Month: September 2019

Best-bets for Sept. 25: A farewell season begins

1) “Modern Family” season-opener, 9 p.m., ABC. It’s the 11th and final season for one of TV’s best comedies. For five straight years, this won the best-comedy Emmy; one year, all six adults were nominated. A lot has happened since this began: Haley, then barely a teen, tonight (shown here) is arguing with her parents about how to raise her twins. Read more…

Emmys: Hostless night sometimes turned dreary

For a while, it looked like the no-host Emmys might actually work
.There was a brilliant bit with Ben Stiller and Bob Newhart. There were funny moments from Anthony Anderson and from three people who should have hosted – Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. The show was fast and funny and …
Then it skidded to a stop, reminding us why hosts are crucial. Sure, there were a few great moments, including the acceptance speech of Michelle Williams, a winner in the “Fosse/Verdon” mini-series; more often, people drably thanked their agents and such. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 24: Two debuts and a ton of season-openers

1) “The Resident” and “Empire” season-openers, 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Once just another hospital show, “Resident” turns strongly cinematic. It opens in the imagination of Nicolette, mourning a death; then it heads to the basement (shown here), for a spectacular action scene. There are flaws here – the villains are badly overdrawn and transparent – but this has become a first-rate drama. And “Empire”? Well, it stays itself – fun and fascinating, yet way overboard. The one Lucious/Cookie scene is great, but the hour ends with waves of melodrama. Read more…

In comedy form, TV ponders being biracial

TV has had approximately three zillion comedy episodes, some of them topical and timely.
Few, however, have dealt with the common situation of being bi-racial.
“For me, (it) is to be comfortable everywhere and to be at home nowhere,” said Peter Saji, a producer of ABC’s new “Mixed-ish” series (shown here). Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 23: Music collides on PBS, NBC

1) “Country Music,” 8 p.m., PBS, rerunning at 10. By the late 1960s, country music – like America itself – was filled with extremes. George Jones and Tammy Wynette created achingly beautiful songs and lived achingly painful lives. Kris Kristofferson (shown here) was their opposite – a long-haired Rhodes Scholar with a poet’s flair. Johnny Cash fit both extremes and more – a hard-scrabble country boy who stood up for the oppressed. This chapter beautifully profiles them and others. Read more…

Amid comedy — a love letter to immigrants

As Gina Yashere tells it, her career choices were limited.
“I used to … say that in a Nigerian amily, there are only four choices of jobs – doctor, lawyer, engineer, disgrace to the family.”
She took the third choice (briefly being an engineer in London) and then the fourth, as a stand-up comedian. Now her roots are reflected in this fall’s first new broadcast-network show. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 22: It’s Emmy time

1) Emmy awards, 8-11 p.m. ET, Fox. Sadly, there’s no host this year; Fox says it wants to focus on tributes to departing shows, including “Game of Thrones” (shown here, leading with 32 nominations), “Veep” and “The Big Bang Theory.” At least, fun people will be presenters. Many have been awards hosts in the past — Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers. Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler and Anthony Anderson. Others include Bill Hader, Lilly Singh, Billy Porter, Maya Rudolph, RuPaul, Ben Stiller and Cedric the Entertainer. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Sept. 23; meet the best new (and old) shows

1) “Modern Family” (9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC) and “The Good Place” (9 p.m. Thursday, NBC) season-openers. Two of TV’s best comedies begin their final seasons. For “Modern Family,” it’s the 11th, covering a broad swath; Haley, barely a teen when this started, is now arguing with her parents about how to raise her twins. For “Good Place” (shown here) it’s only the fourth, but there have been wild changes. Now an experimental afterlife begins; the opener is inconsistent, but includes some very funny moments. Read more…

Best-bets for Sep. 21: Splendid Sandler and “Schitt’s” reruns

1) “Schitt’s Creek,” 4-11 p.m., Pop. It took five years for this oft-clever show to get attention. Now “Schitt’s Creek” has Emmy nominations for best comedy and for its costumes and stars, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara (shown here); TV Guide named it the best current show. It’s not THAT good, but it is above average, with a once-rich family settling for life in the tattered town it once bought. The sixth and final season starts in January; here’s the fifth, starting with O’Hara’s awful horror movie. Read more…

A quick tour of new shows on big-four networks

For the big-four TV networks, it all starts Monday (Sept. 23)
.Over the next week, they’ll introduce 13 new fall shows (including “The Unicorn,” shown here), with the final three arriving a week later.
Here’s a round-up of those 16, all starting Sept. 23-29, except where noted. We’ll have a separate story on the CW network, which starts two weeks later. The others – PBS cable, streaming – have been busy year-around and we’ve had ongoing coverage. Read more…