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The 11 Best From 2011

December 31st, 2011 11:00am EST
Southland
2011 was a fantastic year for entertainment. Here are my eleven favorite things from the year that's about to wrap, in chronological order...

1. Southland, TNT

(Season 3 began January 4)

I have to admit that I didn't keep up with TNT's gritty Los Angeles cop drama as much as I would have liked; it fell victim to sharing Tuesday nights with three other shows on my watch list. Yet when I did find time to catch it, I was no less than impressed every time.

There's been talk about the show's TV-MA content (allegedly the reason that NBC axed it), but the real talking point should be the st...
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Commentary: The 5 Things I'm Thankful For In 2011

November 23rd, 2011 11:00am EST
The Voice
With Thanksgiving tomorrow, many Starpulse writers are giving thanks for our favorite pop-culture moments. Here's what's on my list, from a reality show to a play that was all too real.

My list is a bit different from those of my colleagues. I've had a very blessed - and also very difficult - year that has had amazing highs and been marred by literally life-changing lows. When I look back on 2011, I'm not thinking just about things I enjoyed, but experiences and people that made a difference.

It goes without saying that I'd like to thank my loved ones and the doctors, surgeons, nurses, ...
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Shawn Ryan Says 'Chicago Code' Won't Return

June 15th, 2011 6:09am EDT
The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code creator Shawn Ryan was the bearer of the worst possible news on Tuesday: the acclaimed police drama is officially dead.

"Exhausted the last network possibility to keep The Chicago Code alive," he Tweeted. "Unfortunately, the show won't be back. Thanks to all who watched."

That sound you hear is a collective cry of anguish from the show's legion of devoted fans, who had been campaigning since FOX cancelled the freshman series last month in the hopes that the net would reverse its decision or that another might strike a deal to spare it from the TV graveyard. Ultimat...
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The Chicago Code 1.13 'Mike Royko's Revenge' Review

May 24th, 2011 1:21am EDT
The Chicago Code
I knew I was going to be moved by the finale of The Chicago Code. I didn't expect just how much.

The show set up plenty of dominoes over the season, and in another display of its trademark efficiency, starts knocking them down within minutes. We learn that Liam/Chris isn't dead yet (just missing a spleen), Lieutenant Kelly is finally getting arrested for being a tool, and both Elizabeth Killian and not-so-innocent secretary Lily have been found. Things would be looking up for our heroes, if Alderman Gibbons wasn't on TV calling for Teresa's resignation, and privately trying to con...
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Farewell To 'The Chicago Code'

May 23rd, 2011 3:08pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Dear The Chicago Code,

Well, this is heartbreaking. Just two months ago, I was writing you a love letter. Now, it's time for us to say goodbye. I hope it's not forever, but I don't know, so I'm going to say everything right now, just in case.

You've really been spectacular. My disagreements with you have been minor at best. That's virtually unheard of, given how high I set my standards. But you and I have had a relationship that I haven't had with a TV show since Sports Night was axed eleven years ago. In my world, there's Sports Night and everything else; you're the first show I'...
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Saving 'The Chicago Code' - The Fans' Story, Part 2

May 23rd, 2011 12:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Last week, I brought you the exploits of devoted fans of FOX's The Chicago Code. This week, the story continues.

It's been about two weeks since The Chicago Code was axed, and as the initial furor has died down, some of the less fervent fans have moved on. Yet the die-hard fans are as dedicated as ever, perhaps even moreso because they know tonight will be the last we ever see of this series unless we continue to push for more.

For some, this is a nearly full-time campaign, and being dedicated to something so completely isn't without stress and strain. The day after I wrote my fir...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.12 'Greylord & Gambat' Review

May 17th, 2011 9:40am EDT
The Chicago Code
The cruel fate of The Chicago Code hasn't dampened my goodwill towards it. Possibly because this show was written and wrapped months ago, there's no sign of giving up or backing down.

I've mentioned previously how much I appreciate that this show hits the ground running, and it does: after giving us a quick, efficient catch-up on the events of last week's episode, we find out that Teresa's star witness has gone missing just before he's scheduled to testify, and Gibbons is now aware of the existence of a mole, though he doesn't know that it's Liam, who's being blatantly hit on by ...
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Saving 'The Chicago Code' - The Fans' Story

May 16th, 2011 11:10am EDT
The Chicago Code
FOX's The Chicago Code is an outstanding series. What's equally worth talking about are similarly great efforts of its fans to save it. It's my pleasure to bring you my insider's blog as the fans fight to bring The Chicago Code back.

Day 0

Late Tuesday, May 10, 2011, word leaked that The Chicago Code would be no more. FOX's decision to axe the drama came as a surprise; its ratings had gone up 7% just the night before, and with no shortage of critical praise, it had been considered the strongest of the network's "bubble" shows. Surprise quickly turned to anger for the show's devoted fan ...
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Dearly Departed: Eulogizing 'The Chicago Code' & 'Human Target'

May 11th, 2011 9:45am EDT
The Chicago Code
FOX, I'm not talking to you anymore. Not after you cancelled my two favorite series, The Chicago Code and Human Target.

No, this article is directed at the people still coming to terms with the network's decision to bring the hammer down on those two series Tuesday night. This is for the dismayed fans, for the casts and crews that are now in need of other jobs. I had the pleasure of working on both Code and Human Target for their entire runs. (In addition to fellow victim Lie To Me this season.) I wasn't just a critic, I was also a fan. I'm just as upset as the viewers, and I sure a...
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'The Chicago Code' Is Cancelled

May 10th, 2011 11:31pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Here's a shocker from FOX: it has said goodbye to The Chicago Code.

Alan Sepinwall broke the news (you can read his original article here) and it's been retweeted by Shawn Ryan, so this is for real. Despite Ryan's name behind it and considerable critical acclaim, the network has axed the promising Chicago drama starring Jason Clarke, Jennifer Beals, Matt Lauria and Delroy Lindo after only one season.

Allow me to step outside my critic's box for a moment: as a fan, the cancellation deeply upsets me. I haven't loved a show this much in a long time. Having to report this news is sho...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.11 'Black Sox' Review

May 10th, 2011 6:03am EDT
The Chicago Code
This week's The Chicago Code touches a subject I know all too well: hate crimes. When Lance Dolan, a prominent gay man, is murdered, it's a firestorm of a case. As tough as the idea is to tackle, the writers handle the material with class, and it's another solid episode from a show that's hardly missed a beat all season.

An episode about a hate crime contains sensitive subject matter by its very nature, and this one is no exception. Dolan's companion, who survived the attack, is a married man with a kid who's resistant to testify and risk destroying his family. In fact, that's wha...
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Interview: Talking 'The Chicago Code' With Matt Lauria

April 11th, 2011 2:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Did you miss Matt Lauria? I did. After two weeks of reruns, he's back tonight as FOX's The Chicago Code returns with the first of six all-new episodes to finish out its critically acclaimed first season. To mark the occasion, Lauria and I sat down to discuss his role as Chicago rookie detective Caleb Evers, the NBC premiere of his previous series Friday Night Lights, and what it's like working with some true heavyweights to make one of the best shows on television.

You're in a unique position: you're not in production while your show is airing. Is it different to have done all the wo...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.08 'Wild Onions' Advance Review

April 8th, 2011 6:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code is back, and it's different backdrop, same amazing storytelling.

I've said before how much I enjoy this show; I'm so impatient that these last two weeks of reruns have seemed way longer than that (though that didn't stop me from watching anyway). The fundamental reason why is that it's refreshingly free of BS - it's simply a fundamentally great television series. "Wild Onions" is a perfect example of that principle in action. Rather than sensationalizing itself, the script by Virgil Williams creates simple drama with the characters, and plays some damn fine emoti...
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My Love Letter To 'The Chicago Code'

March 22nd, 2011 10:00am EDT
The Chicago Code
Dear The Chicago Code,

I love you. More than I ever expected to. You came along at just the right time - when I needed something to get me excited about TV again after the season (series?) finale of Human Target - and you made me fall for you. Now I'm to the point where I know you're on tonight and I'm actually impatient for you to get here. More than I am for Chuck or Hawaii Five-O, despite my soft spot for Alex O'Loughlin. Why do I love you so much? Well, let me count the ways.

You know I love crime dramas. Always have, as far back as I can remember. And you? Are one smart, unapo...
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