June 23, 2012 |
One could try to avoid comparing TNT's new reality show "The Great Escape" withCBS' long-running and perpetually Emmy-winning reality show"The Amazing Race," but why? Especially when the similarities and differences are so readily apparent. In "The Amazing Race," 11 teams of two travel around the world chasing clues and fighting off elimination in hour-long episodes until the finale where three teams compete for the $1,000,000 grand prize. Meanwhile, in "The Great Escape," three pairs of contestants spend an hour-long episode chasing clues and evading capture as they frantically labor to escape from some labyrinthine site in order to win $100,000.
February 27, 2013 |
On a chilly morning at Santa Clarita Studios, the cast and crew of ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" are about to tape a scene at an outdoor carwash. It is not quiet on the set. A creaky cart rattles past. Rubber cables swoosh as they're dragged along the concrete. A hiss comes from the hot-coffee dispenser at craft services. In the distance, a car engine starts up. The collective sprightly chatter of milling crew members rises, then falls as a call for calm goes out. The director, in a North Face jacket and wool cap, shouts, "Action!"
March 13, 2013 |
CBS' acclaimed legal drama "The Good Wife" will have multiple partners in syndication. Reruns of the Sunday night program, which stars Julianna Margulies, have been sold by CBS to Amazon's Prime Instant Video platform as well as the Hallmark Channel and local TV stations. Hulu Plus, the subscription arm of the online video service, will also get episodes as part of a previous deal with CBS. The unique agreement could mean an even longer life on CBS for "The Good Wife," which wraps up its fourth season next month.
June 8, 2012 |
After Swedish author Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels became beloved detective stories but before Kenneth Branagh starred in English-language TV versions of the books, two series of television episodes featuring the character were made in Sweden. One of these 90-minute installments, translated in English as "The Revenge," has been released theatrically in America, although its enjoyment level remains strictly that of something you'd cozy up to at home on the couch: hardly cinematic but economically steered by director Charlotte Brandstrom.
July 11, 2013 |
NBC's new "Hollywood Game Night" had me at Jane Lynch. At this point it's easier to name the projects she hasn't starred or guest-starred on ("Game of Thrones"? "The Real Housewives of Orange County"?), but as far as I know, she's never done a game show. And that just seems wrong. Trained in improv, which is the closest anyone gets to live television these days, Lynch could have absolutely held her own against Paul Lynde and Carol Burnett in the halcyon days of the original "Hollywood Squares" and "Password.
March 29, 2009 |
I remember the moment when I realized film could make horror beautiful and thus even more horrifying ("Apocalypse Now") or a stage actor could be so mesmerizing you forget he's on a stage (Derek Jacobi in "Breaking the Code"). But not like I remember the moment I understood how powerful and long-lasting an hour of television could be.
November 16, 2008 |
Arrogance no longer holds David Caruso's face taut. When CBS' "CSI: Miami" premiered six years ago, it hinged on the swagger of Caruso, who had left "NYPD Blue" some years before in an attempt to become a film star, only to find himself back in blue. But the years have weathered his character, Horatio Caine, to the point now where even his signature moves -- the removing and replacing of his sunglasses, the blunt puns so mercilessly mocked in any number of YouTube mash-ups -- lack their original luster.
May 1, 2013 |
Television is an unusually fluid art. Because a TV series exists in time, over time, change and revision are in its blood. It's as if painters went back to work on their paintings after they were hung in museums. Series of films or books based on repeating characters also evolve - Sean Connery, meet Daniel Craig - but their progress is relatively glacial. TV series are fruit flies by comparison, mutating not just from season to season but week to week. The inauspiciously titled "Family Tools," which premieres Wednesday on ABC, is based on a middling British series called "White Van Man. " On the basis of its pilot episode, taken alone, I might have warned you to be out of the house Wednesday night in case you might see it even by accident.
May 30, 2013 |
"Love Thy Neighbor," which premiered Wednesday and is Tyler Perry's second contribution to the oeuvre of OWN, revolves around a shrill, invective-spewing granny and the family she delights in continually abusing. It is a comedy, and to ensure that the television audience understands that comedies exist to make people laugh, Perry has thoughtfully and thoroughly seeded it with a laugh track so intrusive it becomes a character in itself. Most of the show's attempts at humor spring from an emotionally abusive little old lady -- her full name is Hattie Mae Love (Patrice Lovely)
November 15, 2013 |
C'mon, we all knew that was coming, didn't we? In a twist about as surprising as the news that Andy Kaufman is, in fact, still dead, it turns out that Mama Pope is still alive, if not exactly well. In the closing seconds of Thursday's “Scandal,” Rowan pays a visit to his spouse-prisoner, who's living in some kind of dank underground cell -- just one of the many bunkers in this most paranoid of shows. It's predictably unpredictable in that way that “Scandal” is, a development that caps off an episode in which Olivia's unfolding back story takes a backseat to Mellie.