August 25, 2014 12:00 PM



No. 1 The Giver

A teenager rebels against a colorless future in which citizens make nice, not war


Based on Lois Lowry’s famous 1993 novel, The Giver is set in a future society freed from disruptive mood swings: Death is referred to as “elsewhere,” music is never heard and citizens are given a drug that reduces the visual world to black, white and gray. It’s like living in Whistler’s Mother. However, at all times society’s big boss (Meryl Streep, in a white Lady Gandalf wig) keeps on call one person—the Giver—who is the sole repository of all suppressed truth about reality’s joys (dancing) and woes (war). Chosen as apprentice for the job, young Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) soon realizes he prefers the colors of the rainbow, even if they come with storm clouds. The Giver has the sweet purity of a fable—it feels like a gift. (PG-13)

No. 2 Dallas

The revelations never stop gushing, but it’s the veteran performers who fuel the fun


Southfork’s ablaze and Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) clings to life after a suicide attempt as the third season of this reboot picks up. But the series really crackles when it focuses on its cast of elders: Patrick Duffy (as Bobby), who is still smoldering at 65; Linda Gray as Sue Ellen, such a desperate alcoholic that she’s tempted to chug a bottle of men’s aftershave; and Judith Light, who plays Judith Ryland, a woman as twisted as her updo. By the end of the first episode, we discover who survived—and set—the fire at the ranch, and villainous John Ross (Josh Henderson) asks, “Am I just some sort of sociopath that’s so broken inside that I can’t ever be fixed?” We sure hope so! (TNT, Aug. 18, 9 p.m.)

No. 3 @mingey


Meet Finn, Amanda Seyfried’s cuddly, snuggly pooch, who has become an online celeb in his own right (13,000-plus Twitter followers!) thanks to Seyfried’s adorable Instagram account. (

No. 4 Yahoo Screen’s Live Nation Channel

365 concerts, streamed straight to your computer, phone and tablet


In July the Live Nation Channel announced plans to stream a major concert every day for a year. Among the headliners: Justin Timberlake (performing live from Iceland Aug. 24), the Goo Goo Dolls (Aug. 17) and John Legend (Aug. 20). Can’t watch live? Then log on the next day for on-demand highlights, artist interviews and backstage footage. (

No. 5 The Feed


The cohosts double as the competitors in this peppy and charismatic new food series that converts emerging industry trends into whirlwind kitchen experiments across New York City. Featuring Gail Simmons (Top Chef), chef Marcus Samuelsson and comedian Max Silvestri, the premiere zeroes in on the Cronut craze, challenging the trio to devise their own culinary mashups. Simmons’s inventive pitch: poutine on a stick. (FYI, Aug. 21, 10 p.m.)

No. 6 The Trip to Italy

A leisurely and loony sequel on the Amalfi coast


The unlikely indie hit The Trip saw Brits Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon—playing versions of themselves—embarking on a culinary road trip across rural England, improvising comedy at restaurants all along the way. They do exactly the same thing in the equally inspired and inviting Italy, reviving their Internet-famous Michael Caine impressions (and rehashing their career insecurities) in six picturesque Italian locales. New bits include an extended spoof of the recent Batman films, a morbidly funny sequence set inside the ruins of Pompeii and Coogan’s sweet bid to reconnect with his estranged son. (NR)

No. 7 Frank

It takes a big actor to wear a ginormous head


Michael Fassbender is one of the best-looking actors around, but the man isn’t vain: Playing Frank, an avant-garde rocker who doesn’t enjoy engaging with the world, Fassbender spends nearly the entire movie with that noble profile buried in a round plastic head that expresses nothing. Yet he manages to be as magnetic as he is disturbing. Maggie Gyllenhaal, as Frank’s lover, bandmate and protector, is even better: Severe, regal and dark, she’s a punk Maleficent. Frank is a flaky movie that surprises and charms—it has its own beat. (R)

No. 8 The Chainsmokers ‘Kanye’


Still have “#Selfie” stuck in your head? Get ready for it to be replaced by this infectious follow-up. The EDM duo’s tongue-in-cheek ode to the rapper delights with a jumpy beat and catchy hook.

No. 9 Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart


Clever study of how the notorious 1990 murder case gave birth to tabloid TV. Whether it produced a miscarriage of justice is a lot more debatable. (HBO, Aug. 18, 9 p.m.)

No. 10 G.R.L.


Assembled by the Pussycat Dolls’ creator Robin Antin, this sassy quintet swap their predecessors’ sex-kitten come-ons for girl-power anthems. With its harmonies and hooky choruses (courtesy of hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin)—notably on lead single “Ugly Heart”—G.R.L. makes for a fizzy confection of a debut.

No. 11 The Best New Books

On-target essays, an Irish idyll and a new Aussie adventure from the author of The Thorn Birds

Roxane Gay Bad Feminist


Roxane Gay is the brilliant girl-next-door: your best friend and your sharpest critic. Here she takes on feminism (why being a “bad” one can be good) and fat (she is not a small woman), race, sexual violence and Scrabble. (“… finding words,” she says, “is kind of my superpower.”) She is by turns provocative, chilling, hilarious; she is also required reading.

Santa Montefiore Secrets of the Lighthouse


Fleeing an overbearing mother and a planned marriage to a man she doesn’t love, Ellen Trawton heads for Ireland to start her novel. Instead she uncovers the family her mom abandoned—and falls in love. With a brooding hero, dark secrets and a jealous, ghostly narrator, this modern gothic is a blood-tingling good read.


Colleen McCullough Bittersweet


The author of the 1977 mega-hit The Thorn Birds has returned to Australia for her 23rd novel. This time her tale follows the four plucky Latimer sisters as they strive for personal fulfillment in a country town in the 1920s, battling restrictive attitudes toward women in both work and love. Filled with humor, insight and captivating historical detail, McCullough’s latest is a wise and warm tribute to family, female empowerment and her native land.


James McBride The Good Lord Bird

McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel reimagines John Brown’s abolitionist crusade through the eyes of a young slave boy posing as a girl.

Kate Manning My Notorious Life

Based on the life of a controversial 1860s New York City midwife, this involving novel combines romance, family saga and social history to winning effect.

Margaret Atwood MaddAddam

A pandemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population in the powerful conclusion to Atwood’s scary-smart MaddAddam trilogy.

No. 12 The Emmy Awards

TV’s annual best-of celebration airs on NBC Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Here are our picks for the top categories

Game of Thrones


HBO has done a masterful job constructing George R.R. Martin’s fantasy realm, and each season it grows not only more elaborate but more powerful. About time to crown the thing.

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective


With all respect to Bryan Cranston, McConaughey earned his Oscar, and his performance for HBO should earn him this. He played a good man whose acquaintance with evil rots him almost—not quite—to the core.

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife


Alicia Florrick lost the love of her life while having to pick her way through the usual hellish intricacies of this great CBS drama. Margulies exemplified both grief and grace under pressure.

Louis C.K., Louie


On his bravely unpredictable FX series he was described— by a girlfriend!—as “a mailbox on two tree stumps, with a melon on top.” He’s also the most believable middle-aged human on television.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep


She’s already won twice for her HBO show, but, to quote FDR’s final campaign, why swap horses midstream? It’s a coloratura’s turn of shrieks, hisses, curses and manic, vindictive laughter.



FX borrowed the tone, the idiosyncratic humor and the snow from the Coen brothers’ movie to create a riveting story about an uncontrollable crime spree. Billy Bob Thornton, as killer Lorne Malvo, deserves a prize too.

Orange Is the New Black


Netflix’s women-in-prison series is a raucous, painful look at a community of outsiders now forced to live inside—almost like an all-female M*A*S*H. Carrot-topped Kate Mulgrew is a standout.

2014 Emmy Awards Ballot

Drama Series

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

House of Cards

Mad Men

True Detective

Actor in a Drama

• Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

• Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

• Jon Hamm, Mad Men

• Woody Harrelson, True Detective

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

• Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Actress in a Drama

• Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex

Claire Danes, Homeland

• Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

• Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

• Kerry Washington, Scandal

• Robin Wright, House of Cards

Supporting Actor, Drama

• Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

• Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

• Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

• Josh Charles, The Good Wife

• Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

• Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting Actress, Drama

• Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

• Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

• Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

• Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

• Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

• Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory


Modern Family

Orange Is the New Black

Silicon Valley


Actor in a Comedy

• Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

• Ricky Gervais, Derek

• Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

• Don Cheadle, House of Lies

• Louis C.K., Louie

• William H. Macy, Shameless

Actress in a Comedy

• Lena Dunham, Girls

• Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

• Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

• Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

• Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

• Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Supporting Actor, Comedy

• Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

• Adam Driver, Girls

• Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

• Ty Burrell, Modern Family

• Fred Armisen, Portlandia

• Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress, Comedy

• Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory

• Julie Bowen, Modern Family

• Allison Janney, Mom

• Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black

• Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

• Anna Chlumsky, Veep


American Horror Story: Coven

Bonnie & Clyde




The White Queen


Killing Kennedy

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

Sherlock: His Last Vow

The Normal Heart

The Trip to Bountiful

Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

• Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge

• Martin Freeman, Fargo

• Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

• Idris Elba, Luther

• Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

• Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

• Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

• Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven

• Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor

• Minnie Driver, Return to Zero

• Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon

• Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie

• Colin Hanks, Fargo

• Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart

• Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart

• Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart

• Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

• Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie

• Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven

• Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven

• Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven

• Allison Tolman, Fargo

• Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic

Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race

So You Think You Can Dance

Dancing with the Stars

Top Chef

Project Runway

The Voice

Variety Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon