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The X-Files gets good, Gilmore Girls is official, and Downton Abbey's "red wedding."

Tuesday February 2nd 2015

The Watercooler

“Mulder, the Internet is not good for you.” -Scully

Morgan’s first contact with the series was as a performer: He played the Flukeman in season two’s “The Host,” then got a story credit for consulting on the next episode, “Blood.” He only wrote a handful of scripts, but his work deepened and embellished creator Chris Carter’s themes and characters even as it stood apart from the show as a whole. “What I loved about his scripts,” Duchovny once said, “was that he seemed to be trying to destroy the show.”” I was always more of a fan of the monster of the week episodes of The X-Files, and as it turns out, my favorites from that category were all written by Darin Morgan, who wrote and directed this week’s episode.

The A.V. Club gave the third episode an A.

This episode was full of references to previous outings, from Moby Dick to porta potties, to immortality and Mulder’s red speedo.

Vulture talked to Rhys Darby about playing a monster, and managed to get a Flight Of the Conchords question in as well.

Since this was a monster of the week episode, how about a list of the 14 most ridiculous things ever investigated on the show?

“We’ve exclaimed a lot of things watching this show over the years but we don’t think we’ve ever shouted “OH MY GOD!!” in unison, louder than we did when Robert stood up and an alien burst out of his chest. We briefly entertained glorious fantasies of a xenomorph slowly picking off members of the family one by one in the flickering lamplight of the devastated estate until Lady Mary is forced to face off against it with a flamethrower, but it turned out, once our initial shock wore off, that Robert was just being a big drama queen about his ulcer.” Tom and Lorenzo just pitched an Alien version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I'd consider watching that. Imagine how spooky the servants hall could be. Anyway, Downton Abbey managed to shock viewers once again this week and people are kind of freaking out.

“One does not expect to see a man in a tuxedo at a lavishly set dining-room table suddenly vomit blood all over the place. But that's what we got during this week's episode, Quentin Tarantino Presents: Downton Abbey, The Ulcer Burst.” More thoughts from Vulture about the dinner scene, which has been described for months as Downton’s own Red wedding scene and Decider has the GIFs.

The A.V. Club gave this week’s outing an A-, which broke the show’s recent streak of B’s.

“When this happened, I quite sincerely squeaked, "OH EDITH!" and clapped and sort of bounced up and down in my chair. I have never been more delighted to see two people kissing in a beautiful apartment. GOOD ON YOU EDITH.” Go Fug Yourself has lots of photos of all the outfits, some praise for Edith’s life choices but mostly a lot of photos of Matthew Goode drinking a beer.

I say this multiple times a year, but it’s still weird to see everyone from this show out of their costumes and all glammed up. The show won best Ensemble in a drama again at the SAG Awards


The Business

I guess this wasn’t “officially confirmed” before, which seems weird that it happened the same day as the first table read, but Netflix’s Gilmore Girls is officially happening.

I finally care about the Super Bowl! Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will be doing their own commentary for the game, in character obviously, for Squarespace.

The Arrangement, E!’s newest scripted series is so clearly about Tom Cruise’s dating history.

Dick Wolf basically just owns NBC at this point, as his contract has just been renewed for four more years. Thank god we won’t run out of Law and Orders and Chicago set shows about first responders.

House of Cards has been renewed for a 5th season, but creator and show runner Beau Willimon will be leaving before then. No word yet on who will be the new showrunner.

Amazon is making a series of specials around the American Girl Dolls, and it might lead to a series as well. Good news for lots of 6 year-olds.

Casting: Mulholland Drive's Naomi Watts has reportedly joined Showtime’s Twin PeaksJoel Kinnaman has joined House of Cards in a mystery role. Archie Panjabi has joined The Jury, a pilot at ABC about a single trial. Panjabi will be the main character. Annaleigh Ashford has been cast as Columbia in FOX’s Rocky Horror Picture Show, and so far I really approve of all the casting for this one. Grace Gummer, another of Meryl Streep’s daughters, will play an FBI agent on Mr. Robot. She’s listed as a series regular, so it seems like an investigation is one of the main plot lines. Daniel Zovatto has joined the cast of Fear The Walking Dead.

Finding Carter, which had a pretty solid first season, and then decided to go off the rails for season two, won’t be back for a third season.

There are rumors the next season of American Horror Story might be about Slender Man, or possibly just something old school like the antichrist.

Pilot News: The CW has officially ordered a pilot for Riverdale, the Archie Comics show from Greg Berlanti that's supposed to be a darker take on the comics. ABC has picked up a pilot called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport which wins for this season’s most memorable title. ABC also picked up pilots from Kevin Williamson, Reese Witherspoon and Agent Carter's Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters. The Training Day pilot is happening at CBS, with Jerry Bruckheimer as executive producer.

CBS ordered The Kicker, a comedy about an athlete who gets cut from a football team and then drives his family and friends nuts. This doesn’t sound overly promising until you hear it’s from Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and Jack Burditt.


People Talking About TV

“That's something we don't get a tremendous amount of on television. It's part of SNL's lifeblood, certainly, and NBC's Undateable is trying to harness this exact energy by broadcasting live. But live TV is so rare that even shows with "live" in their title — for example Jimmy Kimmel Live — are not live, and no one expects them to be. The live portions of reality-contest shows like American Idol are so canned and predictable that maybe once every five years do they produce an authentically affecting human moment. Grease: Live wasn't there to make us cry or take us on a journey or anything grandiose, but it did elicit a sensation of wow. That's a feat.” So Grease: Live was a success for FOX, and not just in the ratingsThe A.V. Club gave it a B+ and Vulture has the highs and the lows.

“On this week’s episode of Top Chef, the surprise judge was, surprisingly, Instagram. The show challenged its contestants—cheftestants, in Bravo parlance—to create dishes, using an array of junk foods (Oreos, Easy Cheese), that would be worthy of being photographed. Winning the challenge didn’t require a dish to be tasty or innovative or displaying of technical skill; it required only the creation of a pretty-looking plate.” Top Chef’s guest judge this week was Instagram, so now even more people are going to feel justified when they take photos of their dinner.

“MAL: I see no difference between this planet and any other. SIMON: Jesus, Mal, this is where Reavers came fr – MAL: Explain to me how the strangulation of men’s respiratory systems through Paxilon is any different from the strangulation of men’s ideas through government regulation. SIMON: I… MAL: If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness; which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights; which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism. All I’m saying, is that under true capitalism, this never would have happened.” The Toast’s Ayn Rand version of Firefly is alarmingly accurate.


What To Watch

I never thought a show from Ryan Murphy, and one about something that was already kind of a disaster, would get such positive reviews, but that is what is happening with American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Vox says it’s the best new show of the winterThe A.V. Club gave it an A- and The New York Times called it “thoroughly entertaining” Here’s more positive reviews from Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Vulture and Hit Fix. This one has been on my list for a while, even if originally it was there just because of the AMAZING WIGS.

Tomorrow night’s episode of iZombie has Kristen Bell as the guest star, for all of you Veronica Mars fans.

UnREAL season 1 arrives on Hulu tomorrow, so now is your chance to catch up on one of the biggest surprises of 2015.

Vulture has the details on Ottepel (The Thaw), Russia’s answer to Mad Men. This one is going on my list.

This week’s episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, which is a show I always enjoy, even though the Acura ads are annoying, has Will Ferrell as the guest.

Decider has the details on PBS’s Mercy Street, and how/where you can watch the episodes that have already aired.

If you miss seeing Louis C.K. on screen, then the news that he and a bunch of friends, including Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange and Steven Wright, made a surprise web series called Horace and Pete might make your day.

Things I watched this weekend: Outsiders, and based on the ratings, I wasn’t the only one. The Magicians, which despite my previous protests about the changes from the books, and Syfy’s weird insistence on levitating sexy times, I really enjoyed. I've also been watching up on Portlandia, which continues to make me laugh at my neighbors, even though I don't live in Portland.

Vox has some top picks for what’s new on all the various streaming services this month. And here’s everything new on Netflix this month, from The Returned to Mad Men. Hulu has a bunch of good stuff arriving this month. Vulture has everything that’s coming to HBO this month, (and oh hello, Magic Mike XXL) including Vinyl. There’s also a bunch of new stuff on Acorn, the home of excellent costumes dramas and accents.


Odds and Ends

I linked to the all dolled up cast of Downton Abbey at the SAG Awards above, but the cast of Game Of Thrones and Orange Is the New Black also clean up good.

This infographic should be enough proof for why no one on The Walking Dead should ever think of messing with Carol.

It’s not just you, there were indeed Breaking Bad easter eggs all over Better Call Saul.

Here’s your random celebrity pairing (that I totally approve of) of the week - Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez and Ben Schwartz, AKA Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec.

Trailers: Archer doesn’t believe in releasing a boring teaser trailer, so they made a shot-for-shot remake of the opening credits of Magnum P.I. I’be be totally OK with them just working off that for a whole season. Netflix’s The Characters gave one episode to a different comic, which should be interesting. Here’s the trailer for Money & Violence,

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