March 21, 2014 |
When telling a tale that includes centuries of endurance, moments of triumph, bursts of humor and sudden, unspeakable atrocities, what's the right tone with which to articulate it all? That's the trick historian Simon Schama had to figure out in his new documentary, "The Story of the Jews," which begins in the Middle Eastern desert about 3,000 years ago and tracks up to the more-or-less present. The program, in five hourlong parts, broadcasts on PBS on Tuesday and April 1. "I wanted to say, without putting on a ridiculous smiley face or making light of the tragic aspects, that there is a story to be told beyond one clearly framed by the assumption of catastrophe," the British historian said in Pasadena.
January 13, 2014 |
Sunday's episode of "Downton Abbey" on PBS featured a guest appearance by one of opera's biggest living talents: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. The New Zealand-born soprano played Dame Nellie Melba, an actual opera singer who hailed from Australia and whose career spanned the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Downton" portrays Melba as a guest performer of the Crawley household, serenading the family after dinner with the aria "O Mio Babbino, Caro" from Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi.
March 11, 2013 |
David Morrissey has cast a wide shadow over "The Walking Dead" in its third season as the much anticipated villainous leader known as the Governor. While the character is a sinister presence with a black eye patch and a closet full of zombie heads, Morrissey in real life is upbeat and chatty as he talks from rainy London, which is his home. In Sunday's episode, "Arrow in the Door," Morrissey's Governor finally had a sit-down with his arch nemesis, Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln.
June 15, 2012 |
Loyal viewers of "Breaking Bad"know that we bid adios to drug kingpin Gus Fring in "Face Off,"the final episode of the series' slow burn of a fourth season (and anyone not yet up to that episode should quit reading now). Series creator Vince Gilligan and his writing team had effectively, and with great reluctance, signed El Pollo Hermano's death warrant a year earlier in the Season 3 finale. Series protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston) had defied Gus, and with egos this big clashing, Gilligan says, "it's like the tagline from 'Highlander': There can be only one. " The chess game between the two strong-willed, controlling men played out over the course of the season's 13 episodes with the meticulous Gus (Giancarlo Esposito)
April 14, 2014 |
Things get small - really small - in this week's episode of " Cosmos ," which tackles the unseen universe at the atomic scale, from the teeming ecosystem inside a single dewdrop and the intricate machinery inside a plant's cells, to the subatomic particles at the heart of a giant exploding star. Carl Sagan famously observed that we are made of star stuff, but that star stuff in turn is made of atoms - the fundamental building blocks of nature - and there are more atoms in the human eye than there are stars in the known universe, according to our host, the Collection of Atoms Known as Neil de Grasse Tyson.
March 27, 2013 |
In response to Jonah Goldberg's Op-Ed on Tuesday, " The wisdom of Dan Quayle ": What? It's been 20 years since the Murphy Brown-Dan Quayle feud, and we're still talking about this? I suppose I should be flattered. And not surprised. After all, we're still talking about glass ceilings and Roe vs. Wade and what constitutes "legitimate rape. " But because history, like a hit television series, repeats itself, let's revisit 1992. For those of you too young to remember (or too old to recall)
December 31, 2011 |
"Community," NBC's quirky Thursday night comedy, has been a slacker in the ratings. The sitcom about misfit community college students, starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase, has averaged about 4 million viewers an episode this season, not enough to guarantee survival in the dog-eat-dog world of network television. The tepid ratings prompted NBC to put the show on hiatus. Still, despite its struggles, the series is headed toward the promised land of syndication. Just a few years ago, a syndication sale for a modest performer like "Community" would have been unthinkable.
November 4, 2013 |
Spoiler alert: The following post contains revelations about Sunday night's episode of "The Walking Dead. " Forget the zombies. When it comes to “The Walking Dead,” no one has shown more guts this season than Carol Peletier. In the course of four seasons, the AMC genre drama has fine-tuned the delicate balance of gut-wrenching - and gut-spilling - moments against its zombie apocalypse backdrop. Behind the din of knives being jammed in heads or the sloshing of innards as they get consumed, are the quiet, equally disquieting, junctures - those that show how brutality of the environment has left its stain on the band of characters.
September 11, 2013 |
The series finale of “Burn Notice” will air on Thursday night, and when it ends so will the life of one of the show's main characters. That's all USA will say in advance of the highly anticipated episode titled “Reckoning.” The show follows the dangerous adventures of burned spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and his rag-tag group of spy friends as they use their super-human detection skills to solve mysteries and crack international cases. At the core of the show is its humanity as Westen negotiates his difficult relationship with his troubled mother Madeline, played by Sharon Gless.
September 3, 2012 |
The title of this midseason finale of “Breaking Bad” - “Gliding Over All” - is a fairly big hint as to where the episode ends. It is, after all, a Walt Whitman quote, and Whitman is one of the few tangible pieces of evidence that could connect Walter White to the criminal empire he's built in the mind of his brother-in-law, the one who always overlooks him because, hey, who's going to suspect Walter? Yet as the episode reached its climax and Hank picked up the copy of “Leaves Of Grass” that would draw a direct line between Walter and the long-dead Gale Boetticher, everything snapped into place in a beautiful, elegant way. If last week's episode strained for that feeling of pieces you always knew would snap into place actually doing so here and there, this week's was a moody, contemplative piece of work that pulls Walter back from the edge just enough to make it all the more tragic when his hubris does him in yet again.