It's August now, which means that days are getting shorter, movie theaters are trading explosions for emotional drama, and fall television premieres are fast approaching. Sure, you could spend these last few weeks enjoying the sunshine or going to the beach, but wouldn't it be more fun (and productive) to use the longer days to finally have that Scandal marathon you've been meaning to get to? Once September comes, you'll have a hard time finding the time in your schedule and space in your DVR to keep track of all of the biggest, buzziest, and most addicting shows on television. In order to help you use the end of summer wisely, we've run down all of the shows you should make time to catch up on before they return in the fall. After all, do you really want to be the only one who can't quote Luther the Anger Translator? We thought not.
Scandal: Returns September 25 at 9 pm The fun of watching Scandal consists of one part shouting at the television (“No, Olivia! You’re better than him!”), one part attempting to keep up with the crazy twists and turns, and one part live-tweeting the show with a glass of wine. Don’t be the only person on you timeline not keeping up with Olivia, Fitz, and Mellie just because the last season started giving you a headache. Besides, this is your shot to try and catch all of the ridiculous ways that the show tried to conceal Kerry Washington’s pregnancy with drapey cardigans and well-placed props. Where to Catch Up: Netflix Instant
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Returns September 28 at 8:30 pm We know, we know: you’re not a fan of Andy Samberg. That’s okay, you’re still going to love Brooklyn Nine-Nine anyway. Though the first few episodes were focused more on his character, Jake Peralta, the show quickly settled into an ensemble comedy that balanced out his over-the-top traits to find a remarkably self-assured sitcom, despite only producing one season. Come on, you know you want to watch Andre Braugher deadpan his way through a conversation about hula hopping, Terry Crews attempt to put together a princess castle and Joe Lo Truglio talk about “mouth feel.” (It’s less gross than it sounds.) Where to Catch Up: Hulu Plus
Parks and Recreation: Return date TBA We’ll be the first to admit that the sixth season of Parks and Rec wasn’t the show’s strongest. Still the back half had plenty of strong episodes and hilarious moments – including Ben drunkenly attempting to climb a fence and Donna threatening to embarrass her cousin, Ginuwine, at the Unity Concert - and the season finale shook everything up before the seventh and final season. And let’s be real, you probably still haven’t hit Chris Pratt overload yet, and there’s no greater joy than watching him run around a store in giddy excitement because Leslie let him get two candies. Where to Catch Up: Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus
Key and Peele: Returns September 24 at 10:30 pm If you don’t fall into spasms of laughter every time you hear a football player’s ridiculous name or don’t understand why people keep pluralizing “Liam Neeson,” you definitely need to watch Key and Peele. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are masters of sketch comedy, and every episode has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in political satire, poorly-financed music videos, or substitute teachers prone to rage blackouts. Even President Obama watches Key and Peele, so you really should too. Where to Catch Up: Comedy Central.com, YouTube, Amazon
Sleepy Hollow: Returns September 22 at 9 pm The surprise hit of last year, Sleepy Hollow is the perfect mix of ridiculous, over-the-top camp and intense, twist-heavy drama. Maybe you never took it seriously in the first place, or maybe you couldn’t get into the first few episodes, but now’s the time to embrace the cheesy, supernatural excitement in order to add a little fun to your fall TV schedule. Trust us: it’s worth following for Nicole Beharie and Tom Misom’s chemistry alone. Where to Catch Up: Hulu Plus
Arrow: Returns October 8 at 8 pm Just in case you haven’t had enough superheroes, the CW has a few small-screen options as well. Arrow has everything you love about superhero movies, like handsome men, well-choreographed action sequences, wisecracking supporting characters, and the campy ridiculousness that comes with a show that features long sequences of Stephen Amell working out, on an addicting, weekly basis. All it’s really missing is a talking tree. Where to Catch Up: Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus
Parenthood: Returns September 25 at 10 pm Sometimes you want a television show that will keep you on the edge of your seat, sometimes you want a show that will make you laugh, but sometimes you want a show that will make you cry your eyes out and maybe call your mom. Parenthood is that show; it’s charming, relatable, heartwarming and tear-jerking and will help you recover from a bad day at work with a nice, cathartic cry. And for Friday Night Lights fans, there’s the additional benefit of trying to find the connections to Dillon. Where to Catch Up: Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus
The Mindy Project: Returns September 16 at 9:30 pm The Mindy Project isn’t a perfect show, but between seasons one and two, it’s improved drastically thanks to the addition of Xosha Roquemore and Adam Pally and the charming, goofy chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina, which helped transform Danny Castellano from a handsome curmudgeon to a genuine romantic lead. Sure, the episodes are still a bit hit and miss and Ed Weeks deserves more than a B-plot, but there’s plenty to love about The Mindy Project, even if it is a bit difficult to get past the idea of Dennis Reynolds wooing a girl without the D.E.N.N.I.S. system. Where to Catch Up: Hulu Plus
The Mindy Project sure gets a lot of flack, considering the fact that it's one of the more progressive shows currently on TV – one of the only, in fact, to star a woman of color. Oh, and there's the little detail that it's also written and produced by said woman of color. To pay credit to Mindy Kaling, of whom I'm a big fan, she is one of the few figures in network TV who seems to be making a difference.
But that doesn't make it any easier to watch as many of her female characters slowly get sidelined in favor of new male characters. Shauna is all but a dim memory, and Gwen Grandy, along with pretty much all of Mindy's female friends, have disappeared from the fabric of the show completely. Zoe Jarman's hapless receptionist Betsy Putch is the latest to leave the show, after a season wherein she got roughly one line of dialogue per episode. Even the female cast members that remain (Xosha Roquemore and Beth Grant) are, in general, woefully underused.
Jarman's departure has extra sting to it, as she was one of the last original cast members left standing. And the fact that she's the latest in a long string of ladies to leave the show, likely for good (she's been invited to guest star in sSeason 3, but hey, so was Anna Camp) doesn't exactly bode well either.
Kaling has said that above all, she just wants "to use funny people." We're all for that, but would it hurt to audition a few extra actresses before hiring another funny man? Our fingers are crossed for an ultra-talented comedienne to join Shulman and Associates as Betsy's replacement... or better yet, another doctor.
The Mindy Project opened this week with a relatable Christmas meltdown. After strapping a Christmas tree to her back, Mindy lugs it into the office to find a pine already in place. Ending this insanity the only way she knows how, Mindy throws the decorated tree outside, starting off an energetic holiday episode full of lies, cameos, and booze bras. Plus, Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) does an impression of celiac disease. "When my stomach sees gluten it's like 'this ain't your party.'" It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Mindy's lust interest Cliff the lawyer (Glenn Howerton) is still in play, until she sets herself up for failure at a building-wide Christmas party. In a moment of weakness with her ex-casual-sex-enemy, the midwife (Mark Duplass) and his girlfriend, Maria Menounos, Mindy realizes she has to share the festivities with this cute cameo couple. She impulsively claims to be dating "a handsome lawyer who works in this building," potentially showing her crazy to Cliff too early. Mindy assures Danny (Chris Messina) everything will work itself out. She has a "man-catching-party-plan."
While the continuing flirtation between Mindy and Cliff marinates, Dr. Reed (Ed Weeks) and Party Boy Peter (Adam Pally) are teaming up. The now trimmer Dr. Reed is sick of overeating, and Peter is sick of getting drunk and trying to have sex with trees in front of his employers. They both lean on each other for support managing their vices, alcohol and anything covered in frosting. This proves to be a winning duo despite their stumbles. ("One minute I'm normal and the next minute I'm sucking down Mindy's bra wine.")
The party starts with Mindy's seduction, which means filling up her wine bra. What seems like an obvious joke, turns out to be a real product. But before Mindy can perform her best sexualized version of Santa, Cliff leaves. But she's not alone, Mindy has her two best friends, Danny and wine bra. As Danny consoles her she counters with "Sad is when the cab driver thought I was Jaden Smith. I'm heartbroken." He then gives Mindy her secret Santa gift and a reason to smile, performing the exact dance routine from Aaliyah's music video "Try Again."
The brakes are promptly pumped on any sexual tension between Danny and Mindy, after a shared moment that suggested a possible kiss. Danny then shuts down her invitation to "get some air," a specific part of her man trap plan disclosed to Danny. It is hard to tell if he's not interested or just upset about his demolished gingerbread "icon of American architecture." For a moment on the roof it seems like Mindy has no one but a pigeon and the discarded Christmas tree. Finally, Cliff returns with a cookie and a confession that he ended his relationship to be with Mindy. Their kissing makes any romance with Danny an even slower burn. The episode is summed up by Mindy's holiday sentiment: "Gluten is my favorite food."
Academy Award nominees Jeff Bridges, Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe and Woody Harrelson got their Oscars weekend off to a great start in Los Angeles on Friday night by picking up top acting prizes at the 25th annual Independent Spirit Awards.
Mo'Nique and Sidibe's Precious was the night's big winner, claiming five honors -- including Best Feature.
Bridges' Crazy Heart and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man were double winners and other major awards were shared by The Messenger, (500) Days of Summer and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
Highlights of the night included Bridges' performance of “Falling & Flying” from Crazy Heart with songwriters Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett and heavy rockers Anvil's live rendition of “Metal on Metal.”
The winners are:
Best Supporting Male - Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Best First Feature - Crazy Heart (Scott Cooper)
Best First Screenplay - Precious (Geoffrey Fletcher)
Best Supporting Female - Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best Cinematography - A Serious Man (Roger Deakins)
John Cassavetes Award - Humpday (writer/director: Lynn Shelton)
Robert Altman Award - A Serious Man
Someone to Watch Award - Kyle Patrick Alvarez (director of Easier With Practice)
Piaget Producers Award - Karin Chien
Truer Than Fiction Award - Bill & Turner Ross (directors of 45365)
Best Screenplay - (500) Days of Summer (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber)
Best Documentary - Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Best Foreign Film - An Education (U.K./France)
Best Female Lead - Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Best Male Lead - Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Director - Lee Daniels (Precious)
Best Feature - Precious
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