Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Dramas (61-70 of 564)

'Hell on Wheels' season premiere: The not-so-Great Train Robbery

The Western is alive and tentative on Sunday nights. A&E’s Longmire gives us a modern law-man with brooding, Anthony-Mann-Lite atmospherics. And now the second season of AMC’s Hell on Wheels, with its Andre de Toth moderate-budget vistas and hemmed-in, conflicting protagonists, proves that this genre can thrive on TV if a series is built around a quiet but forceful hero, some black-hearted villains, and some attractive yet ruthless women-folk. READ FULL STORY

'Dallas' season finale review: Did the 'Revelations' help revitalize a TV classic?

The new version of Dallas commenced its first-season finale with Larry Hagman’s J.R Ewing giving his version of a life-sustaining pep talk a comatose Bobby (Patrick Duffy), “Keep fightin’ me … I love you, Bobby,” a rare moment of sincere sentiment on the part of one of television’s greatest villains. And I’d add two things about that sentence: It’s kind of amazing that the reconstituted Dallas has managed to do justice to Hagman’s great potrait of villainy, and when I invoke sincerity in the context of J.R., it’s always undercut by J.R.’s option to turn earnestness into an even deeper form of deviousness. READ FULL STORY

'The Newsroom' review: Killing Osama bin Laden, committing screwball comedy, and bullying a flight attendant

So last night we saw how the ACN news staff would have covered the killing of Osama bin Laden on The Newsroom: With an anchor who by his own admission was “wasted … completely baked,” and in the midst of a newsroom romance that dares not speak its name. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' review: Happy birthday, dear cruel Walter, happy birthday to you

If you wanted to break down this week’s episode of Breaking Bad to its essentials, in the way it fits into the pattern of episodes thus far, you might say that if last week was all about Walter White convincing himself he was in control of his new business partner Mike, this episode, titled “Fifty-One,” was about Walt convincing Skyler (and us)  he was in control of his wife. But that, of course, is reductive. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' review: Walt finally meets Scarface: Say hello to my little friend

Where most thrillers thrive on macho posturing, making heroes and villains cool for the way they brag and speak in hardboiled threats they may or may not carry out, Breaking Bad exists partly to deconstruct that genre staple. Thus this week’s episode, “Hazard Pay,” was full of tough talk by Jonathan Banks’ Mike undercut by Walt’s more quiet, understated, but ultimately more ruthless ideas and actions.  READ FULL STORY

Television Critics Association awards go to 'Breaking Bad,' 'Cheers,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'Downton Abbey' and more

The Television Critics Association awards were announced on Saturday night. The nation’s TV critics gave awards to Louie for best comedy, Breaking Bad for best drama; the “Program of the Year” award went to Game of Thrones. The event was hosted by Bad‘s Bryan Cranston.  READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' review: 'You are a time bomb'

Before he was in Breaking Bad, Jonathan Banks’ most notable TV work was on Wiseguy, the frequently superb 1987-90 Stephen J. Cannell-Frank Lupo series in which Banks played Frank McPike, a cop who was the primarily handler for Ken Wahl’s undercover agent Vinnie Terranova. Banks’ McPike was a flinty law enforcement officer who tried to be deadpan and aloof, but who was so devoted to his wife, he ended up endangering his career and others’. You might say that in Breaking Bad, Banks is continuing his character, that Mike Ehrmantraut is the disgraced but still skilled version of what Wiseguy‘s McPike might have become after leaving law enforcement. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Awards: Why Sherlock Holmes and various 'girls' make this a schizo but superb nominations list

You can argue about your favorite snubs (and, sure, Community and Fringe are among mine), but if you look at the entire list of Emmy nominations, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (probably by coincidence and chance) spread a lot of love to many of the right shows and the right stars. READ FULL STORY

Emmy nominations tomorrow: Do ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox have a chance against AMC, HBO, and Showtime?

When the Emmy nominations are announced tomorrow, you can be sure of two things: The noms will be dominated by cable fare, and the howls you’ll hear from fans will be for non-cable network shows that got passed over.

So, if you’re a fan of Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland, and Breaking Bad, you can be sure that your faves will be more than well-represented. But what are some of your favorite network series? Fringe? Community? Person of Interest? Ah, I would bet that you’ll be out of luck. (Not that I don’t hope I’m wrong about that.) This will also hold true in the TV-movie and miniseries categories. READ FULL STORY

Why did 'Political Animals' get better reviews than 'The Newsroom'?

On Sunday night, the first installment of the USA network miniseries Political Animals premiered opposite the fourth episode of The Newsroom. Both offer big-canvas portraits of workplace environments that fascinate the media (politics and, well, the media); both star actors who normally don’t “do” television (Sigourney Weaver; Jeff Daniels); both come from producers who’ve done interesting TV work in the past (Everwood and Jack & Bobby from Greg Berlanti; The West Wing and SportsNight from Aaron Sorkin). While no one would argue that Sorkin’s resume doesn’t carry more weight (a feature film career that includes The Social Network, A Few Good Men, and Moneyball — of which I really liked two out of three — will do that for a fella), Berlanti’s work here feels fully up to the level of Sorkin’s latest as fast-paced entertainment. It’s also received better reviews in the most prominent outlets.

Which leads to the question: Why? READ FULL STORY

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