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'Family Tree' review: Christopher Guest's HBO mockumentary smart despite genre's staleness

Tom Chadwick is an affable British-Irish chap stuck in a bad patch. He’s reeling from a breakup, and he’s just been made redundant at his job. His longtime best friend keeps setting him up on disastrous dates with dim-witted women. Tom needs to Move Along, Please!, to borrow the title from his father’s favorite sitcom. Into Tom’s stultifying life drops a box of heirlooms bequeathed by a dead great-aunt. He begins investigating the knotty roots of his screwy family history, which takes this hangdog Homer on an absurdly funny odyssey into oddball quarters and pastimes (pantomime horse racing, anyone?). Tom, a product of his reality TV/self-documenting generation, allows a film crew to record his journey of discovery. Look, everybody! I’m interesting!


TNT orders Michael Bay show with Eric Dane

TNT is turning to action dude Michael Bay (Transformers) to produce 10 episodes of The Last Ship, a new drama that will star Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy) that’s based on William Brinkley’s novel of the same name.

The series, which will premiere in 2014, opens with a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoids falling victim to the devastating tragedy. But now the crew and its captain must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors.

McSteamy, aka Dane, will play Captain Tom Chandler, a career Navy man who is respected and loved by the men and women under his command. The Last Ship also stars Rhona Mitra (Strike Back) as Rachel Scott, a paleomicrobiologist assigned to the Nathan James to investigate the cause of billions of deaths worldwide. Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) is Slattery, the ship’s second-in-command who worries deeply about his family and occasionally clashes with Dane’s Captain Chandler over the best course of action. And Tracy Middendorf (Boardwalk Empire, Mission: Impossible III) plays Darien Chandler, the captain’s wife. READ FULL STORY

'Dear Mom, Love Cher' review: Inside the crazy, talented life of Georgia Holt

For Mother’s Day, Lifetime is celebrating the most important mama of all: Georgia Holt, who gave us Cher. The result is Dear Mom, Love Cher, a candid, if blithely rose-colored documentary. There are great revelations: Mama Cher can sing! Mama Cher almost aborted baby Cher!

Writer-director P. David Ebersole gathers Cher (billed as a producer and “creator”), her sister Georganne, and Georgia all together on a massive Malibu couch that anchors the hour. We keep coming back to it, with mom in the middle, as she and her daughters spill out more and more details about the family’s extended, hardscrabble history. Once, the family matriarch dreamed of Georgia’s grandfather coming “down in little pieces” from the sky (she was psychic, you see) and the next day, he blew himself up with dynamite. “I think we can walk the narrow razor of white trash only so long,” Cher worries — and we still haven’t heard about Georgia’s father.


See first tease for Starz' 'Magic City'

It never gets old looking at Jeffrey Dean Morgan. If you agree, then you may want to check out this tease for the second season of Magic City, Starz’ period mob drama about hotelier Ike Evans (Morgan) and his South Beach hotspot, the Miramar Playa.

James Caan and Esai Morales will join regulars Danny Huston, Olga Kurylenko and Kelly Lynch in the drama’s second season that begins June 14.  READ FULL STORY

'The Show With Vinny': The best 'Jersey Shore' spin-off. (But don't let the word 'best' fool you.)

The best thing you can say about The Show With Vinny — MTV’s latest Jersey Shore franchise extension — is that the concept isn’t half bad. Vinny Guadagnino was the most believable human being on the Jersey Shore cast, the only person on the show who didn’t gradually morph into a cartoonish self-parody. He was also genuinely funny — his riffs with hetero-lifemate Pauly D lent the show a slight air of self-awareness.

And there is a lot of potential in having Vinny interview the celebs in his own house, with his mom and sisters and various other relatives on hand to provide a homey vibe. The whole talk-show format has gotten pretty stale lately. Celebrities are always on their guard inside an overlit studio and in front of an audience. Wouldn’t they feel more comfortable in a family dining room, with the host’s mom serving them broccoli rabe?


'Inside Amy Schumer' review: How one woman broke the rules of 'Cool Girl' comedy

Amy Schumer is just as profane as any man, woman, or drunk robot on Comedy Central. Her new sketch-comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer, finds her auditioning for a role in the porn video “2 Girls 1 Cup” and dragging friends to O’Nutters, a male version of Hooters that features waiters in crotch-hugging outfits. But she’s not just another one of those hot, dirty “guy’s girl” types. Lately, too many of the talented funnywomen who’ve earned their own shows are trying a little too hard to appeal to men, always professing their love of rape jokes and threesomes and Philly cheesesteaks and openmouthed burping — even though most of them are so skinny, they look like they don’t eat human food, much less burp. (Sorry, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, and anyone else mentioned in trend pieces about “edgy” comediennes.) Many of these women are what the writer Gillian Flynn calls “the Cool Girl” type: Watching them perform, you’re not so much looking at a real person as a character, one that has been dreamed up by a woman who “watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them,” as Flynn put it in her novel Gone Girl. When a Cool Girl tells a cruel joke about other women, she makes all the other Cool Girls in the audience laugh, because, obviously, these jokes aren’t about them — they’re about those other bitches, who totally deserve it. In other words, Cool Girls aren’t that cool.

But Schumer isn’t like that. Her comedy has always been what some women might call FUBU: for us, by us. You might recognize her as the tipsy blonde who warned Adam not to hurt his new girlfriend on Girls. (“That would be like hurting Mother Theresa,” she said. “Except Mother Theresa didn’t blow my cousin.”) READ FULL STORY

Guillermo del Toro brings 'Monster' to HBO


Guillermo del Toro has closed a deal to adapt the Manga series titled “Monster” for HBO.

Written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa for Shogakukan Inc., the award-winning “Monster” series begins with a brilliant young doctor whose choice to save a dying 12-year-old boy unwittingly unleashes a pandora’s box that leaves him battling to stop a plot of mass genocide.

The young adult series first began in 1995 in Japan but it took another decade or so before it was translated for distribution in the U.S.

Del Toro will serve as an executive producer and director and will co-write the story with Steven Thompson. Don Murphy, Susan Montford and Gary Ungar will serve as non-writing executive producers.

Deadline first reported the deal.

'Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life' review: More than just lady boners

“Let’s get druuuuunk!”

Welcome to the world of Ke$ha, where the glitter never runs out and it’s always spring break. That’s just some of what you learn in her new docuseries, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, which premieres on MTV tonight. The show promises (threatens?) to unveil two years of behind-the-scenes footage shot by the singer’s brother Lagan, who apparently isn’t uncomfortable with filming his sister making out at length with unidentified men at bars.

He also decides not to interfere when she creepily stalks her ex-boyfriend in Los Angeles, as she does halfway through the episode. “It was a crazy love,” says Ke$ha, who we start to learn uses that word quite liberally. Continues the singer as their car prowls by the ex’s house, “I’m going to poop my pants, I’m so scared!” This leads to a scene of the star taking a long, reflective walk on the beach — Ke$ha at rest.


'Rectify' review: Sundance Channel miniseries features fine acting, scattered storytelling

Watching death-row inmate Daniel Holden (Aden Young) be prepped for release after serving 18 years for raping and murdering a girl is like watching a corpse be readied for a funeral. Pale and devoid of emotion, he’s fancied up in a suit and tie, a freshly-wiped-clean blank slate presented to the public.”I’m not sure what to make of this drastic change of course in my life,” he tells the press assembled outside the prison, with the cadence of someone who suddenly has all the time in the world. “I will seriously need to reconsider my worldview.” READ FULL STORY

HBO will return 'The Newsroom' on....

The Newsroom will reopen on Sunday, July 14, HBO announced today.

In the second season of the drama from Aaron Sorkin, the staff of “News Night” chases a mysterious tip, which leads to a story that ultimately spins out of control.The Newsroom stars Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Olivia Munn and Dev Patel star.

Also set for the second season: the arrival of Marcia Gay Harden, who will play the recurring role of Rebecca Halliday, a litigator who defends Atlantis Cable News in a wrongful termination suit.

‘The Newsroom’ at PaleyFest

History renews 'Vikings'


History has ordered another season of Vikings, its first scripted drama series.

The cable net ordered another 10 episodes for its second year. Four episodes remain in its current season, with the season finale set for April 28.

Over the last five weeks, the drama has averaged 5 million viewers, 2.2 million adutls 25-54 and 1.9 million adults 18-49 on Sundays at 10. The period show focuses on (duh?) Viking society.

“Vikings is a win-win for us, said Dirk Hoogstra, EVP, Development and Programming, in a statement. “As our first scripted series, Vikings has paid off in a big way with critical acclaim, strong ratings and a passionate, loyal fan base. It came out of the gate strong and has stayed on top, solidifying History as a major player in the scripted genre, just as we are in reality.”

Production for season two will begin this summer. The series will return in 2014.

Read more:
The first trailer for History’s ‘Vikings’ trailer is here! — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
History orders first scripted series from ‘Tudors’ creators
First Look: History’s ‘Vikings’

TLC's upcoming shows: Not AS crazy as you were expecting?

Today, TLC announced a slate of new series, none of which involve strange addictions. The rundown:

• Women of Homicide: It tails the most elite female homicide detectives in the country. This is as close as you’re going to get to guilt-free TLC programming, because…

• Alaskan Women Looking for Love (working title): This one follows five women, some of whom have never left Alaska, who travel to Miami in search of men. We look forward to the bikini shopping montage.

• Husband Hunters: These women have everything picked out for their weddings but the grooms.

• My Teen Is Pregnant And So Am I: The special becomes a series, which means this must happen a lot. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman talks about last night's fatalities-filled season finale

Who will live and who will die? That was the question on the lips of fans before last night’s episode of the Walking Dead. Of course, given the nature of AMC’s undead saga, that tends to be the question on the lips of fans before every episode. But this week the query had a particular urgency given the (correct) assumption that the season finale would finally feature the showdown between the Rick-lead prison-ites and the Governor-ruled Woodburians.



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