Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Category: News (1-10 of 455)

'Banshee' premiere review: The new pulp fiction: Sexy, violent, Amish

In Banshee, a muscled bullet-head played by Antony Starr was released from prison, grabbed a quick bit of sexual intercourse from a welcoming waitress, stole a car, and quickly assumed the identity of a dead man who was about to become the new sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania. If you bought this premise, and looked past the fervid exaggeration of the opening moments that are meant to keep Cinemax viewers from switching the channel, you were probably drawn into the clever, well-filmed, intriguing saga set up by series creators Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler. READ FULL STORY

How TV is covering the Newtown, CT, school massacre: For the most part, badly, inevitably

The horrific event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, in which school children and adults were murdered and wounded, brought out the full force — the strengths and weaknesses — of TV news reporting. READ FULL STORY

'Liz and Dick' review: Lindsay Lohan did Elizabeth Taylor wrong

Liz & Dick was a peculiar, drab, damp little TV-movie indeed, wasn’t it? The opening seconds flashed a “based on a true story” message across the screen. But the “story” – that is, the life that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton shared, chronicled here primarily during the 1960s, after meeting during the making of Cleopatra (1963) – was so much richer in reality than it was in this dinky, tin-eared production. Instead, the primary interest in watching Liz & Dick was to behold Lindsay Lohan trying, with varying, wobbly degrees of effort, to make her own career comeback.

In other words, when it came to Lohan “doing” Liz: She done her wrong. READ FULL STORY

'Parenthood' returns: Kristina's cancer, how it affects her and the Braverman clan

Back after too long, Parenthood resumed on Tuesday night with an episode that typified what inspires such an ardent following for this series. The hour was filled with small moments — nothing big, grandiose, or excessively dramatic — that nevertheless added up to a meticulously moving hour.

The inescapable center of the series is now Kristina’s cancer diagnosis and how she and her family are responding to it. The episode was titled “Together” with some irony, since the urge to help Monica Potter’s character, a crisis that can bring a family together, is also what left her frequently feeling isolated, misunderstood, and with a desire to be left alone. READ FULL STORY

'SEAL Team Six' review: Reduced the killing of Bin Laden to florid melodrama, with Obama as edited-in co-star

The TV-movie SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Ladin, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday evening, turned the story of the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden into a reasonably crisp little action film — it didn’t contain anything you didn’t know, and the dialogue sounded as though it had been checked out from a well-preserved World War II supply closet, but you couldn’t help but get caught up in the tense quality of the mission. READ FULL STORY

'Last Man Standing' and 'Malibu Country' reviews: Voting for Romney, going to pot

Last Man Standing returned a series transformed on Friday night, while Malibu Country debuted as a new series with regressive tendencies. Clearly wanting to shake things up, get some attention and some ratings, Tim Allen’s character Mike Baxter has become a supporter of Mitt Romney, a mouthpiece for the Republican party, and perhaps something a bit more extreme. The strategy has worked, at least as far as attention: I probably wouldn’t be reviewing this show, were Mike not saying things like, “You voted for a guy from Kenya.” READ FULL STORY

'Mockingbird Lane' review: A stylish 'Munsters' make-over

Mockingbird Lane was an attempt to update The Munsters for an audience that likes Once Upon a Time and True Blood — is there such an audience? Apparently NBC didn’t think so, because the proposed series doesn’t seem to have a green light from NBC. Instead, the network aired this pilot on Friday evening. It was smart and colorful — which makes sense, since producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) was behind it, but it also didn’t feel as though all of its elements had come together to make it clear where such a weekly series might go. READ FULL STORY

Presidential debate review: Romney dominated from early on, Obama embraced his inner 'Obamacare'

Mitt Romney achieved what he had to do during the first Presidential debate on Wednesday night: He came across as confident, equal to holding a stage with President Obama. Right out of the gate, he was animated where a still, stately Obama spent the first 45 minutes or so seeming to warm up. As a television presence making pithy statements — in pure matters of style; whether the majority of his assertions were accurate, factual, is another matter to be parsed — Romney dominated. And when you dominate the camera on TV, you probably leave the audience feeling you’re making the more convincing arguments. READ FULL STORY

Saturday Night Live: Seth MacFarlane did his best

Seth MacFarlane brought all his voices to hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. The Family Guy creator came off as a genial fellow who gamely enjoyed being in a bunch of mostly unamusing SNL sketches. MacFarlane’s opening segment was a series of voice performances of some of his best-known characters from Family Guy, with a few other impersonations (Droopy Dog, Kermit the frog) thrown in, with a bit of the mildly accomplished Sinatra-style crooning that MacFarlane is fond of doing and he’s powerful enough to compel producers and audiences to submit to. READ FULL STORY

'Girls' season finale: 'I'm very moved'

The arc of the first season of Girls was an undulating one. The Lena Dunham comedy-drama-mixology-experiment commenced, in its first two episodes, as an indie film in half-hour chunks, then ventured further into sitcom territory without dropping its thoughtfulness, and in its finale managed to balance the funny, the serious, the absurd, and the poignant in a strikingly surprising, effective conclusion. READ FULL STORY

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