The new year brings with it new changes, new resolutions, and new epsiodes of our favorite television shows. There's so many major premieres heading our way in the coming months, promising the resolutions to some insane cliffhangers, highly-anticipated follow-ups to beloved plotlines, and one significant attempt to recover after a terrible previous season. We've gathered together all of the most exciting winter premieres into one handy guide, plus all quick recaps of all of the most gasp-indcing cliffhangers and what to expect from the upcoming seasons. (Spoilers below, obviously.)
Community - January 2After the firing and then re-hiring of show creator Dan Harmon and a widely panned fourth season, Community fans have been waiting desperately to see what the new season will bring. So far, we know that Jeff and the gang will be back at Greendale, along with more guest stars than we could possibly hope to remember, and that Donald Glover will only appear in six episodes. What we don’t know? How or why he’ll leave, and if the show can possibly hope to return to its glory days. The new season has a lot to live up to, but we're hoping it manages to recapture some of that early Community magic.
Downton Abbey - January 5After a season that included births, deaths, and secret affairs, it's hard to imagine what the residents of Downton Abbey will have to endure next. This year, there's been a huge cast overhaul, including a few new love interests for Lady Mary, a shake-up in the household staff, and a visit from Cora's brother, played by Paul Giamatti. Meanwhile, there's still plenty of drama headed for Bates and Anna, including a new storyline that caused a great deal of outrage when it aired earlier in the UK. For a show about an inhertance dispute, there's always something insane going on, so there's no telling what to expect when we return to the estate.
Parks and Recreation - January 9It may not have ended on a cliffhanger, but there's still plenty about the midseason finale of Parks and Rec for us to look forward to. It's the last hundred days of Leslie's term on city council, and she still has some grand plans for the city. Ann and Chris are not only getting ready to welcome a new baby, but also to move away from Pawnee for good. Ron's also about to become a father, and Andy's hopefully heading home from London soon. After the weird way that NBC decided to air the most recent episodes, we're really looking forward to finding out what's happening next in Pawnee, hopefully on a steadier schedule.
Shameless - January 12When last we left the Gallagher clan, Jimmy had disappeared onto a boat with the Brazilian mob, Fiona still had no idea he was in any kind of trouble, Ian stole his brother’s identity and enlisted in the army, Lip was starting college, V is pregnant… and V’s mom is a lot more pregnant than she let on. Oh, and Frank has to stop drinking and doing drugs cold turkey or else he’ll die. Even though the producers have revealed the answer to Season 3’s biggest cliffhanger, there’s still no telling what could happen next with the Gallaghers. And since anything goes with this show, we'll be glued to our televisions to find out.
Sherlock - January 19The world’s most famous consulting detective, BBC edition, returns to the small screens after a two-year hiatus in which we were all left with one very important question: How did Sherlock manage to fake his own death? Season 3 promises to answer this question, as well as focusing on the resulting tension between Sherlock and John, a surprise wedding, and a brand new bad guy. Plus, we’ll finally learn what possessed Anderson to both dye his hair and grow a beard, when he knew full well that they would both look terrible on him. (Don’t even get us started on John’s grief-induced moustache.)
Hannibal - February 28When last we left the team at Quantico, Will had been arrested under suspicion of being the copycat killer, although he has finally started to understand that Hannibal Lecter is not as friendly as he had appeared. Meanwhile, Jack and Alanna are trying to deal with the fact that their good friend might be a serial killer, and Bella's only getting sicker. This season, we'll find out whether anyone will be able to prove Will's innocence - or if anyone even wants to - and how much more Hannibal will be able to get away with before people start getting suspicious.
Orphan Black - April 19When it comes to cliffhangers, no season finale did it better than the end of Orphan Black. There were surprise deaths, new clones, and possible betrayals, all in one compact hour. We're not quite sure what to expect from the new season just yet, as they've only just wrapped filming, but we're sure that for every question they'll actually answer, they'll raise at least three more. However, the clones are finally starting to fight back against their makers, and Sarah is still fighting to get Kira back, so there's bound to be plenty of drama, action, and surprises come April.
In our quest to bring you the best TV reading, 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's theme: '90s Cartoon Theme Songs!
Long gone are the days when you could be in another room and hear your favorite cartoon's theme song come on the television, signaling that you had exactly thirty seconds (give or take) to sprint to the kitchen, grab your TV-viewing snack of choice, and plop down in front of the screen for another thrilling edition of... well, whatever it is you were watching at the time. Do modern-day cartoons have the same signature jams? Not even close. Are we so wrong for pining for a simpler time? A time when cartoon theme songs flowed freely, like a plunging mullet over a jean jacket or a rainbow waterfall on a Lisa Frank trapper-keeper.
Need your fix of TV cartoon theme songs? Here's what our staff picked in this week's throwback.
Shaunna Murphy: Animaniacs
I don't know what this says about me, but I always wanted to join them on their madcap adventures. I was jealous of Dot. She was so CUTE. Also, they introduced the world to Pinky and the Brain, which is my other favorite '90s theme.
Matt Patches: Mummies Alive!
A cartoon only I seem to remember, Mummies Alive! wisely uses its minute-long theme song to explain its bizarre premise: mummies who come to life at night to fight crime in the name of the present day reincarnation of Ramses.
Alicia Lutes: Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears!
It is probably one of the most annoying theme songs, but also the catchiest. My brother, sister & I would sing it non-stop whenever it came on and I'm pretty sure by the end of season one my mother wanted to murder every single gummi bear. I guess it's no surprise that we weren't allowed to eat gummy bears as snacks after this. Michael Arbeiter: Freakazoid! Calls his home the Freak-a-lair. Freakazoid. Fricassee. Floyd the barber cuts his hair. Freakzoid. Chimpanzee.Brian Moylan: Jem Sorry, everyone, but there would be no awesome '90s cartoon theme songs without the '80s, and the ultimate musical cartoon of all time: Jem! Anna Brand: Powerpuff Girls God, I always wanted to be Buttercup because she was feisty with black hair and mean green eyes. Plus they got to fly and fight crime + the forces of evil.
Abbey Stone: Duck Tales "Life is like a hurricane…" Gets me every time. I definitely still know every word of the Duck Tales theme song, even though at this point I can barely recount what the show is about. And it has a bridge! What theme song do you know that has verses, a chorus, and a bridge? "Duck Tales, Woo-oo!"Kelsea Stahler: TaleSpin How many cartoon intros involved cartoon bears dressed like gangsters and Carmen Miranda? Only Talespin. This theme song consists mostly of “oh-ee-ays” and “oh-ee-ohs,” but riddle me this: what other children’s show theme song inspires as much actual dancing as this island-life anthem? That’s what I thought. Amanda Villarosa: Doug I am all about Quailman. Marc Snetiker: Hey Arnold! It's not exactly the most lyrically elegant of theme songs — all of the spoken lines come from Helga yelling — but the jazzy jam is exactly what '90s kids remember when they think of this tale of struggling children in the inner city. Oh, did you not realize that that's what this show was about? It's called hindsight, people. Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_comMORE: Thursday TV Throwback: '90s Couples We Love Thursday TV Throwback: Memorable '90s Commercials Furby's Back! (And 6 Other '90s Toys Worth Reviving) 14 Bumpin' TV Theme Song Remixes For Summer
Up until just a few hours before the penultimate Season 6 episode the fate of the future of 30 Rock was up in the air. Were we actually gearing up for the second-to-last ever episode of the Emmy darling? It certainly felt that way between those sinking ratings and Alec Baldwin's comments, it seemed like we were reaching the end of the road with the TGS gang after six wonderfully weird, weird seasons.
But the renewal gods smiled upon 30 Rock fans (high five!) and are giving the comedy a final, 13-episode seventh season. Still, something else sort of amazing happened. If the show hadn't been renewed one of Liz Lemon's parting words would have been these: "I reject Chris Brown's comeback! Lemon out!" Good God Lemon, what would we have done without her in the fall?
Thankfully, we don't have to ponder that. Liz, in addition to making a bold statement that so many of us have wanted to make about a certain pop star, was tackling the issue of gender role reversals with her boyfriend Criss (a continually impressive James Marsden) in last night's season six finale "The Return of Avery Jessup." (Which, she most certainly did, but more on that later.)
Liz and Criss were renovating their apartment to make room for, possibly, a metaphorical plant. But some problems quickly arose, and not just the fact that it seems like Liz is under the impression babies come out of butts. Criss felt his role as the man of the household threatened as Liz brought in the bucks while he went to yoga and "had lunch with the girls."
Criss promised he'd start to earn his keep beyond the Criss Points System and start selling more hot dogs out of his car. (Sorry, hot dog van with a car engine.) Which, naturally, culminated in a fight between Criss and off-brand, tourist-harassing Sesame Street characters. Sidebar to my non- New York City readers: Not only do these things actually exist, but they are just as creepy and off-putting as 30 Rock so accurately portrayed them. Damn you, Elmar.
Among one of the many reasons why we'll get that Season 7 is that we seem to be edging closer and closer to a deserving happy ending for Liz Lemon. While it seemed like Liz and Criss are still on the track to having their own plant (or at the very least, a Chinese plant or an older plant they're a little afraid of) there was still no surefire knowledge of what's to come. Whether or not Liz makes a life with Criss (which I truly hope she does) to not know the fate of Liz Lemon would have been worse than sitting through a conversation entirely about soccer, jazz, and infidelity.
There was no pondering what would become of Jack and Avery (Elizabeth Banks) who had been separated all season as she was held captive in North Korea leaving Jack to raise their gun-toting, technically Canadian daughter Liddy alone. At long lost, Avery was brought back to the United States and Jack did everything to make sure things would return to normal, including throwing her a ThanksChristmasValenEasterWeenOfJuly party. Of course, "normal" for the Donaghys is playing "psychosexual mind games" to try and figure out which one of them cheated on the other during their separation.
While Jack was desperate to find out if Avery got close with her fellow U.S. captive Scott Scottsman, it was the always-cunning Avery who got Jack to confess to unpure thoughts about an adult Dora the Explorer ("I took her in Madrid...she had flowers in her hair") and his unpure actions with her mother. A deal breaker, ladies? Hardly. In fact, the Donaghys kicked conventional love straight in the ass and planned to renew their vows. All was right in the world again.
Elsewhere Jenna was hoping to say her vows for the first time to Paul for their own sponsored celebrity wedding but ran into a bit of a snag when her sponsor, the Southern Tourism Board dropped out after she couldn't do a Southern accent for a commercial. Turns out Jenna's Southern past is one of the many skeletons in her terrifying closet. But, Kenneth and Tracy came to her rescue to help her train ("AGAIN!") to get the commercial, non-intimate wedding she'd always dreamed of. In the end, it was a knock-off shoe company that was the right fit to sponsor her. So we may just get that Jenna and Paul wedding, after all for the season finale. That is, if Mickey Rourke doesn't come in and ruin the whole thing.
Coming off of last week's inspired and non-stop funny Queen of Jordan episode, this one felt like a bit of a letdown (especially considering how little Liz's story was moved along) but, if anything, that makes knowing that there's still a finale and 13 episodes Season 7 episodes on the way made it a little bit better. That is, if NBC doesn't turn into a website that sells used office supplies before we get there. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen.
Here are some of the other best lines and moments from "The Return of Avery Jessup":
- "Well, I could dip into my 401K is something I’ve heard old people say in commercials.” - Liz to Criss
- "An hour for the year? Am I supposed to just scratch the surface of Channing Tatum’s meteoric rise?” - Liz, after Jack suggested she make a one-hour presentation of everything Avery has missed.
- "There’s an iPod 3 and a Mitt Romney 4. They worked all the bugs out. He’s not killing hobos at night anymore.” - Jack's recap for Avery
- "Understandably, she’s a little wary of me. I heard her ask her bear who the dye job is.” - Avery, regarding Liddy
- "Feminism promised us two things. Fatter dolls and an end to traditional gender roles.”- Liz
- "I've been writing a sex column for Cosmo. Cosmo is my 14 year old neighbor. He doesn't know anything." - Jenna
- "Now get in that bed....and let's watch Dance Moms"- Criss to Liz
- "Tracy, Jessica Tandy Zombie is coming to find you. Is that correct?" - Tracy's Siri (Tracy's answer: "Yes, thank you, baby!")
- "Aging star Jenna Maroney beats up Elmo with her...so you own things that's always good.... Christian, that's always a good word..."- Kenneth, reading her Page Six blurb to Jenna
- Frank wearing a SPiN NYC shirt, a nice shout-out to his love Lynn (Susan Sarandon, who the Manhattan Ping Pong parlor).
- Avery is "still furious with Al Gore for stealing George Bush's idea to have an internet."
- Mayor Bloomberg's Halloween costume as Mayor Boo-berg.
- Liz's declaration: "I reject Chris Brown's comeback! Lemon out!" (Sorry that one is so great it's worth mentioning twice.)
What did you think of last night's 30 Rock? Are they setting us up for a happy finale for Criss and Liz? Sound off in the comments section!
[Photo credit: NBC]
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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.
The former Magnum P.I. star admits he wanted to change his look last year (10), before filming began on the series, in which he features as Police Commissioner Frank Reagan.
He tells New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, "I've had it off periodically. When the series started I suggested doing without it. So I said, 'First, better check with (TV network bosses at) CBS'... and the moustache stayed."
However, Selleck, 66, admits taking care of his facial hair is a time consuming chore, because he has to constantly dye his moustache.
He explains, "It needs trimming a bit more for this character. I trim it myself. And tint it myself. My father and grandfather were gray, I'm not. I have to do the opposite. To lighten it. Gray it up a bit, which takes 20 minutes a day, otherwise the thing comes out on camera as black."