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Game of Thrones Season 8 Exclusive Report on the Epic

Game of Thrones Season 8 Exclusive Report on the Epic

When Kit Harington entered the conference room, he had no idea what to expect.

The final season’s scripts had been emailed just a couple of days earlier, sending the Game of Thrones cast into a reading frenzy. Like millions of fans around the world, the actors had been waiting nearly a decade to learn their characters’ fates. The entire six-episode season arrived at once, protected by layers of password security.

Sophie Turner flew through her copies in record time, quickly messaging the producers her reaction. “It was completely overwhelming,” says the actress, who plays Sansa Stark. “Afterwards I felt numb, and I had to take a walk for hours.” Others, like Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), first had to hurry home to get some privacy. “I turned to my best mate and was like, ‘Oh my God! I gotta go! I gotta go!’” she recalls. “And I completely flipped out.” She then settled in for a reading session with a cup of tea. “Genuinely the effect it had on me was profound,” Clarke adds. “That sounds insanely pretentious, but I’m an actor, so I’m allowed one pretentious adjective per season.” Peter Dinklage, meanwhile, broke his years-long habit of checking immediately to see if Tyrion Lannister survives. “This was the first time ever that I didn’t skip to the end,” he says.

Even showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were uncharacteristically anxious, wondering how the actors would react to the climactic twists. “We knew exactly when our script coordinator sent them out, we knew what minute they sent them, and then you’re just waiting for the emails,” Benioff said.

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game-of-thrones-season-8-dvd
game-of-thrones-season-8-dvd

Game of Thrones – Season 8 on DVD

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The cast then journeyed to Belfast to gather in a production office for the formal read-through. By then, everybody knew the tale that was about to unfold, with two notable exceptions: Davos Seaworth actor Liam Cunningham (“The f—ing scripts wouldn’t open, the double extra security!” he grouses) and Harington, who outright refused to read anything in advance.

“I walked in saying, ‘Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know,’” Harington says. “What’s the point of reading it to myself in my own head when I can listen to people do it and find out with my friends?” So, yes: Jon Snow, quite literally, knew nothing.

Benioff and Weiss opened the proceedings by asking the cast to refrain from doing anything during filming or afterward that might reveal even the tiniest spoiler (“Don’t even take a photo of your boots on the ground of the set,” one actor recalls being told). And then, seated around a long table scattered with a few prop skulls, the cast read aloud the final season of Game of Thrones.

At one point, Harington wept.

Later, he cried a second time.

After the table read, the Game of Thrones cast spent 10 months filming just six episodes of television. But the season actually took far longer to pull off. GoT’s final chapters have been in the works for years. To better understand what’s ahead, let’s first go back to EW’s season 3 set visit and this never-before-revealed conversation with Benioff and Weiss…

The production camper was like many others on the set — barren, cramped, cold, utilitarian, with dirt on the floors from muddy boots tramping in and out all day. The showrunners sat on the same side of a tiny dinette booth while the wind coming off the Northern Ireland bay howled outside. They were already thinking about their final season, and it worried them.

During its second season, the fantasy drama averaged 10.3 million viewers across all platforms. That was enough to ensure they were eventually going to finish the series, yet that inevitability was also the problem. Because when they first pitched Thrones to HBO, they hadn’t exactly been honest. And now they were working every day toward a finale that was impossible to make.

“The lie we told is the show is contained and it’s about the characters,” Benioff said, which was at best half true. The epic fantasy was very much about its ensemble cast, but it’s also the least “contained” series ever made. “The worlds get so big, the battles get so massive.”

Game of Thrones Season 8 Exclusive Report on the Epic

Author George R.R. Martin, whose series of novels forms the basis for Thrones, had revealed to the duo the broad strokes of how his Song of Ice and Fire saga secretly ends, including a description of an epic final battle that’s been teased from the show’s very first scene. But this climactic confrontation was miles out of reach for a series that cost about $5 million per episode. “We have a very generous budget from HBO, but we know what’s coming down the line and, ultimately, it’s not generous enough,” Benioff said.

So the producers had an idea: The final season could be six hours long and released as three movies in theaters — just like Martin’s best-known influence, The Lord of the Rings. It’s not that the duo wanted to make movies per se, but it seemed like the only way to get the time and money needed to pull off their finale. “It’s what we’re working towards in a perfect world,” Weiss said. “We end up with an epic fantasy story but with the level of familiarity and investment in the characters that are normally impossible in a two-hour movie.”

The flaw in this plan was that HBO is about serving its subscribers, not taking gambles at the box office. Behind the scenes, the network brass gently shot down the movie idea. But executives assured Benioff and Weiss that they would eventually have everything they needed to make a final season that was “a summer tentpole-size spectacle.”

Years later, the producers would strike a deal with the network to spend two years on a shortened season 8 that would cost more than $15 million an episode. You could say HBO made good on that promise from 2012, and the showrunners will happily give the network full credit. “They put their money where their mouths are — literally stuffed their mouth full of million-dollar bills, which don’t exist anymore,” Weiss quips.

But it’s probably more accurate to say that since season 3, Benioff and Weiss willed their ambitious final season into reality the hard way: by growing Game of Thrones into the biggest show in the world, a hugely profitable pop culture and merchandising sensation with more than 30 million viewers an episode and a record number of Emmys. Only with that kind of leverage do your towering ambitions begin to look like reasonable requests.

In fact, the GoT team was so successful that the biggest sticking point in the agreement was persuading HBO to halt the series. “We want to stop where we — the people working on it, and the people watching it — both wish it went a little bit longer,” Benioff says. “There’s the old adage of ‘Always leave them wanting more,’ but also things start to fall apart when you stop wanting to be there. You don’t want to f— it up.”

That concern — a constant desire to conclude the show on the strongest possible note — is something we heard over and over from the cast and crew when we visited the GoT set for the last time.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Exclusive Report on the Epic
Good Witch Series 5 Episode List

Good Witch Series 5 Episode List

S5, Ep0
Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts

Cassie’s precious family heirloom- a beautiful ruby. The Heart of Middleton-goes missing from the History of Halloween in Middleton museum exhibit just in time for the anniversary festival and masquerade gala

S5, Ep1
The Forever Tree, Part 1

Cassie and Sam’s wedding is just days away in the season five premiere of “Good Witch,” and the town of Middleton prepares for this highly anticipated event in “The Forever Tree: Part 1.” As Middleton’s resident enchantress Cassie (Catherine Bell) works on last-minute wedding preparations, Sam (James Denton) looks for the tree that her ancestor was married under as a wedding surprise. Though skeptical of Cassie’s world-traveling foster brother Vincent (Gianpaolo Venuta), Sam invites him to be part of the search. Grace (Bailee Madison) becomes troubled when little …

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Good Witch Season 5 DVD For Sale in UK
Good Witch Season 5 DVD For Sale in UK

Good Witch – Season 5 on DVD

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S5, Ep2
The Forever Tree, Pt. 2

Cassie (Catherine Bell) and Sam’s (James Denton) long-awaited wedding has finally arrived in ‘Good Witch,’ and they take an enchanting walk down the aisle in ‘The Forever Tree – Part 2.’ As Middleton prepares for the most enchanting event of the season, Sam receives some magical help from Grace (Bailee Madison) in finding the Forever Tree. However, the wedding brings up complex emotions for Grace, who becomes nostalgic for her late father, while Cassie worries her foster brother will let her down and miss the nuptials. Abigail (Sarah Power) steps up into her mayor …

S5, Ep3
The Honeymoon

Cassie and Sam celebrate their honeymoon at a country winery, where they help their hosts deal with a dilemma. Grace encounters her first heartbreak and Abigail holds a joint fundraiser with Mayor Donovan.

S5, Ep4
The Prince

Cassie (Catherine Bell) hosts a royal guest at Grey House in ‘The Prince.’ When shocking news emerges about the visiting royal, though, he risks hurting someone he’s grown to care for. Sam (James Denton) gets a visit from an old friend in need of his medical expertise but soon discovers that his cure may lie in Cassie’s intuition. Grace (Bailee Madison) starts an internship for Abigail (Sarah Power) at City Hall and faces fierce competition from a fellow intern. Their competition benefits Abigail, who needs all the help she can get when the rival mayor’s family tries …

S5, Ep5
The Tea

Cassie’s enchanting powers have always helped her friends in Middleton and a special elixir gives her magical gift a potent boost in ‘The Tea.’ Cassie serves a special tea to help Abigail (Sarah Power) open up during a date with her former nemesis (Marc Bendavid), newly reinstated mayor Martha (Catherine Disher) share her opinions with an artist painting her portrait, and two guests at Grey House reconnect. Meanwhile, Sam (James Denton) looks for help teaching his new resident a lesson in bedside manner. Disappointed after her top choice college rejects her, Grace (…

Good Witch Series 5 Episode List

S5, Ep6
The Road Trip

Cassie, Grace and Abigail visit Cassie’s alma mater, which is on Grace’s list of top choice colleges. While there, Cassie receives an honor and helps her old college friend, Willow (Kathy Najimy) make a choice about her future, and Grace gets to know the school by connecting with her weekend host who’s homesick. Left to watch Grey House, Sam (James Denton) and Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond) try to channel Cassie when helping father-son guests to communicate better. Meanwhile, Martha (Catherine Disher) switches to a hard-hitting gossip format to improve her TV show’s …

S5, Ep7
The Grey-cation

Martha and her husband, Tom, visit Grey House. Cassie and Sam realize that they still have some things to learn about one another. Donovan’s overbearing mother complicates his and Abigail’s relationship. Grace and Luke go on their first date.

S5, Ep8
The Treasure

A long-lost map drums up some excitement in Middleton, as adventure seekers spring into action in “The Treasure.” After finding the treasure map, Martha (Catherine Disher) sends Vincent (Gianpaolo Venuta) on a treasure hunt – which leads to an unexpected competition between Vincent and another treasure seeker. After finding out that his wish as a teenager was to make a discovery, Cassie (Catherine Bell) encourages Sam (James Denton) to keep his eyes open for mysteries to unlock, starting with this newly discovered map. Grace (Bailee Madison) is hurt to discover that …

Good Witch Series 5 Episode List

S5, Ep9
The Comet

A wish-granting comet heads to Middleton, adding even more anticipation to the exciting graduation season in ‘The Comet.’ As the rest of the town thinks of their one wish, Cassie (Catherine Bell) just wants the best for Sam (James Denton) when he is offered a dream job across the country after successfully performing a tricky surgery. Grace (Bailee Madison) prepares for her valedictorian speech, while Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond) becomes unexpectedly nostalgic as high school wraps up. Abigail (Sarah Power) plans a trip to Europe to forget about her breakup with Donovan (…

S5, Ep10
The Graduation

Grace and Nick’s graduation day arrives and Cassie tries her best to make the occasion truly magical.

Fear the Walking Dead 5 Showrunners Promise 'a big change coming'

Fear the Walking Dead 5 Showrunners Promise ‘a big change coming’

The call for help has been placed. At the end of season 5’s penultimate episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan radioed to adversary Virginia for assistance after they had exhausted every other opportunity for survival. But what will be the cost of that call?

We spoke to Fear showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss to get their insight and intel on what to expect on Sunday night’s season finale. What does the arrival of Ginny and the Pioneers mean? Where’s Dwight off to? Will things wrap up neatly or with a cliffhanger? Goldberg and Chambliss say to prepare yourself for a “game-changing” moment that could set the stage for a whole new show in season 6.

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Fear The Walking Dead Season 5 DVD For Sale in UK
Fear The Walking Dead Season 5 DVD For Sale in UK

Fear The Walking Dead – Season 5 on DVD

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Give me some words you would you use to describe the season finale.
IAN GOLDBERG: Western, Hope, Despair.

Andrew, what do you want to add to that?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: Ah, Ian took all the good words. Let’s see: Soggy. I’m just going to go with soggy.

We saw Morgan place the call to Virginia at the end of the last episode, so what does that mean moving into the finale?
GOLDBERG: Episode 515 was a very emotional episode for our group, and in a lot of ways it was about them making a stand against Ginny, both in the documentary they were making, but also in the way they were going about getting to the Gulch. They took this detour in order to get medicine for Grace, which led to them having to cross that bridge. And then Tom ended up losing his life and there were all these sacrifices that the group made. Ultimately, they ended in a place where they got to the Gulch and it wasn’t the place that they hoped it would be. So it was a rather big defeat. It was the last thing anybody wanted to do was to have to call and ask Virginia for help. But it was sort of a born out of necessity for their survival.

So when we find a group in the finale, they’re going to be in a pretty despondent place because they’re kind of doing exactly what they’ve been hoping to never have to do, which to take help from Virginia and to accept what that help means on her terms. So that’s where we’re going to find them and we’ll see how that ends up playing out over the course of the episode. But it’s certainly not a great place to start from for them.

Fear the Walking Dead 5 Showrunners Promise 'a big change coming'

Andrew, what can you add to that?
CHAMBLISS:
I think we’re going to really see everyone question what they’ve been doing and whether it’s a path they’re going to be able to continue to walk down once Ginny arrives. And a lot of it feels like it’s kind of a calm before a storm, but it’s something that they’re definitely going to have to face and really reckon with.

Well, the one person that is not there is Dwight. Obviously, he broke off from the pack and we see that. So what can you say in terms of what the finale holds for Dwight?
CHAMBLISS:
Obviously, Dwight is really triggered by the idea of accepting help from someone who is going to impose their way of living, their values on you just because of the ghost of Negan and the Saviors that you can see in Ginny and her people in a group that really tries to control you and doesn’t let you value the things you may have value. And I think what Dwight is going to learn over the course of the episode is that perhaps the people he has been with care about him more than he thought. And maybe not just that they care about him more than he thought, but that maybe he cares about them in the same way. We’ll see Dwight come to an understanding of who he is in a bigger way than he may have realized.

What can you all say in terms of how the season will end? Are things going to wrap up neatly or are we going to have a cliffhanger?
GOLDBERG:
Well, I believe it was at Comic-Con where we kind of hinted at the fact that we were hurdling toward a bit of a game-changing moment at the end of season 5. And this is the episode where that’s going to happen. And the audience is going to start to piece that together as they watch the episode. But by the end of it, you’ll really see what we meant when we alluded to it being a game changer because this finale is going to be very emotional. There’s going to be a lot of surprises and it’s also going to set up where we’re headed in season 6 in a lot of ways and you’ll see sort of the scaffolding for how those stories might play out. And you know, the way that we leave everyone will start to set up what season 6 is going to look like and you’ll see that it’s very different than a how season 5 played out.

Fear the Walking Dead 5 Showrunners Promise 'a big change coming'

CHAMBLISS: It really is reinventing the show. We’re always looking for ways from season to season or every half season to change up the narrative. And what we’re doing here is really trying to fundamentally change these characters and allow us to explore new sides of them we haven’t seen before. There is a big change coming.

Chernobyl disaster: 'I didn't know the truth'

Chernobyl disaster: ‘I didn’t know the truth’

It was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. In 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in then Soviet-controlled Ukraine exploded, sending a radioactive plume across Europe.

The effects were devastating and the disaster’s impact was felt across the world.

The story of the accident – and its human cost – is being brought to the small screen in a Sky-Atlantic drama starring Jared Harris, Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård and Jessie Buckley.

Written by Craig Mazin (who also wrote the Hangover film sequels) and directed by Johan Renck (who also directed episodes of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead), Chernobyl aims to “bring to life the true story of the unprecedented tragedy”.

The film follows the fall-out of the explosion and examines both the lives of those in power who tried to hide the truth and those on the outside who hoped to uncover it.

Oscar-nominated actress Watson portrays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist intent on finding out how and why the Chernobyl disaster happened.

“She’s an amalgam of the [real-life] scientists who worked on the situation,” Watson explains.

“Her currency is she’s a brilliant scientist and if she can get the facts out, he [Soviet physicist Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris] will recognise the truth. They [those in power] came close to annihilating the whole of Europe.

“[When] they sent me the script, I instantly thought, ‘This is brilliant, I want to be part of it.’

“It’s seen as an historical event but it’s still ongoing,” she says.

Chernobyl: The end of a three-decade experiment

Ulana appears fearless as she pushes for her voice to be heard amidst a cacophony of Soviet propaganda.

“Her character is from Belarus – they suffered terrible atrocities during World War Two, great swathes of the population were wiped out.

“She would have been a small child at that time and lived through some appalling things. She’s very tough and that’s made her very strong,” Watson explains.

“This is her moment, it’s a call to arms. She just takes the attitude that the science doesn’t lie.”

Buckley, who recently starred in TV drama War and Peace and the film Wild Rose, plays real-life character Lyudmilla Ignatenko.

As the wife of firefighter Vasily Ignatenko, she was one of the first on the scene when the explosion occurred.

Buckley also says that joining the cast was a no-brainer.

“I read the script and was completely blown away by it,” she says.

“You just want to do as honest a job as possible.”

Indeed, Lyudmilla’s anguish and panic as the drama unfolds makes for a harrowing watch.

Chernobyl disaster: 'I didn't know the truth'

The legacy of Chernobyl

According to the UN, the event affected more than 3.5 million people and contaminated nearly 50,000 square kilometres of land.

The number of people killed by the disaster remains disputed.

The first emergency workers rushed in as lethal smoke billowed out. Of 134 who were diagnosed with acute radiation sickness, 28 died within months. At least 19 have died since.

It is conclusive that around 5,000 cases of thyroid cancer – most of which were treated and cured – were caused by the contamination.

Many suspect that the radiation has or will cause other cancers, but the evidence is patchy.

Amid reports of other health problems – including birth defects – it still is not clear if any can be attributed to radiation.

The Irish actress hadn’t worked with Watson before but their paths had crossed.

“I had met Emily over a coffee through Bafta Breakthrough, they set up a mentor thing – and I just think she’s so fantastic. And I said, ‘I’m going to do this thing about Chernobyl,’ and she said, ‘I want to do that!’ So that was nice.”

Buckley wasn’t born when the disaster happened but she says she still “had a relationship with Chernobyl” through her memories of a Chernobyl charity which gives sick children from the area a chance to recuperate in Ireland with host families.

But Watson was a student when it occurred.

Chernobyl disaster: 'I didn't know the truth'

“I remember people at my college were studying in Kiev at the time but I really had no idea of the extent of it or the human sacrifice involved,” she says.

“An accident at Chernobyl is not convenient to the powers that be, hence they cover it up. Turns out there was a design flaw all along. There couldn’t be more of a warning from history.”

Buckley says she “was scared playing Lyudmilla because it’s so real and it’s so unbelievable what happened”.

In fact, she’s a revelation in Chernobyl, conveying the impending sense of doom, often with little dialogue.

Hers is the human face of the disaster, a symbol of the impact on ordinary lives – lives which are given little value as politicians and senior plant workers scramble to cover up the truth for their own ends.

Buckley didn’t speak to the real Lyudmilla as part of her research (“she wants to get on with her life”) but says: “Johan and Craig were so ruthless in making everyone aware of the truth.”

Watson concurs: “I have great respect for Craig and Johan… the amount of research was astonishing. I think it’s a brilliant piece of writing.”

Buckley also studied first-hand accounts and watched a documentary about her character.

“I felt a huge responsibility playing Lyudmilla, I wanted to tell her story as honestly as I could. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like but I really hope I have managed to be as honest and truthful as I can so everyone can realise that lives were lost because of lies.

“It’s not an historical event – it’s something that happened, that continues to happen. When I open my eyes to it, it’s terrifying.

“But also it’s [about] the complete sacrifice of these firefighters and [other] people made not to just save themselves but to save the world.”

Health Care in the Time of Grey's Anatomy Season 15

Health Care in the Time of Grey’s Anatomy Season 15

How medical television shows have shaped people’s perceptions of doctors and diseases.

It is hard to overemphasize how much I loved Grey’s Anatomy in high school. I loved it superstitiously. Due to a weird set of coincidences, I truly believed that if Grey’s Anatomy wasn’t new that week, I would have a bad week. At the time, it aired on Sunday nights, and I took it as an omen. I would show up to school Monday morning filled with dread after a rerun.

I don’t blame Shonda Rhimes for my misfortunes anymore. But hours (or, more accurately, probably days) of watching Grey’s, Scrubs, and other medical TV shows has still shaped my life, if research is any indication. Several studies have shown that people who watch a lot of medical shows are more likely to believe certain things about doctors, and about healthcare.

Admittedly, these medical shows provide a skewed image of the healthcare system at best. Surely no hospital has had as many romantic pairings as the doctors on Grey’s (whose 11th season starts next month), and I have to imagine bedpan racing in the workplace is … frowned upon.

Health Care in the Time of Grey's Anatomy Season 15

Though you might think that people are perfectly capable of separating television from reality, cultivation theory suggests they cannot, entirely. The theory goes that the social reality people are exposed to on TV shapes their attitudes toward real social reality, and it does so, of course, in subtle and complicated ways that are hard to nail down. Prevailing societal attitudes obviously influence what goes on TV, too, further complicating the relationship.

“Television, movies, books, all of these things, a lot of people like to believe they’re just fun and games, that they really don’t affect us, it’s just entertainment,” says Dr. Rebecca M. Chory, a professor in Frostburg State University’s business school who has studied TV’s influence on attitudes toward healthcare. “But the research consistently shows that’s not true.”

A 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the majority of primetime TV viewers reported learning something new about a disease or other health issue over six months of viewing. About one-third of viewers took some kind of action after learning about a health issue on TV.

Many medical shows have physicians consult for accuracy, and an article in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics notes that starting with ER in the ’90s, TV shows began using more detailed medical jargon to describe conditions and procedures. But there are still inconsistencies. Treatments for patients with seizures are sometimes downright dangerous, with doctors trying to hold patients down, or put things in their mouths (they could choke). Patients tend to survive cardiac arrest more often on television than they do in real life, making CPR seem more effective than it often is.

Health Care in the Time of Grey's Anatomy Season 15

“That can lead to a misunderstanding as to the likelihood of a patient or loved one surviving a cardiac arrest,” says Dr. David Brown, chair of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But it isn’t really good TV if everybody dies, right?”

What does make for good TV: Rare diseases. Injuries. Natural disasters. Which means the amount of screen time given to different conditions isn’t proportional to how common those diseases are in real life, according to a new study published in Human Communication Research. People flock to these shows, after all, first and foremost to be entertained. So less sensational, more quotidian conditions like diabetes are underrepresented.

As a result, “a fan of medical dramas … can develop a skewed perception of what are more or less prevalent health issues in the real world,” study author Dr. Jae Eun Chung, an assistant professor in the school of communication at Howard University, told me in an email. Heavy viewers of medical dramas in her study were less likely to rate cardiovascular disease and cancer as important societal issues (when they are, in fact, the top two causes of death in the U.S.), and when it came to cancer, they were more fatalistic, “more likely to say that cancer prevention is uncertain and that the disease is fatal.”

On TV, the patients that have these compelling rare diseases are played by a revolving door of guest stars. The characters we really get to know are the doctors themselves. And the way doctors have been portrayed on television has changed markedly over the years. Medical shows in the ’50s and ’60s, like City Hospital, Dr. Kildare, and Ben Casey, showed doctors as noble, infallible heroes. These shows apparently received “creative input and guidance from the American Medical Association,” according to an article in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Review New Amsterdam Season 1 Puts Patients First Subtlety Last

Review New Amsterdam Season 1 Puts Patients First Subtlety Last

It seemed strange that, out of the billions of word combinations possible in the English language, NBC’s medical drama “New Amsterdam” chose the precise title used by another series, about an immortal police officer, a decade ago.

But after seeing the first two episodes, I can think of one reason: “The Good Doctor” was already in use.

While the series, beginning Tuesday, doesn’t borrow the title from ABC’s hit of last season, it seems to borrow a philosophy: that viewers are anxious about a health care system that is inattentive to individuals, and they’ll reward a show that tells them the simple answer is “putting patients first.”

Heartfelt, well-meaning and dull, “New Amsterdam” is determined to fill that prescription, however many tearful bedside scenes and Bon Iver montages it takes to do it.

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New Amsterdam Season 1 DVD For Sale in UK
New Amsterdam Season 1 DVD For Sale in UK

New Amsterdam – Season 1 on DVD

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The series centers on Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), the idealistic new director of the title hospital, a public institution modeled on New York City’s Bellevue. He’s out to change things, fast.

He fires nearly the entire cardiac unit for “putting billing over care.” He pitches patient-centric ideas to a stone-faced hospital board. He advocates for a Haitian patient who wants a traditional “protection ritual” before surgery, over doctors’ objections. He asks the staff, repeatedly, in English and Spanish, “How can I help?”

He does it all with good will, self-sacrifice and a warm, stubbly smile. He may not be The Good Doctor, but he is The Goodwin Doctor.

Mr. Eggold has an easy charisma, but in the first two episodes, it’s all too easy — the scripts prove him right, over and over, and his staff, freed to act in patients’ interests, have success after success. It’s great for health care but less so for drama.

Instead, “New Amsterdam” piles on personal woes. Goodwin is diagnosed with cancer, on top of which he’s about to become a father, on top of which his marriage is in jeopardy — he’s been an inattentive husband to Georgia (Lisa O’Hare), because he cares so damn much about his work.

Review New Amsterdam Season 1 Puts Patients First Subtlety Last

There’s the expected drama among the supporting staff as well, like Dr. Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims) and Dr. Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery), whose budding romance is stalled because of his concerns about interracial relationships (he’s black, she’s white). The hospital’s public-service mission, plus an affiliation with the United Nations, provides a diverse rotation of patients, whose cases raise questions of how culture can affect treatment.

But it all feels too smooth and forgettable. The show is rooted in a serious concern — the health care system feels in many ways broken and defies easy answers — but it does all it can to simply say, yes, the answers are exactly this easy. All it takes is one guy who cares a lot to free up everyone under him who cares just as much.

As it happens, there’s a handy contrast, airing on PBS the same night “New Amsterdam” begins its rounds: “The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science,” Ken Burns’s two-hour history of the “secular temple” of medicine (in the interviewee Tom Brokaw’s words) in Rochester, Minn.

Review New Amsterdam Season 1 Puts Patients First Subtlety Last

The documentary’s structure, jumping between history and contemporary patient stories, is a bit choppy, but the themes are timely. It deals with some of the same dynamics that drive “New Amsterdam,” particularly the tension between the business of medicine and the practice of it.

The Mayo Clinic operates on the same “putting patients first” mantra as Goodwin, but that requires a lot more than a slogan and good intentions. In large part, the film argues, it’s about money and institutional structure, in particular the medical center’s policy of putting doctors on salary, which eliminates financial incentives for using expensive procedures or spending less time with each patient.

15 Guest Stars on Supernatural Before They Were Famous

15 Guest Stars on Supernatural Before They Were Famous

There are now many actors who have become household names. Many of these got their start or at least had a chance to guest star in Supernatural. Here are 15 you’ve possibly forgotten from over the years.

How many guest stars from Supernatural have now become household names? You’ll be surprised to hear that many actors, especially on TV shows, started out with guest star roles on the likes of Supernatural, Charmed, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is a chance to look at back the ones that ran into Sam and Dean Winchester and have now made themselves known in households around the world.

Some of these are guest stars you may have overlooked or not realized at the time. Others you’ve known but didn’t realize this was where they started out. Some of these names didn’t quite get started on the series but did appear in the series before they became household names. However, most of them had the series as one of their first guest spots on TV before moving onto bigger things. Two of them are technically not guest stars, either, but series regulars who were in for a short period of time!

How many of these 15 guest stars do you remember from their time on Supernatural before they were famous? Don’t forget to let us know when you get through to the end.

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Supernatural Season 14 DVD For Sale in UK
Supernatural Season 14 DVD For Sale in UK

Supernatural – Season 14 on DVD

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Sterling K. Brown

Let’s start with good ole Gordon Walker. I remembered Sterling K. Brown in Army Wives before Supernatural. However, he came across the Winchesters first. In 2006, he took on the role of rogue hunter Gordon, who had lost a sister due to vampires and had a grudge against every single one of them. It didn’t matter if the vampires lived off animal blood or human blood. They were creatures and they needed to be killed.

This ended up with Gordon making an enemy of the Winchesters. Well, actually it was the other way around. Sam and Dean were willing to just forget about Gordon, but he was the one that kept showing up like a bad penny. Eventually, Gordon was taken down by the creature he hated the most: vampires. He became one and was killed by Sam.

Since his time on Supernatural, he became the only male “Army wife” in Army Wives. He was Roland Burton in the series, married to a high-ranking and determined female officer. As a psychiatrist, he helped many who came into the hospital and also treated a number of the officers and soldiers his wife knew—and spouses of his friends. He also helped deliver twins in the very first season.

He has since taken on the role of Randall Pearson, the child left at a fire station and adopted by the Pearsons, in This Is Us. This is the series he’s fully made himself a household name. We love seeing him as a good guy rather than a bad guy.

15 Guest Stars on Supernatural Before They Were Famous

Katie Cassidy

Katie Cassidy is best known for her role of Laurel Lance in Arrow now, but she got her start in Supernatural. Sure, she’d had small roles before her time on the series but it was as the demon Ruby that she helped to get her name out there.

Ruby was the demon we weren’t sure whether we could trust or not. She suddenly showed up in Supernatural Season 3 (becoming the first of only two females to get series regular credit in the series) killing demons and offering Sam help. She promised to save Dean from Hell, only to later make it clear that she couldn’t help after all. After the third season finale, Cassidy left the role and Genevieve Cortese Padalecki took on the role.

However, Cassidy went onto Harper’s Island, which would also star Supernatural guest star Jim Beaver. She would also guest star in Melrose Place, Gossip Girl, and New Girl, as well as landing one of the lead roles in the A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot attempt.

It’s Arrow where she’s become a household name—and she now films just next door to her old filming location. She’s Laurel Lance/Black Canary/Black Siren in the series and has also shown up in Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash.

Lauren Cohan

The second and only other female to get a series regular credit on the series is Lauren Cohan and one of the earliest works was Supernatural. However, you’ll know her now in many other shows, including The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. She has certainly become a household name since starting out with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.

Cohan was Bela Talbot in the series, a woman who has received mixed reviews from the fans. While she knew all about the supernatural creatures and lore, she used it for her own personal gain. She’d acquired artifacts to sell to the highest bidder. The only thing to stop her selling one on was by being affected by it in some way. This happened on two occasions in Supernatural Season 3.

Since starring in Supernatural, she’s moved onto bigger things. Her first was a guest star role in The Vampire Diaries, as Rose. She then moved onto Chuck, and then eventually onto The Walking Dead, where she’s played Maggie Greene and become a household name. She has also snapped up movie roles, playing Martha Wayne in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

While she hasn’t signed a contract for the ninth season, she is reportedly returning. However, she is also working on a midseason show for ABC called Whisky Cavalier. She is also in the movie Mile 22.

15 Guest Stars on Supernatural Before They Were Famous

Cory Monteith

The late actor appeared in Supernatural Season 1. It’s one of those blink-and-you-miss-it moments in a way. In the second episode of the series, he was in the tent when the wendigo was outside ravaging the tent. He was one of the unfortunate victims. Why? Well, his character wasn’t attached to the main guest stars for the episode. Go figure!

Anyway, Cory Monteith went on to land a show of his own. Like you need any introduction to Finn in Glee. He was the football player who wanted to sing, even if joining the glee club meant being a geek.

Before Glee and after Supernatural, the Canadian actor also guest starred in an episode of Smallville and played Kahill in Final Destination 3 (you know, the one with the killer rollercoaster and tanning beds?) In 2007, he also landed the role of Charlie Tanner in Kyle XY and was Gunnar in 10 episodes of Kaya.

He had two projects after Glee, both released posthumously. Cory died on July 13, 2013 from a drug overdose. He’d suffered with addiction and mental health problems for a number of years and had received help before the accidental overdose. He was mourned by friends and fans, with a focus on his character’s off-screen death to give everyone a chance to publically grieve.

Chicago Fire Season 7 Finale Review I am Not Leaving You

Chicago Fire Season 7 Finale Review I am Not Leaving You

If nothing else, Chicago Fire Season 7 Episode 7, “What Will Define You,” gives Taylor Kinney a chance to show off some powerful skill as we have a chance to dig a little deeper into his character.

Severide’s relationship with his father has always been complicated, to say the least, and losing him so suddenly only shows that further. He’s heartbroken, angry, and full of guilt, especially considering their last conversation and the way Benny came through for his son anyway.

In a way that seems very fitting with his character, Severide is laser-focused on getting the details handled and moving on. One detail that’s important is his father’s medal, which Benny wanted to be buried with. But, Benny was Benny, and there’s no telling which one of his exes might have it.

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Chicago Fire Season 7 DVD For Sale in UK
Chicago Fire Season 7 DVD For Sale in UK

Chicago Fire – Season 7 on DVD

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It’s sweet how much Stella puts into finding that medal and how much the others are willing to help with that mission. I’m also really appreciating the positivity in Stella and Kelly’s relationship. This is a difficult time for Kelly, and Stella is showing exactly the patience and compassion he needs.

In return, Kelly shows his appreciation for her — it’s a heck of an emotional episode, but when she hands him that medal after he was certain it wouldn’t be found (it turns out his sister had it all along), it’s as though she fixed everything in his world.

Equally touching is the way Boden is able to advocate for Severide and for the funeral he believes his father deserves. Watching the firetrucks pull up as they walk out with the casket — it’s enough to give anyone goosebumps.

We talk a lot about how Firehouse 51 is a family, but what this shows is that the firefighter community is a family, and it’s pretty remarkable how they can come through for one another.

Chicago Fire Season 7 Finale Review I am Not Leaving You

Meanwhile, Brett is continuing a pattern of getting involved in her patient’s lives. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it feels a little… contrived. This was a characteristic we became used to from Gabby, and honestly, it’s one we’ve gotten used to from the other characters as well.

Everyone is willing to go above and beyond, but there’s something that feels a little off in Brett’s involvement with the texting teenager. Her compassion is nice, though, and she addresses her conflicting feelings by visiting the new chaplain — which seems to bring on some different kinds of feelings.

I wish we could see Brett and Antonio get back together, but if that’s not possible, I’m on board with someone new for Brett, and the new chaplain definitely seems like he’s going to have a presence.

The texting teenager does get quite the lesson, and it makes for a useful storyline. We’re used to seeing stories of drunk drivers causing accidents on television, but this is a problem that, at least from what I’ve seen, isn’t addressed quite as often.

Chicago Fire Season 7 Finale Review I am Not Leaving You
Chicago Med Season 4 Episode List

Chicago Med Season 4 Episode List

S4, Ep1 – Be My Better Half

Goodwin clashes with new hospital COO Gwen Garrett while April questions whether Ethan’s sister is using drugs again; Charles confronts his past actions.

S4, Ep2 – When to Let Go

An overflow of patients is rushed into Chicago Med following an apartment blaze and Rhodes tries to save a firefighter’s life, while the two Halstead brothers face their own personal battle.

S4, Ep3 – Heavy Is the Head

A sick boy is brought to the hospital, forcing Ethan to face a tough decision that grows into a complicated and dangerous situation.

S4, Ep4 – Backed Against the Wall

The CPD pays Dr. Halstead an unexpected visit; Ethan is skeptical of a woman experiencing chronic pain; Natalie takes care of a cancer patient whose brother refuses to help.

S4, Ep5 – What You Don’t Know

Will must lie to Natalie; Ethan and April uncover compromising information about Emily’s boyfriend; Ava isn’t sure what to do with a patient who doesn’t want treatment.

S4, Ep6 – Lesser of Two Evils

Manning and Halstead work quickly to save a physically abused wife; Choi and April discover a shocking truth about a 14-year-old cirrhosis patient; Rhodes and Lanik face off in the ER.

S4, Ep7 – Poison Inside Us

The ED goes on lock-down due to a deadly chemical spill that threatens the lives of patients and leaves one of Med’s own in the balance; Rhodes and Manning attempt to perform live-saving surgeries.

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chicago med season 4
chicago med season 4

Chicago Med – Season 4 on DVD

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S4, Ep8 – Play by My Rules

Dr. Charles and Dr. Choi are at odds over surgery. Dr. Rhodes finds himself in hot water.

S4, Ep9 – Death Do Us Part

Will and Natalie prepare for their big day, but an unsuspecting Will soon finds himself sidetracked.

S4, Ep10 – All the Lonely People

A shooting outside the hospital injures April and leaves the ED shaken up; Halstead returns after a stint in the witness relocation program; Charles and Elsa have an emotional confrontation; Bekker is reluctant to attend an event honoring Rhodes.

S4, Ep11 – Who Can You Trust

Halstead takes heat for making an unauthorized move to treat his pregnant patient. Choi becomes personally invested when treating a homeless veteran. Rhodes and Bekker deal with a patient who desperately needs a liver transplant.

S4, Ep12 – The Things We Do

Dr. Halstead rushes to rescue Dr. Manning from a chopper crash. Drama between Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Bekker boils over. Dr. Charles and Dr. Choi work to help a patient with their addiction. April helps Elsa deal with losing her first patient.

S4, Ep13 – Ghosts in the Attic

Halstead hides the theft of his gun from a suspicious Manning. Tensions are still high between Connor and Bekker, who take a risk operating on an HIV-positive patient. Hank breaks down when he sees a patient from his past.

S4, Ep14 – Can’t Unring That Bell

Connor, who is in hot water with the hospital’s Oversight Committee, handles a gunshot victim with unexpected ties to Halstead. Maggie feels guilty about the return of a former patient. Charles has an awkward first date.

Chicago Med Season 4 Episode List

S4, Ep15 – We Hold These Truths

Natalie and Maggie witness a pickup truck plow through a street fair and must make tough decisions on the fly. At the hospital, doctors and nurses are on high alert with the influx of patients. Dr. Charles’ ex-wife comes to town with news.

S4, Ep16 – Old Flames, New Sparks

Halstead treats a woman on the verge of freezing to death. Dr. Charles’ ex-wife receives some concerning news. Choi handles a lymphoma patient with viral meningitis and a complicated family. Manning makes a house call.

S4, Ep17 – The Space Between Us

When a car unexpectedly smashes through the ambulance bay doors, Dr. Choi makes some difficult decisions in an effort to save a worker trapped beneath the wreckage and April, who’s also in danger.

S4, Ep18 – Tell Me the Truth

Dr. Rhodes receives an alarming phone call that prompts him to rush out in the middle of an important surgery. Dr. Halstead comes to the aid of an FBI agent who is brought into the ER, but he suspects there is more to the story than he is being told. Dr. Manning and Dr. Choi find themselves on opposite sides of a major disagreement over doctor-patient confidentiality.

S4, Ep19 – Never Let You Go

The hospital goes into lockdown mode when a man with a gun holds medical staff hostage. Goodwin is forced to make a tough decision. Dr. Rhodes begins to realize his time with his father is getting short.

S4, Ep20 – More Harm Than Good

Dr. Charles and Dr. Manning disagree on how to handle a patient who they discover is poisoning herself. Dr. Rhodes throws some serious accusations at Dr. Bekker. Dr. Halstead has suspicions about Natalie’s new boyfriend. Dr. Choi tends to Bernie.

S4, Ep21 – Forever Hold Your Peace

Caroline shares news that forces Dr. Charles to make a serious decision about their relationship. Maggie meets her sister’s new boyfriend but danger may lie ahead. Dr. Rhodes experiences a huge loss. Dr. Choi and April face an unexpected challenge.

S4, Ep22 – With a Brave Heart

Dr. Charles and Caroline set some major plans; Ava fights to keep her relationship with Connor. Agent Lee informs Will of news that may put his life in danger.

Chicago Med Season 4 Episode List
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Recap: June is Unstoppable!

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Recap: June is Unstoppable!

Spoiler alert: for watching The Handmaid’s Tale 3

An uplifting climax, full of tear-jerking moments and heroic last stands. But how much further can June go in her fight against the evil men of Gilead?

When Mayday was introduced in season one, it was a shady resistance June wanted to turn to for help. We glimpsed only the skinniest branches of the organisation and assumed that there was some central hub somewhere, a powerful figure running the show. But in this season three finale, we learn that Mayday isn’t some grand plan or a hierarchy of rebels – it’s anyone who wants to damage Gilead. Right now, Mayday is a handmaid and two Marthas in Commander Lawrence’s kitchen. June has become Mayday – and suddenly the show’s decision to name ‘Offred’ June feels a wee bit on the nose.

Within moments, June has resorted to keeping her plan to rescue 52 children on track with the gun that’s been waiting patiently to become a plot point since episode 11. She’s convinced that ruthlessness is how the men of Gilead won, and that victory goes not to who is right, but to whoever has the hardest heart. These days June’s heart is hard enough to threaten a frightened child with a gun, and stand firm against Lawrence’s final spasms of fragile masculinity (“You’re still in my house, young lady!”). She still believes all her suffering and all her crimes must amount to something, even if Lawrence insists that “the universe doesn’t have a balance sheet”. She’s going to rescue those kids if it kills her and everyone else involved in the plan – including Rita and Janine.

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 3 on DVD
The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 3 on DVD

The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 3 on DVD

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Their route to the airport intentionally mirrors the woods in which June had Hannah torn from her arms. This time, she is determined not to be helpless, and no one will stop these children from reaching safety, especially not one solitary Eye guarding the airport. That’s when June realises it won’t be her ruthlessness that saves the day – it will be her selflessness. Her drive to hurt Gilead may have begun as revenge, but here we see her realise a greater purpose: she wants to save anyone in danger in Gilead. She wants to bring the whole thing down, and she will give her life to do so – which, for as long as she is alive at least, makes her unstoppable.

This leads to a rather contrived scene where Janine and a group of Marthas join June in her heroic last stand and throw a bunch of rocks at the Eye, when June could surely have just shot him. But we’ll let the show get away with it, for the image of women standing together in the face of oppression is a powerful one. Better still was June’s handmaid friends searching the woods for her after she is shot and carrying her to safety, walking in their customary two-by-two formation, with a gravely injured insurrectionist held between them. The Martha network has done their bit – season four is surely time for the handmaid network to rise, as June vows to lead ‘her people’ to the land of milk and honey (or, well, Canada). Season three has now truly turned June into a freedom fighter, and it’ll be fascinating to see just how far she will be go in the fight against Gilead.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Recap: June is Unstoppable!

The episode’s most uplifting moment was the arrival of the children in Canada, greeted by a welcoming committee of Moira, Luke and Emily. Kiki/Rebecca being reunited with her father was a shamefully manipulative twist but we loved it, and Rita sinking to the ground as she realised her freedom was movingly played by Amanda Brugel, especially that simple, powerful “hi” she shared with Emily. No more “blessed be the fruit” for her. But it was a sad ending for Luke as he watched the plane door, so desperate to see Hannah emerge that even we began to hope that, somehow, maybe she would.

Elsewhere, in a move that will surprise precisely no one, the Waterfords’ separation has gone nasty, with Fred turning in Serena for arranging June’s rape by forcing Nick to impregnate her. Hearing Serena’s crime termed “sexual slavery” is shocking and, of course, completely accurate. But when you’re immersed in the world of Gilead, as we have been for three seasons now, it’s easy to forget that these crimes have names out in the real world. Seeing Serena confronted with hers and realising the truth of it was, frankly, glorious.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Recap: June is Unstoppable!

The sound of music

Into Dust by Mazzy Star plays as the handmaids carry June to safety, risking themselves in the process. The song seems more like the sort of thing that would accompany a poignant character death, but it instead punctuates a rebirth for June – out of ruthlessness, and into solidarity. Long live the revolution.

Under his eye

• How handy that Rita – one of the few people whose testimony is enough to bring down the Waterfords – has landed in Canada just in time for the trial? It would be interesting to see in season four if Gilead has any spies in Canada who may wish to interfere in such a trial.

• Fred’s obfuscating in his deposition might have had the intention of downplaying his importance in Gilead, but his ego couldn’t resist implying his power anyway. What a petty, weak, monstrous man. Joseph Fiennes has done a marvellous job.

• Lawrence has decided to stay behind and ‘clean up his own mess’, but he has a long history of shying away from bravery, so we don’t expect him to bring down Gilead any time soon. That said, it was a big step for him to finally admit that much of the ‘mess’ that is Gilead is actually his fault, and no amount of effective economic strategy can justify it. His characterisation has been all over the place this season, but Bradley Whitford has been wonderful.

• That opening flashback was a timely reminder of the horrors of Gilead, back before everyone had become numb to such relentless atrocities. It’s nice to see how far June and Janine have come.

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