Michelle Stark, Times Staff Writer

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She also designs the Times' daily entertainment page, and is an editor/writer in the Features department, where she writes weekly about television at The Feed blog. She also manages the Things to Do social media accounts. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations. After an intern stint on the copy editing desk, she moved to Features.

Phone: (727) 893-8829

Email: mstark@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MStark17

  1. Stephen Colbert will be on 'Late Show' with David Letterman next week

    Blog

    CBS announced today that forthcoming Late Night host Stephen Colbert will sit down with current Late Night host David Letterman this week as a guest on the show. Gee, what ever will they talk about?

    It'll be interesting to see whether Colbert shows up as his character "Stephen Colbert" or as himself, the guy who will be taking over Dave's show next year. It was announced last week that Colbert is replacing Letterman when Dave retires in 2015 after three decades as a late-night host. For what it's worth, we're obsessed with these glimpses at the "real" Colbert, which are being unearthed all over the Internet after last week's announcement....

    Colbert.
  2. Interview: Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton talk 'Fargo'

    Blog

    FX had a tricky task when it set about creating its new series, Fargo: craft something in the same dark-comedy vein as the Coen brothers' 1996 movie while also creating a work that stands on its own.

    The show, premiering 10 p.m. tonight on FX, seems to have pulled off something impressive, especially with the spot-on casting of Martin Freeman as pathetic sap Lester Nygaard and Billy Bob Thornton as drifter Lorne Malvo. That's what really sets Fargo apart....

    Billy Bob Thornton
  3. Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman talk about their new show 'Fargo'

    The Feed

    FX had a tricky task when it set about creating its new series, Fargo: craft something in the same dark-comedy vein as the Coen brothers' 1996 movie while also creating a work that stands on its own. Judging by the first four episodes, writer Noah Hawley, Fargo's producers (which include the Coens), and the cast have pulled off something impressive.

    The movie's sense of persistent dread mixed with Minnesota friendliness is recreated here, but the show goes beyond that by digging into a slew of original characters: Allison Tomlan's ambitious deputy, Kate Walsh's grieving wife, Bob Odenkirk's bumbling cop — they all fit perfectly into the show's small town setting. But it's with the spot-on casting of Martin Freeman as pathetic sap Lester Nygaard and Billy Bob Thornton as drifter Lorne Malvo that Fargo really sets itself apart. ...

  4. #PlayTampaBay: Record Store Day extravaganza

    Events

    Record stores around the country are getting into the spirt for the seventh annual Record Store Day on Saturday, and that includes plenty of spots around Tampa Bay. This week, Michelle and Sarah head to Bananas Records and Daddy Kool Records in St. Pete to talk about how local stores are celebrating. Plus, they invite a special guest, Times pop music critic Sean Daly, to talk exclusive records and more....

    BRENT PUCKETT   |   Times
  5. Review: FX's superb 'Fargo' adaptation stands on its own

    Blog

    Well, looks like we found our new favorite show: FX's Fargo. Yes, the drama debuting Tuesday is an adaptation of the Coen brothers' 1996 black comedy, but it more than stands on its own as a compelling creative work. It does a tremendous job re-creating the movie’s tone, that foreboding dread and Minnesota friendliness, but it builds on that with surprising writing, memorable original characters and some dynamite acting. Leads Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in particular turn in some fascinating performances....

    Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in 'Fargo'.
  6. 'Mad Men' Season 7 premiere: Don, Peggy, Roger keep hangin' on — barely

    Blog

    Grab a cigar and pour yourself an Old Fashioned. Each week, Times TV mavens Michelle Stark -- a young go-getter in the Peggy Olson mold -- and Sean Daly -- the Roger Sterling-esque, smiling-through-the-chaos smartaleck -- will vigorously debate Sunday night's episode of Mad Men

    Amid all the zombies and Scandals on right now, it’s easy to forget that Mad Men is still the reigning champ of quality TV. And Sunday night’s premiere was a great, if teasing, Mad Men episode, one that actually has us pumped for this final season (not a given, considering how morose and frustrating last season could be). Oh, sure, the episode was still dreadfully depressing at times (what's up with Don shivering on the icy balcony?), but the buzz of a new decade on the horizon, of change, gave it an exciting energy. Judging by President Nixon's inauguration speech, it looks like we're in January 1969 now, which means this last season will likely span the entire final year of the '60s. More thoughts on the season 7 premiere, Time Zones: ...

    Oh, Peggy. Chin up, kid!
  7. What to watch this week: 'Scandal' season finale, 'Orphan Black' premiere, 'Silicon Valley'

    Blog

    Scandal heads to an explosive season 3 finale, Parenthood revives a character we thought would never appear again, and New Girl attempts to deal with life after 'Nick and Jess'. Plus, Tatiana Maslany resumes one of TV's most impressive performances when Orphan Black returns!

    Click here for the full list of this week's top TV picks. ...

    Tatiana Maslany in 'Orphan Black'.
  8. Keep an eye on these buzzy shows premiering in April

    Blog

    In honor of Mad Men returning Sunday, we rounded up six other shows that should definitely be on your watch list this month. Okay, and one that's not out till May, but it's so good we had to include it.

    Click here for the full list. ...

    HBO's new show Silicon Valley is a hilarious send-up of techie culture.
  9. Preview: 'Mad Men' season 7 premieres Sunday - a look at where it's headed

    Blog

    Mad Men definitely seems to be swinging into a new era for its final season, which starts Sunday on AMC with seven episodes this year and the final seven airing in 2015. Filled with fab fashions and a groovy color palette, the premiere is a showcase for all our major characters. Pete, Peggy, Joan, Roger - we get a chance to see what they're all up to, and some of it is not what you'd expect. That goes for Don Draper, too, who seems poised for a change as everyone gets closer to a new decade. As one character says in the episode's first few moments: "This is the beginning of something."...

    Don and Megan are up to new things in Sunday's 'Mad Men' premiere.
  10. Top TV week of April 14: 'Scandal', 'Silicon Valley', 'Orphan Black'

    The Feed

    TUESDAY

    New Girl, 9 p.m., Fox

    Nick and Jess are broken up, but that's okay, because we've officially moved on to another adorable couple on Fox Tuesday nights: The Mindy Project's Danny and Mindy. Oh, wait, they broke up too? Geez.

    WEDNESDAY

    The Americans, 10 p.m., FX

    This show is having one heck of a second season, coming off a particularly strong three-episode run that expertly explored the show's most interesting themes: identity, loyalty, trust, and what happens when we're faced with questioning those ideals. Between this show and Fargo, FX is steamrolling everything else on TV when it comes to smart, sophisticated dramas. Add in Louie in a few weeks and you've got one formidable 10 p.m. timeslot. ...

    Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal. The show’s third season ends this week.
  11. Review: Add 'Fargo' adaptation to FX's slate of superb shows

    The Feed

    Each episode of Fargo starts with a message: "This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred. "

    The playful disclaimer is the perfect way to open FX's newest series, where nothing is ever quite as it seems.

    Yes, the drama premiering this week is an adaptation of the 1996 Coen brothers movie of the same name. But despite the Coens' involvement (they're executive producers) and that "true story" label inspired by the movie, this isn't just a Fargo the Movie reboot. It does expertly re-create the movie's setting and tone, that constant balancing act between foreboding dread and Minnesota friendliness. But it builds on that with surprising writing, richly drawn original characters and some dynamite acting....

    Billy Bob Thornton as mysterious drifter Lorne Malvo in FX’s new show Fargo.
  12. Recap: 'Scandal' heads to an explosive season 3 finale

    Blog

    It's time for some tough talk, Scandal. Ready?

    I'm getting bored.

    How much Olivia-Fitz back-and-forth can a viewer handle? How many more B613 agents can we keep track of? How many Russians does it take for us to actually care about the Mama Pope plot?

    Scandal's shortened third season ends next Thursday, and while this season has contained some of the best moments of the series, it's also been one of the most convoluted and repetitive - and easier to lose interest in. Our advice for season 4? Get back to two or three major plot lines, and throw in some Case of the Week episodes....

  13. Sisaundra Lewis from Polk County is going to the live shows on 'The Voice' (with video)

    Blog

    This season of The Voice has been good to the Tampa Bay area. First there was Jake Barker, the 28-year-old St. Petersburg native on Adam Levine's team who made it past the Battle Rounds on Monday night and will find out next week whether he continues to the live shows....

    Sisaundra Lewis
  14. A full slate of buzzworthy TV shows debut this month

    The Feed

    When Fox president Kevin Reilly declared pilot season dead at a TV press tour in January, it was just confirmation of a recent trend that will define this year's TV landscape: A traditional network development season that churns out 20-some-episode shows is becoming a thing of the past.

    That's especially true this month, when a slew of buzzy shows with shorter runs premiere way outside the typical fall-winter TV cycle. Here's a look at some of our must-watch picks:...

    Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods and T.J. Miller star in HBO’s Silicon Valley.
  15. Preview: 'Mad Men' swings into a new era for final season

    The Feed

    Sometimes the only way to get through hell is to just keep moving. Don Draper knows this. That's why, after a sixth season full of dwelling on his past, struggling to move beyond his current problems and contemplating his mortality, the star of AMC's Mad Men is leading the show into the '70s with a groovy momentum. • The '60s-set drama begins the first half of its seventh and final season Sunday, and it's clear Season 6 was just a windup for the end game on the horizon. Air travel plays a big part in the premiere, and that makes sense. This year, it feels like Mad Men is going to take us somewhere. • As one character says in the episode's first few moments: "This is the beginning of something."...

    Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), Michael Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman), Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) and Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) are ready for liftoff as the final season of Mad Men debuts.