Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Classic TV (1-10 of 46)

David Mamet's 'Have Gun, Will Travel' reboot: Why it's a great idea

David Mamet is reportedly developing a new version of Have Gun — Will Travel for the network that first presented the series in 1957, CBS. It’s a great idea, since the central character Paladin, played by Richard Boone, is very much in the Mamet tradition of well-spoken but violent, meticulous yet profane protagonists. Take off his holster, and Paladin would have fit right in among the salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross (Paladin is the only TV Western hero who handed out business cards) or on Mamet’s earlier CBS drama, The Unit. READ FULL STORY

An Andy Griffith tribute: The gentle sheriff of Mayberry was a shrewd, brilliant performer

Andy Griffith was one of the greatest performers in television history. His portrayal of Mayberry, North Carolina, sheriff Andy Taylor is one of the most sustained feats of comic subtlety and grace in any medium. Griffith did a lot before and after The Andy Griffith Show, but that series will remain the cornerstone of his achievement. READ FULL STORY

'The Newsroom' premiere review: Did Aaron Sorkin's new HBO series make you mad as hell, or happy as a clam?

The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s return to television, premiered on Sunday night, and let’s get ready to rumble. It’s a series that will serve as an escape-valve of relief, anger, and confirmation, articulating so many things that so many people feel about the frequently-pathetic state of the news media. (In a sense, it wants to be this TV generation’s equivalent to the 1976 movie Network, with the Paddy Chayevsky-written line, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”) It’s also a series that is going to drive some people crazy. For some, it will be because the show is frequently hectoring and repetitive, and it has storytelling problems with its office romances. But for others, it’s going to make them crazy because no matter how clearly Sorkin states the opposite (on-screen and in interviews), The Newsroom is going to strike them as one long liberal — or as Bill O’Reilly will doubtless label it, “far left” — screed. READ FULL STORY

Richard Dawson was a different kind of TV personality: Smoochy, sullen, and smart

Richard Dawson, who has died at age 79, was a unique TV personality, someone who raised his status from game-show regular and sitcom supporting player on the strength of his often sharp sarcasm, dour poker-face, and naughty, mischievous, even rebellious nature.  READ FULL STORY

Andy Rooney signs off: Here's why there's a lot more to his TV work than cranky observations (with VIDEO)

Andy Rooney, in signing off from 60 Minutes this weekend, said that “this is the moment I’ve dreaded” — the final weekly installment of his “few minutes” segments. But Rooney is actually ending a chapter in TV history that many have likely forgotten, if you ever knew it to begin with. Rooney has long been the most highly visible link to the first generation of TV personalities — anchors, reporters, and entertainers. He’s a helluva a lot more than the “cranky,” “Did you ever notice FILL IN BLANK?” guy that too many people ridicule these days. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones,' 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Sherlock,' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' among big winners of Television Critics Association Awards

Jon Hamm was named best actor in a drama and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman tied for best actor in a comedy in the annual Television Critics Association awards ceremony held on Saturday night.

The full list is: READ FULL STORY

TNT's 'Dallas' preview during 'The Closer' and 'Rizzoli and Isles': It looked pretty dang fun: VIDEO

TNT provided a preview of its Dallas sequel during the season premieres of The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles. It’s impossible to judge any show on the basis of a one-plus heavily-edited minutes, but given the mix of Dallas stars old and new, Dallas redux looks… 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

James Arness has died: why he was the greatest TV Western lawman

James Arness, a great Sequoia tree in the forest of TV Western heroes, has died; he was 88. Arness is immortal in TV history as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, the longest-running network drama in television history with the most episodes. (Gunsmoke‘s 635 episodes versus Law & Order’s 456; the two are tied with 20 seasons.) This feat would have been impossible without the presence of Arness, a 6-foot-7, quiet man who gave an air of serene authority to Matt Dillon. READ FULL STORY

Why did Oprah matter? Will she ever again, on her OWN?

Unlike so many trumped-up celebrations of famous people, the three-day farewell to Oprah Winfrey taking place — where else? — on The Oprah Winfrey Show can scarcely be dismissed as self-congratulation or hype. READ FULL STORY

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