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The Good Wife” Season 4, Episode 14

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Hey, “The Good Wife” was back last night! Who knew? One of the worst parts about the show being moved to Sundays, – i.e., CBS’s “classy” way of trying to smother it to death – is its irregular schedule. Just when the momentum was building this season after the holiday break, boom! Them’s the breaks. Literally.

“Red Team, Blue Team” was full of hard knocks, from Cary and Alicia being denied equity partnership (kinda) to the two of them going up again Will and Diane in “take no prisoners” mode for their mock trial, and then of course Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) catching the feds in their own wiretapping game in an amazingly strange and entertaining subplot … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 9 Recap

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There are a few things to discuss before we get to That Thing, mainly how good the Christmas Special (which is what this episode originally aired as in the U.K.) always is. We went somewhere new (Duneagle Castle), had a few opportunities to see everyone let their hair down (the fair, the Gilly Ball), witnessed a few misguided near-romances (Patmore and Mr. Tufton, Isobel and Clarkson, Edna and Branson), and got a major redemptive finish for the Thomas and Jimmy saga. Cutting the last five minutes out would have made for a very satisfying finale, both in its regular season and this Christmas Special, and worth the slog of getting through Season Two. It was gorgeously filmed, emotionally rendered, and even despite a few mistakes (the advent of Edna, the worst of a long line of terrible maids that include Ethel and Jane), it gave us everything we wanted. Until That Thing. … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 8 Recap

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What a marvelous ending for what was a truly great third season. True, the season is not technically over – there’s still next week’s grand finale, which finished up as the Christmas Special episode in England – but even if it had ended right here with that slow-motion bounding and bounding, I would have been completely satisfied.

To air these two episodes together was a strange choice, as I mentioned in my recap of the first hour, because while that first hour spent a lot of time on setup, the second hour was like a freight train of plot. The oddest abutment of the two would have to be Mary’s sudden announcement that she had just been to London. When did that happen? In the last fifteen minutes? It’s easy to forgive those weird bits of editing, though, when the finale gave everyone (save Edith, of course) a more or less happy ending … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 7 Recap

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A trusted friend and TV advisor informed me this week that PBS is combining (and therefore editing down) so many episodes of “Downton Abbey” for February sweeps, but I still can’t see why they would want to burn off so many episodes so quickly when there are, in the end, so few. Even during last year’s embarrassment of a season, the world that series creator Julian Fellowes has conceived is one that should be lingered in and appreciated for its resplendent beauty (if not always for its storytelling). On that note, every hour of the series is so jam-packed with plot that to run two hours together is really overwhelming. How is one to process all of the Dowager Countess’ one-liners before the next episode is shoehorned in?? … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 6 Recap

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I continue to be impressed by how much “Downton Abbey” has settled down this year and returned to what made its first season so great: family moments. Family, in this case, extends Upstairs and Down. Season Two seemed to fashion itself as a sweeping war epic, and while itwas sweeping, in terms of epic or having much to do with war … not so much. This current season has slowed down, both narratively and with its crazy time jumps (where no one ages – they should all be about 10 years older now, and yet…), and has benefitted immensely … READ MORE

ATLwood: Susan Sarandon challenged to ping pong

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Sightings

Jake Gyllenhaal, here filming Prisoners withHugh Jackman, was spotted at Watershed on Saturday. He’s apparently staying in Midtown, but was also seen at Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio in Buckhead, this weekend as well.

- Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium posted on its Facebook page: “Susan Sarandon outside taking pictures of CHURCH!!! Come to ping pong tournament tonight, supposedly she is playing, I meant, getting her ass kicked! It’s all about love!” Did anybody check it out?

- Not sure what Susan Sarandon is doing in ATL, but both she and Chris Noth have been spotted around. Any ideas? Maybe just visiting us in the land of car fires and sudden tornados … READ MORE

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, Episode 5 Recap

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Well, after my jolly assertions about “Downton Abbey” last week, we were given an exceptionally sad follow-up. But, to keep spoilers hidden, I will instead talk about some of the other things this jam-packed hour gave us.

There were a lot of subplots scattered throughout the episode that portend interesting things to come, from Edith’s column to Isobel taking on Ethel as her latest do-gooder project, to the love triangles (squares? hexagons?) forming in the Downstairs kitchen as well as Sherlock, Jr Anna getting her big break on the case … READ MORE

“The Good Wife” Season 4, Episode 13 Recap

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Another fantastic week for “The Good Wife.” “The Seven Day Rule” was an episode that probably worked ok on its own, but seemed designed specifically to benefit long-time fans with a complex narrative (not seen all too often on network procedurals). It incorporated familiar aspects and faces (particularly the appearance of Neil Gross, the CEO of ChumHum, one of the show’s favorite Google-esque targets), but it also played upon old rivalries and set up plenty to come … READ MORE

ATLwood: Gird your loins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman have landed

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Sightings

Jake Gyllenhaal was spotted at ‪the Whole Foods on Ponce‬ Thursday. He and Hugh Jackman are here filming Prisoners. (As ATLwood friend @UnchainedFoodie summed things up, “Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal are filming in Atlanta, so be on lookout and don’t fall in puddles of estrogen forming all over the city”).

- According to a friend, Jackman is living in Decatur right now, and has been spotted at a gym nearby … #EyesPeeled

Ludacris was spotted at Whiskey Blue at W Atlanta – Buckhead on Saturday night, while five-time World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield was a patron at the W Midtown on the same night (and, reportedly, dancing it up) … READ MORE

‘Downton Abbey,’ Season 3, Episode 4 Recap

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Many TV shows make the mistake of thinking that their series need to be packed full of plot points (“Downton Abbey” being among them – I refer you to Season Two for all the evidence you need). But when you’ve created a rich world populated by characters we have grown to care about, sometimes there’s pleasure to be found in the simplest of things. This week, conversations between Matthew and Violet, Mrs. Hughes and Isobel, Matthew and Carson, were a few examples of how something so seemingly non-dramatic as an exchange can be great, rich storytelling … READ MORE