Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: In the News (31-40 of 518)

'When Mitt Romney Came to Town' review: TV news reacts, while Gingrich enjoys 'the suffering'

When Mitt Romney Came to Town, a half-hour video financed by Newt Gingrich’s super PAC Winning Our Future, is a pulverizing piece of propaganda designed to portray Romney as a rapacious, conscience-less businessman who’ll do “anything for a profit,” as one of the quotes from Romney himself phrases it. Heavy on accusation and poignant interviews with unemployed people, the anti-Romney film could have been made by an Occupy Wall Street film student, or by Keith Olbermann during all the time he’s had declining to appear on Current TV. But the fact that it comes from an opponent in Romney’s own party, and lays out a line of attack the Democrats can use in the November election, raises it to high curiosity status. READ FULL STORY

New Hampshire primary TV coverage: Mitt Romney wins in votes and loses in the court of 'I like to fire people'

As the results of the New Hampshire primary vote rolled in, cable news networks had found the theme of the night. It was, roughly speaking, “What the hell was Mitt Romney thinking when he said, ‘I like to fire people’?” By 8 p.m. EST, Romney was the projected winner, with Ron Paul besting Jon Huntsman for second place. That left the pundits with lots of time to ponder the Romney psyche. READ FULL STORY

'Caged' premiere review: MTV goes MMA, tries for a knockout

MTV tried to edit the opening moments of the first episode of Caged so that it had a vibe familiar to its viewers: a Teen Mom aura, with a Louisiana girl named Red narrating, describing how difficult it is to be an unwed mother, a student, and the ex-girlfriend of Wes, the father of her baby. But the show is, at bottom, really about what its title implies: Cage fighting, mixed martial arts, as conducted in a Southern town. READ FULL STORY

'CBS This Morning' premiere review: Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Erica Hill in a glass-smooth debut

Warning to guests appearing on the new CBS This Morning: The “greenroom” — the traditional name for the backstage place where guests wait before appearing on camera — is a “glass room” on the new set. Don’t get caught chomping down on a bagel just because Charlie Rose is talking to Newt Gingrich — the camera may catch you in mid-bite! During the 8 a.m. hour of the CBS This Morning premiere, the camera panned away from the new set’s combination of high-tech roundtable and old-fashioned brick-and-bookshelf backdrop to reveal a transparent greenroom where the obligatory table with coffee, sweets, and fruit plate plus sofas were joined by upcoming guests Julianna Margulies and Melissa Etheridge chatting with each other. In my occasional visits to network greenrooms, the atmosphere is hushed, with guests maintaining wary distance, silently contemplating their upcoming talking-points; we’ll see how long the bigger celebs put up with an exposed view. READ FULL STORY

A new New Hampshire Republican debate: If it's Sunday, it must be 'baloney'!

The second Republican debate within 12 hours was held Sunday morning during an expanded version of Meet the Press. Having laid back last night and given Mitt Romney an opportunity to speak at greater length than he has during any previous debate, his five competitors came to muss Mitt’s rhetorical hair at this one. Newt Gingrich implored Romney to “drop the pious baloney” about his history as a conservative and his motives for running for president. READ FULL STORY

New Hampshire debate: A real Saturday night live!

Saturday night’s Republican debate on ABC found the six men on a New Hampshire stage railing against gay marriage, “the media’s war on religion,” and President Obama’s “social welfare state.” Mitt Romney also emphasized that we need to be reminded that we have “the right to pursue happiness.” And by invoking happiness, he wasn’t trying to act as a prime-time lead-in to Saturday Night Live. READ FULL STORY

The Iowa caucuses: Where Santortum surged, and Rachel Maddow and Sarah Palin found (a little) common ground

For most of the prime time hours Tuesday night, the Iowa caucuses were an endlessly varied repetitions of “it’s too close to call” and “it’s a three-way race between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul.” And that’s the way it went until Romney very narrowly defeated Santorum very late into the night. Nevertheless, the TV coverage yielded some interesting moments of contrast-and-compare, of stylistic tics, twists, and turns. READ FULL STORY

Completing 2011's TV Top 20: Ken Tucker's Nos. 11-20 shows, including 'Community,' 'Parenthood,' 'Game of Thrones'...

Here, as I do every year, I follow up my TV Top 10 with my picks for numbers 11 through 20. Some of you have said these are consolation prizes, but that’s not so. There’s so much good television, that for a few years, I was stuffing my Top 10 with entries that allowed for multiple shows (“Best Thursday-night sitcoms,” for instance, to let me to sneak three shows into one number) until that started to become unwieldy and ridiculous. (Besides, as a part-time music critic, I like the “Top 20” phrase, with its roots in old pop-music radio.) I had no problem this year coming up with a clean-cut Top 10; what follows are shows that grazed the list, missed it for reasons I’ll occasionally articulate below, and yet are nonetheless full of value.

11. Community So full of pop-culture allusions, it’s the one sitcom steeped in irony that isn’t smug about its own smarts. The series tried to dig a bit deeper emotionally this season, to warm some of the characters and perhaps increase its audience-outreach without betraying itself. Me, I could do with less Chang, more Britta, and a Jeff who doesn’t sometimes seem a charmingly quizzical bystander.

12. Parenthood This was the season that’s come the closest to juggling its big cast most deftly, providing nearly every character with a strong plotline. If it’s inevitable that Lauren Graham’s Sarah and Dax Shepard’s Crosby – the show’s most bumptious personalities – dominated the latter half of the season, I was glad to see strong showcases for Peter Krause, Monica Potter, and Bonnie Bedelia.

13. Prohibition Ken Burns and booze proved to be a smooth yet exciting combination. The year’s best TV documentary extended beyond the history of Prohibition to chronicle the era of women’s sufferage and the rise of gangsterism as well.

14. Modern Family The nation’s most popular sitcom had some growing pains this season: In an admirable attempt to try to widen and deepen its characters, it bumped into some sentimental moments that didn’t quite work emotionally. But that’s just a sign that MF is not becoming complacent, and its ensemble cast is a match for that of any drama on TV. READ FULL STORY

Fewer boorish men, more aggressive women on HBO: Hooray for the 'Enlightened' comedy paradigm shift!

Great news for the hardy band of us who became entranced by Enlightened: HBO has renewed the Mike White-Laura Dern comedy litmus test for a new season. In canceling Hung, Bored to Death, and How To Make It in America, and having new comedy Girls and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus show Veep in the wings, HBO is signaling a shift in its comedy priorities. READ FULL STORY

Completing my Best in TV list: Here are the Top 5 shows: Best of 2011 VIDEO

Here is the completion of my Top 10 list, the five shows I enjoyed most in 2011. “Enjoyed,” however, is short-hand for a finely tuned algorithm: The shows here gave me a lot of immediate, visceral pleasure; they were pleasant, and sometimes pleasantly knotty, to contemplate. READ FULL STORY

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