Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
TV Lust
Television reviews and recaps
'American Horror Story: Freak Show' finale recap, 'Curtain Call'

Much like “Coven” before it, the season finale of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" arrives with an overarching sense that the entire season can’t be browbeaten into cohesion in the space of one episode. Of course it can’t, but it’s pretty fun to watch Ryan Murphy and company try.

“Freak Show” has been, for the most part, a fun season – featuring more gasps, shocks and truly OMG-WTF moments than ever before – and the fact that it spends so much time drawing connections between itself and the seasons that came before it is worth the price of admission alone.

But is it a good season? That, much like the much-debated meaning of “freak” is probably best left to the eye of the beholder.

It’s Dandy’s world now. It’s a new day at Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Dandy is in charge now. He’s made the freaks put up new banners proclaiming himself the star of the show, but shockingly enough, audiences aren’t exactly lining up to see Dandy belt out Cole Porter tunes.

The remaining...

Read more
'Top Chef' recap, 'The Final Battle of Bean Town'

Ever wondered why Boston is called “Bean Town”? Me neither. But since this is the last challenge in Boston, Padma will give us one last local history lesson.

Apparently back in the day, the locals used to bake beans in molasses, and it was so prevalent that sailors could tell they were coming into Boston Harbor by the scent of baked beans. However, nobody can explain to me why these sailors didn’t just turn around and go home. Because molasses baked beans are not delicious.

The fact is, no locals nowadays use the term “Bean Town” and no one in Boston cares about baked beans. But we’ll do this challenge under the guise of “putting this dish back on the map.” Good luck with that.

The chefs will have one hour to come up with a dish that highlights beans. The winner gets a trip to Napa, because you really need to have some incentive to be excited about cooking beans.  Yes, we’re all so thrilled about this beans challenge.

This week’s guest judge, Wylie Dufresne, is one of the most...

Read more
15 years after outcry, major TV networks make uneven progress toward ethnic diversity

Kenya Barris, creator of ABC's "black-ish," was motivated to write the comedy about an African-American family's efforts to honor its heritage in part by the unreality of what he grew up watching on television.

"I saw 'Friends' and 'Seinfeld' and thought, 'What part of New York is this?'" recalled Barris, who is black. "It's not about being diverse. It's about being true to the world."

His show comes 15 years after civil rights groups, galvanized by a lineup of new network series almost entirely devoid of minority characters, sought and ultimately won agreements from major broadcasters to put programs on the air that better reflect the nation's population.

An AP analysis of regular cast members on prime-time comedies and dramas on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox found progress since then in hiring black actors, but slighted other minorities. Casts at three of the four networks are still whiter than the nation as a whole.

That's in contrast to a fall 2014 season that seemed to signal broad change...

Read more
Former Harford resident moves on to Hollywood Week on 'American Idol'

Could Shi Scott be the next "American Idol"?

Some of her one-time classmates at Aberdeen Middle School thought she could and it turns out they weren't alone.

The 19-year-old former Belcamp resident sailed through to Hollywood on a "golden ticket" after she won over two out of three judges in her audition on the show's 14th season, which began airing this month.

Scott, who attended elementary and middle school in Harford before moving to Gaithersburg during high school, nervously sang a pitch-perfect rendition of Amy Winehouse's "Valerie."

"It really sounded like an Amy Winehouse impression to me," judge Harry Connick Jr., told Scott, before he voted to put her through to Hollywood Week, which airs the first week in February.

"There's an incredible talent and personality in there, and I would rather see that than anything else," Connick told her.

Scott, who spoke by phone Tuesday from her Gaithersburg home, said she could not reveal if she actually made it through Hollywood Week, which...

Read more
Amazon streams its way to a leading TV role

It's been an epic week for Amazon, Maura Pfefferman and streaming TV.

Two Golden Globes for "Transparent," a daring dramedy starring Jeffrey Tambor on a gender-changing journey from Mort to Maura Pfefferman, got the ball rolling at the televised awards show last Sunday night. And then came the announcement Tuesday that Woody Allen had been signed to write and direct a series that was guaranteed a one-season commitment from the online service.

Two days later, Amazon premiered pilots for seven new series, including "The Man in the High Castle", an alternative history circa 1962, had America lost World War II. It's produced by Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner") and adapted by Frank Spotnitz ("The X-Files") from the Philip K. Dick novel.

Beyond buying books and baby food online, subscribers to Amazon Prime now have the chance to vote on the pilots and play a role in determining which series will get a full-season commitment. Those productions given a green light will debut in September, as...

Read more
Freaky fashion a winner for 'American Horror Story'

The words "fashion" and "freak show" don't usually come up in the same sentence. But the latter inspired the former for Yekaterina Burmatnova, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York

Burmatnova is the winner of a costume contest sponsored by "American Horror Story: Freak Show," the FX series whose season ends Wednesday.

When organizers put out the call for entries in September, they were looking for designers with an "eye for the unusual." Burmatnova showed that she had that asset, coming up with a Gothic costume design that involves caged birds and a mask.

For her efforts, Burmatnova won $5,000 and the opportunity to fly to New Orleans to meet the show's costume designer, Lou Eyrich, who was one of the contest judges, along with "Project Runway" alum Christian Siriano and FX President of Marketing and On-Air Promotions Stephanie Gibbons.

------------
FOR THE RECORD
Jan. 20, 4:55 p.m.: An earlier version of this article identified Stephanie Gibbons as a producer....

Read more
Loading