Month: October 2020

Best-bets for Nov. 2: A good doctor, a great documentary

1) “The Good Doctor” season-opener, 10 p.m., ABC. Some shows ignore the COVID crisis, but others embrace it. Here’s the latter; working with infected patients makes everyone wary. Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore, shown here with Hill Harper) loves Lea, but can’t be near her; Dr. Reznick, banned from surgery, navigates around the clinic, putting herself and others at risk. There’s more, in this start of a two-parter: Dr. Park prepares to return to Phoenix; Dr. Brown mourns Dr Melendez, who was killed in the season-ending earthquake. Read more…

When do the shows start? Here’s a round-up

As the election recedes and life returns to normal (well, semi-normal), a question returns:
What about the fall TV season? When do the shows start?
Answers have gradually emerged. CBS recently announced 15 November starts, beginning with “Young Sheldon” (shown here) on Thursday, Nov. 5. The CW – which has a makeshift schedule this fall – announced its January-February starts.
That followed similar news from the other networks, enough to compile these alphabetical lists. They include 34 shows with specific, post-election starts; 24 that are designated for mid-season; and six more still in limbo. In case you missed them, there’s also a list of shows that have already arrived. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 1: Spooky Simpsons, troubled Laurie

1) “Masterpiece: Roadkill” opener, 9 p.m., PBS. We meet Peter Laurence (Hugh Laurie, shown here) in a moment of victory. He successfully sued a newspaper that accused him of corruption. All is fine … except the newspaper may have been right. Also, he’s cheating on his wife … he’s distant with his daughters … he’s surrounded by schemers … and there are big twists ahead. We don’t know whether to like or hate him; we still won’t know when the four-parter ends, but there are big surprises along the way. Read more…

Waiting for CW shows? Be patient

It will be a slow roll-out – very slow, in some cases – for CW’s new-season shows.
Most will arrive in an eight-day stretch from Jan. 17 (“Batwoman,” now with a new star, shown yhere) to Jan. 24 (“Charmed”). But viewers will have to wait until Feb. 8 for “Black Lightning” and Feb. 23 for “The Flash” and the new “Superman & Lois.” Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 31: Choose your Halloween mood

1) Halloween lite. There’s a long wait before trick-or-treating, so cable fills it. FX has all 31 “Simpsons Treehouse of Horror” (shown here) episodes — some family-friendly, some not — from 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Freeform has two each of “Twitches” (7 and 9 a.m.), “Halloweentown” (11 a.m. 1 p.m.) and “Addams Family” (5:10 and 7:15 p.m.) films, plus “Hocus Pocus” (3 and 9:20 p.m.) and the reboot of “Ghostbusters” (11:30 p.m.). Disney has “Zombies” movies at noon and 2 p.m. and a “Halloween House Party” at 5. Read more…

Restrained Brits seethe (a little) in “Roadkill”

As our political season winds down, we can settle back and watch a different one.
This one is fictional … and British … and sometimes rather subtle.
“We are a more restrained country, in many ways,” Hugh Laurie (shown here) said in a virtual session with the Television Critics Association. “I think the fun for an actor is to allow the audience an opportunity to decipher things, rather than simply present them in bold captions.”
He does that in “Roadkill,” a “Masterpiece” drama starting at 9 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 1) on PBS. Throughout the four episodes, we’re not sure what to think of Peter Laurence, the politician he plays. He’s a member of the Conservative Party, which has ruled England for 45 years – lately, with people from upscale backgrounds. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 30: Music, Muppets, monsters, more

1) “Jazz at the Lincoln Center: A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration,” 9 p.m., PBS. From the start, “Sesame Street” has had sharp humor, vibrant visuals and great music. “I grew up loving the show,” Wynton Marsalis says. He’s guested on it and his trumpeter (Kenny Rampton) is in the “Sesame” band. Now the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Marsalis, offers a zestful hour of music, from “Sing” to “Rubber Duckie.” The “Sesame” stars – Bert and Ernie (shown here) and such – add dabs of humor. Read more…

Film captures a passionate, election-time Chicago

“City So Real” is epic in size, scope and ambition.
Its debut – 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) Thursday on the National Geographic Channel, before moving to Hulu on Friday – runs six hours. And that’s without commercials.
During that time, it tries to portray the entire city of Chicago. Mostly, it succeeds.
Steve James has used segments of Chicago as the backdrop for many of his films – “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters,” “Life Itself” and “America to Me.” But now he wants to portray an entire city. Naturally, it t centers on an election (shown here). Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 29: A night of protests and pandemic

1) “City So Real,” 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET, National Geographic. Here is an epic documentary, tackling an entire city (Chicago), with all its passion and quirks. It starts on July 4, 2018, a half-year before the mayoral primary. Some 21 candidates announce, 17 file petitions, 14 make the ballot. But it also involves the flavor of the city, from bars to barbershops. “Real” originally ended with the election, but Geographic added a fifth part – showing the new mayor encased in protest (shown here) and pandemic. Read more…