Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5Qs on Friday: Janina Gavankar

Janina Gavankar Goes from Vampire Diaries and True Blood to an Uptight But Funny Cop

NBC's vote of confidence in its Debra Messing drama-comedy The Mysteries of Laura (next Wednesday, 8pm), which it picked up for a full 22-episode season last month, came as a great relief to fans of the funny and touching, character-driven New York City cop drama.

The show co-stars Janina Gavankar as Meredith Bose - a no-nonsense, by-the-book detective who's the perfect foil for Debra's Det. Laura Diamond - a smart but unconventional cop with a decidedly imperfect personal life.

Janina, a professional musician, has racked up an incredible body of work the past decade, including as Tessa on The CW's The Vampire Diaries, shape-shifter Luna on HBO's True Blood and Shiva on the FX sitcom The League. Janina spoke with TVFirstLook about the Mysteries of Laura, her character Meredith and the next time she'll release new music.

TVFirstLook: A lot of people were really happy to hear that NBC gave Mysteries of Laura a full-season order. What did you think?

Thanksgiving Day

On TV, Thanksgiving is All About the Parade, Dogs and Football

Hilary Swank, Jane Lynch
Can we all agree that Thanksgiving is the best American holiday?

No matter who you are, no matter what your religion or your feelings about Christmas' conspicuous consumerism (we like it, but hey), on Thanksgiving we can all just take some time off from the pressures of everyday life to hang out with family and friends, be thankful for what we've got, cook and watch TV. Lots of TV.

Thanksgiving may start with prepping the bird for the oven, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (9am all time zones) in the background. NBC's decades-long coverage is the best, but there's no reason not to flip back and forth between NBC and CBS's coverage of the parade.

Marathons: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Four Days of TV Marathons

Thursday, Nov. 27
Adventure Time
–9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cartoon Network
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., IFC
Friends–10 a.m. – 5 p.m. TBS

Friday Night Lights–10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Pivot
Jurassic Park–10 a.m. – 2 a.m. Friday AMC
Modern Family–10 a.m. – midnight USA
Transporter the Series11 a.m. – 11:03 p.m. TNT
Alaska: The Last Frontier–noon – 3 a.m. Friday Discovery Channel
My Dirty Little Secret–noon – 8 p.m., Investigation Discovery
The Millionaire Matchmaker3 – 10:30 p.m., Bravo
The Simpsons–4 – 10 p.m., followed by The Simpsons Movie, FXX
Seinfeld–5 p.m. – 8 p.m., TBS

The Brady Bunch–5:30 – 9 p.m., TV Land

Keep reading.

Binge-Worthy TV

Binge-Worthy Television for When the Broadcast Networks Back Off

Jeffrey Tambor (photo:
This time of year, with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Eve approaching, people have better things to do than plop down on the couch with a remote control in their hand. Or, at least, the broadcast TV networks over the decades have programmed primetime with that in mind. Which is why starting about now and stretching into January finding anything that's not a repeat that's good to watch on the broadcast networks can be a frustrating exercise that gives you nothing but an achy thumb.

But, of course, with DVRs, On-Demand channels and the Internet there's no reason to kick the TV set. In fact, this is the best time of year to catch up on shows you've heard are good but may not have had a chance to watch - really watch. Here are three binge-worthy shows worth finding.

Transparent (Amazon). If you've heard the buzz that Amazon's original series Transparent with Jeffrey Tambor is catching the attention of Emmy voters, there's a reason for that (besides their PR people pitching that idea).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Preview: Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel

HBO's Real Sports Jumps Into the Shark Tank

The very best thing about HBO's long-running Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (9pm) - and probably the reason it's "long-running" is that underneath its sports exterior is a well-made, smart and insightful newsmagazine that just happens to send its correspondents, like Bernard Goldberg, out to cover stories about sports and prominent people in the sports business.

That includes Mark Cuban. He's the serial entrepreneur who who owns AXS TV, NBA team the Dallas Mavericks and stars on ABC's excellent reality series Shark Tank. On Shark, entrepreneur wannabes pitch Mark and the show's other investors - the sharks - with the hope one of them will help fund their start-up business.

Tonight on Real Sports, Bernard hangs out with Mark on the set of Shark Tank and courtside at a Mavericks game, all the time learning a bit about Mark and what makes him one of the country's most famous, successful and controversial business owners.

Preview: A Night At The Movies: George Lucas & The World Of Fantasy Cinema

Star Wars' George Lucas Discusses the Fantasy Films That Ignited His Imagination

George Lucas
Turner Classic Movies is taking a close look at the sometimes nutty, sometimes funny, sometimes over-the-top and often wonderful fantasy movies like 1958's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Wim Wenders' modern-day classic, 1987's Wings of Desire, that have inspired generations of filmmakers to take up the craft.

Fantasy films and its creators are the focus of TCM's two-day marathon of fantasy movies that kicks off tonight at 8pm with an original TCM documentary, A Night at the Movies: George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema, in which the Star Wars creator talks about the movies that inspired him to pursue his own cinematic career.

Preview: The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns

Lifetime's Exploration Inside Convents Began with Respect
Fox News

The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns (Lifetime, 10pm) - For the first time ever, cameras got a glimpse inside three convents that had never previously been filmed. Getting the cameras inside was achieved through a mutual respect and trust, explained Mary Donahue, senior vice president at Lifetime.

“We worked very hard to establish a relationship of trust with various convents, and they did allow us to bring cameras in and explore the discernment process,” Donahue said. Keep reading.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Preview: Booze Traveler

Jack Maxwell Travels the World in Search of the Story Behind the Drink

There's something about a good drink - whiskey straight up to a sweet margarita in a salt-rimmed glass that gets people all worked up. Maybe it's the idea of relaxing without a care in the world after a tense week at work. Or maybe it's the appreciation for the craft of making spirits. For some people, it's also the story behind the spirit - the culture and the people who make it and drink it.

Which is where actor Jack Maxwell comes in. The Boston native, and lifelong bar goer, travels the world in search of the story behind the drink.

His new unscripted show Booze Traveler debuts tonight on Travel Channel (10pm).

Preview: Home & Family Holiday Special

Hallmark Channel's Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare Celebrate Christmas

Cristina Ferrare, Mark Steines
On Hallmark Channel's daytime show Home & Family, co-hosts Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare spend a few hours cooking, working on DIY craft projects, interviewing celebrities and they sometimes have musical guests.

Tonight on Hallmark Channel - the go-to channel for Christmas movies - Mark and Cristina are heading to primetime for the Home & Family Holiday Special (8pm).

On the special, Mark and Cristina make homemade Christmas decorations, listen to some Christmas carols from Matt Rogers and other former American Idol contestants. And they hang out with guests like Lacey Chabert, Candace Cameron Bure, Marilu Henner and Genie Francis.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preview: American Music Awards

American Music Awards Producer Promises A Huge Surprise
ABC News

"Trust me. Don't come into the show at 8:10pm. Don't do that. You better start at 8pm 'cause I ain't holdin' nothin' back. ... It's gonna open up with a huge 'wow,'" AMA executive producer Larry Klein told ABC News. "And it's gonna go for three hours and end with a big 'wow.'" 

With 18 musical performances from the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, 5 Seconds of Summer and many more, it's no wonder that the show will be a huge production. Klein said the challenge every year is trying to make sense out of many diverse performances.