Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: TV Review (81-90 of 985)

TV debate follow-up: How the emphasis on 'narrative' distorts the Obama-Romney race

The foremost TV media cant word is “narrative”: Nearly every talking head uses it a lot, to talk about the daily rhythm of the news cycle and how it is interpreted by the media. The problem is, in addition to its tiresome overuse,  it imposes a framework on an election campaign that may or may not be accurate. On these terms, who was the biggest winner in last night’s first Presidential debate? In media terms, it was Gov. Chris Christie, who had gone on TV last Sunday and told any and all that come Thursday morning, there would be a new narrative to the Presidential campaign after his man Mitt Romney proved himself worthy. READ FULL STORY

Presidential debate review: Romney dominated from early on, Obama embraced his inner 'Obamacare'

Mitt Romney achieved what he had to do during the first Presidential debate on Wednesday night: He came across as confident, equal to holding a stage with President Obama. Right out of the gate, he was animated where a still, stately Obama spent the first 45 minutes or so seeming to warm up. As a television presence making pithy statements — in pure matters of style; whether the majority of his assertions were accurate, factual, is another matter to be parsed — Romney dominated. And when you dominate the camera on TV, you probably leave the audience feeling you’re making the more convincing arguments. READ FULL STORY

'Homeland' season premiere review: Brody and Carrie could not put 'this crazy stuff' behind them

One week since winning what seemed like every Emmy that Modern Family didn’t, Homeland began its second season on Sunday night with Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison having, in her sister’s words, “finally gotten to a good place.” Which is spy-story code for, “soon to arrive in a bad place.”

Carrie — at the end of last season a disgraced CIA operations officer so emotionally damaged she was going One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest with electroconvulsive therapy — was shown living with her parents, employed in a teaching job, and making vegetable lasagna from veggies she herself has picked from the family garden. She seemed as close as anyone as intense and intelligent and vegetarian as Carrie can be to being happy. READ FULL STORY

'Made in Jersey' premiere review: Made with energy and Jersey soulfulness

You can be sure that a character made a Real Housewives of New Jersey joke during the premiere of Made in Jersey on Friday night. This was practically required, to prove that Made in Jersey‘s producers are aware of the reality-TV competition, and of its edited ethnic stereotypes. But rather than looking a though it’s pandering or surrendering to the Housewives franchise, Made in Jersey did something good — it created characters that humanize a certain kind of lower-middle-class Jersey citizen rather than monster-size her or him, and did its best to suggest that even not-great scripted television frequently proves superior to the pinnacle of “reality,” at least as it’s packaged on Bravo. READ FULL STORY

'Elementary' premiere review: This Sherlock looks like a sure hit, but is it good Holmes?

It’s a great time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan. First we got Benedict Cumberbatch in the dizzying modernizations of classic Holmes tales airing on PBS. Now comes Elementary, starring another Brit, Jonny Lee Miller, in a clever, if occasionally absurd, version of the Holmes ethos. READ FULL STORY

'Last Resort' premiere review: Did it sink or swim for you?

Tense and well-acted by stars Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, Last Resort is one of the most promising new shows of the fall season, as well as being one that carries a big risk of dropping in quality: It’s an absorbing curiosity.

The pilot that aired on Thursday night told a complex tale with swift efficiency. Braugher and Speedman head up a Navy ballistic missle submarine, the USS Colorado. As Captain Marcus Chaplin and XO Lt. Commander Sam Kendal, respectively, the ship receives an order to launch a missle at Pakistan. Something’s fishy about this drastic directive, however, and when Chaplin balks at firing, he’s relieved of command and his second in command (the “XO”) is put in charge. READ FULL STORY

'The Neighbors' premiere review: Why this is not the worst new show of the fall season

There are certain kinds of shows that invite automatic derision, none more so than the high-concept sitcom. From My Favorite Martian to My Mother the Car through Holmes and Yo-Yo and Work It to ABC’s The Neighbors, the intentional silliness of the premise is an automatic turn-off to a lot of people. The key word there, though, is “intentional”: You don’t make My Mother the Car thinking you’re creating a brilliant satire of man’s dependency on the automobile. And Bosom Buddies was a potentially awful idea (which Work It copped), but was redeemed by the budding talents of Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, among others. Similarly if not as successfully, the knowing creators of The Neighbors clearly want their show to serve as something more than a series of sight-gags and verbal gaffes, this time from a bunch of aliens who’ve moved into a suburban enclave. READ FULL STORY

'The Mindy Project' and 'Ben and Kate' premiere reviews: The fall's two best new sitcoms?

The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate, both of which premiered on Tuesday night flanked by a pair of new New Girl episodes, are the most promising of sitcoms in a fall season that’s not big on promising new sitcoms. If that seems like faint praise, it’s more like the sound of me hedging my bets, because while I was charmed by both, I recognize that the quality could rise or fall quickly.  READ FULL STORY

'Hawaii Five-0' season premiere tonight: Worth watching for its crazy energy

Just putting this on your radar in case it’s not already: It’s worth checking out tonight’s season premiere of Hawaii Five-0. It’s got a crazy energy to its pacing, it’s got Christine Lahti as Alex O’Loughlin’s mother, and it’s got a day-time street shoot-out that marshals more ammunition than any such scene this side of Michael Mann’s Heat. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Awards show review: Jimmy Kimmel and the night's best, the most surprising, and the most tedious moments

Jimmy Kimmel presided over a mostly very funny, fairly briskly paced, and quite surprising Emmy broadcast on Sunday night. It just goes to show what a great year it was for dramas that Breaking Bad could lose in so many key categories and I’m still happy… because Homeland‘s sweep of best drama, actor, actress, and what seemed like 42 other Emmys was heartily well-deserved. And the cat-nap I took during the back-to-back, too-long acceptance speeches by Jessica Lange and Tom Berenger helped sustain my viewing energy. READ FULL STORY

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