A week ago, I was raving about FX's inspired reinvention of Fargo from movie to TV series. But this week, we get a cautionary reminder that there are movies that just shouldn't be adapted for TV. Case in point: CBS's head-of-no-class version of 2011's Bad Teacher (Thursday, 9:30/8:30c) that flunks basic lessons of chemistry — starting with...
Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger
Imagine how thrilled Bonnie Parker would be to learn, nearly 80 years after her iconic demise alongside partner-in-crime Clyde Barrow, that their bloody legend is once again fodder for Hollywood, in a new miniseries premiering simultaneously on three — count 'em, three — cable networks. For a Depression-era would-be diva who thirsted for movie-star fame but had to settle for newsreel infamy, this is real staying...
Samantha Isler, Sean Hayes
This fall you can really feel the Modern Family influence in the development of most networks' new comedy slates, and it's especially noticeable on NBC's Thursday lineup. With the exception of the long-running Parks and Recreation, which until the double expectancy whammy of Ann Perkins and Ron's Diane had been curiously child-free for a show supposedly set in America's heartland, NBC's new sitcoms are very much in the family way, for better or worse.
One actually bills itself as Welcome to the Family (8:31/7:31c), and if familiarity is a prerequisite for your viewing patterns, you'll feel right at home here. This innocuous domestic farce pivots on a culture clash between...
Fans often feel burned when the final curtain falls on a favorite show — especially when it happens unexpectedly and without resolution (just ask fans of A&E's The Glades or, even more recently, AMC's The Killing, which at least solved its third-season case before the grim fadeout). This is not the situation with USA's Burn Notice, which has been leading all summer to a calculated big finish (Thursday, 9/8c) after seven seasons of...
If it weren't for Netflix's House of Cards making the drama races a bit more interesting, while opening the door to a brave new world of out-of-the-box content for future years' consideration, this year's list of Emmy contenders (see the major categories here) would be most notable for its numbing lack of imagination and...
Edi Gathegi and Radha Mitchell
It's not much of a spoiler alert to point out that the title character of ABC's Red Widow winds up in (sexy) mourning by the half-hour mark of Sunday's dreary two-hour premiere (9/8c). It's even less of a surprise, given the nature of this most dismal network midseason in recent memory, that these widow's weeds are fashioned from less than sturdy dramatic fabric.
Weeds being among the shows that dealt with this sort of subject with more imaginative verve. The subject: murderous drug intrigue cloaked in...
As I was watching HBO's kids'-eye-view examination of divorce (discussed below), I couldn't help reflect on my own break-ups — TV-related, mind you. Cases in point: I hear Weeds went off the air last weekend, way past its expiration date; I gave up on that one long ago, around the time they were on the lam in the Northwest, unmoored from any sense of reality and continuity or purpose. More to the immediate point, NBC's The Office is returning for its ninth and...
Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Cranston
In the latest head-on collision of top-notch Sunday night cable dramas, the return of TV's most chilling dark parable faces the arrival of an irresistible new potboiler. One you can take to the Emmy bank next week; the other you'll be tempted to take to the beach.
As the first half of the final season gets underway for AMC's masterpiece of intensity Breaking Bad (Sunday, 10/9c), mensch-turned-mastermind Walter White (three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston) escalates his criminal ways, and a man who once inspired pity now leaves even loved ones quaking in fear...
Michael Chiklis and David Rees Snell
"I was too good," boasts that brutal bear of a crooked cop Vic Mackey, confessing his multitude of sins, a bloody litany of corrupt bravado that has kept us riveted for seven all-too-brief seasons of The Shield, FX's darker-than-dark breakthrough crime melodrama.
By "good," Vic means bad — to the last drop, the last gripping scene, as The Shield hangs up its tarnished badge forever (Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 10 pm/ET). No Sopranos-style blackout, thankfully. This is how it all really truly ends, not with ...
All is right again in the TV world, because our favorite Jacks are back on the case: Law & Order's crafty DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), who's running for reelection; and 24's tireless Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who's running from retribution when not saving civilization. Both have been known to bend the rules to win.
And both shows have been sorely missed: 24 postponed a year because of the writers' strike, and a rejuvenated Order inexplicably left off the fall lineup but suddenly restored this month to prop up NBC's ailing schedule ...