Bennet, making him very uncomfortable, and offers him a ride home. Before Bennet was suspicious about Stan's intentions, he seemed very uncomfortable, which is even more proof that Bennet's relationship with Rosie was inappropriate. Now, though, we just need to figure out what exactly their relationship was. So his uneasiness around Stan makes sense, and why he kind of just does whatever he asks (and also why he forgets his cell phone). By that point, Holder's tipped to Stan's connection to the mob, mentions it to Linden, and the two chase him down -- but they're just a minute too late. Stan's gone, with Bennet in the truck, and suddenly, The Killing has changed from a slow, atmosphere-focused drama to a race against time -- and I can't wait to see what happens next.