"The Good Wife," now into its fifth season, is unarguably the best drama on a broadcast network and one of the best dramas on television, full stop. Year after year (married) creators Michelle King and Robert King have overseen a miraculous combination of character drama and legal procedural. What began as a vehicle for Margulies exploring what happens to the wronged political wife after the humiliating news conference quickly became a strong ensemble piece with an incomparable floor-to-ceiling cast: Christine Baranski,
Emanating a dialed-down control more usually seen on British TV, Margulies made Alicia both an everywoman and a cipher, torn between the pain of betrayal and her sense of duty, between insecurity and ambition. Thus far, she has always erred on the side of the angels -- "Saint Alicia" is how she is known in Chicago's political circles.
But now, with her defection from Will, who hired her when no one else would (albeit perhaps for romantic reasons), Alicia seems to have finally been infected by the personal callousness she fought against as a political wife. Situations must change for a series to remain vital, and Will certainly has loyalty issues of his own, but how far into darkness the show will take its conscientious lead remains to be seen. Not too far, one hopes, but any adult drama that can build this kind of tension in Episode 5 of Season 5 is a show worth sticking with.
"The Returned": For those who consider themselves too high-brow for "The Walking Dead" or any of the many fine supernatural tales unwinding on TV today, we give you "The Returned," a six-part French supernatural thriller debuting
Yep, that's right, the undead and subtitles. (French majors, I sense some easy extra credit.)
In a small mountain town, people presumed dead for several to many years begin showing up, seemingly untouched by time or decay, as confused by their status as friends and family members are. Carefully paced and lovingly shot, what seems at first to be a psychological exploration -- what would people do, really, if their prayers were answered and their dead returned to them -- slowly builds to something more sinister. (Hint: Not all the Returned are beautiful children.) Secrets emerge, relationships unravel and soon even the idyllic setting shades ominous.
A satisfying creep fest that even the eggheads among us can watch without guilt. Vive la France! Sundance, Thursdays, 9 p.m.
"Dracula": One can only hope this will be the last incarnation of Transylvania's most famous resident, though undoubtedly he will show up at some point consulting with Sherlock Holmes or having tea with a Bennet sister or two. Certainly he is on the road to moral reclamation and civilization here, played by Jonathan Rhys-Davies (with, it must be said, a truly deplorable American accent) more as sword of vengeance than blood-sucking monster.
Oh sure, he still sucks blood -- beware pretty Victorian women passing through London's smoky haze! -- but now he's got a plan, and a purpose. Reanimated by traditional foe Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann, because
But soft, that wife is back, now in the form one Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw), ace feminist med student and girlfriend of indigent (is there any other kind) journalist Jonathan Harker (
PHOTOS: Families that changed TV
Then (spoiler alert) in the final moments it was revealed to have all been a ploy, masterminded by Saul to draw out more terrorists and perhaps even that pesky lead that's been plaguing the
Although it's perfectly possible that the upcoming episode will be totally devoted to Brody (