Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Dramas (31-40 of 564)

'The Girl' review: Breaking news: Alfred Hitchcock abused Tippi Hedren, badly and melodramatically

The Girl, which premiered on HBO on Saturday night, played out like a bad Alfred Hitchcock movie — like, for example and in an unfortunate coincidence, Marnie, one of the films that’s prominent in The Girl. The Girl is a movie with an axe that is ground with less subtlety than anything Hitchcock himself ever made: It wants to humiliate the director of such great movies as Vertigo and Psycho, while adding luster to the image of actress Tippi Hedren. Any production with an agenda like this was bound to be jarringly didactic, a surprisingly crucial flaw for a TV-movie with such talented people in front of and behind the camera. READ FULL STORY

'Hunted' premiere review: Bone-crunching fights, soul-crushing lies, lip-pouting action

Hunted stars Melissa George (whom some of us will always revere as Gabriel Byrne’s most pouty-lipped patient on HBO’s In Treatment) as Sam Hunter, employee of a private investigative company called Byzantium. The new series, which premiered Friday night, wants to be, as the company name suggests, a byzantine thriller about betrayal, deception, spying, fighting, and poutiness. Created by X-Files/Lone Gunman/Millennium writer-producer Frank Spotnitz, Hunted succeeds as a fun, junky thriller, just the sort of thing the current Cinemax directive (“We will make Strike Back a hit!”) exists to offer. READ FULL STORY

'American Horror Story: Asylum' premiere review: Boo! As in, were you well-scared, or disappointed?

In part because it involves people associated with The New Normal and The Voice, the new season of American Horror Story, subtitled Asylum, is automatically scarier than the first one. Co-creator Ryan Murphy, the man behind the garish laughs of New Normal, has enlisted Adam Levine as one of his horror-show victims, and just watching the stubbly singer-scarecrow feign sex with his character’s new bride (Jenna Dewan Tatum) was effectively, thoroughly unnerving. READ FULL STORY

'Nashville' week two review: Pickin', grinnin', and skinny-dippin'

The second episode of Nashville kicked off a scene showing Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) filming a video for for new single “Telescope,” a bit of jaunty pop-country that’s been released in the real world as a single to country radio. It seems like a bit of a risky move: If the song as sung by Panettiere sinks without a trace, doesn’t it suggest that Juliette Barnes isn’t a powerhouse hit maker? Not really: The majority of viewers watching Nashville aren’t also keeping their eyes on the music charts. Nope, it’s the mixture of drama and music that’s going to make or break Nashville, and this week’s episode, written as last week’s pilot was by creator Callie Khouri, revealed more of the series’ strengths and weaknesses. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead' premiere review: Back to the reason this show exists: Killin' zombies

The Walking Dead returned on Sunday night for its third season, and returned to its roots. By which I mean: Killing zombies. After a season spent largely squandered by debates about morality and the frailty of human existence, with lots of maundering soul-searching, The Walking Dead needed to realign itself. Similarly, viewers — including me — need to shake off the idea that there should be deeper character development. Just because it’s on AMC doesn’t mean it’s of Breaking Bad or Mad Men quality. We have to take The Walking Dead on its own terms. And those terms are, I repeat: Killing zombies.
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'Walking Dead' season premiere VIDEO review: It may be the best episode yet

The Walking Dead begins its new season tomorrow night with an episode directed by Ernest Dickerson that takes the show back to what it exists to do: Kill zombies. READ FULL STORY

'Nashville' premiere review: The season's best new show, some sources of its music and its drama: 'What the hell was THAT?'

One of the great pleasures of Nashville is that it arrived fully formed, with a sure sense of what it wants to accomplish dramatically, and with a masterful command of atmosphere and setting. No other new show this season projects such effortless assurance, hits so many notes of emotion. Hell, no other scripted show hits so many just plain notes: Its music is as interesting as its storytelling. READ FULL STORY

'Arrow' premiere review: More than just ab workouts and quiver-grabbin'

It would be a mistake to say that Arrow is the Smallvillification of DC Comics superhero Green Arrow, as tempting as that is. In this new series starring Stephen Amell as billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, The Emerald Archer is presented as a hooded bow-and-arrow expert with superb musculature who – well, what he does is almost beside the point, much of the time. Much of the purpose of Arrow is to showcase Amell’s good looks and his muscle-flexing fighting, including martial arts skills as well as quiver-grabbin’. Of course he fights crime; of course he has problems with his love life and his family. Of course he has a sister who’s into drugs nicknamed Speedy – wait, what? In the comics, Speedy was Green Arrow’s male sidekick; here, she’s played by The O.C.’s Willa Holland as a brat. Oh, that’s right: This is the CW… READ FULL STORY

'Vegas' review: When a show strains to be good, mediocre things can happen

Vegas is a show that’s trying hard to be good. The strain shows; it hasn’t gelled yet. This week’s third episode added some nice details to the show’s mob storyline — Jonathan Banks has a job post-Breaking Bad — but the depiction of Dennis Quaid’s character, reluctant law-man Ralph Lamb, often leads this excellent actor into some silly moments. READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' and its Kalinda problem

Is this the season Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) peaks, as a character? I think it may be: Her hubby-trouble subplot in the new season of The Good Wife has been so disconnected from the real meat of the episodes – the law firm in bankruptcy; the introduction of a marvelously low-key Nathan Lane as the firm’s fussily efficient appointed trustee; this week’s mini-showcase for Maura Tierney, who just becomes more beguiling, more forceful, more intriguing with every guest role she takes – that Julianna Margulies’ Alicia has even remarked on how detached Kalinda is from the rest of what’s going on. READ FULL STORY

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