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'Rush' might be USA's darkest -- and most interesting -- show

At first glance, USA’s new show Rush looks like it takes Royal Pains‘ “doctor-for-hire” theme, adds Tom Ellis to the mix, and throws on a bad-boy label just for fun. But after last night’s premiere, it turns out that what you think you see with Rush is not at all what you get.

In the series’ pilot, viewers meet Dr. Will Rush in a less-than-flattering scenario. In other words, he’s doing cocaine with a young woman when she has a heart attack and he’s forced to shock her back to life and then take her to the nearest “club,” which looks a lot like an emergency room. Still high himself, Rush drops the woman off with his best friend, an ER doc, and then heads back to his life of doctoring on the run. Basically, Rush makes house calls for a living. He’s one of the best doctors around, but his skill isn’t his only draw. Rather, it’s his ability to be discreet that puts him in such high demand.

Rush is the guy you want to call if you’re a famous athlete and your girlfriend needs stitches after you’ve physically abused her, for instance. Or he’s the guy you want to call if you’re a famous movie producer who just broke his penis and you don’t want the paparazzi to catch you on the way to the hospital. Rush makes up his own fees on the spot—and they’re high—and asks for cash payments upfront.

But between Rush’s own drug addiction and some of the situations his “discreet” job gets him in, Rush is a much more sinister character than the charming bad boy the show originally portrayed him as. In the pilot alone, he agrees to help his drug dealer, which results in him having to operate on a gunshot victim in a warehouse with a gun to his own head. And as for Rush’s personal life, the woman he loves refuses to get back together with him because his work and his addiction make him someone she can’t count on. Rush might be successful, but the way he lives his life causes him to struggle with right and wrong on a daily basis. By the end of the pilot, he has to make a house call to once again help out one of his best clients, a famous athlete, after said athlete nearly beats his girlfriend to death. In that moment, Rush reaches a breaking point and takes a bat to the athlete, breaking his legs, hand, and more.

So do Rush’s actions make this show darker than typical USA programming? Not necessarily. USA is no stranger to violence (Graceland) or the rebel-type (Burn Notice). However, the darker side of USA shows tends to be just that—one side. For example, Royal Pains‘ Hank once had a problem with pill addiction, but it was a storyline that didn’t stick. Or there’s USA’s Suits, where the definition of “dark” typically involves Harvey and Mike playing dirty by getting personal in the work world. What sets Rush apart from other USA shows is that it is fundamentally dark—and that darkness is not simply one element of the show but intertwined into every element of the show.

For example, going into the rest of the season, Rush is without the woman he loves, he’s still dealing with his addictions, and he’s fallen into an accidental relationship with a group of gangsters. Although he might not look it on the posters, he’s an incredibly troubled character, not just a charming guy with a dark side. Sure, he still has a lighter side and a sense of humor that makes him fun to watch. But at his core, Rush is profoundly unhappy—a fact that makes him 10 times more fascinating than the guy viewers got a glimpse of in the trailer.

All in all, Rush’s chaotic and morally ambiguous lifestyle makes USA a more interesting place to be. Although Rush can’t quite be called an antihero, this show could be seen as USA’s attempt to join into the Walter White bandwagon. Rush is certainly not that extreme, but as the golden age of TV has shown us, people enjoy a complex (if not downright evil) protagonist, and if there’s one thing Rush is not, it’s a perfect hero.

I'm Still Not Over... Pete's death on 'Private Practice'

There are several ways a character can exit ShondaLand: They might simply pick a new path in life. They might move to Switzerland. Or more than likely, they’ll die. But when it comes to how they’ll die, the options are limitless. Rhimes has killed characters in plane crashes and hospital bombings. She’s shot people point blank between the eyes. She’s drawn out a character’s death to give them ample time to say goodbye. She’s shocked viewers by killing others in the blink of an eye (and with a bus, no less). So years ago, when word got out that Tim Daly was leaving Private Practice after the show’s fifth season, fans instantly started to gossip.

The first question: Will Pete be killed? It actually felt unlikely, considering that Pete ended season five having been arrested for murder after illegally unplugging a patient at the request of the patient’s partner. All signs more or less pointed to Pete either going to jail or going on the run indefinitely. And one of those theories wasn’t all that far off. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' spin-off starring Val Kilmer and Slash hits Kickstarter

With each season of Breaking Bad, the show’s fan base grew, right up until showrunner Vince Gilligan decided that Walter White’s story had come to end after five seasons. But not everyone agreed with Gilligan’s choice. And as far as industry newcomer Larry Shepherd is concerned—spoiler!—Walt’s presumed death is not the final chapter of the story. And that’s exactly why he has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his own Breaking Bad spin-off titled Anastasia.

On the Anastasia Kickstarter page, Shepherd describes his series as picking up directly after Walter White’s collapse in the Breaking Bad finale, when a mystery person appears and drags Walt out of the meth lab by his ankles. Anastasia will focus on two U.S. Marshals—played by obvious choices Val Kilmer and Slash—who try to answer three very important questions: Is Walter White alive? Where is he? And who dragged him away? READ FULL STORY

Gymnast becomes first woman to finish 'American Ninja Warrior' finals course

Anything you can do, Kacy Catanzaro can do better.

On this week’s episode of American Ninja Warrior, the show that pits some of the world’s best athletes against insane obstacle courses, gymnast Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the qualifying course. But she didn’t stop there. Catanzaro then became the first woman to complete the finals course, and she made it look easy.

The nearly 10-minute finals course included balancing obstacles, the salmon ladder—which Arrow fans knew a woman could complete—and the much-dreaded spider climb. But Catanzaro used her 5-foot frame to her advantage and landed herself a ticket to Las Vegas.

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Chris Harrison blogs 'The Bachelorette' episode 9

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And then there were two. This season the final two weeks of our travels took us to the Dominican Republic. This week, the overnight dates were spent in and around the beautiful Paradisus hotel. I had visited the Dominican Republic many years ago and was looking forward to getting back to see how much had changed over the years. Andi came into this week with a clear head and incredibly happy with the three men she has narrowed it down to. Letting go of Marcus last week was difficult, but these three relationships are definitely different than the rest. As I told Andi after hometowns, it’s really an embarrassment of riches. I felt like she had done a terrific job of narrowing it down to a bunch of great guys. After hometowns her job wasn’t as much to find out if these guys were sincere but more so trying to decide which lifestyle fit best. Which man could she really see forever with?

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'The Bachelorette' episode 9: 'I loved when you just hopped on my lap and went to town'

Okay, sure, the man who made the above statement to Andi was not—I repeat, not—talking about something that went down in the Fantasy Suite… but I needed a catchy headline. After all, this week’s “exotic” dates were pretty darn tame, even though Andi made the most shocking decision… EVER by sending one of the men home before even handing him the coveted date card. Stay tuned for my full recap later tonight, but if you’ve seen tonight’s episode and have thoughts (and I know you do) let me hear ‘em. Do you want the booted little-b bachelor to become the next capital-B Bachelor? Was the homemade, illustrated fairy tale book cute or creepy? And is eating dinner on the beach really all that romantic? If you ask me, sand and fine cuisine don’t mix. (Not that the folks on this show ever eat, but…)

 

PopWatch Planner: 'Housewives,' 'Hotwives,' Jack Bauer, and more

The summer’s starting to heat up, which means its time to retreat inside to air conditioning and some good TV. Luckily, there’s a lot to consume, with Jack Bauer facing a finale on 24, a new season of Real Housewives, and the arrival of a parody version, The Hotwives of Orlando. But if you want a little more adventure, venture out to theaters for some laughs with Sex Tape or some meditation on Wish I Was Here.

Here’s this week’s pop culture schedule:

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Video: Seth Meyers recruits LeBron James on 'Late Night'

After opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat, LeBron James has a big decision to make. And luckily for him, Seth Meyers has an offer he can’t (but probably will) refuse.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Meyers and his team put together a rather compelling argument for James to take his talents to New York, but not in the way you’re thinking. Meyers isn’t recruiting James to the New York Knicks. Nope: Meyers thinks James’ talents are better suited for an office setting that offers him a computer, a tape dispenser, access to tons of electrical outlets, and eight different kinds of milk to keep his bones strong. Not to mention that the Late Night office has “heat, calves, and [nail] clippers.” So really, is it all that different from the basketball world?

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This week's cover: Chris Pratt goes from zero to hero in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

A lot of people think EW writers spend their days boozing it up with stars. In the case of this week’s cover profile of actor Chris Pratt, that’s 100 percent accurate. The Parks and Recreation star already has one box office hit under his belt this year thanks to The LEGO Movie, and he might well have another when the latest Marvel spectacular, Guardians of the Galaxy, arrives in theaters Aug. 1. On a break from shooting next summer’s dinosaur fourquel Jurassic World, Pratt hoisted some beers with EW’s Clark Collis in New Orleans while recounting his unlikely career trajectory. READ FULL STORY

'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' gets a Russian remake

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As much as it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, you might be surprised to learn that it’s also always sunny in Moscow. Well, sort of.

Philadelphia’s City Paper has discovered that there is a Russian knockoff of the hit American show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is titled—you guessed it—It’s Always Sunny in Moscow. The Russian take on the show premiered on May 12 and has reportedly aired 16 episodes, drawing inspiration from the first three seasons of the American show. City Paper used Google Translate on the official page of the TNT network to learn a little bit more about the show. For example, its description starts: “Strong friendship, true love, idealism, nobility and dignity, humility and kindness—all this has nothing to do with the heroes of the series ‘In Moscow always sunny.'” READ FULL STORY

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