The new year brings new TV shows, some of them imminent. Having viewed a few of them, seen bits and pieces of others, and banking on the track record of the producers, stars, and networks of others, I’ve put together a little video review of three of them I’m particularly looking forward to. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Television (31-40 of 1706)
One of the most lovely things you can watch during the holiday season is the 1987 film of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” starring the late Denholm Elliott. It’s a faithful yet playful adaptation of Thomas’ work, a narrative poem conceived as a radio play, and the film is at once appropriately sentimental about Christmases past and tartly realistic about the Christmas depicted in the film’s present. It stands in contrast to so much Christmas entertainment that is either gloppy or pious; Elliott, as both narrator and lead actor, provides a vinegary crispness to the role of nostalgic grandfather.
But here’s the thing: A Child’s Christmas in Wales is difficult to find. READ FULL STORY
Here, as I do every year, I follow up my TV Top 10, which you can find here and in the new, print issue of EW, 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, allowed me to sneak three shows into one number – those were the days, eh?) 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 pop-music radio.)
11. Parenthood (NBC) Monica Potter’s Christina cheating death; Ray Romano trying to get Lauren Graham to cheat on Jason Ritter – great stuff. Julia and Joel adopting Victor – not so great. A show like Parenthood is always going to have trouble juggling its subplots and servicing its large cast, but this season it came damn close to broadcasting its best season ever.
12. Luck (HBO) It got better with each succeeding episode; Dustin Hoffman’s was just one of many finely shaded performances (along with a couple of gleefully over-the-top ones). It’s too bad this series got sidelined; the Michael Mann-David Milch production seemed headed for a victory lap if it had had a chance to run for a second season.
13. Fringe (Fox) The alternate-universe versions of my beloved characters never grabbed me the way the originals did, but this season made a good, strenuous effort to return to the fundamental dynamic that made this series so close to great: Its abiding notion that you take family where you can find it, and that that connection is humanity’s greatest source of love, fear, power, and vulnerability.
14. Sons of Anarchy (FX) Kurt Sutter’s take on Shakespeare is becoming more rigorous, more true to its source, yet also more exaggerated, with each season. This time around, he grounded the inherent absurdity of bikers-with-a-conscience (well, a few of them) with imaginative touches such as a finely drawn character for guest star Jimmy Smits to play.
15. Archer (FX) Dirty, slapstick, suspenseful, complex – what started out as a cartoon of James Bond plus The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has become its own unique piece of animated art.
16. The Walking Dead (AMC) Killin’ zombies: The stripped-back new mandate for the series cut away virtually all of its ponderous, moralizing flab while leaving the heart of its reason to exist – to ask, what does it mean to be human? – intact, throbbing with life.
17. Southland (TNT) The police procedural as a series of morality plays, free of preachment as well as cynicism. Probably the action series most mindful of morality, and willing to dramatize examples of it.
18. Hunted (Cinemax) If creator Frank Spotnitz was going to make a spy series about a woman who could pass as both a nanny and a bad-ass, he certainly was a witty man to cast Melissa George, queen of the lippy pout, in the role. She dove right into this satisfyingly knotty series, executed the fight scenes well, and reminded us why they used to nickname this channel Skinemax. No mean feats at all. READ FULL STORY
Jersey Shore signs off tonight, ending six seasons of drunken foolishness, its place in pop culture semi-secure. It is one of the most successful, and most controversial, pieces of programming MTV has ever devised (and that’s saying something, when you’re also the birthplace of A Shot at Love II with Tila Tequila, the crappiest piece of junk ever to deploy a Roman numeral). But what is Jersey Shore‘s lasting significance, its enduring impact? READ FULL STORY
Here’s the thing: You’re not going to laugh very much, I’m guessing, at the 1600 Penn that premieres tonight. The debut lumbers along like the pilot for a complex drama, as though it had to carefully delineate each member of a wacky White House family headed up by Bill Pullman’s President, Jenna Elfman’s First Lady, her stepson played by Josh Gad, and the family’s other kids. But the show gets better; by the third episode, I liked the characters and I was laughing. READ FULL STORY
Homeland concluded its season with an episode that gave the best lines to Mandy Patinkin’s Saul, and set the series spinning forward for another season. The question is: Are you going to go with it, given what’s now happened?
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE SEASON FINALE OF HOMELAND. READ FULL STORY
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