Imagine a world in which the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball all decided to move their seasons to the same time of year. It would be chaos, for fans and the professional sports business alike. And yet, in television, that's essentially what happens during pilot season.
The broadcast networks traditionally order pilots during the first few months of the year. From there, it's a race to find the best actors, hire a crew, build sets and produce a show before May, when the upcoming fall schedules are announced. The field has always been crowded, but this spring, several cable networks and online retailer-turned-programmer Amazon are also developing new shows that they hope will go to series (cable networks typically produce pilots throughout the year, usually avoiding the spring).
Happy New TV Year! With the brief holiday programming pause about to be over, it's already time to say goodbye to one of last year's better series: the evocative second season of BBC America's Golden Globe-nominated The Hour. A ticking-clock deadline fuels the suspense in Wednesday's gripping finale (9/8c). With showtime fast approaching for a new edition of the fictional '50s TV newsmagazine, The Hour's co-anchors find themselves embroiled in controversy and peril.
Memo to HBO's The Newsroom: This is how it's done.
In its second season, BBC America's The Hour (Wednesdays at 9/8c) is the very model of a smart, sleek, witty and sexy drama about the inner workings of a high-profile TV news operation. Set in the late '50s, but feeling quite contemporary in its depiction of media celebrity, with political and competitive pressures assailing journalistic ideals, this first-class entertainment avoids the pitfalls of preachiness and extreme silliness that often derailed Aaron Sorkin's TV comeback.
First, weighing in on two cable movies, one of which thoroughly chilled me and another that left me cold.
Finding yourself in Mad Men withdrawal this summer? Missing those nattily dressed men and women of a bygone modernist age, smoking and drinking their way through glamorous-seeming media jobs as dark clouds loom in their personal and professional lives?
Fret not. BBC America has come to the rescue, with a deluxe six-hour diversion set in the politically charged mid-1950s, titled The Hour — and few hours this summer have been so stimulating and absorbing. The problem here, typical of so much British TV, is there just aren't enough of these hours — though each one counts. And by the end of the twisty sixth hour, you'll be satisfied, if still craving more...
What does Romany Malco consider good TV? The Good Wife, of course.
"It's cryptic and clever with a message that promotes strong family values," he tells TVGuide.com. "The cast is a nice mixture of flawed and complex ...
The Wire, HBO's critically acclaimed series about the municipal struggles of Baltimore, will debut on July 18 on DirecTV.
DirecTV will air all five seasons in HD, uncut and commercial-free.
Watch full episodes of The Wire
"By adding The Wire to our Sunday-night lineup, we are...
Dominic West by Nicole Rivelli/HBO
Its final season may have been built around a number of Big Lies, but here's the honest truth: HBO's The Wire is TV for the ages. Though it spent much of its acclaimed existence under the pop-culture radar, despite annual appearances on critics' best-of-year lists, this heartbreaking and searing masterpiece of urban decay and corruption will live on as all great literature does. Any self-respecting DVD library would want to include the five seasons of The Wire. It's that good, and that rich.Sundays expanded finale wraps up much of the complex story, but as usual, not in a tidy fashion. Ambiguities, moral compromises, deals struck with a variety of devils, all par for the course in David Simons bleak version of Baltimore. No cheap sentiment here, although there is a memorable scene involving a surprise wake at the Irish cop bar.The ironies are deep and dark as McNulty (Dominic West) sweats out the consequences of his scheme being exposed, of having created a fictional ser...
Lance Reddick and Dominic West, The Wire
Apparently playing one of TV's most challenging characters — The Wire's hard-drinking, corner-cutting Baltimore detective Jimmy McNulty — wasn't challenge enough for Dominic West. "I've been dying to direct," the British actor says. "HBO, thank goodness, took a chance on me." The gamble was worth it: West's episode, "Took," in which McNulty's plot to secure funds for the police department by concocting a serial killer of homeless men spins out of control, debuts this Sunday, Feb. 17 (9 pm/ET, HBO), and it's pitch-perfect. We asked the aspiring auteur to take us through some of its more challenging scenes.
THE SCENE: Show of ForceSquad cars, helicopters and boats swarm the Seaport in search of the "killer." "I can't tell you how exciting that was! It wasn't written that there'd actually be helicopters and stuff. I asked for
Dominic West, The Wire
During its first four seasons, HBO's The Wire (Sundays, 9 pm/ET, HBO) has tackled some major issues: inner-city crime, labor conflicts, political corruption, the failing public-school system. And as it launches its final 10-week run, the sprawling drama clearly still has a lot of big questions on its mind.
In a jaw-dropping twist at the end of this season's second episode, Baltimore detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) resorts to desperate measures in an attempt to restart a hard-fought case against drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector). Suffice it to say, his tactics would give Gil Grissom conniption fits. "It's not about how the unit tracks Marlo down," West says. "It's about how McNulty goes after him despite the authorities."
Those authorities include the ci