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Drama

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 episode 2 recap: Resignation

“A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who dispatched him.” With such pointed scriptural citation does Jeffrey Wright bring his mesmerizing presence to  HBO’s Boardwalk Empire Season 4, playing Dr. Valentin Narcisse, a new rival to Nucky Thompson and Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) on the Atlantic City stage and a man who uses many words to cut to the chase. And he is a key foil in the ongoing power gymnastics of who answers to whom in perfectly corrupt, institutionally racist Prohibition America. The question drives these Roaring ’20s, of […]

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Drama

The Newsroom Season 2 finale recap: Election Night Part 2

If you wanted a bow on HBO’s The Newsroom Season 2, last night’s season finale didn’t disappoint, because Aaron Sorkin solved all the world’s problems and everybody’s insecurities even as it relived Barack Obama’s second election night. Oddly, amid everything working out even among bad people-who-turn-out-to-be-good, it was Thomas Sadoski who stole the show as he has done much of the season in spite of a relative also-ran role as 10 o’clock hour producer Don. It wasn’t even the rote Sorkinian dialogue he was given to utter in the mid-episode scene where he tells ACN’s hotshot lawyer Becca (Marcia Gay Harden) […]

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Drama

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 premiere recap: “New York Sour”

From the get-go of Season 4 of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, we are reminded of why there is little else like this on television. It is a nighttime exterior shot, a restaurant in a remote part of America awash in a snowstorm, so lushly designed and framed it might be a Hopper painting. It is just as rich a painting inside, where two cold-eyed types in suits and hats sit at the counter, while a distracted owner listens to barely tuned-in strains of radio. When the bigger, talkier one starts needling the owner, we feel something pointless and violent could happen […]

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Drama

The Newsroom recap: “Election Night, Part 1”

In “Election Night, Part 1,” the penultimate episode of Season 2 of HBO’s The Newsroom, it is, indeed, election night 2012, the culmination of two largely wasted years of presidential campaigning, with Barack Obama soon to hand Mitt Romney his own ass with a choice of two sides. But that’s not important right now. Because the confounding, long, thorny, pointlessly abusive thing between News Night anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and his executive producer Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) is coming to a head with what appears to be a whimper versus the firing squad both she and I think the […]

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Drama

The Newsroom recap: Episode 2.7 Red Team III

Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s The Newsroom saw Don (Thomas Sadoski) take his turn in front of a high-priced legal team led by Rebecca (Marcia Gay Harden) debriefing the ACN team on what went wrong with their season-long investigation into a U.S. Marine mission called Operation Genoa, wherein chemical weapons were allegedly used. Last week, we finally saw the cardinal sin that poisoned the well, main-chance-pursuing producer Jerry Dantana’s selective editing of a key interview to gird the story, but Episode 7 finally revealed what the these debriefings framing this season have been all about. Throw to Don: “A producer […]

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The Newsroom Season 2 episode 16 recap: One Step Too Many

Halfway through Season 2 of HBO’s The Newsroom, we’ve been treated to glimpses of something resembling a season-long arc pegged to the botched investigation into a potential war crime stemming from American troops’ use of sarin gas in the Afghanistan theater. It at least promised to keep us on the rails of a story, but then creator Aaron Sorkin continued to project his ADD and apparently crippling romantic issues into a raft of B-stories, as if the show were the sitcom it might be had it been conceived better, but isn’t. Episode 6, however, kicked off binding up the relevant […]

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The Newsroom recap: News Night with Will McAvoy

Episode five of this season’s The Newsroom proved to be a low-key affair, diverging from Season 2’s framing device of the investigation into the actual investigation of Operation Genoa for a real-time, slice-of-life look at the goings on at Atlantis Cable News during one broadcast – little of it seemingly relevant to creator Aaron Sorkin’s marginal attempts to create a linear story this season. Things have jumped ahead in time in the Newsroom continuum, to 2012. Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) is back in the swing at ACN’s New York office; Maggie (Alison Pill) is back from Africa after being horribly […]

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Drama

The Newsroom Season 2 Episode 4 recap: “Unintended Consequences”

If you’ll remember last week on HBO’s The Newsroom, tumblers clicked on the initially tenuous but potentially big investigation into Operation Genoa, revealed to be the alleged use by the U.S. military of banned sarin gas during a cross-border mission in Pakistan; cops were cavalierly beating the hell out of a nascent rising of anticorporate leftists called Occupy Wall Street; and, as importantly, crazy News Night associate producer and ostensible staff darling Maggie (Alison Pill) was going crazier after breaking up with both Don and Jim (John Gallagher Jr.). No matter that, in the latter case, she and Jim were […]

The Newsroom
Drama

The Newsroom Season 2 Episode 3 recap: Willie Pete

The Newsroom season 2 episode 3 kicked off creeping stealthily toward a rabbit hole of creator Aaron Sorkin’s favorite hobby, flagellant landmines-of-misunderstanding-ravaged love. In case you missed the half of last season wholly devoted to that hobby, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), News Night anchor, left a voicemail for his executive producer and ex Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) after the big we-got-Bin Laden broadcast, when he went on-air stoned and she talked him through it – but left it for the wrong person, gossip-chanteuse Nina Howard. Now, Will and Mackenzie tussle playfully over what might have he might’ve said after, “I’m […]

Drama

The Newsroom Recap Episode 12: The Genoa Tip

On this week’s The Newsroom recap: Don (Thomas Sadoski), producer of Atlantis Cable News’s 10 o’clock hour, is getting a bit manic. Last episode he dumped Maggie (Alison Pill), insane producer of News Night, because, in spite of their cohabitation, he found out she was hung up on fellow producer Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) because they were both plucky socially-addled joy-allergic go-getters. Good riddance, right? Except Don’s humbling and heartache is seeing him morph from cynical de rigueur bad-TV-news-guy into a guy maybe in search of his soul, the energy of which he channeled into the heart-breaking case of Troy […]