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Latest TV Reviews

Deceptively simple 'Olive Kitteridge' unfolds as work of art

HBO takes a lot of heat. It may not be fair, but much is expected from the network that reinvented television, and when perfection is not delivered people find fault. With the overwhelming maleness of its dramas, and the whiteness, with the naked women used (still!) as scenery or the reins-free...

  • 'Constantine' haunted by the ghost of a story
    'Constantine' haunted by the ghost of a story

    Even though John Constantine may not look like most heroes in the DC Universe — his costume is nothing more than a yellow trenchcoat and his constant smoking (at least in the comics) is something Superman would tsk-tsk — he's still one of the most popular. Unfortunately,...

  • Left brutalized by adaptation of Stephen King's 'Big Driver'
    Left brutalized by adaptation of Stephen King's 'Big Driver'

    Although it is not what his stories are known for, rape occurs frequently in the work of Stephen King — often in long, graphically detailed and brutal scenes. King is a master of horror, so this is not surprising — rape is horrific, and all sorts of graphic violence occur in his...

  • 'How We Got to Now' a fun look at six big ideas, their legacies
    'How We Got to Now' a fun look at six big ideas, their legacies

    In "How We Got to Now," a six-part series premiering Wednesday on PBS, popular science writer and professional theorist Steven Johnson ("Everything Bad Is Good for You," "Where Good Ideas Come From") looks at six big ideas and the historical fruit they've...

  • NBC's 'Marry Me' may have a delayed honeymoon
    NBC's 'Marry Me' may have a delayed honeymoon

    When ABC canceled the struggling comedy "Happy Endings" after its third season last year, there was a lot of high talk in certain quarters. Sure, the ratings were dismal, some argued, but the fans were dedicated, making the cancellation a Terrible Decision, indicative of broadcast...

  • CW's 'Jane the Virgin' mixes wacky and serious, with a natural ease
    CW's 'Jane the Virgin' mixes wacky and serious, with a natural ease

    "Jane the Virgin," which premieres Monday on the CW, tells the story of a young Miami woman who becomes pregnant despite never having had sex. (It's not a miracle but a medical mishap.) In my considered professional opinion, it's one of the best things to come out of the...

  • A taut, gripping inquiry into 'The Affair'
    A taut, gripping inquiry into 'The Affair'

    Infidelity, a clever construct and a terrific cast are what sell Showtime's new drama "The Affair," which premieres Sunday and stars Ruth Wilson and Dominic West. What makes it intriguing, and potentially important, is memory.

  • 'Walking Dead' premiere finds little sanctuary against despair
    'Walking Dead' premiere finds little sanctuary against despair

    When we last left the heroes of "The Walking Dead," things looked especially dire. Six-and-a-half months later, things haven't changed much.

  • 'Cristela' aims to bust stereotypes with laughs, but ...
    'Cristela' aims to bust stereotypes with laughs, but ...

    Debuting a couple of weeks after ABC's hyper-marketed "black-ish," "Cristela" has been nudged by many critics (myself included) into a tidy trinity of new shows from the network that deal directly with race. The third is "Fresh Off the Boat," scheduled to...

  • MMA-themed 'Kingdom' hits all the right spots
    MMA-themed 'Kingdom' hits all the right spots

    As one perhaps genetically indisposed to enjoy sports in which people whomp the stuffing out of one another, I wouldn't expect to care much for a drama built around mixed martial arts, in which the whomping comes in more ways than usual. And yet here I am, about to write a good review of...

  • In a 'Flash,' there's more fun in TV's comic-book land
    In a 'Flash,' there's more fun in TV's comic-book land

    Let Fox go noir ("Gotham") and ABC get tense ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") with their prequels and superhero-adjacency; the CW is sticking with more straightforward costumed heroics. Having found success with their brooding "Arrow," creators Greg...

  • 'Mulaney' feels more than a bit like 'Seinfeld'
    'Mulaney' feels more than a bit like 'Seinfeld'

    The most surprising thing about "Mulaney," an effortful new sitcom in a hopefully classic mode starring the comic and former "Saturday Night Live" writer John Mulaney, is how ordinary it is, how conventional are its ambitions. The series premieres Sunday on Fox.

  • 'Survivor's Remorse' bounces well off the comedy backboard
    'Survivor's Remorse' bounces well off the comedy backboard

    "Survivor's Remorse," which premieres Saturday on Starz, is a largely satisfying comedy about a young basketball player, made rich by signing to a team in Atlanta, and the extended family he transplants there, lock and stock. (The barrel is left in the old, bad neighborhood in...

  • 'Homeland' and Carrie still fighting the good fight
    'Homeland' and Carrie still fighting the good fight

    "Mad Men" may have been first, "Scandal" the most surprising, but no other non-sci-fi show exemplifies the new age of OCD TV more than Showtime's "Homeland," which returns for its fourth season Sunday night.

  • Disney is the driving force of 'Star Wars Rebels'
    Disney is the driving force of 'Star Wars Rebels'

    What can we say of "Star Wars"? Three terrible prequel movies have done nothing to dim its luster or impede its progress.

  • 'Bad Judge' likely to be benched
    'Bad Judge' likely to be benched

    In "Bad Judge," a new sitcom premiering Thursday on NBC, Kate Walsh plays Rebecca Wright, whom we meet as a lump on a bed, hung over in sparkly unmentionables, like something washed up from a past era of the Sunset Strip.

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