Winter TV 2016

TV Reviews

  • Showtime’s ‘Roadies’ piles on the pain, but where’s the passion for rock ’n’ roll?

    Showtime’s ‘Roadies’ piles on the pain, but where’s the passion for rock ’n’ roll?

    The music-industry drama, just recently so youthful and full of promise, is now on life support: HBO’s “Vinyl” bombed so hard it contributed to a network shakeup, ABC canceled “Nashville” (subsequently rescued by CMT), and even Fox’s “Empire” had a rocky sophomore year. A hero was obviously required,...

  • Steven Spielberg-produced 'American Gothic' chokes on its own pretensions

    Steven Spielberg-produced 'American Gothic' chokes on its own pretensions

    Even after almost 100 years, many questions surround Grant Wood’s iconic painting “American Gothic.” Was it a rural American satire or a paean?  A portrait of mourning, small-minded oblivion or agrarian stoicism? Were the two figures a couple or a man and his daughter? And what was with the cathedral...

  • Oprah Winfrey's 'Greenleaf' deserves high praise, but her network may not receive its full bounty

    Oprah Winfrey's 'Greenleaf' deserves high praise, but her network may not receive its full bounty

    More than five years after its much-anticipated debut, the Oprah Winfrey Network finally premieres what should have been its flagship show. “Greenleaf” is an operatic behind-the-scenes account of a daughter’s return to a power-crazed family after she has broken ties with their Memphis megachurch...

  • New TNT drama 'Animal Kingdom' is subtler than premise suggests

    New TNT drama 'Animal Kingdom' is subtler than premise suggests

    "Animal Kingdom," a new drama premiering Tuesday on TNT, begins quietly, with paramedics entering a house where a woman is unconscious on a couch; next to her, a teenage boy watches television. "What's she taken?" "Heroin," says the boy (Finn Cole), whose name is Josh but is called “J.” Later,...

  • TV reboot of 'Uncle Buck' is predictably underwhelming

    TV reboot of 'Uncle Buck' is predictably underwhelming

    It’s not always fun to be proved right. Last year, when ABC announced it had greenlit a serial reboot of the John Candy cult-bomb “Uncle Buck,” the general reaction was a groan of irritated bewilderment. With all the things that need doing in this crazy world, ABC is choosing to remake “Uncle Buck”...

  • AMC's faith in 'Preacher' largely pays off

    AMC's faith in 'Preacher' largely pays off

    "Preacher," a knockabout, comical creepshow based on the late-'90s Vertigo comic book of the same name, adds another genre series to the slate of AMC, already the home of "The Walking Dead," "Fear the Walking Dead" and "Into the Badlands." It's too much to say that you can't go wrong with the fantastical...

  • Why 'O.J.: Made in America' might be the first television show to win an Oscar

    Why 'O.J.: Made in America' might be the first television show to win an Oscar

    "O.J.: Made in America" makes its debut theatrically with hopes of an Oscar nomination, but it's also built for TV ... as well as your laptop or smart phone. (Jonathan Bartlett / For The Times) Is ESPN’s 7 ½-hour documentary “O.J.: Made in America” a movie or TV? It premiered May 20 in theaters...

  • 'Castle' finale snatches a conclusion from the jaws of a cliffhanger

    'Castle' finale snatches a conclusion from the jaws of a cliffhanger

    Endings are tricky and perhaps particularly tricky in television. The inertia and the momentum of a series that every week has increased its mass, sometimes over the course of years, make it difficult to steer. We're told that TV is novelistic now, but TV is a less manageable form than the novel,...

  • The (not so) 'Good Wife' finale

    The (not so) 'Good Wife' finale

    Here’s a thought for future show runners: If you believe you will need to explain the finale of your highly successful and much beloved show immediately after it airs, you might want to rethink that finale.   “The Good Wife” came to an end Sunday night with all manner of finale craziness. Some...

  • Beyond the tragedy, 'Janis: Little Girl Blue' reveals Joplin as a smart, funny, vulnerable feminist conundrum

    Beyond the tragedy, 'Janis: Little Girl Blue' reveals Joplin as a smart, funny, vulnerable feminist conundrum

    Documentary filmmaker Amy Berg ("West of Memphis," "Prophet's Prey") has made an elegant, affectionate and, in many ways, remarkably cheerful film about Janis Joplin -- blues singer, bandleader, rock icon, feminist conundrum. "Janis: Little Girl Blue" comes to television Tuesday under the banner...

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