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Luckily, Jensen Ackles can play the same scene over and over, grappling with the same problems and mulling over the same questions, and turn on a motivational dime without ever showing a crack in his character’s steely resolve. Maybe that’s a testament to what you can learn from doing soap operas, but it probably has something to do that Ackles, at his hardest-working, can seem like the natural heir to both Cary Grant and Steve McQueen„ and, when he’s not working especially hard, can manage to seem like the real Fonzie. I don’t know if Ackles will ever get a better opportunity as an actor than Supernatural, but I do know that, if there were less snobbery about genre entertainment and a low ceiling for critical respect towards anything that airs on CW, for the last several years, the Emmy nominees for Best Actor in a Drama would have been Jensen Ackles and four other guys.
—  Phil Dyess-Nugent - A.V. Club
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“See you next summer”: Alex Hirsch says goodbye to Gravity Falls
(This interview reveals major plot points from Gravity Falls, specifically relating to the series finale, “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls.”) After three-plus years, two seasons, and 40 episodes, Gravity Falls came to an end this week. Dipper and Mabel Pines concluded their one crazy summer in
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Joan found Shirley MacLaine’s character in the film deeply sad, passed around among the men in her office “like a plate of canapés.” As with so many other moments like this on Mad Men, Joan doesn’t seem to realize she’s speaking of herself as readily as the person she thinks she’s talking about. But this is clear by episode’s end. As the two get in the elevator to head down, Bert asks her to push the button for the lobby, and the connection between Joan and the movie character is clear: Both have wasted some part of themselves on men who, fundamentally, don’t love them, because they’re hoping for something better out of it and simply not finding it. And from the look on Joan’s face, she gets this just as well. (x)

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Cillian Murphy talks about 9 career defining roles in a new interview with A.V. Club. Highlights below, a great read!

Darren (Disco Pigs) - I loved the sort of black or white nature to his approach to love as, “If I can’t be with you, then I can’t be alive”—there’s something very powerful about that, I think.

Jim (28 Days Later) - I auditioned really hard for this one. It was about five or six auditions to kind of convince Danny that I was the right guy for the part.

Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Batman Begins) - It was a very exciting time for me to be working with such a gifted director. It began the start of a relationship, and now I’m just about to start working with him on Dunkirk. It’s worked out really nicely for me. He’s been very loyal to me over the years.

Jackson Rippner (Red Eye) - I liked the duality of Jackson to be this charming, suave guy who sort of turns out to be the devil. [Laughs.] That was the most fun part of it.

Kitten (Breakfast on Pluto) - I fell in love with Kitten. I still check in occasionally to see how she’s doing

Damien O’Donovon (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) - We shot that film at home in Cork, and I stayed with my parents. We were shooting out in the hills there where I grew up, and it was a very special kind of time.

Capa (Sunshine) - It’s a hard thing to make an original science fiction movie that’s this sort of narrow corridor to walk down without brushing shoulders with these extraordinary films like 2001 and Alien. But I think there’s an original take on the genre with this one.

Robert Fischer (Inception) - To play this super rich kid who has everything he could possibly want for in the world materially, but all he actually wants is the love of his father—that was how we wanted to portray him, as a love-starved little boy.

Tommy Shelby (Peaky Blinders) - I think for the first time we’ve seen that he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

The fact that the Rachel reveal is still a surprise when we knew she wanted to impersonate Sarah is a testament to how perfectly Scott’s direction, Alex Levine’s script, and Maslany’s portrayal come together to sell this moment. Rachel’s Sarah is just too brisk. Her accent is just too stilted, as her aristocratic lilt pokes through with, “make sure the elevator’s secure.” And yet her stabbing Felix with the needle is a total shock. Rachel’s gambit doesn’t just work because her wig is on point; it works because it’s a very Sarah Manning move. This is, after all, the first time Rachel Duncan’s ever gone off script.
—  The A.V Club review of Orphan Black 2x09, “Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done”
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Hannibal seems intent on becoming TV'€™s best show

If there are any notable steps up from season one, it’s both in the tension that mounts thanks to the great game played between Will and Hannibal and in the better use of the show’s supporting cast. Characters like Caroline Dhavernas’ Alana Bloom matter so much more now, and the series makes the most of a great performance it was often sidelining last year. (The rest of the acting, particularly from Dancy and Mikkelsen, is typically great.)

After years of fighting the temptation of romance … because he believed himself incapable of making that kind of commitment, Oliver has fast discovered that giving into his feelings has actually made him capable of more than he imagined. The show has consistently portrayed Oliver and Felicity’s relationship as something healthy for Oliver. … Oliver has found his center, and that discovery allows him to consider possibilities that would have seemed ridiculous not so long ago.
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Alasdair Wilkins in AV Club review of “The Candidate” (X)

The major objection to Elementary before it debuted was its apparent superfluity, but that objection no longer holds water; there’s something gratifying in knowing that for once, the cynical (and sensible) reaction to the news that two different networks were developing the same source material was proven false. While Sherlock’s playful style and Tumblr-friendly leads have their pleasures, the show also has some significant flaws, flaws that Elementary, in its low-key, airs-on-CBS-so-we-all-assume-it’s-for-old-people way, has largely avoided. Shocking as it may be, considering their relative positions in the pop culture zeitgeist, Elementary is a fundamentally better series, with a richer supporting cast, a more consistently rewarding structure, and a far more compelling perspective on its protagonist.

[…] By limiting the characters’ exposure, the BBC series puts substantially more focus on big moments and iconic surprises, often to its detriment. And in those cases when a mystery fails to live up to snuff (like, say, “The Blind Banker,” with its dimly racist Orientalism, or “The Hounds Of Baskerville,” which comes perilously close to Scooby-Doo territory), it means a third of a season’s worth of plotting wasted.

[…] This leads to another area in which Elementary is superior to Sherlock: the depth and variety of its supporting cast. Six episodes in, Sherlock has its two leads, and they are unquestionably the strongest figures in the series. That isn’t in itself a complaint; Sherlock and Watson are necessarily the focus of their own stories, and if Cumberbatch and Freeman didn’t work so well together, there wouldn’t be a show. The problem is that the two men don’t exist in a vacuum, and while there is a supporting ensemble surrounding them, that ensemble exists largely to offer straight lines for Sherlock to bounce off of. Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), and DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves) are likable figures, but they have little selves beyond their relationships with the leads.

[…] Elementary fares much better. People like Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) didn’t arrive on the scene fully fleshed out, but over the course of the show’s run, they’ve developed into more than just exposition delivery devices.

[…] On Sherlock, Moriarty (Andrew Scott) was a bratty, petulant psychopath, a twisted mirror version of Sherlock’s own childish self-regard. All well and good, but there’s nothing particularly innovative about this take, and the showdown between hero and villain, for all the fireworks surrounding it, was never much in doubt. Elementary, however, decided to combine Moriarity with another of piece of the mythology: Irene “The Woman” Adler. On Sherlock, Adler is a dominatrix who briefly defeats Holmes before her emotions get the better of her (a twist that manages the neat trick of being even less progressive than the Victorian-era short story which inspired it).

[…] The key difference between Sherlock and Elementary comes down to the way each show treats its protagonist. Everything in Sherlock revolves around Sherlock. He is the series’ sole reason for existing, and the dynamic remains frozen in amber. Sherlock will do something outrageous, everyone will gasp, but then he’ll solve a crime or offer a token gesture of commiseration, and everyone will move on. It gets old, because the show simultaneously wants its audience to be shocked by Sherlock’s behavior, and charmed by his roguish self-regard and evident brilliance, without much variation. Elementary takes a broader view. As Sherlock, Miller is often standoffish and arrogant, but he exists in a world that refuses to let him off the hook for his mistakes or his behavior; better still, he recognizes his failings, and is clearly working toward addressing them.

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-It’s Elementary, Sherlock: How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama (A.V. Club)

the A.V. Club is, once again, correct in all things

this entire article (READ IT) is so, so good and perfectly explains why I’ve dropped Sherlock for reasons other than Moffat’s douchebaggery

But the film doesn’t swoon with death; instead, it leaves us with hope. Carol’s final shot is as unforgettable as anything I’ve seen this year, simply because it feels like something I’ve been waiting for decades to see: Queer people falling passionately in love, without having to apologize for their happiness. What makes stories like the romance portrayed in Carol isn’t the ecstasy of queer agony but that that there were real women like Carol Aird and Therese Belivet. The simple act of loving someone and being loved in return might not win Oscars, but these everyday acts of courage made an entire generation of LGBT victories possible. Carol and Therese didn’t have to die for their lives to have purpose; they were meaningful because they lived.
—  A.V. Club’s Nico Lang on Carol Oscar snub (X)

… every scene featuring Oliver and Felicity—even before she joined Team Arrow—was simply delightful, and it was hard not to love the way her awkward enthusiasm always worked its way through the cracks in his angsty armor.
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Sam Barsanti, AV Club staffer, answering the question “Who do you ship” (X) You can find his tweet here.

Originally posted by thecwarrow

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Gravity Falls’ Alex Hirsch on his show’s big cliffhanger

(This interview reveals major plot points from Gravity Falls, specifically relating to the season-two episode “Not What He Seems.”)Disney XD’s Gravity Falls ended its most recent episode on a major cliffhanger: Not only does Grunkle Stan (voiced by series creator Alex Hirsch) have a previously unsee

With witty dialogue, a wildly twisting plot, a fully formed aesthetic, and a diverse cast of talented actors, Jane The Virgin isn’t just one of the season’s best new shows, it’s one of the best things on TV all year. The writers have approached the high concept with total confidence, and they understand that the exaggerated elements of the script don’t work without creating a strong foundation in real human emotion. Combining the telenovela-inspired soap opera of Ugly Betty with the heightened aesthetic of Pushing Daisies and the intergenerational family comedy of Gilmore Girls, Jane The Virgin is a series unlike anything else on network television, and it’s only getting better with each new episode.
What I’m most impressed by, though, is how this episode gets you to identify so thoroughly with Lester—then immediately removes that identification once he kills his wife because she dared insult him. It’s a tough trick to play, and I’m not precisely sure how Hawley and Bernstein manage it (short of the fact that, y’know, killing your wife because she’s mean to you is the wrong choice in most circumstances). Here’s my best stab at it: When Lester impulsively conks Pearl on the head with the hammer, we immediately cut to a point-of-view shot of her face, frozen in horror, then watch as blood starts to trickle down it. Bernstein is suggesting, subtly, that we, who have been invited to identify with Lester because we’ve all felt picked on by the Sam Hesses of the world, or felt diminished by those we’ve loved, are the ones who’ve perpetrated this crime in some way—perhaps by wishing it would happen within this fictional context. Then, just as quickly, we’re outside of that point-of-view, watching Lester’s hammer swing through the air to connect with his wife over and over, and then we’re just watching him—not even his face—hunch over Pearl as he hits her again and again. We go from being Lester, to seeing the true horror of his actions from an angle that has him swinging toward the camera (and, by extension, us), to an angle that cuts out his face and dehumanizes him. The sequence asks us if we, ourselves, would be capable of something like this, answers “yes” in no uncertain terms, then removes us from Lester to see if we can recognize the gravity of what he’s done. It’s crafty stuff.
—  TV critic Todd VanDerWerff’s excellent analysis of *THAT* scene in Fargo. Via his review in AV Club