In the spy game, intelligence is the most precious commodity. And in the world of fictional espionage, few authors of historical suspense deliver thrills with the crisp and unsparing intelligence of Alan Furst. BBC America's Spies of Warsaw, a two-part miniseries adaptation (concluding Tuesday, April 10) of his 2008 novel, loses none of its twisty allure and passionate urgency in the translation from page to screen (9/8c). Tension comes with the territory of late-'30s Poland, a country harboring refugees and dissidents in a murky culture of political intrigue, as everyone nervously waits for the jackboot to drop as rumors spread of Nazi aggression.read more
Drama, comedy, reality: This is one of those nights where TV is firing on all cylinders.
Let's start with the heavy lifting. One of TV's most encouraging survival stories returns with the fifth-season premiere of TNT's uncommonly gritty police drama Southland (10/9c), a network reject (from NBC's darkest period) that thrives on cable, with a sharper focus and a determined avoidance of procedural cliché.
Each episode is like a graphic tour of duty on the streets of Los Angeles, and in the opener, it's not always immediately clear if the patrol cops and detectives in the line of fire are witnessing a real crime or make believe or some other sort of scam. (One vignette involving a brawl between naked men in a sauna looks like an outtake from Spartacus.) "Treat it like a circus," seasoned training office John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) advises his latest ride-along, an Afghan War vet with too much attitude. The media circus threatens to consume Cooper's former partner Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), newly decorated and enjoying the attention a bit too much. Grounding these characters in the mundane distractions of unblemished real life, Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) is adjusting to single motherhood with...read more
While ABC's The Middle may not be the most popular, acclaimed or honored family comedy on TV, it is almost certainly the most relevant (and often the funniest). Especially in an election year when so much attention was focused on the financially strapped middle class, the travails of the down-but-not-out Hecks of Indiana resonate like no TV family since the Conners of Roseanne.read more