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On 'The Late Late Show,' Craig Ferguson became best host on TV

Craig Ferguson, the host for 10 years of CBS' "The Late Late Show," taped his last episode Thursday, a day before it was set to air — by which time, he pointed out, he would already be back in Scotland, where he's from. I almost wrote "back home in Scotland," but Ferguson is an American...

  • 'Toy Story That Time Forgot' is Trixie's turn to shine
    'Toy Story That Time Forgot' is Trixie's turn to shine

    The cultural institution and multi-platform franchise known as "Toy Story" is nearly 20 years old, and still very much with us. There is a fourth film coming in 2017, turning a trilogy into a tetralogy — ensuring in the bargain two years of pre-release teasers; more immediately there is...

  • In 'Odd Squad,' math gets nice and weird
    In 'Odd Squad,' math gets nice and weird

    When it comes to that added element that can refresh even the most time-worn TV trope, there's nothing quite like a pint-sized cast. If a bunch of chimpanzees could make a cult hit out of "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp," then imagine the possibilities of real human kids.

  • 'Eat,' Greenspan,' 'Chug' take small bites out of food genre
    'Eat,' Greenspan,' 'Chug' take small bites out of food genre

    There is no getting around food, the fun necessity, the allowable indulgence, the forgivable sin, and more than ever a national pastime. What is travel but going really far out to eat?

  • Amazon's 'Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street' a charmer
    Amazon's 'Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street' a charmer

    Developed from an "over-the-transom" pilot script by David Anaxagoras, "Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street" is a new series from Amazon Studios, the still-wet-behind-the-ears content-production wing of the online retailer. New episodes — the pilot was already available —...

  • 'State of Affairs' an uneven comeback vehicle for Katherine Heigl
    'State of Affairs' an uneven comeback vehicle for Katherine Heigl

    Katherine Heigl is back on TV, everyone, after leaving "Grey's Anatomy" way back in the last decade because she didn't like what was being written for her, as she said at the time, or because she wanted to spend more time with her family, as she said later. Whatever! (She was right the first...

  • 'MasterChef Junior' returns on Fox
    'MasterChef Junior' returns on Fox

    There is an election today, and though I encourage everyone to vote -- I would demand it, if I could, with long afterlife punishment for slackers and a special place in hell for anyone who seeks to make another person's voting even the tiniest bit more difficult -- there is only one contest I...

  • Welcome to a land of enchantment in 'Over the Garden Wall'
    Welcome to a land of enchantment in 'Over the Garden Wall'

    The first thing to say about Patrick McHale's Cartoon Network miniseries "Over the Garden Wall," after noting that it is beautiful to behold and worth the while of anyone interested in contemporary animation, is that it has been made in a two-dimensional, hand-drawn, hand-painted style...

  • Deceptively simple 'Olive Kitteridge' unfolds as work of art
    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...

  • 'The McCarthys' do Boston Irish reasonably proud, and funny
    'The McCarthys' do Boston Irish reasonably proud, and funny

    In "The McCarthys," a multi-camera sitcom premiering Thursday on CBS — where the multi-camera sitcom has always had a home — Tyler Ritter plays Ronny, the black-sheep son of a close-knit Boston family.

  • 'Benched' is indefensibly cynical and not real funny
    'Benched' is indefensibly cynical and not real funny

    Though a little worn around the edges, there's nothing wrong with the snobby-big-fish-finds-happiness-in-a-scummy-small-pond premise of USA's new comedy "Benched." Created by Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones, "Benched" chronicles the travails of Nina (Eliza Coupe), a corporate lawyer who,...

  • HBO's 'Mr. Dynamite' focuses on James Brown, the performer
    HBO's 'Mr. Dynamite' focuses on James Brown, the performer

    Star time, ladies and gentlemen, arrives Monday on HBO with the premiere of "Mr. Dynamite." A documentary film on the life and times of James Brown as the times made the music and the music shaped the times, it is a long, soulful scream over an insistent funky vamp.

  • In 'Death Comes to Pemberley,' a brisk mystery in Austen-land
    In 'Death Comes to Pemberley,' a brisk mystery in Austen-land

    That Jane Austen failed to write a murder-mystery sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" was an oversight remedied in 2011 by P.D. James with her novel "Death Comes to Pemberley." Like "P&P" and many other Austens before it — and many of James' own works, for that matter — that book has...

  • '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, while...

  • 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 borne. It is a celebration of...

  • 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 networks'...

  • 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 fall season, but as a...

  • 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 launch early next year.

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