FOX Broadcasting Co.
The holiday season may mean peace, love, and joy to most, but to TV devotees it signals a dearth of our favorite shows. Everything seems to go off the air from early December to January! Alas. But no need to pine away any longer – we've found some great alternatives to your favorite shows.
New Girl's been in reruns since their Thanksgiving episode – sigh. They're set to return on January 7, but until then, curb your appetite for female-driven situational comedy with The Mindy Project. This isn't to lump them together – they each have their (very) original characters, after all. It's just that they share a lighthearted bent, and both have enough lovable sitcom tropes to fill that void in your heart.
Now, if you're a fan of supernatural/police procedural/Revolutionary War mash-up hit Sleepy Hollow, you'll do well to check out the '90s favorite The X-Files. Aside from the supernatural aspect (switch "demons" for "aliens" and you've got a pretty solid match), "Ichabbie" shippers are sure to love "MSR" (Mulder Scully Romance): their respective believer/skeptic stances, witty banter, and vast height differences make for a strikingly similar dynamic.
Plus, you'll find equal levels of delicious camp in each show.
How I Met Your Mother
HIMYM will be missed – it gallops ever closer to its series finale (which is set for March!). It also happens to be on a break until mid January. So, what to watch instead? Arrested Development. It's not really very similar to HIMYM – sitcom hall-of-famer Friends is actually much closer – six (or five, as the case may be) late twenty-somethings hanging out in a coffee shop (or bar) as they fall in love with each other? Hmm. But though not as outwardly alike, Arrested Development and HIMYM both share an almost-unparalleled devotion to callbacks and long-running gags, and that alone is worth the cross over.
As we draw closer and closer to the Christmas Special "The Time of the Doctor," we inch towards Eleven's regeneration into Twelve (this frightening thought is almost enough to make you wish away Christmas – no offense to Mr. Capaldi of course; we've just grown really attached to Matt Smith). While regenerations are what have kept the show alive so long, it sure makes for a little heartbreak to have your favorite character essentially die every few years. It's a tough pill to swallow.
Like his ten predecessors, Matt Smith managed to put his own stamp on the Doctor: his sunny, at times childlike, persona belies an underlying darkness, which makes for a fascinating take on an already-fascinating character. We're certainly going to miss the Eleventh Doctor, and here are a few reasons why:
* He might just be unbeatable in terms of impassioned monologues. Case in point:
And that's the visual side of things. For an adorable refresher of the actual words, we'll just leave this here:
* I wear a _____ now; ______ are cool. A fun catchphrase; one that is sure to be missed.
* Even with all the fun and whimsy, Smith could also break your heart. Remember when the Ponds were taken by the angels? Or when he thought he got stuck on the wrong side of the Big Bang (2)?
* We'll always love the Doctor/Craig bromance.
(Almost as much as they love each other)
* His flailing arms-River Song kisses were pretty hilarious.
* Though, if we're remembering correctly, his Rory kiss was flail-free.
* In fact, he kind of has great chemistry with everybody, especially Ten (weren't Matt Smith and David Tennant great together in "The Day of the Doctor?"), Clara (love the flirtatious witty banter), and Amy (ditto).
* Watching him fight with himself in "A Nightmare in Silver" was kind of jaw-dropping.
(Kind of like an evil version of this:)
* Two words: giraffe dancing.
Now, the idea of compiling a list of Matt Smith's best moments as the Eleventh Doctor was actually quite daunting: there are just so many, it's almost overwhelming (in a good way, of course). With that disclaimer in mind, feel free to share your favorite scenes/snippets/character traits in the comments!
In part because of the controversy surrounding the physical similarities between the protagonists, people have been drawing a lot of comparisons between Frozen and Tangled. Which one holds up? Let's go through, piece by piece:
Even though they all look near-identical (why'd you have to do that, Disney?), Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna are all admirable in different ways – we have Anna, champion of the awkward and earnest ("You're gorgeous – wait, what?" might have been my favorite line in the whole movie), we have Rapunzel, queen of the cast-iron skillet, and finally, Elsa the Ultra-Badass Tortured Soul.
The winner: Frozen – because even without an assist from Anna, Elsa trumps Rapunzel, hands-down.
Frozen 1, Tangled 0
Reformed bad boy Flynn Rider Eugene? Or anti-social, raised by trolls Kristoff? Both offer lots of fun contrarian banter with their respective heroines – hmm, it's a tough one. Kristoff was pretty excellent, but in the end, "The Smolder" is hard to beat. Also, where was the love duet between Anna and Kristoff?? "I See The Light" tips the balance in Flynn's favor.
Frozen 1, Tangled 1
Pascal vs. Olaf? Though I giggled at Olaf's "In Summer," I generally found him pretty darn obnoxious: Pascal wins, mainly by volition of the fact that he can't talk. Also, he's an iguana in Germany.
Frozen 1, Tangled 2
It's hard to say what Tangled's most popular song was – the catchy "When Will My Life Begin," and the starry-eyed romantic "I See The Light" are both contenders. In Frozen, there's absolutely no question what the best song is (hint: it has millions upon millions of hits on YouTube, and was recently nominated for a Golden Globe) – Idina Menzel and Disney musicals might just be a match made in heaven.
I think I have to give this one to Frozen, seeing as I've had "Let It Go" playing on an endless loop since I saw the film.
Frozen 2, Tangled 2
The Near-Death Experience
In Tangled, Flynn dies from a wound sustained from the evil Mother Gothel. It looks like all is lost, until a single tear from Rapunzel (the last remnant of her magic hair) brings him back to life. In Frozen, it's Anna who dies. Her frozen heart (curable only by an act of true love) causes her whole body to turn to ice – but not before she saves her sister's life. Anna thought it was a kiss from Prince Hans (and later Kristoff) that would thaw her frozen heart, but it turns out sisterly love works just as well.
So who wins? I have to say Frozen. It was a nice subversion of the "True Love's Kiss" trope that's popped up in just about every Disney movie (Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Enchanted, and The Princess and the Frog, to name a few).
Frozen 3, Tangled 2
Go see it.
This finale episode of the first season of Masters of Sex sure packed a punch. It used a couple of framing devices, one of which was the first man in space; another heavy-handed yet ultimately effective analogy for being a pioneer. The topic is brought up multiple times; the cutting-edge nature of the study is compared both to Darwin's theory of natural selection and Elvis' incendiary dance moves.
Let's check in with the Scullys; we haven't seen them since a bomb went off in their marriage a couple of weeks ago. After quite the confrontation (Allison Janney and Beau Bridges are both wonderful), Barton reveals that he soon will be starting electroshock. As much Margaret wants a husband who can love her in all ways, she cares for his well-being too much to let him go through with it. They seem to come to a sort of peace: sexuality aside, they both love each other; the two of them touch foreheads in a manner that is more romantic than all the sex scenes in the show put together. Trying to make a point, are we?
Back at the hospital, it's time for the big presentation and Bill has his audience in the palm of his hand. (Well, except for Dr. DePaul, who wanted credit for Virginia.) Masters just has to take it a step too far, though: he rolls footage, first of Jane's "vaginal walls" (now imagine it in a dramatic whisper; that's how she said it), then of nude Virginia, and he promptly loses the room. The chancellor ends the presentation on the spot.
It turns out the chancellor isn't the only one who is angry: Virginia strides out, barely managing to blink back tears, and all of twenty doctors cancel on the celebratory after party. Everything's a mess, and everyone wants to know who that mysterious woman in the explicit footage was. Even Libby wants to know: apparently, two doctors sitting next to her speculated that it was Virginia. When she repeats this information to Bill, he gets artfully cagey, making some roundabout argument that out of over a hundred volunteers, why would it make sense to film Virginia? Libby agrees, but she's far from appeased by his squirelly answer.
He returns to the hospital and finds that he and Scully are to be fired. In a bit of a coup de grace, he manages to save Scully's gig as provost by acting like he defied Scully's orders, but Masters himself is still very, very fired. He loses everything: all of his prestige, his standing in the community, and most importantly the ability to continue researching. Oh, and by the way, it also means he doesn't receive Libby's phone call, and she delivers their child without him, and looks blissful with her new baby in her arms.
Virginia, on the other hand, is quite quiet this episode. After Masters showed her incredibly private footage to a forum of dozens upon dozens of people, I was expecting a huge blow up; we don't get one. What we do get is Virginia's incredible sense of hurt at not being credited in his study. We see this most in something she mentions to her adorable bespectacled child: "Sometimes it takes helpers to do great things."
Oh, and let's not forget about Ethan. He's gone for most of the episode, but that doesn't stop him from popping the question. Using her characteristic charm, she jokes her way out of answering right away. He acquiesces, but not before declaring, "Whatever kind of life you want for yourself ... for your kids .. is yours." Is woman-punching Ethan still in there? Or can we chalk it up to character development? Either way, we never get her answer.
As the episode draws to a close, Jane hands Virginia a copy of the study and plot twist! Masters did credit her. She's at home reading it, when double plot twist: a bereft Masters shows up at her door. (In the rain. Just like in The Notebook!). After telling her that the study is over for good (well, we'll see), he tells her she earned her co-authorship, and that – oh boy – "There's one thing I can't live without. It's you." Fade to black.
Now, there's nothing to do but wait until it comes back nearly a year from now.
As a stalwart Whedon fan, I've stood loyally by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While I remain optimistic that it will soar to the heights of Buffy and Firefly, it's hard to ignore the ringing disappointment this show has been to most people (critics and otherwise) thus far.
What are the main complaints leveled at the show? Lack of a driving force, underdeveloped characters, and a deficit of the trademark Whedon sense of humor. After some decidedly mediocre offerings, the show has steadily improved – many view "F.Z.Z.T." as the show's turning point. "F.Z.Z.T." gave us much-needed character development for the FitzSimmons dynamic duo, and it was the first really character-driven episode. "The Hub" continued to flesh out relationships by pairing the agents up into odd couples (Ward and Fitz, and Skye and Simmons), "The Well" gave back story for Agent Ward (perhaps the worst offender on the milquetoast character front), "Repairs" explained to us why Agent May is so damn stoic, and the most recent episode, "The Bridge" finally began to untangle the ongoing mysteries (Couson's resurrection, Centipede, and Skye's parentage) of the season.
While on the uptick, it still has its issues: Ward is still boring, and Skye, always pushed on us as the heart of the show, is still annoying. Personally, I'd prefer a show that revolved around Coulson and adorably chipper Simmons (though I may be in the minority there). It's no Buffy (or even Dollhouse, for that matter), but I still maintain hope that the show will find its footing. Let's just hope it does so in time to get renewed for a second season.
Maybe it's the constant Mad Men comparisons, but did anyone else think that Libby Masters was going to be the second coming of Betty Draper? I'll admit it; I did (a little). After all, she's the midcentury trophy wife of a man who is very well-respected in his field (and also happens to have a bit of a wandering eye). The similarities end there, however: Libby is all warmth, while Betty is probably most known for her ice queen status. Comparisons aside, Caitlin FitzGerald strikes a wonderful balance with Libby – she's sweet (without being saccharine), slightly tragic, and ultra-earnest, all rolled into one.
FitzGerald was really given a chance to shine in the episode "Catherine," when her character Libby suffers a miscarriage – a miscarriage of a late-term pregnancy that has taken years of trying and hours upon hours of fertility treatments. As her heart breaks on screen, our hearts break with her: cliché as it may sound, there was something so powerful about her performance. And in the subsequent episode, "Brave New World," she wowed us yet again – her character meets up with some older swingers in Florida (though she's not exactly aware that they're interested in swinging, much less interested in swinging with her) and creates a whole fantasy life for herself. As the empty strawberry daquiri cocktail glasses pile up beside her, she blithely lies through her teeth about two adorable children (Timmy...or was it Jimmy?), and it becomes clear that she's more shaken by her miscarriage than she would have us (and her husband) think. FitzGerald performs these fantastical (yet brittle) lies to a T.
On a show lauded by the critics as yet another Showtime drama with top-notch acting, FitzGerald certainly stands out. We like her so much we hope that Masters never divorces her and leaves her for his research assistant. (SPOILER ALERT: he will.)
The Weinstein Company
The ultra star-studded August: Osage County, slated to be released on Christmas Day, already has critics buzzing. I haven't yet had the privilege of seeing the film, but as it's adapted from Tracy Letts' smash-tacular Tony Award-winning play, I'm betting high on it. Here are some scenes in particular to look out for:
* There's a lovely confrontation (is that an oxymoron?) between Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Violet (Meryl Streep) near the beginning of the play. I'm withholding judgment on Julia, but I think we can all agree that Meryl will blow the roof off pretty much any scene she's a part of.
* I'm sure watching Violet and Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) grill Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) about her love life will be delightful. Talk about scary: can you imagine Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale joining forces against you?
* The infamous dinner scene in Act Two features three simultaneous conversations, and a LOT of drama. If the posters and trailers are to be trusted, we'll be seeing a full-on brawl featuring Meryl Streep.
* Without spoilers, at some point in the play, Little Charles (AKA Benedict Cumberbatch) will most likely utter the words "I adore you." If that's not something to look forward to, I don't know what is.
* The three Weston sisters, Barbara, Karen (Juliette Lewis), and Ivy all have a great scene together in the beginning of Act III – subject matter includes filial duty, Mom and Dad's favorite children, and ... incest. Well, this is the story of a capital-d Dysfunctional family.
* Watching Steve (Dermot Mulroney) creep on Jean (Abigail Breslin) will most likely be cringe-worthy on the highest level possible. But unsavory or not, their scenes together are sure to be horrifyingly engrossing (like a car crash).
As you can see, there's a lot to look forward to in this film – if the movie adaptation's even half as good as the play, we're all in for a treat.
This year's Catching Fire press tour brought us the boon of copious promtions, and we all know now that Jennifer Lawrence is the most entertaining interview around. Add Josh Hutcherson into the mix, and you've got some pretty amazing chemistry – though not the kind you may think. But who cares about OTPs when you can have BrOTPs? Forget Everthorne and Everlark (or "Peenis," if you're feeling particularly crude): Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson have the best bromance ever. I platonically ship them hard, and here's why:
* They have no problem (and I mean no problem) discussing bodily functions with each other. That's what we all seek in a true friend, right? Right...?
TMI? Oh well.
*They seem to er ... regress around each other (Josh claims he can't even repeat aloud the most inappropriate thing Jennifer has ever said to him).
*Jennifer apparently knows everything about Josh, from his favorite TV show (Catdog) to his worst pet peeve (chewing straws – oh, and bonus; she even notes that he chews on Capri Sun straws, which everyone knows is tough work for your teeth).
* You gotta love their captions for the Catching Fire posters.
Now I can't unsee the fact that Cinna/Lenny Kravitz got distracted mid-photoshoot by a passing cat.
* Their sexual tension is (obviously) off the charts.
Bonus sexual tension:
* They freely admit that they act like an old married couple…
* …And quote lines from When Harry Met Sally at each other.
I mean, that's verbatim, isn't it? Well, let's add "hardcore Nora Ephron fans" to their growing list of positive attributes.
What are your favorite Josh and Jennifer moments? Let us know in the comments!
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
It's quite a rare thing; a film adaptation that surpasses its book counterpart. But The Hunger Games: Catching Fire does it quite handily. Now, I mean no disrespect to the books; I'm a huge fan of them as well – in fact, one of the things I appreciated about this movie was its faithfulness to the books. But a handful of tweaks here and there (along with some great casting, performances, and directing) brought this movie to the next level, and here's a few reasons why:
6. A lot of the acting in this film takes material from the book and elevates it into something really special – for example, Katniss' speech to District 11 is lovely to begin with, but when you have extremely talented actress Jennifer Lawrence delivering it? You've got a theater full of crying audience members in the first 15 minutes of the film.
5. Gale gets his public flogging for protecting an innocent, rather than for poaching a turkey. I think we can all get behind this change.
4. Adding in a lascivious Haymitch to the infamous Johanna/elevator scene was a touch of genius. As was the wink and the "let's do this again sometime."
3. The changes to the interview scene were all great – it gave us a chance to fall in love with Johanna and Finnick even more. Plus, in the book, Johanna only asks Caesar "if something can't be done about the situation" – it's the movie that granted us her emphatic "F**K THAT!"
2. Allowing Effie to say goodbye to Katniss and Peeta made for an unexpectedly touching scene.
1. The convoluted plan that (pretty much) everyone but Katniss and Peeta are in on is clearer in the film – in part, this is due to the added scenes between President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee. Plus, having Finnick be the one to remind Katniss of "the real enemy" (at arrowpoint, no less) was a great dramatic touch that helped things come full circle.
BONUS: I think we can all agree that Sam Claflin is more handsome than we ever could have imagined Finnick.
Yes, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still in theatres, but we're already ready for more (especially as that ending was one helluva cliffhanger). What can we look forward to in the next installment of the trilogy quartet?
Less Josh Hutcherson – we know from the books that Peeta's only really in the second half of the story (fans are already speculating that Mockingjay Part I will end on [SPOILER ALERT] Hijacked Peeta's hands closing on Katniss' throat). Jennifer Lawrence also mentioned that she misses having Josh Hutcherson around on set. Sorry Peeniss shippers!
More Liam Hemsworth – now, Everthorne shippers, on the other hand, are in luck – Gale's going to be around a lot more in this movie. In fact, we're all in for a treat, as Hemsworth has given us such thrilling and nuanced performances in the past! (Sarcasm is hard to get across in print, isn't it?).
More Sam Claflin – this one, I'm genuinely excited for (and for more than just superficial reasons, ahem). As is director Francis Lawrence – in an interview with TIME Magazine, he gave credit where credit was due in terms of Sam Claflin re: physical appearance and level of charmingness, but noted that what he really liked was "the emotional side of him." We'll also get some more of Finnick's backstory, something that was missing from Catching Fire.
(Even) more emotional turmoil – Katniss' severe PTSD is one thing on the page in first person narrative, and it's almost certain to be quite another on the big screen: we're guessing that it's going to be fascinating to watch with the Lawrence2 acting/directing team does with all the heavy themes. In his recent Reddit AMA Francis Lawrence even noted that one of the biggest challenges of the film will be "tracking her [Katniss'] emotional trajectory." Judging from Catching Fire, we know they'll do it with aplomb, no matter how difficult.
Bonus: Jennifer Lawrence will sing! (?) – when asked if Katniss will be singing "The Hanging Tree" in Mockingjay, Francis Lawrence coyly demurred, but noted that it was "one of my [his] favorite scenes in the book."