FX

A young star flourishes in the old (bleeping) rock world of Denis Leary


From the moment "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll" debuted last season, I was impressed with Elizabeth Gillies. She's a terrific singer who also knows how to handle drama and acerbic humor. Now the show starts its second season Thursday (June 30); here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

TV is a multi-Margo experience


One of TV's great series, "Justified" peaked when Margo Martindale brilliantly played a marijuana matriarch in the Kentucky hills. The role had rich layers ... and she's almost matched it subsequently, Now Martindale has "The Good Wife," "The Americans," two Sundance films and more. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

For a couple of
generations, Margo Martindale led the patient life of a supporting
actress.

Suddenly, Mondays are the promised land for unique (and good) TV


 

In recent weeks, I've been telling about lots of new TV shows, some of them pretty good and some not. But what about shows that are REALLY good and really different? We finally have them, all on one overcrowded night, That's Mondays, beginning Oct. 12, when "Fargo" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" debut and "Jane the Virgin" returns. Here's the story I sent to papers:

"Americans" stars: Opposite routes to a splendid result


This is a terrific time for cable's FX network, with two superb 10 p.m. dramas back-to-back -- "Justified" (which started its final season Jan. 20) on Tuesdays, "The Americans" (which starts its third season Jan. 28) on Wednesdays. There's also comedy -- a pretty good one ("Archer") now on Thursdays, an excellent one (Billy Crystal and Josh Gad in "The Comedians") coming up. Here's the "Americans" story I sent to papers:

He's had a lifelong love story with horror


OK, now I know I should have saved all my childhood toys and comics. Here's the story I sent to papers about the fascinating creator of "The Strain":


By MIKE HUGHES


Freeman's "Fargo": The quiet eloquence of "Minnesota nice"


During a busy blur of new cable shows, "Fargo" is the one that seized my attention. The series (which starts at 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 15) is good in every way -- beautifully written, filmed and -- with Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton playing opposites -- acted. And as someone who has spent a lot of time in Minnesota, I can attest to the fact that it captures that region's quiet and quirky charm. Here's the story I sent to papers:


George Lopez spins life's negatives into comedy



You've probably heard the notion of the crying clown, the idea that comedy springs from tortured souls. At times, we're told, that's wrong; from Jerry Seinfeld to Jimmy Fallon or Tina Fey, humor comes from cheery people.

Cable overload: Sheen, Brand, Louie and a guy in a dog suit


Cable keeps finding new ways to dominate the summer. HBO is doing it with quality ("The Newsroom"), TNT and USA with sleek quantity. And now FX has anew approach.

In one overcrowded Thursday, it debuts shows by two eccentric sorts -- Charlie Sheen and Russell Brand -- sandwiching them around the returns of a good show ("Wilfred") and a sometimes-great one ("Louie"). Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

"Archer" takes aim


If Thursdays are meant for laughs -- they are, really -- then why stops at 10 p.m.?

Wise viewers start with CBS' "Big Bang Theory," then switch to NBC for three more comedies. There's more tonight, though, with the season-opener of the animated "Archer" at 10, with Burt Reynolds as guest star; here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

More good news: "Nova," "Justified," cable excess


The world seems to have an unlimited amount of television and a too-limited amount of really good television. So let's celebrate three bursts of good news -- two relating to shows tonight (Wednesday):

1) "Justified" has been renewed for a third season. This show (10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX) crackles with great characters and sharp dialog. Tonight's hour is a pretty good one, as two strong women -- a coal executive and a crime matriarch -- battle over mining rights.