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Here's why Arya is the best character on 'Game of Thrones'

Okay, okay, we get it: You love Tyrion.

And with good reason. We love Tyrion, too! And Brienne, and Jaime, and Sansa, and everybody else who has a continuing story on Game of Thrones. Any one of them conceivably could have appeared on our list of the 25 Best Characters on TV Right Now. (Fine, that’s an overstatement; nobody’s voting for Ramsay Bolton, right?)

So naturally, when it came time for EW‘s TV staff to decide which of these fascinating creations is currently the show’s best, things got a little contentious. (See more about the list’s criteria here, where you can also vote for your favorite TV character.) In a tiebreaker vote, though, the choice became clear: Arya beat Tyrion, and by a fairly wide margin. READ FULL STORY

Netflix passes HBO in subscriber revenue

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Which team are you on: Netflix or HBO? No, it’s not so much a direct competition—but that doesn’t make it any less impressive that Netflix, which was founded in 1997, just passed HBO, founded in 1972, in subscriber revenue in the last quarter.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took to Facebook to share what he called the “minor milestone.” According to Hastings, Netflix earned $1.146 billion in subscriber revenue in the last quarter, where HBO only took in $1.141 billion. As Hastings put it, “They still kick our ass in profits and Emmys, but we are making progress. HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league.”

Netflix, of course, is home to hit original shows Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, while HBO houses more shows, including Game of Thrones, Girls, True Detective, and Silicon Valley, which even Hastings admits to loving. But with more original programming in the works, including Daredevil, it seems safe to say that Netflix won’t go away anytime soon.

'Hunger Games,' 'Raising Hope' actors join HBO's 'Westworld'

HBO’s Westworld is filling out its cast. The sci-fi drama series from producers J.J. Abrams and Jerry Weintraub has enlisted actors from The Hunger Games saga, Fox’s Raising Hope, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, among others.

The six new hires join previously cast stars Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood. The pilot is based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 film set in a futuristic theme park where androids fulfill dark human desires. Below are the actors and their official role descriptions from producer Warner Bros., which provide more description about the show than what’s been released previously. One of the parts, filled by Rodrigo Santoro, seems to be HBO’s version of Yul Brynner‘s iconic killer cowboy character from the original film.  READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' viewership grows to nearly 20 million

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HBO’s unsullied army has grown big enough to invade Westeros. And if you actually understand that opener, it’s probably because you’re one of the nearly 20 million people who are caught up on Game of Thrones.

As part of Time Warner’s quarterly earnings report Tuesday, the company noted that Thrones viewership has swelled to a record-high of 19 million viewers. That massive number includes all the different ways the show is consumed—original airings, repeats, DVR playback and streaming. It also represents a major gain on the next-day numbers that are usually reported, which tend to be around 7 million. READ FULL STORY

Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener to star in HBO miniseries from 'Wire' creator David Simon

Film stars Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener are getting in on the miniseries game, and they’re doing it with The Wire creator David Simon.

The duo are set to star in Simon and William F. Zorzi’s upcoming HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, based on Lisa Belkin’s 1999 non-fiction book about the fight for housing desegregation in the late ‘80s.

Directed by Paul Haggis, the six-hour series follows the struggles of a young mayor ordered by the federal court to build low-income housing units in the city’s white neighborhoods—an effort that tears apart the city, the government, and ultimately the mayor himself. The series will explore the ideas of home, race, and community through its portrayal of ordinary citizens, elected officials, bureaucrats, and activists.

Isaac will star as Nick Wasicsko, described as “the youngest big-city mayor in the nation.” Keener will play Mary Dorman, “an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing.”

Simon has had a long history of success with HBO, most famously for his seminal crime saga The Wire, which aired on the network from 2002-2008. He is also responsible for the HBO miniseries Generation Kill and co-created the New Orleans drama Treme, which spanned four seasons.

Simon, Zorzi, and Haggis will executive produce Show Me a Hero, along with Nina Noble and Gail Mutrux.

Enough, already: Why I'm quitting 'The Leftovers'

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That’s it. I quit. No more.

For weeks, I’ve stuck it out with The Leftovers, which many critics (including me) have described as one of the bleakest, most brutal, most depressing dramas on television. But it wasn’t until Sunday’s episode, “Gladys,” that I decided I’d had enough. I refuse to watch another minute of this show.

It wasn’t just that a woman (the Gladys of the title, played by Marceline Hugot) got stoned to death in the episode. I’ve seen worse on my all-time favorite show, Breaking Bad. What I objected to wasn’t the violence. It was the unnecessarily aggressive way the scene played out.

Gladys doesn’t just get hit with a rock. She gets hit thirteen times. First, you see her get hit in the face, ripping a gash on her cheek. Then the camera angle changes, and you see her head backlit by flashlights, illuminating the blood that sprays upward from her soft, grey-blonde hair. Then you see her in profile, as the stone smacks into her forehead and her neck snaps back like a crash-test dummy’s. There’s another whiplash shot. More face-smashing. More blood-spurting. Until her mouth bends into a sad-clown grimace. Her head hangs limp. You can actually hear bones and cartilage getting pulverized. The hard thwack of the first hit slowly gives way to a sickeningly soft thunk. There’s the unmistakable sound of blood dripping onto the ground. Then it’s gushing. Then it’s pouring down.

That’s when she gets hit again.

Now she’s bleeding from the hair. The nose. The mouth. Thunk. Her glasses are crushed. Thunk. Her mouth hangs agape. Thunk. Finally, Gladys, who has taken a vow of silence, starts begging. “Don’t.” she says. “Please. Don’t. Please don’t. Please. Please don’t. Don’t. Please. Stop. Please.” (Or something like that. It’s hard to understand her with all of that blood in her mouth.) Thunk.

And then it’s over. But it’s not really over. It’s not enough that Gladys is dead. Later in the episode, we’re treated to a close-up view of the corpse, still tied to that tree. Then a flashback replays the murder as it’s imagined by Laurie (Amy Brenneman), who is Gladys’s vigilance partner in a cult called The Guilty Remnant. The closing scene even revisits Gladys’s dead body, as it’s being cremated. There’s a close-up of her caved-in face as it disappears into the fire. READ FULL STORY

George R.R. Martin won't write a 'Game of Thrones' episode next season

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The fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones is not going to have its best-known writer. Thrones author George R.R. Martin won’t pen an installment of the hit fantasy series next year, breaking a tradition that has spanned the first four seasons.

Before you get too upset, however, here’s the author’s reason: He wants to focus on writing the eagerly awaited sixth novel in his Song of Ice and Fire saga, The Winds of Winter. As fans are very much aware, Thrones is quickly catching up to the author’s storyline, with season 5 mining material from his fourth and fifth novels in the saga.

Check out the video interview from Comic-Con below. EW sat down with Martin and a few cast members to talk a bit about where each of their characters left off and what they’re looking forward to. READ FULL STORY

'Boardwalk Empire' won't go quietly in its final season

HBO has taken a page out of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s playbook, releasing another promo for Boardwalk Empire‘s final season that manages to make every brief clip feel super important while at the same time revealing almost nothing about the season’s plot. READ FULL STORY

Bryan Cranston to star in HBO adaptation of Broadway's 'All the Way'

Bryan Cranston is returning to television: HBO acquired the rights to Broadway’s All the Way, the Tony-winning play in which the Breaking Bad star portrayed Lyndon B. Johnson, the network confirmed to EW.

Cranston will reprise his role as the 36th president of the United States, with playwright Robert Schenkkan on board to adapt the stage version for the small screen. Steven Spielberg will serve as executive producer on the HBO Films project.

All the Way was named best play at the Tonys last month, where Cranston took home a trophy for his performance as LBJ. The show closed June 29 after 131 performances at the Neil Simon Theatre, breaking Broadway box office records when it grossed over $1.4 million over eight performances—more than any play ever brought in during a single week.

'The Leftovers' TV Book Club: What changed from page to screen

Seen HBO’s The Leftovers, and want to chat about how it compares to Tom Perrotta’s original novel? You’re in luck—so do EW‘s Hillary Busis and Neil Janowitz. Their spoiler-heavy conversation—filled with thoughts on bleakness, the new Kevin, and creepy bronze baby statues—is below. READ FULL STORY

Teaser for 'Boardwalk Empire's final season warns 'all empires must fall'

Last night, HBO released the first teaser trailer for Boardwalk Empire‘s upcoming fifth and final season, which is set to begin in September. While the 37-second trailer doesn’t give much away about the upcoming season, it does warn fans that “all empires must fall.” It also features several shots of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) pensively looking out at things: the water, the Onyx, the distance. After a flurry of other short and nondescript clips from the upcoming season, the trailer settles down on Nucky saying, “The trick’s to stay alive long enough to cash out”—and then ends with the phrase “No one goes quietly.”

Check out the teaser trailer below.

 

 

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck star in first 'Project Greenlight' revival promo

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck want to make your movie.

Actually, wait, strike that: The Oscar winners want you to make their movie. As Damon and Affleck explain in the first promo for their revived docuseries Project Greenlight—returning to HBO after an 11-year absence—they’re not looking for screenplay submissions this time around. Instead, the new Greenlight will focus only on the trials and tribulations of a first-time director making a major motion picture. (Their pick will be helming a “Hollywood-vetted script;” no other details about the film have been released yet.)

READ FULL STORY

Sarah Jessica Parker may star in a drama from the producers of 'True Detective'

Sarah Jessica Parker may be returning to the city—but this time, there could be less sex and more crime.

Sydney Kimmel Entertainment has acquired the rights to Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker’s non-fiction crime thriller Busted: A Tale of Corruption And Betrayal In The City of Brotherly Love, and Deadline reports that Sex and the City‘s Sarah Jessica Parker is expected to appear in one of the two main roles. SKE will produce the show with Anonymous Content, the producers of HBO’s True Detective.

Busted tells the story of two investigative journalists, Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, whose investigative reporting helped bring to light one of the biggest police corruption scandals in Philadelphia’s history. Their reporting earned them a Pulitzer Prize.

“Wendy and Barbara have written an amazing true story, and we’re thrilled for it to be SKE’s first television project,” said SKE President of Production Carla Hacken and SKE President Jim Tauber in a statement. “Sarah Jessica Parker’s coming on board, along with David Frankel and Don Roos is simply a perfect combination that we couldn’t be happier about.”

David Frankel, the director of The Devil Wears Prada, is expected to direct and executive produce the pilot, and Don Roos, husband of Scandal‘s David Bucatinsky, will write it.

Since Sex and the City ended its groundbreaking run in 2004, Parker has guest-starred on FOX’s Glee and has appeared in several feature films. If picked up, this series would mark Parker’s first full-time return to television since the HBO comedy ended.

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