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TV Year In Review: The Best, The Worst & The In Between

12/26/2008 7:31am EST
Breaking Bad
In a year that saw the writers strike bring forth more reality TV than we ever thought possible and reduce quality drama to a war of attrition, the boob tube still managed to deliver quality drama series at an impressive clip.


5. "BREAKING BAD" (AMC) - The aforementioned strike meant we only got seven episodes of former "X-Files" writer Vince Gilligan's masterful meth-strewn series, but after enduring its visceral fury, could we have really taken anymore?

Unlike another suburban drug dealing series, the torpid "Weeds", "Breaking Bad" offers a modern-d...

New TV On DVD, Dec. 9

12/9/2008 8:00am EST
Among other things, season four of Lost is about who gets off the island and how, and what they're doing in the real world. Also on DVD: Deadwood the complete series, Happy Days season 4, and The Wire the complete series.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, John Malkovich Among GQ Men Of The Year

11/19/2008 2:22pm EST
Lenardo DiCaprio
Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and John Malkovich walked away with top awards at this year's GQ Men of the Year ceremony.

Body of Lies star picked up the Leading Man Trophy, while Malkovich was named Mad Genius of the Year at the men's magazine awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

President-elect Barack Obama was given the nod as Game Changer of the Year, actor Jon Hamm was handed the Breakout award and Olympic champion Michael Phelps took home the ultimate accolade for Golden Boy of the Year.

The glittering party attracted some of Hollywood's brightest male stars, including ...

"Heroes: Destiny" Webisodes Premiere

11/14/2008 7:00pm EST
Heroes: Destiny, the offshoot series of Heroes available exclusively online which sprang from last year's "Create Your Hero" contest premiered Monday night exclusively online at and on Sprint phones with a new episode to be released every Monday at 9PM ET!

Heroes: Destiny: Columbian-born actor, Roberto Urbina, will bring the character Santiago to life. Urbina stars in a story created by the show's award-winning writers and produced in collaboration with the series creators. Lina Esco ("Cane") and Andrea Thompson ("24") will also star in the innovative micro-series, being film...

Who To Watch: A Look At Some Fresh Faces Of Fall TV

9/3/2008 8:46am EDT
Amanda Righetti
Amanda Righetti has played the bombshell beauty in quite a few style-over-substance programs in television seasons past (The O.C., North Shore, Reunion), but this fall she is finally allowed to smarten up and button up in CBS' The Mentalist, where she will star as an FBI agent alongside Simon Baker. Righetti is just one of the many fresh faces gracing the small screen this fall in our Spotlight on TV Stars.

Tristan Wilds, on the other hand, gets to show off his lighter side after dramatic turns in Half Nelson and The Wire with his role as Dixon Mills, a boy adopted into a privileged f...

New TV On DVD, Aug. 12

8/12/2008 8:00am EDT
Tru Calling
There are a bunch of new TV series in stores this week: season one of Caroline In The City and Dave's World, season three of Prison Break, season five of The Wire, season eleven of South Park, and Tru Calling the complete series.

Emmy Nominations Reaction: Who Was Snubbed, Who Shouldn't Be A Nominee

7/18/2008 9:13am EDT
Neil Patrick Harris
With the writer's strike a distant memory and an exciting new fall season dead ahead, we're finally ready to celebrate TV again. And what better way than with a lavish awards show?

Yes, the Emmy nominations were revealed at dawn in Los Angeles Thursday morning in a delightful little ceremony that saw Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth squeeze about two-dozen jokes in between their reading off the teleprompter.

There were surprises leading to gasps from the press, and plenty of nominations they all saw coming. Newcomer "Mad Men" led the drama category with 16 nominations w...

TV Shows That Deserve An Emmy Nomination On July 17

7/2/2008 8:30am EDT
As TV continues to evolve, so does the Emmy voting process. This year, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences leaked the preliminary results of the voting for Best Comedy and Best Drama Series. In the coming weeks, a blue ribbon panel will narrow the top 10 down to the final five nominees. Their findings will be presented along with the rest of the nominees on the morning of July 17.

In the meantime, their top 10 lists are ripe for debate. Who among the chosen few deserves the honor of an actual nomination? I'm here to help the panel by offering an expert opinion honed over an e...

The Most Underrated And Overrated Things About The 2007-08 TV Season

6/20/2008 11:08am EDT
The Emmy ballots are in, which means the 2007-08 TV season is officially over. Actually, the TV season officially lasted from June 1st until May 31st, but it doesn't really seem over until now. Now that we've had a few weeks to reflect, we can begin to formulate our opinions, or leave that up to the professionals, about the best and worst of the season gone by.

But that's easy. What about the far more enticing category of the most overrated and underrated? But we shouldn't limit ourselves to TV shows. Things like news stories, performances, and accepted perceptions are all ripe for...

A Memo To Emmy Voters

6/17/2008 10:04am EDT
Big Love
Starpulse writer Andrew Payne is getting sick of the snubs by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. And even though Katherine Heigl doesn't want to be an Emmy contender this year, there are plenty of deserving shows, actors and actresses that should be recognized. Here are Payne's suggestions for those casting their ballots this week:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Emmy Voters:

I am writing because I understand your ballots for this year's nominees are due this week. In the past, you've had quite a difficult time selecting the proper honorees. I'm not blaming you. I completely understa...

Three Best & Worst TV Shows Turned Into Big-Screen Films

5/28/2008 8:38am EDT
The Dukes of Hazzard
With so many long-running series coming to an end lately, it hasn't taken long for message boards and fansites to buzz with ideas for big-screen reunions. There are a ton of television shows already green lit and in various stages of development (The A-Team, Dallas, and I Dream of Jeannie to name a few). It doesn't seem too farfetched to assume even more producers are awaiting the opening numbers from this Friday's release of Sex and the City: The Movie before they offer a firm stance one way or the other.

If it's a hit, even four years after the show went off the air, the wheels will...

The Most Underrated & Overrated TV Shows Of The 90s

5/2/2008 9:43am EDT
The 1990s was the beginning of the end for network television. Program offerings grew rapidly in the last decade of the 20th century. Soon it became commonplace for a person to have 50-60 channels on their home set, paving the way for the present-day satellite and digital cable packages for 1,000 channels or more.

The 90s was the last decade that network bosses could depend on massive ratings from a nearly captive audience bereft of choices. There were certainly plenty of cable shows, but they barely made a dent in the numbers enjoyed by the networks at the time.

It was not unco...

Alicia Keys Gears Up For North American Leg Of 'As I Am' Tour

4/16/2008 7:00pm EDT
Alicia Keys
After wowing fans during her successful sold-out European tour, MBK/J Records' global superstar Alicia Keys is just days away from bringing that same excitement on the North American leg of her As I Am Tour presented by Lexus.

Joined by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo, the As I Am Tour presented by Lexus, kicks off April 19th in Hampton, VA. The tour continues on across the US and Canada, and will conclude on June 18th at Madison Square Garden in Alicia's hometown of New York City. Due to popular demand, new dates have been added ...

Is HBO Losing Its Edge?

4/14/2008 10:57am EDT
The Sopranos
Remember the slogan, "It's not TV, It's HBO?" Well, up until a couple months ago this marketing ploy actually rang true. HBO has long been the trendsetter of original series that break all boundaries and push audiences' perception of what television is and should be.

Unfortunately, thanks to the culminations of the network's most beloved quartet of series - Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and most recently The Wire - the Crown Royal of premium cable programming is in threat of losing its edge over the best of the rest.

There was a time when HBO stood for first-run...

Three Of The Coolest Characters On TV

3/25/2008 2:00pm EDT
Jim from The Office
It appears that television has hit its stride. With a multitude of channels and various formats for presentation, including watching programs on demand or online, shows now have a range and quality that is unmatched in previous times.

In recent years, there have been hour-long dramas such as Lost, 24, The Shield, Nip/Tuck, The Wire, and The Sopranos that captivated audiences and left them wanting more. Furthermore, there are several half-hour sitcoms that are undeniably hilarious. Shows like The Office, 30 Rock, South Park and Scrubs provide many laughs for an eager audience. Even pro...

Greatest TV Crime Fighters Of The Past Decade

3/24/2008 3:00pm EDT
The Shield
Shows about the police force or law enforcement in general have become commonplace on television. Over the years shows like Hill Street Blues, Dragnet, and NYPD Blue made an impact on TV audiences. More recently, series like 24, The Shield, CSI and The Wire have focused on the gritty aspects of crime fighting.

What are the top five crime fighters on television in the last 10 years? After conducting a great deal of research and some painful debate, we have compiled the list below, in alphabetical order.

Jack Bauer - 24

The man is a living legend and has saved the United Stat...

Lewis Black Gets Down to 'The Root Of All Evil' In This Exclusive Q & A

3/17/2008 11:19am EDT
Lewis Black
Everyday we're bombarded with tons of information and it's getting harder and harder to figure out what's relevant, what matters, or even what's true. Luckily we've got Lewis Black to help weed out some of the fluff. On 'The Root of all Evil', Black takes some of that fluff, like Donald Trump and Viagra, and puts it on trial, exposing their foibles and giving us something to laugh and think about. Starpulse spoke with Lewis to find out what one piece of fluff he best thinks captures the spirit of the times and just where he thinks the fluff is heading.

With your new show, you're putti...

'The Wire' Series Finale: Characters Move On But Urban Decay Lingers

3/11/2008 1:13pm EDT
The Wire
"The Wire" ended its acclaimed run on Sunday in a manner that was classy, moving and brought closure to each of its beloved main characters.

Before the series could end, however, the show's creators first needed to tie up the loose ends remaining on the final season's storylines. This meant dealing with the fates of Marlo's crew members and learning the result of McNulty and Lester's phony serial killer along with Scott Templeton's fabricated stories on the subject.

Justice appeared served for the most part in the case of the Stanfield crew. Chris Partlow will spend the rest of ...

TV On DVD Recommendation: 'Homicide: Life On The Street'

3/7/2008 3:19pm EST
Homicide: Life On The Street
"Homicide: Life on the Street" is one of the least-watched long-running police dramas that ever aired. It is superior in every way to its contemporaries "Law & Order" and "NYPD Blue" and the modern "CSI". Picking up the mantle of realism left bare by the departure of "Hill Street Blues", "Homicide" detailed the everyday happenings in Baltimore's Homicide Division.

It was shot mainly using hand-held cameras in a style that would become the norm for gritty realistic crime dramas on both the big and small screen. The series' true ensemble cast prominently featured the excellent Andre...

'The Wire' Recap: Late Editions

3/5/2008 10:56am EST
The Wire
For days, those of us who choose to wait until the episode’s actual airdate to enjoy each new edition of ''The Wire'' had heard from those who watch the show a week early on HBO's On Demand Service that ''Late Editions'' is the best episode in the history of the series. It didn’t quite live up to the hype, but was incredibly devastating nonetheless.

The episode starts out in stark contrast to what viewers are used to seeing from this series. In a startlingly jubilant moment, Lester uses Marlo's clock code to learn the location of the gang's drug resupply and manages to get the fall on ...

On 'The Wire' The Characters Appear To Be On The Verge Of Suffocating

2/26/2008 1:53pm EST
The Wire
Omar is dead. Perhaps the most iconic character on the most highly acclaimed show of its time has met his demise. The cause: a bullet to the back of the head. The culprit: Kenard, a kid who couldn't be older than 12.

This was an incredibly shocking end to this titan of "The Wire," but fitting nonetheless. The quick and easy method of his death showed us Omar is no superhero, just another player in the ruthless Baltimore street games. This idea is furthered at the morgue when the coroner nearly mislabels the body of the legendary figure. No matter how beloved or powerful, everybody...

The Walls Begin To Close On 'The Wire's' Most Enduring Characters

2/20/2008 9:20am EST
The Wire
Last time on "The Wire" McNulty finally began to feel the weight of his increasingly heinous scheme because the "serial killer" terrorizing Baltimore has earned the full attention of the press, city hall and police command.

The plan of relocating a homeless man to a shelter in Richmond paid off in Spades for Freamon and McNulty at first blush, providing them with the software necessary to decode Marlo's picture messages. The photos are of a clock set to a different time for each transmission. The setting of the hands don't seem to correspond to the time of day, and Freamon asks McNul...

Where Are They Now?: 'A Different World'

2/14/2008 11:00am EST
A Different World
"A Different World," a half-hour sitcom about students at fictional Hillman College, was on the air from 1987 to 1993. It was the creation of Bill Cosby and originally served as a spin-off venue for then Cosby kid Lisa "Denise" Bonet.

However, it wasn't until Lisa Bonet was booted from the show (due to a pregnancy) that "A Different World" really took off in popularity. Fueled by a core ensemble cast of likeable characters - Dwayne, Whitley, Freddie, Kim, Jaleesa, Ron, and Walter - "A Different World" was in the top 10 shows in the Nielsen ratings for five of the six years it aired.


'The Wire' Demonstrates The Rotating Cycle Of Tragedy

2/12/2008 8:55am EST
The Wire
In the first true blow-away episode of its final season, "The Wire" examined a group ignored heretofore by the show and currently by the media: the government and simple everyday people.

This season has seen McNulty (Dominic West) inventing a serial killer supposedly preying on the homeless, but not until last night did we meet any of these people. "The Dickensian Aspect" brought those supposed victims to the forefront in two separate plot points.

The first found fabricating news reporter Scott Templeton (Thomas McCarthy) wanting to expound upon his coverage of the killings follo...

Greed Defines The Actions In 'The Wire'

2/5/2008 12:45pm EST
The Wire
One of "The Wire's" trademarks is its ability to seamlessly weave new characters into its mosaic of a storyline and slowly peel back the layers of a person who at first seems a one-dimensional Hollywood stereotype and show the audience something they were never expecting.

In Sunday's episode, "React Quotes," the series once again pulled off its old trick with another newcomer to the series, Scott Templeton (Thomas McCarthy). There was always something a little fishy about Templeton; his quotes seemed too perfect and he's always been very brash. The series' creators finally pulled the...

TV On DVD Recommendation: 'The Sopranos'

2/4/2008 9:26am EST
The Sopranos
"The Sopranos" (HBO) - Six seasons, 86 episodes total. Perfect For: Anybody who's never seen an episode of television's finest series.

Everyone already knows how it ended, but accompanying television's greatest family on its journey to the famous black screen is the perfect remedy for the writers' strike blues.

"The Sopraons" hit the airwaves in 1999 to acclaim never before heaped upon a television series. This was the first time something on the small screen garnered critical notice on par with its big-screen contemporaries.

The praise was well-deserved because "The Soprano...

'The Wire' Recap: Expect Devastating Earthquakes For The Rest Of The Season

2/1/2008 12:23pm EST
The Wire
Sunday's episode of "The Wire" played out as more of a procedural than the thematic mosaic to which viewers have become accustomed. This was a clear plot-based episode, and many things transpired that are certain to enrich the themes of greed, moral conflict and social ignorance certain to be explored in upcoming weeks.

Marlo's thirst for power came to the forefront this week as he usurped control of the New Day Co-Op. His cash gift to the Greeks was finally accepted, and he manipulated Cheese with the gift of Hungry Man, a fellow drug dealer who irked Cheese during a co-op meeting. ...

Adam McKay Discusses The Writers Strike and What Makes Comedy Successful

1/24/2008 10:25am EST
Adam McKay
Adam McKay is a big player in the world of comedy. The former SNL head-writer co-wrote and directed Will Ferrell in the films Anchorman and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Now he's taking on a greater role as a producer, helping people's visions be seen by a larger audience. In part 2 of this two part Starpulse Q and A, Adam McKay shares some of his picks for the best new directors, actors, and writers and discusses what is, in his opinion, that makes for good comedy.

How do you think the writer's strike is gonna play out?

You know, there's what I think will happen and ...

One Legendary Character Sinks Deeper While Another Resurfaces On 'The Wire'

1/23/2008 9:35am EST
The Wire
The third episode of the last season of "The Wire" saw Jimmy McNulty continue to indulge in his obsession to create a serial killer on the streets of Baltimore. The episode opens with him pouring through old case files to find murders similar to the deaths by natural causes he's made look like the result of foul play.

Bunk seems to reach his breaking point when he learns about Jimmy's deranged scheme and attempts to bring Freamon in to talk him back into reality. Bunk's plan backfires when Freamon sees this as an ideal way to get some money back into the department in order to allow ...

'The Wire' Recap: Unconfirmed Reports

1/14/2008 9:52am EST
The Wire
Two character returned to their old selves, while one simply returned in Sunday's episode of "The Wire." The new episode plunged the series deeper into two of its major characters more than it has before.

Jimmy McNulty, the alcoholic homicide detective who cleaned up his act last season, and Bubbles, the struggling heroin addict who cleaned himself up after accidentally killing his ghetto version of a ward, were at the center of the season's second chapter.

The episode opens with Bubbles attending a narcotics anonymous meeting. Viewers are privy to a girl's stomach-wrenching ta...