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.
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 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.
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.
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.
February 22, 2014 |
If you think Lena Dunham's nudity in “Girls” is a revolutionary act because her body doesn't conform to Hollywood's skin-and-bones-and-boobs ideal (and I do!), then you really have to give her props for taking that unapologetic attitude about her figure to another level in last week's episode of “Girls.” Dunham's character, Hannah Horvath, is often seen in various states of undress, but those scenes usually take place in the privacy of her apartment. In this episode , however, we rarely see her fully clothed.
August 23, 2012 |
Dan Harmon was unceremoniously dumped from his NBC comedy series "Community" after the end of last season, but he apparently bears no ill will toward the people who are keeping the series going. And for the first time, he's discussing publicly the source of his feud with star Chevy Chase. On Wednesday, Harmon participated in one of Reddit's "IAma" Q&As, in which people from various walks of life answer reader questions. Of the dispute with Chase, which resulted in Harmon swearing at the star during the "Community" wrap party and playing angry voicemails from Chase in front of an audience, Harmon wrote: WATCH: Fall 2012 TV previews "He refused to do the "tag" for the Digital Estate Planning episode (the 8 bit video game episode)