Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Category: Movies (1-10 of 69)

'Southland' season premiere review: Hot town, hot tempers, hot show

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Southland returned for its fifth season on Wednesday night energetically unrepentant: This is a cop saga at once deeply satisfying (its roots in the best tradition of the oldest, most sere TV police procedurals, such as Dragnet and Naked City) yet stubbornly determined to unsettle viewers with stark frankness and emotionalism. READ FULL STORY

Academy Awards show review: Oscars in good hands with Billy Crystal... and Christopher Guest, and Emma Stone, and Angelina Jolie's leg

It was a jolly good show, probably as good a show as any that lasts more than three hours and is obliged to run commercials for GCB and which bestowed its biggest awards upon a movie only a tiny percentage of the TV audience has seen. This year’s Oscar telecast was a comforting affair, starting with host Billy Crystal. By now, Crystal has achieved that status of being as reassuring as he is funny — you feel relaxed watching him, knowing he’s in charge and alert to the mood of the house. (The house, in fact, the former Kodak Theatre, became a Crystal running gag, renamed things like “Chapter 11 Theatre” and “the Your-Name-Here Theatre.”) Crystal’s opening filmed segment, inserting himself into some of the front-runners, was both funny by itself and funny just because he’s done it before and we like seeing him do it again. (My favorite line here: Billy, in place of Brad Pitt in Moneyball, telling the coaching table, “Clams you’re giving me, clams!”) READ FULL STORY

The Michael Mann Interview, Part 1: His life and work in television, from 'Starsky and Hutch' to 'Miami Vice' to 'Luck': EXCLUSIVE

Michael Mann is the rare director-writer-producer who has maintained simultaneous careers in feature films and television, and he’s done this since the 1970s. Mann’s TV career includes not only the major hit series and cultural avatar Miami Vice (1984-90), but also television’s first serialized drama, Crime Story (1986-88), and the first weekly series to be shot in high-definition film, Robbery Homicide Division (2002-2003).

As the premiere of the Mann-directed pilot of HBO’s Luck nears on Jan. 29, Mann spoke with me about the entire breadth of his TV career, starting at the beginning, with writing work on the anthology series Police Story, and the Aaron Spelling-produced hit Starsky and Hutch. READ FULL STORY

The Golden Globe Awards review: Ricky Gervais presided over an underwhelming show... but my predictions paid off (mostly)

As a TV show, Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards was rather underwhelming, even if most of the winners were spot-on. All those NBC commercials featuring host Ricky Gervais promising to be as meanly sarcastic as he was last year didn’t really pay off. The speeches weren’t all that amusing, except for the one delivered by Sophia Vergara and Steve Levitan from Modern Family. And the awards themselves? Kelsey Grammer in Boss beat out Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad??? READ FULL STORY

'Allen Gregory,' 'The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror, 'Family Guy,' and 'The Cleveland Show': Which animation dominated your attention?

With its sleek animation and meticulously well-spoken central kid character, Allen Gregory was a quirky addition to Fox’s “Animation Domination” programming bloc on Sunday night. This new creation headed up by actor-producer Jonah Hill, who voices what other characters consider a “pretentious” little seven year-old, was eccentric in a way that belied its glossy surface. Gregory joined a line-up that included the 22nd “Treehouse of Horror” edition of The Simpsons, plus new episodes of Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. READ FULL STORY

'Entourage' season premiere review: The final season began with anger, sobriety, and girls, girls, girls

As Entourage began its final season, Vince is living the sober life, graduating from rehab with cavalier insouciance, and is eager to write and direct. Johnny seems on the verge of third-tier stardom as the lead voice in a new cartoon series. Juicy subplots abound: Andrew Dice Clay, playing himself as Johnny’s co-star, doesn’t shy away from his former-super-star-comedian status. Scott Caan is back to push his pectorals around as E’s management partner, and Rex Lee’s Lloyd is trying to sign Modern Family producer Steve Levitan. READ FULL STORY

Peter Falk was Columbo and a whole lot more: a career-spanning appreciation

One of the most accomplished television, movie, and stage actors to ever create a pop culture icon, Peter Falk was Columbo, and he was also a helluva a lot more than that, too. His work in movies such as The Princess Bride, Wings of Desire, and The In-Laws, and especially in the proto-indie films made by his pal John Cassavetes, such as Husbands (1970), was superb. His stage career included marvelous performances in plays ranging from Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh to Neil Simon’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue, for which he won a Tony. READ FULL STORY

'South Park' season premiere review warning: Don't read about 'HUMANCENTiPAD' on a full stomach

One of the little miracles of pop culture, South Park proceeds with its obsessions about the nature of freedom and the (im)precision of language, its mass-culture insults and its cult-culture shout-outs. It doesn’t care whether we get all the references, or take offense at the jokes, which only makes us love it all the more.

And which makes us masochists far happier than Kyle and the two people who were yoked together and made to form the “HUMANCENTiPAD,” the title and subject of the season premiere. READ FULL STORY

'Comedy Awards' review: Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, David Letterman, Bill Murray helped to save it

Comedy Central’s first annual Comedy Awards was a curious mixture of really funny and really boring, so chock-full of funny people squeezed into two hours that only a few of them stood out effectively. We’ll see about that “annual” thing. READ FULL STORY

Helen Mirren hosts 'Saturday Night Live': Your opinion is desired.

Tonight, Helen Mirren will host Saturday Night Live; the musical guest is Foo Fighters. Mirren is promoting the new version of Arthur, in which she co-stars with READ FULL STORY

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