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'The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman talks about last night's 'Guts'-y episode

the-walking-deadLast night, AMC broadcast the second episode of The Walking Dead, its adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s still ongoing zombie comic book saga. Would executive producer and show creator Frank Darabont maintain the jaw-dropping level of carnage featured in the pilot, which opened with Andrew Lincoln’s sheriff hero Rick Grimes shooting a cute zombified girl in the head (and which scored record-breaking ratings for AMC)?

The answer was a definite “Yes-and-then-some!” as the appropriately titled Guts found Grimes and his new buddy Glenn (Steven Yeun) attempting to blend in with the undead hordes of Atlanta by covering themselves with blood, viscera, and even a severed foot. (Between this show and the just released 127 Hours, I can only assume it must have been National Detached Extremities Weekend. My, it seems to come earlier every year!) The second episode also introduced a number of characters including the racist Merle Dixon, played by Michael Rooker of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer infamy.

After the jump, Kirkman—who in addition to creating the original comic, is one of the show’s writers and executive producers—ruminates on the episode, talks post-apocalyptic sex, and admits that the severed foot may possibly have been… a step too far! (Warning: The post does contain an image of an extremely gore-covered Grimes.)

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'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Is Cad Bane the coolest character? C-3PO?

clone-wars-evil-planImage Credit: TM 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ third season keeps taking us to some pretty unexpected places. I, for one, never imagined that an episode would hinge upon Anakin and Padmé’s party-planning skills. But that’s what “Evil Plans” offered up. Don’t worry, it was a lot cooler than that description would  make out. Actually, “Evil Plans” worked for me because of three key factors—it saw the return of Cad Bane, it beautifully realized the “used future” concept of the original film, and it centered around C-3PO and R2-D2, the Laurel & Hardy of that Galaxy Far, Far Away. That C-3PO finally had his moment to shine—and believe me, he does shine with that gold plating—on The Clone Wars was particularly satisfying to me. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman answers our questions about last night's shocking pilot

Last night, AMC screened the pilot of new show The Walking Dead, in which Andrew Lincoln’s small town Georgia sheriff Rick Grimes desperately attempts to reunite with his family in a zombie apocalypse. The result was an epic start to this adaptation of Robert Kirkman‘s long-running comic—and an amazingly horrific display by TV standards.

How did pilot director Frank Darabont get away with featuring so much bloody mayhem? Will a knowledge of the original comic series help viewers guess which characters are going to live and which become undead chow? And was that really Jim Carrey cameo-ing as a zombie?

After the jump, Robert Kirkman—who is also one of the writers on the show and a Walking Dead executive producer—tackles these questions and more. Though, be warned, at times the conversation leans toward the gory and, if you haven’t yet seen the pilot, spoilery.

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'Night of the Living Dead': How a 42-year-old zombie movie refuses to die

walking-dead-night-of-the-living-deadImage Credit: AMCThere are people who believe zombies should only walk. And there are people who believe they can run around like steroid-injecting track stars. Then, there’s Frank Darabont, executive producer of the new AMC zombie show The Walking Dead, who believes both aforementioned groups are full of hooey. “Well, it depends on the zombie’s mood,” says the Shawshank Redemption director. “If they’ve recently fed, they’re a little less interested, a little more shutdown. Other times, they’re riled to a predatory state and can get a little faster.” So, they’re mostly walking — but sometimes they jog in the manner of an arthritic grandmother? “Yes, exactly,” laughs the filmmaker, who also directed the Walking Dead pilot, which debuts, appropriately, on Halloween. “This all goes back, by the way, to the original Night of the Living Dead. The Internet adherence to zombies never running clearly ignores the first 10 minutes of that movie. Because the first zombie you see is pretty spry. He’s obviously rather hungry and worked up.”

Darabont was in junior high when he first saw George A. Romero’s 1968 tale of bloodthirsty, reanimated corpses and the bickering band of still-breathing humans they besiege — a low budget black-and-white gore fest that invented the modern-day zombie horror genre. “I remember it vividly,” says Darabont. “It was 1974, and it came to one of the revival houses in L.A. My friends and I were very affected by it.” Darabont’s fellow Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd (Aliens, The Abyss) says that she first saw Night of the Living Dead “through my fingers. I’m pretty sure I had to leave the room quite a few times. I’m one of those people who is highly suggestible. I do tend to believe, after I’ve seen something, that zombies are about to exist and somehow they’re going to come find me first. I’ve had therapy for this. [Laughs] But I’ve seen it a number of times and it really holds up.”

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'Gossip Girl' exclusive clip: Blair gets attacked by [spoiler]!

Any Gossip Girl fan knows of Blair Waldorf’s fondness for Audrey Hepburn and her repeated Hepburn dreams. “It was in the books that she was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and there was also a part of the books that described how she was trying to live in the movie version of her life but things never quite lined up,” explains executive producer Stephanie Savage. “So we sort of combined those two elements to give her these signature dreams where she was trying to have these perfect Audrey Hepburn moments, but her subconscious always intruded.” Tonight’s dream includes a literal intruder in the form of a masked attacker, an homage to 1967′s Wait Until Dark. Savage says it’s an omen of bad things to come. “It’s kind of Blair’s sixth sense kicking in to warn her that something is afoot,” says Savage. “The last thing we saw Chuck do was make a call potentially summoning Jenny Humphrey to town. We always joked in the writer’s room of Blair’s sixth sense that she could literally, like, smell when Jenny Humphrey was back in Manhattan. We kind of used that heightened notion as a way of kicking off the episode.”Does this mean Little J is back for good? Says Savage, “I’d rather leave it open ended, but this is her re-introduction to Gossip Girl this season.”

And what else is in store for tonight’s GG? For one, a plethora of NYC-friendly cameos and locations. Says Savage, “In our episode, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are hosting a New York Observer event that Tim Gunn and Isaac Mizrahi, among others, are being honored at and they’re all there. We actually shot on the top of The Standard Hotel in The Boom Boom Room. We’re the first people who ever shot up there.”

Watch below for an exclusive look at tonight’s GG opening and for the show’s first-ever Hepburn-inspired dream sequence. READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Always in motion is the future

Star-Wars-Clone-WarsImage Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd. & TMNo disturbance in the Force here! After a couple of mildly disappointing episodes set on Mandalore, Star Wars: The Clone Wars got back on track with a brooding, mysterious installment last night. “Assassin” is the first ep this season to dive deeply into Star Wars’ underlying mythology, and, most impressively, it didn’t have to be a Skywalker-centric episode to have some Joseph Campbell-worthy heft.

Like Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, though, Ahsoka found herself having unsettling Force-fueled visions. And just like the future Darth Vader, visions of Padmé’s death, no less! READ FULL STORY

'No Ordinary Family' recap: Clear eyes, heavy hand(ed), can't lose?

no-ordinary-familyImage Credit: Michael Desmond/ABCIs it just me, or are any of you worried that No Ordinary Family wants to be the Grey’s Anatomy of superhero shows? (I’m filling in for Jeff Jensen this week, so you’ll have to settle for soapy medial drama references instead of comic-book ones.)

Think about it, though: In the halls of Seattle Grace, it seems like no medical case exists that doesn’t shed introspective light into the dark corners of the protagonist physicians’ minds. Similarly, last night’s “criminal of the week” story arc on No Ordinary Family was nothing more than an extended riff to drive home the Very Special Message to Jim that “family > work/hobbies/extracurricular crime-solving activities.” During Jim’s two conversations with the prime suspect, Tortured Vigilante Guy didn’t talk about his shooting crimes in Franklin Park, but rather, discussed his crimes of poor parenting against his late son:

* “One day you’re their hero, the next they want nothing to do with you.” (Get it? “Hero?” The subtlety didn’t slip past anyone, right?)
* “I lost him because I was so busy with work.”
* “I was his father, and I should’ve been there.”
* “I did it. I killed my son.” (Metaphorically, obvs.)
* “You love your kid so much, what the hell are you doing here with me?”

Cue lightbulb over Jim’s head: D’oh! I shouldn’t have canceled my Friday night camping trip with pint-sized, troubled, and curiously coiffed 14-year-old J.J.! (And then he wouldn’t have ended up at a boozy party for high school seniors!) READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Recap: Mandalore rots from the head down

star-wars-clone-warsImage Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd. & TMYou have to hand it to Star Wars: The Clone Wars for taking some major risks in its third season. First, the series hasn’t lately put the spotlight on icons from the movies like Anakin and Obi-Wan. Instead it’s devoted episodes to lesser known characters like Baron Papanoida, Senator Chuchi, Bail Organa, Shaak Ti, and Duchess Satine. The objective of the series now is clear: to show that the Star Wars galaxy encompasses many more stories beyond those related to the Skywalker clan. Second, with the exception of the season premiere episode, The Clone Wars hasn’t featured…well, much of the Clone Wars.

Last night’s episode, “The Academy,” followed up on “Corruption” with another story set on Mandalore. READ FULL STORY

'Life Unexpected' cast campaigns to save their own show: Does it make you want to watch?

Recent TV history is rife with passionate fan campaigns to save shows: Tabasco-for-Roswell, peanuts-for-Jericho, Subway-for-Chuck, etc. But in these Internet-fractured, dwindling-audience times, it’s increasingly become the producers and casts of the shows themselves who do whatever it takes to rally viewership. Joss Whedon crusaded to save Dollhouse before it even started; Lone Star creator Kyle Killen publicly (and, it seems, futilely) pleaded for viewers after the first episode tanked. Now the cast of The CW’s charming long-lost-kid-finds-birth-parents drama Life Unexpected is taking their underrated show’s fate into their own hands with a particularly intense flurry of efforts. They made their own posters (complete with little tear-off tags reminding viewers where and when the show airs. They created a funny, slightly salty “behind-the-scenes video” meant to go viral. (There’s nudity and unplanned pregnancy!) They made a Facebook page and a Twitter feed to talk directly to fans. Stars Kristoffer Polaha and Austin Basis stood on Wilshire Boulevard with “SAVE OUR SHOW” signs.

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TV Insiders podcast: EW experts weigh in on the 'Mad Men' finale, Florence Henderson sexing it up on 'DWTS', and a big 'Survivor' switcheroo

 

Image Credit: AMC; Adam Larkey/ABC; Monty Brinton/CBS

 

Could Sally Draper not be long for this world? If you’re looking for a big shock to come on Sunday’s Mad Men finale, perhaps little Sally holds the key. While the rest of us are wondering whether Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price can survive the loss of Lucky Strike, Michael Ausiello thinks that Sally’s recent depression could manifest itself in a horrific way. Hear his theory as he joins Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Jeff “Doc” Jensen, and yours truly for another exciting edition of the TV Insiders podcast. Also on the menu: READ FULL STORY

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