Day: October 1, 2020

PBS walks thin line between classy and soapy

There’s a thin line between quality drama and brash, soap-style excess.
“Flesh and Blood,” the new four-part “Masterpiece” tale, keeps skidding near the line. It stays on the good side, thanks to first-rate directing, dialog and … especially, acting.
This is a mini-series filled with skilled actors – led by Francesca Annis and Imelda Staunton (shown here, center and right, with Stephen Rea) – who are PBS favorites. They bring some gravity to a story that wants to spin wildly out of control.
The opener (9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4) sets up the basics: There’s been a tragedy – maybe an accident, maybe not – that left someone dead or critically injured. Police do interviews, spurring flashbacks. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 3: “SNL” is finally back

1) “Saturday Night Live” season-opener, 11:29 p.m., NBC. The show finally returns to its studio for the first time in seven months. It did three at-home episodes last spring, but now it ‘s full-scale, with Chris Rock (shown here in a previous hosting gig) hosting and Megan Thee Stallion as music guest. There will be five straight new episodes, leading up to the election, with Jim Carrey filling in as Joe Biden and Alec Baldwin contiuing as Donald Trump … unless news events cause “SNL” to shelve its Trump bits. All 17 cast members are returning, now joined by three newcomers. Read more…

Fear and fun propel an animated “Black-ish”

Fear can be a great motivator, we’re told. And now it’s giving us a primetime, animated special (shown here).
That’s the second of two “Black-ish” specials that will follow basketball (at about 10 and 10:30 p.m.) Sunday on ABC. The idea came when “Black-ish” found itself off the fall schedule.
“We were trying to figure out a way to still have a presence, especially in an election year,” producer Kenya Barris said, in a virtual session this week with the Television Critics Association.
An election-themed special would be good, people agreed … except for one problem. “I was not ready,” said Tracee Ellis Ross, one of the stars. “(I was) terrified to go back to work and be on a set.” Read more…