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Michael

Michael Narkunski should have had an NYC accent, but watched too much Brady Bunch growing up, so sounds like he's from California. His very favorite TV shows often have titles taken from their main female characters: Buffy, Roseanne, Felicity, Xena, Daria. He will create one of his own once he finds a name not too weird and not too common (most likely Ursula). Also, Michael remains an undying fan of Todd Solondz, Mike Leigh, Stanley Kubrick, Charlie Kaufman and anyone else who spun their Jewish straw into a uniquely tortured gold.

The Leftovers, Ep. 1.10, “The Prodigal Son Returns,” ends the season, and any doubts

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 10, “The Prodigal Son Returns” Written by Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta Directed by Mimi Leder Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO “He’s never coming for us, is he?” Christine asks this to Tommy in regards to Wayne, but in a series that asks ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.09, “The Garveys at Their Best,” reveals the show behind the show

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Well, that was a neat trick. Not the final reveal, no, that is something that (I hope) will become almost beside the point. But what I’m really talking about is the episode itself. That is something that I did not expect the show to pull off so well this late in the game. Nine episodes after the fact, we are now getting who Tommy is and what he means to Kevin. We get what Jill has lost. And we see where Kevin’s head has been at, and where it might go, all in an absorbing, if necessarily stuffed hour. This flashback to flesh everyone out is absolutely invaluable as we head into the finale and the second season. It is also pivotal in continuing to explore Kevin’s hero’s journey, which has been smartly pushed to the forefront in the previous two episodes, and looks to be the definitive crux of a finally focused series.

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.08, “Cairo,” earns the show’s second season

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Cults on TV are tough. They seem like a really good idea. They’re weird and scary and, bonus, we have them in real life. But anyone who has seen or read my reviews of The Following knows that it is incredibly easy to abuse (big, unnamed plans that go nowhere; non-believably-cultish members, too much access and synchronicity on too many fronts). It’s exciting to see, then, that this show, which has saddled itself with two cult plots—both trickily heightened from real life— finally comes through with really activating at least one, with making it live. A lot of what’s in “Cairo” is material I’ve been waiting for since the pilot. The gusto with which it delivers it makes it absolutely worth the wait.

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.07, “Solace for Tired Feet,” ironically keeps things moving

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 7, “Solace for Tired Feet” Written by Damon Lindelof & Jacqueline Hoyt Directed by Mimi Leder Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO There’s finally a flow happening with this show. In previous reviews, I have discussed the many problems of The Leftovers I won’t ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.06, “Guest,” is an impeccable hour with a true character study

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 6, “Guest” Written by Damon Lindelof & Kath Lingenfelter Directed by Carl Franklin Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO “I’d like to remain Nora Durst,” Nora (Carrie Coon) says toward the beginning “Guest,” and that perfectly sums it up. She will get a divorce, ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.05, “Gladys,” celebrates the halfway mark with a nice, big rest

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 5, “Gladys” Written by Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrota Directed by Mimi Leder Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO Gladys, Gladys, you were so classless, intimidating the leftovers with sass and badass-ness. This is a song. This is a song I came up with, ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.04, “B.J. and the A.C.,” uses Christmas to try to right its wrongs

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 4, “B.J. and the A.C.” Written by Damon Lindelof & Elizabeth Peterson Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter & Carl Franklin Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO Starting off positively—and it’s a big one—no new mysteries were introduced this episode! At least, nothing of the ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.03, “Two Planes and a Helicopter,” takes us to church, but fails to convert

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The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 3, “Two Planes and a Helicopter” Written by Damon Lindelof & Jacqueline Hoyt Directed by Keith Gordon Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on HBO What is The Leftovers? A mystery wrapped in an enigma, sure, but what else is on the show’s mind, and most ...

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.02, “Penguin One, Us Zero,” makes the show’s true origins known, by hiding everything

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While the pilot was almost pure set up, and in this mostly disappointing second episode we have a further muddling of that set-up, what has at least become clearer now is that despite its literary origins, The Leftovers is definitely shaping up to be, for better or worse, Lost’s direct successor.

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The Leftovers, Ep. 1.01, “Pilot,” calibrates an old story for major potential

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The best thing about The Leftovers is its premise, and not because it’s really that ingenious, or cool. Its rapture-based concept is ground that has been covered before in other series and books, but the scale of it is just right here for nuanced material, the incident being big enough to be a personal catastrophe, yet small enough to keep it from being a global one (like say, all the males dying was in Y: The Last Man). With no rhyme or reason to who was picked, on top of a three-year gap from the event itself, what we’re left with instead of the typical action plot or mystery, is basically the perfect, world-wide existential crisis.

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Orange Is the New Black, Ep 2.13: “We Have Manners. We Are Polite.” is like two different shows in one

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Orange Is the New Black, Season 2, Episode 13: “We Have Manners. We Are Polite.” Written by Jenji Kohan Directed by Contantine Makris Released Friday, June 6 on Netflix Instant “Bad seed,” “insane,” “psycho,” “the real evil”—these are just some of the ways in which Vee is referred to this ...

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Orange Is the New Black, Ep 2.12: “It Was the Change” makes sure you know menopause is a killer

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Orange Is the New Black, Season 2, Episode 12: “It Was the Change” Written by Sara Hess Directed by Phil Abraham Released Friday, June 6 on Netflix Instant Super Storm Wanda came and went, and with it seemingly any chance for this season to climax satisfactorily or live up to ...

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