Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Dramas (51-60 of 564)

'Parenthood' premiere review: Tears, lizards, God, and Ray Romano

Parenthood, still clinging to life through the mere 15 more episodes NBC has granted it (because they just know Chicago Fire and a second season of Smash are really gonna revive the network, right?), returned for a new season on Tuesday night with a wonderful hour that demonstrated once again how engrossing this series can be, in no small part by dramatizing how irritating family members can be.

The episode, titled “Family Portrait,” introduced Ray Romano as a grumpy, frumpy photographer who hires Lauren Graham’s Sarah and made a few marvelously snide comments about her fiance, Jason Ritter’s Mark (“Is he a Make-A-Wish Kid?” Romano’s Hank asked of their relationship — oh, this photo-snapper knows how to snap!). READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' mid-season finale review: 'Gliding Over All' poetic justice?

Culminating in a scene that gave new meaning to the term “info dump,” the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad on Sunday night was at once revelatory and frustrating, sweet and sour. The hour was constructed around what has become a familiar framework this season: It spent much of its first half tidying up the loose ends of last week’s episode, and then spent the second half creating another fine mess. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' video review: What will happen tomorrow night? 'Many deaths I'll sing,' indeed

On Sunday night, we will come to the end of the first half of the final season of Breaking Bad. What will happen? I have a few ideas in the following video review. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' 'Say My Name' review: The new classic Walter, all-rotten, all the time

Breaking Bad‘s penultimate episode of the first half of its final season (deep breath) further developed Bryan Cranston’s Walter White’s character, which is to say, demonstrated how much his character (his moral character, his behavior) is shriveling with each hour of the series. In what may prove to be creator Vince Gilligan and Cranston’s most audacious move, they are taking a character who was once richly complex, and reducing him to a two-bit chiseler — a genius one, to be sure, but a man grown stunted, petty, and cheesily tyrannical. READ FULL STORY

'The Newsroom' season finale review: All's well that ends where it all began

The Newsroom wrapped up its first season with a timely nod to Republican voter suppression laws and a whole lotta symmetry to bring the finale full circle, back to the key events of the series pilot. READ FULL STORY

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

'Political Animals' finale review: Real-life politics ended up swamping this miniseries

Political Animals concluded its miniseries saga on Sunday night, and it must be said that this well-cast, well-acted nighttime soap became progressively less engaging as it went along. The series tried to wrap things up with a cliffhanger that would leave viewers rooting for more — an always-possible additional season — but I doubt this final hour stirred up too much support for a new campaign. Political Animals concluded at an unfortunate time its creators could not have predicted: When the real-life Presidential race and political policy debate has become more wild and florid than anything this USA network entry could match.

This is your SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched the series (season?) finale of Political Animals. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' review: Even pros make mistakes

The key line in this week’s episode of Breaking Bad was probably Hank’s retort when his DEA partner said that Jonathan Banks’ Mike was a “pro.” Even pros makes mistakes, said Dean Norris’ Hank, and that was not only true within the context of the episode, but also of the people behind the camera this week, since I’m of the opinion that while the hour had a number of moments that furthered the pleasure to be taken from Walter White’s increasingly complex, morally bankrupt empire-building and built to a terrific climax, this edition — as is inevitable in even a superb series — also contained a few of Breaking Bad‘s less effective moments.

This would now be your SPOILER ALERT. READ FULL STORY

Did 'The Closer' set up 'Major Crimes' to fail?

The Closer closed out Kyra Sedgwick’s involvement in the series on Monday night, installing Mary McDonnell in her place, in a “new” series, Major Crimes. While I have no inside information about how McDonnell was originally cast in The Closer, I’m led to think, based on the premiere episode that aired after the Closer finale, that she was never intended to be the new star of the show. Because the new show is, I believe, an inevitable disappointment for hardcore Closer fans. As for those of us who are Mary McDonnell fans? Ambivalence reigns! READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' review: Robbery, death, and Meryl Streep

This week’s Breaking Bad climaxed with a thrilling heist scene, hatched from a plan so outrageous in conception yet executed with such tightly edited realism that the final-scene horror was — not to be too heartless about this — icing on a beautiful cake. Once again, Jesse came up with the brilliant idea, Mike objected right up until the moment he was overruled and took part in the scheme anyway, and Walt? Well, Walt was, as much as ever, the man who manipulated everyone without seeming to exert himself all that much… which is one measure of a leader in firm control. READ FULL STORY

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