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[VIDEO] Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity: Who Will Win? 

Forget the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys: the stars are all out for the Hollywood Awards. But who will take home the prize for Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity?

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Written and produced by Austin Bragg. Performed by Andrew Heaton and Austin Bragg

 

 

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[VIDEO] Dick Van Dyke Show: ‘Why Am I Standing Here Talking To Myself?’

“Talking to Myself”: A segment from The Dick Van Dyke Show, Season 3, Episode 29, 1964, “Dear Mrs. Petrie, Your Husband Is in Jail“, displaying Dick Van Dyke‘s talent for solo comedic acting. Who needs dialogue? Who needs other actors, when you can get laughs by talking to yourself? A classic moment from TV sitcom history. Directed by Jerry Paris, writing credits: Jerry Belson, Garry Marshal, Carl Reiner….(more)

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John Stossel to Leave Fox Business


Mediate reports that “John Stossel will step down from hosting his weekly Fox Business program, Stossel, this month.” Separately, Stossel announced on Facebook that the special he is airing on Friday, 12/16 will be his last show on Fox Business.

Mediate adds, however, that Stossel will “be working with ReasonTV to start up a libertarian-themed internet platform. He’ll also serve as an educator with the Charles Koch Institute’s new Creative Fellows Program.” Stossel has been a prolific libertarian documentary filmmaker, and a few of his documentaries were reviewed over the years at MissLiberty.com. Many Stossel clips can be found on YouTube.

An entire educational program, “Stossel in the Classroom,” has been built around Stossel’s work and is available to teachers on a complimentary basis. Read the rest of this entry »


The Cult of Clinton: That’s How it Crumbles, Cookie-Wise

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Brendan O’Neill continues:

…By the Cult of Hillary Clinton, I don’t mean the nearly 62 million Americans who voted for her. I have not one doubt that they are as mixed and normal a bag of people as the Trumpites are. No, I mean the Hillary machine—the celebs and activists and hacks who were so devoted to getting her elected and who have spent the past week sobbing and moaning over her loss. These people exhibit cult-like behavior far more than any Trump cheerer I’ve come across.

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“Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself…Hillary is Athena,” Heffernan continued, adding that “Hillary did everything right in this campaign… She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”

— Virginia Heffernan

Trump supporters view their man as a leader “fused with the idea of the nation”? Perhaps some do, but at least they don’t see him as “light itself.” That’s how Clinton was described in the subhead of a piece for Lena Dunham‘s Lenny Letter. “Maybe [Clinton] is more than a president,” gushed writer Virginia Heffernan. “Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself,” Nothing this nutty has been said by any of Trump’s media fanboys.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters after meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Hillary is Athena,” Heffernan continued, adding that “Hillary did everything right in this campaign… She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”

[Read the full story here, at Reason.com]

That’s a key cry of the Cult of Hillary (as it is among followers of L. Ron Hubbard or devotees of Christ): our gal is beyond criticism, beyond the sober and technical analysis of mere humans. Michael Moore, in his movie Trumpland, looked out at his audience and, with voice breaking, said: “Maybe Hillary could be our Pope Francis.”

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Or consider Kate McKinnon‘s post-election opening bit on SNL, in which she played Clinton as a pantsuited angel at a piano singing Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah,” her voice almost cracking as she sang: “I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jerry Lewis on ‘The Day The Clown Cried’: The Legendary Comic Speaks Out

On his career, Trump, MDA, and the film that got away.

Raymond Arroyo writes:

…As writer and director of his own films, Lewis is responsible for some of the greatest slapstick gags in history. Just watch The Nutty Professor,” “The Bellboy,” “The Errand Boy,” “Cinderfella” or “The Ladies Man,” and his particular comic genius is evident. In Europe, he has been named Best Director of the Year eight times since 1960.

He created Video Assist, a technology that allowed him to watch his on-screen performances, instantly, before the film was developed. Video Assist is still used by nearly every film and TV director to this day.

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One Lewis project has been shrouded in mystery for decades: “The Day the Clown Cried.” It’s a World War II drama concerning a clown in Auschwitz. The film was mired in legal troubles, and Lewis has never allowed it to be seen.

Now, in an exclusive interview, he tells me why he has kept the film under wraps for so long.

Here’s a clip:

“That’s the problem, there was no artistry,” Lewis said. “The work was bad.”

[Read the full story here, at LifeZette]

This is just one of the many revelations he shared with me during a hilarious and moving interview that will air Thursday on “The World Over” on EWTN.

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 Lewis will be 90 in March. As he closes in on that milestone, I caught up with the legendary performer at his home in Las Vegas for an hour-long conversation touching on everything from his breakup with Martin to the real reason he led the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon for nearly 50 years.

Read the rest of this entry »


Who Cares if Jack Ma Buys a Tiny, Dwindling Newspaper in Hong Kong? 

With the South China Morning Post, Jack Ma’s personal politics will move into a global spotlight, for anyone to see and read in English.

Josh Horowitz writes: After lengthy negotiations, Alibaba founder Jack Ma may be close to an investmentin the publisher of the South China Morning Post, according to reports in Bloomberg, the New York Times, and Caixin.

Neither party has commented publicly about a deal, and it is unclear whether Ma would buy all or some of the SCMP Group. He already has a media empire that rivals Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and has invested in two US-based social media apps—Tango and Snapchat. But the maybe-pending SCMP bid has already attracted nearly as much attention as any of those done deals.

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That’s because with the SCMP, Ma’s personal politics will move into a global spotlight, for anyone to see and read in English.

The SCMP was once the English-language paper of record for reporting on China. Founded in 1903 as the “printing house for the Chinese revolution,” it covered far more than just Hong Kong. Throughout the fifties and sixties, it was often the first source for information about the famines and political clashes of the Mao era. After the country opened up, its multi-national staff would regularly break stories about political scandals and human rights abuses on the mainland, even after Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.

[Read the full story here, at Quartz]

Its reporting was rewarded financially. In 1997 it earned HK$805 million (over $200 million) in net profits, about $420 in profit per-reader. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Norman Lear: Donald Trump is America’s ‘Middle Finger’ to Establishment 

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Daniel Nussbaum writes:

…In an interview with Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood blog, Lear told Wolf that it was “interesting” that she compared Trump to his character Archie Bunker from the hit 70s TV show All in the Family….

“I want to believe that the American people are holding up Donald Trump as they might their middle finger and they’re giving the middle finger to the establishment, to all of us – left and right – because they are badly served by the establishment…”

“At least he’s shaken up the conversation. He’s made everybody stop talking and stop accepting the idea that they can talk in these canned messages, yes?” Wolf pressed.

“…We are a culture of excess. That’s our biggest product: excess. In everything. He is excessively assholian. I think the American people understand that and this is their way of saying, ‘This is how you’re taking care of us? You leaders? Take this.’ Then they give us Donald Trump.”

—  Television producer Norman Lear

…At the Television Critics Association press tour in August, the 93-year-old creator of hit shows like The Jeffersons and Good Times told reporters that he thinks of himself as a “bleeding-heart conservative,” despite decades of advocacy for progressive causes. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mad Men’: Jon Hamm Finally Wins Emmy

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Alyssa Norwin reports: Jon Hamm finally had his big Emmy Awards moment! The 44-year-old won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series510hcQ7ZJVL._SL250_, making it his first win at the show. And it was perfect timing, too, as this was Mad Men‘s last year of nomination eligibility since its series finale aired on May 17!

[Order Mad Men: The Final Season, Part 2 [DVD + Digital] from Amazon.com]

It’s about time!! Jon was so excited when it was announced he finally won an Emmy, that he didn’t even take the time to walk the long way up to the stage, and instead, opted to hop right on up from the front. But all jokes were cast aside when he got to the microphone, and emotionally and graciously accepted the honor, praising his fellow nominees in the process.

Jon has been nominated for this award every year since 2008, but has never taken home the trophy…until now! Read the rest of this entry »


Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2015: Louis C.K. wins Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series

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Louis C.K. wins Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series for

Source: Deadline’s Live Blog


TV Is Not the New Film, But It’s OK That Festivals Are Blurring the Lines

HEROES REBORN -- "Awakening" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Kiki Sukezane as Miko Otomo -- (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/NBC)

With Toronto the latest sprocket opera to add episodic programming to its lineup, our critics revisit the old film-vs.-TV debate.

PETER DEBRUGE: Looks like Toronto is the latest film festival to add a television section to its lineup. These days, everywhere from Sundance to SXSW to the Canadian “festival of festivals,” smallscreen content is getting a big push, which is intriguing — and even ironic — for all sorts of reasons (ironic because the state of distribution being what it is, many of the films in Toronto will end up trickling down to VOD, rather than ever getting a commercial theatrical run). On one hand, the trend isn’t exactly new: Classy longform features like “Carlos” (which premiered at Cannes in 2010), “Top of the Lake” (Sundance 2013) and “Olive Kitteridge” (Venice 2014) made their bows at top-tier film fests before going on to air as miniseries on Canal Plus, BBC Two and HBO, respectively.

“There are many, after all, who have argued that the traditional line separating TV and cinema has ceased to exist for some time now, and that the ongoing creative renaissance in television largely puts all but the very best new movies to shame.” 

But Toronto’s Primetime program — like SXSW’s Episodics, which launched last year — represents something different: Rather than expanding the definition of “film” to include projects that were “made for TV” (such as Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic, “Behind the Candelabra”), festivals are carving out dedicated sidebars to celebrate this competing medium. Since its invention, television has been luring eyes away from the cinema. And now, at Toronto, audiences can go watch an episodic series pilot on the bigscreen, after which they’ll have to patiently wait until the series arrives on TV to see what happens next.

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

JUSTIN CHANG: As someone who makes too little time for television even outside the film-festival circuit, I confess that the addition of Toronto’s Primetime slate (which, full disclosure, was curated by our mutual friend Michael Lerman) will have little bearing on my schedule this September — or yours, Peter, given that our assignment in Toronto will be to see and review as much in the way of new cinema as we possibly can.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Art of the Main Title: ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Patrick Clair of Elastic (www.elastic.tv) has created some of the most startling credit sequences in recent years, including both seasons of “True Detective” (HBO) and 2015 Emmy nominees “Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC) and “Daredevil” (Netflix). Clair explains the thinking behind his work and why a great title sequence ­­ long or short ­­ can still be a vital part of TV storytelling.

[Variety]


[VIDEO] Jimmy Kimmel Show: Jon Hamm Suggests Alternate Mad Men Ending

As Jon Hamm explained to Jimmy Kimmel last night, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner had been thinking about ending the show with that iconic Coca-Cola commercial for years before the company cleared the way for him to use it. If things had gone a different way, the ending might have had a slightly different impact…(read more)

Mediaite

BONUS CLIP: Lizzy Caplan reveals why she’s “better” than her friend, actor Jon Hamm. Jon then decides to join Lizzy on our stage and plead his case.


Eric Thurm: Mad Men Is Back—And With it, the End of Great Navel-Gazing TV Dramas

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Eric Thurm writes: TV is an odd mishmash of a medium. It shares enough qualities with film that we can use the word “cinematic” as a blanket compliment, yet its traditional broadcast model more closely resembles radio. In fact, with the advent of original programming from online-only platforms, it’s increasingly difficult to tell what, exactly, TV is.

“At its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s ‘Difficult Men’ and Alan Sepinwall’s ‘The Revolution was Televised’.”

Maybe that’s why, dating back to  The Mary Tyler Moore Show, TV is so often about itself. There’s a long history of scripted TV that’s about making TV. Yet, for all the literal Difficult-Menexamples of it—Sports Night, 30 Rock—Mad Men, which returns for its final seven episodes on Sunday, is the most self-reflexive series of them all.

[Order Brett Martin’s book “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad from Amazon.com]

Mad Men‘s ad firm Sterling Cooper & Partners (né Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, né the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency) is itself a representation of the process of making television. The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products. Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.

And the show’s behind-the-scenes dynamics become manifest in its characters. Critic Todd VanDerWerff has described episodes as “fan fiction Matt Weiner is writing about his own writers’ room,” something that’s especially apparent in the relationship between Don Draper and his protege-turned-peer, Peggy Olson.

“The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products.”

Their tempestuous creative partnership prompts fights over the ownership of everything from ad campaigns to each other’s careers, culminating in the infamous “That’s what the money is for!” scene from “The Suitcase”—an episode in which they argue over what you can and cannot do on TV.

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In later seasons of the show, even that layer of metaphor has fallen away; the show has become much more explicit in enacting its own struggle to surpass the limitations of TV storytelling. In particular, the merger between Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and onetime rival agency Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough is a self-conscious solution to the problem of keeping Peggy on the show once she had naturally grown past the point of needing Don as a mentor and professional champion.

“Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.”

Don and Betty may have gotten divorced, but their relationship is effectively unchanged from what it was in Season 1—because to send her offstage is to deny Don his true moral foil. Will any of these characters ever change?

[Read the full text here, at WIRED]

Maybe not, but they’ll certainly keep trying, and stay painfully aware of their failures. Matthew Weiner and his staff threaten change, but it’s never real; they’re just daring us to confront what would happen if the status quo ever seriously shifted. And it’s all so artfully done that Mad Men more than justifies the level of Talmudic recap coverage it has historically received.

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“Indeed, many of today’s prestige shows feel like the creative efforts of people who watched ‘Mad Men’, ‘The Sopranos’, and ‘Breaking Bad’ and then tried to replicate them without understanding what actually made them so good.”

But at its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s Difficult Men and Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution was Televised. The Difficult Men narrative of “visionary” showrunners provides a picture of what Good TV is supposed to look like, and how it’s supposed to be made: by exacting geniuses like Don Draper. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of ‘Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men’ at the Museum of the Moving Image

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Marc Myers writes: When “Mad Men” returns to AMC on Sunday with the first of its final seven episodes, viewers will be wondering how ad-agency executive Don Draper ends the series—emotionally awakened or drifting down from his office window, as hinted by a falling silhouette in the show’s opening credits. For fans of the series’ 1960s wardrobe and sets, the more pressing question is how the show’s fashion and furnishings will evolve as its timeline inches past the moon landing and enters the shaggy, burnt-orange decay of 1970.

“Through the lens of series creator, producer and writer Matthew Weiner, the adult world of the 1960s is much more jaded and complex than the rosy, adolescent one recalled by many baby boomers who grew up then.”

The runaway popularity of “Mad Men” owes much to its dark story lines of personal demons, office power struggles and noirish character interactions with historical events. But from the start, in 2007, the series’ appeal has also been rooted in its richly detailed look that transports viewers back to an age of sleek office furniture, space-age design, meticulous grooming and colorful clothes. All are represented in “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” at the Museum of the Moving Image, an exhibit that celebrates both the show’s vision and visuals.

“The show is not a history lesson or intellectual exploration. It is entertainment based on tension, irony and storytelling that is closely related to today’s life.”

— Matthew Weiner, summarizing the show’s guiding principle

Through the lens of series creator, producer and writer Matthew Weiner, the adult world of the 1960s is much more jaded and complex than the rosy, adolescent one recalled by many baby boomers who grew up then. As the decade unfolds beginning in 1960, the show’s characters find themselves caught in a cultural riptide, with rock, civil rights and feminism changing the balance of power faster than they can adapt. Many turn to alcohol, drugs and serial affairs to ease the stress and hold on to the world they once knew.

(AP Photo/AMC Frank Ockenfels)

Staged in a winding series of rooms, the new exhibit sheds light on how ”Mad Men” was developed by Mr. Weiner and his writers and designers. The exhibit begins with a glass case of books that most influenced Mr. Weiner’s approach, including Helen Gurley Brown’s “Sex and the Single Girl,” the “Journals of John Cheever” and David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising.” The book display is followed by a full-blown re-creation of the room used by the “Mad Men” writing team, complete with their 1960s Danish modern teak conference table, 10 black leather executive chairs, and character-development cards on a wall board. Read the rest of this entry »


Louis C.K. Confesses: He Really Did Steal the Scales from His Jr. High School Lab in Massachusetts Many Years Ago

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 writes: Louis C.K. made a big confession on Sunday: He really did steal the scales from his junior high school in Massachusetts many years ago.

The situation became fodder for a flashback storyline in an episode of FX’sLouie” last year. C.K. told reporters at the Television Critics Assn. press tour that he had always felt bad about the incident because one of his teachers defended him at the time when he denied stealing the science-lab scales.

“This season is more laugh-centric funny than season four…I had a very playful and goofy feeing going into this season.”

And just as it played out in the episode, the school’s principal knew he did it but left him off the hook.

“I sold them for drugs,” he said. “I’d been sitting on this story a long time.” To compound his guilt, the teacher who defended him emailed him recently to say how proud she was of his success. He confessed to her in his response and got an “I’m disappointed in you” reply.

“She was a great teacher,” C.K. said. “I had every advantage when I was a kid. I grew up in Newton, Mass. a nice town. I just got high — my working single mother, I f—– her life up. I was a terrible kid.”

C.K. said that the upcoming fifth season would likely be lighter and funnier than season four, which many critics noted took a darker, more serious turn. Read the rest of this entry »


Full Plate: Anthony Bourdain

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The chef-turned-television host on the world’s cuisine, the ‘absurd’ foodie culture and why he has left restaurants behind

editor-commen-deskIf you’ve read “Kitchen Confidential“, you’ll know you can’t think of restaurant food quite the same way. Bourdain’s hipster wise-ass writing style is actually funnier and more memorable than his tv travel show narration style, I think, but the sensibility is the same. Best night to eat out, according to Anthony? Tuesday, his book says. I dined once at Le Halles in New York, where he was (and perhaps still is) executive chef, and even though it wasn’t a Tuesday, the food was great. The book that made Anthony Bourdain a household name remains a favorite of mine, I’ve probably given away more than one copy. Here’s at taste of this weekend’s Wall Street Journal profile of Bourdain, go here to read the whole thing.

“Are you here to see the chef?” whispers a waiter at Sant Ambroeus restaurant in Southampton, N.Y. He’s not referring to the restaurant’s actual chef but to chef-turned-television host Anthony Bourdain, kitchen-confidentialwho is sitting outside on the patio.

[Check out Anthony’s book Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly at Amazon]

Although Mr. Bourdain now focuses his career on showcasing world cuisine rather than creating his own dishes, to the waiters and busboys eagerly refilling his coffee cup, at least, he’s still “Chef.”

“Bourdain once described Vladimir Putin’s face as being as taut as a Real Housewife’s.”

He earned his title: He spent nearly 30 years as a cook and a chef before writing his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000. That led to a series of television shows. His current show, “Parts Unknown” on CNN, which has won three Emmy Awards, provides a look at the culture and cuisine of different cities world-wide; its fourth season begins on Sept. 28. (Watch a promo for “Parts Unknown: Russia.”)

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He still remembers his days in the kitchen well. “Most of my life I’ve been a pretty pessimistic guy, and I’ve had a pretty dark view of human nature,” he says, referring to how he used to see the world from the kitchen. It’s taken touring around the globe to turn him into a reluctant optimist.

“I assumed humans were basically bad people and if you stumbled…you would be devoured. I don’t believe that anymore.”

He likes going to controversial locales, and he doesn’t hesitate to criticize world leaders, if only in jest. (Mr. Bourdain once described Vladimir Putin‘s face as being as taut as a Real Housewife’s.) He hopes that his shows offer a new perspective on foreign locations. Read the rest of this entry »


Design: Mad Men’s Timeless Style


WHOOSH: Netflix Blasts Past 40 Million Global Subscribers in Third Quarter

Felipe Caicedo/ Getty Images

Felipe Caicedo/ Getty Images

Andrew Wallenstein reports: Netflix added 1.29 million subscribers in the three months ending in September, according to the third-quarter earnings report issued Monday.

Netflix stock soared  in after-hours trading approximately 10% on news of the growth. In a move that could also be significant for Netflix’s stock, the streaming service also announced that it would accelerate its schedule of spending on original programming.

That brings Netflix’s domestic streaming audience to 31.9 million. Together with the addition of 1.44 million international subs, that brings Netflix’s global sub base to over 40 million. Read the rest of this entry »


VIDEO: Heisenberg responds to Jeff Daniels’ Emmy win

via PopWatch


Mad Men creator: Don’t hate Don Draper

‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner says his central character, who is becoming maddening to some fans, is not the devil

By Martin Miller, Los Angeles Times

If nothing else, AMC‘s “Mad Men” has been the deliberate and artful chronicle of the psychological undressing of the secretive Don Draper. In its current season, the drama laid the character even more bare when he was caught with another woman — and with his pants down — by his 14-year-old daughter.

The excruciating moment, a culmination of self-imposed humiliations in a season awash in shame for the Emmy Award-winning show’s central character, prompted a fresh round of howling at the depraved depths of its charismatic antihero. He’s a terrible father. He’s a monster. He’s the devil.

But Don Draper is none of those things, counters the show’s creator Matthew Weiner, who after Sunday’s season finale will only have 13 episodes left to tell the troubled ad executive’s tale. Don, he says, is 1968.

“People expect Don to be out of touch, but given society’s identity crisis in 1968, he’s never been more in touch,” said Weiner, who spent much of this season exploring the tumult of one of the nation’s most painful and divisive years. “It’s like the entire world is in a state that Don is in all the time — the id has overtaken the culture.”

It was a state some critics found wearisome this season, particularly when it came to Draper. While there were new examples of his morally reprehensible behavior, the most common complaint among many of the show’s devoted legions of episode recappers and social media commentators was they’d had enough. The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum wrote midseason that “Don, instead of being the show’s engine, has become its anchor — heavy, even in the sixties sense.”

In an interview at his Los Angeles Center Studios office earlier this week, Weiner talked about his penultimate season and the critical reaction to it, as well as elaborating on some of the key narrative developments. The 47-year-old show runner, famously guarded about revealing plot details, also hinted at what might lie ahead for his leading man.

Read the rest of this entry »