Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: TV Review (51-60 of 985)

'Homeland': Love in 'The Clearing': 'Used and played and lied to'

Wanting someone who wants you, but it just can’t happen. Circumstances — marriage, family, professional responsibilities — keep you apart. Wondering what it would be like if you were together. Would the things that lend your attraction urgency — that tinge of crazy love, an edge of obsession — would those qualities become overwhelming if you spent all your time together? Does the danger that seems to sexy now inevitably lead to frustration, anger, even repulsion?  READ FULL STORY

The President, Stephen Colbert, and TV news describe the Obama future: VIDEO

President Obama’s re-election speech, broadcast late last night, hit a lot of the right notes that all Americans might have wanted to hear. “I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly,” he said early on. “And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests.” Yep, that’s what a lot folks doubtless felt over the past few months especially.

After giving numerous examples of the importance of elections to many different kinds of Americans facing different kinds of issues, he said near his conclusion, “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.” READ FULL STORY

Election night review: TV news announces Obama re-elected; analyzing the analysts

All of the network and cable news networks declared President Obama reelected shortly after 11 p.m., projecting a crucial win in Ohio. TV screens were immediately filled with images of people all over the country — and the world — reacting with joy. The TV analysts were more sober, and in some cases, in disagreement.

Election night on television is always its own riot of staggered results, projected winners, and the wild cheers erupting behind state victors. It’s also cutting-edge technology versus gassy-air punditry. This year, the contrasts were more vivid than ever. I have in the past poked fun at CNN’s John King and his Technicolor-Wizard-Touchy-Feely Map, but on this night, he did a masterful job both physical and mental. By which I mean, his adroit tap-tap-taps on the TWTF Map broke out states county-by-county, and he knew exactly where to find voting totals, previous-election trends, and projected numbers to deliver calm, coherent tales of the tape. READ FULL STORY

'SEAL Team Six' review: Reduced the killing of Bin Laden to florid melodrama, with Obama as edited-in co-star

The TV-movie SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Ladin, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday evening, turned the story of the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden into a reasonably crisp little action film — it didn’t contain anything you didn’t know, and the dialogue sounded as though it had been checked out from a well-preserved World War II supply closet, but you couldn’t help but get caught up in the tense quality of the mission. READ FULL STORY

'Dexter' review: Did the season jump the shark in the kill room?

The current season Dexter was going along pretty well for a while. The whole Deb-finds-out-Dex-is-a-serial-killer was the shocker it was intended to be, and Deb’s reaction was well-calibrated. The announcement that Chuck‘s Yvonne Strahovski had been cast as some sort of maybe-criminal, maybe-romantic, maybe-both new character seemed like a good antidote to what turned out to be the dim Lumen of Julia Stiles. But this week — hoo, boy… SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS WEEK’S DEXTER. READ FULL STORY

'Last Man Standing' and 'Malibu Country' reviews: Voting for Romney, going to pot

Last Man Standing returned a series transformed on Friday night, while Malibu Country debuted as a new series with regressive tendencies. Clearly wanting to shake things up, get some attention and some ratings, Tim Allen’s character Mike Baxter has become a supporter of Mitt Romney, a mouthpiece for the Republican party, and perhaps something a bit more extreme. The strategy has worked, at least as far as attention: I probably wouldn’t be reviewing this show, were Mike not saying things like, “You voted for a guy from Kenya.” READ FULL STORY

CMA Awards review: Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town won big in a surprising show

Quality won out at the CMA awards on Thursday night, as Eric Church’s superb Chief won album of the year and the Miranda Lambert-Blake Shelton composition “Over You” took song of the year. The married couple Lambert and Shelton also won the female and male vocalist awards as well. The show itself was rife with agreeably overblown production numbers including a reproduction of a French cafe for Taylor Swift’s fine song “Begin Again” that looked as though it had been assembled from sets left over from an old Carol Burnett Show sketch. In other words, the night was a hoot. READ FULL STORY

'New Girl,' 'The Mindy Project,' and 'Ben and Kate' review: Girls gone goofy for Halloween? Not exactly

The women at the centers of New Girl, Ben and Kate, and The Mindy Project are all intelligent, funny people who, in their various distinctive ways, use ditziness and “girly”-ness to their advantage, flummoxing the more dense specimens of manhood they encounter. Where Lena Dunham offers the nimble mumble-realism version of this sort of woman on her HBO show Girls, these network girls (and I include the female creators, show-runners, and writers also involved in that phrase) are working with a big mass audience, one that needs to be won over more broadly, if you don’t mind my saying so. The Halloween episodes of these three shows demonstrated what I’m talking about. READ FULL STORY

David Letterman hurricane show review: Audience-free, all wet, yet all funny

Former weatherman David Letterman did an audience-free show on Monday night. He and band leader Paul Shaffer stood outside of The Ed Sullivan Theater in yellow rain slickers at the start of the hour, patting their pockets for the key to the locked door. Once inside, he was prepared with wet humor: “I haven’t seen people soaked this badly since the Facebook IPO.” “Across the street at FlashDancers, the strippers are lashed to the pole.” The silence from 500 empty seats, with an occasional interpolation from band leader Paul Shaffer (he pegged the Facebook joke as dubious “tech humor”), rim shots and wiry guitar riffs from the band, and the occasional cough or sneeze from an off-camera staffer — you know, it really worked. It was a damn funny Late Show. READ FULL STORY

David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon taped no-audience shows: VIDEO of their opening monologues

Oh, they’re a doughty pair: David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon did not let Hurricane Sandy keep them from their appointed rounds — entertaining America. They both taped Monday night shows without audiences (no civilian laffers were allowed, lest they risk injury from the serious storm). Each conducted himself in a manner typical of his performance style. READ FULL STORY

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