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 ...
Is Chris Lilley the next Ricky Gervais? Or is he the next Tracey Ullman? Would you settle for both?
In HBO's addictive import Summer Heights High (Sundays at 10:30 pm/ET), a funny/sad Office-style mockumentary depicting a year in the life of an Australian public high school, this wildly talented writer-star loves making you squirm (à la Gervais) while submerging himself inside the skin of characters so diverse (à la Ullman) you can hardly believe it's the same guy.
No child is left behind, or teacher spared, in Lilley's outrageously crass classroom ...
Tina Fey and Megan Mullally
As this year's Emmy champs pass like ships in the night — AMC's best-drama winner, Mad Men, wrapping its brilliant second season October 26, less than a week before NBC's best comedy, 30 Rock, launched its wacky third year I can't help reflecting that while more awards surely lie in their future, neither show is likely to win a popularity contest.
Mad Men, which filters its '60s nostalgia through a glass (of scotch) darkly, is seen by many as too subtly ambiguous, too grim: the disturbing rape of sex-bomb secretary Joan by her fiancé one of many examples. It's a show that feels more high art (Don's surreal lost weekend in Palm Springs) than mass-market. Whereas 30 Rock revels in such a twisted world of zany absurdism, it will never be to everyone's taste. Too bad for those unwilling to embrace these shows' strange and wondrous ways.
More on the Mad Men finale and 30 Rock premiere after the jump.
Katie Holmes and Jonny Lee Miller, Eli Stone
Eli Stone (Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET)
Risk factor: Moderate.This fanciful charmer about a modern-day prophet (the adorable Jonny Lee Miller) in corporate lawyer's guise was a bit of a surprise renewal.
Worth the risk? As leaps of faith go, yes. And faith — in visions both magical and musical — has everything to do with Eli Stone's divine appeal. Everyone whose life Eli touches, he inspires, including scene-stealing colleagues like Victor Garber and Loretta Devine, and the same goes for the lucky viewer. Guest stars Sigourney Weaver (as a spectral shrink) and Katie Holmes (as a klutzy fellow do-gooder) have boosted Eli's visibility. Let's hope it sticks.
My grade (on an A-B-C scale): A-
See Roush's take on Pushing Daisies, Housewives and more after the jump.
Brian Tee and Arlene Tur, Crash
Seems every movie channel wants its own Mad Men–style prestige project. Which could explain why pay-cable upstart Starz has raided the Oscar vault to turn the 2006 best-picture winner, Crash, into an ambitious, if not immediately convincing, weekly series.
With all new characters, so this isn't exactly a sequel, TV's Crash resembles the movie in being less about car wrecks than about disparate cultures colliding within the ethnic melting pot of Los Angeles. Still, there is one fateful smashup in the opening hour, and pivotal moments often occur on wheels — in a limo, an ambulance, a patrol car.
Read the full review after the jump.
Christian Slater, My Own Worst Enemy
The question, and it's a fair one, nags at many of this season's new series: How long can they keep it going? It applies mostly to shows adapted from limited-run overseas hits (Life on Mars, Worst Week, The Ex List, Eleventh Hour, Kath & Kim), but is especially pertinent to NBC's nonsensical spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy.
Reminiscent at times of The Bourne Identity or Face/Off, to name a few movie influences it does not improve upon, the beyond-high-concept Enemy asks us to believe Christian Slater as a cold-blooded assassin named Edward who doubles, when a switch in his brain is flipped, as a milquetoast family man named Henry.
More on Worst Enemy and a look at Harry Connick Jr.'s Lifetime movie Living Proof after the jump`